Medicine Buddha
Sangye Menla


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About the Image

"If one meditates on the Medicine Buddha, one will eventually attain enlightenment, but in the meantime one will experience an increase in healing powers both for oneself and others and a decrease in physical and mental illness and suffering."


In his Teachings on the Medicine Buddha Sadhana, the Venerable Thrangu Rinpoche includes a discussion of the main features of the image and the meaning of each of the important symbols. For example, the description and commentary on the arms and hands points out  how they symbolize the Medicine Buddha's mastery of both physical and spiritual aspects of healing:
 
"The Medicine Buddha has two arms.

His right hand in the mudra of supreme generosity holds an arura. His left hand in meditation mudra holds a begging bowl.

His right hand is extended, palm outward, over his right knee in the gesture called supreme generosity. In it he holds the arura, or myrobalan, fruit. This plant represents all the best medicines. The position of his right hand and the arura which he holds represent the eradication of suffering, especially the suffering of sickness, using the means of relative truth. Sickness can be alleviated by adjusting the functioning of interdependent causes and conditions by the use of relative means within the realm of relative truth, such as medical treatment and so on. The giving of these methods is represented by the gesture of the Medicine Buddha’s right hand. 

His left hand rests in his lap, palm upward, in the gesture of meditative stability or meditation, which represents the eradication of sickness and suffering— and, indeed, the very roots of samsara— through the realization of absolute truth. From the point of view of either relative truth or absolute truth, the fundamental cause of sickness and suffering is a lack of contentment and the addictive quality of samsara. Therefore, to indicate the need for contentment, in his left hand he holds a begging bowl."

Venerable Thrangu Rinpoche
Teachings on the Medicine Buddha Sadhana

This particular image is the main figure, Sangye Menla, from a thangka (scroll painting) of the Eight Medicine Buddhas, painted recently by a Tibetan refugee.

Copies of this image may be used for any respectful purpose.


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Related Pages


The Medicine Buddha

Meditation on the Medicine Buddha

Teachings on The Medicine Buddha

Spiritual Healing in Buddhist Tibet

Tibetan Medicine Home Page


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Revised on December 1, 2000

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