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Buddha Expounding Amitabha Sutra

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Thus have I heard. Once Buddha was in the garden of the alms giving elder Anathapindaka that contains Jeta's grove, located in the country of Sravasti. With Him there were one thousand two hundred fifty great monks; all well known great Arhats. They were the great disciples such as the elder Sariputra, the great Maudgalyayana, the great Kasyapa, the great Katyayana, the great Kausthila, Revata, Suddhipanthaka, Nanda, Ananda, Rahula, Gavampati, Pindola-bharadvaja, Kalodayin, the great Kapphina, Vakkula and Aniruddha. There were also the great Bodhisattvas such as the Dharma prince Manjusri, the Bodhisattva Ajita, the Bodhisattva Gandhahastin and the Bodhisattva Constant-diligence. Also present were Sakra, the King of sky gods, and countless other beings of the various heavens.

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Then Buddha told the Elder Sariputra:

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To the West ten thousand billion Buddha-lands from here, there is a world named Utmost Joy. There is a Buddha, called Amitabha, in that land. He is preaching right now. Sariputra, why is that land named Utmost Joy? The sentient beings of that land are free from all kinds of suffering, yet enjoy variegated pleasures, thus it is named Utmost Joy. Furthermore, Sariputra, the Utmost Joy Land is enclosed by seven rows of railings, seven layers of nets and seven rows of trees, all made of four kinds of jewels, hence, that land is named Utmost Joy.

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Furthermore, Sariputra, in the Utmost Joy Land there are ponds made of seven kinds of jewels and fully filled with water with eight kinds of merits, and their bottoms are covered with gold sand. The stairways on the four sides are made of gold, silver, beryl and crystal, and lead to towers adorned with gold, silver, beryl, crystal, diamonds, red pearls, and coral. The lotus flowers in these ponds are as large as the wheel of a chariot. They are blue and emitting blue light; yellow, emitting yellow light; red, emitting red light; or white, emitting white light. They are sublime, wonderful, fragrant and pure. Sariputra, the Utmost Joy Land is complete in such meritorious grandeur. Again, Sariputra, the land of that Buddha is constantly filled with heavenly music and the ground is made of gold. Three times daily and three times nightly there falls from the sky a rain of heavenly Mandarava flowers. Regularly, in the early morning, the sentient beings of that land carry all sorts of wondrous flowers in their skirts to make offerings to the ten thousand billion Buddhas of other places. By breakfast time they have returned to their own land to have a meal followed by a meditative walk. Sariputra, the Utmost Joy Land is complete in such meritorious grandeur. Furthermore, Sariputra, in that land there are all sorts of wonderful birds of variegated colors: white cranes, peacocks, parrots, saris, Kalavinkas and shared-fate birds. All these birds sing harmonious and sublime melodies three times daily and three times nightly. These melodies propagate the teachings on the Five Roots, the Five Forces, the Seven Bodhi branches and the Eightfold Right Path. Beings of that land, upon hearing such melodies, all turn their thoughts toward the Buddha, the Dharma and the Sangha. Sariputra, you should not say that these birds are born as a result of their sinful karma. Why is it so? There are no three bad realms in the land of that Buddha. Sariputra, in the land of that Buddha there is not even the name of a bad realm, not to mention the reality of such. All these birds are miraculously produced by Amitabha Buddha in order to propagate the Dharma sounds. Sariputra, in the land of that Buddha breezes wave the rows of jeweled trees and the jeweled nets, thereby, producing sublime and wondrous sounds. This is analogous to hundreds and thousands of harmonious kinds of music playing simultaneously. Whoever hears such sounds naturally develops a mind that fixes upon the Buddha, the Dharma and the Sangha. Sariputra, the land of that Buddha is complete in such meritorious grandeur.

Sariputra, what do you think, why is that Buddha called Amitabha? Sariputra, the brightness of that Buddha's light is immeasurable, it shines upon lands in the ten Directions without any hindrance, hence, He is called Amitabha—infinite light. Further, Sariputra, the life span of that Buddha or anyone of His subjects is countlessly and boundlessly innumerable kalpas, thus, He is named Amitabha—infinite life. Sariputra, ever since Amitabha Buddha awoke to Full Enlightenment it has been ten kalpas. Furthermore, Sariputra, that Buddha has innumerable boundless sravaka disciples, all of whom are Arhats, and their number is beyond the knowledge of arithmetic. The number of Bodhisattvas in that land is likewise innumerable. Sariputra, the land of that Buddha is complete in such meritorious grandeur. Further, Sariputra, sentient beings who are born in the Utmost Joy Land will not regress on the path toward Enlightenment. Many among them are candidates for Buddhahood and will be born as humans just once more in order to achieve Buddhahood. Their number is so great that it is beyond the knowledge of arithmetic and can only be described as countlessly and boundlessly innumerable.

Sariputra, sentient beings who hear the above should vow to be born in that land. Why is it so? Because then one may enjoy the company of these aforementioned most benevolent people. Sariputra, it is impossible to be born in that land with only a few good dispositions, meritorious and moral causes and conditions. Sariputra, if there is a good man or woman who hears about Amitabha Buddha and keeps chanting His holy name for one day, two days, three days, four days, five days, six days or seven days with one mind free from distractions, then such a person, upon the end of his life, will see Amitabha Buddha and His holy assembly appear before him. At the time of death this person's mind will not be perturbed and will take rebirth in the Utmost Joy Land of Amitabha Buddha. Sariputra, I see such advantage, hence I say such words. Whosoever hears this should develop the vow to be born in that Land.

Sariputra, just as now I am praising the advantage of the inconceivable merits of Amitabha Buddha, in the Eastern Universe there are Buddhas such as Immovability Buddha, Meru Form Buddha, Great Meru Buddha, Meru Light Buddha, Wondrous Voice Buddha, equal in number to the sands of the river Ganges. Each Buddha in his own land displays his superior power of speech and spreads the following honest words throughout his domain of one billion world systems: “You sentient beings should have faith in this sutra that praises the inconceivable merits and is favored by all Buddhas.”

Sariputra, in the Southern Universe there are Buddhas such as Sun Moon Lamp Buddha, Famous Light Buddha, Great Flaming Shoulders Buddha, Meru Lamp Buddha, Immeasurable Diligence Buddha, equal in number to the sands of the river Ganges. Each Buddha in his own land displays his superior power of speech and spreads the following honest words throughout his domain of one billion world systems: “You sentient beings should have faith in this sutra that praises the inconceivable merits and is favored by all Buddhas.”

Sariputra, in the Western Universe there are Buddhas such as Immeasurable Life Span Buddha, Immeasurable Form Buddha, Immeasurable Pennant Buddha,Great Light Buddha, Great Brightness Buddha, Precious Form Buddha, Pure Light Buddha, equal in number to the sands of the river Ganges. Each Buddha in his own land displays his superior power of speech and spreads the following honest words throughout his domain of one billion world systems: “You sentient beings should have faith in this sutra that praises the inconceivable merits and is favored by all Buddhas.”

Sariputra, in the Northern Universe there are Buddhas such as Flaming Shoulders Buddha, Most Superior Voice Buddha, Impeccable Buddha, Rising Sun Buddha, Net of Brightness Buddha, equal in number to the sands of the river Ganges. Each Buddha in his own land displays his superior power of speech and spreads the following honest words throughout his domain of one billion world systems: “You sentient beings should have faith in this sutra that praises the inconceivable merits and is favored by all Buddhas.”

Sariputra, in the Nadiral Universe there are Buddhas such as Lion Buddha, Famous Buddha, Fame Light Buddha, Dharma Buddha, Dharma Pennant Buddha, Dharma Holding Buddha, equal in number to the sands of the river Ganges. Each Buddha in his own land displays his superior power of speech and spreads the following honest words throughout his domain of one billion world systems: “You sentient beings should have faith in this sutra that praises the inconceivable merits and is favored by all Buddhas.”

Sariputra, in the Zenithal Universe there are Buddhas such as Pure Voice Buddha, King of Constellations Buddha, Supreme Incense Buddha, Fragrance Light Buddha, Great Flaming Shoulders Buddha, Adorned with Variegated Jewel Ornaments Buddha, King Teak Tree Buddha, Jewel Flower Merits Buddha, Seeing All Truths Buddha, Like Meru Mountain Buddha, equal in number to the sands of the river Ganges. Each Buddha in his own land displays his superior power of speech and spreads the following honest words throughout his domain of one billion world systems: “You sentient beings should have faith in this sutra that praises the inconceivable merits and is favored by all Buddhas.”

Sariputra, what do you think? Why is this sutra named the Favor of All Buddhas Sutra? Sariputra, if there are good men or women who hear, accept and uphold this sutra and hear the names of these Buddhas, all these good men or women will be favored by all Buddhas and will never regress on the path toward the Unsurpassable Right and Full Enlightenment. Therefore, Sariputra, all of you should believe and accept these words of mine and those of the Buddhas.

Sariputra, those people who have vowed, vow now, or will vow to be born in the land of Amitabha Buddha will never regress on the path toward the Unsurpassable Right and Full Enlightenment. They have been born, are born or will be born in that land. Hence, Sariputra, all good men or women, if they have faith, should vow to be born in that land.

Sariputra, just as I am now praising the inconceivable merits of those Buddhas, likewise they are praising my inconceivable merits by uttering the following: “Sakyamuni Buddha is capable of rare and most difficult accomplishments. He is able to achieve the Unsurpassable Right and Full Enlightenment in the land of Toleration during the corrupt age of Five Obscurities—those of the era, the views, the sorrows, the sentient beings and the lives, and to preach to the sentient beings such teachings that are difficult to believe by all worldlings.” Sariputra, you should realize that it is extremely difficult for me to accomplish the heavy task of achieving the Unsurpassable Right and Full Enlightenment in the corrupt age of Five Obscurities and to preach to all worldlings such unbelievable teachings.

Thus Buddha concluded the preaching of this sutra. Sariputra, the monks and the worldlingsheavenly beings, humans, asuras, etc., all rejoiced in hearing the teaching of Buddha, and they accepted the teaching with great faith. They all prostrated to Buddha and then departed.

Source

from the Chinese translation by Kumarajiva
translated into English by Yutang Lin
yogichen.org