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Bhaiṣajyaguru

Bhaiṣajyaguru (more fully: Bhaiṣajyaguru vaiḍūryaprabha tathāgata, ‘Radiant lapis-lazuli Master of Healing Buddha’; Tib. sman.bla; Chin., Yao Shih Fo; Jap., Yakushi Nyōrai; Korean, Yaksa). The Buddha of healing, frequently called ‘Medicine Buddha’, popular in the Mahāyāna Buddhism of Tibet, China, and Japan, whose dispensation also includes longevity, protection from disasters, and the transmutation of negative states of mind (all illnesses in Buddhism, by virtue of their karmic origin, being considered to some extent psychosomatic).

The earliest evidence of the Healing Buddha is the Chinese translation from the Skt. of Bhaiṣajyagurusūtra (early 4th cent. CE), and as this has close similarities with the Lotus Sūtra (c.2nd cent. CE) in which the bodhisattva King of Healing (Bhaiṣajyarāja) is prominent, it is likely that Bhaiṣajyaguru was a development bestowing increased importance to Bhaiṣajyarāja. He presides over the Pure Land of the East (cf. Sukhāvatī, the Western Paradise).

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