Medicine Buddha Sangye Menla
Medicine Buddha

"If one meditates on the Medicine Buddha, one will eventually attain enlightenment, but in the meantime one will experience an increase in healing powers both for oneself and others and a decrease in physical and mental illness and suffering."

—Lama Tashi Namgyal


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Images  of the Medicine Buddha

overviewon the webposters

Medicine Buddha, Teacher of Medicine, King of Lapis Lazuli Light (Bhaishajyaguru, Sangye Menla, Vaidurya)
"His radiant body is azure blue. His left hand is in the meditation mudra and holds a begging bowl full of long life nectar in his lap. As a sign that he gives protection from illness, his right hand is outstretched in the gesture of giving and holds the "great medicine", the myrobalan plant (a-ru-ra)"

Thangka Images of Medicine Buddha Sangye Menla

Ancient teachings tell us that merely seeing the Medicine Buddha, or even seeing an image of the Medicine Buddha, or hearing the name of the Medicine Buddha, can confer inconceivable benefits. 
IMAGE OF THE MEDICINE BUDDHAIn Tibetan images of the Medicine Buddha the left hand typically holds a blooming myrobalan plant. Tibetan medicine recognizes three basic types of illness, the root causes of which are the conflicting emotions -- passion, aggression, and ignorance. Myrobalan is the only herb in the Tibetan pharmacopoeia that can aid in healing each of these three types of diseases. This is like the action of the Buddha of Healing, who has the power to see the true cause of any affliction, whether spiritual, physical or psychological, and who does whatever is necessary to alleviate it.

In his Teachings on the Medicine Buddha the Ven. Thrangu Rinpoche discusses the position of the Medicine Buddha's two hands: 

"His right hand is extended, palm outward, over his right knee in the gesture called supreme generosity. In it he holds the arura, or myrobalan, fruit. This plant represents all the best medicines. The position of his right hand and the arura which he holds represent the eradication of suffering, especially the suffering of sickness, using the means of relative truth. Sickness can be alleviated by adjusting the functioning of interdependent causes and conditions by the use of relative means within the realm of relative truth, such as medical treatment and so on. The giving of these methods is represented by the gesture of the Medicine Buddha's right hand. 

"His left hand rests in his lap, palm upward, in the gesture of meditative stability or meditation, which represents the eradication of sickness and suffering— and, indeed, the very roots of samsara— through the realization of absolute truth. From the point of view of either relative truth or absolute truth, the fundamental cause of sickness and suffering is a lack of contentment and the addictive quality of samsara. Therefore, to indicate the need for contentment, in his left hand he holds a begging bowl."

Images of Medicine Buddha on the Web

Mandala of Medicine Buddha

The image of Medicine Buddha at the top of this page was painted by Robert Beer

Click here to see a larger image

Poster available from Wisdom Books

This orange colored image of Medicine Buddha Parantaj came from the Gallery of Tibetan Art at Dharma Center in Finland (no longer available on the Web). 

Click here to see a larger image.

The Dharmapala Centre School of Thangka Painting site in Denmark offers images of the Medicine Buddha, the Central Palace of the Medicine Buddha and the Mandala of the Medicine Buddha. Each includes detailed description of various aspects of the painting -- the extensive description of the central palace includes eighteen pages of enlarged details with descriptive text.  Also at this site are several Medical Thangkas used for training students of Tibetan medicine and a lovely Medicine Buddha rupa (statue).

A fine traditional thangka of Medicine Buddha is available at the Web site of the Dutch Foundation for Tibetan Medicine. 

Medicine Buddha Thangkas -- for sale at a reasonable price -- click the image for a superb high resolution digital rendering.

Buddha Bhaishajayaguru ("Teacher of Healing") at the Huntington Archive.

Kon-do: The Hall of Medicine Buddha in Toji Temple -- statues of Medicine Buddha and his retinue in a Japanese Shingon Buddhist temple. 

The close-up of Medicine Buddha's hands at the top of this section comes from an image at Shanti Mayi.

The Virtual Thangka Gallery at the Osel Shen Phen Ling Web site has a Medicine Buddha image that was created entirely in the computer. (All these other images were scanned from photographs of thangka paintings.)

Medicine Buddha is not the only Buddha who promotes healing. For example, one statue of Amitayus, Buddha of Long Life, has a powerful healing effect for some people. Accounts of some of these experiences are given at Causal Origin for Distribution of the Holy Image of Healing Buddha: Holy image of Healing Buddha that has displayed inspirational incidents.

Posters of Medicine Buddha for Sale

Dharma Publishing -- (five different images)

Wisdom Books  -- image by Robert Beer

Padmasambhava Buddhist Center

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Teachings on the Medicine Buddha
"In most religious traditions ... visualizing the deity or deities as being present in front of one, one prays to them, and by doing so hopefully one receives their blessing, which benefits one in some way. In the vajrayana tradition, however, we regard the blessing and the power and the qualities of the deities as being innate, as being within one's own mind."

Teachings on The Medicine Buddha

Teachings on the Medicine Buddha Sadhana and the Medicine Buddha Sutra given by Ven. Thrangu Rinpoche.

Medicine Buddha: Healer of Outer and Inner Sickness
by Geshe Kelsang Gyatso

Sutra of the Master of Healing
Another source (same translation) -- Another Translation
Teaching on the Medicine Buddha given by Sakyamuni Buddha
"Therefore the World's Most Venerable entered into a Samadhi called the Removal of Suffering for All Beings. While He was in this contemplation a great radiance of light of light was sent forth from his Ushnisa, and he pronounced the great Dharani as follows: 


When He, in his radiance, had spoken this mystical formula, the earth was shaken and emitted a great light. All beings were delivered from their diseases and miseries, they are now happy because their bodies and minds are at rest. "

Tibetan Medicine Conference Tapes Available

Audio tape recordings of many presentations and public discussions from the First International Congress on Tibetan Medicine, held in Washington, D.C. in November of 1998, are available from

Conference Recording Service

TMC98-004 Medicine Buddha Teaching and Meditation
TMC98-032 Morning Medicine Buddha Meditation
TMC98-034 Teachings of the Medicine Buddha

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Mantra of the Medicine Buddha
The ancient teachings that tell us even seeing an image of the Medicine Buddha can confer inconceivable benefits also reveal that just hearing the name of the Medicine Buddha brings the same benefits. 

In the mantra the name of the Medicine Buddha occurs in several times. After maha it can be repeated either once or twice e.g. either Maha Bhaishajye or Maha Bhaishajye Bhaishajye. It may be pronounced either as the original Sanskrit (bye-sa-jee-yeah) or as it came to be pronounced in Tibet, something like bay-cod-zay (at least in some dialects).

Mantra of the Medicine Buddha
Sanskrit Pronunciation
Tad-ya-ta: Om Bhai-sha-jye Bhai-sha-jye Maha Bhai-sha-jye Ra-ja Sa-mud-ga-te Sva-ha

Tibetan Pronunciation
Tad-ya-ta: Om Be-kan-dze Be-kan-dze Ma-ha Be-kan-dze
Ra-dza Sa-mung-ga-te So-ha!

Tibetan Script

Pronunciations and Literal Translations of the Mantra

Audio (Wav) from Healing Jewel

Another Literal Translation of the Mantra

"Bekandze means eliminating pain, maha bekandze means great eliminating of pain." 
Explanation of the Meaning of the Mantra

On one of the tapes in his series on the Medicine Buddha, Khenpo Konchog Gyaltsen Rinpoche chants the Sadhana of the Medicine Buddha in Tibetanized Sanskrit. During the sadhana, Rinpoche chants the short form of the mantra for 13 minutes.

Medicine Buddha Teachings and Practice (tape series)
Two 90-minute audio cassettes; $17.00 

Medicine Buddha
Seed Syllable
and Mantra Garland

an aid for the Medicine Buddha meditation and visualization practice

Art Card by 
Andy Weber

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The Medicine Buddha Empowerment

Schedule of Medicine Buddha Empowerments

Please let us know if you learn of upcoming Medicine Buddha Empowerments anywhere in the world.

Tibetan Buddhists consider the Medicine Buddha Empowerment to be the most powerful blessing for healing, dispelling sickness and for awakening the innate healing wisdom that lies within every individual. 
The practice of the Medicine Buddha meditation (sadhana), and all the other ways of connecting to the blessings of the Medicine Buddha (such as those discussed on this page) are said to be much more effective when one has received the Medicine Buddha Empowerment (Tibetan: lung; Sanskrit: abisheka) from a qualified lama (Tibetan Buddhist meditation master).

Medicine Buddha is one aspect of awakened mind, which the practitioner's (and the vajra master's) vast real unconditioned (non conceptual) mind. In this empowerment the lama reminds us, in a sense, of our deep innate connection with the Medicine Buddha.
"With regard to the empowerment, you should understand that the Medicine Buddha practice is not solely a vajrayana practice.... this practice of the Medicine Buddha is a combination of what the Buddha taught about the Medicine Buddha in the sutras of the Medicine Buddha and in various tantras. Because it is connected with vajrayana, it is most appropriate to receive the empowerment to enhance the practice; but because it is also connected with the sutras, it is acceptable to do the practice without the empowerment as well."
practicing without the vajrayana empowerment
This empowerment is given periodically at various Tibetan Buddhist centers and public venues around the world. It can be taken with the intention of practicing the Medicine Buddha sadhana or as a blessing. In either case it would be expected to enhance ones practical and spiritual efforts for the healing of oneself and others.
Different transmission lineages, or 'sects,' of Tibetan Buddhism may use different forms of the Buddha images and mandalas, and the meditation practices or sadhanas may vary as well. Specifically, the images shown here and on the pages titled Meditation on the Medicine Buddha and Mandala of the Medicine Buddha may not be appropriate for a particular empowerment. Appropriate images and texts will be available at the empowerment.

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Meditation Practice (Sadhana)
"Consider the place of meditation as a Buddha Field. The landscape is extremely beautiful. All of space is filled with rainbows."

Sadhana of the Medicine BuddhaNEW!

"More important than how many deities you visualize is to understand what you are doing. And most important is to understand that by visualizing yourself as the Medicine Buddha you are not pretending to be something that you are not...."

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The Medicine Buddha and Tibetan Medicine

Tibetan Medicine Resources

The Healing Tradition of Medicine Buddha -- Robert Sachs

Spiritual Healing in Buddhist Tibet

The Art of Healing: A Tibetan Buddhist Perspective
Bonnie Pasqualoni.

"Thus, the distant causes of the diseases are seated in the past mental environment which was influenced by "afflictive emotions" -- mental factors that are the root cause of all illness. While these factors are impossible to enumerate, they are all the consequences of ignorance (Dhonden, p.15). Ignorance generates other negative states of mind such as desire, hatred, jealousy and pride. Such negative emotions drive our mentations, and our mentations contribute to our suffering."

"Understanding one's emotions is an essential part of the Buddhist journey to full awakening and freedom form unwanted conditions of all sorts. However, since most of us have very little ability to work with our emotional energies without creating negative experiences, medicines and other remedies are required." 

"The Tibetan physician focuses his attention on spiritual factors even in the treatment of the simplest illnesses. Every Tibetan physician vows to 'regard medicine as an offering to the Medicine Buddha and all other medicine deities' and considers his 'medical instruments as holy objects' (Dummer, p. xix). Even the pharmaceuticals, which are mixtures of vegetable, animal and mineral compounds, are prepared with meticulous attention to religious ritual." 

"One can also petition the healing powers of the Medicine Buddha by visualization practices .... Even the name of the Medicine Buddha is believed to have the power to free one from the pattern of negative thoughts and emotions. Healing can occur just by speaking, hearing or concentrating on his name. Thus, for example, conceited persons will become humble, greedy persons will become charitable and those who cause dissent will become cooperative and loving just by hearing or saying his name." 

"Some examples of ritual involving the Medicine Buddha which are believed to have a curative or strengthening influence for the ill include meditating upon the deep blue color of lapis lazuli; making puja offerings of flowers and incense to the image of the deity; mentally or physically constructing an image of the deity; playing musical instruments and chanting; reading sutras; constructing altars, mandalas or banners; and lighting lamps."

"The significance of the Medicine Buddha as the Supreme Healer in Tibetan medicine for liberating the individual from suffering is an exemplary metaphor for the mystical elements which are universally inherent in the healing tradition. The tradition is truly a holistic approach to the problem of suffering, both individual suffering and suffering as a universal condition." 

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Web Resources 

The Healing Tradition of Medicine Buddha -- Robert Sachs

Medicine Buddha -- Men-Tse-Khang

Advice to Those Receiving Empowerments

Medicine Buddha e-mail discussion group

Tibetan Medicine e-mail discussion group

Dharma Haven's Medicine Buddha Pages

A Brief Teaching on the Medicine Buddha
Geshe Kelsang Gyatso

Teachings on the Medicine Buddha
Teachings on the Medicine Buddha Sadhana and Sutra
given by the Very Venerable Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche

Schedule of Medicine Buddha Empowerments

Meditation on the Medicine Buddha

Thangka Paintings of the Medicine Buddha

Mandala of the Medicine Buddha

Spiritual Healing in Buddhist Tibet

The Art of Healing: A Tibetan Buddhist Perspective

Tibetan Medicine Resources

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Most links are to listings, where the books are reviewed by readers, and can be ordered online. (We receive a small commission on items you order through these links.)

Sadhana of the Medicine Buddha
by H.H. Dudjom Rinpoche

A short root text of the sadhana, published with commentaries and a glossary. Extremely concise and potent, it is said to radiate multitudes of blessings and realizations for those who practice it for the benefit of all.

According to Dudjom Rinpoche, this book transmits the empowerment for the practice. 

Available from Snow Lion

Medicine Buddha Teachings
Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche

Thrangu Rinpoche first discusses the practice of the Medicine Buddha Sadhana in generous detail, explaining how to do each stage of the meditation, and what it's significance is. He then focuses on the Medicine Buddha Sutra, "The Twelve Great Aspirations of the Medicine Buddha" by Buddha Sakyamuni, including the benefits of hearing, recollecting, and reciting the name of the Medicine Buddha. Contains the text of the Medicine Buddha sadhana.

The Healing Buddha
Raoul Birnbaum, John Blofeld

A scholarly discussion the importance of healing in Buddhism, and of the Medicine Buddha as presented in the teachings of Buddha Sakyamuni and in later commentaries, and as the central focus of the spiritual healing practices of several Buddhist cultures.

In Search of the Medicine Buddha:
A Himalayan Journey
David Crow

An American practitioner of Chinese medicine travels to Nepal on a medical and spiritual pilgrimage, studying Tibetan and Ayurvedic healing methods and the source of all this ancient medical wisdom, the Medicine Buddha.

Tibetan Healing: The Modern 
Legacy of Medicine Buddha
Peter Fenton

A comprehensive but non technical overview of the various healing practices used in Tibetan Buddhist cultures, including the role of Medicine Buddha teachings and the Medicine Buddha empowerment in the training of physicians and healers.

Sutra of the Medicine Buddha with an Introduction, Comments and Prayers-- Master Hsing Yun, Pamela Owen Kadlec

English and Chinese version of the Sutra of the Medicine Buddha 
Includes an introduction to the Medicine Buddha and the Medicine Buddha Sutra, with a commentary on the Medicine Buddha's vows. Prayers to the Medicine Buddha are also included.

Books on Tibetan Medicine

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Revised on May 21, 2003

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