Medicine Buddha

There are different forms of Buddha depending on his body postures and what he holds in his hands. But without conscience all were stolen from their rightful owners by the Chinese government who then sold the shrines en masse no matter what the pose, age or material it was made from. Surely the Chinese Communists feel it is better to just get it out of the country than have it be venerated there, and all the better if they can make a profit from others’ loss apparently.

Bhaiṣajyaguru (भैषज्यगुरु), formally Bhaiṣajyaguruvaiḍūryaprabhārāja (भैषज्यगुरुवैडूर्यप्रभाराज) “Medicine Master and King of Lapis Lazuli Light”, is the Buddha of healing and medicine in Mahāyāna Buddhism. Commonly referred to as the “Medicine Buddha”, he is described as a doctor who cures suffering using the medicine of his teachings.

Medicine Buddha is typically depicted seated, wearing the three robes of a Buddhist monk, holding a lapis-colored jar of medicine nectar in his left hand and the right hand resting on his right knee, holding the stem of the Aruna fruit or Myrobalan between thumb and forefinger. Often he is also blue himself- particularly in paintings, and in Chinese depictions he is sometimes holding a pagoda (stupa), symbolizing the ten thousand Buddhas of the three periods of time and/or represents the Mind aspect of the Buddha and also acts as a reliquary for Śarīras (relics) in some rare statues.

The Twelve Vows of the Medicine Buddha upon attaining Enlightenment, according to the Medicine Buddha Sutra are:

  1. To illuminate countless realms with his radiance, enabling anyone to become a Buddha just like him.
  2. To awaken the minds of sentient beings through his light of lapis lazuli.
  3. To provide the sentient beings with whatever material needs they require.
  4. To correct heretical views and inspire beings toward the path of the Boddhisattva.
  5. To help beings follow the Moral Precepts, even if they failed before.
  6. To heal beings born with deformities, illness or other physical sufferings.
  7. To help relieve the destitute and the sick.
  8. To help women who wish to be reborn as men achieve their desired rebirth.
  9. To help heal mental afflictions and delusions.
  10. To help the oppressed be free from suffering.
  11. To relieve those who suffer from terrible hunger and thirst.
  12. To help clothe those who are destitute and suffering from cold and mosquitoes.

The Medicine Buddha mantra in English is “Tayata Om Bejaje Bejaje”. Hear this chanted by Lama Gyurme:

Search for “Medicine Buddha” on Ebay

  • 2,174 on 01/16/2016 including 54 auctioned in 10 days
  • 2,244 on 03/16/2016 including 60 auctioned in 10 days
  • 2,252 on 03/27/2016 including 50 auctioned in 10 days
  • 2,349 on 04/21/2016 including 56 auctioned in 10 days
  • 2,567 on 05/20/2016 including 84 auctioned in 10 days
  • 2,701 on 07/14/2016 including 86 auctioned in 10 days
  • 2,758 on 07/25/2016 including 92 auctioned in 10 days
  • 2,904 on 08/22/2016 including 134 auctioned in 10 days
  • 2,991 on 09/28/2016 including 100 auctioned in 10 days
  • 2,893 on 10/17/2016 including 110 auctioned in 10 days
  • 3,096 on 12/17/2016 including 108 auctioned in 10 days
  • 3,063 on 07/03/2017 including 87 auctioned in 10 days

Search for “Blue Buddha” on Ebay (quite often these are different Buddha figures other than Medicine Buddha or blue beads, but many- an estimated 50% or more- are Medicine Buddha and of Tibetan origin)

  • 8,491 on 7/14/2016 including 271 auctioned in 10 days
  • 8,853 on 07/25/2016 including 289 auctioned in 10 days
  • 10,281 on 08/22/2016 including 245 auctioned in 10 days
  • 10,541 on 09/26/2016 including 243 auctioned in 10 days
  • 11,602 on 10/17/2016 including 219 auctioned in 10 days
  • 12,781 on 12/17/2016 including 252 auctioned in 10 days
  • 15,103 on 07/03/2017 including 251 auctioned in 10 days
Tibetan Medicine Buddha
Photo #1
9 Inch Medicine Buddha
Photo #2- Another Ebay seller who is using the same photo as above, but put their watermark on it

Often times the photos are used again and again for a variety of Ebay shops who just put a different watermark on the same photo. They also sometimes just reuse ones with other shop names without changing the watermark- thus confusing potential buyers more and potentially leading them not to trust the seller- effectively devaluing whatever is for sale to the public. Devaluing what is held in high esteem is an old tactic by communists, from monks to priceless jade, they’ve done it all.

Medicine Buddha II
Photo #3- Another popular photo of the exact same statue that sellers reuse again and again, putting on watermarks whenever it might suit them.

 

The problem here is that it isn’t one or two statues that have been stolen from Tibet. It is quite possibly 80% of these statues that were ever produced, all owned by individuals or families numbering in the thousands or more that are being wholesaled without a word where they came from by a network of sellers that certainly seem to cooperate with each other like communists might.

More personal shrines:

The majority of shrines the Chinese are selling aren’t large or fancy, indicating they were taken from people personally, and poor people at that.

  • Buy It Now page ($69.90): no longer listed 07/2016, unclear if sold or? by tibetheaven

medicinebuddhata

Because of the fact that so many sellers use the exact same photographs over and over again, and often things which are worth much more- are sold for much less, it allows scammers to use photos of items they don’t even have and collect money from bidders, meanwhile it typically takes a month and a half for items to ship from China, so they can sell many, many items before Ebay shuts them down. Such is the case with the seller above chinacollection889 who apparently auctioned off over 200 items then never sent them. In cases such as this Ebay itself will refund the buyers, but the scammers are probably never caught as far as I know. This person is still in business even though they did this to so many buyers just recently according to Ebay, and even “Top Rated”.

chinacollectionsellerFakeaa

 

Turquoise Resin Medicine Buddhaja

  • Buy It Now page on Ebay ($14- 3 available, 3 sold 11/2015; 0 available, 6 sold 3/2016; listing ended 06/2016 with 6 sold) by zenbowl2013

The statue above, though being sold as “new”, is made from the same turquoise resin that many antique snuff bottles are also made from. You can also see old dirt along the crevasses, indicating these are not new at all. Why lie if there wasn’t something to cover up?

turuqoisebuddhaaa

Although there are many, many Chinese sellers who use multiple aliases, they aren’t all the same people because they behave differently. Instead of listing one item and saying they have multiple copies of it, this seller wind-horse relists this blue resin Medicine Buddha shrine every time it sells. This practice makes it difficult to know how many they have sold as well as creating an illusion that it is rarer than it might actually be, but most sellers just say they have multiple copies of the item on the Buy It Now page without playing this little game like the item below.

Blue Medicine Buddha

Not to say that every single dealer out there with Tibetan goods has gotten their goods from Communists who murdered/persecuted these people and stole from them, but when they LIE and say an antique with obvious dirt/use seen as seen on this shrine is “new”- I just have to suspect the worst. It isn’t good to buy your religious idols from the devil itself and/or true evil if you hope they are going to do you any good.

Blue crystal medicine buddha
Blue crystal medicine Buddha

medicinebuddhaqa

medicinebuddhama

Though Medicine Buddha is most often depicted in blue, there is a rainbow of colors that have been produced for this model of crystal statue. These are quite ancient and may have even been sitting in a Buddhist stupa (or tomb) because of the amount of dust and dirt you can see on them. You can still buy crystal Buddha’s today, but the more affordable ones are made out of resin (plastic).

crystalmedicinebuddhaea

Medicine Buddha
Made from purple bronze and very rare

Statue gilded gold with silver, turquoise, coral and lapis lazuli that is so large and ornate it undoubtedly would have been taken from a monastery.

medicinebuddhana

Thankas featuring Medicine Buddha:

Woven:

 

Medicine Buddha thanka

medicinebuddhaea

Painted:

medicinebuddhada

medicinebuddhafa

  • See this auction: sold 12/19/2015 for $14.02 by ktmgallery
  • Another auction, same photo, same seller: sold 1/4/2016 for $12.36 by ktmgallery
  • Buy It Now page on Ebay ($22.88) : changed listing to another thankga prior to 04/2016- unknown if sold by ktmgallery: no longer a registered user 2016
  • Another auction, different photo, different seller: sold 05/25/2016 for $14.62 by artoftibet: no longer a registered user 2016

medicinebuddhala

  • Buy It Now page on Ebay ($105.46, price dropped to $85.84 1/2016- 2 available) : listing ended 03/05/2016-unknown if 2 remaining were sold by ktmgallery: no longer a registered user 2016
medicinebuddhama
This is a typical way of displaying thangkas, many of the ones which are unmounted may have had damage to their silk frames and been removed
  • Buy It Now page ($132.22) : no longer listed 04/2016, unknown if sold by ktmgallery: no longer a registered user 2016

medicinebuddhaga

medicinebuddhaha

Though all these oil paintings may look the same, they are slightly different. All being sold by the exact same seller in Australia- ktmgallery– along with hundreds of hand-embroidered passport bags. Ethnic people’s wallets. Scary. He assures us they are signed by a lama, however the back photos of all the thangka’s for sale are all copies of only one thangka, not actual photos of the item in question and for sale.

(Update 04/2016: the shop only has about 20 items for sale and very few are being auctioned at such low prices, right after I asked where the thangka’s came from and how much the artist makes- they said Nepal and 60%- they stopped auctioning so many and cut back on the rest of their stock. However they did open up another Ebay shop apparently selling similar thangkas of varying age at a similar volume as before, but it seems to be carrying more 24k gold painted ones than previously. Their new shop is called artoftibet.)

Given the vast quanity of thangkas this particular seller has varying in style and age, I would have to imagine that he is the soul profiteer of the vast number of hand-painted oil thangka’s that have been confiscated from Tibetan families over the last 1/2 century. Every once in a great while I see another hand-painted thangka in other shops, but not often. I am guessing they moved the lot of them off mainland China so that they wouldn’t arouse suspicion- but why does a dealer in Australia have more hand painted Tibetan thangka’s than any museum has and the world has ever seen again? Does that not seem stranger than they’ve made it all the way there along with so many people’s wallets?

And though I’ve tried and tried to get a few thangka’s from this shop, they seem very reasonably priced pre-auction time, I’ve been out bid every single time on even smaller, simple thangka’s and personal wallets. Presumably there is at least one reseller who knows the real value of these who buys from this particular dealer, and effectively sets the price higher than I want to pay for goods that were stolen from innocent families. If anyone sees a great quantity(s) of these for sale elsewhere in the world at a typical retail price (marked up from the Ebay auction price), then we will know where most of these have gone to. With prices so low, and numbers so high, the vast majority of goods probably don’t go to practitioners of Buddhism or even people with an interest in Tibet, but speculators who know true value of things and are buying low so that they can sell high.

More from the exact same seller in Australia:

medicinebuddhaia

Buy It Now page on Ebay (GBP 199.00): sold 02/16/2016 for $286.62 (US) ktmgallery

medicinebuddhaja

Buy It Now page ($376.70) : no longer listed 04/2016 unknown if sold by ktmgallery

medicinebuddhaka

medicinebuddhakb
That the binder used to bind the pigment together in these oil paintings turns colors with age as seen with this older thangka. How much older?

Buy It Now page on Ebay ($226.02) : ended 02/17/2016- unknown if sold, no longer listed by ktmgallery

& More thangkas from the same seller’s new Australian shop they opened after they got paranoid since I had bought a thangka and asked questions:

Medicine Buddha Thangka

medicinebuddhaqa

Medicine Buddha Tibetan Thangka 24k Gold

medicinebuddhata

medicinebuddhaqb

If you look at the photograph of the backs of the thangkas this shop is selling and compare with the other shop’s items, it is a dead give away that they are one and the same. The seller is using this same exact photograph over and over again (with the same smudge mark in the lower right) for many of the backs of thangkas in all three shops: artoftibet and  ktmgallery and now in the latest shop by the same seller in Australia called asianartauctionhouse

The first shop ktmgallery carried passport bags- they actually called them “passport bags” though they were just little purses, but perfect for passports I suppose, and a few items of random Tibetan jewelry occassionally. It appears that the newest shop called artoftibet has been stocked with not only the same thangkas from Tibet, but statues straight from there and fairly high quality, many gilded in gold- which is a newer development for this seller. Update 07/2016: seller has apparently closed all the previous shops and opened this shop called asianartauctionhouse selling the exact same Tibetan thangkas. Update 12/17/2016: seller closed all the previous shops again and opened up this shop called dharmstoreaustralia selling the exact same Tibetan thangkas with the exact same stock photo used for the backs of the paintings on auction as above.

Number of “thangkas” currently listed for sale on Ebay:

  • 8,739 on 04/24/2016 including 840 auctioned within 10 days
  • 8,728 on 05/03/2016 including 833 auctioned within 10 days
  • 9,287 on 05/20/2016 including 1,398 auctioned within 10 days
  • 9,176 on 05/28/2016 including 1,113 auctioned within 10 days
  • 10,069 on 07/14/2016 including 1,279 auctioned within 10 days
  • 10,348 on 07/30/2016 including 1,444 auctioned within 10 days
  • 12,629 on 09/28/2016 including 2,645 auctioned within 10 days
  • 12,443 on 10/17/2016 including 2,220 auctioned within 10 days
  • 12,959 on 12/17/2016 including 1,999 auctioned within 10 days

Number of “painted thangkas” currently listed for sale on Ebay (some of these are woven or printed, but many are actually hand painted and mainly being auctioned from the two Australian shops previously mentioned):

  • 2,069 on 04/24/2016 including 162 auctioned within 10 days
  • 2,077 on 05/03/2016 including 185 auctioned within 10 days
  • 2,144 on 05/20/2016 including 238 auctioned within 10 days
  • 2,048 on 05/28/2016 including 123 auctioned within 10 days
  • 2,404 on 07/14/2016 including 245 auctioned within 10 days
  • 2,451 on 07/30/2016 including 316 auctioned within 10 days
  • 3,390 on 09/28/2016 including 611 auctioned within 10 days
  • 3,377 on 10/17/2016 including 539 auctioned within 10 days
  • 3,743 on 12/17/2016 including 550 auctioned within 10 days

 

 

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