Ghau, Gau, ancient Tibetan.
Buddha medicine, Bhaishajyaguru
portable healing altar,
Healing Prayer Box,
Approximate date from the 1940s.
Ghau dimensions: 60mm height, 43mm width, 21mm thickness
Weight of 61 grams.
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The ghau is a kind of transportable altar in which the image of the chosen deity of the possessor is kept, wrapped in silk garments. The vast majority of Tibetans use the ghau at home and carry it during their travels. They keep it on a real altar at home. During travels, it is hung on the back belt. It serves as a protective symbol during travels and also allows its owner to prove his devotion to his deity.
The interior contains a representation of the medicine Buddha as well as healing mantras inscribed on tissues.
His career as a bodhisattva is described in the Bhaiṣajyaguru-sūtra, He made twelve vows, two of which specifically express his desire to heal and save. He became a Buddha in a world called Vaidūryanirbhāsa or "Similar to lapis lazuli".
located to the east, where it is accompanied by the bodhisattvas Sūryaprabha (Solar Clarity), to its left and Candraprabha (Lunar Clarity) to its right. In China, reference is made to the version of the sūtra translated by Xuanzang: Bhaiṣajya guru Vaidūrya Prabhāsa Pūrva praṇidhāna viśeṣa vistara (Yàoshī liúlíguāng rúlái běnyuàngōngdé jīng 《藥師琉璃光如來本願功德經》).
Like Akshobhya, Bhaiṣajyaguru is master of an "eastern paradise" and can form a pair with Amitābha, master of the "western paradise" Sukhāvatī. The paradise of Amitābha is mentioned in the Bhaiṣajyaguru sūtra.
According to the Sapta tathāgata-Pūrva praṇidhāna viśeṣa vistara (Sutra of the Vow of the Seven Tathāgatas), Bhaśajyaguru has seven emanations representing seven different modalities of healing or protection.
In Tibet his image can serve as a meditation medium to overcome attachment and negative feelings.
The Buddha of Medicine or Sangyé Menla (in Tibetan) is a Tantric deity of Tibetan Buddhism.
Sangyé Menla's tantric meditation was introduced to Tibet in the eighth century by Shantarakshita. This meditation was synthesized in the nineteenth century by Jamgon Kongtrul Lodrö Thayé. His mantra is considered to have great strength against physical illnesses or to purify negative karma.
In Japan, Yakushi Nyorai has been the subject of an important cult in Japan since the seventh century when it supplanted Akṣobhya (Ashuku). Located to the east it represents rather the rising sun, life, while Amida which is to the west is connected to the setting sun and the world of the dead.
Patronized by the Tendai school, which had close relations with the imperial family, this Buddha master of the East was associated with the emperor. It has sometimes been identified with Jizo. He is the 7th of the thirteen Buddhas in the Shingon Buddhist tradition, and as such is associated with funeral rites that take place at the end of the 49 days after death.
In the performances, and the particular mandalas dedicated to him, he is assisted by Nikko the boddhisattva of sunlight and gakko of lunar light. It is also protected and served by 12 celestial generals, yakshas who can have several meanings, such as hours, months, directions, etc. Nevertheless, he does not appear on the taizōkai and kongōkai mandalas because his cult is not of tantric origin. Among the many temples dedicated to him, the most famous is the Yakushi-ji of Nara. In the same city, Hōryū-ji and Tō-ji also house a statue of the Buddha of medicine, that of Hōryū-ji dating from the middle of the seventh century.
In China, he is revered for his virtues as a healer and protector against calamities.
The most common rite is to read one's vow 49 times, light 49 votive lamps and extend paper prayer flags for 49 days in a row.
There are very few temples dedicated exclusively to him. The group of eight medical Buddhas, its seven emanations accompanied by Shākyamuni, may be replaced by another group including Manjushri, Maitreya, Avalokiteśvara, Mahāsthāmaprāpta, Akṣayamati, Ratnacandanapuṣpa, Bhaiṣajyarāja, and Bhaiṣajyasamudgata, (文殊師利; 彌勒; 觀世音; 大勢至; 無盡意; 寶檀華; 藥王; 藥上).
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