Amitayus Buddha (Sambhogakaya) Thangka is handpainted on cotton canvas by Master Thangka artist from Nepal.
Amitabha and Amitayus are the same person or entity. In the Mahayana Tradition of Buddhism, a buddha is described as having three bodies: a form body (nirmanakaya), an apparitional body (sambhogakaya), and an ultimate truth body (dharmakaya).
The first, Amitabha is the form body, and the second, Amitayus, is the apparitional body. The ultimate truth body is without the appearance and is not visually represented in painting or sculptural art.
The Buddha of Boundless Life’ — a sambhogakaya aspect of Amitabha, particularly associated with longevity. He is mostly depicted sitting and holding in his hands a vessel containing the nectar of immortality. Amitayus is also one of the three deities of long life.
The iconography of Amitayus Buddha
The important iconographic difference between the two, Amitabha and Amitayus, is that Amitabha has Buddha Appearance and Amitayus has Bodhisattva Appearance. Amitabha holds a black begging bowl in the lap with both hands. Amitayus holds a long-life vase in the lap with both hands.
Amitayus Buddha referred to in the Mahayana sutra literature is also a popular meditational deity in Vajrayana Buddhism.
Amitayus also belongs to the set known as the Three Long-life Deities: Amitayus, White Tara, and Ushnishavijaya. There are Tantric mandala practices such as the Nine Deity Mandala of Amitayus along with forms of the deity where he is embracing a consort. Rechungpa, the famous student of Milarepa, received a special practice tradition of Buddha Amitayus from Tipu Pandita while on a trip to India.
Upon his return, he passed the initiation and teachings to Milarepa. This is known as the Rechung Tradition. As a meditational practice in the lower Tantras Amitayus primarily serves the function of a Long-life deity.
The mantra of Amitayus Buddha
Om Amarani Jiwantiye Soha
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