Buddhist Philosophy

Healing Practices from Tibetan Buddhism

Healing practices perform an important function for practitioners. 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.

 Healing Practice Using Mantra

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 taught.  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 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 space in front of us.

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




1 responses on "Healing Practices from Tibetan Buddhism"

  1. Dear Samye,
    I have been doing the “Path of Meditation” level One.
    I am just reaching my 76th birthday and have healing issues . I am seeing a physician but would very much wish to add the healing practices presented by Phakchok Rinpoche .
    I find visualizing the “Hung” to be difficult but believe it can be done. However, my son, Michael Simon, is also doing his course. He is of the opinion that the Tibetan letter needs to be reversed mentally when visualized in the heart and thus face outwards. Something like mentally generating a “mirror image.” My spiritual background is with the London School of Economic Science and our philosophical core is with the Vedic Shankaracharya tradition. We never used mental visualization and meditated with eyes closed. Our goal was to abandon the eye sense as a major distraction to enlightenment or union with the ultimate perceiving “I” -Atman.
    Now I do understand this “I” can never be found although it will always appear as a reflection in a mirror.
    All this said, doing the visualization may be possible with work, but I worry about trying to reverse the image as well? Also, we have a young friend in her 20s who is suffering possible retina issues that are very serious. She is under specialist care. We believe her eyes are impacted by the stress being floated and she just maybe is making her MIND not wanting to see. Can we pass these practices on? We urgently request your reply as we fear for her eyesight, given the poor level of medical treatment afforded by conventional medicine’.

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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.