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Sukhāvatī, or the Western Paradise, refers to the western pure land of Amitābha in Mahayana Buddhism. The Sanskrit sukhavatī (sukhāvatī) is the feminine form of sukhāvat ("full of joy; blissful"),[1][2] from sukha ("delight, joy") and -vat ("full of").[3]

In other languages[edit]

There are a number of translations for Sukhāvatī. The Tibetan name is Dewachen (Wylie: bde ba can, "Blissful Land"). In Chinese, it is called Jílè (極樂, "Ultimate Bliss"), Ānlè (安樂, "Peaceful Bliss"), or Xītiān (西天, "Western Heaven"). In Japanese, it is pronounced Gokuraku (極楽, "Ultimate Bliss") or Anraku (安楽, "Peaceful Bliss"). In Korean, it is called the "Western Pure Land of Ultimate Bliss" (Hangul서방극락정토; hanja西方極楽浄土; RRSeobang Geungnak Jeongto) or simply Jeongto "Pure Land" (Hangul정토; hanja浄土). In Vietnamese, it is called Cực lạc (Hán Nôm: 極樂 "Ultimate Bliss") or Tây Phương Tịnh Độ (西方浄土 "Western Pure Land").

Nine levels of birth[edit]

Amitābha in Sukhavati (from the Mogao Caves, Dunhuang, Tang China)

In the final part of the Amitāyurdhyāna Sūtra, Gautama Buddha discusses the nine levels into which those born into the pure land are categorized.[4]

Buddhist funerals[edit]

In Tibetan Buddhism, the world of Sukhavati is invoked during Buddhist funerals as a favorable destination for the deceased.[4] Such rituals are often accompanied with the tantric technique of phowa ("transference of consciousness") to the pure land of Amitābha, performed by a lama on the behalf of the departed. Halkias (2013:148) explains that "Sukhavati features in funeral rites and scriptures dedicated to the ritual care of the dead ('das-mchod). The structure and performance of Tibetan death ceremonies varies according to a set sequence of events...For the duration of these rites, the consciousness of the dead is coaxed into increasing levels of clarity until the time for the ritual transference to Sukhavati."

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "sukhavati". Merriam-Webster. Sanskrit sukhavatī, sukhāvatī, from feminine of sukhavat, sukhāvat blissful, from sukha bliss, happiness 
  2. ^ Monier-Williams Sanskrit-English Dictionary. 1899. sukhavatī, f. N. of the heaven of Buddha Amitābha (see under sukhā-vat [...] possessing ease or comfort, full of joy or pleasure 
  3. ^ "vat". Dictionary for Spoken Sanskrit. 
  4. ^ a b Ceremony of Sukhavati

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]