The right hand of our oxidized copper Medicine Buddha statue is depicting the Varada or “boon granting” mudra. The mudra is displayed with the right hand draped over the right knee. Additionally, the palm of the hand is open and facing forward. The gesture reflects the gift giving sentiment of Buddhas and Bodhisattvas.
His left hand is depicting the Dhyana “meditation mudra” and the medicinal bowl is resting in the palm of his hand. This potion inside the bowl contains the three nectars which heal the three poisons of delusion, hatred and greed.
Medicinal Qualities of the Myrobalan Plant
In ancient India and Nepal there is a common medicinal herbal remedy that comes from the myrobalan tree. This herbal remedy was widely used during the time of Shakyamuni Buddha in the 6th century BCE. In the right hand of our Medicine Buddha statue he is holding the stem of the myrobalan plant between his thumb and index finger.
However, it is important to note that Buddhists would regard the depiction of the herbal medicine as a metaphor. This is because it is believed that all suffering is caused by indiscretions related to the defilements. Therefore, the cure to all mental and physical suffering is practicing the precepts and meditation. Learn more about the special healing powers of Medicine Buddha.
The Deer Park Sermon
There are two deer found on the base of the pedestal on the back of the statue. This would be in reference to the deer park sermon that the original Buddha gave in Sarnath after he obtained enlightenment. Many of the Nepali Medicine Buddha statues were originally designed for the Tibetan monasteries. As a result, we see the connection between medicine and the teachings of the Dharma.