Original: gouache and 22 carat gold on linen 2012
The Medicine Buddha’s proper name is VajrBhaiṣajyaguru, formally Bhaiṣajyaguruvaiḍūryaprabhārāj. He is the Buddha of the eastern realm, or “Pure Lapis Lazuli, the buddhaof healing and medicine in Mahayana Buddhism. He is a bodhisattva, a being who puts off full enlightenment to stay here on the earthly plain to help others. He cures suffering using the medicine of his teachings. He is also thought of as one of the trinity of Buddhas, the others being Sakyamuni and Amitabha.
Upon achieving Buddhahood, he made 12 vows:
- To illuminate countless realms with his radiance, enabling anyone to become a Buddha
- To awaken the minds of sentient beings through his light of lapis lazuli.
- To provide the sentient beings with whatever material needs they require.
- To correct heretical views and inspire beings toward the path of the bodhisattva.
- To help beings follow the Moral Precepts, even if they failed before.
- To heal beings born with deformities, illness or other physical sufferings.
- To help relieve the destitute and the sick.
- To help women who wish to be reborn as men achieve their desired rebirth.
- To help heal mental afflictions and delusions.
- To help the oppressed be free from suffering.
- To relieve those who suffer from terrible hunger and thirst.
- To help clothe those who are destitute and suffering from cold and mosquitoes.
He is typically depicted seated, wearing the three robes of a Buddhist monk, holding a lapis-colored jar of medicine nectar in his left hand and the right hand resting on his right knee, holding the stem of the Aruna fruit or Myrobalanbetween thumb and forefinger. His aura is lapis lazuli-colored light. In Chinese depictions, he is sometimes holds a pagoda, symbolising the ten thousand Buddhas of the three periods of time.