Larger Sutra


Illustrations from the Larger Sutra Mandala

Palace buildings.
Glorious adornments

[16] "Again, the halls, monasteries, palaces and pavilions are spontaneous apparitions, all adorned with the seven jewels and hung with curtains of various other jewels, such as pearls and moon-bright mani gems.
"Inside and out, to right and left, are bathing pools. Some of them are ten yojanas in length, breadth and depth; some are twenty yojanas, others, thirty, and so on, until we come to those measuring a hundred thousand yojanas in length, breadth and depth. They are brimful of the water of eight excellent qualities, clear, fragrant and tasting like nectar. [271b]
"There are golden pools with beds of silver sand; silver pools with beds of golden sand; crystal pools with beds of beryl sand; beryl pools with beds of crystal sand; coral pools with beds of amber sand; amber pools with beds of coral sand; agate pools with beds of ruby sand; ruby pools with beds of agate sand; white-jade pools with beds of purple-gold sand; purple-gold pools with beds of white-jade sand. Others are composed of two to seven jewels.
"On the banks of these pools are sandalwood trees, whose flowers and leaves hang down and diffuse perfumes everywhere. Heavenly lotuses of blue, pink, yellow and white bloom profusely in various tints and tones, completely covering the surface of the water.


"If bodhisattvas and shravakas in that land enter the jewel-ponds and wish the water to rise to their ankles, it rises to their ankles. If they wish it to rise to their knees, it rises to their knees. If they wish it to rise to their waists, it rises to their waists. If they wish it to rise to their necks, it rises to their necks. If they wish it to pour over their bodies, it spontaneously pours over their bodies. If they wish it to recede, it recedes. Its temperature is moderate, cool or warm, according to their wishes. The water comforts the body and refreshes the mind, washing away their mental defilements. Clear and pure, the water is so transparent that it seems formless. The jewel-sand shines so brightly that even the depth of the water cannot prevent its brilliance from being seen. The rippling water forms meandering streams, which join and flow into each other. Their movement is peaceful and quiet, neither too fast nor too slow, and their ripples spontaneously produce innumerable wonderful sounds. One can hear whatever sound one wishes. For example, some hear the sound 'Buddha,' some hear the sound 'Dharma,' some 'Sangha,' others hear 'tranquillity,' 'emptiness and non-self,' 'great compassion,' 'paramita,' 'ten powers,' 'fearlessness,' 'special qualities,' 'supernatural powers,' 'non-activity,' 'neither arising nor perishing,' 'insight into the non-arising of all dharmas,' and so on until the various sounds of the wonderful Dharma, such as 'the sprinkling of nectar upon the head of a bodhisattva,' are heard. As one hears those sounds, one attains immeasurable joy and accords with the principles of purity, absence of desires, extinction, and reality. One is in harmony with the Three Treasures, the Buddha's powers, fearlessness and special qualities, and also with supernatural powers and other methods of practice for bodhisattvas and shravakas. Not even the names of the three realms of suffering are heard there, but only Nirvanic sounds of bliss. For this reason, that land is called 'Peace and Bliss'."

Meals to be enjoyed in the palace.
Bodily appearance of the inhabitants and the pleasures they enjoy

[17] "Ananda, those born in that Buddha-land are endowed with such bodies of purity and provided with various exquisite sounds, supernatural powers and virtues. The palaces in which they dwell, their clothing, food and drink, the wonderful flowers, and the various kinds of incense and adornments are like those naturally provided in the Sixth Heaven of the world of desire.
"At mealtimes, plates made of the seven jewels -- namely, gold, silver, beryl, agate, ruby, [271c] coral, and amber, and also moon-bright pearl -- spontaneously appear, filled with food and drink of a hundred tastes, according to one's wishes. Although the food is offered, no one actually eats it. Once it has been seen and smelt, one naturally feels that it has been eaten, and so is satisfied; thus one feels relaxed in mind and body, free from attachment to the sense of taste. When the meal is over, everything disappears, but reappears at the next mealtime.
"That Buddha-land, like the realm of unconditioned Nirvana, is pure and serene, resplendent and blissful. The shravakas, bodhisattvas, heavenly beings and humans there have lofty and brilliant wisdom, and are masters of the supernatural powers. They are all of one form, without any differences, but are called 'heavenly beings' and 'humans' simply by analogy with the states of existence in other worlds. They are of noble and majestic countenance, unequaled in all the worlds, and their appearance is superb, unmatched by any being, heavenly or human. They are all endowed with bodies of Naturalness, Emptiness, and Infinity."

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