Eight Medicine Buddhas with Yaksha and Two Lamas Eight
MediumPigments, gilding on sized cloth
DimensionsWork : 4 3/8 x 3 1/2 x 5/8 in. (11.11 x 8.89 x 1.59 cm)
Credit LineGift of David Kamansky and Gerald Wheaton
In an early sutra, Shakyamuni Buddha revealed that there are eight manifestations of the Medicine Buddha, each with his own healing powers. This painting portrays Bhaishajyaguru sitting in the center of the image with the remaining seven Medicine Buddhas sitting around him in an arc. The fierce-looking, blue-skinned figure standing below Bhaishajyaguru is Shanglon Dorje Dudul, a wrathful yaksha—or nature spirit—who guards the medicine tantras. The seated figure in the upper left corner of the painting is the monk Tsongkhapa, who founded the Gelug order that is dominant in Mongolia. The figure in the upper right corner is another Gelug lama, perhaps the Fourth Panchen Lama who first introduced the worship of Bhaishajyaguru into Mongolia in the late 16th century, and who created a Medicine Buddha ritual that was traditionally performed in Mongolian temples on the eighth day of every lunar month to alleviate all suffering caused by sickness. The reverse of this painting is inscribed with the standard five-syllable consecration mantra.