The Medicine Buddha is revered as the source of the healing arts in Tibet. Tibetan healing practices are based on the premise that the fundamental cause of every disease can be found in physical imbalances resulting from the mental poisons of ignorance, attachment, and aversion. True healing must be grounded in spiritual transformation. Buddhas (including the idealized Medicine Buddha and the historical Buddha Shakyamuni) are referred to as great physicians because they possess the compassion, wisdom, and skillful means to diagnose and treat the root delusions underlying all mental and physical sufferings.
To expand on the analogy:
Buddha is the physician who diagnoses our ailments and prescribes a treatment plan. Dharma is the medicine that cures us, if taken. And Sangha is the nurse who administers the medicine, supports the patient in implementing the treatment, and accompanies the patient on the path to healing.
Medicine Buddha’s body has the deep blue color of lapis lazuli. Both the stone and the color carry remarkable healing effects. His right hand is in the gesture of granting blessings and holds the stem of a medicinal plant. His left hand holds a begging bowl filled with healing nectar and fruit.
When new people come to our home, I introduce them to the Medicine Buddha, as if he is part of our family! It reminds me of my inner and outer journey through medicine. It is a powerful, transcending image… Phuntsok and I hung the Thangka on a nice big oak tree during our wedding for all to see… I chose to commission the Thangka because I love your work and I felt this would support me in some way through my journey. And it has!
— Dr. Melissa Nyendak
commissioned Medicine Buddha in 2000