Now let us continue to explain the words of the title, "Sutra of the Merit and Virtue of the Past Vows of Medicine Master Vaidurya Light Tathagata." "Master" refers to the Buddha, who is a great king of physicians, one who can heal the sicknesses of all people. No matter what sort of incurable disease you have, the Buddha can certainly cure you. If you are meant to die, he can bring you back to life. Therefore, he is a "Medicine Master."
"Vaidurya" is a transparent, glass-like substance. It is also the name of Medicine Master Buddha's land of reward, where he is the teaching host. His body, which is made of Vaidurya, is pure and lustrous both inside and out. This Buddha thoroughly understands all the various kinds of medicines.
In ancient China, the Emperor Shen Nong [c. 2838 b.c.] was said to have tasted all the various medicinal herbs. That emperor's body was also as if transparent. When he ingested a medicine, he could observe its effects in his stomach and see what veins or arteries the medicine travelled to. He tasted all the medicinal herbs and classified them as sour, sweet, bitter, pungent, or salty; as cold, hot, warm, or neutral in nature; and as poisonous or nonpoisonous.
"Light": this Buddha's body has an inner and outer radiance and is a pure, bright storehouse of light.
"Tathagata" is one of the ten titles of a Buddha. The ten titles are: Tathagata (Thus Come One), Worthy of Offerings, One of Proper and Universal Knowledge, One Whose Understanding and Practice are Complete, Well Gone One Who Understands the World, Supreme Lord, Regulating Hero, Teacher of Gods and Humans, Buddha, and World Honored One. Originally, every Buddha had 100,000 titles, but that was too many for people to remember, so they were later condensed to 10,000. That was still too many, so they were reduced to 1000. But 1000 was still too numerous, so they were decreased to 100. One hundred titles were still too many, so they were reduced to only ten titles. These ten titles do not belong exclusively to any particular Buddha; every Buddha has them. All Buddhists should know these ten general designations for the Buddhas. Some people who know nothing about Buddhism think "Tathagata Buddha" is the name of a Buddha, but actually, every Buddha can be called Tathagata. Tathagata ("Thus Come One") means: "Following the Way which is Thus, he comes to realize right enlightenment."
"Past Vows" refers to vows that the Buddha made in past lives, not to vows made in the present life.
Medicine Master Vaidurya Light Tathagata of the Eastern Land is also known as "Akshobya Buddha." Medicine Master Buddha belongs to the Vajra Division in the East. The Vajra Division emphasizes the Dharmas of Subduing, which can overcome the heaven-demons and those of external sects. The demons and externalists become subdued as soon as they see the Vajra Dharma-protectors of the Vajra Division. If you sincerely recite the Shurangama Mantra, which is a Dharma of Subduing, you will have the constant protection of 84,000 Vajra Treasury Bodhisattvas.
To be continued