Amitabha Sutra

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Buddhist sūtra book open to the Japanese version of Sukhāvatīvyūha Sūtra

The Amitābha Sūtra (traditional Chinese: 阿彌陀經; pinyin: Āmítuó Jīng; Japanese: 阿弥陀経; Vietnamese: A di đà kinh) is a popular colloquial name for the Shorter Sukhāvatīvyūha Sūtra. The Amitābha Sūtra[1][2] is a Mahāyāna Buddhist text, and it is one of the primary sūtras recited and upheld in the Pure Land Buddhist schools.

History[edit]

The Amitābha Sūtra was translated from Sanskrit into Chinese by Tripiṭaka Master Kumārajīva in 402 CE, but may have existed in India as early as year 100 CE, composed in a Prakrit language.[3]

Content[edit]

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[edit]

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 and Japanese 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)

Mantras[edit]

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

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ 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
  2. ^ Müller, F. Max, trans (1894). Buddhist Mahâyâna texts Vol.2, Oxford: Clarendon Press
  3. ^ 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. 

Bibliography[edit]

External links[edit]