Shakyamuni Buddha came to the Saha world in order to help living beings resolve the problem of birth and death. He was born into a royal family, but he renounced the wealth of the kingdom and left his home in order to pursue the Truth. After he attained Buddhahood beneath the Bodhi Tree, he contemplated the living beings in the Saha world and discovered that we have the deepest affinities with two Buddhas--Medicine Master Vaidurya Light Tathagata in the East and Amitabha Tathagata in the West.
Medicine Master Vaidurya Light Tathagata is the Buddha of the Land of Vaidurya Light in the East. This Buddha bestows blessings and long life on people and helps them in times of disaster and difficulty. Amitabha Buddha of the Land of Ultimate Bliss in the West made a vow that whoever recites his name single-mindedly will be able to take their karma along and be reborn from a lotus in his Buddhaland, and that when their lotus opens they will see the Buddha and awaken to the patience of nonproduction.
The "Mantra of the Two Buddhas" says,Two Buddhas proclaim and transform in the Saha world--Akshobya in the East, Amitabha in the West.Although Akshobya (Medicine Master) Buddha is in the Vaidurya Land and Amitabha Buddha is in the Land of Ultimate Bliss, both of these Buddhas teach and transform the living beings of the Saha world. They have deep affinities with each and every one of us. Medicine Master Tathagata is also known as "Medicine Master Buddha Who Quells Disasters and Lengthens Life"; Amitabha Tathagata is known as both the "Buddha of Limitless Life" and the "Buddha of Limitless Light."
If you are mindful of Medicine Master Buddha, he will bestow blessings and long life upon you and save you from disasters, illnesses, and offenses. He fulfills the wishes of all living beings. Amitabha Buddha enables beings to be reborn in the Land of Ultimate Bliss. If you wish to be reborn in that land, simply recite Amitabha Buddha's name. If you wish to be born in the Vaidurya Land, then recite the name of Medicine Master Vaidurya Light Tathagata.
In life, people would like to avert disasters and live to a ripe old age. At death, they hope to be reborn in the Land of Ultimate Bliss. Therefore, in Buddhism, there are red plaques for extending life associated with Medicine Master Buddha Who Quells Disasters and Lengthens Life. This Buddha's light shines upon your life-source. If you wish to be reborn in the Land of Ultimate Bliss when you die, then you can recite "Namo Amitabha Buddha." As you can see, we are basically inseparable from these two Buddhas.
Yet we don't recognize or know very much about these two Buddhas. We might want to be mindful of them, but we don't even know their names. That's why Shakyamuni Buddha introduced them to us, telling us about their names, their vows, and their merit and virtue. Hence the name of this Sutra is the Sutra of the Merit and Virtue of the Past Vows of Medicine Master Vaidurya Light Tathagata.
To be continued