With Khenpo Samdup Rinpoche

Khenpo Samdup Rinpoche bestowed the transmission and instructions for Medicine Buddha who encompasses the healing essence of all the Buddhas. It is said that anyone hearing his name or reciting his mantra (TADYATHA OM BEKHANDZYE BEKHANDZYE MAHA BEKHANDZYE BEKHANDZYE RADZA SAMUDGATE SVAHA) will not be reborn in the lower realms.

The healing experienced by practicing Medicine Buddha goes beyond curing our physical ailments.  It also refers to overcoming the pain of suffering and the cause of suffering referred to in the Four Noble Truths. In other words, it is medicine that helps eliminate our defilements as we progress on the path to enlightenment.

Medicine Buddha Text

*Please always treat any Dharma text with respect. This is good practice. Thank you.

Transcription of teachings below.
All rights reserved (copyright) to Khenpo Samdup Rinpoche

KSR Medicine Buddha 1 (Saturday January 27 & Sunday January 28 2024)

Welcome! Now we go to the Medicine Buddha sadhana. The text is: The DROP OF AMBROSIA, The Meditation of Medicine Buddha.


This Medicine Buddha sadhana is a very short sadhana, but everything is completed within it. Here [in this text] it opens with Refuge and Bodhicitta [Cultivation], [p.1]. It is very short, but it is very beautiful and profound.

Continuation from page Medicine Buddha Retreat (1). Transcription of teaching.




I praise and prostrate to Medicine Buddha, who radiates the light of
the Vaidurya jewel. Exalted one, your compassion permeates all beings,

I praise and prostrate to Medicine Buddha,…” so, first we say, I am going to praise, and make prostration to Medicine Buddha. [We are making, (establishing) the intention to benefit sentient beings in our mind, and make prostration to the Enlightened mind, (that is fully liberated from the sicknesses, and negative disease karma of samsara, and is of Enlightened activities which bring benefit to all sentient beings ceaselessly].

“… who radiates the light of the Vaidurya jewel. Exalted one, your compassion permeates all beings”,… So, we are offering praise to Medicine Buddha, we are prostrating to the Buddha mind.

Additional material section

Mahayana (major branch of Buddhism)

— Vaidurya in Mahayana glossarySource: Wisdom Library: Maha Prajnaparamita Sastra

Vaiḍūrya (वैडूर्य, “lapis-lazuli”) refers to a type of jewel (ratna), into which the universe was transformed by the Buddha’s miraculous power (ṛddhibala) according to the 2nd century Mahāprajñāpāramitāśāstra (chapter XV). Accordingly, “The other jewels, [viz.,] lapis-lazuli (vaiḍūrya), etc., all come from caves”.

Also, “These jewels (eg, vaiḍūrya) are of three types, Human jewels (manuṣya-ratna), Divine jewels (divya-ratna) and Bodhisattva jewels (bodhisattva-ratna). These various jewels remove the poverty (dāridrya) and the suffering (duḥkha) of beings”.Source: A Study and Translation of the Gaganagañjaparipṛcchā

Vaiḍūrya (वैडूर्य) (Tibetan: bai ḍū rya) refers to “lapis lazuli” (i.e., a type of jewel or precious stone), according to the Gaganagañjaparipṛcchā: the eighth chapter of the Mahāsaṃnipāta (a collection of Mahāyāna Buddhist Sūtras).—Accordingly: “[…] Then the Bodhisattva Ratnavyūha said to the Bodhisattva Gaganagañja: ‘Son of good family, please pour down rain of all kinds of jewels from the sky’. Immediately after his words, the great rain of immeasurable, incalculable amount of jewels, equal to Mount Sumeru in size, with various kinds of names and colors, poured down from ten directions. Together with, gold, silver, crystal, lapis lazuli (vaiḍūrya), emerald, ruby, white coral, Śrīgarbha gem, stainless jewel, red coral gem, moonstone, sunstone, illuminating gem, brightening gem, Jambū-light gem, fire-light gem, […]”.

Mahayana book cover

Mahayana (महायान, mahāyāna) is a major branch of Buddhism focusing on the path of a Bodhisattva (spiritual aspirants/ enlightened beings). Extant literature is vast and primarily composed in the Sanskrit language. There are many sūtras of which some of the earliest are the various Prajñāpāramitā sūtras.



So, we are visualising ourselves as Medicine Buddha, and we are offering praise to Medicine Buddha, [the Buddha’s mind and Enlightened activities, that bring benefit to sentient beings]. We feel that in the mind. This is also praise to our own Buddha mind (the Enlightened state), which is not separate in nature, from the mind of Medicine Buddha. We feel our own Enlightened quality of mind, [like the empty-luminous nature of sound, that emanates the mantra]. When you are using the front generation visualisation, and we are practicing with devotion to Medicine Buddha, we can receive some good experience in our being of the blessings also. Without this devotion and praise generated in the mind, for the qualities of the Buddha mind, our experience will not be that much. When you have devotion and offer praise to Medicine Buddha, then, [through sincerely doing the offering practice], you can experience, [feel, the blessings in your being].

And then, when you visualise yourself as Medicine Buddha, [self-generation], you really feel your whole being has become indivisible with Medicine Buddha’s mind, (the mandala and activities), [of the Buddha’s mind]. You can feel this Enlightened power, or energy within yourself, as you offer praise to the Enlightened mind, it is really powerful. And you have experience of this yourself, within your [being], of body, speech, and mind. Then at that time, you truly know, (because you are experiencing this for yourself), what the inner power of praise of the Buddha mind, and Enlightened activities, really is.


So, when we chant this yidam deity practice, if you are thinking, well, I am an ordinary person, and, [indication is made here to the statues], this is Tara, this is Manjushri, this is Chenrezig, and I am chanting these prayers, – that is the first, very basic level in the practice. It is okay, but it is not very powerful. [In the deeper way of the practice], then, when you are chanting, your inner Buddha mind is receiving these prayers. You can practice this way with any of the yidam deities, [or Buddhas], like the yidams we offer praise to, in our daily prayers, for example).

So, you visualise whatever Buddha (or yidam deity), it is that you are making offering to, as yourself. And then, when you chant, you really feel that all the prayer, is arising from within yourself, [from the heart of your mind, not the thinking mind]. And in this way, then you really feel a good connection, within yourself to the yidam deity, [the Buddhas mind, (the gurus mind) blessings, and Enlightened activities, through your body, speech and mind]. Then, you really recognise these prayers are very powerful, and are bringing benefit to sentient beings. You have to get that experience, because until then, you are always chanting the prayers, and looking outside of yourself [whilst doing that].

You can close your eyes, it is very good if you have this memorised. Right now, we do this morning practice every single day, and many people have memorised this practice. So, if one person is chanting, (and you don’t have to look at the sadhana, [or prayer text]), you can close your eyes, and [recite] and follow along with that. And then you visualise whichever of the yidam deities, we are practicing. You visualise that deity as yourself, and you really feel that prayer is arising from within yourself. You can develop [an awareness], an inner experience: of the subtle winds [of prana], nadis [channels], and pure energies, [the essence of the physical body]. You can feel these subtle energies in your body waking up.

“… Vaidurya jewel. Exalted one, your compassion permeates all beings,...” Self-generation as [Medicine] Buddha [or yidam deity], you feel this compassion directly [in your mind, your being]. Otherwise, you still think in terms of separation [of subject and object], “Oh, Medicine Buddha over there,” then that is not a very strong, [direct experience]. When we visualise and meditate as Medicine Buddha, and we recite this line, we have an experience that the compassion of the Buddha, [this Buddha nature (essence)], this mind of Buddha, is also our innate essence nature of mind. We can feel the all pervasiveness of this compassion, and this compassion permeates all beings. In self-generation practice, [opening the mind, throat and heart, (the three doors)], and experiencing directly, you feel the Buddha’s compassion, and your own compassion are not separate, and goes to all other beings.


dispelling the suffering of the lower realms and the sickness
of the three poisons by the mere hearing of your name.

“…dispelling the suffering”…, so the practice is dispelling our own suffering, and the suffering of others, [which is caused by the self-grasping fixation, to dualistic concepts in the mind. (It is not that, the concepts in and of themselves are a problem, it is our attachment to them). This blocks the circulation of our subtle wisdom energies in the body. We are karmically connected, (through the action of body, speech and mind), to others, by the power of our good intention, and practice, we are purifying impurities].

“… dispelling the suffering of the lower realms,”… So, lower realms, at the basic level, there is physically the lower realms, [like the animals realms]. And, there is the mental experience of the lower realms. We have mental lower realms suffering each day. For example, sometimes, I can really be exactly the same as animals. Some days, some moments, I really feel, it is hungry ghosts, sometimes I really feel, same as like hell realm beings. So, you see mentally [at these times], we are going into the lower realms. […] Here we are doing Medicine Buddha practice, (but whichever Buddha, or yidam deity, you are practicing), at the time of connecting to the practice; (we are visualising ourselves as the Buddha or yidam deity, meditating and chanting the prayers, and in this way), we are dispelling the suffering of the lower realms of existence.


At the time of self-generation, [your rigpa awareness state, is unifying with the Enlightened activity of the practice], the suffering is gone, because your body, speech and mind is [transformed] into the blissful state. And, there is this natural joy and devotion, from the experience of this compassion arising [from within]. As long as we have devotion and compassion; we are free from suffering, and we are dispelling the lower realms suffering and sickness. Blissful joy feeling arises, when we experience this compassion and devotion [of the Buddha nature], and the sickness is gone. Through the practice, [of compassion and devotion], we connect with the Buddha nature, and receive this blessing every moment, and that removes the negative karma, so we are not physically born in the lower realms.

“… sickness of the three poisons”,… so the cause of the sicknesses/ diseases is the three poisons; [attachment/greed, aversion/hatred, ignorance/delusion]. “… by the mere hearing of your name”... from meditating, self-generating as Medicine Buddha, and chanting the mantra, we remove the three poisons. For example, the sun is shining, then that moment, darkness is not there. So, when we have the ability to meditate on Medicine Buddha, in that moment, the three poisons do not exist in that space. As long as the three poisons do not exist – (in that state), then, that removes the causes, that result in the sicknesses and diseases.


So, a very good practitioner, a Realiser, who has accomplished the practice of the yidam deity/, (yidam deities), then even if they have sickness and disease, they are not feeling that. So, if that practitioner has realised the yidam deity practice, and is really sick; our perception perhaps, is he/she is really suffering. But, due to the level of that practitioner’s realisation, their experience is, they don’t have that feeling. The practitioner who has fully accomplished the yidam deity practice, abides in that state of Realisation. The sickness, suffering does not exist in that state. (They have attained this result through the practice, (refuge in the authentic lineage of the practice itself), visualising, meditating and accomplished self-generation as the deity).

Do you understand? So, to our ordinary [relative level] perception, [this could be], we think my guru is sick, he is suffering so much, he is in so much pain. Maybe, if the guru is not fully accomplished, or a high level practitioner, then he could be in pain or suffering. But if he is really a yidam deity practitioner, and has accomplished the practice, he is not suffering in that state. We feel that he is sick and suffering, but his own experience is, he is not suffering.

The story of Milarepa and the poison

So, that is why Milarepa, [the famous Tibetan yogi], just before he was ready to pass into Nirvana, he ate the poison, that someone offered to him. He did not get sick, and remained in a state of meditation, nothing happened to him. But, when the person who had offered the poison came to him, he showed the aspect of being ill. So, then this person looked at Milarepa, and thought, “If he is such a good practitioner, how is he sick? [Milarepa] knows dharma practice, but he is not accomplished, he gets sick, he is suffering”. Milarepa knows his mind, he said, “Yes this is very strong”, [the sickness]. The person said, “Please can you give it to me”. Milarepa said, “I don’t want to give you this sickness”. The person then begged Milarepa to do this, but he was not begging from the heart. The person thought, “See he can not transfer this sickness”. Milarepa denied his requests, but the person persisted. The person wanted to show that Milarepa was a fake practitioner, and not a true realiser.

So, then Milarepa said, “Okay”, and he moved a little bit of the sickness to the door, and the door broke. Milarepa said, “See, look at this kind of sickness, you can not bear this suffering”. The person said, “Yes, yes, I can”. So then Milarepa transferred a little bit to him, and instantly the person collapsed to the floor, yelling in pain, parts of his body had fallen off and were lying on the ground. The person begged Milarepa, to please take away his suffering, he really recognised, that he had made a mistake. Then he made confession to Milarepa, but it was already too late. Then, Milarepa out of compassion for him said, “Even if you hadn’t given me this poison, I am ready to pass into Nirvana. You have done this [negative action], due to your attachment, desire and ignorance. But, if you [make sincere prayers] and practice, you are not going to get this karma”. Then, that person gave up everything, and truly became a practitioner.


So, as a fully accomplished Realised being, Milarepa can take the sickness and disease, but show no signs, nothing of the sickness. His mind is in the realised nature states, he rests in that meditation. In the realised state, the sickness is transformed, [through the realised union, of compassionate means (method), and wisdom (emptiness), into their true nature. The poisons become aspects of mind liberated into its true emptiness-wisdom nature]. So, we might see, [from our ordinary perception], that some of the gurus, high level realiser practitioners get sick. Due to their realisation, they are inseparable with the true nature of reality, and can transform, the sickness, suffering. We are following in these practices to accomplish the Realised states. So, we have to practice, develop our ability and experience. And, make these connections, so we can receive these blessings of the guru, realised mind. So, whichever of the sadhanas you are practicing, (here we are doing the Medicine Buddha practice), in this practice, we are visualising, meditating upon, self-generating the Buddha, or yidam deity, and chanting the mantra.

And when we have suffering, through practice, (habituating to meditating on the yidam deity), we can go beyond suffering. Through [arising the compassionate, bodhicitta intention in the mind during practice], the suffering (negative-karma) can be pushed down, (and the wisdom-awareness-realisation arise naturally). [So, we practice to turn our mind this way], and if we have that ability, (we practice the yidam deity/ Medicine Buddha for example), then when suffering comes, you are not going to be affected by it. So when we start, we can also practice when we have a small headache, stomachache or something like that. [Bringing the suffering you are experiencing onto the path of practice]. So, visualising and meditating upon Medicine Buddha or whichever Buddha, or yidam deity you are practicing; arising the awakening mind of bodhicitta, [the essence of rigpa awareness], connecting through the practice to the Realised nature, the suffering can be released. We have to practice that. And then the next verse.


I confess the evil deeds that I have accumulated from beginningless time,
I rejoice in all virtue. I beseech you to turn the wheel of Dharma of

“I confess the evil deeds…” So, we confess the evil deeds, the suffering comes from the negative actions. “… that I have accumulated from beginningless time, Over many, many lifetimes we have created the causes of the sufferings, illnesses, diseases – karma, we confess that. “I rejoice in all virtue”… so, we rejoice in the Enlightened activities of the Medicine Buddhas, that bring benefit to sentient beings, and in every virtue in samsara and nirvana. “I beseech you to turn the wheel of Dharma… we are supplicating the Buddhas, Bodhisattvas, masters, Enlightened beings to live long in the world, to teach the dharma to beings, and to bring benefit in the world.


the three yanas, and abide until the end of samsara. The exalted one,
Lama, the King of Medicine, you possess the glory of the spontaneous

“the three yanas,…” the three main branches of Buddhism, or three yanas (vehicles), are the Hinayana (or Theravada), Mahayana, and Vajrayana. This praise section of the text follows the stages of Seven Branch Offerings Prayer. [In brief, the seven offerings are: prostrations (antidote to pride); mandala offering (antidote to miserliness); confession (purification); rejoicing (antidote to jealousy); requesting the teachers to teach (antidote to ignorance); offering prayers for the long life of your teachers (deepening one’s karmic connection to the Dharma and its teachers); and dedication of merit of all the seven offerings to benefit all sentient beings]. “The exalted one, Lama, the King of Medicine, you possess the glory of the spontaneous the exalted Buddhas, are worthy of praise…


establishment of the two benefits. May all sentient beings who are
tortured by the sickness of the three poisons have the glory of joy,

“establishment of the two benefits”... so, the qualities of a buddha can be condensed into the two-fold benefit of self and others. [The benefit of self: self-arisen wisdom, unconditioned body, and spontaneously perfect. The benefit of others, knowledge, love, and power, (of bodhicitta / Enlightened activities)]. The accomplishment of the three bodies of a Buddha: dharmakaya, sambhogakaya and nirmanakaya forms. We strive to reach realisation ourselves (the dharmakaya), and the sambhogakaya and nirmanakaya forms, bring benefit to sentient beings. “May all sentient beings who are tortured by the sickness of the three poisons…”, so now this is the dedication part. We accomplish the practices for both ourselves and others benefit. All ‘motherly sentient beings,’ [all our mothers/(fathers), wandering sentient beings, (that are not realised)], are revolving helplessly in cyclic existence (the six realms of samsara), suffering from, birth, old age, sicknesses and death. The sickness, diseases karma, are the result of the afflictive emotions, which arise, from the ignorance of self-grasping attachment, to mere concepts in the mind.

These afflictive emotions create samsara, (the sicknesses of samsara). So, we have to remove our disease, sickness karma, of the three poisons, (of the mind, that manifest in the body through [deluded] actions). The main point is, the power of practicing the Medicine Buddha sadhana, removes the three poisons (the root cause of the afflictions), the three poisons are the cause of sickness of all sentient beings.


happiness and freedom from illness.

“… have the glory of joy, happiness and freedom from illness”. This is the dedication part of the Medicine Buddha practice. We dedicate the practice to the end of the suffering, (that sentient beings may be free of the three poisons), and so have the glory of joy, happiness and freedom from illness. The next part of this sadhana text is, the ‘Visualisation During Mantra Recitation’ section.




The recitation of the mantra, invokes the vows of Eight Sugatas.

Invoking the Eight Sugatas is similar to how babies, or young children (are helpless), and need the nurture and care of the parent(s), mother to develop. In a like way, chanting the mantra, is invoking the compassion of the Enlightened beings, and their activities. Practitioners realise the true nature state, (ultimate reality), Mahamudra, (the unification/ (inseparability) of appearances and emptiness (nonduality)), through meditation, as compassionate wisdom method in practice). Our precious Lamas/gurus, the Enlightened beings, are a true source of refuge. They are the living Buddhas, that we can first identify with in their nirmanakaya forms. They help beings in whatever ways that are needed. We continue to make sincere supplications to them, to please help guide us in the practices, that have the two-fold benefit.

So, on an outer level we are calling the wisdom beings of the pure lands, to please come, and help all these suffering, samsaric beings. Also on an inner level, the Medicine Buddha (the rigpa nature), is within us. (Once we have stabilised our minds in the practices, (through the immeasurable kindness of the Enlightened beings guiding us), we have the ability to recognise, and experience this ourselves). We have this deep wisdom-awareness, within us, (this inner healing). Through the ongoing cultivation of the mind of bodhicitta, (the awakening mind), the compassionate-wisdom mind, we are invoking this process of ripening the mindstream. Opening the mind, through the training, to receive the blessings. Recognition of the ground of practice, the path of practice and the fruition of the practice (realisation). Or, training in the view, the meditation and conduct. The Medicine Buddha practice is, arisen from the mind of the fully accomplished, perfectly realised, omnicient Buddha, whose vows and activity as a bodhisattva, was specifically to help beings suffering from sicknesses and disease karma.

Additional material section

While still a bodhisattva, the Medicine Buddha likewise proclaimed a set of twelve aspirations that defined the specific ways in which he sought to benefit beings. He announced them to the infinite field of buddhas and bodhisattvas throughout space. In addition, he vowed that he would defer his transition to buddhahood until the day he had completed the purification and perfection of the pure land, Lovely To Behold.

Declaring a series of twelve vows, he described the bodhichitta practices that would shape the course of his journey through the ten bhumis of the bodhisattva path. He chose these attributes to be the objects of his prayers and practices. Ultimately, the Medicine Buddha’s commitments have the force of truth. They are a distillation of his bodhisattva path. We can have full confidence in them.

The Twelve Aspirations of the Medicine Buddha

1. In my pure land, may all beings exhibit the 32 major marks and the 80 minor marks of a buddha. If this does not come to pass, may I not reach enlightenment.

2. May all sentient beings born in my pure land radiate glowing light – a light that dispels all dwelling in dark-ness. If this does not come to pass, may I not reach enlightenment.

3. Whoever is born in that pure land, may they always enjoy material abundance and be free of all worldly concerns. If this does not come to pass, may I not reach enlightenment.

4. May the beings in that pure land possess a stable vision of the pure view. If this does not come to pass, may I not reach enlightenment.

5. May those born in my pure land pay utmost attention to the purity of their conduct. May the results of negative karma due to previous actions be deferred to the time of most benefit to spiritual growth. If this does not come to pass, may I not reach enlightenment.

6. May they all emanate health and growth in body and mind. May they be relieved of any discomfort or disorder that hinders spiritual growth. If this does not come to pass, may I not reach enlightenment.

7. May my name become a mantra that heals all ailments. May the sound of my name and the image of my nirmanakaya be a balm that eases all pain. May the sound of my name or visualization of my image cure physical troubles and sickness. If this does not come to pass, may I not reach enlightenment.

8. May those who wish to change gender have that wish be fulfilled. May that choice lead directly to enlightenment. If this does not come to pass, may I not reach enlightenment.

9. May those who hold wrong views or beliefs regarding dharma immediately develop right view when they hear my name. As a result, may they engage in bodhisattva activities. If this does not come to pass, may I not reach enlightenment.

10. May those who live in fear and are easily controlled, who feel threatened with incarceration and punishment, leave behind their fears of catastrophe. If this does not come to pass, may I not reach enlightenment.

11. May those whose subsistence has depended on predation and the killing of other beings have all their material needs met upon hearing my name. May their freedom result in the recognition of their innate bodhisattva nature. If this does not come to pass, may I not reach enlightenment.

12. Upon hearing my name, may those who suffer from any kind of hunger, thirst, or cold have all their needs provided for. May their food, drink, and clothing free them from mundane concerns so that they may begin to benefit others. If this does not come to pass, may I not reach enlightenment.

After the great Medicine Buddha made these bodhisattva vows, he kept these promises throughout all his lifetimes as a bodhisattva. When we practice the Medicine Buddha, we should remember these commitments and aspire to do the same, for the sake of all living beings. If we do this with love, compassion, and bodhichitta, it will benefit us and all other living beings.

(Posted by 12 aspirations of Medicine Buddha teaching on May 24-26, 2003, at Padma Samye Ling).

The accomplishment of our own inner healing is the Medicine Buddha practice. We have the seeds for that accomplishment within us. We are waking those seeds. […] Right now, that [accomplishment] is only seeds, so we are pouring water on the seeds. Similarly, through chanting the mantra, we are invoking the healing energies, (the spiritual, enlightened energies), of body, speech and mind, the spiritual power. Ripening mind in rigpa awareness, (of the true nature state), of the perfectly fully completed enlightened state of Buddhahood, (Mahamudra), dharmakaya, (the ultimate nature of mind, consciousness, reality itself, (the selflessness of self, and all phenomena). So that is why it says, “The recitation of the mantra, Invokes the vows of the Eight Sugatas”.


Limitless light shines from their bodies
To all beings, myself and others, mainly on those of greatest concern.

[The hum at the heart, and at the heart of the deity visualized in front is surrounded by the mantra garland. The light emerging from (the hum and the mantra garland) makes offerings to all the buddhas and gathers back their blessings (in the form of light). As it purifies the negativities and obscurations of all transient beings, may they swiftly attain the state of Medicine Buddha].

So we visualise the Buddhas in front, from which, much light radiates. The light then returns to us, and all sentient beings, and purifies all the disease-negative karma. […] This sadhana is practiced especially for those who are sick.


It purifies all past karma collected from beginningless time,
And all the afflictive emotions,

Here, we visualise the light emanating from the Buddhas, dissolves into ourselves, and the bodies of the beings who are sick, bringing the blessings, purifying all the disease-negative karma, (the negative karma, and afflictive emotions, which have been collected over many lifetimes). This sadhana is practiced, to purify all of this.


Illness and demonic possession, all past sins and all obscurations,
and broken tantric samaya vows,
Instantly gain realization of the stages of meditation

We have created negative karma, and broken vows, (either knowingly, or unknowingly), since beginningless time, (time without beginning). The outer basic teaching, refers to vows, on the inner level this is referred to as samaya. So, we are purifying all the debt karma, (exhausting the karmic debt), of ourselves, and all sentient beings, so that they instantly gain realisation of the stages of meditation.


Of the Sugatas and their children.

[Why are the Buddhas called Sugatas? Su means ‘good’ and gata means either ‘to go’ or ‘speaking’ (gad). Therefore the expression means the ‘Well-gone’ or the ‘Well-spoken’. The Buddhas have transcended, by all kinds of deep concentrations (gambhira samadhi) and numberless great wisdoms (apramāṇā mahāprajñā). Transcended both samsara and nirvana, and realised the fully Enlightened state of supreme omniscient Buddhahood, whose nature is the (three/four) kayas, (bodies of a Buddha). [The two Kayas: dharmakaya, (the true nature body), and rupakaya, (the body of form). Three kayas are: the dharmakaya, (or true nature body); the sambhogakaya, (or body of divine enjoyment); and the nirmanakaya, (or manifested body). These correspond to the mind, speech, and body of an Enlightened buddha, and are expressed as the five wisdoms. Svabhavikakaya, the immediate present-moment experience of the true nature body/ the wisdom, of omniscience. (If we were to compare dharmakaya to vapour, sambhogakaya to clouds, and nirmanakaya to rain, then svabhavikakaya is the essential nature of them all – water-ness or moisture)]. The Enlightened activities of Buddhas manifest in innumerable ways, in order to bring benefit to sentient beings, according to their needs. The Sugatas, are well-spoken, because they teach according to the true nature of the dharmas, and without being attached to the doctrine. Taking into account the degree of wisdom of disciples, and using every skillful means, and the power of superknowledges to help them].

So, the Sugatas are the Buddhas, and their children, are their bodhisattva heirs. The bodhisattva heirs are those cultivating the mind of bodhicitta, and following in the path of awakening, (of Enlightenment, the state of supreme bodhicitta). The bodhisattvas, vow to attain Realisation swiftly, and remain in the world, in order to help all beings, liberate from the sufferings of samsara.

On the path we cultivate our intention to attain Enlightenment swiftly, and help all other sentient beings attain this same state. On Realisation of the supreme state of Awakening, (of the nondual, dharmakaya nature), the qualities of our mind nature, (the essence nature) is inseparable with all the Enlightened beings, this is the purpose of practicing the mantras. In this sadhana, this is the Medicine Buddha mantra garland. The Medicine Buddha mantra: pronounced tayatha om behka dze-yah behka dze-yah maha beh ka dze-yah radza sahmuk gaté svā, is arranged in a garland of Tibetan Uchen script, surrounding the seed syllable hūṃ. It is an empowering sacred mantra and syllable, that belongs to the Tibetan Buddhist principles. The mantra garland is used in many different ways.

This image is an aid for the meditation and visualization practice on the Medicine Buddha, the embodiment of all the buddhas healing quality. We are using the mantra to connect to the Enlightened activities, (wisdom), the yidam deities/ Enlightened beings. […] The mantra is purification, chanting it purifies our negative karma, and others negative karma, (we have karmic connections with others). The mantra is offering to the Enlightened beings, and mantra is blessing, (which dissolves into us), so we receive all the Enlightened beings blessing into us. Tomorrow I’m going to explain the mantra: TADYATHA OM BEKHANDZYE BEKHANDZYE MAHA BEKHANDZYE BEKHANDZYE RADZA SAMUDGATE SVAHA. […]


Good morning, afternoon, evening, everyone. So, we go to the Medicine Buddha sadhana [text].


[Prayers and transmission are given of the text]

Ok, so we have finished the transmission, next, now you can chant the mantra mentally, and I am going to continue to share the teachings, (following on from where we left off yesterday). Yesterday, I shared with you this Medicine Buddha sadhana. The opening, the preparatory preliminary practices, refuge and bodhicitta, and then the main visualisation and meditation.

[Brief summary: Visualisation. Purify with: // om svabhava shuddhah sarva dharma svabhava shuddo ham //. All becomes emptiness. [….] On [two] lion-thrones, each with lotus and moon disk seat, appear deep blue hums, the seed syllable of myself and the deity generated in front. The hums transform into the Medicine Buddha, the color of lapis lazuli, radiating light, and wearing the three Dharma robes. In the mudra of supreme generosity, his right hand hold a medicinal arura. In the mudra of meditation, his left hand holds a begging a bowl. Major and minor marks complete, he sits in vajra posture. On top of the lotus petals surrrounding the deity visualised in front, are the seven [Medicine] Buddhas- Shakyamuni and the rest – and volumes of Dharma. Behind them are the sixteen bodhisattvas, and behind them are the ten protectors of the world together with the twelve leaders of yakshas, each with their own retinue, and at the four gateways are the four great kings.

(From ourselves and the Enlightened beings) Light radiates from the three syllables in the three places, (white “om” at the forehead, red “ah” at the throat, and blue “hums” at the heart), and the hums at our hearts, inviting the buddha realms, immeasurable wisdom beings, which dissolve into us and the deities visualised in front]. Their blessings dissolve into our three places, so that the ordinary person is transformed into Medicine Buddha, and we are samaya beings, inviting the wisdom Medicine Buddhas, which dissolve inseparably into us.


What is most important when we practice Medicine Buddha? So, we are chanting the ritual sadhana and mantra, and the benefit is, it removes our three poisons, (ignorance, attachment and anger). These poisons in the mind are being purified. [The karma of the three mental poisons is like the dirt, which covers over the diamond, (the analogy of the diamond is used here, to represent the pristine nature of mind). The true nature of mind, (the ultimate nature of reality), is stainless; (the afflictions can never taint it). On the relative level, mind is obscured by the afflictions]. As we purify the three poisons, we are freeing ourselves and others, from suffering, sickness, disease negative karma. Also, when we chant the Medicine Buddha practice, and mantra, we are developing our spiritual qualities and healing energies, through connecting with the Enlightened beings. The Buddha nature, (or true essence nature), is within ourselves.

So, right now, due to our own obstacles, we don’t recognise that, we have Medicine Buddha’s true essence, (true healing power), within us. Due to these obstacles, i) we don’t recognise, ii) also the true healing is not ripening. So, the true healing right now, is only seeds. As I mentioned yesterday, when we chant the mantra, this is the same as, we are pouring the water on the seeds. The seeds receive the water, and then all the good conditions come, (the sun, soil and so forth), which ripens the seeds. So, that is why, when we practice, from the beginning, we have to visualise correctly. Otherwise, we are pouring water to the frozen seeds, they cannot ripen. So, that is why the “Bodhicitta” section of the sadhana, (which we shared yesterday), is the most important. When we practice this Medicine Buddha sadhana, the prayers in the “Bodhicitta” section of the text says:



In the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha, I take refuge respectively
through my three doors.


I cultivate the mind to establish suffering sentient beings,
who have all been my mothers, in unsurpassed enlightenment.

(Recite three times)

So, we are arising the love, compassion, bodhicitta, within ourselves, in this practice. So long as, love and compassion arises, then pouring the water to the seeds, is the right time, because the weather becomes warm. Then, [in these conditions], the seeds can grow, [ripen], when the water is poured to them. So, if the weather conditions are not the right time, then pouring water to the seeds, the seeds can be damaged, (they can become frozen again). So, that is why, right at the beginning of this practice, the point is, that we, “… cultivate the mind to establish suffering sentient beings, who have all been my mothers, in unsurpassed enlightenment”. We have to look to suffering beings, [and arise the mind of love, compassion, bodhicitta].

So, cultivating love and compassion for these beings, and then arising the intention, [in the mind], “I want to practice Medicine Buddha, […] to help all these suffering sentient beings, to release their suffering”; that is the intention, we have to generate in the mind. Then, the practice has benefit. So, that is the same as creating good weather conditions. When there are good weather conditions, then when water is poured to the seeds, (rain falls on the seeds), all becomes beneficial, (the seeds are ripening). So, when we practice Medicine Buddha, we need the right intention, (good intention). And we have to generate love, compassion, (that creates the warm weather, [and brings benefit]). In the same way as, [the sun], (the warm weather), opens up our mind and body, then the seeds grow, and are ripening, (so we are opening up our [inner] mind, [to the Enlightened activities of the practice]).


So that is why love, compassion, bodhicitta is preliminary practice, before going into the main practice. So you are going to water the seeds, you need good weather conditions. When the weather is freezing, then cold water put onto the flowers and seeds, they are going to become more frozen. And in the same way, before practicing Medicine Buddha/ or the yidam deities, we have to open up our hearts and minds, this feeling of loving kindness for other beings arises, (we are seeing that these beings are suffering). As long as we arise that feeling in the mind, [of love, compassion, bodhicitta intention], then when we go into Medicine Buddha practice, (or any yidam deity practice), it brings benefit. So, then yesterday I spoke of chanting mantra, and each mantra is helping to ripen the seeds of healing within us. (So, we have seeds of the nature, of true healing within us). Right now, (as I have just referred to), it is not ripening, so then, chanting the mantra is ripening our mind, (or, our ability is developing within us, for true healing to take place).

So, when you really connect inside, [to your inner awareness nature], and chant the mantra, you feel the mantra is arising from inside your body, (within the channels, and your [subtle, spiritual energies], are waking up). If we are doing mantra practice, and this experience arises within us, that means we are truly practicing at a deeper, inner level. The practice becomes very profound, and of great benefit. And then of course this Medicine Buddha practice, or any of the yidam deity, or other practices, has different levels: outer level, inner level, and secret level, (so, three levels of practice). […] So, accessing the different levels is due to (dependent on), the individual’s ability and capacity.


So, after the Offerings section [p.4], there is the Praise to Medicine Buddha [p.5], which I shared a little bit with you yesterday. The mantra: TADYATHA OM BEKHANDZYE BEKHANDZYE MAHA BEKHANDZYE BEKHANDZYE RADZA SAMUDGATE SVAHA, is actually very similar in content to the Praise to Medicine Buddha, there is not much difference.

PRAISE [p.5-6]


I praise and prostrate to Medicine Buddha, who radiates the light of
the Vaidurya jewel. Exalted one, your compassion permeates all beings,


dispelling the suffering of the lower realms and the sickness
of the three poisons by mere hearing of your name.


I confess the evil deeds that I have accumulated from beginningless time,
I rejoice in all virtue. I beseech you to turn the wheel of Dharma of


the three yanas, and abide until the end of samsara. The exalted one,
Lama, the King of Medicine, you possess the glory of the spontaneous


establishment of the two benefits. May all sentient beings who are
tortured by the sickness of the three poisons have the glory of joy,


happiness and freedom from illness.

So, in the PRAISE section above, it says, “I praise and prostrate to Medicine Buddha…” So, we are doing prostrations to Medicine Buddha. So, in the area of prostrations, sometimes people are physically doing prostrations, [and some, whilst chanting also], some are chanting the prayers, and mentally prostrating. Either of these ways is correct. Right now, we are gathered here together, many people, to listen to the teaching, [listening to the teachings, with an open heart and mind], is mentally prostrating, [to hearing the dharma, to recognising and realising, the true nature of our mind, and reality].

“… prostrate to Medicine Buddha, who radiates the light of the Vaidurya jewel”. [So, we are arising the qualities of our own Enlightened mind, through connecting to the Enlightened activities of the Medicine Buddhas, in the practice. In front generation, we meditate and visualise Medicine Buddha in front of us, “… surrounded by the Lamas, Yidams and the seven sugatas, with as many Buddhas and Bodhisattvas as the number of dust particles in the sunlight. They radiate light in all directions from their three special places: (of Enlightened body, speech and mind respectively: from the white “OM” syllable at the forehead, (the Enlightened body); the red “AH” syllable at the throat, (the Enlightened speech); and the blue “HUNG” syllable at the heart, (the Enlightened mind)), “inviting the wisdom beings who dissolve into the samaya beings, (practitioners). They are the embodiment of wisdom, compassion, power activities that dispel the sickness of all beings”]. So, purifying our own, and other samaya beings, body, speech, and mind obstacles, bestowing blessings on our three doors of practice, and bringing benefit to other sentient beings.


“… Exalted one, your compassion permeates all beings,…” Medicine Buddha’s compassion permeates all beings. This is Medicine’s Buddha’s aspiration, and … “dispelling the suffering of the lower realms and the sickness of the three poisons by mere hearing of your name”. So, even if we hear Medicine Buddha’s name, the power of Medicine Buddha’s name is… [as a result of the power of Medicine Buddha’s intentions, and Enlightened activities], we are free from the lower realms, (states of existence): the hell realms, [created by hatred], hungry ghosts, [craving], animal realms, [ignorance] in future live. And take birth in one of the three higher realms of existence: human beings, [desire], azuras [jealousy], or long-life god realms [pride]. The power of merely hearing his name [Medicine Buddha], (chanting the prayers) is, (removing), dispelling the sickness of the three poisons, (of ignorance, attachment and aversion).

So, these words, “by mere hearing of your name”… has different levels of meaning here, for us to understand. Sometimes people think, if you hear Buddha’s name, then you are never going to the lower realms. So then, they think that you don’t have to do any form of practice, and they just want to hear the name of Medicine Buddha, and Buddha Shakyamuni, and then they’re okay. So people can misunderstand. What “by mere hearing of your name” means is, for example, every day we do daily prayer practice. We practice these prayers, and chant the names of the Buddhas, Buddha Shakyamuni and Medicine Buddha. We generate, [sow] spiritual karmic seeds in our mental continuum, from hearing and reciting the names of these Buddhas [and the Enlightened beings and so forth], in the prayers and practices. These will ripen, [a cause, effect and conditions universe we are in], and develop, and we continue with the practices. And, so long as we create these spiritual karmic imprints, (plant these seeds in our minds), due to that, (due to the unfailing law of cause and effect), in our future lives, we have the opportunity to again connect to the spiritual path, [continue our spiritual journey], and take birth as human beings.


So, through the power of that, [the habituation of planting spiritual seeds], we can be free from the lower realms, we don’t know in which life, (which is why, make best use of this one; exhaust the karmic debts, through pointing the mind continually to dharma, (living dharma), and purifying the mind]. One day, (perhaps in this very life), we take human rebirth, and connect to the spiritual path, (because we are planting those seeds), we can free the mind from the lower realms. And that is why it says, here in this sadhana prayer text: “… dispelling the suffering of the lower realms and the sickness of the three poisons by mere hearing of your name”. [And, through developing on the spiritual path, realising the true nature of mind, (liberating mind from being born in samsara), following in the Bodhisattva path, and awakening to fully Enlightened Buddhahood].

So, then that is the long way, (path), to free the mind from the lower realms of cyclic existence. It begins with making connection to the spiritual path, and this connection can take different forms, for example: seeing liberation, hearing liberation, touching liberation. […] You receive the karmic imprints (seeds), to liberate the mind, and you can start from that day. Then, in the case of those practitioners on the path, who seek a shorter route, and are practicing the yidam deities, for example. They know that, through meditative visualisation, (generating oneself as the deity), if this is done truly, you can connect to the true, compassionate wisdom, healing nature, (the wisdom of one’s own rigpa awareness state), and that is, when you are [really] hearing the Buddha’s name. In that moment, the mind is free of the three mental poisons, sicknesses, obstacles, and disease negative karma. So this is connecting with the true healing, (is the realisation of the true nature of mind and reality). So, in that state, this is truly liberating mind, and connecting with Medicine Buddha.


[In the stages of: ground, path and fruition of practices. i) the ground, (the recognition of the true nature of mind/ reality), ii) path, (the practices to realise the ultimate state, (all activity is brought onto the path of practice)) and, iii) fruition, (the realisation of the ultimate nature within one’s own mental continuum, (awakening)).

And up and until realising, and abiding permanently, in the unification of relative and ultimate truths, (indivisibly as one’s realised experience), one is progressing through the bhumi levels.

So, beginning with, abandoning coarse level dualistic grasping, and then the more subtle grasping states, (having a direct experience of the nature of one’s mind). Then, in the more advanced stages of practice; although dualistic appearances, have not yet been eliminated, they no longer interfere with meditation on the true nature state. It is not that appearances are no longer seen, but, rather that, these appearances are no longer seen as dualistic, and instead are recognised as appearances of one’s own mind, (like our dreams, but in the waking state)].

At the outset, when beginning practice; relative state (reality) experience, and ultimate reality, are perceived dualistically, (as two separate connections). So, for example, a person who is new to dharma, (Buddha dharma), they are chanting the prayers and mantras in this Medicine Buddha practice, then they are hearing Medicine Buddha’s name, [on the relative level]. (When, this person experiences realisation, of their own rigpa state of awareness, through the practices, then this person is not going to take lower realms birth again).

And, if the mantras are being recited to benefit animals, then the animals who are exposed to that, are hearing Medicine Buddha’s name, [relative level]. They receive some karmic imprints, seeds in their mindstream, and one day they can be free from taking birth in the animals realm. So, this is all due to the power of Buddhas blessing, [the Enlightened nature state], and the power of Liberation by Hearing. So, these are the relative connections.

Absolute truth connection is, (as mentioned above), when we practice Medicine Buddha, and we enter into the truth body nature, (the nature of rigpa), which are the true healing states. Then, that is not only seeing, (the blue colour of) Medicine Buddha’s form body. True Medicine Buddha, is realising, (having a direct experience), of the true nature of our mind, as inseparable with, the all pervading dharmakaya nature, (or Buddha state). And, we can go into that state, because we have that [essence of mind] nature. So long as we can go into that nature state, then truly, we are free from all the obstacles, and suffering of the afflictive emotions, ([the accrued], negative karmic action of the three doors, of body, speech and mind), and we are purifying that]. So, that is the main point, that we have to understand here.

Additional material section

Main article: Bodhisattva

Mahāyāna Buddhism is based principally upon the path of a bodhisattva. Mahāyāna Buddhism encourages us to become bodhisattvas and to take the bodhisattva vows. With these vows, one makes the promise to work for the complete enlightenment of all sentient beings by following the bodhisattva path. The path can be described in terms of the six perfections or in terms of the five paths and ten bhumis.

Six paramitas

Main article: Pāramitā

The six paramitas are the means by which Mahayana practitioners actualize their aspiration to attain complete enlightenment for the benefit of all. In Mahāyāna Buddhism, the Prajñapāramitā Sūtras, the Lotus Sutra (Skt., Saddharma Puṇḍarīka Sūtra), and a large number of other texts, list the six perfections as follows:

  1. Dāna pāramitā: generosity, the attitude of giving
  2. Śīla pāramitā : virtue, morality, discipline, proper conduct
  3. Kṣānti (kshanti) pāramitā : patience, tolerance, forbearance, acceptance, endurance
  4. Vīrya pāramitā : energy, diligence, vigor, effort
  5. Dhyāna pāramitā : one-pointed concentration, contemplation
  6. Prajñā pāramitā : wisdom, insight

Five paths and ten bhumis

Five paths

The Mahayana commentary the Abhisamayalamkara presents a progressive formula of five paths (pañcamārgaWylie Tibetan lam lnga) adopted from the Sarvastivada tradition’s Abhidharma exposition. The Five Paths as taught in the Mahayana are:[21]

  1. The path of accumulation (saṃbhāra-mārga, Wylie Tibetan: tshogs lam). Persons on this Path:
    1. Possess a strong desire to overcome suffering, either their own or others;
    2. Renunciate the worldly life.[21 [in other words, we become an inner being. Operating from the inside, out… (‘in the world’ (through our practice), and not ‘of the world’, (simply reacting to inside, and outside phenomena, without having developed inner self-knowledge/ awareness). Instead, noticing how the mind experiences, and applying the understanding of the practices, in practice.
  2. The path of preparation or application (prayoga-mārga, Wylie Tibetan: sbyor lam). Persons on this Path:
    1. Start practicing meditation;
    2. Have analytical knowledge of emptiness.[21]
  3. The path of seeing (darśana-mārga, Wylie Tibetan: mthong lam) (Bhūmi 1). Persons on this Path:
    1. Practice profound concentration meditation on the nature of reality;
    2. Realize the emptiness of reality.[21]
    3. Corresponds to “stream-entry” and the first Bodhisattva Bhumi.[23]
  4. The path of meditation (bhāvanā-mārga, Wylie Tibetan: sgom lam) (Bhūmi 2–7). Persons on this path purify themselves and accumulate wisdom.[21]
  5. The path of no more learning or consummation (aśaikṣā-mārga, Wylie Tibetan: mi slob pa’I lam or thar phyin pa’i lam) (Bhūmi 8–10). Persons on this Path have completely purified themselves.[21]

Ten Bhumis

See also: Bhūmi (Buddhism)

The “bodhisattva bhūmis” (“enlightenment-being grounds/levels”) are subcategories of the Five Paths. The Sanskrit term bhūmi literally means “ground” or “foundation”, since each stage represents a level of attainment and serves as a basis for the next one. Each level marks a definite advancement in one’s training that is accompanied by progressively greater power and wisdom. The Avatamsaka Sutra refers to the following ten bhūmis:[24]

  1. The Very Joyous (Skt. Paramudita), in which one rejoices at realizing a partial aspect of the truth;
  2. The Stainless (Skt. Vimala), in which one is free from all defilement;
  3. The Luminous (Skt. Prabhakari), in which one radiates the light of wisdom;
  4. The Radiant (Skt. Archishmati), in which the radiant flame of wisdom burns away earthly desires;
  5. The Difficult to Cultivate (Skt. Sudurjaya), in which one surmounts the illusions of darkness, or ignorance as the Middle Way;
  6. The Manifest (Skt. Abhimukhi) in which supreme wisdom begins to manifest;
  7. The Gone Afar (Skt. Duramgama), in which one rises above the states of the Two vehicles;
  8. The Immovable (Skt. Achala), in which one dwells firmly in the truth of the Middle Way and cannot be perturbed by anything;
  9. The Good Intelligence (Skt. Sadhumati), in which one teaches the Law freely and without restriction;
  10. The Cloud of Doctrine (Skt. Dharmamegha), in which one benefits all sentient beings with the Law (Dharma), just as a cloud sends down rain impartially on all things.

Tibetan Buddhism

Main article: Tibetan Buddhism

Lam Rim

Main article: Lamrim

Lam Rim describes the stages of the path. Tsong Khapa mentions three essential elements:[25]

  • The aspiration for awakening
  • Bodhicitta, the aspiration to attain this for all living beings
  • Insight into emptiness

Annuttara-yoga tantras

Main articles: Anuttarayoga Tantra and Deity yoga

In the highest class of tantra, two stages of practice are distinguished, namely generation and completion. In some Buddhist tantras, both stages can be practiced simultaneously, whereas in others, one first actualizes the generation stage before continuing with the completion stage practices.

Generation stage

In the first stage of generation, one engages in deity yoga. One practices oneself in the identification with the meditational Buddha or deity (yidam) by visualisations, until one can meditate single-pointedly on being the deity.[note 4]

Four purities

In the generation stage of Deity Yoga, the practitioner visualizes the “Four Purities” (Tibetan: yongs su dag pa bzhiyongs dag bzhi)[web 3] which define the principal Tantric methodology of Deity Yoga that distinguishes it from the rest of Buddhism:[26]

  1. Seeing one’s body as the body of the deity
  2. Seeing one’s environment as the pure land or mandala of the deity
  3. Perceiving one’s enjoyments as bliss of the deity, free from attachment
  4. Performing one’s actions only for the benefit of others (bodhichitta motivation, altruism)[web 4]

Completion stage

In the next stage of completion, the practitioner can use either the path of method (thabs lam) or the path of liberation (‘grol lam).[27]

At the path of method the practitioner engages in yoga practices. These involve the subtle energy system of the body of the chakras and the energy channels. The “wind energy” is directed and dissolved into the heart chakra, where-after the Mahamudra remains,[28] and the practitioner is physically and mentally transformed.

At the path of liberation the practitioner applies mindfulness,[29] a preparatory practice for Mahamudra or Dzogchen, to realize the inherent emptiness of every-‘thing’ that exists.[30]

Four yogas of mahāmudrā

Main article: Mahamudra

Mahāmudrā’ literally means “great seal” or “great symbol”. The name refers to the way one who has realized mahāmudrā. “Mudra” refers to the fact that each phenomenon appears vividly, and “maha” refers to the fact that it is beyond concept, imagination, and projection.[31]

Mahāmudrā is sometimes divided into four distinct phases known as the four yogas of mahāmudrā. They are as follows:[32]

  1. One-pointedness;
  2. Simplicity, “free from complexity” or “not elaborate”;
  3. One taste;
  4. Non-meditation, the state of not holding to either an object of meditation nor to a meditator. Nothing further needs to be ‘meditated upon’ or ‘cultivated at this stage.

These stages parallel the four yogas of dzogchen semde. The four yogas of Mahāmudrā have also been correlated with the Mahāyāna five Bhumi paths.

(Extract from Wikepedia,

And then, we have so many sufferings, (a diversity of sufferings). All these sufferings can be subsumed into three main categories: (i) the suffering of suffering, (ii) the suffering of change, (iii) the suffering of existence, (all pervasive suffering).

Additional material section

For a closer look at the meaning of suffering, the Buddha taught that suffering is of 3 types. By understanding the 3 forms of suffering, we begin to understand the foundation of Buddhist spirituality. 

Buddhism And The Concept Of Suffering

Suffering is perhaps the most common translation of dukkha, the Sanskrit word we find in Buddhist sutras. But the word dukkha is full of nuance. Suffering may refer to the acute physical pain of breaking our toe, and also to the emotional pain that occurs when we dwell in self pity in response. Suffering is even part of the joy we feel when we finally find relief. Because deep down, we know our medication will wear off or that we’ll get to the bottom of that chocolate bar that’s been providing us with distraction.

Dukkha refers to the inherent unsatisfactoriness of life. It’s our pain and our suffering, but also our discontentment, annoyance, our restlessness and unease. It’s the unsatisfactoriness the Buddha experienced in his life that led to his awakening, and it can be the same for us.

The Buddhist teachings on the three types of suffering are meant to help us become more aware of the subtleties of suffering and the myriad ways it arises in our experience. Becoming mindful of suffering and each of its manifestations is the first step in putting an end to it.

The Suffering Of Suffering

Of the three kinds of suffering, the first and perhaps easiest to understand is the suffering of suffering (dukkha-dukkha). This includes the suffering of physical pain. Even if we somehow manage to go through life without ever needing a band-aid, we cannot escape the pain of getting older, getting sick, and someday dying.

The suffering of suffering also describes emotional pain. Our feelings get hurt, we worry about the future, and we ruminate on our misfortunes. We suffer straight suffering anytime we find ourselves in a situation we’d rather be done with.

The Suffering Of Change

The suffering of change (viparinama-dukkha) arises from our inability to accept the truth of impermanence, or rather, from our tendency to forget it. If the suffering of suffering describes an experience we wish were over, the suffering of change can be seen as its opposite. We suffer even when experiencing pleasure, because deep down, we know it will eventually come to an end. Yes, there is suffering even in pleasure, indeed more subtle than what we overtly understand as pain.

The suffering of change refers not only to the impermanence of our physical bodies or pleasure, but to the relief we assign to the raise we earned, the purchase of any material object, the meal we’re enjoying, and the relationships we cherish. All of it will someday change.

The Suffering Of Existence

The suffering of existence (sankhara-dukkha) is also known as all-pervasive suffering. This is the suffering which arises due to our failure to see the world as it really is. In Buddhist terms, this mistaken world view is referred to as ignorance. We think we know how things work, but we are mistaken. This confusion perpetuates itself in cyclic existence, the painful state of samsara.

We suffer in part because we don’t realize the true cause of our suffering. We continue to make the same mistake over and over again, attempting to avoid that which causes pain while seeking out that which causes pleasure. But if our ok-ness is dependent on the world around us being just-so, we’re doomed. For all things ultimately change. Even if we get exactly what we want, we cannot take it with us when we die.

Deep down, we understand this. It’s why discontentment, unease or a sense of groundlessness consistently perfumes every moment of our lives. The suffering of existence reminds us that the unenlightened life will always be unsatisfactory.

The Cessation of Suffering

So what are we to do? In our unawakened, ignorant state, suffering is unavoidable. But this truth offers us a clue to the solution. By developing an understanding of how the world really works, by seeing this directly through the experience of Buddhist meditation, and by then putting into practice the true causes of happiness, we have a way out. As it is described by great meditation masters […], “the way out is the way in”.

Thankfully, the Buddha left us with a path that leads to the end of suffering. To begin, we turn from the habit of seeking solutions outside of ourselves, and turn instead to the process that occurs within.

(Excerpt from

So, now we go to Medicine Buddha’s mantra, the short Medicine Buddha mantra.

Short Mantra [p.11]


“TADYATHA” refers to all the phenomena, and sometimes refers to all the Enlightened Buddhas, [the true nature of reality (dharmakaya)]. Also, TADYATHA is calling the Eight Sugatas, (the Eight Medicine Buddhas). […] So, “OM BHEKHAZE”, first “OM”. So, “OM” is often placed at the beginning of mantras [and dharanis]. […] Sometimes the “OM” syllable, and sometimes “OM AH HUM”, both are correct. The short form is “OM”. In Tibetan script, the “OM” syllable, is written in three layers, (three letters, one above the other, which means, “OM”, “AH”, and “HUM” together). The whole of this Vajrayana teaching, the yidam deity practice, the main essence of it, is held in the “OM syllable, (or “OM AH HUM”). The reason is, it represents the Enlightened form, Enlightened speech, and Enlightened mind.

So, today we are practicing the Medicine Buddha sadhana. […] We are transforming our ordinary body, speech, and mind through the meditation, visualisation, generating the yidam deity as Medicine Buddha, chanting the mantra, and making this connection to the Enlightened activities of Medicine Buddha, which bring healing benefit to sentient beings, [through purifying negative karma]. So, first we mentally prostrate to Medicine Buddha, (we are subduing the ordinary mind, and arising the Enlightened qualities). We make request (supplication) to Medicine Buddha, to bless, and transform our body, speech, and mind, [the practice is connecting us to our own Buddha nature]. So, this is why Medicine Buddha’s form, is represented by the “OM” syllable, the Enlightened blessings of his body, speech, and mind. The power of the blessings of the three doors, (body, speech, and mind), can remove our body obstacles, body negative karma, (sickness, disease); and speech negative karma, (disease, sickness); and mind negative karma, (disease, sickness). “OM” syllable, (which represents “OM, AH, HUM”) is purification.


So, “OM” syllable represents “OM AH HUM”. White light is radiating from the “OM” syllable at Medicine Buddha’s forehead into our forehead, which removes the body, disease sickness, negative karma. Red light is radiating from the “AH” syllable, at Medicine Buddha’s throat, dissolving into our throat, purifying our disease sickness, speech negative karma, and blue light is radiating from the “HUM” syllable at Medicine Buddha’s heart, dissolving into our heart, removing our mind negativity karma, and disease sickness. So, all the karma is purifying, that is represented by the “OM” syllable. Also the “OM” syllable becomes blessing of the body, speech and mind, removing the body, speech and mind obstacles, purifying, and also connecting us, to the Enlightened body, speech and mind of the Buddhas, and Enlightened beings. So, if we are going to generate the Enlightened body, speech and mind, [which is of the true nature of reality, (nondual state)], then we have to purify our body, speech and mind, and release our suffering first.

So, with regard to releasing our suffering, in the Medicine Buddha short mantra: “TADYATHA/ OM BHEKHAZE BHEKHAZE MAHA BHEKHAZE BHEKHAZE RAZA SAMUNGATE SWAHA”. “OM” is – that we can become Enlightened body, speech, and mind. And we have to purify [our three doors], is – “BHEKHAZE BHEKHAZE MAHA BHEKHAZE BHEKHAZE”. So, there are three BHEKHAZE’s first, (this mantra has four BHEKHAZE’s). Some mantras only have three “BHEKHAZE’s, but generally, mostly the mantras have four BHEKHAZE’s. So, the first BHEKHAZE is the purification, (transformation), of (the first of the three types of suffering), (1) the “Suffering of Suffering”. The “Suffering of Suffering” is, – first we have already taken birth in samsara. Right now we are human beings. So we have (i) birth suffering, we have (ii) old age suffering, (iii) we have sickness suffering, (iv) and, we have death sufferings. Every single human being has these four major sufferings, no-one is free from that. And then, on top of that, we have many diverse kinds of sufferings. Unwanted or unexpected sufferings, that come every single day. Every moment, there are different sufferings, due to: family, physical health, expectations, desires, our job, our outer conditions, our own conditions. So, many different sufferings, and we are dealing with that, every day, every week, every month, and every year. So, that is called “Suffering of Suffering”, and the purification of that suffering is the first BHEKHAZE.


The (i) first BHEKHAZE, is purification of the first suffering, (1) the “Suffering of Suffering”. The (ii) second BHEKHAZE, is purification of the second suffering, (2) the Suffering of Change”. “Suffering of Change” is, we have temporary happiness, but that temporary happiness, can become causes of suffering, (can change to suffering), and every single being also has that, (we all have that). We are young, healthy, happy, joyful, but then getting old, and losing the quality of youthfulness [vitality], is also suffering. When you get a job, and you are happy, and then you work at the job, you get tired, and you are not happy, that is also suffering. (So, starts with happiness, then over time, changes to suffering). Many marriages, end in divorce, so that is the “Suffering of Change”. If it is true what the information in the USA says, then there is a 50%-60% divorce rate, so that is called the “Suffering of Change,” (happiness changes to suffering).

Relationships, friendships, the connections that we have, that are good, happy, slowly change to suffering. You get a new house, maybe you’re happy, satisfied, and then slowly the house gets old, or breaks down, (needs repairing), or you have to fix [it up], you have to pay the bills, it is hard to maintain it, and hard to afford to pay the rent each month, so then it becomes a cause of suffering. So, that is all “Suffering of Change”. (Every single being has the “Suffering of Suffering,” and the “Suffering of Change”). So, the second BHEKHAZE, is purification of the “Suffering of Change”. Then, the (iii) third BHEKHAZE, is purification of (3) the “Suffering of Existence” (the “All-Pervasive Suffering”). The “All-Pervasive Suffering is, – as long as we take birth in samsara, then those realms are suffering. So, that is called “All-Pervasive Suffering,” it means, we are within those states, (we are not free from those states).


And when we take birth, we have a physical body, and then the body each moment is changing. Even if we don’t feel the suffering, we cannot stay the same permanently. It is going to change, transform, […] that is called the “All-Pervasive Suffering”. As long as you create something, then that object, one day is going to dissolve, or separate, because it is compounded phenomena. As long as we take a human body, this body is comprised of the five elements, and one day it is going to separate. It cannot always be held together, so that is called the “All-Pervasive Suffering”. The “All-Pervasive Suffering”, is not the direct suffering, the “All-Pervasive Suffering” means, we are already in those states. As sentient beings we are part of that suffering, (pervaded by that), we are not free from that state, (that is the “All-Pervasive Suffering”).

Regular people don’t speak of the “All-Pervasive Suffering”, they never say, the “All-Pervasive Suffering,” because, they don’t feel the suffering, and they are not knowing it is suffering. So, it is just normal life to them. It is only the practitioner that see that, all of samsara is in the nature of suffering. These people know that they are in samsara, (that they are a citizen, in one of these groups of beings in samsara), in these realms of suffering. And they recognise that, sooner or later they are going get sick, die, all this is going to happen, no choice. (But it is only practitioners that really recognise that, ordinary people don’t recognise that). So that is why, if you ask ordinary people questions, such as, ‘Are you happy here?’ most people say, ‘Yes, yes. I’m happy, I’m good’. They don’t feel this suffering, because they are not aware of the truth, (are not ‘knowing’ this “All-Pervasive Suffering”).

So the first three “BHEKHAZE” in the Medicine Buddha mantra: TADYATHA / OM BHEKHAZE BHEKHAZE MAHA BHEKHAZE BHEKHAZE RAZA SAMUNGATE SWAHA are purification of the three types of suffering: (1) the “Suffering of Suffering”, (2) the Suffering of Change, (3) the “All-Pervasive Suffering”.

Then the last BHEKHAZE, (the fourth BHEKHAZE), in the mantra, is “Purification of the Origination of Suffering”. So the sequence of purification in this Medicine Buddha mantra, follows the “Four Noble Truths”. [The “Four Noble Truths” are: (1) “The Truth of Suffering,” (2) “The Truth of the Cause of Suffering,” (3) “The Truth of the End of Suffering,” and (4) “The Truth of the Path that Leads to the End of Suffering”. (More simply put, (i) Suffering Exists; (ii) It Has A Cause; (iii) It Has An End; and (iv) It Has A Cause To Bring About Its End)].

So, when teaching is shared on the “Four Noble Truths,” this begins with looking at ‘the nature of suffering’. First, (a) we recognise the suffering, then secondly (b) we go to the origination of suffering, [or, (1) “The Truth of Suffering,” (2) “The Truth of the Cause of Suffering”], and this corresponds with the first three BHEKHAZE’s, (in the Medicine Buddha mantra). The first three BHEKHAZE’s refer, both to the kinds of suffering, and the purification of these three types of suffering: [(1) the “Suffering of Suffering”, (2) the Suffering of Change, (3) the “All-Pervasive Suffering”].

So, the first three BHEKHAZE’s, purify the three forms of suffering, and brings the true healing. The last BHEKHAZE, (the fourth one):
refers to: Where do these three sufferings come from? These three sufferings come from the three poisons, (ignorance, attachment and aversion), in the relative mind. The five/six main afflictions, (hatred, craving (stinginess), ignorance, desire (attachment), jealousy, and pride), arise from the three poisons. These main afflictions, further give rise to a myriad of afflictions. The afflictions arise as a result of dualistic, self-clinging-fixation, to the mistaken *perception of a self and other. This misapprehension (dualistic self-grasping), is based upon, this mere *concept in the relative mind. It is the attachment to the afflictive emotions that creates samsara, (the realms of cyclic existence), in which the six classes of beings revolve, (the relative mind wanders in, in unawareness).

The attachment to the afflictive emotions, arises further mental and emotional obscurations, and as a result the relative mind is polluted (impure). This obscures the subtle energy body system: and the channels [nadi (inner sounds)/tsa], winds [prana/lung], and drops [bindu/tigle] are defiled. When we purify the relative mind, the wisdom and enlightened energies circulate [freely] in the subtle energy body. (**Continued after Additional materials section).

Additional material section: the subtle body

[The first excerpt is from Further details at the end of the article excerpt].

Firstly, because we’re doing visualization practice, and working with “mind” — which in turn can influence body regardless of objective proof of chakras. Secondly, because of the “observer” factor in Quantum Physics. Quantum scientist Niels Bohr said in 1920: “Observations not only disturb what has to be measured, they produce it… We compel a quantum particle to assume a definite position.” In other words, as explained by physicist Pascual Jordan: “we produce the results of measurements.”

This conclusion tosses out notions of objective reality, independent of the observer — and it definitely aligns with one of the main tactical purposes of Vajrayana Buddhism: seeing things as they are (Sanskrit yatha-bhutam darshanam)[3] With this in mind, if we meditate and visualize subtle body and chakras — especially, if we reach the level of a Yogi or Yogini — our visualizations become inseparable from our “eye” observations — which “disturb what has to be measured.” [For more on this notion, see “If this exists, that exists.“] 

[…] the long history of Gurus and teachers who have used subtle energy practices to attain realizations, and even “longevity.” There is centuries of lineage experience.

Four, five, seven or ten chakras

Buddha Weekly Five Chakras Tibet Buddhism
In Tibetan Tantric Buddhism, five chakras are visualized as the connecting points of the three channels: central, left and right.

Although in Tibetan Buddhist (Tantra) practice there can be four, five, seven or ten chakras, we mainly speak of five critical chakras of the “subtle body.” These are the focus of Tantric Buddhist meditational practice. Three of these are consistent in all methods (whether you use four, five, seven or ten chakras) — while the remaining chakras tend to appear in higher yogic practices, such as Tummo and Completion Stage practices. In other Indian Tantric meditation there are usually seven chakras — such as seen in Kundalini practice (Note: Kundalini is not a Buddhist Tantric practice; in Tantric Buddhism, the methods are different (as are the chakras); techniques such as Tummo are better known.)

H.E. Zasep Rinpoche, in discussing the importance of the subtle body in healing, explains the five chakras and three channels:

“We have crown chakra, we have throat chakra, heart chakra, navel chakra and secret chakra. Five main chakras. Chakra is a Sanskrit world that means ‘energy wheel’… These chakras all have different names. Crown chakra is called the ‘chakra of divine bliss.’ Throat chakra is the ‘chakra of enjoyment.’ Heart chakra is the ‘chakra of Dharma’ — or understanding. Navel chakra is the ‘chakra of manifestation’ or emanation. The secret chakra is the ‘chakra of holding bliss.’”

Due to confusion with “new age” chakras — which are typically seven, and based on Indian yoga — most Vajrayana teachers don’t touch on Chakras until students are advanced.

Teacher Reginald Ray explains:

“I don’t talk about chakras specifically until people become Vajrayana students – because of the New Age connotations – but things come up in their experience that correspond to what we think of as the chakras.”

The most important are notably the three universal chakras of crown, throat and heart. When we prostrate to the Buddha, we touch each of these chakras as we bow; some people touch all five chakras when they prostrate. The navel chakra is also common to all chakra systems in Tibetan Tantric Buddhism: four, five, seven or ten, but may not be emphasized in devotional practices. The secret chakra tends to be limited to Higher Yogic practices, and the remaining two or five (depending on system) are highly specialized practices.

They are the junction points for the three main channels (central, left and right), ultimately connecting the 72,000 nadis (channels) which carry vital La (“life force” in English, Prana in Sanskrit, Chi, in Chinese) to every cell of the body.

[For an in-depth story on Body Mandalas and “riding the winds of the inner body” see>>]

Buddha Weekly R Visualize Hri syllable at your heart chakra Buddhism
You visualize your own body as hollow, the nature of divine light, and in the centre of your chest you visualize seed syllable of your meditational deity. In this case, the syllable is HRI, the Dharmakaya (see below) seed of Amitabha, Chenrezig, Hayagriva and Padma family deities. Visualizing seed syllable at ONE chakra — the heart — is the one practice common to most deity practices in Tantric Buddhism. Amitabha, or any member of the Padma family, symbolize Compassion. Meditating on Hri at the heart brings compassion to the heart chakra.

Why is subtle body important?

Buddha Weekly Three channels in Tantric Buddhism Buddhism
Three channels of the subtle body, central, left and right.

Reginald Ray said:

“According to tantra, Enlightenment is fundamentally and originally present in the body. By putting one’s awareness in the body you find that the further down you go the more primordial, unconditioned and unmanifest is the energy you encounter. The chakras begin at the perineum, which is the most primordial level of awareness, and as you go upwards they are more connected with expression. At the navel there is a sense of the earth, stability and equanimity; at the heart is a feeling of warmth and compassion; the throat is about communication, expression and connection; and the head is less a conceptual centre than a place where the energy reaches a crescendo. So the different chakras have very different feels.”

At a more pragmatic and fundamental level, subtle body is essential for healing, such as Medicine Buddha meditation or La Gug. For higher practices, subtle body is tied to completion practices and a key to Enlightenment or realizations. Also, the chakras and even the number of spokes or petals in each chakra are critical to visualizing the “body mandala” — a higher-tantra practice. Famously, it is the key to Tummo practice — generating the inner furnace.

Some practices focus on only one chakra — for example, visualizing the seed syllable of Buddha at one’s heart — and others emphasize three, notably crown, throat and heart (for example, when prostrating). Most, but not all Tantric Buddhist Practice emphasize the five chakras of head, throat, heart, navel, and secret; or, at least the four of crown, throat, heart, navel.

The first three are important, as they symbolize the activities of the Buddhas, and ourselves: body, speech and mind:

  • Crown: Body — also, “waking” activity
  • Speech: Speech — also, “dreaming” activity;
  • Heart: Mind — also “sleeping” activity. Note: in Tantra, “mind,” not to be confused with ‘brain,’ is always associated with the heart, not the head.

Empowerment and training

Working with the energies of the subtle body should be guided by a teacher. Teacher Reginald Ray explains:

“You can talk about them in general, but Tibetan tradition maintains it is better not to expose untrained people to the actual techniques, because they can mess you up when attempted without the proper training. They are ways of contacting the energy domains the chakras represent in a much more naked way than humans normally experience. As human beings we never really understand directly the energy of love or expression, or whatever. Our experience of them is filtered through a highly developed process of ego: desires, aims and so on. Sexuality is the one energy that can break through, which is why people are so obsessed with it. It is the one aspect of their life where they have to let go.”

In working with the chakras we remove the coverings of our energy system and meet our energy much more directly. When ego templates are stripped away we are left, for example, with the spontaneous outpouring of love for other people. The reason we work with chakras in Tibetan Buddhism is to actualise the Bodhisattva Vow of saving all beings. We have to realise the great compassion of the Buddha, where there is no impediment between the natural compassion of the energetic body and other people.

The “bodies” of the Buddhas

Buddha Weekly IMAGE Tsa Lung Channels Chakras Buddhism

Without getting into specifics of a practice — which requires a teacher and empowerment — other vital differences with Indian Tantra include the associations of three of the chakras with the “bodies” of the Buddhas:

  • Throat: Sambhogakaya, Body of Enjoyment (sometimes “Bliss Body” — which is why it is called the “Enjoyment Chakra.” This is the manifestation of an Enlightened Being as the “object of devotion” or the Body of a Buddha as it appears in the Pure Lands.
  • Heart: Dharmakaya, Body of Essence (sometimes ‘Truth Body’ or ‘Unmanifested Body’) — “Dharma Chakra”: this is why, for example, the unmanifested ‘seed syllable’ of the deity is visualized at the Heart Chakra. (Dharmakaya also is associated with our own Buddha Nature, and also with Emptiness.)
  • Navel: Nimanakaya, Body of Transformation (sometimes ‘Body of Manifestation’) — “Manifestation Chakra” (For example Shakyamuni Buddha as a human emanation, or ourselves as physical beings.)

What do the bodies mean? In the doctrine of Trikaya, Buddhas can manifest in different “modes of being” depending on the understanding of the student. For example, Shakyamuni Buddha manifested as Nirmanakaya, the Body of Manifestation.

The two drops — advanced Tantra

H.E. Zasep Rinpoche explains the importance of “drops” in his teaching on Medicine Buddha:

“Then we have in Tantra, what we call ‘drops.’ Like a drop of water. In Chinese Medicine, they have Yin and Yang, female and male, which must be in balance. Here [in Tantra] we have the drops, we call “essence.” It’s like the “sperm” and the “egg” — the white and red. The white is the “sperm,” and the red is the “egg” — male and female. So, we all have this essence… We call it white bodhicitta and red bodhicitta. Essence.”

Again, without getting into practice details, which require empowerment and instruction from a qualified teacher of lineage, two of the chakras are also associated with the all-important red and white drops. These drops are crucial and fundamental to working with Tantric Buddhism’s understanding of the subtle body as a method for transformation, realizations and, ultimately, Enlightenment. Without going into secret detail, the red drop is visualized in the navel and the white subtle drop in the crown (head) chakra. It is through working with these drops, and the various winds (La) and channels that one can attain realizations of bliss and emptiness — also thought of as compassion (male) and wisdom (female.)

One of the beginning practices for “inner” tantra is the famous “nine breathing exercises of Naropa. Drupon Sangye Nine Breathing Exercises of Naropa.

Visualizing the chakras

Buddha Weekly Chakra petals Buddhism
The chakra spokes.

Taking instruction from a qualified teacher is essential. The attributes of the chakras can vary, depending on the tantra practiced. Also, it’s easy to be confused with either Indian Tantra, or with very pervasive “new age” chakra symbolism and imagery. Forget most of the images you see online for chakras and inner bodies, as these are 99% based on Indian yogas or new age practices.

In Buddhist Tantra, for example, the spokes of the wheel (or, alternately, petals of the flower) are entirely different — and these are important, as each spoke or petal represents a flow of energy into channels throughout the subtle body:

  • 32 spokes or petals at the crown chakra (head)
  • 16 spokes or petals at the throat chakra
  • Eight spokes or petals at the heart chakra
  • 64 spokes or petals at the navel chakra.

Correspondences of the Five Chakras

The five chakras are, in English: crown (top of the head, or just above the crown), throat, heart, navel and secret (the sex organ). There are numerous important correspondences for each — which require a teacher’s explanation — but the always-present chakras include Body (crown), Speech (throat) and Mind (heart); these relate to the Body, Speech and Mind of the Buddha. To summarize some of the correspondences:

  • Crown chakra: Mahsukha chakra • 32 spokes or petals • white drop • activity of body • waking • wrathful deities
  • Throat chakra: Sambhoga chakra • 16 spokes or petals • Sambhogakaya enjoyment body • activity of speech • dreaming • wisdom deities • fire element
  • Heart chakra: Dharma chakra • eight spokes or petals • Dharmakaya • activity of mind • sleeping • peaceful deities • space element
  • Navel chakra: Nirmana chakra • 64 spokes or petals • red drop • Nirmanakaya or manifested body • activity of manifestation • physical manifestations (such as Shakyamuni Buddha) • earth element

All tantric practices, even the basic ones, include visualization of at least these three chakras. The remaining two, navel and secret, are always there, but may not be visualized actively in more basic practice. They are critical, however, to higher tantra, tummo, the Six Yogas of Naropa, and Completion Practices — all of which are higher practices requiring initiation and teachers.

The colours and correspondences assigned to the chakras varies by individual Tantra. When practicing a Higher Tantra, the student should focus on the correspondences of that tantra instruction.

Sometimes — but not universally — the five Dhayani Buddhas are associated with the five chakras (and this varies somewhat on the tantra practiced and also the school):

  • Crown (white): Body, Dhyani Buddha Vairochana or Vajrasattva
  • Throat (red): Speech, Dhyani Buddha Amitabha, and Padma Family (includes Chenrezig, Hayagriva and so on)
  • Heart (blue): Mind, Dhyani Buddha Akshobya, but also including Medicine Buddha, etc.
  • Navel (yellow): Tummo Fire, Dhyani Buddha Ratnasmbhava and Jewel Family — i.e. associating Ratnsasmbhava with manifestation and earth.
  • Secret (green): Wind Action, Dhyani Buddha Amoghisiddi and the Double Vajra Family including Green Tara.

[For an in-depth story on Body Mandalas and “riding the winds of the inner body” see>>]

Correspondences change based on practice

Buddha Weekly the 5 dhyani buddhas Buddhism
The Five Wisdom Buddhas mandala: centre Vairochana, top Amitabha, right Amoghasiddhi, bottom Akshobya, left Ratnasambhava. The positions can vary from school to school or based on specific tantras or teachings.

These assignments are over-arching, but they change, just as do mandalas in meditation, depending on the Enlightened Deity practice. Usually, for instance, in a mandala, the meditational deity is always in the centre. So, for example, if Amitabha is normally in the “west” of the Mandala of the Five Dhyani Buddhas, he is visualized in the centre during his meditational practice. Likewise, a practice on Amitabha may visualize Amitabha’s seed syllable at the Heart Chakra. Mandalas and correspondences change with practices. Always be guided by your teacher and your practice.

As you can see, understanding subtle body is not as simple as memorizing five chakras. The inner body has a main central channel, two side channels (all of which meet at the five chakras) — but these are, in turn, connected to numerous meridians and 72,000 nadis throughout the body.

Completion practice, especially, uses all five chakras very actively, as a method to attain Enlightenment, but requires a teacher and initiation.

[1] Dharmalife
[2] Reginald Ray teaches at Naropa University and the Dharma Ocean Foundation. ( He is the author of The Secret of the Vajra World: the tantric Buddhism of Tibet and In the Presence of Masters

[3] “The strange link between the human mind and quantum physics” BBC

[4] Quotes from H.E. Zasep Rinpoche from the Medicine Buddha Weekend Retreat video series>>

Five Buddhas, 5 Wisdoms, 5 Mantras: Their Practices, Symbols, Seed Syllables, and Visualizations


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The second excerpt is from

103.   Tibetan Buddhism VI

103.1   Channel, Wind and Drop

For Tantric Buddhism, the universe is identical with the Buddha – all its dimensions and qualities consist of Buddha’s manifestations and becoming a Buddha thus means merging with the universe. It can be achieved through analytical study and intellectual meditation. However, the meditation in traditional Buddhism is obviously different from that in Tantric Buddhism. According to the Highest Yoga Tantra, our body and mind exist not only on the gross level (physical form), but also on subtle level, the so-called Vajra body, having the connotation of indestructible. However, the former is composed of various material elements, and is subject to the inevitable sufferings of sickness, decay and death.

Just like that the physical body is pervaded by ordinary nervous system, the subtle Vajra body is pervaded by thousands of channels [脈] (Nadi in Sanskrit, Tsa in Tibetan) through which the subtle energy winds [氣] (Prana in Sanskrit, Lung in Tibetan) and drops [點] ( Bindu in Sanskrit, Tigle in Tibetan) that are the source of the bliss so vital to the Highest Tantric practice.

The two sets of four drops are in the main chakras (rtsa-‘khor, subtle energy-nodes) of the subtle body . The drops (thig-le, Skt.bindu) are in the center of the central channel (dhu-ti) at these chakras.

Most people are not aware of the subtle conscious body, but the Tantric practitioner can discover and make use of it.

The most important channel is the central one called ‘central channel’, which runs in a straight line from the crown of our head down to an area in front of our spine, and along several focal points known as Chakras, or energy wheels [輪]. Each one serves a different function in the practice of Tantra. The most important Chakra is the one located at the level of the heart, because the heart Chakra is the home of our very subtle mind, This very subtle mind has been with us from conception, for lifetimes without beginning. As the fundamental consciousness abiding at our heart center throughout this life, the very subtle mind is sometimes referred to as our Residential Mind. It is actually our original, fundamental Nature, which can only be realized upon awakening.

In Vajrayana, it is said that subtle channels are the body of awakening, subtle winds are the speech of awakening and the drops are the awakened mind. From the point of view of Buddhahood, the channels are the body of emanation, the winds are the body of perfect experience, and the drops are the absolute body.

By cultivating a profound concentration on the Vajra body in general and upon the central channel in particular, they are able to cut through the gross levels of mental functioning and make contact with their original Residential Mind. Making use of this Mind, they can meditate on the emptiness of self-existence and penetrate the ultimate nature of reality, thereby freeing themselves of all delusions. At the same time that this totally absorbed into an explosion of incredible blissful energy. The unity of great bliss and the simultaneous comprehension of emptiness (known as Mahamudra) is the quickest path towards perfect and complete enlightenment. For details, see the section 103.6.

[The above excerpt is from]

Heartfelt thanks for sharing these wonderful publications. Emaho!


There are 72,000 subtle channels in the body, but the three principal ones are:

  • the central channel (Skt. avadhūtī; Tib. དབུ་མ་, uma, Wyl. dbu ma), running parallel to the spine,
  • the right channel (Skt. rasanā; Tib. རོ་མ་, roma, Wyl. ro ma) and
  • the left channel (Skt. lalanā; Tib. རྐྱང་མ་, kyangma, Wyl. rkyang ma), which run either side of the central channel.

The right and left channels coil around the central one at a number of points to form a series of “knots”. Along the central channel are situated a number of “channel wheels,” the chakras or energy-centers, from which channels branch off like the ribs of an umbrella.

Wind-Energies or Inner Air

Through these channels flow the winds, or inner air. There are five root and five branch winds. Each of the root winds supports an element and is responsible for a function of the human body. The branch winds enable the senses to operate. The winds that flow in the central channel are called ‘wisdom winds’. The winds that flow in all the other channels except the central channel are said to be impure, and to activate negative dualistic thought patterns.

Essences [tikle, bindu]

The “essences” (or drops) are contained within the channels. There are red and white essences. The principal seat of the white essence is the crown of the head, and of the red essence at the navel.


indestructible drop

mi nä pä tig le (Tib); mi gnas pa’i thig le (Wyl)

The subtle drop at the center of the heart chakra where the very subtle consciousness resides. Originating from the father’s red drop and the mother’s white one, it consists of two halves, which split at the moment of death to release the very subtle consciousness.

[Reference: glossary]

Further excerpt:

Transforming Appearances Into Dharma

Additional excerpt

[The following excerpt is from the]

The dropping of the generative heart point thigle-bindu, has been described countless times in Dzogchen instruction for the practice of the so-called completion stage of deity yoga. A typical example from notes taken from oral instruction. In the preliminary practices importance is given to dissolving; in the Vajrasattva practice, every sentient being becomes light, light dissolves, the sound of Hung is the “sound of dissolving,” all that remains is dharmakaya.

Perfection stage is exemplified by the dissolving Hung (after a lengthy visualization leading up to the “hung” visualized at the head of Vajrasattva) […]

The component parts of the actual glyph of the hung dissolve: the bottom of the Hung:

earth dissolves into water, next:
water into fire,
fire into wind,
wind into mind, the datsun dissolves into thigle (red thigle rises from the naval chakra to heart chakra) 
thigle dissolves to nada (visualize darkness) 
nada dissolves completely (visualize blue sky, luminous light).
In the Perfection Stage (completion stage) practice of Vajrasattva, the Rigpa light is “clear as a baby”. Rigpalight comes to us in sleep, but so fast that we don’t recognise it. When you pass out you experience it [for example…] or startled, and you lose your breath, or if you are extremely exhilarated…

To attain rigpa is the purpose of mantra: left and right channel energy, concentrated on one point makes it easy for energy to go into the central channel…

The four elements are really the four chakras. 

Earth, Water, Wind, and Fire

At death, earth into water, rigor mortis dissolving into central channel;
water into fire, (everything dries up),
fire into wind, (body loses temperature),
wind into mind: big breath, and then no breath, as left and right channels go into central channel.

The crown chakra begins to leak energy.

No support for the white thigle (male) and it drops down to the heart. Crown chakra dissolved. One experiences the vision of white moonlight, not the moon.

Then the naval chakra goes. Red thigle (female) rises. White thigle (like water,) it drops. Red thigle like fire, it rises to the heart chakra. They meet in union at the heart. Light is like at sunset, red, your entire consciousness is in your heart.

There are many variations of this process, but the bindu-drop is a consistent experience, attested by Realised Tibetan lamas and some Western practitioners of Dzogchen.

The sublime experience is mystical but also empirical: it can be prescribed and repeated, one person at a time.

For some people on the planet, the drop of the thig’le-bindu into the heart will happen spontaneously at the release moment of a life-impacting traumatic experience, as has been recorded.

The seedling of the sublime generative heart drop, formally and formerly achieved in the completion stage of Vajrayana practice, is now an emergent reality, a birthright opportunity for all human beings.

It can and will happen in an identical manner for many people. This will be the consistent signature of Kala Tantra initiation, a rite of spontaneous awakening.


Biomysticism leads to the resacralization of our participation in the natural world. The term ecognostic is used for the application of Gnosis to the futureecologicalawareness, or sacredecology.

Ecognosis as “intimate perception of the life-force of the earth, such that it brings humanity into alignment (correction). 

The human capacity for deep rapport with nature, (the central theme of Gnostic cosmology).

The rainbow body manifests in the presence of a deep spiritual commitment and is due to the intention of optimal human potential. […]

Continuation of Medicine Buddha teachings

[The human body consists of a coarse body made of six constituent elements of earth, water, fire, wind, space and consciousness, and also of a subtle body, or ‘Vajra body’, of winds, channels and drops]. The defiled (subtle energy body system), refers to the poisons, (afflictions), in the relative mind. It is like you put coffee in the clear water, then the water is not pure. Or, you put tea in the water, the water is defiled. […] So these three poisons (defilements)/ afflictions, create obstacles, and affect our channels (nadi), winds, and drops. The channels, winds, and drops, then do not have the true energy essence, and healing powers, because of the three poisons (defilements). When we purify these defilements, this brings the true healing, (realisation).

When the channels, winds and drops are defiled the inner, subtle body is not balanced. Then due to that, we get sickness and suffering. So, the root of the suffering, the root of the sickness, is the three poisons, (from which arises all the afflictions, of dualistic self-grasping). The defilements, (that are the result of the dualistic self-grasping), affects the channels, winds and drops. […] When we chant this last BHEKHAZE, (the fourth one), this last BHEKHAZE is purification of the three poisons. So, ignorance, anger and attachment are being purified, and then the essence of our body, (the channels, winds, and drops), become clear, (clean). When the subtle body system is balanced, the elements in the body are working correctly, this naturally brings the healing, (the healing arises naturally in that state). The natural inner (innate) state, (is the true nature), which does not need to rely on other, (external) things.


So, then we have our own healing arising from within ourselves. So, that power, that energy, is coming from within ourselves, and is not relying on any other medicines, (outer level medicine). The healing, everything is arising from within ourselves, (as a result of purifying the subtle energy body system). When we have our own healing rising from within, then that healing we can share, or give to others. It can heal other beings sickness and disease too. So, the main point is, the last “BHEKHAZE” is purification of the “Origination of Suffering”. “Origination of Suffering” is the cause of all the sicknesses, and diseases, (when the balances, in our subtle energy body system, are lost).

So, then the “RAZA SAMUNGATE” is, we are calling Medicine Buddha, (from within our innate awareness of mind). This innate wisdom, is the true healing energy, and is represented by the deep blue, Lapis Lazuli colour, of Medicine Buddha’s form body. The Lapis Lazuli, symbolises the root of the true healing energy, the loving kindness, (compassion), wisdom, (bodhicitta). So, the “SAMUNGATE” in “RAZA SAMUNGATE”, represents the Lapis Lazuli, and the main point, (or, the essence of that), is that it means the [innate] love, compassion, and wisdom. This is the essence of true healing. This healing releases our mind and body sickness, (it is purifying the disease, sickness, negative karma). So, mind, body purification. Then the “SWAHA”, (in Medicine Buddha mantra: (TADYATHA / OM BHEKHAZE BHEKHAZE MAHA BHEKHAZE BHEKHAZE RAZA SAMUNGATE SWAHA), symbolises our rigpa awareness, as inseparable with the Enlightened activity of Medicine Buddha practice, (the unification with the true nature state). It signifies that quality, (the realisation of the true nature), arising from within us.


So, [to summarise here], the main point of the Medicine Buddha mantra, is that we have this healing within us. However, we need to purify the mind. The first three BHEKHAZE’s in the mantra: (“TADYATHA / OM BHEKHAZE BHEKHAZE MAHA BHEKHAZE BHEKHAZE RAZA SAMUNGATE SWAHA”), purify the the three types of suffering: (1) the “Suffering of Suffering”, (2) the Suffering of Change, (3) the “All-Pervasive Suffering”. Then the fourth “BHEKHAZE” in the mantra, purifies the “Origination of Suffering”, which are the three root poisons: (ignorance, attachment and aversion). So, the last “BHEKHAZE” removes the root cause of suffering, (the “Origination of Suffering”), the three poisons. This purification restores the balance of the elements in the subtle energy body system, and the innate true healing occurs, as a result of this. So, then the true healing power is rising from within us, and this is what the Lapis Lazuli colour of Medicine Buddha’s form body represents, (it signifies the spiritual energies and Enlightened qualities). The essence of the healing energies, of: love, compassion, wisdom, bodhichitta awareness, and so forth, (“RAZA SAMUNGATE”). This healing, (Enlightened energy), that arises from within us, (is the medicine), it is inseparable with Medicine Buddha, and we are inseparable with that state, (“SWAHA”).

The “OM”, the (“OM AH HUNG”), [at the start of this mantra], is medicine, (it is, Enlightened form, Enlightened speech, Enlightened mind). In the true healing state, (the true nature state), ordinary body, speech, and mind is transformed. So, this is a short explanation of this mantra, in the Medicine Buddha practice. So now we have finished the Medicine Buddha short mantra, so next is the “Dissolution” section (p.11-12). See following webpage titled: Medicine Buddha Retreat (3) for the continuation of the teachings.

(to be continued…)

(Any errors are the transcriber/ editor’s own).
Immeasurable thanks for these precious teachings.