Consecration: A five feet tall statue of four Medicine Buddha statues at the Jigme Dorji Wangchuck National Referral Hospital (JDWNRH) in Thimphu was consecrated yesterday.

The statues are constructed on a four feet tall base taking the total height of the monument to nine feet. Enclosed in a glass box, the four Buddha are seated under the Medicine Buddha’s mandala surrounding a medicinal herb and facing all four directions.

Constructed at a total cost of Nu 5.8 million, the four statues was an initiative of a group of four friends, Sonam Dorji the coordinator of a TV programme, Labshey Ngenshey, Lhundup, Trulku Phuntsho Wangdi and Kinley Wangchuk.

The idea of constructing a statue of a Medicine Buddha was originally proposed by Kinley Wangchuk to his friends. Kinley said the idea came to him when he was on a medical treatment in India. “I was undergoing kidney treatment at Christian Medical College and Hospital in Vellore. There I saw patients and medical practitioners equally dedicated to their god,” he said. “There is a church in the middle of the hospital where patients come and pray.”

Kinley Wangchuk said that after seeing their devotion, he thought of implementing something similar in Bhutan as well. “Not only the patients in the hospital but also the doctors can take refuge under these four Medicine Buddha. It has a psychological benefit on individuals who seek sanctuary under the Buddha.”

JDWNRH’s lam, Tenzin Norb said an institution that deals with medicines on a daily basis requires the Medicine Buddha’s presence and the statue will bring prosperity not only to the patients but also to the medical practitioners. “The Buddha serves both the living and the dead. For the living, it acts as a figure under whom they can seek retreat and for the dead, the Buddha guides them through the intermediate stage.”

The construction of the statue began in November last year. The financial investment was all borne by Lama Jangchub Dorji and his friends. The Dorji Lopen of the Zhung dratshang consecrated the statue.

Younten Tshedup