1. OM: we begin with Om, the under-current tone of the universe
2. NAMO: means yielding or full of trust; can also mean to bend or bow, and might mean to melt into
3. Bhagawate: means in intimate relation to the Divine and often means the entire cosmos
4. Bhaishjaye: a name for the Medicine Buddha
5. Guru: Spiritual Master; also means the “that” which transmutes ignorance into wisdom
6. Vaidurya prabha: Divine deep blue light, like that of Lapis Lazuli
7. Rajaya: means Great King
8. Tathagataya: means once came or once gone
9. Arhate: one who has conquered the cycle of birth death
10. Samyaksam buddhaya: perfectly enlightened
11. Teyatha: do it like this
12. OM: again we begin with Om, the under-current tone of the universe
13. Bekhajye bekhajye: do away with the pain of illness
14. Maha bekhajye: do away with the pain of illness (of the darkness of Spiritual Ignorance)
15. Bekhajye: do away with the pain of illness
16. Samudgate: means the supreme heights. Like this, go go go
(my prayer shall go to the highest and the widest and the deepest)
17. Svaha: I offer this prayer and now relinquish it … (to you Medicine Buddha)
Explanation of the meaning of the Mantra
TAYATA / OM BEKANDZE BEKANDZE / MAHA BEKANDZE RADZA / SAMUDGATE SOHA
Bekandze means eliminating pain, maha bekandze means great eliminating of pain. One explanation of the meaning of the first bekandze is that it refers to eliminating the pain of true suffering, not just of disease but of all problems. It eliminates the pain of death and rebirth that are caused by karma and disturbing thoughts. The first bekandze eliminates all the problems of body and mind, including old age and sickness.
The second bekandze eliminates all the true cause of suffering, which is not external but within the mind. This refers to karma and disturbing thoughts. It is the inner cause that enables external factors such as food and exposure to sunlight to become conditions for disease.
Scientists claim that intense exposure to the sun causes skin cancer. However, without the cause in the mind, there is nothing to make external factors become conditions for disease. Exposure to sunlight is a condition for skin cancer, but it is not the main cause. For those who have created the cause to get skin cancer, the external phenomenon of sunlight can become a condition for skin cancer.
For example, not everyone who sunbathes on the beach gets skin cancer. Also human beings have been exposing themselves to the sun for many thousands of years, but skin cancer is a comparatively recent phenomenon. The important question is: Why doesn’t everyone who is exposed to the sun get skin cancer? The proof that sunlight is not the main cause of skin cancer is that not everyone who is exposed to the sun gets skin cancer.
If someone has created the cause, as long as they do not do anything to purify it, the cause will definitely bring its own result; just as a seed that is planted will definitely result in a sprout as long as it is not eaten by birds, and so forth. Once there is a cause, as long as there is no obstacle to the cause, it is natural to experience its result.
So, the second bekandze refers to eliminating the cause of problems, karma motivated by disturbing thoughts.
The third phrase, maha bekandze, or “great eliminating,” refers to eliminating even the subtle imprints left on the consciousness by disturbing thoughts.
The Medicine Buddha mantra actually contains the remedy of the whole graduated path to enlightenment. The first bekandze contains the graduated path of the lower capable being in general; the second bekandze, the graduated path of the middle capable being in general; and maha bekandze, the graduated path of the higher capable being. The whole graduated path from the beginning up to the peerless happiness of full enlightenment is contained in the Medicine Buddha Mantra.
Reciting the mantra leaves imprints on our mind, so that we are also able to actualize the path contained in the mantra. It establishes the blessing of the whole path within our heart; we can then generate the whole graduated path to enlightenment, which is signified by bekandze bekandze maha bekandze.
The OM is composed of three sounds, ah, o, and ma, which signify the Medicine Buddha’s completely pure holy body, holy speech, and holy mind. Actualizing the whole path to enlightenment purifies our impure body, speech, and mind and transforms them into the Medicine Buddha’s pure holy body, holy speech, and holy mind. We then become a perfect guide for living beings.
With our omniscient mind we are able to effortlessly, directly, see, without mistake, the level of mind of every living being and all the methods that fit them in order to bring them from happiness to happiness, to the peerless happiness of full enlightenment.
We also have the perfect power to manifest in various forms to suit every living being and reveal the necessary methods to guide them, such as giving material help, education, or Dharma teachings. Whenever the positive imprint left by their past positive actions ripens, without delay of even a second, we can reveal various means to guide the living being to enlightenment.