Buddha Shakyamuni gave the Medicine Buddha teachings at the perfect moment and at the perfect place : Vaishali, India. As he meditated on healing, he emanated light toward the eastern direction, and streams of light returned to him from an eastern pure land. All who had gathered for the teaching began to see the eight Medicine Buddhas visible in the sky above them. At that moment, Buddha Shakyamuni presented the teaching that would be preserved as the Sutra of the Medicine Buddha. This teaching became very prominent in India and came to Tibet in the eighth century. Master Shantarakshita, who was known for the beautiful praises and sadhanas that he composed for all the Medicine Buddhas, first introduced the Medicine Buddha teaching in Tibet. His teachings on the Medicine Buddha have been passed down in an unbroken lineage. The Medicine Buddha practices are important in all schools of Tibetan Buddhism.
According to the teachings of Buddha Shakyamuni in the Sutra of the Medicine Buddha, the Medicine Buddha is a presently living buddha who embodies the healing energy of the buddhas. He possesses the power to pacify all physical, mental, and emotional obscurations. In his pure land in the eastern quadrant of this universe, known as "Pleasing Upon Seeing" or "Lovely To Behold" (mendo in Tibetan), the Medicine Buddha continually turns the Wheel of Dharma, healing beings in all universes and giving teachings on all levels, especially the Mahayana. The whole realm of his pure land is a repository of medicines that heal all kinds of illness by balancing the elements of earth, air, fire, water, and space.