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Part of the List of Dharma Terms from the Buddhist Ayurveda Course (SKT220 ) on Sanskrit Terms of Ayurveda and Dharma

Eleven Benefits from Making Images of Buddhas

Eleven Benefits from Making Images of Buddhas.

By making Images of Buddhas (Tsa Tsa and Thangka) a person plants karmic seeds, which are causes. The seeds will sprout and grow when conditions are appropriate, either in this life or future lives, and bear these eleven fruits or beneficial results.

“1) In every life you will have clear vision.

2) You will not be born in evil places. Your friends and neighbors will all be good people. You won't meet up with evil people or evil beasts.

3) You will always be born in a noble family. You will be born into a household that is wealthy and honored.

4) Your body will be purple-golden in color.

5) You will be very wealthy.

6) You will be born in a worthy and good family.

7) You can be born a King. Now there are no Kings, but you could be President. It amounts to the same thing. Or if you insist on being a King, you can find a country with a monarchy and be born there.

8) You can be a Wheel-Turning Sage King (Chakravartin). That is even higher than being President. If you cultivate while you are a Wheel-Turning Sage King, you can become a Buddha.

9) You can be born in the Brahma Heavens and live for an eon. You can be a King among the Gods.

10) You will not fall into the evil paths. Those who make images of Buddhas will not fall into the hells (naraka), the animal realm,or the realms of ghosts (bhuta, preta, yaksha, rakshasha).

11) In future reincarnations you will still be able to revere the Three Jewels. You will not fall.” (DFS III 470-471)

See Also: Thangka, Tsa Tsa, Tsa Tsa Practice, What to Do with Holy Objects, Making Tsa Tsas, Mantras for Tsa Tsas, Tsa Tsa Studio, Tsa Tsa Molds, causation, karma, Blessings, Tsa-Tsa

“The benefits of making holy objects of the Holy Body, Speech, and Mind of Buddha.”

A translation of: Amdo Jamyang, Bod kyi ri mo 'bri tshul deb gsar kun phan nyi ma—New-Sun Self-learning Book on the Art of Tibetan Painting (Dharamsala: Bod gzhung shes rig dpar khang, 1982), pp. 45.17-48.17. Translated by John Newman; Sarasota, Florida; 15 October 2001.

The benefits of making holy objects of the Holy Body, Speech, and Mind of Buddha

The ways in which the Sutras and Tantras explain the benefits of making holy objects of the Holy Body, Speech, and Mind transcends thought. However, if you wish to understand this topic without reading too much, read works: the dKar chag sDe bzhi'i sgo 'phar cig car phye ba'i glegs bam composed by the Dalai Lama.

As a mere indication of the benefits of making holy objects of the Holy Body, the Shikshasamucchaya says: 'The merits of venerating a single pure lay follower are greater than those of giving gifts of the five sense objects to all of the sentient beings in the world. The merits of venerating a single novice are greater than the merits of venerating all lay followers. The merits of venerating a single fully ordained Sangha member are greater than the merits of venerating all novices. The merits of venerating a single master of the Vajrayana are greater than the merits of venerating all fully ordained sangha members. The merits of creating a single correct inch-high image of the Holy Body are greatly superior to the merits of venerating all masters of the Vajrayana.' They are explained similarly in many other texts.

As an indication of the benefits of making holy objects of the Holy Speech, the Arya Eight Thousand Line Perfection of Wisdom Sutra says: 'Ananda, if, by the blessing of the Tathagata, you correctly write a great volume in clear letters and make offerings of flowers and so forth, you will completely perfect my Teaching and the transcendental wisdom of the Omniscient One.' They are explained similarly in many other texts.

Regarding the benefits of making holy objects of the Holy Mind or a stupa, the Manjushrimulakalpa says: 'If you clean your body and make your hand into a stupa, even if you have performed the five actions that have immediate retribution, you will achieve success. If you create a hundred thousand stupas, you will become a universal emperor possessing magical powers. You will know the method to clairvoyently understand all sciences. You will live for an eon, and even after you have died you will repeatedly be reborn as a king: without going to the evil gone realms, you will be born in a center of civilization with all your faculties radiant like the rising sun. You will remember all that you hear, and will recollect your former lives.' They are explained similarly in many other texts. Thus, the benefits of making correct holy objects of the Holy Body, Speech, and Mind transcend thought.

The negative consequences that occur when the proportions are not correct

Regarding the negative consequences that occur when the proportions are not correct, the Samvarodaya Tantra says: “If these three—the chin, throat, or calf—are too long, it is a great defect: the mantra practitioner himself will certainly lose his status and be banished. If these three—the ears, nostrils, or fingers—are too short, it is a major defect: his spiritual achievements will certainly be destroyed, and his prosperity will be lost as well. If these three—the calf, face, or cheeks—are too thick, it is a major defect: the mantra practitioner himself will certainly become separated from prosperity and will be afflicted by evil spirits. If the these three—the jowls, chest, or ribcage—are cracked, it is a major defect: his possessions of value will be lost, and without a doubt in this life he will be afflicted by obstacles. If these three—the nipples, nostrils, or forehead—are crooked, it is a major defect: the practitioner will soon be injured by an enemy in a fight. If these three—the thighs, waist, or upper chest—are defective, it is a major defect: without a doubt he will be destroyed by robbers and will die. If the ears, lips, forehead, or nostrils are defective or the eyes are crooked, the mantra practitioner himself will certainly be afflicted by various obstacles and will die. Writhing in the pain that arises, difficult to breathe, disturbed, shaken and [the practitioner] will have to constantly leave his own place, and his possessions of value will be destroyed. There are countless possible defects in the throat, upper chest, and so forth of a Holy Body. In brief, if the eyes and so forth are crooked, or the hand gestures or hand implements are wrong, one will be greatly oppressed by misery and suffering. These are the defects of images; therefore, one should examine them for these defects and correct them. If these three—the seatback, parasol, or seat—are too small or defective in their slant, friends will speak ill of him, his prosperity will decline, and he will die. Since all this has great short comings, wise people should carefully examine [images] for these major defects.”

If an artist creates [a holy object of the Holy Body] that does not have the proper measurements, he incurs heavy negative karma such as wasting the materials offered by a faithful patron. The transcendental wisdom being will not enter a divine image that does not have correct measurements, the site of the holy object will degenerate, a malevolent spirit will possess the image, and other major defects will occur. Because of this, it is explained that one must act (with utmost care in this regard) as if one is at a sage's hermitage in a ravine between slickrock and glaciers.

Regarding the holy objects of the Holy Speech, the Lalitavistara explains that since they enable understanding of the entire subject-matter and the text—the names, words, and letters—of all the sutras and treatises, if the forms of the letters, the main characters and the vowel, are correctly written, they are as greatly beneficial as a Buddha. Those that are not correctly written lead to misunderstanding; since they are without merit and lead to negative actions, they are suitable to be placed in a place such as a tsha-tsha shrine. [The negative consequences of mistakes in the proportions of] the holy objects of the Holy Mind are similar to those of the Holy Body.

The qualifications of the artist

Regarding the artisans that create these that are most well-known these days: there are artisans that create painted and cast icons, master calligraphers, Nepalese woodcraftsmen, and so forth. However, as it is said:

“The qualities of a faulty icon-maker are as follows: he is unlearned; not diligent; useless to associates; fond of beer—if given a little, he becomes crazy; difficult to please; extremely arrogant; gluttonous; sharp-tongue; desirous; imposes unreasonable fees, and, not being satisfied even with that, steals materials; increases his own and others' sins with what he has acquired; causes the benefactors to loose faith without any choice; a master of transforming virtuous karma into sin. His destination is the three evil gone realms. Do not rely on such as that; cast him far away.” Be free of such as these faults.

The Samputa Tantra says: “Disciplined; faithful; in radiant youth; having sound faculties; free of wrong ideas; without anger; not engaging in secret slander; extremely learned; joyfully enthusiastic; patient; having great compassion.” The Samvarodaya Tantra says: “Disciplined; understanding all techniques; familiar with the rites; possessing mental concentration.” As the Acala Tantra says: “A brahman or a clean person: best is a bhikshu; intermediate a novice; at least one should appoint a person who is abstinent, not an ordinary householder”—an artist having the vows. To create the Holy Body of a wrathful deity, it is best if the artist has completed the action retreat; if not, he should have obtained the appropriate initiation.

The general qualifications of an artist are as follows. The artist should have made effort to acquire a great deal of learning; maintain the commitments and vows; make offerings to the Three Jewels; be fond of giving charity to beggars; possess bodhicitta; be intelligent; be skilled in all of the artistic techniques he engages in; be subdued and self empowered; be worthy of offerings and service; be knowledgeable about all the activities and significance of tantra; be pleasant to associate with; be of an appropriate age, not more than seventy (may not apply to all but to those whose age makes it difficult to do right by the work); not be incapacitated by illness; not be a hermaphrodite; have a sound body; be a friend who induces virtue in others; desire spiritual attainments; be focused on great faith in the Buddha; be learned in iconometrics and so forth; have cast away his own innovative ideas through having followed earlier masters; not be imprecise in his work; not strive for wealth—instead he should be governed by the motivation of wishing to benefit others; on the basis of this he should take refuge in the Three Jewels; accumulate merit and purify negativities and practice deity yoga. The canvas and the tools and so forth being generated as the action deities, he definitely must use the correct colors [to create the holy objects].

The qualifications of the patron

Regarding the patron who is having the holy objects created, it is said he should have the following qualities: “He has wisdom to see the benefits; meditative concentration by being single-minded; steady and enthusiastic diligence. He is not disturbed by difficulty; he has patience and endurance. He has a stable disposition; speaks gently; is ethical. He is not deceitful; is capable of giving; possesses gifts. He has faith and devotion towards the deity and the artist. He has gradually cultivated enthusiastic joy.”

Also, the Supratishtha Tantra [Rab tu gnas pa'i rgyud] says that the transcendental wisdom being will not enter a holy object made by an artist who has not been satisfied; at the beginning of the consecration rite one must satisfy the artist. Likewise, the Acala Tantra says that after a painted icon having all the correct characteristics is completely finished, one should give the painter the agreed-upon fee that he desires.

Furthermore, it is said: “He should possess faith, interest, diligence, and compassion; enthusiasm for virtue; the capability to give. He should be steady and have a stable disposition; free of deceit. He should be devoted to the deity and the artist.” Just as it is explained in the sutras and treatises on serving the spiritual friend, the patron must faithfully please the master statue-maker with excellent service. This, is the principal quality of the patron.

Regarding the defects of the patron, it is said: “Not restraining negative actions; having little faith and interest; craving long life; craving fame; having an unstable disposition; having little endurance; having a mind filled with regret [at sacrifice made for virtue]; one who, having regret, gives up making progress; having doubts about the benefits; one who curses the deity and the artist.” Thus, making the holy objects[of the Holy Body, Speech, and Mind] in order to enhance one's own prestige and fame [is a fault]. Criticizing the artist for stinginess, tax-evasion, or not maintaining his pledges is said to be criticism of the deity.

Therefore, having entirely eliminated all such faults and acquired such good qualities of the holy objects, the artist, and the patron, you should begin the creation of the holy object on an auspicious moment on an auspicious day—such as the day the Buddha displayed miracles, Saga Dawa, etc.—during the waxing fortnight of a month between the winter solstice and the summer solstice. If on that day music occurs, if many people engage in auspicious conduct, if peacocks, cranes, geese, kites, etc. emit pleasant calls—if these and other such things occur as explained in the Nye'i ltas rtsa ba'i khungs dus tshod kyi dus brjod - it is an auspicious sign that the undertaking has been blessed by the Victors together with their children, the bodhisattvas. If unpleasant stories, animal cries, etc., cast a shadow over that time, it indicates that obstacles have arisen, and thus one should meditate a protection circle and so forth.

The first statue of the Holy Body

Regarding the first statue of the Holy Body: “After the Bhagavan had ascended to the land of the devas, [a statue was] made of sandalwood as an object for prostration and worship for the king and court of Kashi. It was marvelous, beautiful, realistic. Its robes fluttered; it was beautified by a pair of sapphire cloths. The radiant fire-crystal at the front of its crown protrusion was capable of outshining a hundred suns. Its webbed hands and feet were marked by wheels. It stood erect for the sake of migrating beings, so that the fortunate beings of Jambudvipa would recall the Lord of Sages. [Artists] conveyed [to the deva realm] by the miraculous power of Maudgalyayana brought back [an image] of the Victor. Being prayed to and requested, [the Buddha] joyfully descended the jeweled staircase. At that time, in Kashi, the image of the Holy Body took six steps to escort [the Buddha]. For the merit of the eastern land of Great China, [the Buddha] said “Go!,” and directed by the finger-tip of the Tathagata, like a king of the geese it flew in the sky.”

As it says, [this image is] renowned as the 'Sandalwood Lord.' At present there is a direct copy of this in Sithang, China.

More extensive explanation of the above-discussed presentation on painted and sculpted icons is found in the following texts: the basic tantra and the commentary on the Kalacakra; the basic tantra and commentary on the Samvarodaya Tantra; the Shariputra-pariprccha; the mandala rite of the Kriyasamucchaya; the instructions on building stupas; the great commentary on the Eight Thousand Line Perfection of Wisdom Sutra; the Kosalalankara; and so forth.

The purpose of making holy objects

Regarding the purpose [of making holy objects], it is said: “The precious wisdom of the Omniscient One engenders interest [in the Dharma] through the initial subjects of learning: so that the Teaching will endure, wealthy people having superior motivation who desire to of make the holy objects of the Three Jewels.” Also, the Vinaya Agama says: “Monasteries, temples, beds, medicine, drugs, nursing those sick of temporary illness, practicing charity when the land is afflicted—these are the seven merits arising from material things.” The first three of those, and the fourth, “These four produce the merits of Brahma”; the great ships for getting wish-fulfilling jewels from the ocean, and all the types of boats for crossing the four rivers, the Tsangpo in Tibet, etc.; all of the types of machines explained in the Kalacakra — such as the catapult machine that hurls stones to destroy fortresses in order to conquer opponents; furthermore, all types of useful requisites such as food, drink, ornaments, and clothing—all of these things arise in dependence on this subject of learning; it is taught that its merits are equivalent to meditating the four immeasurables, love and so forth. Since it is proper for intelligent persons to make effort to strive to practice it, have no doubt about it. Here, I say: “Art is an adjunct to all topics of knowledge. I composed this to help beginners having limited knowledge, and to dispel the clouds of confusion from the wisdom-sun of those who have experienced directing their minds towards art.”

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Fair Use Bibliographic Sources

Fair Use: Primary Fair Use Compilation Source: Ron Epstein, Ph.D, compiler, Buddhism A to Z, Burlingame, California, Buddhist Text Translation Society, 2003, p. ISBN 0881393533 Paperback: 284 pages. and many other sources (see Bibliography).

Primary Original Source: The Tripitaka of Sutra, Shastra and Vinaya Dharma teachings (as found in the scripture storehouse of the Indian Sanskrit- Siddham, Chinese, Tibetan and Japanese traditions of the Nalanda Tradition of ancient Nalanda University) of Shakyamuni Buddha, and his Arya Sagely Bodhisattva Bhikshu Monk and Upasaka disciples.

These Good and Wise Advisors (Kaliyanamitra) Dharma Master teachers include Arya Venerables Om Tare Tuttare Ture Om Ah Hum and Namo to Jivaka, Charaka, Lao Zi - Mahakashapa, Ashwagosha, Shantideva - Hui Neng - Shen Kai Sheng Ren Shr, Bodhidharma, the 16 Nalanda Acharyas 1. Nagarjuna-Manjushri, 2. Arydeva, 3. Buddhapalita, 4. Bhavaviveka, 5. Chandrakirti and Chandragomin, 6. Shantideva, 7. Shantarakshita, 8. Kamalashila, 9. Asanga-Maitreya, 10. Vasubhandu, 11. Dignaga, 12. Dharmakirti, 13. Vimuktisena, 14. Haribhadra, 15. Gunaprabha, 16. Shakyaprabha; Dharmarakshita, Atisha, Tsong Khapa, Thogme Zangpo, Nyingma Padmasambhava, Yeshe Tsogyel, Machig Lapdron, Tilopa, Naropa, Milarepa, Sakya Pandita, Kumarajiva, Xuan Zang, Baozhi, Hui Yuan, Daosheng, Changzhi, Fazang, Han Shan, Shi De, Yunmen, Nichiren, Honen, Shinran, Kukai, Dogen, Hakuin, Jamgon Kongtrul, Nyingma Penor Rinpoche, Bakula Rinpoche, Dagri Rinpoche, Kirti Tsenshab Rinpoche, Geshe Lama Kongchog, Longchen Rapjampa - Gosok Rinpoche, Phabongkha Rinpoche, Patrul Rinpoche, Tenzin Gyatso the Dalai Lama, Sakya Trizin, Hsu Yun, Hsuan Hua, Lama Zopa Rinpoche, Choden Rinpoche, Garchen Rinpoche, Karmapa, Mingyur Rinpoche, Geshe Ngwang Dakpa, Geshe Sopa Rinpoche, Seung Sahn, Thich Nhat Hanh, Ajahn Chah, Ajahn Sumedho, S. N. Goenka, Mama Ayur Punya Jyana Pushtim Kuriye Svaha, making offerings and b [[bowing at your feet I make requests. Please bestow on me the two attainments of Maha Punya and Maha Prajna Paramita. And Om Ah Hum thanks to other modern day masters. We consider them to be in accord with Tripitaka Master Hsuan Hua’s “Seven Guidelines for Recognizing Genuine Teachers

Nalanda Online University's teachings are based especially on the following Buddhist Scriptures: Lama Tsong Khapa's Lam Rim, the Dharma Flower Lotus Sutra, the Avatamsaka Sutra, the Shurangama Sutra, the Ksitigarbha Sutra, the Bhaisajya Guru Sutra, the Dharani Sutra, the Vajra Sutra, the Prajna Paramita Hridayam Heart Sutra, the Vimalakirti Sutra, the Sanghata Sutra, the Sutra of Golden Light, the Srimala Devi Sutra, the Sutra in 42 Sections, the Mahaparinirvana Sutra, the Hui Neng Sutra, Vasubandhu's Shastra on the Door to Understanding the Hundred Dharmas, Maitreya's Ornament for Clear Realizations (Abhisamayalamkara), Chandrakirti's Supplement to Nagarjuna’s Treatise on the Middle Way (Madhyamakavatara), Vasubandhu's Treasury of Manifest Knowledge (Abhidharmakosha) and the Tantras and Mantras of the Vajrayana the 42 Hands and Eyes, Guhyasamaja, the Kalachakra, the Vajrayogini, the Heruka, the Chakrasamvara, the Chod, the Hayagriva, the Hevajra, the Yamantaka, the Kalarupa, the Manjushri Nama Samgiti, the Vajrakilaya, the Vajrapani, the Vajra Claws Dakini, the Mahakala, the Tara, the White Umbrella Goddess (She Dan Do Bo Da La), Kirti Losang Trinle's Grounds and Paths of Secret Mantra, and Aku Sherab Gyatso's The Two Stages of the Guhyasamaja Tantra and their commentaries (shastras) by the above Arya Tripitakacharya Dharma Masters. Making offerings and bowing at your feet I make requests. Please bestow on me the two attainments of Maha Punya and Maha Prajna Paramita.

Secondary Fair Use Compilation Source: The Seeker’s Glossary of Buddhism, 2nd ed., San Francisco, California: Sutra Translation Committee of the United States and Canada, 1998:

Secondary Fair Use Compilation Source: Muller, Charles, editor, Digital Dictionary of Buddhism [DDB], Toyo Gakuen University, Japan, 2007: Username is “guest”, with no password. - Based in large part on the Dictionary of Chinese Buddhist Terms with Sanskrit and English Equivalents (by Soothill and Hodous) Delhi, India: Motilal Banarsidass, 1997.

Secondary Fair Use Compilation Source: Ehrhard, Diener, Fischer, et al, The Shambhala Dictionary of Buddhism and Zen, Boston, Massachusetts: Shambhala Publications, 1991. 296 pages. ISBN 978-0-87773-520-5,, Secondary Fair Use Compilation Source: Vaidya Vasant Lad, Textbook of Ayurveda, Ayurvedic Press, 2002; Vasant Lad, BAMS, MAsc, Ayurvedic Institute Gurukula Notes, Ayurvedic Institute, 1994-2006;

NOTE: Numerous corrections and enhancements have been made under Shastra tradition and “Fair Use” by an Anonymous Buddhist Monk Redactor (Compiler) of this Online Buddhist Encyclopedia Compilation)

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