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.

*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. First we are going to do practice, and then I am going to share teaching on the mantra section. The text is: The DROP OF AMBROSIA, The Meditation of Medicine Buddha.


So [now] I have finished [giving] the transmission. You can chant the mantra, and listen to the teaching, both together. (You can chant the mantra mentally). 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.



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

So, we take refuge through the three doors, [of body, speech, and mind], and, in so doing we are paying respect to the Three Jewels of Refuge, [Buddha, Dharma and Sangha]. Buddha, [true nature of reality of all phenomena], Dharma, [the teachings of the true nature, given by, the fully Enlightened being (Buddha)], Sangha, [which can refer to, both the supreme assemblies of Enlightened beings, and the community still on the path, putting the teachings, (of the true nature of reality) into practice]. It is through our body, speech, and mind, (3 doors), and through devotion, [the repeated cultivation of the awakening mind, – to realise the true nature of reality, through relying on the Buddha’s teachings, taking refuge, in the Buddha’s supreme Realization of the true nature of reality], that we can liberate our mind from the sufferings of samsara, (the dualistic self-grasping attachment, to mere concepts in the mind), and help liberate all other sentient beings. Today, [in this practice] we are taking refuge in the Medicine Buddhas mandala. [Within the state of true reality [Buddha], are the three kayas [or, three bodies (forms) of a buddha]: dharmakaya, (ultimate truth body, the true nature of reality), sambhogakaya (the body of bliss/ enjoyment), and nirmanakaya, (body of transformation). The Enlightened activities of fully Awakened beings, [Realised, in the state of Buddhahood], arises ceaselessly to benefit sentient beings, (nondual nature of the union of compassion and wisdom). The intention of the Medicine Buddhas practices and enlightened activities, are specifically associated with healing the suffering of sickness and diseases of sentient beings, so we can pray to the Medicine Buddhas for help in these situations].

There are eight medicine or healing Buddhas specifically:

1. Medicine Buddha, [Buddha Bhaiṣajya-guru, Medicine Master and King of Lapis Lazuli Light], has seven accompanying buddhas in his retinue, (one of these is Buddha Shakyamuni).
2. [Buddha] Excellent Name, 3. [Buddha] Appearance of Stainless Fine Gold, 4. [Buddha] Supreme One Free from Sorrow, 5. [Buddha] Proclamation of Dharma, 6. [Buddha] King of Clear Knowing, 7. [Buddha] King of Melodious Sound, 8. [Buddha] King of the Shakyas, (Buddha Shakyamuni).

The Medicine Buddha, (blue in colour), is the main one, and this sadhana focuses on this Medicine Buddha. So, when we take refuge we think that, (and visualising), that these eight Medicine Buddhas are in front of us. Then, through [the intention] of our body, speech and mind we are taking refuge to these Buddhas. Then next line, we are cultivating bodhicitta.



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

We cultivate the mind to benefit sentient beings. [This is antidote for the mind]. When we practice Medicine Buddha, we especially look to all these beings with sickness, [and arise great compassion, (bodhicitta), wishing to help to release them from their suffering]. Each Buddha has slightly different aspirations, that bring benefit for sentient beings. Medicine Buddhas aspirations are that all the sicknesses and diseases, causing sentient beings suffering, are eliminated, (that these come to an end). So, when we see, hear, and know of people who are sick, then chant the Medicine Buddha prayers, [when heartfelt prayers are made], this has great benefit, due to the power of the Medicine Buddhas aspirations, [and activities to benefit sentient beings, (unenlightened beings, who are suffering with sicknesses and diseases in samsara)]. So, also when we think about all these other suffering sentient beings, (who have disease, suffering, sickness), and we practice Medicine Buddha for them, (in that very act of thinking about others suffering, and wishing to help them, remove their suffering), through generating that compassion, (bodhicitta in the mind), we are removing our own sickness, negative karma, and disease.

“… who have all been my mothers,”… we have to know, all these beings with sicknesses and diseases used to be our parents, loved ones. So, recognising that, and generating compassion for them, wishing them free from their suffering. When that intention arises, at the same time practicing Medicine Buddha, [visualisations, prayers and mantras], then through the practice, we are also actually really removing our own negative karma, disease and sickness. [So, by generating the bodhicitta mind, again, and again, cultivating a mind of compassion, an open mind, that recognises the suffering of others, and acts to relieve/ antidote that suffering, we are fulfilling the two-fold benefit, (of self and others), and following in the path, of liberating the mind, (waking up, to realization of the true nature of reality). Emaho!]. This is the power of practicing the dharma. It is the power of practicing with devotion to the Medicine Buddhas, and arising [the great compassion] for others. So, that is why the cultivation of bodhicitta is so important.

I cultivate the mind to establish suffering sentient beings, who have all been my mothers, in unsurpassed enlightenment”. So, we cultivate the ‘mind of bodhicitta’, that wishes all mother sentient beings are free from suffering, and follows in the path of liberating mind, through the continual generation of great compassion, and practice, (a renewal of vows, to help all other sentient beings, liberate their mind from samsara’s sufferings). So, these two, [refuge and bodhicitta cultivation], are the preparation, (these are the Preliminary Practices), to practicing the yidam deity in the Medicine Buddha sadhana. We sometimes call these the opening prayers, [mindfulness meditation practices, cultivating awareness of the two truths, (relative or conventional reality, and ultimate reality), and the relationship between the two, which arises the wisdom, that cuts through duality, to realising the selflessness of all phenomena, (self and all other phenomena)].

[Briefly a note about] the Preliminary Practices here, and the traditional accumulation of the Preliminaries in the traditional Ngondro practices: (the accumulation of the one hundred thousand repetitions of: Refuge prayers, and prostrations, Vajrasattva Purification practice, mandala offerings and guru yoga). Of course, if someone can do the accumulations in the Ngondro Preliminary practices, that is great. [It prepares the mind, then when you receive teachings and do the practices, the realisations arise much more easily and consistently). There are many people who think that without doing the Ngondro Preliminaries, they cannot go into the practices. I think that is a misunderstanding, because each practice has Preliminary Practices with it, because without these Preliminary Practices, you cannot go into the main practice. So, Refuge and Bodhicitta [cultivation] are Preliminary Practices, and that opens the door for you to go into the [main] practice.

When we see [in the text], the visualisations and practice, this is when you are inside the mandala. You have come in the door, and are already in the home. So, before we get in the home, we have to open the door, and that is called the Preliminary Practices. So, that is why each of these practices, [sadhanas], has Preliminary practices. On the way to the second floor, we go through the first floor. We go […] through the second floor, to go to third floor. We do not naturally go to the third floor, without going through the second, [and the first floor]. […] So, our goal is going to the third floor, the accomplishment of the main practice. The second floor is going through the main practice. The first floor is the Preliminary practices. This is the way, to understand it. (Each practice has, for example, a first, second and third floor).

[…] So, that is why here in this practice, first we take refuge to the Medicine Buddhas mandala, and through our devotion [to the practices], open the mind, open the three doors, [of body, speech, and mind]. Then we cultivate bodhicitta, [the awakening mind], knowing the other beings are suffering, and we want to help them, to liberate their minds. So that is the intention. […] Then we are ready to go into the main practice. So, now this visualisation, (the visualisation is the main practice).



In front of and above myself is a lion throne upon which rests a lotus,
sun and moon disk seat, on which sits Medicine Buddha,
blue in colour like the Vaidurya jewel (Lapis Lazuli).


“In front of and above myself is a lion throne upon which rests a lotus, So, this practice, (Medicine Buddha), all the Yidam deity practices, are purification practices, (purification of impure perception). The *Vajrayana practices use ‘special method’. This is different to, (as I have previously mentioned), us doing our practices ourself, and not using a special object for support, (the latter is, like you are washing your clothes by hand, that is the basic practice). The Vajrayana means you are not using your hand, we are using the washing machine to clean the clothes. So, Vajrayana practice is we are using support, [special object], and that is called method.

[*The Sanskrit term vajra translates to “diamond” or “the thunderbolt.” This term refers to our indestructible true nature, which is deathless, ever awake presence inseparable with emptiness. This is what we seek to realize, and then fully actualize consciously into every moment of our lives. Often Vajrayana is translated to simply mean “the diamond vehicle”, [or Mantrayāna (“mantra vehicle”)].

So, you don’t do hardship, but you get the job done, (we accomplish the goal). On the other hand, if we are practicing, (but we are just thinking we are ordinary beings ourselves, and the place, where we are, is an impure place), then in that case, we are not using support in the practice. Then, the practices, just going through our mundane perception, take a really long time. The same as, if you were going to a destination very far away, and you are just going on foot, (walking there). It’s easy to get tired, right, (not that easy), a very hard way to get there. So, here instead, we are using transportation, so it is much easier. […] Also, there are different means of transportation. So, when we use these different transportations, we are using support. Then, each transportation is dependent, [on various causes and conditions], some are very fast, some take longer. So, that is the same as this practice. Dharma practice has different vehicles, (different levels) […]. In this Vajrayana teaching, the transportation is like going by aeroplane, so faster, and not on the ground level.

On the ground level, (if you go by land), you can see that, you see each river, each landscape, that you go through. So examples of three vehicles are: we are using our own support, (ourself, our effort), like travelling on foot, using the two legs, and walking the journey […] that is the Basic Teaching Practice. It is easier to understand sometimes, very suitable sometimes, but it takes time, [to accomplish the fruition of the practices this way]. When you hear the Basic teaching, it makes sense to us, due to basic level capacity, this is called the Tilopian Basic Teaching. Second, is called the Mahayana, here you are using bus, train, car, as transportation, so still on the ground, on the road. Now, you can see all these different roads and landscapes, like you go through the mountains. So, you can see all these things, but you still have the ground level perception. The meaning of the Vajrayana is like, we don’t use this ground level transportation, we go by aeroplane. So, you don’t get caught on the back roads, you don’t have to cross the mountains, [you are in the sky], you don’t have to go through the bridges. You don’t see that ground level perspective, [because you are in the sky-space level of the practice].


The reason is, Vajrayana means transformation, we don’t stay in this ordinary perception. We visualise where we are, the place is Medicine Buddha’s Pureland, then you don’t see these impure perceptions, so you are no longer on the ground, you are already in the [sky] space. We visualise the home, (where we stay), becomes Medicine Buddha’s palace. Then, we visualise Medicine Buddha, inside the palace, in front of us. We can also visualise ourself as Medicine Buddha, [either way]. This is called front generation, and self generation [respectively]. In this text, it is starting with front generation. Here we visualise Medicine Buddha both in front and above, [the crown of our head]. Medicine Buddha’s throne is a lion’s throne, the lions throne means a principal, [main] Buddha. So, a Principal Buddha has a lion’s throne, and Bodhisattvas have a lotus, sun and moon disk seat. […] The lion throne also represents fearlessness, (free from all fears), free from all obstacles, the accomplishment of realisation, so the lion’s throne is representative of Buddha.

[This practice is purification of ordinary perception, (deluded perception of self-grasping, clinging to mere concepts in the mind), the reason why we continue to take rebirth in samsara]. “In front of and above myself is a lion throne upon which rests a lotus,…”. So, we visualise the lotus, which is purification of mother’s womb, [purification of the karmic imprints, seeds in our consciousness (mindstream), which arises our mistaken perception. We are purifying this delusion, to cut through samsara, and realise the true nature of reality, nondual, (union of emptiness wisdom and compassion), the empty, luminous essence, of dharmakaya itself]. “… sun and moon disk seat”,… sun is mother’s essence [of body and represents wisdom], and moon is father’s essence [of body, and represents bodhicitta or compassion], we have both the red and white drops in our body].

Additional material section

At the channel-centres there are white and red drops, upon which physical and mental health are based. The principal seat of the white essence is the crown of the head, and of the red essence at the navel. These drops have their origin in a white and red drop at the heart centre, and this drop is the size of a small pea and has a white top and red bottom. It is called the indestructible drop, since it lasts until death. The very subtle life-bearing wind dwells inside it and, at death, all winds ultimately dissolve into it, whereupon the clear light vision of death dawns,

(from wheel-of-life-death-process/)

Three Stages of Body and Mind

Penetrating the nature of mind and body is emphasized equally in the Vajrayana. In the tantric scriptures, such as Hevajra and Kalachakra, the state of mind and body are generally taught to exist in three stages: coarse, subtle and utmost subtle.

The three stages of mind are: 1) the coarse mind—kleshas (defilements) and thoughts; 2) the subtle mind—mind that is resting in basic nondual emptiness; and 3) the utmost subtle mind—absolute bodhichitta (awakened mind or heart), freedom from all conceptualization.

The three stages of body are: 1) the coarse body—the skandhas, the ayatanas and dhatus; 2) the subtle body—the prana, nadis and bindu; and 3) the utmost subtle body—the vajra body.

The coarse body is our relative, physical body that is composed of and functions through the five skandhas, eighteen dhatus and twelve ayatanas (the ayatanas and dhatus comprise all the elements of the perceptual processes: the six sense organs, including mind, their objects, and the corresponding consciousnesses). From the Vajrayana perspective, this body is seen as the basis or fundamental ground of transmutation.

The subtle body, which pervades the coarse body, consists of three elements: a network of channels, or nadis; the subtle wind energies, or prana, which move through these pathways; and the essence of the physical body, known as bindu. By means of practicing with these three, one accomplishes the three vajras—the indestructible nature of the three aspects of enlightened body, speech and mind.

Thus, in the tantric view, the ground of body is full of pathways or highways (nadis) upon which the horse of prana circulates, and the wealth of subtle and pure energies (bindus) is enjoyed by the accomplished rider. Conversely, it is taught that the dualistic mind is like a person without legs who rides on the blind horse of prana.

The utmost subtle body is the genuine body of the spontaneously present, indivisible three vajras. This is the resultant form in the Vajrayana, and it is the purest form of nadi, prana and bindu, which are the basis or support of the unchanging three kayas, or bodies, of buddhahood. The dharmakaya, or “body of truth,” relates to vajra mind; the sambhogakaya, or “body of enjoyment,” relates to vajra speech; and the nirmanakaya, or “emanation body,” relates to vajra body.

Through the methods of the Vajrayana, one takes the basic ground, which is our very state of physical existence, into the experience of sacred world. All the interdependent appearances of mind and phenomena are experienced with sacred vision, without abandoning or adopting anything. We work with the vastness of relative reality by seeing it in its true state, the state of sacred world. Thus, the relative world is seen as a sacred mandala, or buddhafield.

(from Lions Roar,

So, then we visualise sun and moon disk seats. “on which sits Medicine Buddha,…”. So, atop of that we visualise Medicine Buddha. We can visualise the seed syllable atop there also. The circular mantra with the Seed Syllable “HUM” in the center is: TAYATA, OM BEKANDZE BEKANDZE MAHA BEKANDZE RADZA SAMUNGATE SOHA. Then, that syllable transforms into the Medicine Buddha’s form body. So, that means our ordinary consciousness is transformed in the Medicine Buddha’s form body. Then, that consciousness is totally transformed, (all the impure perception is transformed). Our ordinary form body, is transformed to Enlightened body; our ordinary speech, to Enlightened speech; our ordinary mind, to Enlightened mind. So, that transformation means, very fast transportation, like the aeroplane. It is not going through by road, you don’t see the land, because you are in the space, (in the sky space). So, we don’t see the mundane perception, we are directly transforming all these impure perceptions, into the pure perceptions. So, that is why it is called ‘special method,’ we are not only using our own effort, we are using support, and method, so that, all the impure perception, becomes pure. Then, the practice has more power, because our body, speech and mind is now not ordinary, body, speech, and mind, (it is already transformed to the Buddha’s body, speech and mind). So, we are already unifying with the result, not the ground, [relative level ground, dualistic perception]. Result is, the [ultimate] truth level, [realisation of the true nature of reality, rigpa state], journey into those states. So, that is the meaning of Vajrayana practice. The main point of Yidam deity practice is support, (transforming impure perception, to pure perception).

Then the next line, “… on which sits Medicine Buddha, blue in colour like the Vaidurya jewel (Lapis Lazuli)”. Medicine Buddha’s form is blue in colour like the Vaidurya jewel (Lapis Lazuli). […] Lapiz Lazuli is also considered a precious and treasured stone. [For those who use it in visualization practices, there is a healing effect in the deep blue light. The deep blue shade of lapis is said to have a cleansing and strengthening influence on the mind and awareness and helps to protect from negative emotions, for those who envisage it […] Lapis is almost invariably included in the picture of Bhaisajyaguru, (Medicine Buddha)].


In his right hand he hold the medicine tree, and in the left a bowl
filled with nectar. In Nirmanakaya form, he radiates the light of all
the major and minor marks.

In his right hand he hold the medicine tree,…”. The medicine tree represents healing, help for the sentient beings to recover from illnesses. So, we practice Medicine Buddha to remove all the disease karma, or sickness negative karma of ourselves, and other beings. “… and in the left a bowl filled with nectar”... this is the medicine nectar. “In Nirmanakaya form”, so Medicine Buddha is in Nirmanakaya form, the same as Buddha Shakyaumuni. So, Buddha Shakyamuni’s and Medicine Buddha’s form is very similar, just the colour is different, and Medicine Buddha holds the medicine tree, [in his right hand], in the mudra of generosity, (the giving mudra), and is holding the medicine bowl, [in his left hand], representing giving healing for others.

The Buddha Shakyamuni’s form, [the right hand] is pointed downwards, ‘touching the earth’. [It is more commonly known as the ‘earth witness’ mudra. This mudra, formed with all five fingers of the right hand extended to touch the ground, symbolizes the Buddha’s enlightenment under the bodhi tree, when he summoned the earth goddess, Sthavara, to bear witness to his attainment of enlightenment. The right hand, placed upon the right knee in earth-pressing mudra, and complemented by the left hand-which is held flat in the lap in the dhyana mudra of meditation, symbolizes the union of method and wisdom, (samasara and nirvana), and also the realizations of the conventional and ultimate truths. It is in this posture that Shakyamuni overcame the obstructions of Mara while meditating on Truth]. Both Shakyamuni Buddha and Medicine Buddha, hold a bowl in the lap, with the left hand, held flat, this also symbolises renunciation, and the female principle of wisdom]. [*Traditionally, the hands folded in the lap signify meditation; a palm held up facing outward signifies the act of teaching or reassurance; an open palm pointed downward signifies generosity]. They are both in the Nirmanakaya form, that is why there are no ornaments. Sambhogakaya forms have many ornaments, Nirmanakaya form is very simple.

“… he radiates the light of all the major and minor marks”. so, when we visualise the Medicine Buddha in front of us, the form is radiating light and mantras, such as, TAYATA, OM BEKANDZE BEKANDZE MAHA BEKANDZE RADZA SAMUNGATE SOHA. There are different mantras of the Medicine Buddhas, and they have many different words, [associated with them]. The words of the mantra are coming from different parts of his body, and dissolving into oneself, and others, and we meditate on receiving the healing energy from Medicine Buddha. The major and minor marks are part of Medicine Buddha’s body, and these are radiating light, [healing energy]. Also, we can visualise the OM syllable, emanating from his forehead, in the form of white light, which dissolves into our body, purifying all the diseases of the body and sicknesses. The while light radiating out from the OM syllable, also goes to all the other beings, [in the six realms of samsara], and removes the diseases, and sicknesses of negative karma. And then, from the throat, we visualise the AH syllable radiating red light, which is dissolving into our throat, [and the other beings, giving healing], removing all our negative speech, disease karma, so we meditate in this way. And then from the heart centre of Medicine Buddha, the HUNG syllable radiates blue light, dissolving into our heart, and goes out to all the other beings, removing the negative karma of the mind, the diseases and sicknesses, that the mind has created, and the obstacles [to practice]. This white, red and blue light, radiating from the OM AH HUNG syllables [respectively], goes to all the beings of the three realms of existence, and purifies their karma. So, we can meditate this way, receiving the healing of the major and minor marks of Medicine Buddha’s form body.


He is surrounded by the Lamas, Yidams and the seven Sugatas
with as many Buddhas and Bodhisattvas as the number of
dust particles in the sunlight.

Medicine Buddha’s form, is surrounded on the left, and right sides, and above the crown of the head, (the area at the top), by Lamas, (gurus), all the lineage teachers and gurus, who have accomplished the Medicine Buddha practice. So, all those gurus are with him, in the space around Medicine Buddha, [the Kagyu Lamas], Dorje Chan, Tilopa, Naropa, [Marpa, Milarepa, Dharma Lord Gampopa, Phagmodrupa, and Lord Drikungpa], all the gurus and yidams, [of the lineages], including Chakrasamvara, Vajrayogini, Chenrezig, Tara, Guru Padmasambhava, [and so forth], and the Seven Sugatas. The Seven Sugatas here are referring to the other Medicine Buddhas, (so, another six Buddhas, along with Shakyamuni Buddha). Shakyamuni Buddha is the seventh, and Medicine Buddha is the eighth, (so eight Medicine Buddhas). This eighth one is the main one, and then the other seven Medicine Buddhas (sugatas), [in the mandala]… “… with as many Buddhas and Bodhisattvas as the number of dust particles in the sunlight”. So, we visualise all these [countless] Enlightened beings in front, together with Medicine Buddha.


They radiate light in all directions from their three special places,
inviting the wisdom beings who dissolve into the samaya beings.

“They radiate light in all directions from their three special places,“… the yidam deities, gurus, sugatas, radiate light in all directions, from the three special places, (the forehead, throat and heart; the body, speech and mind, respectively), as explained in the above section. “… inviting the wisdom beings…”, so we visualise Medicine Buddha in front of us, and all these different gurus, yidam deities, sugatas [and so forth]. Light is radiating from their three places, which invites, [draws forth], the corresponding wisdom beings. So, Medicine Buddha, radiating light from the three places, invites all the wisdom beings associated with Medicine Buddha; Buddha Shakyamuni’s three doors radiating light, invites the wisdom beings, associated with Buddha Shakyamuni; the gurus light, radiating from the three places, invites all the wisdom beings associated with the gurus, [and so forth]. “... who dissolve into the samaya beings,” then, all this dissolves into the samaya beings. The samaya beings, include ourselves, [so, in the three part visualisation], (i) we, (samaya beings), are visualising the (ii) Yidam deity, (and mandala) in front of us, and (iii) inviting the wisdom beings from the Purelands, (which dissolve into us).

So, the front generation here, (in the Medicine Buddha practice), is like, when we are using the statues on the altar for example, for support in our visualisations. Here, on this altar, [Drikung Dharma Surya temple], there are the Buddha Shakyamuni statues, the 1000 Buddha statues around the altar, so this is the same as using front generation. Just as, when you have an altar, you have a thangka, you have a statue, [at home, (or where you are staying), that you are using in your practice], so that is the same as front generation. So, when we practice, light radiates from our front generation, and goes to the Purelands, inviting the wisdom beings. The wisdom beings, then dissolve into our samaya being, [not our ordinary form body]. Our samaya being, is our forehead, throat and heart, so the wisdom beings are dissolving into these three places, [our samaya being] is inseparable with these wisdom beings, and so our body, speech, and mind is transforming into Medicine Buddha and these wisdom beings. So, now oneself is Medicine Buddha, and we also have the front generation of the Medicine Buddha’s mandala.


They are the embodiment of wisdom, compassion, power
and activities that dispel the sicknesses of all sentient beings.

“They are the embodiment of wisdom, compassion…” So, we are inviting the Medicine Buddha, including all the retinues [in the mandala]. This Buddha is an embodiment of wisdom. The Buddhas, and the wisdom beings that we are inviting, are an embodiment of, all the Buddhas wisdom, compassion, and power, which is all dissolving into us. “… and activities that dispel the sicknesses of all sentient beings…” so, we visualise ourselves as Buddha, and then remove all of our negative karma. In this form, we have this power, [we are part of the activities that dispel the sicknesses of all sentient beings]. This is because, the reason why we get sick, is due to our self-grasping, negative karma, [and this practice is antidote to that]. And now, we are transforming, [the three doors in this practice], we have already transformed this body, speech and mind into Enlightened being. Enlightened being has this wisdom, compassion, power, so, we visualise ourselves as this Medicine Buddha form, in doing so, we can remove disease, sickness negative karma. So you have to know, in this Medicine Buddha practice, the focus is to remove the cause of negative disease karma. Negativity, (negative karma) is the cause. When you are already sick with a disease, [that has ripened], you cannot find here, that which says, chant the Medicine Buddha [mantra], and you are going to recover from the sickness, that has already ripened. […] What this practice is, is removing the cause, of that disease negative karma. It is removing the cause. So, the point is, we practice Medicine Buddha, and the benefit is, we are not going to get diseases in future lives, [because we are removing the cause], and so, free from the disease negative karma, that is the main point here.

Also, a result of this, is that we will not take rebirth in the lower realms, [of cyclic existence]. If you take rebirth in the lower realms, [it is much more difficult to generate the kind of positive karma, to take a higher rebirth, because in those states you are revolving in the sickness, disease negative karma, of those lower states of existence, all the time. So, what the Medicine Buddha practice is doing, is removing the lower realms negative karma, (it removes our sickness, disease negative karma). So, we visualise Medicine Buddha in front, and we visualise ourself as Medicine Buddha, and then we chant the ‘Offerings’, [which is the next section in this sadhana text].











Offering is another way, [a skilful means], to remove our self-grasping fixation, [to/ with ourselves, which is dualistic delusion, and cause, effect, and conditions for suffering to arise]. And, when we give with no expectation of what we will receive in return, the giving becomes more pure, and so the benefit is much greater. (It is the nature of the universe that we are in, that whatever is given, returns in like kind, but not necessarily the same way it was given). When the giving is sealed with the dedication prayer, that recognises the emptiness nature, of the one who gives, the action of giving, and the one to whom this is given, this is referred to as uncontaminated merit, and has great power to benefit, (sentient beings). It plants seeds of the supreme awareness realisation, (the compassionate wisdom awareness of nondual reality state in the mental continuum)].

(Additional material section)

Dedicating the merit to perfect enlightenment

Dedicating to enlightenment

Through wisdom purified of the three concepts

All merit achieved by such endeavor,

To remove the suffering of numberless beings, is the practice of a bodhisattva.

There are three sections to the teachings: a virtuous beginning, which is the arousing of relative and absolute bodhicitta; a virtuous middle, which concerns the illusory accumulation of merit and wisdom; and a virtuous end, which is the dedication of all merit to enlightenment.

Dedication seals the practice, and enhances its benefits and results. As the Ratnakuta Sutra says:

All phenomena are caused by circumstance,

And so our destiny is determined by what we wish for.

Depending on the aspirations that we make

We shall obtain results that correspond.

Right dedication is to dedicate your meritorious actions of body, speech, and mind to the enlightenment of all beings, beginning with those who have harmed you and created obstacles for you.

If you share with all beings the merit of a practice or positive action, that merit will last until you reach enlightenment, just as a drop of water that you put into the ocean will never dry up, for as long as the ocean remains. But if you neglect to share the merit, it is like pouring a drop of water on a hot stone-it evaporates right away. Or it is like a seed that bears fruit once and then dies.

If you fail to seal your merit with authentic dedication, then however vast the offerings and positive actions you have performed may be, their results can only be ephemeral and vulnerable to the destructive effects of your negative emotions, such as anger, pride, and jealousy.

It is also important to dedicate your merit to the right goal, and not just to the […] achievements of this life, such as wealth, good health, success and influence. Your true goal should be total, unsurpassable enlightenment for the sake of others.

To dedicate merit in the best possible way – a way entirely free from the three concepts of a subject, an object and an action – is possible only for someone who has fully realized emptiness. How, then, should we ordinary beings dedicate the merit, incapable as we are of such perfect dedication? We can do it by following in the footsteps of those who have that realization.

The Bodhisattva Samantabhadra mastered the ocean-like infinitude of a bodhisattva’s aspirations, while Manjushri and Avalokiteshvara mastered the ocean-like infinitude of a bodhisattva’s activity to benefit beings. When you dedicate merit, do it with the idea of emulating the way these great bodhisattvas dedicated merit, and use the perfect verses spoken by the Buddha or his followers who realized the ultimate, empty nature of everything. It gives your prayers much more power and efficacy.

Use the King of Aspirations for Noble Excellent Conduct, or extracts from it, such as:

Just as fearless Manjushri did to attain omniscience,

And in the same way that Samantabhadra, likewise, did too,

Just so, to follow all of them and train myself,

I perfectly dedicate these meritorious actions.

Or this prayer, spoken by Lama Mipham:

By the power of omniscience, love, and prayers arisen

From the enlightened hearts of the sugatas,

May we all realize

The magical transformation of the guru’s wisdom.


By the blessings of the attainment of the Three Bodies of the Buddha,

By the blessings of the unchanging truth of the Dharmata,

And by the blessings of the intentions of the undivided Sangha,

May all my aspirations, just as made while dedicating now, in future come to be.


When, stricken by impermanence,

They cross to the next existence,

May I lead all beings in general

And all those who have been connected to me

In a positive or negative way.

May I guide them efficiently,

May I cut the stream of their suffering,

May I ferry them across the four rivers.

May they soon obtain unsurpassable enlightenment!


Throughout all of our lives, may we never separate from the perfect Teacher;

May we avail ourselves of all the beneficial glory of the Dharma.

Fully perfecting the qualities of the paths and bhumis,

May we swiftly reach the very level of Vajradhara.

Actions done with neither pride nor regret, and then dedicated correctly, bear an unhindered energy that enables us to progress quickly toward enlightenment.

– Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche – The Heart of Compassion – Shambhala Publications

Yidams and Deities

“All the Yidams and deities practiced in meditation have the same fundamental nature and are utterly pure. Nevertheless, they have different appearances, which reflect the different activities that they embody and engage in. These different activities are primarily determined by the individual aspirations they made at the time they initially generated Bodhicitta. It is primarily for this reason that deities manifest varied appearances. Sometimes they appear as male in which case they primarily embody Upaya or method; sometimes appearing as female, in which case they primarily embody Prajna or wisdom; sometimes they appear as peaceful and sometimes as wrathful, and so on. In the case of the Medicine Buddha, his primary motivation was to remove all the suffering of beings caused by the imbalance of the elements, which we know as mental and physical illness.”

H.E. Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche

Excerpt from: Medicine Buddha Teachings,

Shenpen Osel & Zhyisil Chokyi Ghatsal Publications, p 10

May 29, 2016

(Posted by Devotees of the Karma Kagyu Lineage, Facebook, 10 April 2024)

Offering: (i) removes our self-grasping fixation, and (ii) creates an accumulation of merit. So, the offerings here, first we have seven bowls. The first one is a water offering:


This water is representative of drinking water. [Drinking water is a precious substance, sentient beings need water to drink, or we cannot survive. [Instead of just mindlessly consuming or wasting this precious resource, we dedicate the merit of that], we recognise its great value, which sustains our life. This simple offering practice is antidote to our self-grasping mind, and instead, – all of what we drink, and enjoy, is offered to the Buddhas, connecting us, our mind, (through the dharma of our practice), to the enlightened activities, bringing benefit, ceaselessly to all beings. It is an act of generosity, and mindfulness practice, (a skilful means), of bringing everything onto the path of practice, to realizing the ultimate true nature of reality]. Also, when you practice the front generation, and self generation, [as has been explained earlier in the three part practice above], then, all the food and drink in the entire universe becomes offering, [practicing in this way, we accumulate a vast storehouse of [uncontaminated] merit, which we need to generate in the mind, on the path of Realisation]. Also, whatever you are using in samsara, [desire objects, and so forth], are [mentally offered,/ given as offerings], through this practice, this acts to, cut through our dualistic, self-grasping attachment to it. [This can be done as its own practice, and alongside making the physical offerings].

So, everything becomes offerings. [We’re practicing offering to the Buddhas, (the Enlightened mind, which is the realization of nature of our mind, and the true nature of reality). And, offering to the Enlightened activities, (for the benefit of all sentient beings, until all are liberated from samara’s pain/ sufferings), ripening our own minds in the way of liberation, in doing so.

Why do we have difficulty making these offerings to the true nature? It is because of our deluded, fixated attachment to this form body. When this body has not been transformed, into the three bodies of a Buddha, it is a body of karma, (of sickness, of dualistic self-grasping attachment to mere concept in the mind, resulting in the continual rebirth of this delusion, in one of the states (six realms of samsara), in cyclic existence, which corresponds with the delusion)].

Our occurence in this world, (the human realm), is the result of karma, many causes, effects and conditions, and arises as this ceaseless play, (existing until the karma for this life is exhausted), appearing as such, (as our subjective experience/perception, due to dualistic attachment fixation in the mind, (our relative reality)). Yet, all phenomena is the very nature of true reality, (dharmakaya) itself, there is no truly, solidly existing form anywhere.

Given, we do not know how long we will be here, (and causes, effects, and conditions, continue ceaselessly), recognising the opportunity of the preciousness of the human life, to plant seeds of awakening from the dream of samsara is so important. For this reason, each moment is seen as incalculably precious, and it is recognised to be a great tragedy indeed, to ‘leave the island, without the jewels’. In other words, to have not planted the seeds in one’s mental continuum/ engaged in a path (of dharma practice), of one’s awakening, in this life. For, if we do not recognise now, when will we have the opportunity again?]

Self generation
The offerings, [to the Enlightened state, (the mind liberated from samsara], comes from the (continued effort, until it becomes effortless), of inner self-generation, (of the awakening mind of bodhicitta]. As long as we visualise ourself as the Yidam deity, then when you put on clothes, it is also offering to the Buddhas, [everything then becomes offering to the Enlightened nature, (the union of method, (compassion), and wisdom (emptiness), for the benefit of all sentient beings)], that is the self-generation.

Front generation
So, in the front generation, we visualise the Buddhas in front, we are offering to them, [the practice]. At that time, [this is not the self-generation], we are thinking, I am ordinary, and the Buddhas are emanations of wisdom, compassion and power. So we ask Buddha, please help with these practices, I am offering all this to you. So, at a basic level we do that offering.

Additional material section:

At the time of the Buddha in ancient India, it was the custom of the day for devoted Buddhist households to make offerings to the Buddha and his monks and nuns as they travelled. Typically they would be offered clean water for drinking and bathing, flowers, incense, light or a lamp, perfume or fragrance and music. These offerings eventually became known as the 8 Auspicious Offerings and symbolise the coming forth of the Buddha’s precious teachings into the world. These same offerings are used today on Tibetan Buddhist altars as a way to express gratitude and respect for the Buddha.

Typically on a Tibetan Buddhist Altar there are seven offering bowls and one light. They are arranged on the altar in a straight line close together. The distance between each bowl is about the width of a grain of rice. The water bowls are filled left to right and filled full but not overflowing. The water is poured evenly and steadily with smooth, regular movement. If the offering is poured in the correct way then it is said that beneficial outcome occurs and obscurations are dispelled. The closing of the altar is done in reverse, from right to left.


The significance of each of the seven (or eight) offering bowls

The usual practice is to set up seven bowls.

In some practices the seven bowls are used to achieve the seven limbs (or aspects) of enlightenment. It represents the seven elements of prayer:

  • Prostrating
  • Offerings to the Buddhas
  • Confessing our wrongs
  • Rejoicing in the good qualities of oneself and others
  • Requesting for the Buddhas to remain in the world
  • Beseeching the Buddhas to teach others
  • Dedicating the merits of ourselves and others so that all sentient beings may enjoy happiness and virtue

Each of the seven bowls has its unique significance. The seven bowls consist of two waters and five items of basic utility, (traditional offerings). They are as follows:

  • The first offering bowl: WATER for drinking “ARGHAM” 

Pure, clean water offered to the Buddha for drinking and to cleanse the mouth or face. “The purity of the water has 8 qualities: crystal clarity, coolness, sweetness, lightness, softness, freedom from impurities. It is soothing to the stomach and makes the throat clear and free”. This offering symbolises the auspicious results of all virtuous causes and conditions. In the Seven Limb Puja, it represents Homage and Prostration.

  • The second offering bowl: WATER for bathing “PADHYAM” 

Pure, clean water offered for bathing our object of Refuge, the Buddha, and our precious Teacher. Typically the water was offered to bathe the feet and the water was scented with sandalwood or other sweet scent. This offering symbolizes purification of our negative karma and obscurations. In the Seven Limb Puja, it represents Offering.

  • The third offering bowl: FLOWERS “PUSHPE” 

This offering represents all the various types of beautiful flowers in the entire universe that can be offered, as well as medicinal flowers, fruits and grains. It symbolizes the beauty and flowering of enlightenment and signifies the opening of one’s heart. In the Seven Limb Puja, the flower represents Confession.

  • The fourth offering bowl: INCENSE “DHUPE” 

Incense makes an offering of beautiful sweet-smelling aroma for the Buddha and symbolizes morality, ethics and discipline which are the basic causes and conditions from which pure enlightened qualities are cultivated. In the Seven Limb Puja, incense represents Rejoicing in all the virtue in the world both ordinary and extraordinary.

  • The fifth offering bowl: LIGHT “ALOKHE” 

This offering comes in the form of a source of light that includes all natural light such as the sun, moon and stars, as well as all types of man-made forms of light such as lamps and candles. The light symbolizes the dispelling of all darkness of the mind, all ignorance. Ignorance here means being ignorant or unaware of one’s true inherent Buddha Nature. Light is offered to the eyes of all the Enlightened ones who see with pristine clarity. In the Seven Limb Puja, light represents Requesting the Buddhas to always offer Dharma teaching.

  • The sixth offering bowl: PERFUME “GENDHE” 

This offering of scent represents all beautiful fragrance or perfume that one can smell or put on the body. Perfume is offered to the Buddha’s mind and symbolizes the perseverance and joyful effort that is the heart of Enlightenment. Without perseverance all the other enlightened qualities could not arise in the mind. In the Seven Limb Puja, perfume represents Beseeching the Buddhas to remain in the world.

  • The seventh offering bowl: CELESTIAL FOOD “NEVIDHYA” 

[Although the Enlightened Ones do not require material food offerings, it is for the temporary relief from suffering that beings experience through hunger and starvation]. Excellent, delicious food of all kinds and various tastes is offered to the Three Jewels. This offering symbolizes the clear and stable mind of Samadhi, or meditative absorption. In the Seven Limb Puja, food represents Dedication of all merit for the benefit of all sentient beings.

  • The eighth offering bowl: MUSIC “SHABTA”

If eight bowls are offered, the eighth bowl has an offering that represents sound, music, such as a musical instrument. Musical instruments such as cymbals, bells, lutes, and string instruments and so forth that create beautiful sound is offered to the ears of the Buddha. Sound symbolizes the Buddha’s Wisdom nature and the extraordinary Compassion that arises naturally from the Wisdom mind.

[Excerpt from meaning and purpose of the eight auspicious offering bowls].

*“The making of offerings is an antidote to attachment and greed.”

Sadhana practice
Right now, we are using the sadhana, this is a deeper level practice. At a more deep level of the practice, we visualise ourselves as Medicine Buddha.

So, then, when we drink the water and chant the mantra: OM SARWA TATHAGATA SAPARIWARA ARGHAM PRATITSA SWAHA, the drinking water becomes offerings. […] So, that is what the first offering bowl represents.

Then, the second offering bowl is: when we are meditating that we are Buddha, and then we are offering all the water that we use for bathing and so forth, all that, is part of the offering: OM SARWA TATHAGATA SAPARIWARA PADYAM PRATITSA SWAHA.

Then, the third offering bowl: OM SARWA TATHAGATA SAPARIWARA PUSHPAM PRATITSA SWAHA, we visualise ourselves as the yidam deity, or visualise the Buddha in front, then, we are offering all the beautiful objects that we see in the world to the Enlightened beings, (this releases self-grasping fixation in the mind, and brings benefit to all sentient beings). “PUSHPAM” is offering flowers, which is also representative of all the beautiful objects.

The fourth offering bowl: OM SARWA TATHAGATA SAPARIWARA DHUPAM PRATITSA SWAHA, we visualise ourselves as the Yidam deity, and all the good-smelling aromas anywhere, becomes part of this offering.

The fifth bowl offering: OM SARWA TATHAGATA SAPARIWARA ALOKAM PRATITSA SWAHA, we visualise ourselves as the Yidam deity, then any form of light source, like the sun and moon, lamps, candles, and so forth, are all part of this offering.

The sixth offering bowl is: OM SARWA TATHAGATA SAPARIWARA GHANDE PRATITSA SWAHA, we visualise ourselves as the deity, then all the different kinds of ointments, medicines, herbs and so forth are offered. Traditionally the king’s bath, was filled with substances with healing properties, (medicines for the body). And also, lotions and perfumes, (anything that is used as healing medicines for the body, and so forth), is all part of this offering.

The seventh offering is: OM SARWA TATHAGATA SAPARIWARA NAIWITE PRATITSA SWAHA, we visualise ourselves as the deity, then all the excellent and delicious foods of all kinds and various tastes is offered.

The eighth offering is: OM SARWA TATHAGATA SAPARIWARA SHAPTA PRATITSA SWAHA, we visualise ourselves as the deity, then all the beautiful melodies in the universe, all the sounds pleasing to the ear, and so forth, becomes part of this offering.


So, then there are two types of offerings here. Sometimes we visualise the deity, only in front of us, (so, front generation visualisation], and we are offering only good things, pure offerings. When we visualise ourselves, (arising) as the yidam deity [self-generation], then everything can be offered [in this state], negative and positive both. So for example, in this last offering of sound; good sound, bad sound it doesn’t matter. All sound itself has become part of the offerings, [in the nondual state, all sound is purified into its own nature, (into itself)].

[…] Generating oneself as the deity, (self-generation), is antidote to our dualistic perception, (in the mindstream). The feeling of attachment to good sounds, and therefore aversion (hatred) to unpleasant sounds, (that do not feel pleasant), sows further dualistic concepts in the mind. So, that is why, all sounds, (it doesn’t matter if they are positive or negative), are offered. They are brought into equanimity, inseparability in the practice. So, then any food, it doesn’t matter from which country, it doesn’t matter if it is human beings food, or food for animals, all the food is brought into oneness, and transformed in the offering, [to the Enlightened beings, to bring benefit to sentient beings]. So, we have to cultivate this intention, when we do the practice.


In this last offering of the sound/ music, and so forth. As long as we have the ability to bring all this sound to oneness, then it all, [all the sound], everything becomes offerings. Then, all the sound becomes the deity’s sound, (the negative sound does not exist there). We have this ability to transform [our perception], so we have to create that in our mind, and make offering of that. If, [for example] you are hearing traffic (sounds) all the time, and your mind has fixation to that, (you arise negativity, you feel upset). And, hearing that sound is always distracting, and makes you feel unhappy, [without transforming that], the karmic imprints become stronger and stronger, and then, on hearing the sound, you create negative karma.

So, when we are hearing the unpleasant sounds, we meditate, [and use the practice], so that all sound becomes the deity’s sound, (all sound becomes the deity’s mantra). So, we have the ability to do that. If you meditate on the yidam deity as yourself, and then chant their mantra, then all the sound that you hear, becomes [is transformed into] the mantra itself.


If the Yidam deity you are practicing is Tara for example, so you are meditating on Tara (self-generating as the deity Tara), and chanting the deity’s mantra, “OM TARA TUTTARE TURE SOHA”. Then, whatever sound you hear, becomes the mantra of Tara, “OM TARA TUTTARE TURE SOHA”. If the Yidam deity you are practicing is Chenrezig (Avalokiteśvara), you visualise yourself as Chenrezig, and recite the mani mantra, “OM MANI PADME HUNG”. Then you think, that all the sound is also chanting the mani mantra with you. (All the sound, you hear as the mantra). [You can use this method, for whichever of the Yidam deities you are practicing].

It does not matter what the sound is, [external or internal], that you are hearing, birdsong, wind, traffic, aeroplane, and so forth, [with this method], all the sound you hear [is helping you], it becomes the syllables of the mantra [you are practicing], for example, “OM MANI PEME HUNG”. If you visualise yourself as Vajrakilaya, all sound becomes the mantra, “OM VAJRA KILI KILAYA SARVA BIGHANEN BAM HUM PHAT”, you can feel that. Or, you are chanting, and then you visualise yourself as the yidam deity, and then all the sound becomes support, (all sound becomes pleasant).

So, we have to create that experience ourselves. It is very hard to do that, however, if we really put our mind to that, (really focus), we can do that. For example, you are practicing by yourself for an hour, (and you are really focusing, with this intent in your mind), and you have cultivated strong concentration, then ocean sounds, aeroplane sounds, traffic sounds, nature sounds, (wind and so forth), you can transform all the sound, into the deity’s mantra. Today, we are chanting the mantra of Medicine Buddha, “TADYATHA OM BEKHANDZYE BEKHANDZYE MAHA BEKHANDZYE BEKHANDZYE RADZA SAMUDGATE SVAHA”. So, you chant that mentally, and then at the same time you visualise yourself as Medicine Buddha, [with practice], the whole place is transformed, [all the appearances], all forms, are Medicine Buddha’s [forms], and all the sounds, become Medicine Buddha’s mantra.

Then, at that time, we have that experience ourselves, (the feeling arises), that all the forms are Medicine Buddha’s form, and hearing sound is Medicine Buddha’s mantra. Our mind is receiving that, so at that time, our mind, (has become part of the Enlightened activities, of the blessings of the Medicine Buddhas), is part of the Buddha mind. And, not distracting, (if distracting, then it is the ordinary mind). So we have that ability, that seeing all the forms becomes inseparable with Medicine Buddha, the sounds that we hear all become the mantra, we are visualising ourself as Medicine Buddha, [and through the blessing of the practice, and the power of our pure intention to bring benefit to sentient beings], the mind is transformed into [the Buddhas mind], (and the place we are in, transforms into the palace (the empty space, luminosity radiating light and blessings), and activities of] Medicine Buddha. So, we have to practice and chant the mantra. Then the next section is PRAISE.

(to be continued…)

(Any errors are the transcriber/ editor’s own).