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Medicine Buddha Altar & Meditation Garden


Medicine Buddha Altar & Meditation Garden

Medicine Buddha Altar & Meditation Garden holds the statues of Bhaiṣajyaguru (Medicine Buddha), arhats, Vajra Kings, vajras, Primordial Buddhas, and Bodhisattvas. First stop for many who have visited Jinyin Temple and as one of the Temple’s main community spaces, this sacred garden has witnessed many friendships and connections formed between people who were here. 

Medicine Buddha

In the Mahayana Buddhism tradition, Medicine Buddha (藥師佛) is known and venerated for his power of healing. According to the Medicine Buddha Sutra (Bhaiṣajyaguruvaiḍuryaprabharaja Sutra), all diseases are caused by people’s greed, anger, and delusion. Bhaiṣajyaguru is the Unexcelled Trainer who trains us to tame our mind. When our mind is free from mental afflictions, our physical well-being will also receive health benefits. 

One can evoke Bhaiṣajyaguru to receive blessings by chanting the Medicine Buddha Mantra focusing on one’s afflictions and visualizing the Buddha. Visualization practice can be done to alleviate physical and mental pain by visualizing a small form of the Buddha in the actual part of your body or mind where healing is needed. One can practice chanting and visualization for oneself as well as others to receive the blessing of the Medicine Buddha.

Medicine Buddha

Five Tathāgatas

The Five Tathāgatas (五方佛), also known as the Five Dhyani Buddhas, are a central concept in Vajrayana Buddhism. Each Tathāgata represents a different aspect of enlightened consciousness and serves as a meditation focus for practitioners. Here are the five Tathāgatas:  


Vairocana: Vairocana, the central and primary Tathāgata, represents the wisdom of the Dharmadhatu (the realm of truth). He embodies the all-pervading nature of ultimate reality and the realization of emptiness.  


Akshobhya: Akshobhya, also known as “Immovable,” represents the transformation of anger and aggression into mirror-like wisdom. He is associated with the purification of negative emotions and the cultivation of inner stability and equanimity.  


Ratnasambhava: Ratnasambhava embodies generosity, abundance, and the transmutation of pride into the wisdom of equanimity. He represents the richness and preciousness of all phenomena.  


Amitabha: Amitabha, also known as “Infinite Light,” is associated with the transformation of desire and attachment into discriminating wisdom. He symbolizes compassion, pure perception, and the aspiration to be reborn in his Pure Land.  


Amoghasiddhi: Amoghasiddhi represents the transformation of jealousy and envy into all-accompanying wisdom. He embodies fearlessness, decisive action, and the ability to accomplish positive actions without obstacles.  


The practice of meditating on the Five Tathāgatas allows practitioners to cultivate these qualities within themselves, purify negative mental states, and attain realization of the nature of mind. Together, the Five Tathāgatas symbolize the totality of enlightened qualities and provide a comprehensive framework for spiritual development in Vajrayana Buddhism.



Five Tathāgatas


Commonly seen in depictions and iconography, Bhaiṣajyaguru is accompanied by two main attendants or disciples — Chandraprabha (月光菩薩) and Sūryaprabha (日光菩薩).  


As written in the Sutra of the Merits of the Fundamental Vows of Bhaisagyaguru Tathagata of Lapis Lazuli Crystal Radiance (藥師琉璃光如來本願功德經 Yaoshi Liuli Guang Rulai Benyuan Gongde Jing) (Taisho Tripitaka, Vol. 14, No. 450), the buddha realm or the Pure Land of Bhaisagyaguru is described as follows:  

In this land, the ground is made of lapis lazuli, the boundaries are demarcated with golden cords, the towns, towers, palaces, pavilions, as well as the balconies, windows and draperies are all made of the Seven Treasures. The merits, virtues and adornments of this realm are identical to those of Amitabha Buddha’s Pure Land in the west.  In this land dwell two great bodhisattvas, Universal Solar Radiance and Universal Lunar Radiance. Among the countless bodhisattvas, they are the leaders. Each in turn will serve as successor to the Medicine Buddha and as the able guardian of His True Dharma treasury.


Chandraprabha’s name translates to “Radiant Moon,” symbolizing the purity and luminosity of his enlightened consciousness. In paintings, Chandraprabha is usually portrayed as a bodhisattva with a shining silver or white complexion, representing the gentle radiance of the moon. He embodies the soothing qualities of compassion and healing. Chandraprabha is usually depicted on Bhaiṣajyaguru’s left side. Votive practice towards Chandraprabha allows practitioners to seek inspiration and seek his blessings for spiritual growth and protection.  


The observance of Chandraprabha’s sacred day is on the same date as the Mid-Autumn Festival, the 15th day of the eighth month of the Chinese lunisolar calendar, when the moon is at its fullest.



The name Sūryaprabha (日光菩薩) combines “Sūrya,” meaning “sun” in Sanskrit, and “prabha,” which translates to “radiance” or “brilliance.” This name reflects Sūryaprabha’s association with the illuminating wisdom that dispels ignorance and brings forth clarity.  


Statues of Chandraprabha and Sūryaprabha closely resemble each other. Sūryaprabha is often depicted or placed on Bhaiṣajyaguru’s right side. In artistic depictions, Sūryaprabha is often depicted with a radiant golden complexion, symbolizing the brilliance of the sun as well as the radiance of wisdom and the transformative effects it can have on individuals seeking healing and spiritual awakening.  


Sūryaprabha’s role as an attendant to Bhaiṣajyaguru signifies the importance of wisdom in the context of healing and spiritual well-being. As an embodiment of wisdom, Sūryaprabha represents the transformative power of understanding, insight, and discernment.  


Together with Chandraprabha, these two attendants of Bhaiṣajyaguru symbolize the qualities of wisdom and compassion, which are essential in the practice of medicine and healing. Their presence signifies the power of light, both literal and metaphorical, in dispelling darkness and alleviating suffering. Their presence also emphasizes the holistic nature of healing, serving as reminders of the inseparable connection between spiritual well-being and physical health. 



Acalanātha (不動明王) is a deity revered in Vajrayana Buddhism. He is considered a wrathful manifestation of either Vairocana, the buddha Akṣobhya, or the bodhisattva Mañjuśrī. The name “Acalanātha” translates to “Immovable One” or “Unshakable Lord,” reflecting the deity’s steadfastness and unwavering nature. Acalanātha is often depicted with a fierce and wrathful appearance, symbolizing his power to overcome ignorance, delusion, and negative forces.  


As a protector deity, Acalanātha guards the teachings of the Buddha and assists practitioners in overcoming obstacles and hindrances on their spiritual path. He is associated with subduing inner and outer disturbances, purifying negative energies, and transforming them into enlightened qualities.  


Acalanātha’s wrathful appearance shows his bulging eyes and an angry gesture. He stands on a rock that represents the golden Mount Meru. In one hand, he holds a cable, representing the catching of negative energies, and in the other hand, he holds a sword, representing the cutting through of ignorance and afflictions. Acalanātha’s fierce appearance serves as a reminder of the inherent power within individuals to overcome inner obstacles and transform negative emotions into wisdom and compassion. The deity’s teachings and practices are a means to awaken these qualities and realize the true nature of reality.  


Devotion to Acalanātha involves mantra recitation, visualization practices, and rituals performed by practitioners seeking protection and guidance. The practice of Acalanātha is aimed at cultivating fearlessness, inner strength, and the ability to overcome adversity and obstacles on the path to enlightenment.  


To invoke the Wisdom King Acalanātha, bring your palms together to form the prayer mudra and bow three times to the deity, and then recite “om, anali” for three or nine times to pray for his protection and blessing to help you develop bodhicitta, do good and accumulate merit. May the merit of this practice remove your physical and mental burdens caused by anxiety and worries. 



Yamāntaka (大威德明王), also known as Vajrabhairava, is a fierce and wrathful deity in Vajrayana Buddhism. The name “Yamāntaka” combines “Yama,” the lord of death in Hindu and Buddhist mythology, and “antaka,” meaning “destroyer” or “conqueror.” He is thus known as the “Destroyer of Death” and for his power to conquer death, evil and ignorance. Yamāntaka is considered a manifestation of wisdom and compassion in their most wrathful and transformative forms and the wrathful manifestation of Mañjuśrī.

In artistic representations, Yamāntaka shows a fierce expression with his multiple heads, arms, and legs, and rides a water buffalo. He roars to command the evil to stop sinful acts which create obstacles and harm sentient beings. Yamāntaka’a wrathful form represents the powerful force required to cut through the root of ignorance and delusion, paving the way for the realization of enlightenment. The presence of the buffalo underneath Yamāntaka serves as a powerful visual metaphor for the triumph over ignorance, the destruction of delusion, and the realization of enlightened wisdom and compassion.  


Yamāntaka’s practice is associated with the transformation of aggression, anger, and ignorance into enlightened qualities, and is aimed at generating inner transformation, fearlessness, and the destruction of all obstacles on the path to liberation. Through practicing, practitioners aim to overcome their fears and negative emotions, attain wisdom, and achieve liberation from the cycle of birth and death. 

The votive practice to Yamāntaka involves complex visualization practices, mantra recitation, and ritual ceremonies performed by advanced practitioners. It is considered an advanced tantric practice that requires proper initiation or empowerment, guidance and training from qualified teachers within the Vajrayana tradition.  


To pray for Yamāntaka’s blessing and protection: bring your palms together to form the prayer mudra and bow to the deity three times, and then chant “yekesuo” for three to nine times for the generation of compassion and kindness in your heart. May the wisdom king help you eliminate troubles and obstacles. 



Hayagrīva (馬頭明王), also known as Hayagrīva Mahakala, is a deity revered in both Hinduism and Vajrayana Buddhism. In these traditions, Hayagrīva is associated with knowledge, wisdom, and protection. The name “Hayagrīva” translates to “Horse-Necked” in Sanskrit, referring to the deity’s distinctive iconography.  


In Vajrayana Buddhism, Hayagrīva is one of the thousands of transformation bodies of Avalokiteśvara Bodhisattva, the Bodhisattva of Compassion. He is believed to possess the power to dispel ignorance, grand insight, and protect against spiritual disturbances. He is often depicted with a fierce expression which symbolizes the courage required to confront and overcome the forces of ignorance and delusion in order to attain higher levels of understanding and realization. His anger derives from his compassion, rather than resentment, for all sentient beings.  


The practice of Hayagrīva involves mantra recitation, visualization, and ritual ceremonies performed by practitioners seeking protection, knowledge and the removal of obstacles. Devotional practice to Hayagrīva helps with intellectual pursuits and spiritual growth. To pray for Hayagrīva’s blessing and protection: bring your palms together to form the prayer mudra and bow to the deity three times, and then chant “Om, mani, padme, hum” for three or nine times. May you receive his blessings and generate true bodhicitta. May the merit of this practice keep you on the right path to accumulate merits and wisdom. 



Aparājita (無能勝金剛明王) is the wrathful manifestation of Kṣitigarbha Bodhisattva. He is known as “Undefeated,” and often depicted as a wrathful and fierce figure representing the unconquerable nature of enlightened wisdom.   Aparājita is associated with the subjugation of negative forces, the removal of obstacles, and the cultivation of fearlessness. As a wisdom king, Aparājita embodies the transformative power of wisdom and compassion. His wrathful form symbolizes the swift and decisive action required to overcome ignorance and delusion.  


In visual representations, Aparājita is depicted with multiple heads and arms, each holding various weapons and ritual implements. These attributes represent his ability to engage skillfully with different aspects of existence and to protect practitioners on their spiritual path.  


Devotees may call upon Aparājita for guidance, protection, and the removal of obstacles that hinder spiritual progress. By connecting with Aparājita’s enlightened qualities, practitioners aim to cultivate fearlessness, wisdom, and compassionate action in their own lives. To invoke Aparājita, bring your palms together to form the prayer mudra and bow three times to the wisdom king, and recite: om, aparājitah, dhrim, dhrim, rim, rim, jrim, jrim, hūm, phat for as many times as you would like. May the merit of this practice remove your physical and mental burdens. 



Mahācakra (大輪明王), also Mahācakravajri (大輪金剛), is one of the eight main wisdom kings in Mahāyāna Buddhism. He is the wrathful manifestation of Maitreya Bodhisattva.  


As a wisdom king, Mahācakra embodies the transformative energy of enlightened awareness and is associated with purifying negative energies and protecting practitioners from obstacles. Devotees may invoke Mahācakra to remove spiritual hindrances, purify negativities, and facilitate spiritual progress.  


Mahācakra is often depicted in a wrathful form with multiple heads, arms, and legs, symbolizing his ability to swiftly and skillfully overcome obstacles on the path to enlightenment. The horse underneath Mahācakra’s feet signifies the swift and decisive action required to subdue negativities and cultivate transformative wisdom. The rendering of the wisdom king trampling upon a horse conveys the message that the enlightened qualities embodied by the wisdom king are powerful, unstoppable, and victorious over obstacles. It represents the ability to swiftly transcend limitations and ride the energy of transformation towards spiritual realization. The horse also serves as a symbol of taming and harnessing the mind’s wild and untamed aspects. By subjugating the horse, the wisdom king demonstrates mastery over one’s thoughts, emotions, and mental states, guiding them towards the path of awakening. 



Vajrahāsa (大笑明王) is the wrathful manifestation of Akasagarbha Bodhisattva, who is known as the “Boundless Space Treasury,” a bodhisattva associated with the great space and universe, wisdom, emptiness, and the accumulation of merit.  


In this artistic representation, Vajrahāsa is shown with a fierce appearance holding various ritual implements and stumbling upon a dragon. In the iconography of Chinese Vajrayana Buddhism, the dragon underneath the feet of a wisdom king symbolizes various aspects. The dragon is a majestic spiritual being and is often seen as a symbol of power, representing the subjugation of negative forces and obstacles. The wisdom king, with the dragon under his feet, signifies his dominion over these forces and his ability to overcome and transform them. Dragons are also associated with primal energy and elemental forces. They embody the fierce and potent energies of the natural world. The dragon beneath Vajrahāsa represents the harnessing and channeling of this raw energy towards spiritual transformation and enlightenment. Moreover, dragons are considered guardians of esoteric knowledge and hidden teachings. Their presence signifies the preservation and protection of sacred wisdom. With the dragon under his feet, Vajrahāsa embodies the mastery of these teachings and their transformative power. Last but not least, dragons are often seen as creatures of metamorphosis and change. They can shed their old forms and emerge in new and more powerful manifestations. The dragon beneath Vajrahāsav represents the ability to undergo profound inner transformation and transcend limitations on the path to enlightenment. 




Trailokyavijayarāja, Xiángsānshì míngwáng in Chinese (降三世明王), is considered a fierce and wrathful deity associated with the transmutation of negative forces and the subjugation of obstacles and a manifestation of Akṣobhya, the Primordial Buddha of the eastern quarter. He is one of the Five Wisdom Kings in Vajrayana and the one who “conquered the three worlds.” His mission is to protect the eastern part of the world. The “three worlds” represent the entire world of cyclic existence consisting of the world of desire, the world of form and the formless world. The three worlds also denote the three poisons of Buddhism: greed, hatred and ignorance. Trailokyavijayarāja is worshiped because of his ability to help people eliminate and conquer the three poisons of their minds during the past, present and future time. 

Trailokyavijayarāja is often depicted with multiple heads and arms, symbolizing his ability to perceive and act in various dimensions simultaneously. He carries various weapons and implements, representing his power to overcome ignorance and obstacles on the path to enlightenment.  


As a wisdom king, Trailokyavijayarāja embodies the wisdom aspect of enlightened awareness, and his fierce form signifies his ability to transform and purify negative emotions and delusions into wisdom. Devotees may invoke Trailokyavijayarāja for protection, removal of obstacles, and the attainment of spiritual insight. 



Arhats, also known as Arahants, are esteemed figures in Buddhism who have liberated themselves from the cycle of life and death. The term "arhat" translates to "worthy one" or "perfected one" in English. In Buddhist teachings, arhats are considered to have achieved the highest goal of the Theravada tradition.


Arhats are considered to be fully awakened beings who have eradicated all defilements, attachments, and ignorance that bind them to the cycle of samsara—the cycle of birth, death, and rebirth.  


The attainment of Arhatship signifies the complete realization of the Four Noble Truths taught by the Buddha—the truth of suffering, the truth of the origin of suffering, the truth of the cessation of suffering, and the truth of the path leading to the cessation of suffering.  


Arhats are renowned for their wisdom, compassion, and ethical conduct. They have transcended the cycle of rebirth and achieved liberation from the cycle of suffering, freeing themselves from the rounds of birth and death. As enlightened beings, they serve as role models and sources of inspiration for practitioners on the Buddhist path.


Kuṇḍali Vidyārāja

Kuṇḍali Vidyārāja (軍荼利明王) is the wrathful manifestation of Ratnasambhava, the Primordial Buddha of the southern quarter. He is a fierce deity associated with fire and purification and known for his ability to remove obstacles created by the five skandhas, aggregates of clinging (Pañcupādānakkhandhā). Kuṇḍali helps to remove impurities and obstacles that hinder spiritual progress.  


Kuṇḍali Vidyārāja is often depicted with a wrathful expression, multiple heads and arms holding various implements and weapons. The deity’s name “Kundali” is associated with the concept of Kundalini, which represents the dormant spiritual energy residing within an individual.  


As a wisdom king, Kuṇḍali Vidyārājaembodies the transformative power of wisdom and the purifying force of fire. He is associated with the transmutation of negativity and the purification of defilements, allowing practitioners to attain purity of mind and ultimate spiritual liberation. Devotees may engage in practices and rituals such as fire ritual to invoke the deity’s assistance in purifying negativities, removing obstacles, and attaining spiritual insight. 

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