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.

 

Thrangu Rimpoche:

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

Directions,

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.

Retinue:

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.

In front of me is an enormous garden, built with myriad precious jewels, as vast and extensive as the triochiliocosm, surrounded by mountains of precious jewels and filled with wish-fulfilling trees. Its valleys are meadows filled with pools where birds sing melodiously and a myriad of charming wild animals, such as antelopes, live and wander happily. It is [also] filled with infinite riches for enjoyment, including precious objects, medicines, forests, grains, and resinous medicinal plants.

In the center of all this is a great blue lake which is vast and extensive…In the center of the great lake, a precious white lotus with eight petals - nāga king Varuïa in the center, looking like an autumn moon, and on the petals, eight Regal Nagas. Each of them has a celestial body, folded hands, and a hood of snakeheads, and the lower part of the body is the coiled tail of a snake. They are clad in silk and adorned with myriad jewel ornaments, and the crown of each is bejeweled with an illuminating gem. 

All around them are great nāgas and their retinues. All around them, they are completely surrounded by the chiefs among earth-owners and the leaders of plague-causing spirits, including Tenma, the goddess of the earth, and Lagpa Chenpo, the preserver of the earth. All around them, they are completely surrounded by the various forms of nāgas, earth-owners, and plague-causing spirits that inhabit the worlds of the trichiliocosm, obscuring all around like rain clouds. 

Homage and praise to the nāga king with his retinue, who completely dispels the darkness under the earth with the light of the blazing gem on his hood…

All becomes emptiness! From the state of emptiness arises a precious vessel. Inside the vessel is a great offering that includes everything that the nāgas, earth-owners, and plague-causing spirits enjoy, including a mass of food and drink, a myriad of resinous medicinal plants and other substances required to heal their specific ailments, harms, and sufferings, lacking nothing and as abundant as the infinity of space. 

May the great nāgas and their retinues be satisfied and pleased by this extensive feast of offerings. 

May those who belong to the families of earth-owners be satisfied and pleased by these offerings: including Earth Goddess Tenma, Earth Guardian Giant Hand, and other earth-owners who are kings, queens, male and female ministers, and those who are powerful, limping, crippled, cotton-eyed, lame, crooked, blind, broken, twisted-handed, three-legged, and those who have extra or missing fingers, the old and the slow movers, the ones who can hear, the deaf, the eighteen types of lepers, the individuals, the pairs, the trios, the generals, the wrathful ones, the vanquishers, the hunchback, the bent man, the stupid, the dumb, the staggering, the violent one, the fierce one, and others.

This vast offering of tormas is endowed with the five objects of sense-pleasures. Simply by seeing, hearing, touching, carrying, and eating them, and simply by drinking from this sea of elixir and bathing in it, may all forms of nāgas, earth-owners, and plague-causing spirits, including their kings, queens, princes, ministers, subjects and retinues of high, low and intermediate rank inhabiting the trichiliocosm and other worlds, be free from all the harm, obstruction, and damage heedlessly caused by us—guru and disciples, with or without our awareness, knowingly or unknowingly—to their abodes, bases, wealth, possessions, and otherwise; may the decline in the health of their limbs, including the head; body parts, such as the fingers; five vital organs, such as the heart; six hollow organs, such as the stomach; and their flesh, blood, bones, marrow, muscles, glands and other parts be restored; and may their bodies be instantly healed to become impeccable and perfect celestial bodies. May they quickly become free from all suffering and harm resulting from the ripening of their individual karmas, and without even hearing the names of sicknesses, sufferings, harms and others, may they enjoy total joy and happiness as in the age of perfection.  

Consequently, may all sentient beings equal to the infinity of space, headed by us—master and disciples, including our retinues—be free from all harm and torment caused by the various forms of nāgas and plague-causing spirits, knowingly or unknowingly, and may they fully assist us to fulfill our wishes spontaneously. Thus recite. With the right hand in the mudrā of supreme generosity, and the left in the mudrā of protection generosity: Om. I am the king of nāgas! With compassion and pure intention to benefit, I make unlimited torma offerings today, an act of generosity with no expectation of reward. Varuïa, the world-guarding king of nāgas; Ånanta, Vāsukë, Takúaka, Karkoûa, Padma, Mahāpadma, Śaðkhapāla, and Kulika: to you, the lords of nāgas, today I make these offerings, which consist of sense-objects of your personal choosing, along with everything you need, including gardens, amusements and other things. Please enjoy and give rise to the intention to benefit. All of you have seen the Buddha face-to-face, and you possess the eye of primordial wisdom. 

Great nāga kings, you have seen the Conqueror and heard his Dharma teachings. Therefore, you are kind and do no harm to transient beings. However, the ordinary nāgas are arrogant and harm others due to their pride. The earth-owners and the plague-causing spirits are your subjects; they accept your commands and execute them. Therefore, I repair my violations in relation to all of you. By the compassion of you nāga kings, may the groves of precious trees become habitats for all nāgas. May this great ocean of pristine purity, the birds, wild animals, and so forth become a sublime sight for the amusement of the nāgas. May the frogs, snakes, fish, and so forth become assets of the nāgas now.

The bodies of us – master and disciples – are made of flesh and blood; they are heaps of impure components. Our speech has no substance, like an echo, and our minds are luminosity-emptiness, unidentifiable. Therefore, we offer today the enjoyments that are greater than our body, speech and mind. May they pacify the rages of all nāgas, earth-owners and plague-causing spirits.

 If there is any nāga, earth-owner, or plague-causing spirit who holds harmful intention towards us—master and disciples— and the infinite number of sentient beings without exception, kindly let it go.

Please release the captives and untie those who are bound. Please support and restore the suppressed. By the power of my pure intention, together with the powers of the blessings of tathāgatas and the dharmadhatu, may the hostility and anger of nāgas, plague-causing spirits and earth-owners be completely pacified; and may we fulfill our wishes in accordance with the Dharma.

With the intention to purify the evil deeds and obscurations of all nāgasand plague-causing spirits, recite [as follows], the kaîkani (Akśobhaya Mantraê), the Root Mantraê for Purifying the Lower Realms, and the 100 Syllables three times each: 

Without violating the commands and samayas, through the blessings of the mantras, medicines, and so forth,eliminate all sickness and harm. Remember the samaya of repaying kindness and return to your own abodes now: Oî nāgarāja saparivāra gaccha gaccha\ Snap the fingers. Show the garuda mudrā and say: Oî garuça ham sa he ca le svāhā\ Extensively recite words of auspiciousness and dedication prayers. Discard the torma in a nãga habitat or in a hygienic place. 

 

“Reciting this dharani in a state of samadhi and making torma offerings ensures pacification of the harm and torment inflicted on all sentient beings by nāgas; pacification of the suffering of the nāgas’ body, speech and mind, thereby making them caring friends; improvement of the earth’s fertility; attainment of all common siddhis; timely rainfall; excellent growth of grains and fruits; and pacification of fights and quarrels.” These and others are the countless benefits of reciting this dharani, and therefore it is very important and a key point. 

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