Himalayan Art Resources

Item: Medicine Buddha

སངས་རྒྱས་སྨན་ལྷ། 药师佛
(item no. 90346)
Origin Location Tibet
Date Range 1800 - 1899
Lineages Buddhist
Material Ground Mineral Pigment on Cotton
Collection Private
Notes about the Central Figure

Classification: Deity

Interpretation / Description

Medicine Buddha (Sanskrit: Bhaishajyaguru) (Tibetan: sang gye men la. English: the Buddha - Guru of Medicine).

Tibetan: Sang gye men la

The depicted forms and ritual practices of Medicine Buddha are derived from the Bhaishajyaguru Sutra and according to Buddhist Tradition were taught by Shakyamuni Buddha. In the Vajrayana Buddhist Tradition this sutra is classified as Tantra literature and belonging to the Kriya classification. Many works under the Kriya classification are understood as being both sutra texts and tantra texts at the same time. Medicine Buddha imagery and practice is common to all of Tibetan and Himalayan Buddhism and particularly important to the Tibetan medical schools and traditions.

"...Bhagavan, Medicine Guru, with a body dark blue in colour, one face and two hands. The right hand is in the mudra of supreme generosity holding an arura, left in meditative equipoise holding a bowl of nectar; with splendid glorious marks and examples. Wearing three religious robes, two feet are seated in vajra posture. On the right is the Conqueror's son Suryabhaskara, with a body red in colour, the left hand holds a lotus marked with a sun. On the left is Chandrabhaskara, white, the left hand holds a lotus marked with a moon. Both right hands perform the mudra of supreme generosity. The retinue of the Lord are adorned with silks and jewels, standing on lotus and moon seats in a manner of homage." (Written by Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo, 1820-1892. The Collected Works of the Great Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo, vol.12, fol.49-51. sGrub Thabs Kun bTus, vol.5, fol.156-158. Translated October, 1994).

Jeff Watt 7-2015

Secondary Images
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Collection of Robert & Lois Baylis
Buddhist Deity: Medicine Buddha Main Page