The most distinctive feature of this Medicine Buddha is his color, the deep blue of lapis lazuli. This precious stone has been greatly prized by Asian and European cultures for more than six thousand years and, until relatively recently, its ornamental value was on a par with, or even exceeded, that of the diamond. An aura of mystery surrounds this gemstone, perhaps because of its principal mines are located in the remote Badakshan region of northeast Afghanistan, an all-but-inaccessible area located behind the Hindu Kush. One commentator has written, "the finest specimens of lapis, intensely blue with speckled waves and swirls of shining gold-colored pyrite, resemble the night aglow with myriads of stars."
Indeed the Lapis Healing Master is one of the most honored figures in the Buddhist pantheon. In one of the main sutras (canonical texts) concerning the Medicine Buddha, the following prayer is mentioned:
I beseech you, Blessed Medicine Guru, Whose sky-colored, holy body of lapis lazuli Signifies omniscient wisdom and compassion As vast as limitless space, Please grant me your blessings I beseech you, compassionate Medicine Guru, Holding in your right hand the king of medicines Symbolizing your vow to help all pitiful sentient beings Plagued by the four hundred and twenty-four diseases, Please grant me your blessings. I beseech you, compassionate Medicine Guru, Holding in your left hand a bowl of nectar Symbolizing your vow to give the glorious undying nectar of the Dharma Which eliminates the degeneration of sickness, old age and death, Please grant me your blessings.
Bhaishajyaguru is seated on a moon disc placed above a multicolored lotus which rests on a lion throne. An ornate square pedestal base forms the throne, which is supported on each of its four sides by lions.
On either side of the base of the lotus throne are two elephants. On the elephants' backs stand two blue lions. Above the lions stand two composite animals which resembles a horse in appearance. On the back of the composite animals sit two young dwarfs, whose hands support an entwined jewel crossbeam draped with silk brocade. The dwarf is a symbol of colossal strength in a diminutive stature, and since all of the above animals symbolize strength, speed, and power, the dwarf is their human equivalent.
The crossbeam is capped with an entwined jewel at either end. Two makaras with upturned heads face outwards above the crossbeam, their fabulous 'feathered' tails forming a design of intricate scrolling spiral roundels.
At the very top stands Garuda.
These creatures represent the following perfections of the enlightened mind:
1). The two lions at the base represent the perfection of wisdom (prajna).
2). The two elephants represent the perfection of concentration (dhyana).
3). The two dwarfs represent the perfection of effort (virya).
4). The two makaras represent the perfection of patience (kshanti).
5). Garuda represents the perfection of generosity (dana).
An interesting point to observe is that the crossbeam divides the throne into two distinct sections, with the upper creatures; makara and Garuda symbolizing the watery, underground and heavenly realms. The lower portion symbolizes the Buddha's conception (elephant), enlightenment (lion), ascent to Tushita heaven (deva), and reconciliation of the factions in the sangha (crossbeam).
Each of our thangkas comes framed in silk brocade and veil, ready to be hung in your altar.