Four-Armed Chenrezig
Buddha of Compassion
Spiritual Healing
in Buddhist Tibet

Tools for Healing, 
Relaxing and Awakening

introduction meditation mantra
prayer wheels
prayer flags stupas
herbal medicine
incense
distant healing
dying credits

Tibetan Pages Directory

Tibetan Healing Meditation

Tibetan Buddhist Centers
Tibetan Buddhism Resources

Tibetan Medicine Resources


Dharma Haven Home Page

Introduction
Before the communist takeover, Tibet was a Buddhist country, and Tibetan Buddhist culture still survives somewhat in some of the neighboring countries like Bhutan and Nepal, and in refugee communities in India and in the West.

Buddhism is very practical. All of the Dharma is based on Buddha's discovery that suffering is unnecessary: Like a disease, once we really face the fact that suffering exists, we can look more deeply and discover it's cause; and when we discover that the cause is dependent on certain conditions, we can explore the possibility of removing those conditions. Buddha taught many methods for doing that, and the Tibetans have preserved and refined many of them over the centuries.

The spiritual and psychological entanglements that lead to suffering also can result in illness of all sorts. Many Tibetan Buddhist methods and tools for awakening, for removing those entanglements, also promote relaxation and healing. In traditional Tibetan culture, practicing meditation and using prayer wheels, incense, prayer flags and other methods all work together with Tibetan herbal medicine in healing illness and maintaining health.

You can use this page as a way of learning more about Tibetan culture, or you can actually try out some of the techniques to see if they might be useful in improving your own health. These methods of spiritual healing require no training in Buddhist theory and little practical instruction, and the equipment required is inexpensive and available by mail. Meditation is especially simple -- you probably have the necessary equipment already: A human body, awareness, some emotional energies, and an environment are about all you need. 

You do need a little basic instruction to get started, with any of these methods, and this page will lead you to resources for acquiring the tools and learning to use them. The real learning, though,  and the benefits, come from practicing. The more you practice, the more you learn. It's very simple.
"Just do it!" 
-- Chögyam Trungpa, Rinpoche


There's one book I'd like to mention, because it presents a fairly balanced overview of the various healing traditions of Tibet:

Tibetan Healing: The Modern Legacy of Medicine Buddha
Peter Fenton

Tibetan healing Full of stories and interviews, illustrated with photos, charts, and drawings, it offers a glimpse of all the many facets of healing that were integrated in traditional Tibetan culture. Exploring physical, psychological and spiritual aspects of healing, Fenton includes topics like healing sounds and symbols, and shamanic healing and divination, which are rarely addressed in books on Tibetan medicine.


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Meditation Practice
Buddhism offers many different types of meditation to help individuals move toward the goal of awakening, and some of them are are considered especially useful for people interested in promoting healing for themselves or for others. We've developed a set of pages devoted to healing practices that are suitable for beginners:

Tibetan Healing Meditation

The meditations included are the basic mindfulness/awareness practice (sitting practice), tonglen, and Chenrezig, Green Tara, and Medicine Buddha visualization practices.

For some of us, especially those who have problems related to stress and alienation, finding a meditation practice that is easy for Western people to connect to in a genuine and whole hearted way may be the best approach, even if it is not traditionally considered to be a meditation especially connected with health and healing. Two approaches come to mind that have inspired very many students; both of them were created especially for Western people by respected lamas. To learn more about them, take a look at these pages: 

The Ancient Wisdom of Shambhala

Karmapa's Gift: Meditations for Western Students


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Tibetan Medicine

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Prayer Wheels


Spinning the written form of the mantra around in a Mani wheel (prayer wheel) is also believed to give the same benefit as saying the mantra, and Mani wheels, small hand wheels and large wheels with millions of copies of the mantra inside, are found everywhere in the lands influenced by Tibetan Buddhism. Here's a page about Mani wheels:

The Prayer Wheel: Spiritual Technology from Tibet

If you go look at it, lots of copies of the mantra will be spinning around on the hard drive of your computer while you read it.


The Prayer Wheel

Tibetan prayer wheel is a device for spreading spiritual blessings and well being. Rolls of thin paper, imprinted with many, many copies of the mantra (prayer) Om Mani Padme Hum, printed in an ancient Indian script or in Tibetan script, are wound around an axle in a protective container, and spun around and around. 

Tibetan Buddhists believe that saying this mantra, out loud or silently to oneself, invokes the powerfully benign attention and blessings of Chenrezig, the embodiment of compassion. Spinning the written form of the mantra around in a prayer wheel is said to have the same effect, and including many copies of the mantra multiplies the benefit.


The Benefits of Prayer Wheels

A short teaching by Lama Zopa, Rinpoche: "Just touching and turning a prayer wheel brings incredible purification and accumulates unbelievable merit." 

"One idea I have is to use them for healing. Anyone with a disease such as AIDS or cancer, whether or not they have any understanding of Dharma, can use the prayer wheel for meditation and healing."



The Meaning of the Mantra
explanations of the prayer (mantra) 
Om Mani Padme Hung

Digital Prayer Wheels

Turn your hard drive into a prayer wheel

Prayer wheels generated by Javascript

Prayer wheels as animated GIF images

Download a prayer-wheel screen saver




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Prayer Flags
Tibetans have an age-old tradition of printing prayers from hand-carved wood blocks onto colored squares of cotton. These flags are then strung together and hung at mountain passes, over homes and temples, or anywhere the wind will blow their prayers to the universe, to appease the local spirit powers and grant the wishes of the person who hung the flags. (The most fervent wish of nearly all Tibetans is that every being of any sort, in whatever realms of existence they Windhorsemay reside, should be happy and free from suffering, and that the individual making the wish should have the good fortune to be allowed to assist in the liberation of all beings, without exception.) It is said that hanging prayer flags is certain to yield greater peace, happiness, and health for oneself, for ones loved ones and neighbors, for strangers in the area, and even for ones enemies.

The Power of Windhorse
by Khenpo Konchog Gyaltshen Rinpoche


"Due to the compassionate intention of those who create and those who hang the flags, and the movement of the wind itself, the blessings of the prayers are carried throughout all realms, pervading the minds of beings with peace and well-being." 

Prayer Flags and Auspicious Days



Ordering Prayer Flags

Chagdud Gonpa Foundation
Dharmashop.com
Radiant Heart Prayer Flags

Snow Lion

Many more sources -- search for "prayer flags"


Books

Tibetan Prayer Flags: Send Your Blessings on the Breeze
by Diane Barker,

Blessings on the Wind
by Tad Wise


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Mantra
This is Om Mani Padme Hum,Om Mani Padme Hum in Tibetan Script the famous mantra of Chenrezig, written in Tibetan script. It is said that all the teachings of the Buddha are contained in this mantra. Tibetan Buddhists believe that saying the mantra (prayer), out loud or silently to oneself, invokes his powerful benevolent attention. Viewing the written form of the mantra is said to have the same effect, and it is often carved into stones, placed where people can see them. 

Tibetan Healing Meditation
Includes mantras and visualization practices for
Chenrezig, Green Tara, and Medicine Buddha


The Meaning of the Mantra
Explanations of the prayer (mantra) 
Om Mani Padme Hung


Mani Graphics: Symbols of Awakening
Images of the mantra

Modern Mani Image


Human Voice Mantras by Peter Fenton

"Mantras are also among the most ancient healing techniques. One very important use of mantra for healers is in invoking the Medicine Buddha to bless medicines or produce other healing effects. Mantras are also dedicated to healing specific illnesses or to bring about specific results such as long life, clearing obstacles from one's life path, spiritually purifying food and offerings, and so on."



Recordings

Four Gates Tibetan Chants and Music


Mantras sung by Tibetan Monk Lama Gyurme, combined with music played by French keyboard wizard Jean-Philippe Rykiel.

Try searching amazon.com or another online source of music for
"Tibetan chants".



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Healing Incense
Healing incense can be ordered on line. Search for
"tibetan healing incense"


These incenses are also available from Tibetan handicrafts stores.

The following three brands of medicinal incense all have essentially the same formula. They are effective for symptomatic relief from stress, depression and tension, headache, and asthma, and are totally natural, safe, non-toxic and non-habit-forming. Used by many people who have allergic reactions to ordinary incense.

TARA HEALING INCENSE: Tara healing incense has been used for centuries. It is prepared according to the Tibetan medical system with over 30 different herbs.

AGAR 31 HERBAL INCENSE: Contains all the thirty-one herbal & mineral ingredients essential for reducing stress created by the different "wind" disorders. Basically the same formula as Tara incense, but better quality. 


NIRVANA BRAND:
aroma-therapeutic incense. Prepared by T.J. Tsarong and Himalayan Herbal Co. of Gangtok, Sikkim..

Nirvana Incense


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Distant Healing
Many Tibetan lamas of all traditions will perform special spiritual practices (pujas) for the benefit of individuals who are ill or recently deceased. A donation is appropriate to cover the cost of the materials (incense, etc.) used in the practice. Additional funds to support the work of the lamas are always welcome; Tibetans believe that such gifts add to the effectiveness of the blessing ceremony.

Tibetan Buddhist Centers


Healing Buddha Foundation is a very good example of this type of practice. On their Web site they have a page devoted to offering "special pujas and distant healing for Buddhists and non-Buddhists alike who are experiencing all types of difficulties - physical, emotional, mental, or spiritual." Special Pujas and Distant Healing


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Death and Dying
by Carol S. Hyman
Knot of Eternity

"If we learn to let go into uncertainty, to trust that our basic nature and that of the world are not different, then the fact that things are not solid and fixed becomes, rather than a threat, a liberating opportunity. Then we are free to savor what life offers, to taste the texture of each moment fully, whether the moment is one of sadness or joy."

Dying Without Shame; Dying Without Panic

Excessive fear of death distorts (and shortens) lives, and seems to be responsible for many of the more bizarre and inhumane excesses of our American medical system. In our search for sustainable, effective, respectful health care practices, ideas that could contribute to a sane and compassionate integrated health care system, we've found nothing as simple, basic, workable and cost effective as coming to terms with death and the process of dying -- something we can do as individuals, as families, as communities and as a culture.



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Stupas ( Chöten )
"Because a stupa is built in the open air many beings, human and non-human, will go around it and thus many will benefit."

Turning the Wheel of the Dharma: The Immeasurable Benefits of Stupas: A teaching given by the Venerable Thupten, Rinpoche

Originally a mound that housed the Buddha's relics, the stupa became an important artistic and architectural form throughout the Buddhist world. In Tibet, traditionally, when a great meditation master died a Stupa would be built to enshrine the teacher's remains and act as a focal point for his students and others in the absence of the teacher.


The Stupa Information Page

Information about Stupas, Stupas Under Construction, How to build a stupa, Centers with Stupas, and more.


Building a Stupa

The Great Stupa of Dharmakaya

Chögyam Trungpa, Rinpoche, a meditation master who helped to bring the teachings of Tibetan Buddhism to the West, died in 1987. His students and admirers built a stupa 108 feet tall. Made of specially designed reinforced concrete, The Great Stupa of Dharmakaya, That Liberates on Seeing, is intended to last a thousand years. 

Today, the stupa open to the public at Shambhala Mountain Center in Colorado. The Web site tells the story of how modern technology and ancient wisdom have come together to build this Stupa, who is building it...and why.


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Credits
The image of Four-Armed Chenrezig seen on this page came from a Web site titled "Dharma Center" in Finland which, unfortunately, is no longer available on the Web. However, the Web site clearly expressed the intention that the images could be freely used for any respectful purpose.

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Revised on June 22, 2005

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