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.