Noble Living, Noble Caring, Noble Dying

Physical Health: Advice from Phakchok Rinpoche

Physical health situations can make our lives more stressful and difficult to manage. And we often ask the Rinpoches and lamas what spiritual practices we should do when we are having health problems. Here, in a video clip from a September 2018 teaching in Gomde Denmark, Phakchok Rinpoche shared his advice.

First, Phakchok Rinpoche reminds us that if we are sick or suffering, we should also consult a doctor. And, as most of us know, to maintain our health, we need to get proper rest, engage in regular physical exercise, and eat healthy food. But in addition, we might also want to engage in spiritual practices for healing. These include the recitation of healing mantras as well as meditation practices.

Physical health can be improved through spiritual practices, but Rinpoche underlines the fact that this very much depends upon the person. Sometimes he has witnessed dramatic improvements, but in other cases the changes may be slight. But Rinpoche himself says that he truly believes that these practices bring benefit.

Physical Health: Mantra Practice

Guru Rinpoche himself taught the following mantra which is preserved in the Tukdrup Barché Kunsel (thugs sgrub bar chad kun sel) Volume I. We find this mantra included in the heart advice from Guru Rinpoche, the Sheldam Nyingjang (zhal gdams snying byang):

Om Nir Seng Yer Bed

When we recite this basic healing mantra we do not need to do any special visualization. Rinpoche suggests that we chant one mala of this mantra every day. In the video clip above, Rinpoche repeats the mantra several times to teach the proper pronunciation. Moreover, he shares a personal story on the benefits of chanting this mantra.

Physical Health: Healing Visualization Practice

Phakchok Rinpoche then introduces a healing meditation practice. Guru Rinpoche taught several versions of this visualization practice, one in the Lam Rim Yeshe Nyingpo, The Light of Wisdom. And he taught this practice specifically to help dispel health obstacles.

We begin by visualizing the seed syllable hūṃ, dark blue in coloras in the photo here.

So, picture this seed syllable in our own heart center and understand that this syllable functions like a vacuum—meaning it can “suck up” any sickness or disease in our physical body.

Next we can imagine this powerful hūṃ traveling around inside our body from top to bottom, sucking up all the disease. Once we are convinced that it has vacuumed up all the sickness, we move the syllable to our mouth and  forcefully exhale the hūṃ out into the space in front of us. Really have the conviction that all sickness has been expelled.

Guru Rinpoche taught three different versions of this practice, but the version Phakchok Rinpoche teaches here is simple for us to follow.

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Suggested Reading

Dudjom Rinpoche, The Nyingma School of Tibetan Buddhism, trans. and ed. by Gyurme Dorje and Matthew Kapstein (Boston: Wisdom Publications, 1991), vol. 1, pages 468–474.

Ngawang Zangpo, Guru Rinpoche: His Life and Times, Ithaca: Snow Lion, 2002.

Nyoshul Khenpo, A Marvelous Garland of Rare Gems: Biographies of Masters of Awareness in the Dzogchen Lineage, trans. Richard Barron (Junction City: Padma Publishing, 2005), pages 41–48.

Padmasambhava, Legend of the Great Stupa, Berkeley: Dharma Publishing, 1973

Padmasambhava & Jamgön Kongtrul, The Light of Wisdom, trans. by Erik Pema Kunsang (Boudhanath: Rangjung Yeshe Publications, 1986-1999), pages 43-47 & Appendix 5.

Taranatha, The Life of Padmasambhava, Shang Shung Edizioni, 2005

Tulku Thondup, Masters of Meditation and Miracles, Shambhala, 1996.

Yeshe Tsogyal, Life and Liberation of Padmasambhava, translated by Kenneth Douglas and Gwendolyn Bays (Emeryville: Dharma Publishing, 1978, republished 2008).

Yeshe Tsogyal, Lotus Born: The Life Story of Padmasambhava, Rangjung Yeshe Publications, 2004.

‘The Life of Guru Padmasambhava’ in A Great Treasure of Blessings, The Tertön Sogyal Trust, 2004.