I Am Immensely Grateful for My Son’s Healing

Kathleen Karlsen
Nov – Dec 2023 • Vol 4, No 7

I woke up on a fateful morning in September of 2020 with a desperate feeling. I had been taking my 15-year-old son to a doctor regularly for three weeks to have an infected wound cleaned and packed with antibiotics. We had recently discovered that he had a series of large cysts just below his spine.

The cysts were interconnected and had broken through to the surface. It was a mess. The surgeon wanted to clear up the infection before doing surgery to remove the cysts. Unfortunately, things were going from bad to worse.

Finding the Medicine Buddha Mantra

I had been chanting daily as a spiritual practice for almost four years, usually early in the morning. It was about 4:00 a.m. when I woke up that day. With an ominous feeling hanging over me, I started searching on my phone for a mantra for healing. That was when I found the Medicine Buddha Mantra.

After listening to several versions, I wrote a quick melody of my own. I sang the mantra as long as I could before I needed to get my son out of bed for school and start the day. Then I spent the morning working at my computer as usual. However, as the day went on, my feeling of dread grew.

By lunchtime, I was so stressed out that I was feeling physically ill. I went to bed. Then I had the idea that I should record the Medicine Buddha Mantra. I dragged myself out of bed and went back downstairs to my practice room. After recording about ten minutes of the chant, I rushed off to pick up my son from school and take him to his medical appointment.

An Unexpected Surgery

Arriving at the doctor’s office, we were informed to our surprise that my son was going in for surgery immediately. The infection was too significant to continue to treat only with antibiotics. We were told to report upstairs to the operating room. The plan was for two surgeries. First, the infection would be cleaned out. Then in a couple of months, a second surgery would be performed to remove the cysts.

My son was prepped for surgery. I called family and friends to let them know what was going on. By the time the surgery was in progress, we were well into the evening, and the hospital was deserted. No one else was in the waiting room. This was at the height of COVID concern. I was only allowed to remain on the premises because my son was a minor.

Medicine Buddha Mantra in the Waiting Room

The expected forty-five minutes of surgery was passing rapidly. I sat down at a grand piano in the waiting area and played and sang the Medicine Buddha Mantra. Over an hour later, the surgeon finally called to let me know he was finished.

The problem had been more extensive than he had realized. He said that he had to be very aggressive. There would not be a second surgery. Every-thing had to be handled now. He had removed a significant amount of soft tissue and skin, all the way to the bone, and the fibrous connective tissue surrounding the spine.

Reality Meets the Medicine Buddha

There was no way to suture the large surgical wound. My son would be on a wound machine for weeks or months to drain the site and prevent infection. I was in shock. Just weeks ago, I had no idea that anything was wrong. The surgeon estimated that my son had been battling the infection and cysts for one to two years.

I slept in a chair next to my son’s hospital bed that night. Every time I woke up, I could hear the Medicine Buddha Mantra playing in my mind. In the months that ensued, the Medicine Buddha Mantra became my anthem of hope and healing. I published my recording of the mantra for friends and family to use on my son’s behalf.

The Long Road to Healing

My son was on a portable wound machine for thirty-three days. That was followed by four months of visits to the hospital’s Wound Clinic three days a week. A great team of wound specialists checked his progress and changed the bandages. Eventually I learned to do this twice a day myself. My son was finally able to return to school in late January.

The Medicine Buddha Mantra was a life raft for me during this difficult medical situation. The mantra has remained a central part of my chanting repertoire. I find the Medicine Buddha Mantra appropriate for so many situations and for the world at large during challenging times.

Origin of the Medicine Buddha

The Medicine Buddha is one of eight healing Buddhas. “Buddha” is a type of honorary title. The word means “awakened.” A Buddha is one who has attained an ideal state or wisdom and perfection. The Medicine Buddha is also known as the Master of Healing, Supreme Physician, and the Healing Buddha.

Meaning of the Medicine Buddha Mantra

The Medicine Buddha is usually depicted as a brilliant sapphire blue. These rays are said to emanate from his form, dispelling all imbalances.

The words to the Medicine Buddha mantra in Sanskrit are “Tayata Om, Bekandze Bekandze, Maha Bekandze, Ran