Importance of Medicine Buddha in the Traditional Tibetan Medical System
Nowadays, people lead very busy lives. They cannot finish all tasks in one day, each day being filled with challenges: engagements, meetings, work, economic problems, family tensions and educational problems. Such a way of life causes worry, anger, tension, stress and insomnia. Many of these problems are also caused by inappropriate diet, bad behavior, unfavorable environmental conditions, stress, afflictive emotions and fear.
Regardless of our level of education, socioeconomic status, religious affiliation, age or race, our main problem is always about the way to maintain our physical health and emotional balance. Physical and mental health problems influence our personal lives and job performance, and it is often impossible to hide them. Everybody is afraid of something: poverty, aging, sickness, suffering, obstacles, death, destructive emotions such as fear, tension, nervousness, anxiety, anger, attachment and delusion. We also suffer from the fear of losing our position, power, wealth, beauty, fame, family, friends, jobs and other things we have become attached to. In the world we live in, nothing is guaranteed, and for this reason our life often lacks permanent peace, harmony, health and freedom from fear. Everything in the universe is interdependent and so are all these problems which can lead to a vicious cycle. Therefore, to free ourselves from these problems, we need support. In Tibet, one can get this kind of support from Medicine Buddha, the Supreme King of the traditional Tibetan medical system, who promised to devote himself to all who are sick, physically or psychologically, regardless of who they are. His blessing, compassion, kindness, and healing power can help us achieve goals and guard us from physical and emotional distractions, so that we may live a happy, healthy and meaningful life.
Even those in good health and who only wish to prevent it from deteriorating can benefit from the gift of Medicine Buddha’s teachings and practice. We can enjoy this gift and allow his blessing to affect our lives and others as well. Whether we are Buddhists or non-Buddhists, practitioners or non-practitioners, we are all concerned about our health and mental state. We would like to be free from diseases and emotional distractions. Because of this, we seek good energy and effective solutions to our concerns. Whether our health problems are serious or mild, chronic or acute, we can all refer to Medicine Buddha; receiving his help is possible and accessible to everyone, regardless of his or her religious affiliation. There are many Medicine Buddha techniques of meditation, retreat and making offerings which can be used for purification of the body and mind, improving our condition, recharging positive energy, releasing emotional stress and supporting our health and overall fitness. For example, with pure motivation and compassion, we can make simple offerings of fruits, flowers, candles, incense or pure water. We can listen to Medicine Buddha’s teachings, prayers, and mantra chanting to calm ourselves down and relax our mind. We can always pray to Him and ask for his blessing and protection to make our lives easier, happier and useful. Moreover, we can send small financial donations to any Tibetan Buddhist monastery with a prayer request.
Medicine Buddha prayer offerings are one of the most important Tibetan monthly prayer celebrations. It is conducted on the 8th day of every Tibetan month to free all sentient beings from suffering of illness and environmental destruction. Physicians and all people who wish to preserve and maintain good health should take into consideration both the physical and mental factor, putting things in perfect balance, away from negative influences like fear, tension, stress, anger, attachment, delusions, loneliness and suicide.
Ancient Wisdom of Healthcare and Medicine Buddha
The traditional Tibetan medical system, together with spiritual knowledge and practice, was taught only in Tibetan Buddhist monasteries, medical monasteries and was practiced by great masters, scholars, highly qualified monks, nuns and lay people who studied Medicine Buddha’s teachings, the ancient wisdom of healthcare and healing technique. Tibetan doctors and Tibetan people are deeply connected to the Medicine Buddha— the King of Medicine. For this reason, they make offerings of different kinds of precious medicinal herbs and precious minerals. Furthermore, they practice visualizations, mantra recitation, fasting and engage in other spiritual practices in order to transform their energy to a higher level. This gives them the power to help the sick and to cure patients. Traditional Tibetan medical system comprises complete knowledge about disorders, diagnosis and different ways of supporting health with Tibetan herbal dietary supplements. However, it is always emphasized that compassion and moral conduct are the most important prerequisites for good health, especially where chronic problems and emotional disorders are concerned.
The Central Asian countries have always called Tibet the “Land of medicinal herbs.” There have been legends about “Shambhala” or the “Mystic Land,” a place where spiritual practices and precious herbs could considerably prolong one’s life. For all humanity, the main goal is to become “completely free from suffering.” This is ultimately true and the very subject of research, both in the material and spiritual realm. The conventional medical approach and innovative technology cannot solve all health problems. For this reason, turning to spiritual support can be very helpful. If you do not have spiritual guidance, you may lose the most precious qualities of life, such as kindness, compassion, forgiveness, respect, honesty and inner strength. All of these, if intact, make life easier, more joyful and positive. To achieve these goals, it is important to request the Medicine Buddha for His blessing, support and positive energy, for the protection of our health and state of mind.
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