Mandala of the Medicine Buddha Blog

The Mandala
of the Medicine Buddha

A short introduction

Mandala of the Medicine Buddha

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.


The mandala-based stupa in Kopan monastery, Kathmandu, Nepal

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

Mandala Grids
Part of the grids of the Mandala of the Medicine Buddha

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.


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