Interpreting Buddha of Immeasurable Life – Amitabha Buddha
Amitabha Buddha is also known as celestial buddha who described in the scriptures of the Mahayana school of Buddhism. Amitabha is the principal buddha in the Pure Land sect, a branch of Buddhism practiced mainly in East Asia. According to these Amitabha’s scriptures, Amitabha possesses infinite merits resulting from good deeds over countless past lives as a bodhisattva named Dharmakara.
Table of Contents
The Viability of Amitabha buddha
In this section, we are going to learn about the viability of Amitabha buddha, after the sort etymological description of the word Amitabha budda itself, Finally, we will learn about the doctrine of Amitabha buddha.
Etymology of Amitabha Buddha
Amitabha Buddha is known as o Pag me, sang Gye in Tibet. And the meaning of Amitabha Buddha is the Enlightened One of Immeasurable Light in English. Amitabha Buddha is also known as A-di-da Phat in Vietnam.
In Korea, Amitabha buddha is known as Amit’ a Bul. And in Japan, he is known as Amida Butsu.
The doctrine of the Amithaba Buddha
According to this Larger Sutra of Amitabha buddha of Immeasurable Life, Amitabha buddha was, in very ancient times and was possibly in another realm, and a monk named Dharmakara. In some versions of the sutra, Dharmakara is a king who is also known as a former king who, having come into contact with the Buddhist teachings through the buddha Lokesvararaja, renounced his throne. He then resolved to become a buddha and so to come into possession of a buddhakṣetra possessed of many perfections.
These resolutions were expressed in his forty-eight vows, which set out the type of buddha-field Dharmakara aspired to create, the conditions under which beings might be born into that world, and what kind of beings they would be when reborn there. In the versions of the sutra widely known in China, Vietnam, Korea, and Japan, Dharmakara’s eighteenth vow was that any being in any universe desiring to be born into Amitabha’s Pure Land and calling upon his name even as few as ten times will be guaranteed rebirth there.
His nineteenth vow promises that he, together with his bodhisattvas and other blessed Buddhists, will appear before those who call upon him at the moment of death. This openness and acceptance of all kinds of people have made the Pure Land belief one of the major influences in Mahayana Buddhism. Pure Land Buddhism seems to have first become popular in northwest India, Pakistan, and Afghanistan, from where it spread to Central Asia and China, and from China to Vietnam, Korea, and Japan.
The sutra goes on to explain that Amitabha buddha, after accumulating great merit over countless lives, finally achieved Buddhahood and is still alive in his land of Sukhavati, whose many virtues and joys are described. The basic doctrines concerning Amitabha buddha and his vows are found in three canonical Mahayana.
Earlier, we learn about the viability of Amitabha Buddha. Now, we are going to learn about buddha Amitabha in Vajrayana Buddhism.
Buddha Amitabha in Vajrayana Buddhism
We are going to learn about the Buddha Amitabha in Vajrayana Buddhism.
Buddha Amitabha is also known in Tibet, Mongolia, and other regions where Tibetan Buddhism is practiced. In the Highest Yoga Tantra class of the Tibetan, Vajrayana Amitabha is considered one of the Five Dhyani Buddhas who is associated with the western direction and the skandha of saṃjna, the aggregate of distinguishing and the deep awareness of individualities. His consort is Pandava, his realm is called either Sukhavati or Dewachen.
As his two main disciples, similar to the Buddha Shakyamuni had two, are seen the Bodhisattvas Vajrapani and Avalokiteshvara, the former to his left and the latter to his right. In Tibetan Buddhism, there exists a number of famous prayers for taking rebirth in Sukhavati. The Tibetan Panchen Lamas and Shamarpas are considered to be incarnations of Amitabha Buddha.
He is also frequently invoked in Tibet either as Buddha Amithaba – especially in the Powa practices or as Amitāyus – especially in practices relating to longevity and preventing an untimely death. Shingon, like Tibetan Buddhism, also uses special devotional mantras for Amitabha, though the mantras used to differ. Amitabha is also one of the Buddhas featured in the Womb Realm Mandala used in Shingon practices and sits to the west, which is where the Pure Land of Amitabha is said to dwell.
Earlier, we learn about the viability of Amitabha Buddha and buddha Amitabha in Vajrayana Buddhism. Now, we are going to learn about the Mantras of Amitabha Buddha.
Mantras of Amitabha Buddha
We are going to learn about the Mantras od Amitabha buddha.
Amitabha Buddha is the center of a number of mantras in Buddhist Vajrayana practices. The Japanese Shingon Buddhist mantra is On amirite Teizei kara un which represents the underlying Indic form oṃ amṛta-Teje Hara hūṃ. In addition to using the mantras listed above, many Buddhist schools invoke Amitabha’s name in a practice known as Nianfo in Chinese and Nembutsu in Japanese.
Earlier, we learn about the viability of Amitabha Buddha, buddha Amitabha in Vajrayana Buddhism, and the Mantras of Amitabha Buddha. Now we are going to learn about Archeological Origins of Amitabha buddha.
We are going to learn about the archeological origins of Amitabha buddha.
Tang Dynasty Amitabha sculpture Hidden Stream Temple Cave, Longmen Grottoes, China The first known epigraphic evidence for Amitabha is the bottom part of a statue found in Govindnagar, Pakistan and now located at the Mathura Museum.
The first known sutra mentioning in Amitabha buddha is the translation into Chinese of the Pratyutpanna Sutra by the Kuṣaṇa a monk Lokakṣema around 180 CE. This work is said to be at the origin of Pure Land practice in China.
Earlier, we learn about the viability of Amitabha Buddha, buddha Amitabha in Vajrayana Buddhism, and the Mantras of Amitabha Buddha. And finally, we learn about the Archeological Origins of Amitabha buddha.