Two Buddhist Elders: sBed-byed (Gopaka), Holding a Book (above); Mi-phyed (Abheda), Holding a Reliquary (below)

Image credit: Wellcome Collection

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Above, the Buddhist Elder Gopaka, Tibetan sBed-byed (‘The Concealer’) is shown seated in the royal-ease posture, holding a book. Next to him, an admiring pupil is sitting at his feet. When Gopaka was on earth, his body was from birth covered with ulcers and was therefore always concealed under a cloth. He looked for a cure everywhere in vain but when he met the Buddha at Śrāvasti, the Buddha, after bathing him and dressing him in fresh clothes, told him of the impermanence of the five aggregates constituting a human being: body, feelings, thoughts, impulses and consciousness. Realising this, sBed-byed became a monk and later an Arhat (saint). The Elder below Gopaka is Abheda. In Tibetan he was called Mi-phyed-pa, 'Indivisible' because of his unflagging faith; Abheda is his Sanskrit name.

Wellcome Collection



Two Buddhist Elders: sBed-byed (Gopaka), Holding a Book (above); Mi-phyed (Abheda), Holding a Reliquary (below)


distemper on linen


H 79 x W 48 cm

Accession number


Acquisition method

presumed to be part of the collection formed by Henry S. Wellcome

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Wellcome Collection

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