Yakushi-Nyorai

Literally, 'the master of remedies'. One of the six Buddhas of meditation in Japan, and the Buddha of healing. He is much revered as the saviour who promised to cure all sickness and to obtain for mankind the remedies it needs.
In Sanskrit he is Bhaishajya.

Healing Buddha on public display for first time

Literally, ‘the master of remedies’. One of the six Buddhas of meditation in Japan, and the Buddha of healing. He is much revered as the saviour who promised to cure all sickness and to obtain for mankind the remedies it needs.

In Sanskrit he is Bhaishajya.

The second major Honzon deity among the 88 temples of Shikoku Island is called Yakushi Nyorai. In Japanese his full name is Yakushi Ruriko Nyorai, he is the Lord or chief Buddha of the Pure Land of Bliss in the eastern quarter of Heaven. His name “Yakushi”, literally means “Medicine Professor”. Yakushi made twelve vows or resolutions, the seventh one being the resolution that he would disperse the illness of any person who called upon his name. “If my name be called for, I will cure any sick person, whose body and soul shall instantly feel tranquil and free from a sickly feeling”. He is assisted by his two trusted attendants Nikko and Gakko, and has also under his jurisdiction twelve divine generals (Juni shinsho), who represent his twelve great vows.

He is many times (and most popularly) portrayed carrying a pot of medicines in one hand, and it is from this pot that he dispenses healing medicines. These medicines heal both the sickness of body and the sickness of mind.

9th century; wood with traces of polychromy and lacquer; h. 49.7 cm. National Treasure
The Healing Buddha, Yakushi Nyorai, was especially popular during the early Heian period, and many images were executed for worship halls and private residences in the ninth and tenth centuries. But the presence of this deity was known well before then, in at least the seventh century, when the Horyu-ji was established and became one of the great centers of Buddhist learning in pre-Nara period Japan. Among the mural paintings in the golden hall is a depiction of Yakushi seated European-style surrounded by his followers and heavenly beings in paradise (unfortunately lost to fire in 1949 and replaced by a copy). Seated on the raised central platform are a number of important early Buddhist sculptural images in wood and cast bronze, among which is a late seventh century bronze image, framed by a halo, of Yakushi that bears the date of ad 603. Judging from these impressive examples and a number of smaller gilt bronzes, the Healing Buddha must have been an accepted image in the Nara and Asuka areas. By the eighth century the magnificent large cast-bronze devotional image at the nearby Yakushi-ji had been placed in the temple’s Kondo.

Thus, both large and small, standing and seated images appear before the late Heian period, all fundamentally identifiable by the extended proper left hand resting on or against the left leg, palm open and facing upward to accept the defining emblem of the deity: a small, lidded medicine jar (missing here). This left-hand gesture, considered in concert with the raised right hand, palm facing outward toward the viewer, helps identify the deity as Nyorai. The Horyu-ji images (and others) provide a reliable iconographical context in Japan for the subsequent transformations of this deity that take place. But popular recognition of the deity as Nyorai, who vows to guide the faithful toward enlightenment by removing the obstacles of illness and disease, won great favor in early Japan where these afflictions were normal and associated with uncleanliness, according to earlier Shinto beliefs. Although this stunning image has lost several fingers, it appears to have been in a normal pose, signifying a variation of “fear not” (proper right) and “wish granting” (proper left) mudras.
The image was carved entirely from a single piece of kaya (Japanese nutmeg) wood, including the base in the form of a lotus bud. (One small replacement piece carved for the restoration of drapery folds at the very front of the base has been added.) The lower parts of the dais are modern.

Yomiuri Shimbun
Sanzenin temple placed its principal statue of Yakushi-Nyorai, the Buddha of healing, on public display for the first time Monday to mark the temple’s 1,200th anniversary.
The first anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks also influenced the decision to allow members of the public to view the statue.

One of the first visitors to see the golden statue said it had a merciful-looking face and produced a calming effect.