to the Three Pure Land Sutras]
The text --- (file).
Ref. to the
||(3) Ref. to The Three
Pure Land Sutras,3rd edition, 2000, Nagata Bunshodo, Kyoto
and to the Taisho Tripitaka (TT.)
- Part 1
||Larger Sutra Mandala
||pp. 225-267 ---[TT,
|Larger Sutra -
Part 2 ---- file
||pp. 268-313 --- [TT.
||pp. 315-350 --- [TT.
|Amida Sutra (Smaller Sutra)-
||Amida Sutra Mandala
||pp. 351-360 --- [TT.
LARGER SUTRA ON AMITAYUS
delivered by Shakyamuni Buddha
Translated into Chinese during the Ts'ao-Wei dynasty
by the Tripitaka Master Samghavarman from India
translated from Chinese by Hisao Inagaki
Revised June 24, 2000
|The text follows the Taisho Tripitaka
edition, vol. 12, and the passage numbers follow Jodoshinshu Seiten, 1988,
[TT. 12, 265c]
 Thus have I heard. At one time the Buddha was staying on the Vulture
Peak in Rajagriha with a large company of twelve thousand monks. They were
all great sages who had already attained supernatural powers. Among them
were the following: the Venerable Ajnata-kaundinya, the Venerable Ashvajit,
the Venerable Vaspa, the Venerable Mahanama, the Venerable Bhadrajit, the
Venerable Vimala, the Venerable Yashodeva, the Venerable Subahu, the Venerable
Purnaka, the Venerable Gavampati, the Venerable Uruvilva-kashyapa, the
Venerable Gaya-kashyapa, the Venerable Nadi-kashyapa, the Venerable Mahakashyapa,
the Venerable Shariputra, the Venerable Mahamaudgalyayana, the Venerable
Kapphina, the Venerable Mahakausthilya, the Venerable Mahakatyayana, the
Venerable Mahacunda, the Venerable Purna-maitrayaniputra, the Venerable
Aniruddha, the Venerable Revata, the Venerable Kimpila, the Venerable Amogha-raja,
the Venerable Parayanika, the Venerable Vakkula, the Venerable Nanda, the
Venerable Svagata, the Venerable Rahula and the Venerable Ananda. All of
these were Elders.
Mahayana bodhisattvas also accompanied the
Buddha, including all those of this Auspicious
Kalpa, such as the Bodhisattva Samantabhadra,
the Bodhisattva Manjushri and the Bodhisattva
Maitreya. There were also the sixteen lay
bodhisattvas, such as Bhadrapala, as well
as the Bodhisattva Profound Thought, the
Bodhisattva Wisdom of Faith, the Bodhisattva
Voidness, the Bodhisattva Bloom of Supernatural
Power, the Bodhisattva Hero of Light, the
Bodhisattva Superior wisdom, the Bodhisattva
Banner of Wisdom, the Bodhisattva Tranquil
Ability, the Bodhisattva Wisdom of Vows,
the Bodhisattva Sweet-smelling Elephant,
the Bodhisattva Hero of Treasures, the Bodhisattva
Dwelling-in-the-Center, the Bodhisattva Practice
of Restraint and the Bodhisattva Emancipation.
|Virtues of the bodhisattva audience|
 Each of these bodhisattvas, following
the virtues of the Mahasattva Samantabhadra,
is endowed with the immeasurable practices
and vows of the Bodhisattva Path, and firmly
dwells in all the meritorious deeds. He freely
travels in all the ten quarters and employs
skillful means of emancipation. He enters
the treasury of the Dharma of the Buddhas,
and reaches the Other Shore. Throughout the
innumerable worlds he attains Enlightenment.
First, dwelling in the Tusita Heaven, he
proclaims the true Dharma. Having left the
heavenly palace, he descends into his mother's
womb. Soon after he is born from her right
side, he takes seven steps. As he does so,
an effulgence illuminates everywhere in the
ten quarters and innumerable Buddha-lands
shake in six ways. Then he utters these words,
"I will become the most honored one
in the world." [266a] Shakra and Brahma
reverently attend him, and heavenly beings
adore and worship him. He shows his ability
in calculation, writing, archery and horsemanship.
He is also conversant with the divine arts
and well-read in many volumes. In the field
outside the palace he trains himself in the
martial arts, and at court shows that he
also enjoys the pleasures of the senses.
When he first encounters old age, sickness
and death, he realizes the impermanence of
the world. He renounces his kingdom, wealth
and throne, and goes into the mountains to
practice the Way. After sending back the
white horse that he has been riding, together
with the jewelled crown and ornaments which
he has been wearing, he takes off his magnificent
clothes and puts on a Dharma robe. He cuts
his hair and shaves his beard, sits upright
under a tree and strives at ascetic practices
for six years in accord with the traditional
way. Since he has appeared in the world of
the five defilements, he behaves as the multitude.
And as his body appears dirty, he takes a
bath in the Golden River. As a god bends
a branch down towards him, he is able to
climb up the river bank. A divine bird follows
him closely to the seat of Enlightenment.
A deva takes the form of a youth and, perceiving
a favorable sign, respectfully presents him
with the auspicious grass. The Bodhisattva
compassionately accepts it, spreads it under
the Bodhi-tree and sits upon it with his
legs crossed. He emits a great flood of light
to inform Mara of this. Mara and his army
come to attack and tempt him, but he brings
them under control with the power of wisdom
and makes them all surrender. Then he attains
the supreme Dharma and realizes the highest,
As Shakra and Brahma request him to turn the Wheel of the Dharma, the Buddha
visits various places and preaches the Dharma in his thunderous voice.
He beats the Dharma-drum, blows the Dharma-conch, brandishes the Dharma-sword,
hoists the Dharma-banner, rolls the Dharma-thunder, hurls the Dharma-lightning,
brings the Dharma-rain, and bestows the Dharma-gift. At all times, he awakens
the world with the sound of the Dharma. His light illuminates countless
Buddha-lands, causing the entire world to quake in six ways. It encompasses
Mara's realm, shaking his palace, so that he and his host become frightened
and surrender. The bodhisattva tears asunder the net of evil, destroys
wrong views, removes afflictions, flushes the gutters of desire, protects
the Dharma-castle, opens the Dharma-gate, washes off the grime of the passions,
and reveals the pure white Dharma. He unifies everything in the Buddha
Dharma, and thus proclaims the right teaching.
He enters the town to beg alms; he accepts even rich food to enable the
donors to accumulate merit and also to show that he is a field of virtue.
Wishing to expound the Dharma, he smiles and so cures the three pains with
various Dharma-medicines. He teaches that the aspiration for Enlightenment
has immeasurable merit and, by giving predictions to bodhisattvas, he enables
them to attain Buddhahood.
He demonstrates that he passes into Nirvana, but endlessly brings sentient
beings to emancipation. In removing their defilements, planting various
roots of virtue and attaining excellent merit, he displays wonderful and
Furthermore, each of the bodhisattvas in the assembly is able to visit
various Buddha-lands and expound teachings of the Way. His manner of practice
is pure and undefiled. Just as a magician with his perfect skill can create
at will various illusions, including images of man or woman, at will, so
the bodhisattva, having thoroughly learned all the methods of emancipation
and attained serene awareness of reality, can freely teach and transform
beings. He manifests himself everywhere in innumerable Buddha-lands, performing
acts of compassion for sentient beings tirelessly and with diligence. [266b]
He has thus obtained complete mastery of such methods of emancipation.
He is thoroughly conversant with the essentials
of the sutras for bodhisattvas and, as his
fame spreads everywhere, he guides sentient
beings throughout the ten quarters. All Buddhas
remember him and give him their protection.
He has already dwelt in all the Buddha's
abodes and performed all the deeds of the
Great Sage. He proclaims the Tathagata's
teachings, acts as a great master for other
bodhisattvas and, with profound samadhi and
wisdom, guides multitudes of beings. With
penetrating insight into the essential nature
of dharmas, he discerns different aspects
of living beings and closely watches over
all the worlds. In making offerings to the
Buddhas, he manifests transformed bodies
like flashes of lightning. Having well learned
the extensive wisdom of fearless and having
realized the illusory nature of dharmas,
he destroys Mara's nets and unties all the
bonds of passion. He rises above the stages
of shravakas and pratyekabuddhas and attains
the samadhis of emptiness, non-form, and
non-desire. He skillfully provides expedient
means and thus reveals three distinct teachings.
Then for those of the middle and lower stages,
he demonstrates his passing into Nirvana.
But, in reality, he is non-active and non-acquisitive,
and, being aware that dharmas in themselves
neither arise nor perish, he realizes that
they are of absolute equality. He has attained
innumerable dharanis, a hundred thousand
samadhis and various kinds of spiritual faculties
With the Meditation of Vast and Universal Tranquillity, he enters deeply
into the Dharma-treasury for bodhisattvas. After attaining the Buddha-garland
Samadhi, he proclaims and expounds all the sutras. While dwelling deep
in meditation, he visualizes all the innumerable Buddhas and in an instant
visits every one of them.
By elucidating and teaching the ultimate
truth to sentient beings, he delivers them
from the state of extreme pains, from the
conditions in which suffering is so great
as to prevent people from finding time for
Buddhist practices, and also from the conditions
in which suffering is not so great as to
prevent them from doing so. Having attained
the Tathagata's thorough knowledge and eloquence,
he has fluent command of languages, with
which he enlightens all beings. He is above
all worldly affairs and his mind, always
serene, dwells on the path of emancipation;
this gives him complete control over all
dharmas. Without being asked to do so, he
becomes a good friend to each of the multitude
of beings and carries their heavy karmic
burdens on his back. He upholds the Tathagata's
profound Dharma-treasury and protects the
seeds of Buddhahood, so that they may continue
to multiply. Having awakened great compassion
for sentient beings, he kindly expounds the
teaching, and endows them with the Dharma-eye.
He blocks the paths to the three evil realms,
opens the gate of virtue and, without waiting
for their request, provides beings with the
Dharma. He does this for the multitude of
beings just as a dutiful son loves and respects
his parents. He indeed looks upon sentient
beings as his own self.
With such roots of virtue, all the bodhisattvas in the assembly had reached
the shore of emancipation. They had acquired the Buddha's immeasurable
merit and attained the sacred, pure and inconceivable wisdom. Innumerable
bodhisattvas, mahasattvas, such as these assembled there all at once.
|Glorious features of the Buddha|
 At that time all the senses of the World-Honored
One radiated joy, [266c] his entire body
appeared serene and glorious, and his august
countenance looked most majestic. Having
perceived the Buddha's holy intention, the
Venerable Ananda rose from his seat, bared
his right shoulder, prostrated himself, and
joining his palms in reverence, said to the
Buddha, "World-Honored One, today all
your senses are radiant with joy, your body
is serene and glorious, and your august countenance
is as majestic as a clear mirror whose brightness
radiates outward and inward. The magnificence
of your dignified appearance is unsurpassed
and beyond measure. I have never seen you
look so superb and majestic as today. With
respect, Great Sage, this thought has occurred
to me: 'Today, the World-Honored One dwells
in the rare and marvelous Dharma; today,
the World-Hero dwells in the Buddha's abode;
today, the World-Eye concentrates on the
performance of the leader's duty; today,
the World-Valiant One dwells in the supreme
Bodhi; today, the One Most Honored in Heaven
realizes the Tathagata's virtue. The Buddhas
of the past, present and future contemplate
each other. How can this present Buddha not
contemplate all other Buddhas?' For what
reason does his countenance look so majestic
Then the World-Honored One said to Ananda,
"Tell me, Ananda, whether some god urged
you to put this question to the Buddha or
whether you asked about his glorious countenance
from your own wise observation."
Ananda replied to the Buddha, "No god came to prompt me. I asked you
about this matter of my own accord."
The Buddha said, "Well said, Ananda.
I am very pleased with your question. You
have shown profound wisdom and subtle insight
in asking me this wise question out of compassion
for sentient beings. As the Tathagata, I
regard beings of the three worlds with boundless
great compassion. The reason for my appearance
in the world is to reveal teachings of the
Way and save multitudes of beings by endowing
them with true benefits. Even in countless
millions of kalpas it is difficult to come
upon and meet a Tathagata. It is as difficult
as seeing an udumbara flower, which blooms
very rarely. Your question is of great benefit
and will enlighten all heavenly and human
beings. Ananda, you should realize that the
Tathagata's perfectly enlightened wisdom
is unfathomable, capable of leading innumerable
beings to emancipation, and that his penetrating
insight cannot be obstructed. With just one
meal, he is able to live for a hundred thousand
kotis of kalpas, or an incalculable and immeasurable
length of time, or beyond. Even after that
lapse of time, his senses will still be radiant
with joy and show no signs of deterioration;
his appearance will not change, and his august
countenance will look just the same. The
reason for this is that the Tathagata's meditation
and wisdom are perfect and boundless and
that he has attained unrestricted power over
all dharmas. Ananda, listen carefully. I
shall now expound the Dharma."
Ananda replied, "Yes, I will. With joy in my heart, I wish to hear
 The Buddha said to Ananda, "In the
distant past -- innumerable, incalculable
and inconceivable kalpas ago -- a Tathagata
named Dipankara appeared in the world. Having
taught and freed innumerable beings and led
them all along the path of Enlightenment,
he passed into Nirvana. Next appeared a Tathagata
named Far-reaching Light. After him came
Moonlight, and then Sandalwood-Incense, King
of Beautiful Mountains, Crown of Mount Sumeru,
Brilliant like Mount Sumeru, Color of the
Moon, Right Recollection, Free of Defilement,
Non-attachment, Dragon-deva, Nocturnal Light,
Peaceful and Brilliant Peak, Immovable Ground,
[267a] Exquisite Beryl Flower, Golden Beryl
Luster, Gold-treasury, Flaming Light, Fiery
Origin, Earth-shaking, Image of the Moon,
Sound of the Sun, Flower of Freedom, Glorious
Light, Miraculous Power of the Ocean of Enlightenment,
Water Light, Great Fragrance, Free of Dust
and Defilement, Abandoning Enmity, Flame
of Jewels, Beautiful Peak, Heroic Stance,
Merit-possessing Wisdom, Outshining the Sun
and the Moon, Beryl Light of the Sun and
the Moon, Supreme Beryl Light, Highest Peak,
Flower of Enlightenment, Brightness of the
Moon, Sunlight, King of the Colors of Flowers,
Moonlight on the Water, Dispelling the Darkness
of Ignorance, Practice of Removing Hindrances,
Pure Faith, Storage of Good, Majestic Glory,
Wisdom of the Dharma, Call of the Phoenix,
Roar of the Lion, Voice of the Dragon and
Dwelling-in-the-world. All these Buddhas
have already passed into Nirvana.
|Lokeshvararaja Buddha and Dharmakara|
 "Then appeared a Buddha named Lokeshvararaja,
the Tathagata, Arhat, Perfectly Enlightened
One, Possessed of Wisdom and Practice, Perfected
One, Knower of the World, Unsurpassed One,
Tamer of Men, Master of Gods and Men, Buddha
and World-Honored One.
"At that time there was a king, who, having heard the Buddha's exposition
of the Dharma, rejoiced in his heart and awakened aspiration for the highest,
perfect Enlightenment. He renounced his kingdom and the throne, and became
a monk named Dharmakara. Having superior intelligence, courage and wisdom,
he distinguished himself in the world. He went to see the Tathagata Lokeshvararaja,
knelt down at his feet, walked round him three times keeping him always
on his right, prostrated himself on the ground, and putting his palms together
in worship, praised the Buddha with these verses:
|Sanbutsuge - Verses Praising the
1. The shining face of the Buddha is glorious;
Boundless is his magnificence.
Radiant splendor such as his
Is beyond all comparison.
The sun, the moon and the mani-jewel,
Though shining with dazzling brightness,
Are completely dimmed and obscured
As if they were a pile of ink-sticks
.2. The countenance of the Tathagata
Is beyond compare in the whole world.
The great voice of the Enlightened One
Resounds throughout the ten regions.
His morality, learning, endeavor,
Absorption in meditation, wisdom
And magnificent virtues have no equal;
They are wonderful and unsurpassed.
3. He meditates deeply and directly
On the oceanic Dharma of all the Buddhas.
He knows its depth and breadth
And penetrates to its farthest end.
Ignorance, greed and anger
Are forever absent in the World-Honored One.
He is the lion, the most valiant of all men;
His glorious virtue is unlimited.
4. His meritorious achievements are vast;
His wisdom is deep and sublime.
His light, with awe-inspiring glory, [267b]
Shakes the universe of a thousand million worlds.
I resolve to become a Buddha,
Equal in attainment to you, O holy king of the Dharma,
To save living beings from birth-and-death,
And to lead them all to emancipation.
5. My discipline in giving, mind-control,
Moral virtues, forbearance and effort,
And also in meditation and wisdom,
Shall be supreme and unsurpassed.
I vow that, when I have become a Buddha,
I shall carry out this promise everywhere;
And to all fear-ridden beings
Shall I give great peace.
6. Even though there are Buddhas,
A thousand million kotis in number,
And multiudes of great sages
Countless as the sands of the Ganges,
I shall make offerings
To all those Buddhas.
I shall seek the supreme Way
Resolutely and tirelessly.
7. Even though the Buddha-lands are as innumerable
As the sands of the Ganges,
And other regions and worlds
Are also without number,
My light shall shine everywhere,
Pervading all those lands.
Such being the result of my efforts,
My glorious power shall be immeasurable.
8. When I have become a Buddha,
My land shall be most exquisite,
And its people wonderful and unexcelled;
The seat of Enlightenment shall be supreme.
My land, being like Nirvana itself,
Shall be beyond comparison.
I take pity on living beings
And resolve to save them all.
9. Those who come from the ten quarters
Shall find joy and serenity of heart;
When they reach my land,
They shall dwell in peace and happiness.
I beg you, the Buddha, to become my witness
And to vouch for the truth of my aspiration.
Having now made my vows to you,
I will strive to fulfilll them.
10. The World-Honored Ones in the ten quarters
Have unimpeded wisdom;
I call upon those Honored Ones
To bear witness to my intention.
Even though I must remain
In a state of extreme pain,
I will diligently practice,
Enduring all hardships with tireless vigor."
|Dharmakara's resolution to become a Buddha|
 The Buddha said to Ananda, "Having
spoken these verses, the Bhiksu Dharmakara
said to the Buddha Lokeshvararaja, 'Respectfully,
World-Honored One, I announce that I have
awakened aspiration for the highest, perfect
Enlightenment. I beseech you to explain the
Dharma to me fully, so that I can perform
practices for the establishment of a pure
Buddha-land adorned with infinite excellent
qualities. So please teach me how to attain
Enlightenment quickly and to remove the roots
of afflictions of birth-and-death for all.'"
The Buddha said to Ananda, "At that
time the Buddha Lokeshvararaja replied to
the Bhiksu Dharmakara, 'You yourself should
know by what practice you can establish a
glorious Buddha-land.' The Bhiksu said to
the Buddha, 'That is far too vast and deep
for my comprehension. I sincerely beseech
you, World-Honored One, to explain in detail
the practices by which Buddhas, Tathagatas,
established their pure lands. After I hear
that, I wish to practice as instructed and
so fulfill my aspirations.'
"At that time the Buddha Lokeshvararaja
recognized the Bhiksu Dharmakara's noble
and high aspirations, and taught him as follows:
'If, for example, one keeps on bailing water
out of a great ocean with a pint-measure,
one will be able to reach the bottom after
many kalpas [267c] and then obtain rare treasures.
Likewise, if one sincerely, diligently and
unceasingly seeks the Way, one will be able
to reach one's destination. What vow is there
which cannot be fulfilled?'
"Then the Buddha Lokeshvararaja explained in detail the greater and
lesser aspects of two hundred and ten kotis of Buddha-lands, together with
the good and evil natures of heavenly and human beings living there. He
revealed them all to the Bhiksu just as he had requested. Then the Bhiksu,
having heard the Buddha's exposition of the glorious pure land and also
having seen all of them, resolved upon his supreme, unsurpassed vows. His
mind being serene and his aspirations free of attachment, he was unexcelled
throughout the world. For five full kalpas he contemplated the vows, and
then chose the pure practices for the establishment of his Buddha-land."
Ananda asked the Buddha, "How long was the life-span of beings in
the land of the Buddha Lokeshvararaja?"
The Buddha replied, "The length of life of that Buddha was forty-two
He continued, "After that Dharmakara
Bodhisattva adopted the pure practices which
had led to the establishment of the excellent
lands of two hundred and ten kotis of Buddhas.
When he had finished this task, he went to
the Buddha, knelt down at his feet, walked
round him three times, joined his palms in
worship and sat down. He then said to the
Buddha, 'I have adopted the pure practices
for the establishment of a glorious Buddha-land.'
The Buddha said to him, 'You should proclaim
this. Know that now is the right time. Encourage
and delight the entire assembly. Hearing
this, other bodhisattvas will practice this
Dharma and so fulfill their innumerable
great vows.' The Bhiksu replied, 'I beg you
to grant me your attention. Now I will fully
proclaim my vows.'
 (1) If, when I attain Buddhahood, there should be in my land a
hell, a realm of hungry spirits or a realm of animals, may I not attain
(2) If, when I attain Buddhahood, humans and devas in my land should after
death fall again into the three evil realms, may I not attain perfect Enlightenment.
(3) If, when I attain Buddhahood, humans
and devas in my land should not all be the
color of pure gold, may I not attain
(4) If, when I attain Buddhahood, humans and devas in my land should not
all be of one appearance, and should there be any difference in beauty,
may I not attain perfect Enlightenment.
(5) If, when I attain Buddhahood, humans and devas in my land should not
remember all their previous lives, not knowing even the events which occurred
during the previous hundred thousand kotis of nayutas of kalpas, may I
not attain perfect Enlightenment.
(6) If, when I attain Buddhahood, humans and devas in my land should not
possess the divine eye of seeing even a hundred thousand kotis of nayutas
of Buddha-lands, may I not attain perfect Enlightenment.
(7) If, when I attain Buddhahood, humans and devas in my land should not
possess the divine ear of hearing [268a] the teachings of at least a hundred
thousand kotis of nayutas of Buddhas and should not remember all of them,
may I not attain perfect Enlightenment.
(8) If, when I attain Buddhahood, humans and devas in my land should not
possess the faculty of knowing the thoughts of others, at least those of
all sentient beings living in a hundred thousand kotis of nayutas of Buddha-lands,
may I not attain perfect Enlightenment.
(9) If, when I attain Buddhahood, humans and devas in my land should not
possess the supernatural power of travelling anywhere in one instant, even
beyond a hundred thousand kotis of nayutas of Buddha-lands, may I not attain
(10) If, when I attain Buddhahood, humans and devas in my land should give
rise to thoughts of self-attachment, may I not attain perfect Enlightenment.
(11) If, when I attain Buddhahood, humans and devas in my land should not
dwell in the Definitely Assured State and unfailingly reach Nirvana, may
I not attain perfect Enlightenment.
(12) If, when I attain Buddhahood, my light should be limited, unable to
illuminate at least a hundred thousand kotis of nayutas of Buddha-lands,
may I not attain perfect Enlightenment.
(13) If, when I attain Buddhahood, my life-span should be limited, even
to the extent of a hundred thousand kotis of nayutas of kalpas, may I not
attain perfect Enlightenment.
(14) If, when I attain Buddhahood, the number of the shravakas in my land
could be known, even if all the beings and pratyekabuddhas living in this
universe of a thousand million worlds should count them during a hundred
thousand kalpas, may I not attain perfect Enlightenment.
(15) If, when I attain Buddhahood, humans and devas in my land should have
limited life-spans, except when they wish to shorten them in accordance
with their ogirinal vows, may I not attain perfect Enlightenment.
(16) If, when I attain Buddhahood, humans and devas in my land should even
hear of any wrongdoing, may I not attain perfect Enlightenment.
(17) If, when I attain Buddhahood, innumerable Buddhas in the land of the
ten quarters should not all praise and glorify my Name, may I not attain
(18) If, when I attain Buddhahood, sentient beings in the lands of the
ten quarters who sincerely and joyfully entrust themselves to me, desire
to be born in my land, and call my Name, even ten times, should not be
born there, may I not attain perfect Enlightenment. Excluded, however,
are those who commit the five gravest offences and abuse the right Dharma.
(19) If, when I attain Buddhahood, sentient beings in the lands of the
ten quarters, who awaken aspiration for Enlightenment, do various meritorious
deeds [268b] and sincerely desire to be born in my land, should not, at
their death, see me appear before them surrounded by a multitude of sages,
may I not attain perfect Enlightenment.
(20) If, when I attain Buddhahood, sentient
beings in the lands of the ten quarters who,
having heard my Name, concentrate their thoughts
on my land, pland roots of virtue, and sincerely
transfer their merits towards my land with
a desire to be born there, should not eventually
fulfill their aspiration, may I not
attain perfect Enlightenment.
(21) If, when I attain Buddhahood, humans and devas in my land should not
all be endowed with the thirty-two physical characteristics of a Great
Man, may I not attain perfect Enlightenment.
(22) If, when I attain Buddhahood, bodhisattvas in the Buddha-lands of
other quarters who visit my land should not ultimately and unfailingly
reach the Stage of Becoming a Buddha after One More Life, may I not attain
perfect Enlightenment. Excepted are those who wish to teach and guide sentient
beings in accordance with their original vows. For they wear the armour
of great vows, accumulate merits, deliver all beings from birth-and-death,
visit Buddha-lands to perform the bodhisattva practices, make offerings
to Buddhas, Tathagatas, throughout the ten quarters, enlighten uncountable
sentient beings as numerous as the sands of the River Ganges, and establish
them in the highest, perfect Enlightenment. Such bodhisattvas transcend
the course of practice of the ordinary bodhisattvas, manifest the practices
of all the bodhisattva stages, and cultivate the virtues of Samantabhadra.
(23) If, when I attain Buddhahood, bodhisattvas in my land, in order to
make offerings to Buddhas through my transcendent power, should not be
able to reach immeasurable and innumerable kotis of nayutas of Buddha-lands
in as short a time as it takes to eat a meal, may I not attain perfect
(24) If, when I attain Buddhahood, bodhisattvas in my land should not be
able, as they wish, to perform meritorious acts of worshipping the Buddhas
with the offerings of their choice, may I not attain perfect Enlightenment.
(25) If, when I attain Buddhahood, bodhisattvas in my land should not be
able to expound the Dharma with the all-knowing wisdom, may I not attain
(26) If, when I attain Buddhahood, there should be any bodhisattva in my
land not endowed with the body of the Vajra-god Narayana, may I not attain
(27) If, when I attain Buddhahood, sentient beings should be able, even
with the divine eye, to distinguish by name alculate by number all the
myriads of manifestations provided for the humans and devas in my land,
which are glorious and resplendent and have exquisite details beyond description,
may I not attain perfect Enlightenmet.
(28) If, when I attain Buddhahood, bodhisattvas
in my land, even those with little store
of merit, should not be able to [268c] see
the Bodhi-tree which has countless colors
and is four million li in height, may
I not attain perfect Enlightenment.
(29) If, when I attain Buddhahood, bodhisattvas in my land should not acquire
eloquence and wisdom in upholding sutras and reciting and expounding them,
may I not attain perfect Enlightenment.
(30) If, when I attain Buddhahood, the wisdom and eloquence of bodhisattvas
in my land should be limited, may I not attain perfect Enlightenment.
(31) If, when I attain Buddhahood, my land should not be resplendent, revealing
in its light all the immeasurable, innumerable and inconceivable Buddha-lands,
like images reflected in a clear mirror, may I not attain perfect Enlightenment.
(32) If, when I attain Buddhahood, all the myriads of manifestations in
my land, from the ground to the sky, such as palaces, pavilions, ponds,
streams and trees, should not be composed of both countless treasures,
which surpass in supreme excellence anything in the worlds of humans and
devas, and of a hundred thousand kinds of aromatic wood, whose fragrance
pervades all the worlds of the ten quarters, causing all bodhisattvas who
sense it to perform Buddhist practices, then may I not attain perfect Enlightenment.
(33) If, when I attain Buddhahood, sentient beings in the immeasurable
and inconceivable Buddha-lands of the ten quarters, who have been touched
by my light, should not feel peace and happiness in their bodies and minds
surpassing those of humans and devas, may I not attain perfect Enlightenment.
(34) If, when I attain Buddhahood, sentient beings in the immeasurable
and inconceivable Buddha-lands of the ten quarters, who have heard my Name,
should not gain the bodhisattva's insight into the non-arising of all dharmas
and should not acquire various profound dharanis, may I not attain perfect
(35) If, when I attain Buddhahood, women in the immeasurable and inconceivable
Buddha-lands of the ten quarters who, having heard my Name, rejoice in
faith, awaken aspiration for Enlightenment and wish to renounce womanhood,
should after death be reborn again as women, may I not attain perfect Enlightenment.
(36) If, when I attain Buddhahood, bodhisattvas in the immeasurable and
inconceivable Buddha-lands of the ten quarters, who have heard my Name,
should not, after the end of their lives, always perform sacred practices
until they reach Buddhahood, may I not attain perfect Enlightenment.
(37) If, when I attain Buddhahood, humans and devas in the immeasurable
and inconceivable Buddha-lands of the ten quarters, who having heard my
Name, prostrate themselves on the ground to revere and worship me, rejoice
[269a] in faith, and perform bodhisattva practices, should not be respected
by all devas and people of the world, may I not attain perfect Enlightenment.
(38) If, when I attain Buddhahood, humans and devas in my land should not
obtain clothing, as soon as such a desire arises in their minds, and if
the fine robes as prescribed and praised by the Buddhas should not be spontaneously
provided for them to wear, and if these clothes should need sewing, bleaching,
dyeing or washing, may I not attain perfect Enlightenment.
(39) If, when I attain Buddhahood, humans and devas in my land should not
enjoy happiness and pleasure comparable to that of a monk who has exhausted
all the passions, may I not attain perfect Enlightenment.
(40) If, when I attain Buddhahood, the bodhisattvas
in my land who wish to see the immeasurable
glorious Buddha-lands of the ten quarters,
should not be able to view all of them reflected
in the jewelled trees, just as one sees one's
face reflected in a clear mirror, may I not
attain perfect Enlightenment.
(41) If, when I attain Buddhahood, bodhisattvas in the lands of the other
quarters who hear my Name should, at any time before becoming Buddhas,
have impaired, inferior or incomplete sense organs, may I not attain perfect
(42) If, when I attain Buddhahood, bodhisattvas
in the lands of the other quarters who hear
my Name should not all attain the samadhi
called 'pure emancipation' and, while dwelling
therein, without losing concentration, should
not be able to make offerings in one instant
to immeasurable and inconceivable Buddhas,
World-Honored Ones, may I not attain perfect
(43) If, when I attain Buddhahood, bodhisattvas in the lands of the other
quarters who hear my Name should not be reborn into noble families after
their death, may I not attain perfect Enlightenment.
(44) If, when I attain Buddhahood, bodhisattvas in the lands of the other
quarters who hear my Name should not rejoice so greatly as to dance and
perform the bodhisattva practices and should not acquire stores of merit,
may I not attain perfect Enlightenment.
(45) If, when I attain Buddhahood, bodhisattvas in the lands of the other
quarters who hear my Name should not all attain the samadhi called 'universal
equality' and, while dwelling therein, should not always be able to see
all the immeasurable and inconceivable Tathagatas until those bodhisattvas,
too, become Buddhas, may I not attain perfect Enlightenment.
(46) If, when I attain Buddhahood, bodhisattvas in my land should not be
able to hear spontaneously whatever teachings they may wish, [269b] may
I not attain perfect Enlightenment.
(47) If, when I attain Buddhahood, bodhisattvas in the lands of the other
quarters who hear my Name should not instantly reach the Stage of Non-retrogression,
may I not attain perfect Enlightenment.
(48) If, when I attain Buddhahood, bodhisattvas in the lands of the other
quarters who hear my Name should not instantly gain the first, second and
third insights into the nature of dharmas and firmly abide in the truths
realized by all the Buddhas, may I not attain perfect Enlightenment."
|Juseige - Verses Confirming the Vows|
 The Buddha said to Ananda, "The Bhiksu Dharmakara, having
thus proclaimed those vows, spoke the following verses:
1. I have made vows, unrivaled in all the
I will certainly reach the unsurpassed Way.
If these vows should not be fulfilled,
May I not attain perfect Enlightenment.
2. If I should not become a great benefactor
In lives to come for immeasurable kalpas
To save the poor and the afflicted everywhere,
May I not attain perfect Enlightenment.
3. When I attain Buddhahood,
My Name shall be heard throughout the ten quarters;
Should there be any place where it is not heard,
May I not attain perfect Enlightenment.
4. Free of greed and with deep, perfect mindfulness
And pure wisdom, I will perform the sacred practices;
I will seek to attain the unsurpassed Way
And become the teacher of devas and humans.
5. With my divine power I will display great light,
Illuminating the worlds without limit,
And dispel the darkness of the three defilements;
Thus I will deliver all beings from misery.
6. Having obtained the eye of wisdom,
I will remove the darkness of ignorance;
I will block all the evil paths
And open the gate to the good realms.
7. When merits and virtues are perfected,
My majestic light shall radiate in the ten quarters,
Outshining the sun and the moon
And surpassing the brilliance of the heavens.
8. I will open the Dharma-store for the multitudes
And endow them all with treasures of merit.
Being always among the multitudes,
I will proclaim the Dharma with the lion's roar.
9. I will make offerings to all the Buddhas,
Thereby acquiring roots of virtue.
When my vows are fulfilled and my wisdom
I shall be the sovereign of the three worlds.
10. Like your unhindered wisdom, O Buddha,
Mine shall reach everywhere, illuminating all;
May my supreme wisdom
Be like yours, Most Excellent Honored One.
11. If these vows are to be fulfilled,
Let this universe of a thousand million worlds shake in response [269c]
And let all the devas in heaven
Rain down rare and marvelous flowers."
|Dharmakara's practices of the Bodhisattva Path|
 The Buddha said to Ananda, "As soon as the Bhiksu Dharmakara
spoke those verses, the entire earth shook in six ways, and a rain of wonderful
flowers fell from heaven, scattering everywhere. Spontaneous music was
heard, and a voice in the sky said, 'Surely you will attain the highest,
"Then the Bhiksu Dharmakara kept all those great vows which were sincere,
unfailing and unsurpassed in the whole world, and intensely aspired to
"Then, Ananda, after proclaiming and establishing those universal
vows in the presence of the Buddha Lokeshvararaja before the multitude
of beings, including the eight kinds of superhuman beings, such as devas
and dragon-spirits, and also Mara and Brahma, the Bhiksu Dharmakara was
solely intent on producing a glorious and exquisite land. The Buddha-land
which he sought to establish was vast in extent, unsurpassed and supremely
wonderful, always present and subject neither to decay nor change. During
inconceivable and innumerable kalpas, he cultivated the immeasurable meritorious
practices of the Bodhisattva Path.
"He did not harbor any thought
of greed, hatred or cruelty; nor did he allow
any ideas of greed, hatred or cruelty to
arise. He was unattached to any form, sound,
smell, taste, touch or idea. Possessed of
the power to persevere, he did not avoid
undergoing various afflictions. Having little
desire for his own sake, he knew contentment.
Without any impure thought, enmity or stupidity,
he dwelt continually in tranquil samadhi.
His wisdom was unobstructed, and his mind
free of falsehood and deceitfulness. With
an expression of tenderness in his face and
with kindness in his speech, he spoke to
others in consonance with their inner thoughts.
Courageous and diligent, strong-willed and
untiring, he devoted himself solely to the
pursuit of the pure Dharma, thereby benefiting
a multitude of beings. He revered the Three
Treasures, respected his teachers and elders,
and thus adorned his practices with a great
store of merits. By so doing, he enabled
sentient beings to partake of it.
"He dwelt in the realization that all
dharmas are empty, devoid of distinctive
features, and not to be sought after, and
that they neither act nor arise; he thus
realized that all dharmas are like magical
creations. He avoided all wrong speech that
would bring harm upon himself or others or
both; he engaged in right speech that would
bring benefit to himself or others or both.
He abandoned his kingdom and renounced the
throne, leaving behind wealth and sensuous
pleasures. Practicing the Six Paramitas himself,
he taught others to do the same. During innumerable
kalpas, he accumulated merits and amassed
"Wherever he was born, an immeasurable
stock of treasure spontaneously appeared
as he wished. He taught countless sentient
beings and guided them on the path of the
highest, true Enlightenment. He was reborn
as a rich man, a lay devotee, a member of
the highest caste or of a noble family, a
ksatriya king, a wheel-turning monarch, a
king of one of the six heavens in the world
of desire, or even higher, as a Brahma-king.
He revered and worshipped all Buddhas by
making the four kinds of offering to them.
The merit he thus acquired was indescribably
great. Fragrance issued from his mouth as
from a blue lotus-flower, and every pore
of his body emitted the scent of sandalwood,
which permeated innumerable worlds. His appearance
was majestic, and his physical characteristics
and marks were truly wonderful. From his
hands, inexhaustible treasures, clothes,
food and drink, rare and exquisite [270a]
flowers and incense, silken canopies, banners,
and other ornaments were produced. In such
manifestations he was unrivaled among all
heavenly and human beings. He thus attained
the command of all dharmas."
|Dharmakara's attainment of Buddhahood|
 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
The Buddha replied, "Since he attained Buddhahood, about ten kalpas
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 Mount Sumeru."
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."
 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 one Buddha-land.
"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."
|The number of the audience at the first assembly|
 The Buddha said to Ananda, "The number of shravakas at the
first teaching assembly of that Buddha was incalculable; so was the number
of the bodhisattvas. Even if an immeasurable and uncountable number of
humans multiplied by millions of kotis should all become like Mahamaudgalyayana
and together reckon their number during innumerable nayutas of kalpas,
or even until they attain Nirvana, they could still not know that number.
Let us suppose that there is a great ocean, infinitely deep and wide, and
that one takes a drop of water out of it with a hundredth part of a split
hair. How would you [270c] compare that drop of water with the rest of
Ananda replied, "When the drop of water
is compared with the great ocean, it is impossible
even for one skilled in astronomy or mathematics
to know the proportion, or for anyone to
describe it by any rhetorical or metaphorical
The Buddha said to Ananda, "Even if people like Mahamaudgalyayana
were to count for millions of kotis of kalpas, the number of the shravakas
and bodhisattvas at the first teaching assembly who could be counted would
be like a drop of water, and the number of sages yet to be counted would
be like the rest of the ocean."
 Again, seven-jewelled trees completely fill that land. There are
some made of gold, some of silver, and others made of beryl, crystal, coral,
ruby or agate. There are also trees made of two to seven kinds of jewels.
"There are gold trees with leaves, flowers and fruits of silver; silver
trees with leaves, flowers and fruits of gold; beryl trees with leaves,
flowers and fruits of crystal; crystal trees with leaves, flowers and fruits
of beryl; coral trees with leaves, flowers and fruits of ruby; ruby trees
with leaves, flowers and fruits of beryl; agate trees with leaves, flowers
and fruits made of various jewels.
"Again, there are jewelled trees with purple-gold roots, white-silver
trunks, beryl branches, crystal twigs, coral leaves, ruby flowers and agate
fruits. There are jewelled trees with white-silver roots, beryl trunks,
crystal branches, coral twigs, ruby leaves, agate flowers and purple-gold
fruits. There are jewelled trees with beryl roots, crystal trunks, coral
branches, ruby twigs, agate leaves, purple-gold flowers and white-silver
fruits. There are jewelled trees with crystal roots, coral trunks, ruby
branches, agate twigs, purple-gold leaves, white-silver flowers and beryl
fruits. There are jewelled trees with coral roots, ruby trunks, agate branches,
purple-gold twigs, white-silver leaves, beryl flowers and crystal fruits.
There are jewelled trees with ruby roots, agate trunks, purple-gold branches,
white-silver twigs, beryl leaves, crystal flowers and coral fruits. There
are jewelled trees with agate roots, purple-gold trunks, white-silver branches,
beryl twigs, crystal leaves, coral flowers and ruby fruits.
"These jewelled trees are in parallel
rows, their trunks are evenly spaced, their
branches are in level layers, their leaves
are symmetrical, their flowers harmonize,
and their fruits are well arranged. The brilliant
colors of these trees are so luxuriant that
it is impossible [271a] to see them all.
When a pure breeze wafts through them, exquisite
sounds of the pentatonic scales, such as
kung and shang, spontaneously
arise and make symphonic music.
 "Again, the Bodhi-tree of the Buddha Amitayus is four million
li in height and five thousand yojanas in circumference at its base.
Its branches spread two hundred thousand li in each of the four directions. It is a
natural cluster of all kinds of precious
stones and is adorned with the kings of jewels,
namely, moon-light mani gems and ocean-supporting-wheel
gems. Everywhere between its twigs hang jewelled
ornaments with a thousand million different
colors intermingling in various ways, and
their innumerable beams shine with the utmost
brilliance. The Bodhi-tree itself is covered
with nets of rare, excellent gems, and on
it appear all kinds of ornaments in accordance
with one's wishes.
"When a gentle breeze wafts through
its branches and leaves, innumerable exquisite
Dharma-sounds arise, which spread far and
wide, pervading all the other Buddha-lands
in the ten quarters. Those who hear the sounds
attain penetrating insight into dharmas and
dwell in the Stage of Non-retrogression.
Until they attain Buddhahood, their senses
of hearing will remain clear and sharp, and
they will not suffer from any pain or sickness.
Whether they hear the sounds of the Bodhi-tree,
see its colors, smell its perfumes, taste
its flavors, perceive its lights or conceive
of the Dharma in their minds, they all attain
profoundly penetrating insight into dharmas
and dwell in the Stage of Non-retrogression.
Until they attain Buddhahood, their six sense-organs
will remain sharp and clear, and they will
not suffer from any pain or disease.
"Ananda, when humans and devas of that
land see the Bodhi-tree, they will attain
three insights: first, insight into reality
through hearing the sacred sounds; second,
insight into reality by being in accord with
it; and third, the insight into the non-arising
of all dharmas. These benefits are all bestowed
by the majestic power of Amitayus, the power
of his primal vow, his perfectly fulfilled
vow, his clear and manifest vow, his firm
vow, and his accomplished vow."
The Buddha said to Ananda, "A king of this world possesses a hundred
thousand kinds of music. From the realm ruled by a wheel-turning monarch
up to the Sixth Heaven, the sounds of the music produced in each higher
realm are ten million kotis of times superior to those of a lower one.
The thousands of varieties of musical sound produced in the Sixth Heaven
are a thousand kotis of times inferior to one sound produced from the seven-jewelled
trees in the land of Amitayus. Again, in that land, there are thousands
of varieties of natural music, which are all, without exception, sounds
of the Dharma. They are clear and serene, full of depth and resonance,
delicate and harmonious; they are the most excellent of sounds in all the
worlds of the ten quarters.
 "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'."
|Bodily appearance of the inhabitants and the pleasures
 "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,
|Karmic rewards of a beggar and a king|
 The Buddha said to Ananda, "If a beggar in extreme poverty
sits by the side of a king, how can their appearances be compared?"
Ananda replied, "If such a man sits
by the side of a king, his emaciated, mean
and ragged appearance cannot be compared
with the king's. His appearance is a thousand
million kotis or even incalculable times
inferior to the king's. What is the reason
for this? The conditions of a beggar in extreme
poverty--being at the lowest social level,
with barely enough clothes to cover his body,
scarcely enough food to sustain his life,
with hunger and cold always tormenting him,
and having almost lost in human contact --
are all the result of his misdeeds in former
lives. In the past he did not cultivate roots
of virtue, but instead, accumulated riches
without giving anything to others. He became
more miserly as his wealth increased, desired
to obtain more, insatiably hankered after
further acquisitions and gave no thought
to good actions. Thus he piled up a mountain
of evil karma. When his life ended, all his
wealth was gone, and what he had accumulated
with great toil and worry was of no avail
to him; all passed in vain into the possession
of others. Having no stock of merit on which
to depend and no virtue on which to rely,
after death he fell into one of the evil
realms, where he suffered pain for a long
period. When his karmic retributions ended,
he was able to escape, but was reborn into
a lower class; being foolish, base and inferior,
he barely maintains the appearance of a human
"The king of a country is the most Honored of
all men. This is the reward for virtues accumulated
in former lives, in which he, with a compassionate
heart, gave generously to many, saved people
from suffering through kindness and benevolence,
performed good deeds with sincerity, and
never disputed with others. When that life
ended, he was rewarded by rebirth into a
higher state. Born in a heavenly realm, he
enjoyed bliss and happiness. His accumulated
virtues produced such a surplus of goodness
that, when he was reborn as a man in this
life, his birth was, deservedly, into a royal
family. Being naturally noble, his dignified
and majestic demeanor commands the respect
of his people, and superb clothes and sumptuous
food are prepared and served to him as he
pleases. All this is a reward for virtues
from his past lives."
|Comparison between heavens and the Pure Land|
 The Buddha said to Ananda, "What
you say is true. Even though a king is the
noblest of all men and has a regal countenance,
if he is compared with a wheel-turning monarch,
he will appear as base and inferior as a
beggar beside a king. Likewise, however excellent
and unrivaled the majestic appearance of
such a monarch may be, [272a] if he is compared
with the lord of the Heaven of the Thirty-three
Gods, he will also appear incomparably inferior,
even ten thousands kotis of times more so.
Again, if this heavenly lord is compared
with the lord of the Sixth Heaven, he will
appear a hundred thousand kotis of times
inferior. If the lord of the Sixth Heaven
is compared with a bodhisattva or a shravaka
dwelling in the land of Amitayus, his countenance
and appearance will be far from matching
those of the bodhisattva or shravaka, being
a thousand million kotis of times or even
incalculable times inferior."
|Pleasures in the Pure Land|
 The Buddha said to Ananda, "Devas
and humans in the land of Amitayus are each
provided with robes, food and drink, flowers,
perfume, ornaments, silken canopies and banners,
and are surrounded by exquisite sounds. Their
abodes, palaces, and pavilions are exactly
in accordance with the size of their bodies.
One, two or even innumerable jewels appear
before them, as soon as they wish. In addition,
beautiful jewelled fabric covers the ground
where all the devas and humans walk. In that
Buddha-land there are innumerable jewelled
nets, all adorned with skeins of gold thread,
pearls, and a hundred thousand kinds of rare
and marvelous treasures. All around the nets
hang jewelled bells of the utmost beauty,
which shine brilliantly. When a natural breeze
of virtue arises and gently blows, it is
moderate in temperature, neither cold nor
hot, refreshing and soft to the senses, and
moves neither too slowly nor too quickly.
When the breeze wafts over the nets and the
various jewelled trees, countless excellent
sounds of the Dharma are heard, and ten thousand
kinds of delicate fragrances of virtue are
diffused. If one smells those fragrances,
one's impurities and passions spontaneously
cease to arise. If touched by the breeze
itself, one enjoys the same pleasure as a
monk who has entered the Samadhi of Extinction.
|Flowers and innumerable rays of light emitted from them|
 "Again, as the breeze blows, flowers
are scattered throughout the Buddha-land;
they spontaneously divide into different
colors, not mixed together. They are soft
and pleasant to touch, glow brilliantly,
and diffuse rich fragrances. When one's foot
is placed on them, they sink down four inches,
but when the foot is lifted, they rise to
their former level. When the flowers have
served their purpose, the earth opens up
and they vanish, leaving the ground clean
and without trace of them. At the right moment,
six times a day, the breeze wafts, scattering
the flowers in this way. Moreover, lotus-flowers
of various jewels fill the land; each has
a hundred thousand kotis of petals with lights
of numerous colors -- blue lotuses glow with
a blue light, white ones with a white light,
and, likewise, dark blue, yellow, red, and
purple lotuses glow with lights of their
respective colors. The brilliance of these
lights is so magnificent that it outshines
the sun and the moon. Each flower emits thirty-six
hundred thousand kotis of rays of light,
each sending forth thirty-six hundred thousand
kotis of Buddhas. The bodies of these Buddhas
are purple-gold, and their physical characteristics
and marks are superb beyond compare. Each
Buddha emits a hundred thousand rays of light
and expounds the wonderful Dharma to beings
in the ten quarters, thus setting innumerable
beings on the right Path [272b] of the Buddha.
End of Part One of
The Sutra on the Buddha of Infinite Life
Return to Dharmakara-Index; Index