According to Mahayana tradition there are infinite Buddhas, bodhisattvas, and deities. They represent various aspects of the absolute Buddha-nature, such as compassion, wisdom, power, and emptiness. The Medicine Buddha embodies the healing aspect.
The Medicine Buddha is the highest possible model of a healer. Among the 12 vows the Medicine Buddha is said to have taken is that of curing just by the invocation of his name or the thought of Him. He was worshiped as the dispenser of spiritual medicine that could cure spiritual, psychological, and physical disease.
But this Buddha is not worshiped simply for healing powers alone; he is the form of the Buddha-nature that we aspire to realize in ourselves. Through the practice of meditation on the Medicine Buddha, one can generate enormous healing power for self and for the healing of others.
As Mahayana Buddhism spread throughout the Far East, it took with it Ayurveda, the sacred medical system of India meaning the”science of long life,” and the worship of the Medicine Buddha. The spread of Mahayana to China, Japan, and the kingdoms of Southeast Asia had a benevolent effect on public health. Hospitals, leper wards, and dispensaries were established in the larger monasteries, and were supported by income from “compassion fields.”
Perhaps nothing better illustrates the union of religion and medicine in Buddhism than the fact that the greatest of the Mahayana philosopher-saints were also great physicians, who wrote important medical works. According to the Tibetans, all medical knowledge has a sacred origin and is ascribed to the wisdom of the Buddhas. Source: