Tonight my talk is "Enlightenment is Messy", but before we
begin I'd like for us to learn this Medicine Buddha of Healing
chant. This has become the most powerful mantra that I've ever
encountered in my life so far, and its power is still growing, being
understood, and manifesting in my life. I'm sure by next year, it will
be even more important to me.
Right now I'd to share with you how to chant it, and its basic
meaning. I believe, that a mantra, and this is more like a dharani,
which is a longer mantra—a mantra is like a machine in a sense;
like an electronic machine, like a radio for example. There are parts
to it, but that's not the power of the mantra. That's just the vehicle
of the mantra. So the sounds and the words are like the transistors
and the parts. The energy, the message of the mantra isn't in the
words, in the sounds—but they are carried by the words and the
sounds. The energy is the practice of the spiritual energy of the
mantra that this embodies.
You have all these transistors and parts and everything, but if you plug it in and tune it—then you have music, you have news, and you have messages. That's the real power of the radio. It's not in the transistors, not in the electricity, not even in the plug, or even in the dial—but what comes through it. What it channels to us; the music, the messages, the words, the knowledge and information. As we learn a mantra, we learn the sounds, we learn the words, we might have a basic understanding of the literal meaning—but the power is not in the literal meaning. The power is in the practice of chanting it and then allowing the transcendent energy to flow and channel through it; to us, or through us, within us. Then we start feeling the power of it, and we start understanding the deeper meaning of it. So don't be deceived by the sounds, or the literal words, because those are just like the parts of the radio. It's when the radio is working, that it channels something greater than the parts of the radio.
Notice that this mantra is in two parts: There is a "part A" and a "part B". There is a reason for that. To me, as I've meditated on this mantra and practiced it, the first part is like the causal aspect and the second part is the effect aspect; cause and effect (or basis and manifestation, or foundation and expression; however you want to put it). In other words, "part A" is basically the reason why healing is even possible. Then the second part is that because it is possible, that's why we have a right to access that healing.
Part A is that there is healing in the universe, and it exists, and it is available. Then Part B is, "so why not access it"? So we do access it. Let's access it and manifest it, and express it in our lives. It's not just physical healing, it's also spiritual. Really, the word "healing" is about all blessings in the universe. Enlightenment, wisdom, joy, and peace—everything is contained in the word "healing" here.
The first part, "Om Namo Bhagavate Bhaishajya-Guru" is giving thanks that there are blessed ones in the universe, and that there are ones who are teachers, and embodiments, and masters of healing; of enlightenment, and love, and wisdom, joy and peace. Gratitude that there exists healing in the universe and it has been completely realized by many beings in the universe called Buddhas.
Audience member: How do you say "Bhaishajya"? Is that right?
ChiSing: Well, remember that Sanskrit is a very ancient language and there have been many, many dialects of it throughout the centuries, and so I may not pronounce it the way some people pronounce it. I'm going to go with the very clean, scholarly rules for pronunciation of Sanskrit but in certain parts of India you are going to have different ways of saying it. Just from what I've learned from "Google-ing" and learning scholarly—it's pronounced this way, and I may be butchering it slightly.
Healing Buddha Chant
♦ Text (PDF)
Om Namo Bhagavate Bhaisajya-guru
Sometimes the "V" is more of a [normal] "V"-sound, sometimes it is more of a "W"-sound, depending on the context with the other vowels and consonants. Basically, the rule is if it's easier to do the "V"-sound [then do that] if it's easier to do the "W"-sound [do that]. For instance, in Svāhā, it's a lot easier to say, "Swa ha" than to say, "Sva ha". [Audience: laughter]
"Om" is a sacred sound; "Namo" [means] gratitude; "Bhagavate" [means] blessed one; "Bhaishajya" means healing; "Guru" means teacher. Guru literally means from darkness to light. So, a teacher is one who takes us out of the darkness of delusion and ignorance, and brings us into the light of wisdom; "Gu-ru".
"Vaidurya-Prabha-Rajaya", means "Lapis lazuli light". The "Rajaya" means "king" or "the royal one"; "The king of Lapis lazuli light". "Tathagataya", refers to the Buddha and refers to someone who has gone beyond. Gone beyond what? It probably means gone beyond suffering, gone beyond delusion, gone beyond creating suffering; gone beyond the causes of suffering. So, Tathagataya: the one who has gone beyond. "Arhate" refers to one who is enlightened, also referring to those who are worthy of our respect and offerings. "Samyak-Sam-Buddhaya": The fully, fully enlightened one.
Basically, the first part is praising the Medicine Buddha of Healing, but not just the Medicine Buddha of Healing—but praising the fact that there is even enlightenment at all in the universe; that there is even anyone who has become fully realized in enlightenment. This is saying, that the truth is, there is enlightenment, there are those that have become enlightened and that we affirm that truth.
When you affirm that there is enlightenment, and you affirm that there are those who have become enlightened—you're also secretly affirming that enlightenment is in you too and that, you too, have the potential for full enlightenment. It's a very powerful affirmation; the affirmation of the existence, and the reality, of enlightenment and our ability to realize enlightenment. You are affirming your ability to be fully enlightened and to be a vessel of healing. That's basically what you are saying in the first part.
In the second part; Tathagataya (therefore), it's like when Jesus said "verily, verily, I say unto you"—because of this, therefore: Om
In other words; OM (Sacred sound), healing, healing, MAHA (means great), RAJA (means royal)—so "great royal healing". SAMUD GATE: Going beyond suffering. SVAHA: "Yahoo". [Audience: Laughs]. So, because there is the existence of enlightenment and healing, and because there are those who have become enlightened and have become healers, and because that healing and enlightenment is a potential within me—therefore, let there be healing; let there be healing; great healing; royal healing; healing beyond all suffering—YES! [Audience Member: Yahoo!] Yahoo!
"GATE" means to "go beyond". "SAMUD" is the suffering; so we are going beyond the suffering; going beyond all the illness and the diseases of the mind, and of the body, and of the heart.
This reminds me a lot of Science of Mind, and the Spiritual Mind Treatment for those who are familiar with New Thought understandings. "Because of this" therefore "we can affirm this"; you know, "Because of this; therefore that—or because of that; therefore this". In Science of Mind there is a process of Spiritual Mind Treatment in five parts. First of all, we acknowledge the existence of the divine; secondly, we also acknowledge we are one with that—we are connected, we are an expression of that divine reality. And because of that; therefore, I can affirm the desire of my heart which is enlightenment, healing, wisdom, health—whatever it is I want to manifest, because I am connected to the source of that; therefore, I express that. Then they also have gratitude for that. Which is also in the "Svaha" here; gratitude, "Yes, it is so!" Then you would also release, and let go of worrying about the results. Knowing that it is done and will be done it whatever way the universe deems the best.
I like that five part spiritual process of prayer. We are one with the divine reality and one with all the source of all the good that we desire in our life—and it is there, and we are connected to that, and therefore we can affirm, and express, and vocalize, and manifest all these wonderful qualities in tangible ways in our human lives, and we give thanks that it is so, because we have faith. If we didn't have faith, we couldn't give thanks. Because we give thanks, therefore it is a sign of faith, and trust in this reality; and then we let go, and let God (or "let go and let Buddha", as I like to say). [Audience: laughs]
So this is a universal reality, it's not just for the Science of Mind or New Thought's people (because they tap into a universal reality, they happen to name it in five steps). Here in Buddhism, we name it in two particular, major steps—but it's the same reality, sometimes we can do it in five steps, in two steps; Jesus did it in seven steps in the Lord's Prayer—he did the same thing when he said "Thy will be done, on Earth as it is in Heaven"; because there is a divine reality, a heavenly reality; because there is a will, "a divine will" that exists in the heavenly realms, therefore, it can be manifest on Earth too, and it can manifest in these ways (forgiveness, and all the different steps). Then what did Jesus do? He had a thanksgiving part to it, didn't he? Jesus' Lord Prayer had the exact steps too: First of all acknowledgement of the divine, that we are one with that, and [that it] can manifest, and therefore let it manifest in forgiveness, and other things, and daily bread, and all of that (that's the manifestation part)—and then thanksgiving [ChiSing and Audience together:] "For thine is the Kingdom, and the power, and the glory for ever [and ever]!"—that's the thanksgiving, that's the praise part. Then it ends with the releasing part, which is Amen. [Audience members: Amen] It is so, thus it is—and "so it is".
Audience Member #1: You know, that concluding proclamation, is in every tradition. In Native American traditions they say, "Aho".
Audience Member #2: In then in African, they say "Ashe".
ChiSing: Wonderful! Amitabha! Svaha! [Audience members: laughter] Wonderful; see this is universal, and you know what? I recently read a book, and I usually don't read books by people who claim to have seen angels, because I think they are usually, kind of (you know), frou-frou or whatever the word is—but you know what? I don't know, something inside me told me to buy this book, so I did. It's by Lorna Byrne, and Irish women, who sees angels, and talks with angels. And I read her book, and I really was touched, because I really felt that there was genuineness, and realness to what she had to say. What I really started to get excited about was learning more about her. She grew up Catholic, and so she has a lot of Catholic ways of speaking, and yet, she says that she sees angels when she goes to church; but the first time she walked into a mosque, she saw just as many angels in the mosque. She went to a Hindu temple; she saw just as many angels in there. She went to a Buddhist monastery; she saw just as many angels there.
She has three books out now, but the one I read was, "A Message of Hope from the Angels". What I really loved about it was this universal message, that the angels don't discriminate—and neither should we.
Today, we are going to learn about accessing the power of our "inner angels", but in a Buddhist way—but you can access it in other ways too, because the angel's don't discriminate. But there is definitely a power in this mantra, given to us, from our Heavenly friends; the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, the Devas/Angels—whatever you want to call them.
In the Medicine Buddha sutra, the Medicine Buddha made twelve vows. He said when I attain full enlightenment; I want to be able to do these twelve things. And, you know, we can create vows too—don't just take this literally, take this more like a template, for your own Buddhahood. If you were to be fully enlightened, what are the twelve, or ten, or five, or forty things that you want to accomplish, for the benefit of other beings? Write it down, that is your homework this week. The twelve that the Medicine Buddha wanted to make sure that he could achieve and realize, if he were fully enlightened—he wanted to, or she, or it, or they (it's not necessarily literal). The Medicine Buddha wanted to illuminate countless realms, with the light of enlightenment. Enabling anyone to become a Buddha, just like him or her.
This first vow is he wanted to be a light in the world. "Don't hide your light under a bushel", let it shine, let it shine, let it shine.
Number two: To awaken the minds of all beings in the universe through the light of Lapis Lazuli. Lapis Lazuli is a semi precious stone that is blue in color. Kind of like this mala [ChiSing: shows mala] If you want to do this, like me, I bought lots of Lapis Lazuli stones, different shapes, a sphere, malas; and I have them blessed by monks, or nuns, and then every time I touch it, it reminds me that, yes, there is healing and enlightenment possible in the universe, and I can channel it. I have the right to access it and express it.
Number three: To provide sentient beings with whatever material needs that are required. You see, I love Medicine Buddha, because he reminds us that enlightenment is not just about transcending all of this—but is very practical. The Medicine Buddha does not just want us to be enlightened. Medicine Buddha also wants to provide people's material needs; to clothe those who don't have enough clothing; to shelter those who don't have a home; to provide medicine to those who are sick.
Number four: To correct incorrect views, and inspire beings toward the path of the Bodhisattva; toward the path of enlightenment, that is, in service of other beings.
Number five: To help beings follow the path of virtue, even if they failed before. I love that one, because haven't we all failed, in someway, on our path to virtue? To help us keep following that path even if we've fallen and failed before.
Number six: To heal beings born with deformities, illness, or other physical sufferings. You know, people who are nurses, and doctors, and health practitioners, and homeopaths, and others—they are embodiments of the vow of the Medicine Buddha; to help heal people.
Number seven: To help relieve the destitute and the sick.
Number eight: To help people achieve their desired rebirth. So maybe, you know, you didn't have some a good rebirth in this life time—but it's not the end, and Medicine Buddha can help you to have a better rebirth next time. [Audience and ChiSing: Laughs] Not just in the afterlife, but in this life—because we are always being reborn in every moment, and ourselves are being reborn; right? I think there is some saying, and I don't know if it's just urban legend, but I've heard, somewhere, that every seven years all the cells in your body have regenerated, and that you have new cells.
Audience member: It actually happens faster than that.
ChiSing: Maybe faster than that…or slower in some people. [ChiSing and Audience: Laughs]
But yes! You can be transformed, even in seven years or less! [Audience: laughter] And you don't have to do, "Oil of Olay Regenerist". [ChiSing and Audience: Laughs] Okay…but, it does help…as you can see. [Audience: Laughter]
Number nine: To help heal mental afflictions, and delusions. Thank goodness! [Audience member: Yes. [Laughter]]
Number ten: To help the oppressed be free from suffering.
Number eleven: To relieve those who suffer from terrible hunger and thirst.
And number twelve: To help clothe those who are destitute and suffering from harsh conditions.
Not only is this true for Medicine Buddha—it can be true for us; because we can take on the vows of the Medicine Buddha. We can live our lives and take on the vows of Medicine Buddha, and we can walk the template, laid out here, to become Medicine Buddha. Medicine Buddha is not just a being who has already become Buddha, but Medicine Buddha is also a template for us to follow, so that we can embody and express Medicine Buddha. We are Medicine Buddha in potential, and that's the real meaning. When we chant this, not only are we connecting to enlightenment and to the one who has become Medicine Buddha—we're also connecting to all those who are on the path of enlightenment, and the path of healing. We're connecting to all those that chant this and who have ever chanted it for centuries and we are connecting to our own potential Buddhahood and healing nature. That's way a mantra can be powerful.
When you chant it, realize that you are connecting to so much more than you realize.
Okay, are we ready to try chanting it? [Audience: Yes!] Okay. I'm going to chant it once through. I created this melody to make it easier to chant, but you don't have to chant it as a melody—you just chant it monotone if that makes it easier for you. I just find it easier to remember things when there's a slight melody.
Healing Buddha Chant
♦ Text (PDF)
Om Namo Bhagavate Bhaisajya-guru