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The Amitābha Sūtra (traditional Chinese: 阿彌陀經; pinyin: Āmítuó Jīng; Japanese: 阿弥陀経; Vietnamese: A di đà kinh; Sanskrit, अमिताभ सूत्र) is a popular colloquial name for the Shorter Sukhāvatīvyūha Sūtra. The Amitābha Sūtra is a Mahāyāna Buddhist text, and it is one of the primary sūtras recited and upheld in the Pure Land Buddhist schools.
The bulk of the Amitābha Sūtra, considerably shorter than other Pure Land sūtras, consists of a discourse which the Buddha gave at Jeta Grove in Śrāvastī to his disciple Śāriputra. The talk concerned the wondrous adornments that await the righteous in the western pure land of Sukhāvatī (Chinese: 西方極樂國), as well as the beings that reside there, including the buddha Amitābha. The text also describes what one must do to be reborn there.
In Buddhist traditions
In Pure Land and Chán Buddhism, the sūtra is often recited as part of the evening service (Chinese: 晚課; pinyin: wǎn kè), and is also recited as practice for practitioners. The Jōdoshū and Jōdo Shinshū schools also recite this sūtra when necessary. It is frequently recited at Chinese, Japanese and Vietnamese Buddhist funeral services, in the hope that the merit generated by reciting the sūtra may be transmitted to the departed.
A common format for the recitation of the Amitābha Sūtra (in the Chinese tradition) may include some or all of the following:
- Praise for the Incense Offering (盧香讚)
- Praise to the Lotus Pond (蓮池讚)
- The Amitābha Sūtra (阿彌陀經)
- Pure Land Rebirth Dhāraṇī (往生咒).
- Amitābha Gāthā (彌陀偈)
- Recitation of Amitābha Buddha's Name (佛號)
- Transfer of Merit (迴向)
In the Taishō Tripiṭaka, the Amitābha Sūtra is proceeded by the Pure Land Rebirth Dhāraṇī:
- namo amitābhāya tathāgatāya tadyathā
- amṛtabhave amṛtasaṃbhave
- amṛtavikrānte amṛtavikrāntagāmini
- gagana kīrtīchare svāhā
- Inagaki Hisao, trans., Stewart, Harold (2003). The Three Pure Land Sutras, 2nd ed., Berkeley, Numata Center for Buddhist Translation and Research. ISBN 1-886439-18-4
- Müller, F. Max, trans (1894). Buddhist Mahâyâna texts Vol.2, Oxford: Clarendon Press
- Hanh, Thich Nhat (2003). Finding our True Home: Living in the Pure Land Here And Now. Parallax Press. pp. 11 and 12. ISBN 1-888375-34-5.
- Hua, Hsuan (2002). A General Explanation of The Buddha Speaks of Amitabha Sutra, Burlingame, Ca: Buddhist Text Translation Society. ISBN 0881394319
|Wikisource has original text related to this article:|
- The Shorter Sukhāvatīvyūha Sūtra. Lapis Lazuli Texts.
- The Smaller Sukhavativyuha Sutra, translated by Nishu Utsuki
- English translation of the Amitabha Sutra
- Chinese / English bilingual version of the Amitabha Sutra