Buddhas of the Three Treasures - Present Mindfulness
"The Buddhas of the Three Worlds are widely worshipped in Mahayana Buddhism. They serve as a constant reminder to practice goodness in body, speech, and mind; to cherish the present moment and everyone we meet; and to regard everything that happens in life as a blessing, bringing joy, peace and security. These three images, each seated in the lotus posture on a lotus throne, are based on the Buddhas of the Three Worlds in the Main Hall at Foguang Shan in Taiwan. In the center is Sakyamuni, who presides over the saha (endurance) world in which we live; his hands are in the meditation gesture (mudra). The historical founder of Buddhism is Sakyamuni Buddha, a title meaning “the awakened sage of the Sakya (clan).” Said to have attained enlightenment some 2,500 years ago in northern India, he spent the remaining decades of his life propagating his teaching based on meditation, sense restraint, and wholesome action in body, speech, and mind. Paying homage to his image brings inner stillness and strengthens one’s faith in the veracity of his teaching and its transformative power.
On the left is Amitabha, who presides over the Western Pure Land; he is making the wish-granting gesture with his right hand and holding a lotus stand with his right hand. Amitabha (Unlimited Light or Unlimited Life) is commonly depicted holding a lotus, representing rebirth inside a lotus in his Western Pure Land; he functions as a savior who ushers the faithful out of samsara (the endless cycle of birth and death) and into his heavenly realm characterized by optimal conditions for the attainment of enlightenment. Thus worship of Amitabha is aimed at attaining rebirth in his pure land, where final liberation is expected.
On the right is the Medicine Buddha (Bhaisajyaguru), who presides over the realm Lapis Lazuli Radiance, located in the east; he is making the wish-granting gesture with his left hand and holding an auspicious gem with his right hand. While still a bodhisattva, the Medicine Buddha made twelve vows in which he dedicated himself to delivering sentient beings from all forms of suffering, before attaining buddhahood and entering his buddha realm. Thus the Medicine Buddha is widely worshipped as the bestower of health and longevity.
Shakyamuni Buddha, Medicine Buddha and Amitabha Buddha, are the past, present and future of cultivating peace. It reminds us that the past is understood through learning and the present is understood through cultivation. This gives us a grasp on the future and releases us from apprehension.