The Nectar Pill

Passion blog 5

“Now, I am holding the most precious nectar pill that had been blessed by my Guru. Who should I give it to?”

In Tibetan Buddhism, there are many distinct traditions and practices which are mysterious and interesting. For example, many of the famous Gurus make nectar pills, and they are meant to maintain the blessings. The nectar pills are simply composed of several common herbs in Tibet and cause no negative effects to the human body. What makes them special is how rare the Nectar pills are and who made them. It is believed to have the ability to wash away our sins and help us in practicing meditation. It might sound a little superstitious, but I am always trying to understand a more psychological approach. I think it is the power of faith that makes the pill work; essentially the placebo effect. I think it is also used as a way to encourage believers to be more consistent in practicing and strengthening their belief.

After dinner, most of the people in the Temple will gather together and spend time with Guru. Sometimes, Guru loves to talk about stories or anecdotes that happened in the early years of the temple. Other times, Guru will answer questions when people come to places in the Buddhist teachings that they cannot understand. However, the most nerve-racking part is when Guru asks questions about the assigned readings and other conceptual understanding of Buddhism teachings. When it comes to questions that I do not know, I always hide in the crowd and hope to not get picked. However, when it comes to things that I remember or know, I will sit straight up and look back at my Guru as he is speaking. The interesting thing is that I always get picked when I don’t know the answer. I later realized that Guru knows everything I am thinking and uses this to teach me how to be humble. The more in depth I get with the study of Buddhism, the more I find myself only touching the surface of what it truly is.

Yet, tonight was ending differently with an unexpected question. After the daily discussion ended, Guru looked around and asks a question, “Now, I am holding the most precious nectar pill that had been blessed by my Guru. Who should I give it to?” All of a sudden, the whole crowd was quiet and you could see how everyone turned their attention towards where Guru sat. The sparks of eager and greed shined in people’s eyes. However, I murmured to myself that I was not really interested in things like this. Personally, I don’t believe in such superstitious things and believed in my making a change in my own effort. Guru looked around the room and seemed to observe the deepest motivation from everyone towards the precious nectar pill. Finally, his eyes landed on me and asked me to come forward.

“Take this and put it in a lock, always bring it with you”, he said.

I was surprised and I understood in that moment that this is a teaching from the Guru. It is not simply a gift-giving game, but to tell everyone an important idea. He taught us that when we are holding on to the “title” or the “name” of worldly materials, we will end up losing it. Moreover, Guru uses this to help everyone to examine themselves. What is the driving force for them to ask for the nectar pill? Is it pure greed for themselves or trying to validate that they are more favored by Guru? Guru’s teaching is in all his actions and his words. These teachings will never fade away and guide me through the rest of my life.


One Comment

  1. Billy Young


    I liked reading your post a lot. It’s very cool to learn more about Buddhism and its different traditions. In particular, the nectar pills are quite fascinating. It’s interesting to think that they might have a psychological effect on their users; I feel that the placebo effect is a unique way of describing them. Nonetheless, I agree that the power of faith is incredibly important! The nectar pills can definitely prompt followers to have stronger faith and firmer beliefs. I think your blog is highly creative and I can’t wait to read more.

    Billy Young

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