Quote from introduction:

“When encountering illness or disease, we experience a loss of balance, strength and vitality. Contagion disrupts whole societies. Easy tasks become difficult or impossible. Those who are sick depend heavily on the assistance of others, while they are also at the mercy of chance and conditions. Impermanence is suddenly obvious, while life’s precarious nature asserts itself. Our priorities come into question as the future grows uncertain, and leisure fades into irrelevance. Death is recognized in its immediacy, as we can no longer pretend time is abundant.

Fear, worry, and regret may overwhelm those who are afflicted, as well as those who are helping. Susceptibility and relatedness are thrown into sharp relief. Anger and sadness drain precious energy. Loneliness and helplessness add insult to injury.

Individuals, as well as cultures, respond to illness in different ways – some with denial, some with confusion, some with resolve, some with equanimity. Whatever the case, illness tests our ability to maintain a balance between doing what needs to be done, and accepting what cannot be changed.

The purpose of this practice is to cultivate individual capacity for balance between action and acceptance, deepen one’s understanding of illness and death as part of being alive, and awaken from the dreamlike confusion perpetuated through habitual reactions, thus becoming more able and available to assist others.

Start by creating a sacred space, perhaps a simple shrine. Place an image, if you have one, of the Medicine Buddha, as a symbolic representation of original mind as source of steadiness and resourcefulness. In front of it, set offerings of flowers, light (candle) and incense. Medicine Buddha is known as Bhaiṣajyaguru, or Master of Healing (jap. Yakushi, tib. Menla). He’s often flanked by the Bodhisattvas Sunlight and Moonlight. More complex presentations give seven forms of Medicine Buddha, as well as a mandala featuring Medicine Buddha surrounded by eight Bodhisattvas. Just as Buddha Limitless Light, known as Amitābha, in the western Realm of Joy guides those who encounter death, so the Medicine Buddha in his eastern Realm of Pure lapis lazuli guides those who encounter illness. What follows is a simple ceremony.”


*An edited/updated version has been uploaded on April 4, 2020.

Here you may find a download in pdf format.

Medicine Buddha – A Simple Ceremony