There is a kind of illumination that lights up dark corners like bright lights at night; it is a power that can eliminate illness and disaster and transform the decayed into the miraculous.

On this extraordinary occasion of the Medicine Buddha’s Birthday, may this luminous energy give you and your family guidance and protection, so as to make your life journey safe and auspicious.

【You willearn】

  • The significance of showing respect to your parents
  • Ways to accumulate merits for your parents
  • The story of a disrespectfuson who caused his mother, a scrap collector, to commit suicide
  • The story of Maudagalyayana and how he saved his mother

【Featured aphorism】

  • Showing gratitude is the foundation of being a loving and righteous person.
  • Try to accumulate more merits for your parents and ancestors on Ullambana Day; let them receive the blessings of the buddhas and bodhisattvas and you shalalso be blessed with peace.
  • Express filiapiety to your parents who are stilalive; accumulate merits for deceased parents.


The celebration of Medicine Buddha’s Birthday pays respect to his entrance into this world, in accordance with tradition.

(Medicine Buddha’s Birthday is on the 30th day of the 9th month in the Chinese lunar calendar.)

It is stated in Buddhist sutras that in the future, the buddha who comes to help all sentient beings is Medicine Buddha. When Medicine Buddha was practicing his Bodhisattva Path, he made vows, the most important one was what I call the “Greater Illumination”.

He wished that he or the compassionate beings of affinity would be able to shine the great illumination from within, to illuminate themselves and the whole Universe afterwards. This radiance will shine upon all sentient beings of affinity in this world, so that they become illuminated just like him, free from being engulfed in darkness and basking in this great illumination.

This concept of Greater Illumination is akin to enlightenment; it is the most important visual concept in Buddhist practice. The “illumination” is a analogy. A person of wisdom not only knows the way, is determined, and has the best methods, his vision is grand as well as fine. Small things are seen clearly; big things are understood easily; things can be seen clearly in the darkness.

Some call it the “eye of wisdom”, an eye that sees things wisely. With illumination there is no ignorance. With illumination comes wisdom and enlightenment. Then we will not make mistakes or cause harm. That is how liberation is achieved. For example, we won’t suffer pain from unemployment or relationships. Most obstacles are nothing to us.

The Medicine Buddha, has made the vows of Greater Illumination. With the light of compassion and wisdom, he ignites the compassionate hearts of all sentient beings. When compassion and greater illumination arises, the light of compassion and wisdom will shine. When that happens, enlightenment is the result. There will be no more sufferings and obstacles.

(Medicine Buddha vowed to use the great illumination of compassion and wisdom to help all sentient beings.)

Learning the way of Medicine Buddha, of his luminous heart and mind. What’s a luminous heart and mind? It is a compassionate heart. It is not hidden or invisible, but can be seen by everyone. It is called “All-Compassion”. He had found the heavenly way, which transcends the law of nature.

How does the law of nature operate? Survival of the fittest, day and night, good and bad, causes and conditions, etc. This is called the Heavenly way, or the law of nature. But the greater illumination of Buddha’s All-Compassion transcends and remedies the law of nature. Say, one may be destined to suffer from serious illness or extreme poverty due to negative karma and ignorance. But as long as you wish for compassion, you will obtain illumination and wisdom. You will be able to change your predestined condition.

If we learn from Medicine Buddha, we will achieve all these. Or, as long as you make such a wish, and you start to learn, you will surely achieve. What Buddha, bodhisattvas and saints give us and teach us is nothing more than the perspective and height from which we view the world. All matters, when viewed from different perspectives and heights, give us completely different experiences. With broader perspectives, our views will be whole, complete and perfect. We will not seek one-time gain, or get angry and throw a fit. Our conduct and behavior will always be in accordance with the big picture and long-term benefits.

Buddha’s teaching, like the bright lights in the night sky, illuminated every dark corner the whole world over, and everyone’s heart, including the invisible and unimaginable worlds. Such is what we call Greater Illumination, more so greater wisdom and greater liberation.

(Become the compassionate heart of Medicine Buddha, as viewing all matters with wise eyes can alter one’s destiny.)

So, take advantage of such an extraordinary time and day, we should learn about compassion, and embrace the illumination of compassion and wisdom. For our most beloved, most cherished and dearest family and friends, on this extraordinary day, in front of Medicine Buddha, offer one or more lights. By offering the lights, you give the best gift of illumination, wisdom and compassion to all your loved ones.

Many years ago, at a small temple in Tibet, I saw a middle-aged mother, she was holding a big copper bowl. It was filled with yak butter. With the melted yak butter, she made the offering of oil, and also offering of light, to shine upon Buddha. While she was doing this, she became teary. Indeed, she was not old. Out of curiosity, I asked her, “What is your wish while offering lights to Medicine Buddha?”

She said it was for her son. She was a … Her husband had passed away. Maybe for many years, she was raising her son alone; it wasn’t easy. After graduating from high school, her son went to the city, working away from his hometown. A mother worries while her son is away. That is parental love. She was worried about her son.

Tibetans have Buddhist tradition. They especially revere Medicine Buddha. Thus she wanted to offer light to Medicine Buddha. After our chat, while offering oil, she said, “With reverence, I pray to Medicine Buddha; I offer lights before Medicine Buddha to light up Buddha’s face. This is so my son is always illuminated in heart and mind. From now on, I entrust my son to you, Medicine Buddha. I pray to you to guide him for life.”

I was very touched and shaken. At the time, it was a new concept to me, that she entrusted her son to Medicine Buddha to guide him at critical moments. I was still a child then. I found her prayer very impressive. I wondered whether my mother did the same.

Young people are full of energy but lack experience the right outlook and philosophy of life. They don’t know how to conduct themselves, especially at critical moments. That is how good people become bad or how a great opportunity is wasted. Just like the successful ones in ancient times, including the modern ones, at a key moment, they made the right choice. But these right choices, at the time the decisions were made, didn’t seem right, but the results were good. That is an example of being guided by the Divine.

Let me tell you a story. A young girl, a fellow practitioner, was very beautiful and attractive. Many boys were introduced to her, but she had no feelings for any of them. One day when she was out dining or shopping, her stuff dropped and scattered on the floor. The boy working there helped her.

They started dating after getting to know each other. then talked about marriage.

The boy said, “I am from a poor family in the countryside. “My dad died; my mother was mentally ill. That is why I came here to work.” This girl was young and beautiful, and from a family with power and status. But the girl fell in love with the poor boy. Her whole family was against it. “No way, he is too poor to marry you!” But now, the poor boy is the wealthiest in the area. This is a true story, not made up.

(Make a light-offering in front of Buddha; light up Buddha’s face and pray for his guidance.)

So, a successful person, with Divine guidance at a key moment, chooses the right path which surely will lead to achievement. When I read history, I notice many great achievers tended to have a lot of coincidences working in their favor, thus an ordinary life turned into an extraordinary one, even an emperor’s or king’s life. So, with Divine guidance at a critical moment, you will succeed. Because we lack the wisdom to see what life’s like in 20 years, the path laid by the Divine is always the right one.

Like the Tibetan mother who entrusted her son to Buddha. She made light-offerings to Buddha, to shine upon her son’s future. And at key moments, the effect of Buddha’s blessing will manifest. The big lantern I carry around when I walk at night so I won’t fall into pits or get injured. I walk on the right path. This is the benefit of illumination. Especially if we entrust our life to Buddha or the Divine, and if they accepted us, then we are truly blessed.

Thus, we should learn from Buddha about luminosity, the greater illumination and greater wisdom. And with that, our mind and our spiritual world are bright and clear. We will do right things, walk right paths and make right friends, having chosen the right direction in our lives. This is no coincidence, only protection from the Divine. We will surely succeed. Thus, entrusting our life, our most beloved, to Buddha and bodhisattvas, and to express our sincere wish, we make light-offering to Buddha, to light up our future.

Before Buddha and the Divine, we express our reverence, regardless if we are rich or poor. As your offering is true and heartfelt, Buddha will receive it. The offering from your aspiring heart is as real as something tangible. As long as we have an offering heart, even just a leaf, a little wildflower, a cup of pure water, a true heart, that is enough. The key is in your heart and mind. Our worries originate in our mind. Our of liberation or offering comes from our mind. So our mind is significant, especially when we make our aspiration.

Why do we call him Medicine Buddha? Because the greatest prescription is the compassionate luminosity: great compassion, great illumination, great wisdom, and great remedies, which save generations of lives. With this luminosity, the great wisdom of the greater illumination, you’ll be saved and all your illnesses eliminated, because our sickness mostly comes from our spiritual mind. With boundless spiritual illumination, how could illness exist? That is why Buddha called him the “King of Medicine”.

And he is revered as king by all in healing professions. We tend to associate healing with doctors. Thus, by taking this medicine, the cure-all prescription filled with greater illumination and compassion, we will never be sick again and we will reach total liberation. We will forever live in greater compassion and illumination. So I hope you’ll go to Medicine Buddha to express your genuine sincerity. May Medicine Buddha bless you with auspiciousness and all your wishes come true.

Medicine Buddha is the great King of Medicine. Showing Buddha our sincere reverence by offering will result in us receiving blessing, protection, health, and illumination from him and the deities.