Himalayan Art Resources

Buddhist Deity: Medicine Buddha (Twelve Yaksha Generals)

Medicine Buddha Retinue Figure Masterworks

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Video: Twelve Yaksha Generals

The meditational practice of Medicine Buddha and the full set of retinue mandala deities number fifty-one figures. All of the figures can be represented in a single painted composition or in fifty-one individual compositions of painting, textile, or sculpture.

The images of the Twelve Yaksha Generals below represent what remains of a number of different sets. These figures are commonly misidentified as being forms of Jambhala, Vaishravana or the erroneous deity Kubera which is not found in Himalayan and Tibetan iconography except as a minor retinue figure in a few mandalas.

Twelve Yaksha Generals:
36 (1). Eastern direction, Jijig, yellow, vajra.
37 (2). Vajra, red, sword.
38 (3). rgyan 'dzin, yellow, stick.
39 (4). Northern direction, g.za' 'dzin, light blue, stick.
40 (5). rlung 'dzin (Vatadhara), red, trident.
41 (6). gnas bcas, smoky-coloured, sword. Example 2
42 (7). Western direction, dbang 'dzin, red, stick. Example 2
43 (8). btung 'dzin, yellow, stick.
44 (9). smra 'dzin, pink, axe.
45 (10). Southern direction, bsam 'dzin, yellow, lasso.
46 (11). g.yob 'dzin, blue, stick.
47 (12). rdzogs byed, red, wheel. All hold a mongoose in the left hand, with short fat limbs and a large stomach.

Database Search: Yaksha Generals

Jeff Watt [updated 10-2014, 1-2020]

Toh 504. The Detailed Account of the Previous Aspirations of the Blessed Bhaiṣajya­guru­vaiḍūrya­prabha. བཅོམ་ལྡན་འདས་སྨན་གྱི་བླ་བཻ་ཌུརྱའི་འོད་གྱི་སྨོན་ལམ་གྱི་ཁྱད་པར་རྒྱས་པ། · bcom ldan ’das sman gyi bla bai Dur+ya’i ’od gyi smon lam gyi khyad par rgyas pa. Bhagavān­bhaiṣajya­guru­vaiḍūrya­prabhasya pūrva­praṇidhāna­viśeṣa­vistāra.

There were twelve great yakṣa generals27 gathered in that assembly‍—the great yakṣa general Kiṃbhīra, the great yakṣa general Vajra, the great yakṣa general Mekhila, the great yakṣa general Antila, the great yakṣa general Anila, the great yakṣa general Saṇṭhila, the great yakṣa [F.283.a] general Indala, the great yakṣa general Pāyila, the great yakṣa general Mahāla, the great yakṣa general Cidāla, the great yakṣa general Caundhula, and the great yakṣa general Vikala.

Each great yakṣa general had seven hundred thousand yakṣa attendants, and they all told the Blessed One with a single voice, “Blessed One, due to the Buddha’s power, we have heard the name of the blessed Thus-Gone One Bhaiṣajya­guru­vaiḍūrya­prabha­rāja, and we will no longer have any fear of proceeding to the lower realms. All of us together, for as long as we live, take refuge in the Buddha, we take refuge in the Dharma, and we take refuge in the Saṅgha. We will diligently work for the benefit, aid, and happiness of all beings. In particular, we will protect any being who practices this sūtra in villages, towns, provinces, and forests, and who remembers the name of the blessed Thus-Gone One Bhaiṣajya­guru­vaiḍūrya­prabha­rāja, makes offerings to him, and serves him. They will be under our protection, they will be under our care, they will be free from all manner of misfortunes, and we will fulfill their every wish.”

“Very good, very good,” the Blessed One said in response to the great yakṣa generals. “It is excellent that you great yakṣa generals are so grateful toward the blessed Thus-Gone Bhaiṣajya­guru­vaiḍūrya­prabha­rāja, and that you are so committed to recollecting him and working for the benefit [F.283.b] of all beings.”