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Amitabha Buddha | Amitayus

The great savior Buddha is known as Amitabha (Sanskrit: “Infinite Light”), also known as Amitayus (“Infinite Life”), Japanese Amida, and Chinese Emituo Fo in Mahayana Buddhism, particularly in the so-called Pure Land sects. According to the Sukhavati-vyuha-sutras, which serve as the foundational texts for the Pure Land sects, a monk by the name of Dharmakara took several vows, the 18th of which stated that upon his attaining Buddhahood, all who had faith in him and invoked his name would be reborn in his paradise and would live there in bliss until they attained enlightenment. Dharmakara ruled as the Buddha Amitabha in the Western Paradise, also known as Sukhavati, the Pure Land, after fulfilling his vows.

In 650 CE, Amitabha’s devotion emerged in China. From there, it went to Japan, where it resulted in the establishment of the Pure Land school and the Real Pure Land school, both of which still have significant followings today. The late Heian era raig paintings of Japan depict Amitabha’s Pure Land and Amitabha descending to welcome the recently deceased in a beautiful way (897–1185).

In Tibet and Nepal, Amitabha is revered as one of the five “self-born” buddhas (dhyani-buddhas) who have existed eternally. Amitabha was never as well-known as a savior figure there as he was in East Asia. In accordance with this theory, he appeared as both the bodhisattva (“buddha-to-be”) Avalokiteshvara and the historical Buddha Gotama. His color is red, his posture is one of meditation (dhyana-mudra), his symbol is a begging bowl, his mount is a peacock, his consort is Pandara, his family is Raga, his element is water, his sacred sound is “ba” or “ah,” his skandha (element of existence) is taste, his sense organ is the tongue, and his place in the body is the mouth.

Amitabha is referred to as Amitayus, or “Infinite Life,” since he bestows a long life. While the two names are frequently used interchangeably in China and Japan, the two forms are never confused in Tibet, where Amitayus is revered in a specific rite in order to live a long life. He is shown holding the ambrosia vase from which the jewels of eternal life spill while sporting ornaments, a crown, and other accessories.

Amitabha Buddha, also known as Amitayus or Amituofo, is a central figure in Mahayana Buddhism. He is considered one of the Five Dhyani Buddhas, along with Akshobhya, Ratnasambhava, Amoghasiddhi, and Vairochana. Amitabha is revered as the Buddha of Infinite Light and Infinite Life. He is believed to have created the Pure Land, a realm of perfect bliss and enlightenment, where beings can be reborn through the power of his grace and merit. This
Pure Land is known as Sukhavati or Dewachen.

The Pure Land tradition of Buddhism is particularly popular in China, Japan, and Korea, where it is known as Jodo, Jodo Shinshu, and Cheontae, respectively. Followers of the Pure Land tradition believe that by chanting Amitabha’s name, they can generate the necessary merit to be reborn in his Pure Land and attain enlightenment.

The name Amitabha means “Infinite Light,” and his image is often depicted with a halo of radiant light surrounding his head. He is also commonly depicted holding a vase, representing the nectar of immortality, and a lotus flower, symbolizing the purity of the Buddha’s teachings. Amitabha’s importance in Mahayana Buddhism is reflected in the fact that he is the focus of numerous sutras and texts, including the Amitabha Sutra and the Infinite Life Sutra. These texts describe the Pure Land in detail, including its geography, inhabitants, and the benefits of being reborn there.

In addition to his role as the Buddha of Infinite Light and Infinite Life, Amitabha is also regarded as a bodhisattva, a being who has chosen to postpone their own enlightenment in order to help others attain liberation from suffering. As such, he is often depicted surrounded by other bodhisattvas, including Avalokiteshvara, the bodhisattva of compassion, and Mahasthamaprapta, the bodhisattva of wisdom.

Overall, Amitabha Buddha is an important figure in Mahayana Buddhism, particularly in the Pure Land tradition. His teachings and his Pure Land offer a path to liberation and enlightenment for those who seek it.


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