- 18th century
- Copper alloy
- Catalog Number
- C2006.60.2 (HAR 65726)
- Rubin Museum of Art
An image of the Medicine Buddha is often found in the houses and offices of traditional Tibetan doctors who consider him the source of their knowledge and practice. The Medicine Buddha sits on a high lotus seat of double rows of lotus petals. He displays the recognizable attributes of a buddha, but his implements distinguish him as the King of Medicine (Menla Gyelpo), as he is known in Tibetan, Himalayan, and Mongolian cultures. His left hand supports a bowl of nectar, and his right hand holds a myrobalan fruit, which is considered a universal remedy in Tibetan medical traditions and one of the main ingredients in Tibetan medical compounds.
Ritual informs the structure of religious life in the Himalayas, defining the daily routine of practitioners and shaping a range of community-based activities.
In Himalayan cultures religious merit is the overarching reason for creating, commissioning, dedicating, and using religious works of art.
Tantric practitioners strive to transform themselves by using meditative and ritual tools with the ultimate goal of enlightenment or awakening.
Many Himalayan paintings serve as illustrations and instructional tools that bring forth stories about the Buddha, Tibetan masters, and more.
Instructive paintings can illustrate religious doctrines, medical and astrological charts, or images of ritual implements and meditative postures.