Medicine Buddha


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.