A short introduction
The Mandala of the Medicine Buddha is an example of a highly detailed mandala. Apart from the usual items that are found on such an image (such as fire rings, offerings and banners) its gates and central field hold a total of 51 images.
Although mandalas are viewed by many as circular paintings, in Buddhism they are actually floor plans of a temple. It is protected by rings of fire, vajras, lotus petals and golden pearls. Its gates are guarded by the four Protectors: in the west (the top portal) Virupaksa, and then - clockwise - north: Vaisravana, east: Dhutanasta and in the south gate: Virudhaka.
The inner court yard holds a lotus which, on four rows of petals, carries the images of buddhas, bodhisattvas, deities, directional guardians and generals.
On its inner walls are heads of Kirtimukha - a monster face with huge fangs and a gaping mouth, spitting out strands of jewels.
The walls also will carry the Queens jewels, Wish-fulfilling Trees, Dharma wheels, Protective Parasols supported by monkees, vajras, jewels and many more adornments.
The drawing process
Mandalas are drawn just as thangkas: starting with a grid with the proportions. A single unit can be anything (like a finger width, 5 mm, a meter, even a yard) but the actual count of the units defines the proportions. By drawing circles, lines and sometimes some calculations, a complete mandala emerges. Most of the mandalas abide by this basic blueprint, what sets them apart is the inner field. The Mandala of the Medicine Buddha contains a lotus with three rows of petals, each containing a figure, such as buddhas, bodhisattvas, deities and generals.
In most cases these are mere symbols: e.g. a sword refering to Manjushri, a white lotus for Chenrezig and a vajra for Vajrapani.
The Mandala I will draw will have fully detailed figures, each on their appropriate petal.
I also will paint a separate drawing of each figure in its own landscape and two additional drawings with the 7 Medicine Buddhas.