Bhaisajyaguru and Liberation.

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DharmaBub
Posts: 3
Joined: Fri Jul 20, 2018 1:29 am

Bhaisajyaguru and Liberation.

Post by DharmaBub » Tue Oct 22, 2019 12:41 am

Hello,

I introduced myself to the Dharma Wheel community last year. I identified myself as a Zen practitioner who was currently without a sangha, but hoping to connect with others.

And then I didn't post anything else. Despite several years of experience with Zen, I don't think I was ever really suited to its austere, iconoclastic style, and despite what I posted, I really wasn't sure if I wanted to continue with it. So I couldn't think of anything to say.

But over the following year I began to move in the direction of Tendai. I finally read the Lotus Sutra, and then some books explaining the Lotus Sutra, and some studies of Zhiyi's thought. And I began to build my Buddhist practice around Bhaisajyaguru.

My motivation for taking up Buddhism in the first place is that I have been dealing with very toxic family relationships that have left me depressed and triggered. Zazen helped to alleviate this (I think I had an experience of kensho), but my father's alcoholism or my mother's passive-aggression could still set me off. So I recently began chanting the Medicine Buddha Mantra and using an image of the Medicine Buddha as a visual focus for meditation. Though I have been doing this regularly for just a short time, I have found it has greatly improved my emotional stability.

The efficacy of the Bhaisajyaguru-puja for me has depended upon an understanding of what is going on. As I see it, the 'woundedness' that the Medicine Buddha reminds us to heal from is papanca, which I understand as 'impulsive conceptualization,' the tendency to react to sensory stimuli in an immediate and uncontrolled way. It is the process that leads to the arising of asavas, mental outflows such as lust and anger. And it is papanca and the asavas together that are the source of the dukkha that keeps us cycling through samsara. By venerating a figure symbolizing healing, I continually develop the skill to cut off papanca when confronted with a negative stimulus and prevent the arising of asavas.

Anyway, that has been my experience with venerating Bhaisajyaguru. I would be curious to hear anyone's thoughts on this, and hopefully will be a regular participant in Dharma Wheel from here on out.

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Queequeg
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Re: Bhaisajyaguru and Liberation.

Post by Queequeg » Tue Oct 22, 2019 3:42 pm

DharmaBub wrote:
Tue Oct 22, 2019 12:41 am
Hello,

I introduced myself to the Dharma Wheel community last year. I identified myself as a Zen practitioner who was currently without a sangha, but hoping to connect with others.

And then I didn't post anything else. Despite several years of experience with Zen, I don't think I was ever really suited to its austere, iconoclastic style, and despite what I posted, I really wasn't sure if I wanted to continue with it. So I couldn't think of anything to say.

But over the following year I began to move in the direction of Tendai. I finally read the Lotus Sutra, and then some books explaining the Lotus Sutra, and some studies of Zhiyi's thought. And I began to build my Buddhist practice around Bhaisajyaguru.

My motivation for taking up Buddhism in the first place is that I have been dealing with very toxic family relationships that have left me depressed and triggered. Zazen helped to alleviate this (I think I had an experience of kensho), but my father's alcoholism or my mother's passive-aggression could still set me off. So I recently began chanting the Medicine Buddha Mantra and using an image of the Medicine Buddha as a visual focus for meditation. Though I have been doing this regularly for just a short time, I have found it has greatly improved my emotional stability.

The efficacy of the Bhaisajyaguru-puja for me has depended upon an understanding of what is going on. As I see it, the 'woundedness' that the Medicine Buddha reminds us to heal from is papanca, which I understand as 'impulsive conceptualization,' the tendency to react to sensory stimuli in an immediate and uncontrolled way. It is the process that leads to the arising of asavas, mental outflows such as lust and anger. And it is papanca and the asavas together that are the source of the dukkha that keeps us cycling through samsara. By venerating a figure symbolizing healing, I continually develop the skill to cut off papanca when confronted with a negative stimulus and prevent the arising of asavas.

Anyway, that has been my experience with venerating Bhaisajyaguru. I would be curious to hear anyone's thoughts on this, and hopefully will be a regular participant in Dharma Wheel from here on out.
:anjali:

I have no experience with Yakushi-nyorai (Bhasajyaguru Tathagata) but I can relate to the effect of chanting.

You mentioned that you were following Zen before and now are tending toward Tendai. I looked at your past post and you mentioned that you were not affiliated with any community previously.

Have you connected with a Tendai community?
Those who, even with distracted minds,
Entered a stupa compound
And chanted but once, “Namo Buddhaya!”
Have certainly attained the path of the buddhas.

-Lotus Sutra, Expedient Means Chapter

There are beings with little dust in their eyes who are falling away because they do not hear the Dhamma. There will be those who will understand the Dhamma.
-Ayacana Sutta

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FromTheEarth
Posts: 85
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Re: Bhaisajyaguru and Liberation.

Post by FromTheEarth » Tue Oct 22, 2019 10:51 pm

Hi DharmaBub, welcome!

Your dharma trajectory sounds very familiar :tongue:

Being a practitioner of Medicine Buddha practices for a long time, the first thing I was intrigued about Tendai actually was its affinity to Yakushi Nyorai.
A common trait of Tendai & Shingon, at least in their early ages, is their veneration of Medicine Buddha, usually worshiped as the principal Buddha in major temples, including on Mt. Hiei.
Saichō moved to Mt. Hiei and devoted himself to the study of Buddhism. Gradually, many monks gathered around him. In the year Enryaku 7 (788), Saichō decided to establish the Hieizanji Temple on Mt. Hiei as a new fundamental practice hall based upon Tendai teachings. Saichō carved an image of Yakushi Nyorai (Medicine Buddha), and enshrined it in the hall. On this occasion, he lit a lamp, dedicated it to Yakushi, and prayed that this light would burn eternally. This Dharma Lamp has been burning over 1,200 years in the Konpon Chūdō Hall. It is called the Fumetsu-no-Hōtō which means the inextinguishable Dharma Lamp. At first this hall was called Ichijō-shikanin, and later became Konpon Chūdō.
from Tendai Shu official website

I guess there are some secret blessings from Him or karmic connections in your turning to Tendai. :twothumbsup:

DharmaBub
Posts: 3
Joined: Fri Jul 20, 2018 1:29 am

Re: Bhaisajyaguru and Liberation.

Post by DharmaBub » Wed Oct 23, 2019 1:39 am

I was a practitioner of Rinzai Zen. I live in the Northeast about 150 miles from the Tendai Buddhist Institute, but haven't been there as yet. I wanted to get a good understanding of Tendai before contacting them.

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