The essence of natural medicine
From 1979: Even your enemy who tries to kill you is your best friend. by Adele Hulse, Big Love author:
From Lama Yeshe’s Medicine Buddha teachings, Kopan, December 1979:
Our love is weak. We know we have love, but our love is so limited. That is why we have to meditate on limitless love. The limitation of our love is the problem. Our jealousy comes from this limitation. ‘I love you.’ What does that mean? Does that mean I want you to be happy? No! That means I want to be happy. ‘I love you’ almost means taking advantage in some way. So that is not love; it is completely the opposite. But limitless love is the psychologically healthy way. With limitless love, no one can irritate you. It is amazing! And its function is to understand every person’s needs and to wish that they get the happiness they need. Everyone needs happiness, without exception. With limitless love we give our energy and time with a wish-fulfilling attitude, instead of feeling jealous when someone else receives something.
What is bodhicitta? Bodhicitta is a Sanskrit word. Citta means heart, the totally open heart. It is like the lotus, which first grows in the mud and then slowly, slowly opens up fully into a pristine lotus blossom. So this sense of totally open, or totally developed, can also be understood as omniscience, totally wisdom and compassion. And this is what we call “buddha.” “Buddha” means one who is totally open and totally developed, one in whom all limitations have been extinguished. This buddhahood state is also one of total healing. And bodhicitta is the attitude wishing to lead all beings to that total healing state.
And how did the Medicine Buddha become so special, having this energy to heal diseases and so on. The Medicine Buddha was once a sentient being, like us. He was not special. But at some time he woke up and saw all living beings, filled with diseases, misconceptions, karma, demons, and so on. On this earth how many sentient beings have sicknesses or disease? Now in our twentieth century cancer is everywhere; it is this century’s worst disease. Also, how many people’s minds are sick, occupied by spirits or demons? Then, of course, there is the demon of our egos that creates great suffering, shaking our minds.
Seeing all this, his bodhicitta attitude grew and became great healing for all these universal living beings. As a bodhisattva he prayed with great determination to be successful in helping sentient beings. He was very determined, which is why he became a great healer.
So what is Medicine Buddha? Medicine Buddha is this attitude, bodhicitta. He is the fully developed consciousness energy of wisdom-compassion, manifesting as blue radiating light.
Many people stayed on at Kopan to do retreat or in hopes of getting an interview with Lama Yeshe. Some thoroughly enjoyed their retreats, whereas others had a miserable time. When they brought their problems to Lama Yeshe, he often turned them back on their own resources. “I trust your wisdom, dear, I trust your wisdom. Thank you, thank you.”
Over the years Lama Yeshe’s classmates had often asked him to return to Sera and teach the young monks there but he was staunchly committed to teaching Westerners. For a long time his classmates believed he was wasting his time, as they had considered it impossible to teach Dharma to Injis. By this time, however, this somewhat dismissive attitude toward Westerners had definitely begun to change.
Now, not only did the Tibetan community recognize Lama Yeshe as a well-known teacher of Westerners, they also believed him to be wealthy because of this. As a result, Lama received many requests for support from the Tibetan community, such as this letter from the Gelugpa Buddhist Cultural Society in Bylakuppe:
We would like to request you, while beseeching your understanding and not considering us greedy and presumptuous—we have bought quite a lot of land with a view to farming to support the study and practice of the two tantric and three practice monasteries. However this year wild pigs and elephants have destroyed our harvests which has resulted in losses…
And so on.
Lama Yeshe and Lama Zopa Rinpoche always tried their utmost to support His Holiness the Dalai Lama in maintaining the monasteries and Tibetan communities, though the actual details of what happened in this particular circumstance have been lost.