Illustrations from the Larger Sutra Mandala
|Dharmakara's attainment of Buddhahood
The central part of the Pure Land
 Ananda asked the Buddha, "Has the
Bodhisattva Dharmakara already attained Buddhahood
and then passed into Nirvana? Or has he not
yet attained Buddhahood? Or is he dwelling
somewhere at present?"
The Buddha replied to Ananda, "The Bodhisattva
Dharmakara has already attained Buddhahood
and is now dwelling in a western Buddha-land,
called 'Peace and Bliss,' a hundred thousand
kotis of lands away from here."
Ananda further asked the Buddha, "How
much time has passed since he attained Buddhahood?"
The Buddha replied, "Since he attained
Buddhahood, about ten kalpas have passed."
Hell of Black Rope (left), realm of hungry
spirits (lower right),
and realm of animals (upper right).
Hell of Great Shrieking (left), Hell of Scorching
and Hell of Shrieking (middle), and Hell
of Crushing Mountain (right)
Hell of Avici (left) and Hell of Great
He continued, "In that Buddha-land,
the earth is composed of seven jewels --
namely, gold, silver, beryl, coral, amber,
agate and ruby -- which have spontaneously
appeared. The land itself is so vast, spreading
boundlessly to the farthest extent, that
it is impossible to know its limit. All the
rays of light from those jewels intermingle
and create manifold reflections, producing
a dazzling illumination. Those pure, superb
and exquisite adornments are unsurpassed
in all the worlds of the ten quarters. They
are the finest of all gems, and are like
those of the Sixth Heaven. In that land,
there are no mountains, such as Mount Sumeru
and the Encircling Adamantine Mountains.
Likewise, there are neither oceans nor seas,
valleys nor gorges. But one can see those
manifestations by the Buddha's power if one
so wishes. In that land there is no hell;
neither are there realms of hungry spirits
and animals nor other adverse conditions.
Neither do the four seasons of spring, summer,
autumn and winter exist. It is always moderate
and pleasant, never cold or hot."
Then, Ananda asked the Buddha, "If,
World-Honored One, there is no Mount Sumeru
in that land, what sustains the Heaven of
the Four Kings and the Heaven of the Thirty-three
The Buddha said to Ananda, "What sustains
Yama, which is the Third Heaven of the world
of desire, and other heavens up to the Highest
Heaven of the world of form?"
Ananda answered, "The consequences of
karma are inconceivable."
The Buddha said to Ananda, "Inconceivable
indeed are the consequences of karma, and
so are the worlds of the Buddhas. By the
power of meritorious deeds, sentient beings
in that land dwell on the ground of karmic
reward. That is why those heavens exist without
Ananda continued, "I do not doubt this
myself but have asked you about it simply
because I wished to remove such doubts for
the benefit of sentient beings in the future."
Transformation of Amida's light
 The Buddha said to Ananda, "The
majestic light of the Buddha Amitayus is
the most exalted. No other Buddha's light
can match his. The light of some Buddhas
illuminates a hundred Buddha-lands, and that
of others, a thousand Buddha-lands. Briefly,
that of Amitayus illuminates the eastern
Buddha-land, as numerous as the sands of
the River Ganges. In the same way, it illuminates
the Buddha-lands in the south, west and north,
in each of the four intermediate quarters,
above and below. Further, the light of some
Buddhas extends seven feet; that of others,
one yojana, or two, three, four or five yojanas;
and the distance covered increases in this
way until the light of some Buddhas illuminates
"For this reason, Amitayus is called
by the following names: the Buddha of Infinite
Light, the Buddha of Boundless Light, the
Buddha of Unhindered Light, [270b] the Buddha
of Incomparable Light, the Buddha of the
Light of the King of Flame, the Buddha of
Pure Light, the Buddha of the Light of Joy,
the Buddha of Light of Wisdom, the Buddha
of Unceasing Light, the Buddha of Inconceivable
Light, the Buddha of Ineffable Light, and
the Buddha of the Light Outshining the Sun
and the Moon.
"If, sentient beings encounter his light,
their three defilements are removed; they
feel tenderness, joy and pleasure; and good
thoughts arise. If sentient beings in the
three realms of suffering see his light,
they will all be relieved and freed from
affliction. At the end of their lives, they
all reach emancipation.
"The light of Amitayus shines brilliantly,
illuminating all the Buddha-lands of the
ten quarters. There is no place where it
is not perceived. I am not the only one who
now praises his light. All the Buddhas, shravakas,
pratyekabuddhas and bodhisattvas praise and
glorify it in the same way. If sentient beings,
having heard of the majestic virtue of his
light, glorify it continually, day and night,
with sincerity of heart, they will be able
to attain birth in his land, as they wish.
Then the multitudes of bodhisattvas and shravakas
will praise their excellent virtue. Later,
when they attain Buddhahood, all the Buddhas
and bodhisattvas in the ten quarters will
praise their light, just as I now praise
the light of Amitayus."
The Buddha continued, "The majestic
glory of the light of Amitayus could not
be exhaustively described even if I praised
it continuously, day and night, for the period
of one kalpa."
 The Buddha said to Ananda, "The
life of Amitayus is so long that it is impossible
for anyone to calculate it. To give an illustration,
let us suppose that all the innumerable sentient
beings in the worlds of the ten quarters
were reborn in human form and that every
one became a shravaka or pratyekabuddha.
Even if they assembled in one place, concentrated
their thoughts, and exercised the power of
their wisdom to the utmost to reckon the
length of the Buddha's life, even after a
thousand million kalpas they could still
not reach its limit. So it is with the life-span
of shravakas, bodhisattvas, heavenly beings
and human beings in his land. Similarly,
it is not to be encompassed by any means
of reckoning or by any metaphorical expression.
Again, the number of the shravakas and bodhisattvas
living there is incalculable. They are fully
endowed with transcendent wisdom and free
in their exercise of majestic power; they
could hold the entire world in their hands."
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