(above) The pure land of Bhaishajyaguru. Water-based pigment over a foundation of clay mixed with straw. Yuan Dynasty. ca. 1319. Sackler Gallery, Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York.
(left) Head of bodhisattva. Northern Qi Dynasty. 550-77. Sackler Gallery, Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York.
Bhaishajyaguru is the healing Buddha or Buddha of Medicine. As such, he cures illness, provides daily necessities and oversees the birth of healthy children. Buddhist tradition holds that when a bodhisattva attains enlightenment, he or she does not leave the world and its suffering but chooses to stay and bring enlightenment into it. These bodhisattvas emanate a radiance which forms a pure land or world which fosters enlightenment. The pure land of Bhaishajyaguru, therefore, is not separate from this world but is found embedded in it.