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Sukhāvatī or the Western Paradise refers to the western pure land of Amitābha in Mahayana Buddhism. Sukhāvatī translates to "Land of Bliss."

In other languages[edit]

There are a number of translations for Sukhāvatī. The Tibetan name is Dewachen "Blissful Land" (Wylie: bde ba can). 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 called 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 "Tây Phương Tịnh Độ" (Western Pure Land).

Nine levels of birth[edit]

Amitābha in Sukhavati. Dunhuang, Mogao Caves, China, Tang Dynasty.

In the final part of the Amitāyurdhyāna Sūtra, Gautama Buddha discusses the nine levels into which those born into the pure land are categorized.[1]

Buddhist Funerals[edit]

In Tibetan Buddhism, the world of Sukhavati is invoked during Buddhist funerals as a favorable destination for the deceased.[2] 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:

"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."


  1. ^ Ceremony of Sukhavati
  2. ^ Ceremony of Sukhavati

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]