19-28 Oct: Medicine Buddha Empowerment and Retreat with Geshe Thupten Wangchen

medicine-buddha-mediumOptions to attend empowerment only or entire retreat

Medicine Buddha practice is particularly beneficial for healing of both body and mind. According to Lama Zopa Rinpoche, “The Medicine Buddha encompasses all the buddhas. This means that when we practice the seven-limb prayer and make offerings with the seven limbs, we receive the same merit as we would if we had made offerings to all the buddhas. Similarly, when we recite the mantra of Medicine Buddha, we collect unbelievable merit just as when we offer the seven-limb practice to Medicine Buddha.” (Click here for Rinpoche’s full explanation of the benefits of Medicine Buddha mantra and practice.)

p1200621The purpose of a retreat is to help you feel close to Medicine Buddha, opening your heart, and recognizing your potential to become enlightened for the benefit of all sentient beings. The empowerment gives you permission to visualize yourself transforming into Medicine Buddha when doing the sadhana practice, as well as creates a close and profound karmic bond with the vajra master for all lifetimes. We are extremely fortunate to be hosting Geshe Thupten Wangchen, resident teacher of FPMT’s Dorje Chang Institute in Auckland, who will be giving the empowerment and leading the retreat.

The Empowerment/Blessing

In order to take this tantric empowerment, you should:

  • Have at least an intellectual understanding of the Three Principal Aspects of the Path.
  • Have taken or be ready to take refuge and bodhichitta vows. If you have never taken refuge yet, you may request a refuge ceremony with Geshe Wangchen on Saturday evening before the empowerment begins by emailing the Spiritual Program Coordinator, Sarah Brooks at spc@mahamudra.org.nz. The bodhisattva vows are always given during an empowerment since bodhichitta is the basis of the practice.
  • On the day of the empowerment, refrain from eating black foods, be washed and wearing clean clothes.
  • Geshe Wangchen requested students memorize the long Medicine Buddha mantra prior to the retreat to make focusing on the practice easier.

The Medicine Buddha long mantra is:
OM NAMO BHAGAVATE BHAISHAJYE / GURU BAIDURYA /
PRABHA RAJAYA / TATHAGATAYA / ARHATE SAMYAKSAM
BUDDHAYA / TADYATHA / OM BHAISHAJYE BHAISHAJYE MAHA
BHAISHAJYE [BHAISHAJYE ]** / RAJA SAMUDGATE SVAHA
Common pronunciation:
OM NAMO BAGAWATAY BEKANZAY
GURU BAIDURYA / PRABA RADZA YA / TATAGATAYA / ARHATAY
SAMYAKSAM BUDDHAYA / TA YA TA / OM BEKANZAY BEKANZAY
MAHA BEKANZAY [BEKANZAY]* / RADZA SAMUDGATAY SOHA

*Syllables in brackets are optional.

It is possible to come to the initiation just as a blessing, and not take the empowerment. Only people who take it as an empowerment can stay for the retreat, however.

Typically with any empowerment you are committing to do whatever daily practices are recommended by the teacher for the rest of your life. Geshe Wangchen said it is likely there will be a lifetime commitment to say the long mantra at least seven times daily. However, the commitment can change during the empowerment depending on the group and what the teacher feels is most karmically beneficial, so you should be mentally prepared to do whatever the teacher instructs.

The Retreat

This is a strict retreat only for students who take or have had the Medicine Buddha empowerment or initiation. During the retreat participants must stay within a boundary (typically Mahamudra Centre’s property) and no visitors are allowed during that time. Anyone who comes for the empowerment or blessing only must leave Sunday afternoon before the retreat begins.

Arrivals are on the evening of Friday the 19th, with dinner at 6:00pm and an introductory session at 7:00pm. Saturday morning is time for settling the mind in preparation for the empowerment and retreat, with teachings beginning at 3:00pm. The empowerment will be on Sunday morning.

Silence is recommended during the retreat, but Geshe Wangchen said students may talk to each other about the Dharma as well. Since the purpose of retreat is to step away from daily life and turn inwards to focus on the mind, cell phones and tablets/computers are not allowed. Please plan to take that time completely off from work and arrange with family and friends that you will be out of touch for this time. Staff at the centre can take any emergency calls should someone need to reach you in a crisis. Please bring a small alarm clock to use rather than your phone.

The group will take the Eight Mahayana Precepts together on Sunday 21st, and students will have the option to take them on their own throughout the retreat (food will be vegetarian with no black foods for the duration of the empowerment and retreat).

Schedule

View and download Medicine Buddha Retreat Schedule 2018

Costs*

We offer this empowerment and retreat to you on a donation basis. To register, you just need to pay for food and your choice of accommodation, and you can add a donation in whatever amount you can afford to give with an open heart. If you need to cancel, we’ll refund your money minus a $50 administration fee until 24 hours before the retreat begins, at which time the registration is non-refundable.

Empowerment only: Delicious homemade vegan/vegetarian meals are $35 which includes dinner on Friday 19 Oct through lunch Saturday 20 Oct. Gluten-free option available for an additional $5.

Empowerment and Full Retreat: Donation basis, plus cost of choice of accommodation and meals. Delicious homemeade vegan/vegetarian meals are $315 which includes dinner on Friday 19 Oct through lunch Sunday 29 Nov. Gluten-free option available for an additional $25.

Registration

Pre-registration essential by 10 October. Please fill out our online booking inquiry and we’ll get back to you shortly to confirm your space and choice of accommodation.