Dose the Healing Buddha Heal?
Schopen maintains in his doctoral thesis that the Bhaisajyaguru Buddha is not specifically related to healing, but rather,
- [p. 132] … by determining the specific situations in which the power of his name is thought to be potentially operable, then it is very difficult to maintain, in light of the above material, that he was conceived of solely, or even primarily, as a Buddha of healing.
- [p. 132] If the situations developed in the text do not – apart from these few examples – picture Bhaisjyaguru as a ‘healer’, then it is necessary to ask how, in fact, they do picture him. ……
- [p. 136] This passage, then, appears to make explicit what we had already suspected: that Bhaisajyaguru at Gilgit would have been seen as one of a category of Buddha which included, among others, Amitabha and the previous ‘historical’ Buddhas, Kasyapa, Sikhin, all of whom made the effects of a former vow potentially available through the instrumentality of, importantly, the power of their name; and who functioned, in this sense, primarily in situations connected with the fear of death, i.e. future states of rebirth. …
To summarize Schopen’s points, the so called Bhaisajyaguru or Master of Healing Buddha is nothing but one of the many prototype Buddhas who are besought to protect the worshippers from the fear of death, i.e. future states of (bad) rebirth, or in other words, their operable function is rather general, but not specific, healing in the sense of modern medical science.