Medicine Buddha

Heavenly beings and deities

The figure of Medicine Buddha (Skt. Bhaishajyaguru, from bhaishajya, ‘medicine’, and guru, ‘teacher’, Chin. yaoshi fo or yaoshi rulai, Jap. yakushi nyorai) goes back to the idea that the Buddha viewed his teachings as a remedy for human suffering in the world. In Mahayana Buddhism, this led to the invention of a separate Buddha. The Medicine Buddha promises to cure devotees of illness and physical deformities, and also affords them protection from danger. In art, he is depicted holding a medicine bowl or a myrobalan plant, which is widely used in Asian medicine.