Thomas S N Chen , Peter S Y Chen
The iconography of the healing Buddha embraces two healing traditions, symbolized by the healing stone lapis lazuli from Central Asia and by the myrobalan fruit from the ayurvedic medicine of ancient India. The first mention of the healing Buddha is in Buddhist texts of the first century BCE, and the earliest extant icons date from the fourth century CE.
This suggests the cult of the healing Buddha was a relatively late development in the history of Buddhism. Worshippers sought his help in alleviating spiritual, mental, and physical suffering, as well as for medical cures.
In China, followers believed he was also a cosmic Buddha, to whom one appealed for longevity and protection from disasters. This form of faith-based healing remains vibrant in China, Japan, and Tibet to this day.