Bhaisajyaguru is the patron deity of Tibetan medicine, the archetypal mentor of its physicians and students, and a source of healing for the sick. When preparing formulas, doctors recite mantras of the Master of Remedies: prescribing medicines and giving treatments is regarded as making offerings to the deity. Sange Menla is invoked with liturgical chanting and ceremonial music every day in Tibetan medical colleges. The students are taught that medicines are gifts bestowed by the deity, mentors are his living embodiment, and books and teachings are his words. Across Asia and through the long span of centuries, the temples of Vhaisajyaguru have drawn those in search of health.
Praise to Menla:
Your body is like a mountain, the color of lapis lazuli.
You dispel the suffering of illness in sentient beings.
Surrounded by a retinue of eight bodhisattvas,
Holder of Medicine, precious deity, I praise and prostrate to you.
Excellent Name, Precious Moon, Fine Gold, Free of Misery,
Resounding Dharma Ocean, Dharma Mind, Shakyamuni,
The genuine dharma, the sixteen bodhisattvas and others,
To the precious three jewels, I offer praise and prostrate.
To Brahma, Indra, the Great Kings, the Protectors of the Ten
The twelve yaksha chiefs and all their assistants,
Vidyadharas and rishis of medicine, divine and human,
To the deities of ambrosial medicine, I offer praise and prostrate.
First mentioned are Brahma and Indra, who are two among the ten
protectors of the ten directions; and then the four great kings; the twelve
yaksha generals or chieftains, together with their retinues; and then finally
all of the holders of the knowledge of medicine and those who have mastered
medicine, who here are referred to as vidyadaras and rishis of medicine,
both those living in the realms of the gods and those living in the
realms of humans. In short, one pays homage to and praises all of the deities
of this mandala of ambrosial medicine.
eight great bodhisattvas who exemplify the
mahayana sangha (Chenrezi, Vajrapani, etc)
sixteen boddhissatvas: the dharma itself, visually represented in the mandala by the sutras
and commentaries but also understood as being the essence of the path.
(these are the seven other medicine buddhas,
Thus, you offer the eight auspicious substances to the Medicine Buddha
and his retinue.
We use the offering of the entire universe as a mandala because the
vastness of it produces great merit.
Specifically mentioned are the central mountain, Mount Meru, together
with the continents surrounding it. These together, along with everything
that goes with them, make up the mandala, which is considered the principal
among all offerings. In detail, the offering consists of Mount Meru,
which includes on top of Mount Meru the second of the desire god realms—
enumerated from the bottom up—called the heaven or god-realm of the
thirty-three. Surrounding Mount Meru are seven concentric ring s23 of golden mountains with lakes in between them. In these seven golden mountains
and on their lakes live the gods of the first realm of the desire god realms
and the four great kings—the same four kings who are guardians in the
mandala of the Medicine Buddha. When you offer Mount Meru, you also
think that you are offering all of the wealth of those god’s realms. Outside
those seven golden mountains are the four main continents with their eight
subcontinents, which are the habitation of humans—all of the wealth, possessions,
splendor, and beauty of which you offer as well. In short, you offer
the world, indeed the whole universe, and all it contains to all of the deities,
and you make the aspiration that by so doing, you complete the two accumulations
and that you and the whole world be free from sickness.