Mandala of Medicine Buddha

༄༅།། སངས་རྒྱས་སྨན་བླ།

This Mandala, constructed here from colored particles represents the residence of Medicine Buddhas. It is in the unique design of Namgyal Monastery’s tradition, which has been preserved through many generations, along with studies and practices according to different traditional lineages. The Namgyal Monastery’s sand Mandala is flat, very colorful and catches many people’s eyes with its beautiful designs. Just to glimpse this Mandala creates a positive impression on the mind stream of the observer, who for a moment is in touch with the timeless ideal of all-encompassing compassion.

The inner surface of the four directions of the Mandala are blue in the east, yellow in the south, red in the west, green in the north and white in the center. There are three circles of lotus petals inside the Mandala. The Medicine Buddha is in the center on the moon disk and is surrounded by another Eight Medicine Buddhas, who are seated on those intermediate circles of sixteen petals on moon cushions. The ten guardians (phyogs -sKyong bCu) of the ten directions and the twelve Yaksha-princes (gNod-sByin) are seated on the petals of the outer lotus circle. The ten guardians are on a rock mountain cushion (phyogs-sKyon) and the twelve principle demons (gNod-sByin) are on the silk cushions. The Four Guardian-Kings are at the four gates of the Mandala on moon discs. The principle Medicine Buddha is blue in color. In his right hand he holds universal medicine (a-ru-ra-myrobalan) in the gesture of giving supreme attainment. His left hand is in the gesture of meditative equipoise holding an alms bowl.

On the inner eight petals: to the South-East are golden yellow Buddha Sakyamuni, right hand is in the earth-touching mudra (earth witness or touching the earth) to call the earth goddess and left hand is in the meditative equipoise mudra. In the South is yellow Medicine Buddha with a wish-granting jewel in his right hand, which is in the mudra of bestowing protection generosity and his left hand, is in the mudra of concentration. On the South-West petal is yellow Drayang Gyalpo with his right hand in the mudra of expounding the Dharma and his left hand in the mudra of concentration. In the Western petal, yellow Buddha Serzang with his hand is in the mudra of expounding the Dharma. In the North-West is Buddha Nyangen Maychokpal in pink color with both hands in the mudra of concentration. In the North is Buddha ChodragGyatso-yang with a pale ping body and hands in the mudra of expounding the Dharma. In the Northwest is Buddha NgonkyenGyalpo in red color red with his right hand in the mudra of sublime realization and his left hand in the mudra of concentration. In the East is the Great Mother Pranjnaparamita in golden color with one face and four arms. First two hands are holding a Vajra and a scripture. The next two hands are in the mudra of concentration and adorned with precious ornaments. All the Buddha’s are adorned with minor and major marks and wearing Sham-thab (undergarment of monk), and an upper yellow robe in the form or aspect of an emanation body.

The sixteen levels of petals are divided into four petals in each of the four quarters

  • On the four eastern petals are: Yellow Buddhisattvu Manjushri with his right hand holding the wisdom sword and in his left a blue water lily supporting a scripture; White Buddhisattva Avalokiteshvara with lotus in one hand; blue-green Vajrapani holding vajra in one hand; and an orange-colored Ni-Snan with a sun in his hand.
  • On the four Southern petals are: White Dawa-Snan with a moon disc in the hand; great Yellow bLo-gros holding an eye in one hold; Yellow Maitreya holding dagger stick and vase; White sKyags-grol holding in his right hand a Dharma treasure and in the left hand held above the left thigh in the mudra of the half closed fist vajra.
  • On the West four petals are: White sPobs-pobrtsegs-pa holding an incense burner in the hand; green-blue rNam-pa gnon-pa with a sword in one hand the white lotus in another hand; White blTa-sdug with a scripture in the hand; White Mun-pa tham-cad ne-par with a precious stick in hand.
  • On the North four petals are: White sMas-balegn-par sem-pa holding a vase filled with nectar in the hand; White lhun-pobrtseg with a half moon on lotus in one hand; blue sNa-san po’Ibdyans holding blue lotus with a Vajra in one hand; White lhun-pochen-po holding a vase filled with nectar. All are adorned with silk and precious ornaments.

On the twenty-two petals of the outer lotus circle are the twelve YAKSHA-princes (gNog-sByin):

each holding a jewel-spitting mongoose in the left hand, line their King Namthosa. They are placed between the guardians the ten directions, (PhyogsskyongbCu) i.e. the four cardinal points, the four intermediate directions, Zenith and the Nadir, thus illustrating the spherical concept of the picture. These ten guardian are: in the east are yellow Brahman, white Indra, the red gold of fire, blue yama, cannibal demons (dark red), the god of water (white), the god of wind (dust colour), gnod-sbyin demons (yellow), dawn-Idan (white), the god of earth (yellow).

Towards the left row: ‘Jigs-pyed yellow in color with a red Vajra sword in one hand; rGyanhzin, yellow in color with; gzha-hzin, light blue in color; raun-hzin with reddish color; gns-bcasddha-kadbn-hzin reddish in color; gtun-hzin, yellow in color; smr-hzin, pink colored; bsm-hzin, yellow in color ; gyo-bhzin, blue in color; rzogs-byed, reddish colored. These all short and fat with large bellies. Retinues of seven thousand surround each of these demons.

The four gates of this Mandala are protected by the Guardian-Kings of the cardinal points. On the Eastern gate is Yul-hkorbsru in white color with guitar in his hands. In the Sourthern door is hpgs-skyes-po in blue color with a stupa of the great enlightment in his hands. In the Northern door is rNam-thos-sras, holding cylindrical banner aloft and grasps a jewel-spitting mongoose. These four Guardian Kings are surrounded by their queen and attendants.

A long time in the past, the eight medicine Buddhas made extremely powerful wishes, out of great compassion, in order to be able to always help sentient beings to be free from the three poisons, from the obstructions and confusion due to previous karma, suffering from different types of disease, sorrow and troubles. The truth and power of their prayers and blessings are incomparable. While the Buddha was teaching the seven medicine Buddha’s sutra, the Bodhisattvas, the great beings in this Mandala such as Munjushri, son of the Buddha sKyab-grol, phyag-n-rdo-rej (VarjaPani) and so on gathered and greatly praised it promising to protect future practitioners and sutra itself for the purposes of the sutra remaining as leader and helper of all sentient beings.

As the great assemble of Buddha’s the ten Guardians of the directions and four gatekeepers made an oath that they would protect this great sutra, and its practitioners and Cativariparisadyah. Also at this great assembly all the twelve principle demons (Noi-Jin) in this Mandala as well made a promise to protect respectfully make offerings to it.

There are several different ways to represent the Medicine Buddha and his retinue with medicine Buddha himself in the center as the main bestowal of healing, the other eight medicine Buddhas, sixteen Bodhisattvas, ten guardians of the directions, twelve Noi-Jin and four guardians of the gates. In some cases, heaps of the sand is used to represent them, in others there are painted images of the deities or syllables (Tibetan or Sanskrit) to represent them. Namgyal Monastery monks mostly draw just the hand implements of the deities with colored sand, which stand to symbolize them.