Eight Medicine Buddhas


Thanks to her tireless work, Thubten Detong from Taiwan’s Jinsiu Farlin Centre has practically guaranteed her rebirth as a beautiful golden Buddha in her next life. The reason? She spent her days applying gold leaf to the eight life-size Medicine Buddha statues housed in Tushita’s Medicine Buddha Gompa, and she applied gold-leaf to several hundred tsa tsas of Vajrasattva. A dedicated student of Lama Zopa Rinpoche for more than a decade, Detong leaves a trail of gold wherever she goes – she spent several months at Lama Zopa Rinpoche’s California residence doing gold-leaf there, too.

This work was completed in the late nineties. Detong made some comments about the work at this time: “It’s difficult doing gold-leaf work in this weather [in Dharamsala],” Detong said. “Because it’s so damp over the winter, the glue doesn’t dry properly, and then the gold dries at different rates on the faces.

When you apply gold leaf, you can’t do part of the face, then another part; you have to do the entire face at once. If you do it in sections, then you can see the marks, which isn’t so nice! The California environment was perfect for this kind of work, so it’s been harder here. I like this work to be as perfect as possible,” she continued.

A living room in Lama Zopa Rinpoche’s house at Tushita acted as her workshop, and a small stove helped warm the studio so the gold leaf could dry faster. “I thought I should stop and come back later, when the weather is better, but I try my best now, and I plan to finish by the end of March,” she said.

Despite what Detong thinks might be missed attempts at perfection, everyone else is delighted with her work, which will be appreciated for years to come. Since Tushita holds monthly Medicine Buddha pujas, Detong’s careful attention to detail makes the Medicine Buddhas statues’ presence that much more powerful.

Eight Medicine Buddhas in our Medicine Buddha Gompa