Thursday, October 04, 2007

Eight Medicine Buddhas: Quickly, By Request

Thrangu Rinpoche got off the best quick study of the issue.

He said that when you are visualizing yourself as the Medicine Buddha, it is important to understand that you are not pretending to be something you are not.

Remember that!

So, the Eight Medicine Buddhas are:

(1) Buddha Suparikirtitanamashri,
(2) Buddha Svaraghosa,
(3) Buddha Suvarnabhadravimalaratnaprabhasa,
(4) Buddha Ashokattamashri,
(5) Buddha Dharmakirtisagaraghosa,
(6) Buddha Abhijnaraja,
(7) Buddha Bhaisajyaguruvaiduryaprabharaja (the blue Medicine Buddha you know), and
(8) Buddha Shakyamuni.

So, now you have this little collection of difficult to pronounce Sanskrit names which is absolutely meaningless to you but sure makes it seem "authentic," ne'st ce pas? What shall you do with this information? Shall you file it away with all the other "authentic" information you have received from teachers here and there? With the things you read in books?

What you should attempt to do is to understand that the Medicine Buddha is inherent in every other Buddha, and every other Buddha is inherent in the Medicine Buddha. This, in turn, should be understood as intimately related to the idea embodied in Thrangu Rinpoche's statement.

But why these eight faces? Healing is in fact a multi-faceted affair that encompasses not only the healing of disease and so forth, but other aspects involving the living and the dead. Healing can involve purification, the bestowal of happiness, and the inculcation of success. So, what may at first seem like eight faces is perhaps eight spokes of a wheel, where each spoke leads to the center: eight avenues of approach, or eight aspects of ability if you like. Guru Rinpoche has eight manifestations. Why does he have these? Do you understand what I mean? These Eight Medicine Buddhas in fact arise from very powerful intentions to benefit all sentient beings, formulated in the distant past, yet still reverberating today.

These are what we might consider "external" subjectivities regarding the Eight Medicine Buddhas, but it is my belief that if you understand only this much then it should be no problem to figure out the "internal" and "secret." It is my idea that your understanding would quite naturally and spontaneously arise as long as you are able to take Thrangu Rinpoche's admonition to heart.

If you practice the sadhana of the Medicine Buddha I gave you, then the Medicine Buddha himself will come and explain these things to you.

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