The Arura Fruit.

 

Symbol of Health in the hand of the Medicine Buddha

Original German text : Udo Stangelmaier

Translation : Joergen Larsen, NimmerSoft.

How Ayurveda came into our lives

Before I begin with the actual theme, I'd like to present myself: My name is Udo Stangelmeier,

I am 42 years old and have been a practicing Buddhist since my 18th year. Back then I started out with the Japanese kind of Mantric Meditation, Rinzai-Zazen.

Today I spend three months a year marketing-buying in South East Asia, where in my "spare-time" I participate in several Nature-preservation projects. At the same time I am taking an education as health counselor with Dr. Bruker, an experienced Nutrition-expert and - himself having been much criticized - Critic of the modern School of Medicine and Nutritional Technology.

Twenty years ago in our common hometown I met my wife Gina, just as she had returned from a magic mind trip to the Buddhist Ceylon (Sri Lanka). Since we were on the same wavelength, after just a few weeks we were on the road, hitching rides in the direction of the Orient. From Istanbul we traveled with cheap busses into the - in the meantime overflowed with Hinduism - heartland of Buddhism. With the Tibetan Book of the Dead and Timothy Leary’s Commentaries to it in our bags, we immersed ourselves into the spiritual supermarket of India in the search for the Truth and ourselves. From the hills of Little Tibet, the idyllic stone-desert of Ladakh, down to the tropical Atoll-island-paradise of the Maldives we found stony witnesses to a great past. Even the centuries-old dunes of snow-white coral-sands bore the traces of a vast Buddhist Empire which at the beginning of our time was spread widely over all of S.E.Asia. The Stupas that reach out of the sands on a couple of the small islands indicates even today the high spiritual level of a High Culture which was destroyed by the belligerent Islam. The deserted beaches of these lonely islands offered even then ideal conditions of Retirement.

Naturally at that time we wanted to make it without a teacher. On the one hand the mentality of the Mountain-people and the Tibetan monks was very sympathetic. But back then we didn't really take Real Refuge. Not just yet. To do that we first had to meet Lama Ole Nydahl.

Nepal had never drawn us yet, for almost all the freaks who went there regularly to do their shopping returned sick. To recuperate from the hectic cauldron of the Indian cities we went to the impenetrable National Parks and the sand dunes of the almost Hindu-free Enclave of Goa to meditate and do Yoga. From there it wasn't very far to the pure white sands of our beloved Maldive coral-atoll islands.

After a heavy monsoon in our beach-hut in Goa, our first child was born. Later we were forced, by visa- and money problems, back to Europe where our second child came into the world. But we were soon back on the white beaches of the opal Indian Islands where our children enjoyed endless sandcastles and days without end of frolicking in the water.

When you live for so long in the tropical zones you become acquainted with other kinds of microbes than in this part of the world. Especially the little ones caught all kinds of diseases along the way. To be rid of these casual diseases, preferably without the chemical clubs from the Chemist/Drug-store, I began to take an interest in the old Indian art of healing, the Ayurveda, especially after our daughter was cured from a severe fever and skin-disease by a female ayurvedic doctor, without the usual medicines.

In the beginning it was a bit strange to leave the doctor with an arm-load of weird-tasting juices and pills, before I even had a chance to explain what was ailing me. This unusual practice demands quite some adaptation by self-assured western patients.

But more and more I began top understand, that Ayurvedic medicine does not only treat diseases by subduing symptoms, but by strengthening and improving, by different methods, on the built-in self-healing powers of the sick person.

Alongside this my, mainly self-taught, study of the Philosophy and Therapy of Ayurveda I learned in practice about the application of "jungle-medicine" from the "primitive" inhabitants of the land or from the Ayurvedic institutes and clinics, when our road passed through towns.

Just as the architectonic remnants of the Maldive Stupas or the famous Basalt-mandala at Borobodur on Java, so too, even on the most remote archipelagos of Indonesia or the Philippines, are there living relics of the knowledge of the Ayurvedic art of Healing, which 2000 years ago spread out over all of the Southeast of the continent. Through our years of extensive traveling through all these lands we came to recognize the similarities of ways of healing in these separate and different cultures, and we began working on helping the poor and simple people in the use of their own home-grown healing methods. Modern medicine is only just becoming fashionable and, coming in the slip-stream of Christian missionizing, with its almost miraculous symptom-curing is putting the faith in the domestic herbal-forest under pressure.

 

Who is the Medicine-Buddha, and what is that fruit in his hand?

To answer that I'd like to quote from the book by Terry Clifford (Tibetische Heilkunst, 1. Aufl. 1984, Scherz Verlag, München), from which also the two pictures came: (translators note: which pictures? this appears to be a lecture where some pictures were also shown. AND perhaps the title of the book mentioned should be replaced with the English equivalent??)

"The place where Buddha expounded the essence of the teachings of the Vaidurya, which are written in the Gyü-shi, was the Paradise of Healing, Tanatuk(meaning: "Joyful to behold"....Tanatuk is a Buddha-field, a pure land beyond the illusion of subject and object. It is a mandala, a cosmogram, which illustrates the splendor of the holy healing-power, a power which is the inseparable part of the all-embracing Buddha-being. This mandala has three levels, the outer, the inner, and the secret. It bears within it the germ-form of both the medicinal mythology of Buddhism as well as the Healing-system of the Ayurveda...

 

Shakyamuni Buddha sits as the Vaidurya Buddha in the center of the Mandala "Joyful to behold".

In the middle of the heavenly city and in a palace of transparent crystal he sits on a throne of Lapis lazuli - the jewel which in Buddhism is the symbol of medicine. His body is radiating beams of healing light which heals all sufferings. Painted in deep blue he sits in full lotus-posture. His left hand is resting in his lap and his right hand is stretched out in the gesture of prayer holding the 'great medicine', a twig of the myrobalan-tree...

In front of the heavenly city where Vaidurya resides lie in the four directions of the skies four medicine-mountains representing the society of Tibetan medicine.

In the southern mountains grow remedies for all ailments caused by cold; to the north remedies against fever; to the west all things are all the things which serve health; and finally to the east a forest of Myrobalan, the remedy for all illnesses.., the 'fragrant mountain', Ponadan."

 

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