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Forty-eight vows

From Chinese Buddhist Encyclopedia
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forty-eight vows
四十八願 (Jpn shijuhachi-gan )

    The vows that Amida Buddha is said to have made while still engaged in bodhisattva practice as Bodhisattva Dharma Treasury. They are listed in the Buddha Infinite Life Sutra. According to the sutra, Bodhisattva Dharma Treasury wished to create a splendid Buddha land in which he would live after attaining Buddhahood. Under the guidance of the Buddha World Freedom King, he studied the characteristics of "the lands of two hundred ten million Buddhas" and then meditated for five kalpas, pondering the features that should dignify his own Buddha land.

After completing this meditation, Bodhisattva Dharma Treasury made forty-eight vows concerning the characteristics of his Buddha land, thus ensuring its sublimity. For example, the first vow states, "If, after I attain Buddhahood, there are any beings of hell, the realm of hungry spirits, or the realm of animals to be found in my land, then let me not attain supreme enlightenment." Among these vows, the eighteenth vow—that all who place their trust in Amida Buddha will obtain rebirth in the Pure Land, excepting only those who commit the five cardinal sins and those who slander the correct teaching—is the one most emphasized by the Pure Land school.

Source

www.sgilibrary.org