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Celebrating Medicine Buddha's Birthday

Medicine Buddha's Birthday and Medicine Buddha Chanting Service

After Medicine Buddha was introduced to China, it became popular among royal families and citizens, especially because the Medicine Buddha Sutra mentions the merits of avoiding calamity, achieving longevity, eliminating suffering, etc. According to the 3rd chapter of Record of the Verified Meaning of the Pure Standards of Pai-chang, the Medicine Buddha Chanting Service includes 1) Making offerings to the Medicine Buddha while chanting his name; 2) Chanting Medicine Buddha Mantra 49 times, Food Conversion Mantra 21 times, Amrta Mantra 3 times, and Offering Mantra 3 times; and, 3) Listening to the Medicine Buddha's merits. All of these contents are derived from the Medicine Buddha Sutra. Finally, there will be methods to cure "disease", such as "greed or lust is the disease, meditation on uncleanness is the medicine; aversion is the disease, compassion is the medicine; ignorance is the disease, meditation on causality is the medicine", and so on.

It is precisely because the belief in Medicine Buddha was spreading in China and was popular everywhere that monasteries would hold the Medicine Buddha Chanting Service and Medicine Buddha Repentance on Medicine Buddha's Birthday. Some may have 49-days Chanting Services, while others provide devotees with medicine lamps. It is believed that by lighting up a medicine lamp, people can avoid calamities, achieve longevity, and, most importantly, prolong the lives of severely ill patients. Besides, some monasteries offer medicine water for devotees to bring home. Carrying the blessings from reciting the Medicine Buddha Mantra 108 times while empowered by the Medicine Buddha, medicine water brings the blessing that all sentient beings depart from suffering and focus on practice.

Issue 354 of Life MagazineDharma Drum Publishing Corporation
Text: Chiu Hui-Min (邱惠敏)
Translation: Hsiao Chen-An
Min Shi, Keith Brown

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