Himalayan Art Resources

Buddhist Deity: Medicine Buddha (Twelve Yaksha Generals)

Medicine Buddha Retinue Figure Masterworks

Subjects, Topics & Types:
- Twelve Yaksha Generals Description (below)
- Medicine Buddha Main Page
- Medicine Buddha Retinue Figures
- Confusions: Jambhala, Vaishravana, Kubera
- Others...

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.

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