How many ways are there to remedy a situation? As many as necessary. Just as there “are many roads to Rome,” any number of factors can be addressed in a situation, in each person involved, or in the emotions or beliefs or conditions of a situation. Medicine Buddha represents the wisdom that brings forward just the right remedy from within oneself to perfectly meet a need. At essence, Medicine Buddha has perfected skillful means.
In Buddhist practice, skillful means refers to the multitude of ways that right words and actions (and related qualities and actions) can spontaneously come forward in order to meet a need. The panoply of herbs often pictured with Medicine Buddha are actual remedies for ailments but are also symbolic. For example, the herb nettle is high in iron, vitamin C and K as such it is an excellent remedy for anemia or low iron levels. Nettle also is symbolic of situations that are stinging, or suddenly unpleasant, such as those where a person with a volatile temper or unrestrained emotions is involved. This is because nettles have almost invisible stinging barbs on its leaves. One must harvest them with gloves on. This action represents protecting oneself with the wisdom of knowing what sets the person off and of handling with care. The herb itself also represents strength of character and courage as well as to be made strong from within by relying on personal integrity.
With this Generative meditation, we generated Medicine Buddha’s serenity because it is the source of all possible arising skills, and therefore is the always perfect mother-source of all remedies.
Downloadable podcast: Generative: Medicine Buddha