The Medicine Buddha is the Buddha of healing. Historically, it is believed helpful to meditate on his image and to chant his mantra with the desire to alleviate suffering and attain enlightenment.
The Medicine Buddha is an enlightened being who has unbiased compassion for all living beings. He protects living beings from physical and mental illnesses and other dangers and obstacles, and helps them to eradicate the three poisons-attachment, hatred, and ignorance-which are the source of all sickness and danger. He is the Buddha Doctor.
The meaning of the short mantra (in Tibetan)
TEYATHA / OM BEKADZE BEKADZE / MAHA-BEKADZE RADZA / SAMUDGATE SOHA
Bekadze means eliminating pain, Maha-Bekadze means great eliminating of pain. One explanation of the meaning of the first Bekadze is that it refers to eliminating the pain of true suffering, not just of disease but of all problems. It eliminates the pain of death and rebirth that are caused by karma and disturbing thoughts.
The first Bekadze eliminates all the problems of body and mind, including old age and sickness.
The second Bekadze eliminates all the true cause of suffering, which is not external but within the mind. This refers to karma and disturbing thoughts. It is the inner cause that enables external factors such as food and exposure to sunlight become conditions for disease.
If someone has created the cause, as long as they do not do anything to purify it, the cause will definitely bring its own result, just as a seed that is planted will definitely result in a sprout as long as it is not eaten by birds and so forth. Once there is a cause, as long as there is no obstacle to the cause, it is natural to experience its result.
So, the second Bekadze refers to eliminating the cause of problems, karma motivated by disturbing thoughts.
The third phrase, Maha-Bekadze, or great eliminating, refers to eliminating even the subtle imprints left on the consciousness by disturbing thoughts.
The Medicine Buddha mantra actually contains the remedy of the whole graduated path to enlightenment. The first Bekadze contains the graduated path of the lower capable being in general; the second Bekadze, the graduated path of the middle capable being in general; and Maha-Bekandze, the graduated path of the higher capable being. The whole graduated path from the beginning up to the peerless happiness of full enlightenment is contained in the Medicine Buddha mantra.
Reciting the mantra leaves imprints on our mind, so that we are also able to actualize the path contained in the mantra. It establishes the blessing of the whole path within our heart; we can then generate the whole graduated path to enlightenment, which is signified by Bekandze Bekandze Maha Bekandze.The om is composed of three sounds, a, u, and m, which signify the Medicine Buddha's completely pure holy body, holy speech, and holy mind. Actualizing the whole path to enlightenment purifies our impure body, speech, and mind and transforms them into the Medicine Buddha's pure holy body, holy speech, and holy mind. We then become a perfect guide for living beings.