The Medicine Buddha, 2011

Acrylic on paper

30 x 22 inches (sheet)

33 x 25 inches (frame)


The celestial Buddha known as Master of Healing, the Lapis Lazuli Radiance Buddha (Skrt: Bhaishajya-guru vaidurya-prabha tathagata) is an important figure in the Mahayana Buddhist pantheon, appearing in various chapters of the Lotus Sutra.

The Medicine Buddha is depicted as blue, specifically as lapis lazuli, which is also the name of his pure land or paradise located in the east. The Medicine Buddha is shown with his left hand in the meditation mudra holding a begging bowl made of lapis filled with amrita. His right hand is extended in the gift giving mudra while also holding the myrabolean fruit which is noted for its healing qualities. At the bottom of the picture are depicted the 7 precious jewels, the 7 possessions of the chakravartin: elephant, general, minister, queen, jewel, wheel (chakra), and horse.

While Buddhist medicine makes use of various physical healing methods, illness is primarily considered to be any state that is not enlightenment, and medicine is the dharma. Healing is the gradual elimination of the 3 inner poisons of lust, anger, and delusion.

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