Himalayan Art Resources

Painting Set: Medicine Buddha (Shechen)

Medicine Buddha Set (Shechen) | Medicine Buddha Main Page | Medicine Buddha Outline

The eight images in this gallery depict the Eight Medicine Buddhas. The full set most likely contained nine compositions. The missing image is of the personification of the Prajnaparamita as a female deity.

1. Bhaishajyaguru, Vaidurya Prabha Raja (blue)
2. Ashokattamshri (pink)
3. Suvarnabhadra Vimala (white)
4. Abhijnaraja (pink)
5. Shakyamuni (golden)
6. Suparakirtita Namashri (yellow)
7. Nirghosharaja
8. Dharmakirti Sagara



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.

Description: Medicine Guru Buddha (Sanskrit: Bhaishajyaguru) is also known by the name Vaidurya Prabha Raja, the 'King of Sapphire Light.' Dark blue in colour, with one face and two hands he holds in the right hand a myrobalan fruit (Latin: terminalia chebula. Skt.: haritaki). The left hand is placed in the lap in the gesture of meditation supporting a begging bowl with the open palm. Adorned with the orange and yellow patchwork robes of a fully ordained monk, the left arm covered, he appears in the nirmanakaya aspect of a fully enlightened buddha. In vajra posture above a moon disc, he sits on a lotus and ornate lion supported throne with a back rest. At each side of Medicine Buddha stand the two principal bodhisattva attendants. To the left is the yellow bodhisattva Suryabhaskara (Rays of the Sun) and to the right is white Chandrabhaskara (Rays of the Moon).

Lineage: Muni Shakya Simha, Arya Manjughosha, Khenchen Bodhisattva Shantirakshita, Dharma King Trisong Detsen, Dharma King Sena Legjing Yon, Ngadag Tri Ralpachen, Lhalung Palgyi Dorje, Ngadag Odsrung, Tri Palkor Tsan, Kyide Nyima Gon, Ngadag Tashi De, Lha Lama Yeshe Od, Ngadag Lha De - or - Lhatsun Jangchub Od, Ngadag Od De, Ngadag Tse De, Ngari Drachom Jangchub Tsultrim, Shulenpa Sherab Dragpa, Rechu Lepa Dharma Gyaltsen, (etc.).

Jeff Watt [text added to this page 1-2013]