Kon-do: The Hall of Medicine Buddha in Toji Temple

(Toji: Shingon Buddhist Temple, the headquarters of Shingon Buddhism in Kyoto)

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Yahushi Nyorai with Seven Healing Buddhas in the canopy.

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(Japanese,Yakushi Nyorai; Chinese, Yaoshi Fo; Tibetan, Sangs-rgyas, Sman-bla; Mongol, Otochic)

The Seven Bodies or Forms of Bhaisajyaguru

Some Sanskrit texts and Chinese texts describe seven 'bodies' or emanations that Bhaisajyaguru can assume during his functions as a healer. One of these emanations bodies (Japanese Busshin) is sometimes considered as an independadant deity in Japan, this Zen Myosho Kichijo-o Nyorai is often confused with Yakushi Nyorai. The emanations are usually represented above the image of Bhaisajyaguru or in the aureole. They are usually seated and display various gestures. They are sometimes just represented by their respected seed sylables, written in Sanskrit Siddham characters.

These Seven Healing Buddhas are:

  1. - Zen Myosho Kichijo-o Nyorai, virtuous name and king of happiness.
  2. - Hogetsu Chigen Ko-on Jizai-o Nyorai, precious moon, majesty of wisdom, luminous sound and independant king.
  3. - Konjiki Hoko Myoko Joju Nyorai
  4. - Muyu Saisho Kichijo Nyorai
  5. - Hokairaion Nyorai
  6. - Hokaisho Sui Yugi Jintsu Nyorai
  7. - Yakushi Ruriko Nyorai

Together they are considered as the principle deity (Honzon).

Besides his two acolytes and his twelve warriors, Bhaisajyaguru is theoretically surrounded by eight great bodhisattvas:Manjushri, Avalokitesvara, Aksayamati, Mahasthamaprapta, Maitreya, Bhaisajyasumudgata and Bhaisajyaraja. and in Japan, Hodange Bosatsu. These eight bodhisattvas are intended to show the faithful the road to the paradise of Amitabha. Among them are two Bodhisattvas of medicine (Bhaisajyasumudgata and Bhaisajyaraja, Japanese Yaoku-o and Yaku-jo) who are two brothers in the retinue of Amitabha in his 'descent'(Japanese Raigo) for 'welcoming the faithful to the paradise of Amitabha', and who represent the purifying power of the sun. In painting, they are shown holding a willow branch.