Medicine Buddha ~ Bhaisajyaguru

               Medicine Buddha &The Making of Sacred Art
About a month ago I received a message in my inbox from a virtual friend. He had sent me a couple of Thangka images for reference, enquiring if I could paint a Medicine Buddha for an altar. This was my first introduction to this form of the Buddha. The Image was vibrant and hypnotic like most well executed Thangkas, but what really struck me was the color of the Buddha himself. He was a brilliant shade of Lapis Lazuli Blue.
I accepted the commission with hardly a second thought as I found myself fascinated by this vision in blue, who also goes by the name BHAISAJYAGURU Teacher/Guru of all Healers, and BEKANZE to the Tibetans . The medicine Buddha is an enlightened being, the very heart of Compassion, the Master Healer. He protects all living beings from every form of sickness and obstacles. The First Physician, He carries in one hand the Aurora plant, reputed for its almost magical healing properties and in the other a pot full of ambrosia the heavenly nectar that heals everything.
This is not the first time that I have been asked to paint images for an altar. Yet the thrill I felt upon being sought out for such a sacred commission was just as great as the first time. Each time it feels like the deity beckons me to bestow their blessings, by entering into my life .That I am being initiated and qualified for being a vessel for the deity to express through.
The next step was research and meditation upon the Buddha. I came across various articles, lectures and documents {Links to a few I liked best are listed at the end of this post}. The research is especially important when working with deity images as I like to understand the iconography from a deeper esoteric perspective, this symbolism is usually what makes each deity unique. Their Color, Weapons, Stance, Posture, Accessories, etc when taken into account along with their mantra, speak volumes about the nature and gifts of that particular aspect of the supreme.
This research helps me get familiar with the deity .While chanting their mantra and meditating upon them begins to manifest their live presence in my life. Thereafter begins the lovely process of drawing and filling in colors. The mantra humming in the background , this becomes an experience of true intimacy with the deity, Communion between two lovers, bonding between the child and parent, two friends cherishing each other’s company…. every aspect of love comes alive.
As the painting unfolds, I feel intuitively guided. Never do I have a preconceived idea of how the painting should look. Each step, is revealed just when needed. Sometimes the deity will tease me, be elusive and distant, and at such times I must cajole and beseech before they would grant me the right vision. As the painting arrives closer to completion there is a palpable presence of the deity in my body, in my home, my studio. A strong vibration emerges from the painting and I can feel their throbbing presence within it.
The next stage is the toughest!
Sending them off to their new homes. I usually try to keep them with me for a few days after completion, continuing the chanting of the mantra. The Bond thus formed between me and the beloved stays alive even after the painting leaves. Their love and blessings enriching my life & nourishing my soul.
The mantra in Sanskrit for the medicine Buddha
Long Mantra
Namo bhagavate bhaisajyaguru-vaidurya prabha-rajaya tathagataya arhate samyak- sambuddhaya tadyatha. Om bhaisajye bhaisajye bhaisajya-samudgate svaha!
Short mantra
Mantra in Tibetan
Tayata Om Bhekandze Bekhandze Maha Bhekandze Bhekandze Randza Sumungate Soha
“I honour the Lord Master of Healing, the King of Lapis Lazuli Radiance, Tathagata, Arhat, Perfect Enlightened One, saying: To the healing, to the healing, to the supreme healing hail!”


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