In a world that can use all types of healing, there are special meditation practices that allow us to focus our minds to do just that. Modern medicine is extremely important, lifesaving, and absolutely needed in this world today. Medical workers and researchers have and continue to do incredible things to save and improve the lives of beings all across the planet, embodying the spirit of the Buddhas and bodhisattvas with their compassionate wishes to help others. That being said, in addition to modern medicine, there are supplementary pathways available to us when we seek healing in our bodies and minds. In Tibet and the Himalayas there has been a long symbiotic relationship between the traditional systems of healing (sowa rigpa) and the inner systems of healing in Buddhist practice. This post includes six new free translation offerings from these traditions of healing that involve ways to focus our minds to heal outer and inner imbalances in ourselves and others. In essence, these are all practices to invoke healing Buddhas.
Healing Medicine Buddha
The tradition of invoking the Medicine Buddha for healing goes back to ancient Buddhist sutras in India. While there are many different forms of the Medicine Buddha, ultimately all of these come down to connecting with the healing potential of Buddha nature that we can simultaneously see outside of ourselves as well as within. When we see the Medicine Buddha in ourselves and others, we are seeing our true infinite potential for equilibrium, health, wisdom, strength, vitality, longevity, and magic that is not bound by temporary imbalances that we might experience in our human lives. To see this Buddha nature, is an ultimate form of healing in itself. To cultivate this view with love and compassion for all beings that are suffering in the world due to temporary illnesses and afflictions is to cultivate the very life force of such healing power. For a simple and meaningful way to envision the Medicine Buddha for the purpose of healing ourselves or others near and far, here is a short translation of Orgyen Nüden Dorje’s (1849-1902) called the Essence of Help and Happiness: Medicine Buddha Daily Visualization Practice. May it bring outer and inner healing to all those that seek it.
Oddiyana Medicine Guru
Padmasambhava, the second Buddha from Oddiyana, has long been invoked to heal the body and mind. In particular, there is a long visionary tradition of invoking him in a special form inseparable from the Medicine Buddha. In this form, he is blue and is called the Oddiyana Medicine Guru (Orgyen Menla) or Oddiyana Medicine King (Orgyen Mengyi Gyalpo). This tradition goes back to at least the visionary treasure discoveries of 14th century Tibet. At that time, the treasure discoverer Zangpo Dragpa discovered a number of scrolls encoded with the symbolic dakini scripts that were destined to be translated by the northern treasure discoverer Rigdzin Gödemchen (1337-1409), who revealed the famous Küntuzangpo’s Prayer, amongst many other treasures. Rigdzin Gödemchen’s visionary translations included Padmasambhava’s famous Seven-Chapter Prayer that contains the Prayer to Spontaneously Accomplish Wishes.
In the Prayer to Spontaneously Accomplish Wishes it says:
When the illusory bodies of sentient beings are endangered by sicknesses,
When we are pained by sicknesses of unbearable suffering,
We pray to you without second thoughts or doubt.
Becoming inseparable with you, Oddiyana Medicine Guru,
Absolutely clear away obstacles so that our lives are not finished.
We pray to you, Padmasambhava of Oddiyana.
Bless us so that our wishes are spontaneously accomplished.
Since that time, this prayer has showed up in a number of related treasures. Likewise, the visionary tradition of the Oddiyana Medicine Guru, the inseparable unity of our own root teachers, Padmasambhava, and the Medicine Buddha, has become a very important part of the meditative healing tradition in Tibet. The meditation master Orgyen Nüden Dorje (1849-1902) experienced a reality filled with visionary illuminations quite often if not all the time. The presence of Padmasambhava and the variety of his emanations was a lived experience, and he wrote these down at one point to benefit others as the instructions on Orgyen Kalden Drendze (Oddiyana Master who Guides the Fortunate Ones). In the mandala of Orgyen Kalden Drendze, we appear as Padmasambhava surrounded by ten emanations in the ten directions. One of these emanations is the Oddiyana Medicine Guru, and in the empowerment of Orgyen Kalden Drendze, there is a special empowerment for this healing form. Through the kindness of my teacher Öntül Rinpoche, I had the opportunity to receive this from him.
Öntül Rinpoche also knew about a special healing practice tradition of the Oddiyana Medicine Guru from Nüden Dorje, but when we discussed it, the texts we had access to seemed incomplete and had mixed up pages and so forth. With some recent publications from Kham in Tibet, we now have the clear Tibetan texts. Here is my translation of Nüden Dorje’s visionary Seeds of Faith: Oddiyana Medicine Guru – Sambhogakaya Guru Sadhana. It is a very unique way of practicing the Oddiyana Medicine Guru. The picture above is a more common form of the Oddiyana Medicine Guru. It is similar to the visualization tradition of the Oddiyana Medicine Guru in Orgyen Kalden Drendze practice. In the Seeds of Faith, the form of the Oddiyana Medicine Guru contains both male and female aspects, as the deep blue Oddiyana Medicine King in union with the deep blue Princess Mandarava. To my knowledge, I don’t know that a visual painting of this yet exists or at least I’ve not seen one. First, the practice invokes the healing energies of the Oddiyana Medicine Guru. Next, there is a very special practice to bless medicines so that these become powerful filled with healing energy through the added support of our meditative focus and invoked blessings of the Buddhas. This form of blessing medicines, treatments, and other substances we wish to use for healing ourselves and others can be done in person or also from a distance. Last, there is an accomplishment visualization that summons the healing coemergent bliss of the Oddiyana Medicine Guru and the dakini Mandarava.
By sharing this practice that weaves both the powerful interdependent forces of the old visionary treasures with those that are fresh and new, may the healing traditions of the Oddiyana Medicine Guru continue to grow and flourish throughout the world. Specifically, may it lead to the direct incredible experiences of healing ourselves and others in body and mind when we rely upon the support of such sacred practices in our journeys through life.
Achi Chökyi Drölma Queen of Medicine
When doing the practice of making smoke offerings to the dharma protectress Achi Chökyi Drölma, Orgyen Nüden Dorje had a vision her as the Queen of Medicine. She taught him how to perform smoke offerings to help heal infectious diseases, invoking her in this special form. In addition to using modern medicine and such guidance, I thought that people might be able to appreciate a translation of both the daily smoke offering to Achi and this visionary practice as a supplementary method to employ for ourselves and others, especially in our current age when infectious diseases have run rampant throughout the world. In sharing this, may the healing presence of Achi Queen of Medicine continue to nurture and support everyone in need of healing protectors.
Yuthog Nyingthig Visions & Dzogchen Sambhogakaya Medicine Buddha Guru
In Tibet, one of the most famous healers was Yuthog Yönten Gönpo (1126-1202). In addition to passing on many important traditions of medicine to his students like Sumtön Yeshe Zung, he also shared special ways that they would be able to invoke his healing energy after he passed on, attaining the miraculous rainbow body. Centuries later another incredible healer, Zurkhar Nyamnyi Dorje (1439-1475), had a series of visions about Yuthog Yönten Gönpo while he was practicing Yuthog’s own Guru Yoga instructions. His visionary revelations that presented Yuthog Yönten Gönpo’s Guru Yoga with supporting visionary instructions became known as the Yuthog Nyingthig. The Yuthog Nyingthig tradition became famous throughout all Tibet and the Himalayas, and it continues to be practiced and spread throughout the world.
One unique stream of the Yuthog Nyingthig tradition was passed on from the line of Zurkhar Nyamnyi Dorje to reach the Drigung master Rigdzin Chökyi Dragpa (1595-1659). Not only was Rigdzin Chökyi Dragpa an incredibly wise and learned master of the ancient Nyingma and Sarma traditions of vajrayana practice, but he also was an incredible physician and healer. Amongst his many writings on healing and medicine formulations are commentaries on all four of the famous medical tantras. These formed the foundation of the Drigung system of Tibetan medicine that continues to this day.
At the heart of his healing work there was also meditation practice. He took the Yuthog Nyingthig systems and applied them steadfastly in his mind, particularly from the perspective of uniting the invocation of the healer Yuthog Yönten Gönpo and the Medicine Buddha with the inner practice of dzogchen, or the great perfection. During his lifetime there was a period where he spent three years dedicated to the advanced dzogchen practice of direct crossing (thod gal) wherein the visions of the three kayas of Buddhahood slowly unfold before our very eyes. Throughout Chökyi Dragpa’s works we see varieties of his dzogchen experiences woven into his instructions. Amongst these, he uniquely combined the Guru Yoga tradition of the Yuthog Nyingthig with his own realization of the visionary reality of the sambhogakaya Medicine Buddha that he experienced as part of reaching the culmination of awareness (rig pa tshe pheb) in dzogchen direct crossing practice.
Rigdzin Chökyi Dragpa’s Treasury of Siddhis: Sadhana of the Main Deity and Retinue of the Sambhogakaya Medicine Buddha Guru is a special work that he shared with us all as part of a healing legacy that combines the Yuthog Nyingthig Guru Yoga with the blessing of the direct dzogchen experience of the sambhogakaya Medicine Buddha. It has been a very important part of the Yuthog Nyingthig, Drigung system of medicine, and wider healing tradition throughout Tibet and the world to this day. It is being presented here in both English and Tibetan for those of you that wish to pursue these methods of healing. May its practice and healing benefits continue to grow and blossom.
This particular arrangement of Rigdzin Chökyi Dragpa’s Treasury of Siddhis: Sadhana of the Main Deity and Retinue of the Sambhogakaya Medicine Buddha Guru was done by Jamgön Kongtrül and included in the famous Rinchen Terdzö collection of treasures. I’ve also included here a short Supplementary Yuthok Nyingthig Obstacle Dispelling Practice that was extracted from Jamgön Kongtrül’s wonderful commentary on the Yuthog Nyingthig and arranged by one of my own dear teachers, Lamkhyen Gyalpo Rinpoche. Likewise, there is the Torma Offering to the Nine Protectors – Zhanglön and Retinue by Drigung Könchog Trinley Zangpo. Together, these three materials represent the heart of a very important healing practice tradition of both the Medicine Buddha and the Yuthog Nyingthig.
For those that wish to go deeper into this stream of healing visions and support this work, there is a recently expanded collection that contains these three texts with the addition of a number of others. First, with the guidance of Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo, Jamgön Kongtrül created a special empowerment for this Sambhogakaya Medicine Buddha Guruentitled the Opening the Gateway to the Siddhis. It is included in the Rinchen Terdzö. The empowerment contains this Yuthog Nyingthig vision of the Sambhogakaya Medicine Buddha Guru vase empowerment, secret empowerment, primordial wisdom knowledge empowerment, precious word empowerment, Rishi (Sage) entrustment, and entrustment of the dharma protector Zhanglön with his retinue.
Additionally, there is a special stream of the Yuthog Nyingthig that is connected to the Padmasattva practice of the Yangzab treasure cycle revealed by Rinchen Phüntsog (1509-1557). The famous master Karma Chagme (1613-1678), who was a close student of Rigdzin Chökyi Dragpa’s older brother Chökyi Wangchug, was practicing both the Yangzab Padmasattva and Yuthog Nyingthig Guru Yoga. After a series of auspicious visions of Chenrezig, he combined the practices of the Yangzab Padmasattva, Rigdzin Chökyi Dragpa’s Secret Visualization for Accomplishing Longevity through the Practice of Guru Padmasattva, and Yuthog Nyingthig Guru Yoga into one. There is a related prayer by Karma Chagme based on his visionary dreams too. Jamgön Kongtrül included both of these Karma Chagme texts in the Rinchen Terdzö as well. All the texts from these interwoven traditions of the Yangzab Padmasattva and later visionary Yuthog Nyingthig legacy are also included in this collection with the aspiration that this healing tradition continues to grow, thrive, and nurture beings, like the healing fruits of the arura plants held in the hands of the Medicine Buddha, Oddiyana Medicine Guru, and Yuthog Yönten Gonpo.
As always if you find these translations meaningful, please consider making a donation to support this work or purchasing titles from the bookstore. Stay tuned as well for more exciting new translation releases coming soon.