Amitabha Sutra

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Japanese sutra book open to the Amitābha 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 is a Mahayana sutra and is one of the primary sutras recited in Pure Land Buddhism.

History[edit]

The Amitābha Sūtra was translated from Sanskrit into Classical Chinese by Tripiṭaka master Kumārajīva in 402, but may have existed in India as early as the year 100 in a Prakrit.[1]

Content[edit]

The bulk of the Amitābha Sūtra, considerably shorter than other Pure Land sutras, consists of a discourse which Gautama Buddha gave at Jetavana in Śrāvastī to his disciple Śāriputra. The talk concerned the wondrous adornments that await the righteous in the western pure land of Sukhāvatī 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 Chan Buddhism, the sutra is often recited as part of the evening service (Chinese: 晚課; pinyin: wǎnkè), and is also recited as practice for practitioners. The Jōdo shū and Jōdo Shinshū also recite this sutra when necessary. It is frequently recited at Chinese, Japanese and Vietnamese Buddhist funeral services in the hope that the merit generated by reciting the sutra 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 preceded by the Pure Land Rebirth Dhāraṇī:

namo amitābhāya tathāgatāya tadyathā
amṛtabhave amṛtasaṃbhave
amṛtavikrānte amṛtavikrāntagāmini
gagana kīrtīchare svāhā

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Thích 2003, pp. 11-12.

Bibliography[edit]

External links[edit]