The Pursuit of Happiness: Healing Karma at the Land of Medicine Buddha
The long-term vision for the Land of Medicine Buddha, as established by the Lama Thubten Yeshe, is to create a ‘center for healing and developing a good heart’. But the “medicine” they are referring to here isn’t found only in acupuncture and herbs — here, you can begin to heal your karma.
Situated in the midst of 108 acres of coastal foothills, the Land of Medicine Buddha was born of the vision of the Lama over forty years ago. It’s a thriving community in the Mahayana Buddhist tradition, currently stewarded by spiritual director Lama Zopa Rinpoche and the staff and residents who live by the tenets of this lineage. The center hosts retreats, Dharma classes, meditation, wellness programs, and two yearly festivals that are open to the public.
Why are people called to LMB? Mer Stafford, the center’s Director, says it’s quite simple: “According to Tibetan Buddhism, everybody’s looking for happiness, right? So, you know, I think really when you talk to people… they’re all looking for happiness and to end their suffering. They’re looking for peace of mind. They’re looking to find something that will help them practically in their everyday life.”
The Mahayana Buddhist tradition has plenty of practices to help you begin the deep process of healing lifetimes of Karma. By understanding difficulties and suffering to be the product of Karma, ripening like waiting seeds in the current lifetime, the practices of meditation, chanting, pujas, contemplative study and receiving teachings help to burn Karmas to end the cycle of rebirth and open the path to Nirvana.
And this, says Mer, runs in tandem with a path of healing the physical body: “If you look at any of those healing modalities, there’s always this mind basis. As in, the negative emotions, anger and [how it impacts] the liver. There’s this connection between these things. So it’s true, the preventative medicine of healing the body also is working on the mind and the mind is working on the body because it’s so interdependent.” Though we may try to imagine that we can or must heal body and mind/Karmas separately, in truth they are completely entwined on the path to happiness — and eventually, Nirvana.
The Land of Medicine Buddha seeks to make available the rich teachings of Mahayana Buddhism so that the public may begin their healing, even from the comfort of home. With online trainings like “Discovering Buddhism” and “Living the Path”, seekers can gain a greater understanding of how to incorporate Buddhist practices into their everyday lives even when they cannot be basking in the beauty of LMB. This is a crucial part, they teach, of effectively healing Karmas.
Though truly, there is nothing quite like taking in the mysterious energetics of the land.
“We’ve had many amazing teachers come here, holy beings, so in that sense, I think there’s definitely some energy coming from that. The practices that are done here on a daily basis, there’s some energy that comes from that. And you know, we the people who live here are living by the 5 lay precepts, so I think there’s some energy coming from that.”
Not to mention the gorgeous landscape, there’s a rich and beautiful history that has made this center into a meditative field where seekers can heal at a deep and profound level. One Karmic seed at a time. Thanks to the vision of the Rinpoches and the devotion of people like Mer.