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THREE PURE LAND SUTRA (TINH DO TAM KINH)
UNIVERSITY OF DELHI
UNIVERSITY OF DELHI
UNIVERSITY OF DELHI
THREE PURE LAND SUTRA (TINH DO TAM KINH)
The Sūtra on the
Translated from the Chinese Version of Kumarajiva
by Nishu Utsuki
The Educational Department of the West Hongwanji
Kyoto, Japan: 1924
This electronic version may be copied and distributed free and without permission provided that it is not altered in any way.
1. Thus have I heard: Once the Buddha was dwelling in the Anathapindada Garden of Jetavana in the country of Shravasti together with a large company of Bhikshus of twelve hundred and fifty members. They were all great Arhats, well known among people, (to wit): Shariputra the elder, Mahamaudgalyayana, Mahakashyapa, Mahakatyayana, Mahakaushthila, Revata, Shuddhipanthaka, Nanda, Ananda, Rahula, Gavampati, Pindola-Bharadvaja, Kalodayin, Mahakapphina, Vakkula, Aniruddha, etc., all great Shravakas [lit. disciples]; and with many Bodhisattva-Mahasattvas, (such as), Manjushri, Prince of the Lord of Truth, Bodhisattva Ajita, Bodhisattva Gandhahastin, Bodhisattva Nityodyukta, etc., all great Bodhisattvas; and also with a large company of innumerable devas, (such as) Shakrodevanam-Indra, etc.
2. Then the Buddha addressed Shariputra, the elder, and said, 'Beyond a hundred thousand kotis of Buddha-lands westwards from here, there is a world named Sukhavati. In that world there is a Buddha, Amita(-ayus) by name, now dwelling and preaching the law. Shariputra, why is that country named Sukhavati? The living beings in that country have no pains, but receive pleasures only. Therefore, it is called Sukhavati.
3. 'Again, Shariputra, in the land Sukhavati (there are) seven rows of balustrades, seven rows of fine nets, and seven rows of arrayed trees; they are all of four gems and surround and enclose (the land). For this reason the land is called Sukhavati.
4, 'Again, Shariputra, in the land Sukhavati there are lakes of the seven gems, in which is filled water with the eight meritorious qualities. The lake-bases are strewn with golden sand, and the stairs of the four sides are made of gold, silver, beryl, and crystal. On land there are stories and galleries adorned with gold, silver, beryl, crystal, white coral, red pearl and diamond [lit. agate]. The lotus-flowers in the lakes, large as chariot wheels, are blue-colored with blue splendor, yellow-colored with yellow splendor, red-colored with red splendor, white-colored with white splendor, and (they are all) the most exquisite and purely fragrant. Shariputra, the land Sukhavati is arrayed with such good qualities and adornments.
5. 'Again, Shariputra, in that Buddha-land there are heavenly musical instruments always played on; gold is spread on the ground; and six times every day and night it showers Mandarava blossoms. Usually in the serene morning lit. dawn] all of those who live in that land fill their plates with those wonderful blossoms, and (go to) make offering to a hundred thousand kotis of Buddhas of other regions; and at the time of the meal they come back to their own country, and take their meal and have a walk. Shariputra, the Sukhavati land is arrayed with such good qualities and adornments.
6. 'And again, Shariputra, in that country there are always various wonderful birds of different colors, -- swan, peacock, parrot, Chari, Kalavinka and the bird of double-heads [lit. double-lives]. Six times every day and night all those birds sing in melodious tune, and that tune proclaims the Five Virtues [lit. organs], the Five powers, the Seven Bodhi-paths, the Eight Noble Truths, and other laws of the kind. The living beings in that land, having heard that singing, all invoke the Buddha, invoke the Dharma, and invoke the Sangha. Shariputra, you should not think that these birds are in fact born as punishment for sin. What is the reason? (Because), in that Buddha-land there exist not the Three Evil Realms. Shariputra, in that Buddha-land there are not (to be heard) even the names of the Three Evil Realms. How could there be the realms themselves! All those birds are what Buddha Amitayus miraculously created with the desire to let them spread the voice of the Law. Shariputra, (when) in that Buddha-land a gentle breeze happens to blow, the precious trees in rows and the begemmed nets emit a delicate enrapturing tune, and it is just as if a hundred thousand musical instruments played at the same time. Everybody who hears that music naturally conceives the thought to invoke the Buddha, to invoke the Dharma, and to invoke the Sangha. Shariputra, that Buddha-land is arrayed with such good qualities and adornments.
7. 'Shariputra, what do you think in your mind, for what reason that Buddha is called Amita(-abha)? Shariputra, the light of that Buddha is boundless and shining without impediments all over the countries of the ten quarters. Therefore he is called Amita(-abha). Again, Shariputra, the life of that Buddha and of his people is endless and boundless in Asamkhya-kalpas, so he is named Amita(-ayus). Shariputra, since Buddha Amitayus attained Buddhahood, (it has passed) now ten Kalpas. Again, Shariputra, that Buddha has numerous Shravakas or disciples, who are all Arhats and whose number cannot be known by (ordinary) calculation. (The number of) Bodhisattvas (cannot be known) also. Shariputra, that Buddha-land is arrayed with such good qualities and adornments.
8. 'Again, Shariputra, the beings born in the land Sukhavati are all Avinivartaniya. Among them is a multitude of beings bound to one birth only; and their number, being extremely large, cannot be expressed by (ordinary) calculation. Only can it be mentioned in boundless Asamkhya-kalpas. Shariputra, the sentient beings who hear (this account) ought to put up their prayer that they may be born into that country; for they will be able to be in the same place together with those noble personages. Shariputra, by means of small good works [lit. roots] or virtues no one can be born in that country.
9. 'Shariputra, if there be a good man or a good woman, who, on hearing of Buddha Amitayus, keeps his name (in mind) with thoughts undisturbed for one day, two days, three days, four days, five days, six days, or seven days, that person, when about to die, (will see) Amitayus Buddha accompanied by his holy host appear before him; and immediately after his death, he with his mind undisturbed can be born into the Sukhavati land of Buddha Amitayus. Shariputra, as I witness this benefit, I say these words; Every being who listens to this preaching ought to offer up prayer with the desire to be born into that country.
10. 'Shariputra, as I now glorify the inconceivable excellences of Amitayus Buddha, there are also in the Eastern quarters Buddha Akshobhya, Buddha Merudhvaja, Buddha Mahameru, Buddha Meruprabhasa, Buddha Manjughosha, and Buddhas as many as the sands of the River Ganga, each of whom, in his own country stretching out his long broad tongue that covers three thousand greater worlds completely, proclaims these truthful words; All you sentient beings believe in this Sutra, which is approved and protected by all the Buddhas, and in which are glorified the inconceivable excellences (of Buddha Amitayus).
11. 'Shariputra, in the Southern worlds there are Buddha Candrasuryapradipa, Buddha Yacahprabha, Buddha Maharciskandha, Buddha Merupradipa, Buddha Anantavirya, and Buddhas as many as the sands of the River Ganga, each of whom, in his own country stretching out his long broad tongue that covers three thousand greater worlds completely, proclaims these truthful words: All you sentient beings believe in this Sutra, which is approved and protected by all the Buddhas, and in which are glorified the inconceivable excellences (of Buddha Amitayus).
12. 'Shariputra, in the Western worlds there are Buddha Amitayus, Buddha Amitalakshana, Buddha Amitadhvaja, Buddha Mahaprabha, Buddha Mahanirbhasa, Buddha Ratnala kshana, Buddha Shuddharashmiprabha, and Buddhas as many as the sands of the River Ganga, each of whom, in his own country stretching out his long broad tongue that covers three thousand greater worlds completely, proclaims these truthful words: All you sentient beings believe in this Sutra, which is approved and protected by all the Buddhas, and in which are glorified the inconceivable excellences (of Buddha Amitayus).
13. 'Shariputra, in the Northern worlds there are Buddha Arciskandha, Buddha Vaishvanaranirghosha, Buddha Dushpradharsha, Buddha Adityasambhava, Buddha Jaliniprabha, and Buddhas as many as the sands of the River Ganga, each of whom, in his own country stretching out his long broad tongue that covers three thousand greater worlds completely, proclaims these truthful words: All you sentient beings believe in this Sutra, which is approved and protected by all the Buddhas, and in which are glorified the inconceivable excellences (of Buddha Amitayus).
14. 'Shariputra, in the Nadir worlds there are Buddha Simha, Buddha Yacas, Buddha Yashaprabhava, Buddha Dharma, Buddha Dharmadhvaja, Buddha Dharmadhara, and Buddhas as many as the sands of the River Ganga, each of whom, in his own country stretching out his long broad tongue that covers three thousand greater worlds completely, proclaims these truthful words: All you sentient beings believe in this Sutra, which is approved and protected by all the Buddhas, and in which are glorified the inconceivable excellences (of Buddha Amitayus).
15. 'Shariputra, in the Zenith words there are Buddha Brahmaghosha, Buddha Nakshatraraja, Buddha Gandhottama, Buddha Gandhaprabhasa, Buddha Maharciskandha, Buddha Ratnakusumasampushpitagatra, Buddha Salendraraja, Buddha Ratnotpalashri, Buddha Sarvarthadarsha, Buddha Sumerukalpa, and Buddhas as many as the sands of the River Ganges^1, each of whom, in his own country stretching out his long broad tongue that covers three thousand greater worlds completely, proclaims these truthful words: All you sentient beings believe in this Sutra, which is approved and protected by all the Buddhas, and in which are glorified the inconceivable excellences (of Buddha Amitayus).
16. 'Shariputra, what do you think in your mind, why it is called the Sutra approved and protected by all the Buddhas? Shariputra, if there be a good man or a good woman who listens to those Buddhas' invocation of the name (of Buddha Amitayus) and the name of this Sutra, that good man or woman will be protected by all the Buddhas and never fail to attain Anuttara-samyaksambodhi. For this reason, Shariputra, all of you should believe in my words and in what all the Buddhas proclaim. Shariputra, if there are men who have already made, are now making, or shall make, prayer with the desire to be born in the land of Buddha Amitayus, they never fail to attain Anuttara-samyaksambodhi, and have been born, are now being born, or shall be born in that country. Therefore, Shariputra, a good man or good woman who has the faith ought to offer up prayers to be born in that land.
17. 'Shariputra, as I am now praising the inconceivable excellences of those Buddhas, so all those Buddhas are magnifying the inconceivable excellences of myself, saying these words: Shakyamuni, the Buddha, has successfully achieved a rare thing of extreme difficulty; he has attained Anuttara-samyaksambodhi in the Saha world in the evil period of five corruptions -- Corruption of Kalpa, Corruption of Belief, Corruption of Passions, Corruption of Living Beings, and Corruption of Life; and for the sake of all the sentient beings he is preaching the Law which is not easy to accept. Shariputra, you must see that in the midst of this evil world of five corruptions I have achieved this difficult thing of attaining Anuttara-samyaksambodhi, and for the benefit of all the beings I am preaching the Law which is difficult to be accepted. This is how it is esteemed as (a thing of) extreme difficulty.'
The Buddha having preached this Sutra, Shariputra and Bhikshus, and Devas, men, Asuras, etc., of all the worlds, who have listened to the Buddha's preaching, believed and accepted with joy, made worship, and went away.
The Sūtra on the
Buddha of Eternal Life
Translated from the Sanskrit by F. Max Mueller
edited by Richard St. Clair
This electronic version may be copied and distributed free and without permission provided that it is not altered in any way.
THE LARGER SUKHĀVATĪ-VYŪHA.
DESCRIPTION OF SUKHAVATI, THE LAND OF BLISS.
Adoration to the Three Treasures!
Adoration to all the glorious Buddhas and Bodhisattvas!
Adoration to all Buddhas, Bodhisattvas, Aryas, Sravakas, and Pratyekabuddhas, past, present, and to come, who dwell in the unlimited and endless world systems of the ten quarters!
Adoration to Amitabha!
Adoration to him whose soul is endowed with incomprehensible virtues!
Adoration to Amitabha, to the Jina, to thee, O Sage!
I go to Sukhavati through thy compassion also;
To Sukhavati, with its groves, resplendent with gold,
The delightful, adorned with the sons of Sugata,--
I go to it, which is full of many jewels and treasures;
And the refuge of thee, the famous and wise.
# 1. Thus it was heard by me. At one time the Bhagavat dwelt in Rajagriha, on the mountain Gridhrakuta, with a large assembly of Bhikkhus, with thirty-two thousands of Bhikkhus, all arhats, free from frailties and cares, who had performed their religious duties, whose thoughts had been thoroughly freed through perfect knowledge, with inquiring thoughts, who had broken the fetters of existence, who had obtained their desires, who had conquered, who had achieved the highest self restraint, whose thoughts and whose knowledge were unfettered, great heroes, possessed of the six kinds of knowledge, self-controlled, meditating on the eight kinds of salvation, possessed of the powers, wise in wisdom, elders, great disciples, that is, Ajnatakaundinya, Asvajit, Vashpa, Mahanaman, Bhadrajit, Yasodeva, Vimala, Subahu, Purna Maitrayaniputra, Uruvilva-kasyapa, Nadi-kasyapa, Gaya-kasyapa, Kumara-kasyapa, Maha-kasyapa, Shariputra, Mahamaudgalyayana, Mahakaushthilya, Mahakaphila, Mahakunda, Aniruddha, Nandika, Kampila, Subhuti, Revata, Khadiravanika, Vakula, Svagata, Amogharaja, Parayanika, Patka, Kullapatka, Nanda, Rahula, and the blessed Ananda--with these and with other elders, and great disciples, who were wise in wisdom, with the exception of one person who had still to be advanced on the path of the disciples, that is, the blessed Ananda--and with many noble-minded Bodhisattvas, led by Maitreya.
#2. Then the blessed Ananda, having risen from his seat, having put his cloak on one shoulder, and knelt on the earth with his right knee, making obeisance with folded hands in the direction of the Bhagavat, spoke thus to the Bhagavat: 'Thy organs of sense, O Bhagavat, are serene, the color of thy skin is clear, the color of thy face bright and yellowish. As an autumn cloud is pale, clear, bright and yellowish, thus the organs of sense of the Bhagavat are serene, the color of his face is clear, the color of his skin bright and yellowish. And as, O Bhagavat, a piece of gold coming from the Jambu river, having been thrown into a furnace by a clever smith or by his apprentice, and well fashioned, when thrown on a pale cloth, looks extremely clear, bright and yellowish, thus the organs of sense of the Bhagavat are serene, the color of his face is clear, and the color of his skin bright and yellowish. Moreover, I do not know, O Bhagavat, that I have ever seen the organs of sense of the Tathagata so serene, the color of his face so clear and the color of his skin so bright and yellowish before now. This thought occurs to me, O Bhagavat: probably, the Tathagata dwells to-day in the state of a Buddha, probably the Tathagata dwells to-day in the state of a Jina, in the state of omniscience, in the state of a Mahanaga; and he contemplates the holy and fully enlightened Tathagatas of the past, future, and present.'
After these words, the Bhagavat thus spoke to the blessed Ananda: 'Well said! well said! Ananda. Did the gods suggest this matter to you? or the blessed Buddhas? Or do you know this through the philosophical knowledge which you possess?'
After these words the blessed Ananda spoke thus to the Bhagavat: 'The gods, O Bhagavat, do not suggest this matter to me, nor the blessed Buddhas, but this thought occurs to me by my own philosophy alone, that is, that probably the Tathagata dwells to-day in the state of a Buddha, probably the Tathagata dwells to-day in the state of a Jina, in the state of omniscience, in the state of a Mahanaga; or he contemplates the venerable Buddhas of the past, future, and present.'
After these words the Bhagavat spoke thus to the blessed Ananda: 'Well said! well said! Ananda; excellent indeed is your question, good your philosophy, and beautiful your understanding! You, O Ananda, have arrived for the benefit and happiness of many people, out of compassion for the world, for the sake of the great body of men, for the benefit and happiness of gods and men, as you think it right to ask the Tathagata this matter: Thus, indeed, Ananda, might pile up intellectual knowledge under immeasurable and innumerable blessed, holy, and fully enlightened Tathagatas, and yet the knowledge of the Tathagata would not be exceeded thereby. And why? Because, O Ananda, one who possesses the knowledge of a Tathagata possesses an intellectual knowledge of causes that cannot be exceeded.
'If the Tathagata wished O Ananda, he could live for a whole kalpa on one alms-gift, or for a hundred kalpas, or for a thousand kalpas, or for a hundred thousand kalpas, to a hundred thousand nayutas of kotis of kalpas, nay, he could live beyond, and yet the organs of nature of the Tathagata would not perish, the color of his face would not be altered, nor would the color of his skin be injured. And why? Because, O Ananda, the Tathagata has so fully obtained the perfections which arise from Samadhi.
'The appearance of fully enlightened Buddhas is very difficult to be obtained in this world, O Ananda. As the appearance of Audumbara-flowers is very difficult to be obtained in this world; thus, O Ananda, the appearance of Tathagatas who desire welfare, wish for what is beneficial, are compassionate, and have arrived at the highest compassion, is very difficult to be obtained. But, O Ananda, it is owing to the grace of the Tathagata himself that you think that the Tathagata should be asked this question, so that there may arise in this world beings who can be teachers of all the world, for the sake of noble-minded Bodhisattvas. Therefore, O Ananda, listen, and take it well and rightly to heart! I shall tell you.'
'Yes, O Bhagavat,' so did the blessed Ananda answer the Bhagavat.
# 3. The Bhagavat then spoke to Ananda: 'At the time, O Ananda, which was long ago in the past, in an innumerable and more than innumerable, enormous, immeasurable, and incomprehensible kalpa before now--at that time, and at that moment, there arose in the world a holy and fully enlightened Tathagata called Dipankara. Following after Dipankara, O Ananda, there was a Tathagata Pratapavat, and after him, Prabhakara, Kandanagandha, Sumerukalpa, Kandana, Vimalanana, Anupalipta, Vimalaprabha, Nagabhibhu, Suryodana, Giririjaghosha, Merukuta, Suvarnaprabha, Gyotishprabha, Vaiduryanirbhasa, Brahmaghosha, Kandabhibho, 19. Turyaghosha, Muktakusumapratimanditaprabha, Srikuta, Sagaravarabuddhivikriditabhijna, Varaprabha, Mahagandhajanirbhasa, Vyapagatakhilamalapratighosha, Surakuta, Rananjaha, Mahagunadharabuddhipraptibhijna, Chandrasuryajihmikarana, Uttaptavaiduryanirbhasa, Chittadharabuddhisankusumitabhyudgata, Pushpavativanarajasankusumitabhijna, Pushpakara, Udakakandra, Avidyandhakaravidhvamsanakara, Lokendra, Muktakkhatrapravatasadrisa, Tishya, Dharmamativinanditaraja, Simhasigarakutavinanditaraja, Sagaramerukandra, Brahmasvaranadabhinandita, Kusumasambhava, Praptasena, Kandrabhanu, Merukuta, Chandraprabha, Vimalanetra, Girirajaghoshesvara, Kusumaprabha, Kusumavrishtyabhiprakirna, Ratnakandra, Padmabimbyupasobhita, Chandanagandha, Ratnabhibhasa, Nimi, Mahivyuha, Vyapagatakhiladosha, Brahmaghosha, Saptaratnabhivrishta, Mahijunadhara, Mahatamalapatrakandanakardama, Kusumabhijna, Ajnavidhvamsana, Kesarin, Muktakkhatra, Suvarnagarbha, Vaiduryagarbha, Mahaketu, Dharmaketu, Ratnaketu, Ratnasri, Lokendra, Narendra, Karunika, Lokasundara, Brahmaketu, Dharmamati, Simha, and Simhamati.
'After Simhamati, a holy and fully enlightened Tathagata arose in the world, Lokesvararaja by name, perfect in knowledge and conduct, a Sugata, knowing the world, without a superior, charioteer of men whose passions have to be tamed, teacher of gods and men, a Buddha, a Bhagavat. And again during the time of the preaching of this holy and fully enlightened Tathagata Lokesvararaja, O Ananda, there was a Bhikkhu, Dharmakara by name, richly endowed with memory, with understanding, prudence, and wisdom, richly endowed with vigor, and of noble character.
# 4. 'Then, O Ananda, that Bhikkhu Dharmakara, having risen from his seat, having put his cloak on one shoulder, and knelt on the earth with his right knee, stretching forth his folded hands to where the Bhagavat Tathagata Lokesvararaja was, and, after worshipping the Bhagavat, he, at that very time, praised him in his presence with these Gathas:
"O thou of immeasurable light, whose knowledge is endless and incomparable; not any other light can shine here where thou art! The rays of the moon of Siva and of the jewel of the sun, were not bright here in the whole world, (1)
"The form also is infinite in the best of beings; thus also the voice of Buddha is of infinite sound; his virtue likewise, with meditation, knowledge, strength; like unto thee there is no one in this world. (2)
"The Dharma is deep, wide, and subtle; the best of Buddhas is incomprehensible, like the ocean; therefore there is no further exaltation of the teacher; having left all faults, he is gone to the other shore. (3)
"Then the best of Buddhas, of endless light, lights up all regions, he the king of kings; and I, having become Buddha, and a master of the Dharma, may I deliver mankind from old age and death! (4)
"And I, on the strength of generosity, equanimity, virtue, forbearance, power, meditation and absorption, undertake here the first and best duties, and shall become a Buddha, the savior of all beings. (5)
"And I, seeking for the knowledge of the best of the Blessed Ones, shall always worship many hundred thousands of kotis of Buddhas, endless like the sand of the Ganges, the incomparable lords. (6)
"Whatever worlds there are, similar in number to the sand of the Ganges, and the endless countries which exist besides, there everywhere I shall send out light, because I have attained such power. (7)
"My land is to be noble, the first and the best; the Bodhi-tree excellent in this world. There is incomparable happiness arising from Nirvana, and this also I shall explain as vain. (8)
"Beings come hither from the ten quarters; having arrived there they quickly show my happiness. May Buddha there teach me the truth, I form a desire full of true strength and vigor. (9)
"I, knowing the worlds of the ten quarters, possessed of absolute knowledge--they also always proclaim my thought! May I, gone to Avichi hell, always abide there, but I shall never cease to practise the power of prayer! " (10)
# 5. 'Then, O Ananda, that Bhikkhu Dharmakara, having praised the Bhagavat, the Tathagata Lokesvararaja, in his presence, with those Gathas, spoke thus: "O Bhagavat, I wish to know the highest perfect knowledge. Again and again I raise and incline my thoughts towards the highest perfect knowledge. May therefore the Bhagavat, as a teacher, thus teach me the Dharma, that I may quickly know the highest perfect knowledge. May I become in the world a Tathagata, equal to the unequalled. And may the Bhagavat proclaim those signs by which I may comprehend the perfection of all good qualities of a Buddha country."
'After this, O Ananda, the Bhagavat Lokesvararaja, the Tathagata, thus spoke to that Bhikkhu: "Do you by yourself, O Bhikkhu, know the perfection of all excellences and good qualities of a Buddha country ?
' He said: "O Bhagavat, I could not do this, but the Bhagavat alone. Explain the perfection of the excellences and all the good qualities of Buddha countries of the other Tathagatas, after hearing which we may fulfil every one of their signs."
'Then, O Ananda, the Tathagata Lokesvararaja, holy and fully enlightened, knowing the good disposition of that Bhikkhu, taught for a full koti of years the perfection of all the excellences and good qualities of Buddha countries belonging to eighty-one hundred thousand nayutas of kotis of Buddhas, together with the signs, indication, and description, desiring welfare, wishing for benefits, compassionate, full of compassion, so that there might never be an end of Buddha countries, having conceived great pity for all beings. The measure of life of that Tathagata was full forty kalpas.
# 6. 'Then, O Ananda, that Bhikkhu Dharmakara, taking the perfections of all the excellences and good qualities of those Buddha countries, of those eighty-one hundred thousand nayutas of kotis of Buddhas, and concentrating them all on one Buddha country, worshipped with his head the feet of the Bhagavat Lokesvararaja, the Tathagata, turned respectfully round him to the right, and walked away from the presence of this Bhagavat. And afterwards, for the space of five kalpas, he thus concentrated the perfection of all the excellences and good qualities of the Buddha countries, such as had never been known before in the ten quarters of the whole world, more excellent, and more perfect than any, and composed the most excellent prayer.
# 7. 'Thus, O Ananda, that Bhikkhu concentrated in his mind a perfection of a Buddha country eighty-one times more immeasurable, noble, and excellent than the perfection of the eighty-one hundred thousand nayutas of kotis of Buddha countries that had been told him by the Bhagavat Lokesvararaja, the Tathagata. And then, proceeding to where the Tathagata was, he worshipped the feet of the Bhagavat with his head, and said: "O Bhagavat, the perfection of all the excellences and good qualities of the Buddha countries has been concentrated by me."
'After this, O Ananda, the Tathagata Lokesvararaja thus spoke to the Bhikkhu: "Preach then, O Bhikkhu; the Tathagata allows it. Now is the proper time, O Bhikshu. Delight the assembly, produce joy, let the lion's voice be heard, so that now and hereafter, noble-minded Bodhisattvas, hearing it, may comprehend the different subjects of the prayers for the perfection of the good qualities of a Buddha country."
'Then, O Ananda, that Bhikkhu Dharmakara thus spoke at that time to the Bhagavat: "May the Bhagavat thus listen to me, to what my own prayers are, and how, after I shall have obtained the highest perfect knowledge, my own Buddha country will then be endowed with all inconceivable excellences and good qualities.
# 8. 1. "O Bhagavat, if in that Buddha country of mine there should be either hell, animals, the realm of departed spirits, or the body of fighting spirits, then may I not obtain the highest perfect knowledge.
2. "O Bhagavat, if in that Buddha country of mine the beings who are born there should die and fall into hell, the animal realm, the realm of departed spirits, or into the body of fighting spirits, then may I not obtain the highest perfect knowledge.
3. "O Bhagavat, if in that Buddha country of mine the beings who are born there should not all be of one color, that is, a golden color, then may I not obtain the hignest perfect knowledge.
4. "O Bhagavat, If in that Buddha country of mine there should be perceived any difference between gods and men, except when people count and tell, saying: 'These are gods and men, but only in ordinary and imperfect parlance,' then may I not obtain the highest perfect knowledge.
5. "O Bhagavat, if in that Buddha country of mine the beings who are born there should not be possessed of the highest perfections of miraculous power and self-control, so that they could at least in the shortest moment of one thought step over a hundred thousand nayutas of kotis of Buddha countries, then may I not obtain the highest perfect knowledge.
6. "O Bhagavat, if in that Buddha country of mine the beings who are born there should not all be possessed of the recollection of their former births, so as at least to remember a hundred thousand nayutas of kotis of kalpas, then may I not the highest perfect knowledge.
7. "O Bhagavat, if in that Buddha country of mine the beings who are born there should not all acquire the divine eye, so as at least to be able to see a hundred thousand nayutas of kotis of worlds, then may I not obtain the highest perfect knowledge.
8. "O Bhagavat, if in that Buddha country of mine the beings who are born there should not all acquire the divine ear, so as at least to be able to hear at the same time the good Dharma from a hundred thousand nayutas of kotis of Buddha countries, then may I not obtain the highest perfect knowledge.
9. "O Bhagavat, if in that Buddha country of mine the beings who are born there should not all be skilled in the knowledge of the thoughts of other people, so as at least to be able to know the deeds and thoughts of beings belonging to a hundred thousand nayutas of kotis of Buddha countries, then may I not obtain the highest perfect knowledge.
10. "O Bhagavat, if in that Buddha country of mine the beings who are born there should form any idea of property, even with regard to their own body, then may I not obtain the highest perfect knowledge.
11. "O Bhagavat, if in that Buddha country of mine the beings who are born there should not all be firmly established, that is, in absolute truth, till they have reached Mahaparinirvana, then may I not obtain the highest perfect knowledge.
12. "O Bhagavat, if any being should be able to count the pupils belonging to me after I have obtained the highest perfect knowledge in that Buddha country of mine, even if all beings who are contained in those three millions of spheres of worlds, after having become Pratyekabuddhas, should be counting for a hundred thousand nayutas of kotis of kalpas, then may I not obtain the highest perfect knowledge.
13. "O Bhagavat, if, after I have obtained the highest perfect knowledge, my light should be liable to be measured in this Buddha country of mine, even by the measure of a hundred thousand nayutas of kotis of Buddha countries, then may I not obtain the highest perfect knowledge.
14 "O Bhagavat, if the measure of the life of the beings in that Buddha country of mine, after I have obtained the highest perfect knowledge, should be liable to be measured, excepting always by their own power of prayer, then may I not obtain the highest perfect knowledge.
15. "O Bhagavat, if the measure of my life after I have obtained Bodhi should be limited, even by numbering a hundred thousand nayutas of kotis of kalpas, then may I not obtain the highest perfect knowledge.
16. "O Bhagavat, if, for the beings in this Buddha country of mine, after I have obtained Bodhi, even the name of sin should exist, then may I not obtain the highest perfect knowledge.
17. "O Bhagavat, if immeasurable and innumerable blessed Buddhas in immeasurable Buddha countries do not glorify my name, after I have obtained Bodhi; if they do not preach my fame and proclaim my praise, and utter it together, then may I not obtain the highest perfect knowledge.
18. "O Bhagavat, if those beings who have directed their thought towards the highest perfect knowledge in other worlds, and who, after having heard my name, when I have obtained Bodhi , have meditated on me with serene thoughts; if at the moment of their death, after having approached them, surrounded by an assembly of Bhikkhus, I should not stand before them, worshipped by them, that is, so that their thoughts should not be troubled, then may I not obtain the highest perfect knowledge.
19. "O Bhagavat, if those beings who in immeasurable and innumerable Buddha countries, after they have heard my name, when I shall have obtained Bodhi, should direct their thought to be born in that Buddha country of mine, and should for that purpose bring their stock of merit to maturity, if these should not be born in that Buddha country, even those who have only ten times repeated the thought of that Buddha country, barring always those beings who have committed the five deadly sins, and who have caused an obstruction and abuse of the good Law, then may I not obtain the highest perfect knowledge.
20. "O Bhagavat, if those beings who have been born in that Buddha country of mine, after I have obtained Bodhi, should not all be bound to one birth only, before reaching the highest perfect knowledge, barring always the special prayers of those very noble-minded Bodhisattvas who have put on the whole armor (of the Dharma), who understand the welfare of all beings, who are devoted, to all beings, who work for the attainment of Nirvana of all beings, who wish to perform the duty of a Bodhisattva in all worlds, who wish to serve all Buddhas, and to bring beings, in number like grains of sand of the river Ganges, to the highest perfect knowledge, and who besides are turned towards the higher practice and perfect in the practice of Samantabhadra's discipline, then may I not obtain the highest perfect knowledge.
21. "O Bhagavat, if the Bodhisattvas who are born in that Buddha country of mine, after I have obtained Bodhi, should not all be able, after having gone to other Buddha countries, after their one morning-meal, to worship many hundreds of Buddhas, many thousands of Buddhas, many hundred thousands of Buddhas, many kotis of Buddhas, and so forth, till up to many hundred thousand nayutas of kotis of Buddhas, with objects which give every kind of pleasure, and this through the grace of the Buddha, then may I not obtain the highest perfect knowledge.
22. "O Bhagavat, if those Bodhisattvas in that Buddha country of mine, after I have obtained Bodhi, should wish their stock of merit to grow in the following shapes, that is, either in gold, in silver, in jewels, in pearls, in beryls, in shells, in stones, in corals, in crystal, in amber, in red pearls, in diamond, and so forth, or in any one of the other jewels; or in all kinds of perfumes, in flowers, in garlands, anointment, in incense-powder, in cloaks, in umbrellas, in flags, in banners, or in lamps; or in all kinds of dancing, singing, and music; and if such gifts should not appear for them, from being produced as soon as thought of, then may I not obtain the highest perfect knowledge.
23. "O Bhagavat, if those beings who are born in that Buddha country of mine, after I have obtained Bodhi, should not all recite the story of the Dharma which is accompanied by omniscience, then may I not obtain the highest perfect knowledge.
24. "O Bhagavat, if the Bodhisattvas in that Buddha country of mine, after I have obtained Bodhi, should think thus: May we, remaining in this world, honor revere, esteem, and worship the blessed Buddhas in immeasurable and innumerable Buddha countries, that is, with cloaks, alms-bowls, beds, stools, refreshments, medicines, utensils, with flowers, incense, lamps, perfumes, garlands, ointment, powder, cloaks, umbrellas, flags, banners, with different kinds of dancing singing, and music, and with showers of jewels, and if the blessed Buddhas should not accept them, when they are produced as soon as thought of, that is, from compassion, then may I not obtain the highest perfect knowledge.
25. "O Bhagavat, if the Bodhisattvas who are born in that Buddha country of mine, after I have obtained Bodhi, should not all be in possession of strength of body as strong as the diamond of Narayana, then may I not obtain the highest perfect knowledge.
26. "O Bhagavat, if any being in that Buddha country of mine, after I have obtained Bodhi, should learn the limit of the beauty of its ornament, even if he be possessed of the divine eye, and should know its various beauty, saying: 'That Buddha country possesses so much beauty and so much magnificence,' then may I not obtain the highest perfect knowledge.
27. "O Bhagavat, if in that Buddha country of mine, after I have obtained Bodhi, a Bodhisattva possessed even of a very small stock of merit, should not perceive the Bodhi-tree of noble beauty, at least a hundred yojanas in height, then may I not obtain the highest perfect knowledge.
28. "O Bhagavat, if in that Buddha country of mine, after I have obtained Bodhi, either teaching or learning should have to be made by any being, and they should not all be in possession of the perfect knowledge, then may I not obtain the highest perfect knowledge.
29. "O Bhagavat, if that Buddha country of mine, after I have obtained Bodhi, should not be so brilliant, that in it could be seen on all sides immeasurable, innumerable, inconceivable, incomparable, immense Buddha countries, as a round face is seen in a highly burnished round mirror, then may I not obtain the highest perfect knowledge.
30. "O Bhagavat, if in that Buddha country of mine, after I have obtained Bodhi, there should not be a hundred thousand of vases full of different sweet perfumes, made of all kinds of jewels, always smoking with incense, fit for the worship of Bodhisattvas and Tathagatas, rising into the sky beyond gods, men, and all things, then may I not obtain the highest perfect knowledge.
31. "O Bhagavat, if in that Buddha country of mine, after I have obtained Bodhi, there should not be showers of sweet jewel-flowers, always pouring down, and if there should not be sweet-sounding music-clouds, always playing, then may I not obtain the highest perfect knowledge.
32. "O Bhagavat, if the beings belonging to me, after I have obtained Bodhi, who are visible by their splendor, in immeasurable, innumerable, inconceivable, incomparable worlds, should not all be filled with pleasure, far beyond gods and men, then may I not obtain the highest perfect knowledge.
33. "O Bhagavat, if, after I have obtained Bodhi, the noble-minded Bodhisattvas in immeasurable, inconceivable, incomparable, immense Buddha countries on all sides, after having heard my name, should not be delivered from birth, through the merit arising from that hearing, and should not be strong in the knowledge of dharanis, until they have obtained the very throne of Bodhi, then may I not obtain the highest perfect knowledge.
34. "O Bhagavat, if, after I have obtained Bodhi, women in immeasurable, innumerable, inconceivable, incomparable, immense Buddha countries on all sides, after having heard my name, should allow carelessness to arise, should not turn their thoughts towards Bodhi, should, when they are free from birth, not despise their female nature; and if they, being born again, should assume a second female nature, then may I not obtain the highest perfect knowledge.
35. "O Bhagavat, if, after I have obtained Bodhi, the Bodhisattvas who in immeasurable, innumerable, inconceivable, incomparable, immense Buddha countries round about in the ten quarters having heard my name, and having fallen down, shall worship me with prostrate reverence, should not, when performing the duty of Bodhisattvas, be honored by the world and by the gods, then may I not obtain the highest perfect knowledge.
36. "O Bhagavat, if, after I have obtained Bodhi, the work of dyeing, sewing, drying, washing ot his cloaks should have to be performed by any Bodhisattva, and they should not perceive themselves, as quick as thought, covered by newly-produced excellent cloaks, granted to them by the Tathagata, then may I not obtain the highest perfect knowledge.
37. "O Bhagavat, if the beings who are born at the same time in that Buddha country, after I have obtained Bodhi, should not obtain such happiness as that of the holy Bhikkhu who is free from pain and has obtained the third meditation, then may I not obtain the highest perfect knowledge.
38. "O Bhagavat, if those Bodhisattvas who are born in that Buddha country of mine, after I have obtained Bodhi, should not produce from different jewel-trees such a mass of excellent ornaments in that Buddha country, as they should wish for, then may I not obtain the highest perfect knowledge.
39. "O Bhagavat, if the Bodhisattvas who are born in other Buddha countries, when they have heard my name, after I shall have obtained Bodhi, should suffer any diminution in the strength of their senses, then may I not obtain the highest perfect knowledge.
40. "O Bhagavat, if, after I have obtained Bodhi, the Bodhisattvas, from hearing my name in a place of a different Buddha country, should not obtain the Samadhi in which the Bodhisattvas will see immeasurable, innumerable, inconceivable, incomparable, immense, blessed Buddhas one moment after another; and if that Samadhi of theirs should come to an end meanwhile, then may I not obtain the highest perfect knowledge.
41. "O Bhagavat, if, after I have obtained Bodhi, beings, having heard my name in Buddha countries different from this, should not, through the stock of merit which follows on that hearing, obtain birth in a noble family, till they arrive at Bodhi, then may I not obtain the highest perfect knowledge.
42. "O Bhagavat, if, after I have obtained Bodhi, the Bodhisattvas who live in other Buddha countries, after hearing my name, till they have reached Bodhi by the stock of merit which follows on that hearing, should not all obtain a combination of their stock of merit with the joy and gladness of their Bodhisattva life, then may I not obtain the highest perfect knowledge.
43. "O Bhagavat, if, after I have obtained Bodhi, the Bodhisattvas, as soon as they have heard my name, in other worlds, should not obtain the Samadhi called Samantanugata, in which Bodhisattvas honor one moment after another immeasurable, innumerable, inconceivable, incomparable, immense, blessed Buddhas, and if that Samadhi of theirs should come to an end before they have reached the throne of Bodhi, then may I not obtain the highest perfect knowledge.
44. "O Bhagavat, if the beings who are born in that Buddha country of mine, after I have obtained Bodhi, should not hear, as quick as thought, such a teaching of the Dharma as they wish to hear, then may I not obtain the highest perfect knowledge.
45 "O Bhagavat, if, after I ave obtained Bodhi, the Bodhisattvas in this and other Buddha countries, as soon as they have heard my name, should ever turn back from the highest perfect knowledge, then may I not obtain the highest perfect knowledge.
46. "O Bhagavat, if, after I have obtained Bodhi, and have become a Buddha-teacher, the Bodhisattvas who hear my name in Buddha countries, and obtain the first, the second, and the third degrees of endurance, as soon as they have heard my name, should turn away again from Buddha, the Dharma, and the Sangha, then may I not obtain the highest perfect knowledge.
#9. 'And again, O Ananda, when he had spoken such prayers, that Bhikkhu Dharmakara, at that time, through the grace of Buddha spoke these verses:
1. "If, when I have obtained Bodhi, there should not be for me an excellent Pranidhana of such a character, then, O Prince, O Best of beings, may I not be endowed with the ten powers, incomparable, worthy of offerings.
2. "If there should not be for me such a country, endowed with many and various mighty and divine endowments, I should gladly go to hell, suffering pain, and not be a King of treasures.
3. "If, when I have approached the Bodhi throne, my name should not quickly reach the ten quarters, the broad and many endless Buddha countries, may I not be a lord of the world, endowed with power.
4. "If indeed I should delight in the enjoyments of love, being deprived of zeal, understanding and prudence, even after having reached the incomparable and blessed Bodhi, may I not be a teacher in the world, endowed with power.
5. "The lord of vast light, incomparable and infinite, has illuminated all Buddha countries in all the quarters, he has quieted passions, all sins and errors, he has quieted the fire in the walk of hell.
6. "After making his broad eye lustrous, after driving away the darkness from all men, after removing all untimely misfortunes, he led hither those who dwell in heaven and who shine with endless light.
7. "The splendor of sun and moon does not shine in heaven, nor the fiery splendor of the maze of jewels of the gods; the Lord overcomes all splendor, he, the bright one, who has performed his former discipline.
8. "He is the best of men, the treasure of all who suffer; there is no one like him in all the quarters. Having completed a hundred thousand good works, he, in his assembly, raised the lion-voice of Buddha.
9. "After having worshipped former self-existing Jinas, after having performed immeasurable kotis of vows and penances, he became in this, his best of spiritual existences, the best of beings, possessed of the full power of prayers.
10. "As the Bhagavat, the Lord, who is posessed of unlimited light of knowledge, knows the three kinds of knowledge in the world, may I also be worthy of equal offerings, the best of sages, the leader of men.
11. "If, O Lord, this my prayer succeeds, after I have obtained Bodhi, may this sphere of a thousand worlds tremble, and may a shower of flowers descend on the hosts of gods."
12. 'Then the earth trembled, flowers were showered down, hundreds of instruments resounded in the sky, powder of heavenly sweet sandal-wood was scattered, and there was a voice saying: "Thou wilt be a Buddha in the world."
#10. 'That Bhikkhu Dharmakara, the nobleminded Bodhisattva, O Ananda, was possessed of this perfection of prayers. And a few Bodhisattvas only, O Ananda, are possessed of such a perfection of prayers. There is on this earth an appearance of a few only of such prayers. Of a few, however, existence cannot be denied.
'Then again, O Ananda, this Bhikkhu Dharmakara having recited these prayers before the Bhagavat Lokesvararaja, the Tathagata, and before the world including gods, Mara, and Brahman, and before people consisting of Sramanas and Brahmanas with gods, men, and fighting spirits, was established in the attainment of the true promise. And proclaiming this purity of the Buddha country, this greatness and excellency of the Buddha country, and performing the duty of a Bodhisattva, he never conceived the remotest thoughts of lust, malevolence, and cruelty, during a hundred thousand nayutas of kotis of years, immeasurable, innumerable, inconceivable, incomparable, measureless, immense, inexpressible; and he never conceived the idea of lust, malevolence, and cruelty, nay, he never conceived the idea of form, sound, smell, taste, and touch. He was gentle, charming indeed, and compassionate; pleasant to live with, agreeable, amiable, content, of few wishes, satisfied, retired, not evil, not foolish, not suspicious, not crooked, not wicked, not deceitful, tender, kindly speaking, always zealous, docile in searching after the pure Dharma. And for the good of all beings, he recited the great prayer, showing respect to friends, teachers, masters, the Sangha, the Dharma, and Buddha, always girded for the performance of the duties of the Bodhisattva, righteous, gentle, not deceitful, not flattering, virtuous, a leader for the sake of rousing others to perform all good laws, producing by his activity the ideas of emptiness, causelessness, and purposelessness, and he was well guarded in his speech.
'Then, performing the duties of a Bodhisattva, after having given up all speaking which, when spoken, serves to injure one's self or others or both, he employed only such speech as served the pleasure and benefit of himself, others, or both. And he was so wise that, when entering into capitals, kingdoms, countries, towns, cities, and villages, he was always perfectly restrained with regard to all objects of sense. Performing himself the duties of the Bodhisattva without interruption, he walked himself in the highest perfection of liberality, and he also roused others to walk in the same. And himself walking in the highest perfections of knowledge, meditation, strength, patience, and virtue, he roused others also to walk in the same. And he has collected so large a stock of merit that, wherever he is born, there arise for him many hundreds of thousands of nayutas of kotis of treasures from out the earth.
'By him, while he was thus performing the duties of a Bodhisattva, immeasurable and innumerable hundreds of thousands of nayutas of kotis of beings were established in perfect enlightenment, of whom it is not easy to know the limit by means of speech. So many immeasurable and innumerable holy Buddhas were honored, revered, esteemed, and worshipped, and enabled to touch whatever causes pleasure, such as cloaks, alms-bowls, couches, seats, refreshments, medicines, and other furniture. It is not easy to know the limit by pointing it out in words, as to how many beings were established by him in the noble families of Brahmanas, Kshatriyas, ministers, householders, and merchants. In the same manner they were established in the sovereignty of Jambudvipa, and they were established in the character of Chakravartins, Lokapalas, Sakras, Suyamas, Sutushitas, Sunirmitas,Vasavartins, Devaragas, and Mahabrahmans. So many immeasurable and innumerable Buddhas were honored, revered, esteemed, and worshipped and requested to turn the wheel of the Dharma, of whom it is not easy to know the limit by means of words.
'And he collected such virtue, that out of his mouth, while performing the duties of a Bodhisattva, during immeasurable, innumerable, inconceivable, incomparable, immense, measureless, inexpressible kotis of kalpas, there breathed a sweet and more than heavenly smell of sandal-wood. From all the pores of his hair there arose the smell of lotus, and he was pleasing to everybody, gracious and beautiful, endowed with the fulness of the best bright color. As his body was adorned with all the good signs and marks, there arose from the pores and from the palms of his hands all sorts of precious ornaments in the shape of all kinds of cloaks and vestments, in the shape of all kinds of flowers, incense, scents, garlands, ointments, umbrellas, flags, and banners, and in the shape of all kinds of instrumental music. And there appeared also, streaming forth from the palms of his hands, all kinds of viands and drink, food, hard and soft, and sweetmeats, and all kinds of enjoyments and pleasures. Thus then that Bhikshu Dharmakara, O Ananda, had obtained the command of all necessaries, after performing the duties of a Bodhisattva.'
#11. After this, the blessed Ananda thus spoke to the Bhagavat: "O Bhagavat, has that Bhikkhu Dharmakara, the noble-minded Bodhisattva, after having obtained the highest perfect knowledge, passed away, having entered Nirvana, or has he not yet been enlightened, or is he now living and enlightened, and does he dwell now, remain, support himself, and teach the Dharma?'
The Bhagavat said: 'Not indeed, O Ananda, has that Tathagata passed away, nor has he not yet come, but the Tathagata, the holy, after having obtained the highest perfect knowledge, dwells now, remains, supports himself, and teaches the Dharma, in the western quarter, in the Buddha country, distant from this world by a hundred thousand nayutas of kotis of Buddha countries, in the world which is called Sukhavati, being called Amitabha, the Tathagata, holy and fully enlightened. He is surrounded by innumerable Bodhisattvas, and worshipped by endless Sravakas, and in possession of the endless perfection of his Buddha country.
#12. 'And his light is immeasurable, so that it is not easy to know the limit of its measure, saying, he stands illuminating so many hundreds of Buddha countries, so many thousands of Buddha countries, so many hundred thousands of Buddha countries, so many kotis of Buddha countries, so many hundred kotis of Buddha countries, so many thousand kotis of Buddha countries, so many hundred thousands of kotis of Buddha countries, so many hundred thousands of nayutas of kotis of Buddha countries. But indeed, O Ananda, to put it briefly, a hundred thousand nayutas of kotis of Buddha countries, equal to the sands of the river Ganges, are always lighted up, in the eastern quarter, by the light of that Bhagavat Amitabha. Thus on every side in the southern, western, northern quarter, in the zenith and nadir, in every one of these quarters, there are a hundred thousand nayutas of kotis of Buddha countries, like the sands of the river Ganges, always lighted up by the light of that Bhagavat Amitabha, excepting the Buddhas, the Bhagavats, who, through the practice of their former prayers, have lighted up the world by their own light, which is a fathom in length, or by their light which is one, two, three, four, five, ten, twenty, thirty, forty, or fifty yojanas in length, or a hundred or thousand or hundred thousand yojanas in length, until their brightness reaches many hundred thousand nayutas of kotis of yojanas in length. There is not, O Ananda, any case of likeness, by which the extent of the light of that Tathagata Amitabha could be understood. Hence, O Ananda, for that reason that Tathagata is called Amitabha, possessed of infinite light, possessed of infinite splendor,possessed of infinite brilliancy, whose light is never finished, whose light is not conditioned, whose light proceeds from flames of light, whose light is that of heavenly jewels, whose light has the color of unimpeded rays, possessed of beautiful light, possessed of lovely light, possessed of delightful light, possessed of attractive light, possessed of pleasant light, possessed of light that cannot be stopped, possessed of extremely powerful light, possessed of incomparable light, possessed of light greater than that of the lords of men, nay, the lords of the three worlds, possessed of light which bends the full moon and the sun, possessed of light which bends all the conquered gods, Mahesvara, the Suddhavasas, Brahman, Sakra, and the Lokapalas.
'This splendor of the Arya is pure, great, producing bodily pleasure, happiness of mind, producing happiness, delight, and joy for men and not-men, Kinnaras, Mahoragas, Garudas, Gandharvas, Yakshas, Nagas, Asuras, and Devas; and producing the pleasure of beings of good disposition.
'And in this manner, O Ananda, the Tathagata might speak for a whole kalpa on the work of the Tathagata Amitabha, beginning with his light, and yet he would not be able to reach the end of the virtues of that light of that Tathagata, neither would there be any failure of the self-confidence in the Tathagata himself. And why? Because, O Ananda, both these things are immeasurable, innumerable, inconceivable, and endless, that is, first, the greatness of the excellence of the light of that Tathagata Amitabha, the Bhagavat, and secondly, the unsurpassed light of the knowledge possessed by myself.
#13. 'And, O Ananda, the assembly of the hearers of that Tathagata Amitabha is immeasurable, so that it is not easy to learn its measure, so as to be able to say, there are so many kotis of the hearers, so many hundreds, thousands, hundred-thousands, kankaras, vimbaras, nayutas, ayutas, akshobhyas, vivahas, srotas, ogas, so many periods, called immeasurable, innumerable, countless, incomparable, inconceivable. Now, for instance, O Ananda, the Bhikshu Maudgalyayana having obtained miraculous power, might, if he wished, count in one day and night, how many kinds of stars there are in the universal world. Then, let there be a hundred thousand nayutas of kotis of such men, endowed with miraculous powers, and let them do nothing else but count the first company only of the hearers of the Tathagata Amitabha, during a hundred thousand nayutas of kotis of years, and yet by them thus counting even the hundredth part would not be counted, even the thousandth, even the hundred thousandth nay, not even so far as the minutest part, or likeness, or approach towards it would have been counted.
'Thus for instance, O Ananda, a man might throw out from the great ocean, which is not to be measured across by less than eighty-four thousand yojanas, one single drop of water by the sharp end of hair, which is divided a hundred times. What do you think then, Ananda, which would be greater, one drop of water which has been thrown up by the sharp pointed hair divided a hundred times, or the mass of water left in the great ocean?'
Ananda said: 'Even a thousand yojanas, O Bhagavat, would be a small portion of the great ocean, how much more then one drop of water thrown out by the sharp pointed hair divided a hundred times!'
Bhagavat said : 'As that one drop of water, so small in proportion, was the first company of the hearers. And let there be reckoning made by those Bhikkhus, who are like Maudgalyayana, counting for a hundred thousand nayutas of kotis of years, and yet, as to the mass of water left in the great ocean, it would even then have to be considered as not counted. How much more with regard to the second, third, and the rest of the companies of the hearers! Therefore the mass of hearers of the Bhagavat is endless and boundless, and receives the name of "immeasurable and innumerable."
#14. 'And, O Ananda, the length of the life of that Bhagavat Amitabha, the Tathagata, is immeasurable, so that it is not easy to know its length, so as to be able to say that it comprises so many hundreds of kalpas, so many thousands of kalpas, so many hundred thousands of kalpas, so many kotis of kalpas, so many hundreds of kotis of kalpas, so many thousands of kotis of kalpas, so many hundred thousands of kotis of kalpas, so many hundred thousands of nayutas of kotis of kalpas. Therefore, O Ananda, the limit of the measure of the life of that Bhagavat is immeasurable indeed. Therefore that Tathagata is called Amitayus.
'And as, O Ananda, the rule of making known the reckoning of kalpas exists here in this world, ten kalpas have passed now since Bhagavat Amitayus, the Tathagata, arose and awoke to the highest perfect knowledge.
#15. 'And, O Ananda, the world called Sukhavati belonging to that Bhagavat Amitabha is prosperous, rich, good to live in, fertile, lovely, and filled with many gods and men. Then, O Ananda, in that world there are neither hells, nor the animals nor the realm of departed spirits, nor bodies of fighting spirits, nor untimely births. And there do not appear in this world such gems as are known in the world Sukhavati.
#16. 'Now, O Ananda, that world Sukhavati is fragrant with several sweet-smelling scents, rich in manifold flowers and fruits. adorned with gem trees, and frequented by tribes of manifold sweet-voiced birds, which have been made by the Tathagata on purpose. And, O Ananda, those gem trees are of several colors, of many colors, and of many hundred thousand colors. There are gem trees there of golden-color, and made of gold. There are those of silver-color, and made of silver. There are those of beryl-color, and made of beryl. There are those of crystal-color, and made of crystal. There are those of coral-color, and made of coral. There are those of red pearl-color, and made of red pearls. There are those of diamond-color, and made of diamonds.
'There are some trees of two gems, that is, gold and silver. There are some of three gems, that is, gold, silver, and beryl. There are some of four gems, that is, gold, silver, beryl, and crystal. There are some of five gems, that is, gold, silver, beryl, crystal, and coral. There are some of six gems, that is, gold, silver, beryl, crystal, coral, and red pearls. There are some of seven gems, that is, gold, silver, beryl, crystal, coral, red pearls, and diamonds as the seventh.
'And there, O Ananda, of the trees made of gold, the flowers, leaves, small branches, branches, trunks, and roots are made of gold, and the fruits are made of silver. Of trees made of silver, the flowers, leaves, small branches, branches, trunks, and roots are made of silver only, and the fruits are made of beryl. Of trees made of beryl, the flowers, leaves, small branches, branches, trunks, and roots are made of beryl, and the fruits are made of crystal. Of trees made of crystal, the flowers, leaves, small branches, branches, trunks, and roots are made of crystal only, and the fruits are made of coral. Of trees made of coral, the flowers, leaves, small branches, branches, trunks, and roots are made of coral only, and the fruits are made of red pearls. Of trees made of red pearls, the flowers, leaves, small branches, branches, trunks, and roots are made of red pearls only, and the fruits are made of diamonds. Of trees made of diamonds, the flowers, leaves, small branches, branches, trunks, and roots are made of diamonds only, and the fruits are made of gold.
'Of some trees, O Ananda, the roots are made of gold, the trunks of silver, the branches of beryl, the small branches of crystal, the leaves of coral, the flowers of red pearls, and the fruits of diamonds. Of some trees, O Ananda, the roots are made of silver, the trunks of beryl, the branches of crystal, the small branches of coral, the leaves of red pearls, the flowers of diamonds, and the fruits of gold. Of some trees, O Ananda, the roots are made of beryl, the trunks of crystal, the branches of coral, the small branches of red pearls, the leaves of diamonds, the flowers of gold, and the fruits of silver. Of some trees, O Ananda, the roots are made of crystal, the trunks of coral, the branches of red pearls, the small branches of diamonds, the leaves of gold, the flowers of silver, and the fruits of beryl. Of some trees, O Ananda, the roots are made of coral, the trunks of red pearls, the branches of diamonds, the small branches of gold, the leaves of silver, the flowers of beryl, and the fruits of crystal. Of some trees, O Ananda, the roots are made of red pearls, the trunks of diamonds, the branches of gold, the small branches of silver, the leaves of beryl, the flowers of crystal, and the fruits of coral. Of some trees, O Ananda, the roots are made of diamonds, the trunks of gold, the branches of silver, the small branches of beryl, the leaves of crystal, the flowers of coral, and the fruits of red pearls. Of some trees, O Ananda, the roots are made of the seven gems, the trunks of the seven gems, the branches of the seven gems, the small branches of the seven gems, the leaves of the seven gems, the flowers of the seven gems, and the fruits of the seven gems. And, O Ananda, the roots, trunks, branches, small branches, leaves, flowers, and fruits of all those trees are pleasant to touch, and fragrant. And, when those trees are moved by the wind, a sweet and delightful sound proceeds from them, never tiring, and never disagreeable to hear. That Buddha country, O Ananda, is always on every side surrounded by such trees made of the seven gems, by masses of Kadali trees, and rows of palm-trees made of the seven gems, and entirely surrounded with golden nets, and wholly covered with lotus flowers, made of all kinds of gems.
'There are lotus flowers there, half a yojana in circumference. There are others, one yojana in circumference; and others, two, three, four, or five yojanas in circumference; nay, there are some, as much as ten yojanas in circumference. And from each gem-lotus there proceed thirty-six hundred thousand kotis of rays of light. And from each ray of light there proceed thirty-six hundred thousand kotis of Buddhas, with bodies of golden color, possessed of the thirty-two marks of great men, who go and teach the Dharma to beings in the immeasurable and innumerable worlds in the eastern quarter. Thus also in the southern, western, and northern quarters, above and below, in the cardinal and intermediate points, they go their way to the immeasurable and innumerable worlds and teach the Dharma to beings in the whole world.
#17. 'And again, O Ananda, there are no black mountains anywhere in that Buddha country, nor anywhere jewel mountains, nor anywhere Sumerus, kings of mountains, nor anywhere Chakravadas, great Chakravadas, kings of mountains. And that Buddha country is level on every side, lovely, like the palm of the hand, with districts full of jewels and treasures of every kind.'
After this, the blessed Ananda spoke thus to the Bhagavat: 'But in that case, O Bhagavat, where do the gods consisting of the companies of the four Maharajas who dwell on the side of the Sumeru, and where do the Triyastrimsa gods who dwell on the top of the Sumeru, find their place?'
Bhagavat said: 'What do you think, O Ananda, where do these other beings find their place, who in this world dwell above the king of mountains, Sumeru, namely, the Yamadevas, Tushitas, Nirmanaratis, Paranirmitavasavartins, Brahmakayikas, Brahmapurohitas, Mahabrahmans, as far as the Akanishthas?'
Ananda replied: 'O Bhagavat the result of works and the outcome of works are inconceivable.'
Bhagavat said: 'Here, you see, the result of works and the outcome of works are inconceivable. But to the blessed Buddhas the position of Buddhas is not inconceivable, while to thee the holy and miraculous power of virtuous beings, whose stock of merit has become ripened, seems inconceivable.'
Ananda said: 'I had no doubt on this, no difference of opinion, or hesitation; on the contrary, I ask only the Tathagata about this matter in order to destroy the doubts, the differences of opinion, and the hesitations of future beings.'
Bhagavat said: 'All right, Ananda, this is what you ought to do.
#18. ' In that world Sukhavati, O Ananda, there flow different kinds of rivers; there are great rivers there, one yojana in breadth; there are rivers up to twenty, thirty, forty, fifty yojanas in breadth, and up to twelve yojanas in depth. All these rivers are delightful, carrying water of different sweet odor, carrying bunches of flowers adorned with various gems, resounding with sweet voices. And, O Ananda, there proceeds from an instrument which consists of hundred thousand kotis of parts, which embodies heavenly music and is played by clever people, the same delightful sound which proceeds from those great rivers, the sound which is deep, unknown, incomprehensible, clear, pleasant to the ear, touching the heart, beloved, sweet, delightful, never tiring, never disagreeable, pleasant to hear, as if it always said, "Non-eternal, peaceful, unreal." Such a sound comes to be heard by these beings.
'And again, O Ananda, the borders of those great rivers on both sides are filled with jewel trees of various scents, from which bunches of flowers, leaves, and branches of all kinds hang down. And if the beings, who are on the borders of those rivers, wish to enjoy sport full of heavenly delights, the water rises to the ankle only after they have stepped into the rivers, if they wish it to be so; or if they wish it, the water rises to their knees, to their hips, to their sides, and to their ears. And heavenly pleasures arise. Again, if the beings then wish the water to be cold, it is cold; if they wish it to be hot, it is hot; if they wish it to be hot and cold, it is hot and cold, according to their pleasure.
'And those great rivers flow along, full of water scented with the best perfumes of the Uragasara sandal-wood, of Tagaras, dark, fragrant sandal-wood trees, Agarus, and heavenly Tamalapattras; covered with flowers of the white waterlilies, and heavenly Utpalas, Padmas, Kumudas, and Pundarikas; full of delightful sounds of peacocks, sparrows, kunalas, cuckoos, sarikas, parrots, ducks, geese, herons, cranes, swans and others; with small islands inhabited by flocks of birds, created by the Tathagata; adorned with fields, full of metals; with fords on which it is easy to drink, free from mud, and covered with gold dust. And when these beings there desire, thinking what kind of wishes should be fulfilled for them, then exactly such wishes are fulfilled for them according to the Dharma.
'And, O Ananda, the sound which rises from that water is delightful, and the whole Buddha country is aroused by it. And if beings, who stand on the borders of the river, wish that the sound should not come within their ear-shot, then it does not come within their ear-shot, even if they are possessed of the heavenly ear. And whatever sound a man wishes to hear, exactly that delightful sound he hears, as for instance, the sound "Buddha, Dharma, Sangha, the perfections, the stages, the powers, perfections, freedom from attachment, consciousness; emptiness, unconditioned, free from desire, not made, not born, without origin, not being, and cessation; peace; great love, great pity, great rejoicing, and great forgiveness; resignation to consequences which have not yet arisen, and attainment of the royal stage.
'And having heard these sounds, everybody feels the highest delight and pleasure accompanied by retirement, passionlessness, quiet, cessation, law, and a stock of merit leading to the perfect knowledge.
'And O Ananda, there is nowhere in that Sukhavati world any sound of sin, obstacle, misfortune, distress, and destruction; there is nowhere any sound of pain, even the sound of perceiving what is neither pain nor pleasure is not there, O Ananda, how much less the sound of pain. For that reason, O Ananda, that world is called Sukhavati, in brief, but not in full. For, O Ananda, the whole kalpa would come to an end, while the different causes of the pleasure of the world Sukhavati are being praised, and even then the end of those causes of happiness could not be reached.
#19. 'And again, O Ananda, the beings, who have been and will be born in that world Sukhavati, will be endowed with such color, strength, vigor, height and breadth, dominion, accumulation of virtue; with such enjoyments of dress, ornaments, gardens, palaces, and pavilions; and such enjoyments of touch, taste, smell, and sound; in fac, with all enjoyments and pleasures, exactly like the Paranirmitavasavartin gods.
'And again, O Ananda, in that world Sukhavati, beings do not take food consisting of gross materials of gravy or molasses; but whatever food they desire, such food they perceive, as if it were taken, and become delighted in body and mind. Yet they need not put it into their mouth.
'And if, after they are satisfied, they wish different kinds of perfumes, then with these very heavenly kinds of perfumes the whole Buddha country is scented. And whosoever wishes to perceive there such perfume, every perfume of every scent of the Gandharvaraja does always reach his nose.
'And in the same manner, if they desire musical instruments, banners, flags, umbrellas, cloaks, powders, ointments, garlands, and scents, then the whole Buddha country shines with such things. If they desire cloaks of different colors and many hundred thousand colors, then with these very best cloaks the whole Buddha country shines. And the people feel themselves covered with them.
'And if they desire such ornaments, as for instance, head-ornaments, ear-ornaments, neck-ornaments, hand and foot ornaments, namely, diadems, earrings, bracelets, armlets, necklaces, chains, earjewels, seals, gold strings, girdles, gold nets, pearl nets, jewel nets, nets of bells made of gold and jewels, then they see that Buddha country shining with such ornaments adorned with many hundred thousand jewels, that are fastened to ornament-trees. And they perceive themselves to be adorned with these ornaments.
'And if they desire a palace, with colors and emblems of such and such height and width, adorned with hundred thousand gates made with different jewels, covered with different heavenly flowers, full of couches strewn with beautiful cushions, then exactly such a palace appears before them. And in these delightful palaces they dwell, play, sport, walk about, being honored, and surrounded by seven times seven thousands of Apsarases.
#20. 'And in that world, there is no difference between gods and men, except when they are spoken of in ordinary and imperfect parlance as gods and men. And, O Ananda, as a low man and powerless man, before the face of the mighty king, is neither bright, nor warm, nor brilliant, nor is he self-confident and radiant, thus Sakra, king of the Devas, if before the face of the Paranirmitavasavartin gods, is neither bright, nor warm, nor brilliant, namely, with regard to his gardens, palaces, dresses, ornaments, his dominion, his perfection, his miraculous power, or his supremacy, his comprehension of the Dharma, and his full enjoyment of the Dharma. And, O Ananda, as the Paranirmitavasavartin gods are there, thus men must be considered in the world Sukhavati.
#21. 'And again, O Ananda, in that world Sukhavati, when the time of forenoon has come, the winds are greatly agitated and blowing everywhere in the four quarters. And they shake and drive many beautiful, graceful, and many-colored stalks of the gem trees, which are perfumed with sweet heavenly scents, so that many hundred beautiful flowers of delightful scent fall down on the great earth, which is all full of jewels. And with these flowers that Buddha country is adorned on every side seven fathoms deep. As a clever man might spread out a flower-bed on the earth and make it even with both his hands, beautiful and charming, even thus with those flowers of various scents and colors that Buddha country is shining on every side seven fathoms deep. And these many flowers are soft, pleasant to touch, if one may use a comparison, like Kakilindika. If one puts one's foot on them, they sink down four inches; if one raises one's foot, they rise again four inches. When the time of the forenoon has gone again, those flowers vanish without leaving anything behind. Then that Buddha country is again clean, pleasant, beautiful, and without fading flowers. The winds blow again everywhere in the four quarters, and scatter down fresh flowers as before. And as it is in the forenoon, so it is at noon, at twilight, in the first, middle, and last watch of the night. And the beings, if touched by those winds which blow perfume with various scents, are as full of happiness as a Bhikkhu who has obtained Nirvana.
#22. 'And in that Buddha country, O Ananda, no mention is ever made of the names of fire, sun, moon, planets, constellations, and stars, or of blinding darkness. There is no mention even of day and night, except in the conversation of the Tathagata. Nor is there any idea of predial property belonging to monasteries.
#23. 'And again, O Ananda, in that world Sukhavati at the proper time clouds full of heavenly perfumed water pour down heavenly flowers of all colors; heavenly seven jewels, heavenly sandalwood-powder, and heavenly umbrellas, flags, and banners are poured down. And in the sky, the heavenly flowers of all colors, and heavenly canopies are held, likewise heavenly excellent umbrellas and all kinds of ornaments, heavenly musical instruments are played, and heavenly Apsarases dance.
#24. 'And again, O Ananda, in that Buddha country whatever beings have been born, and are being born, and will be born, are always constant in absolute truth, till they have reached Nirvana. And why is that? Because there is no room or mention there of the other two divisions, such as beings not constant or constant in falsehood.
'On this wise, O Ananda, that world is briefly called Sukhavati, not at full length. Even a kalpa, O Ananda, would come to an end, while the causes of happiness which exist in that world Sukhavati are being praised, and yet it would be impossible to reach the end of them.'
25. Then the Bhagavat at that time spoke the following verses:
'Thus, O Ananda, the world Sukhavati is endowed with immeasurable good qualities and excellences.
#26. 'And again, O Ananda, in the ten quarters, and in each of them, in all the Buddha countries equal in number to the sand of the Ganges, the blessed Buddhas equal in number to the sand of the Ganges, glorify the name of the blessed Amitabha, the Tathagata, they preach his fame, they proclaim his glory, they extol his virtue. And why? Because all beings who hear the name of the blessed Amitabha, and having heard it, raise their thought with joyful longing, even for once only, will not turn away again from the highest perfect knowledge.
#27. 'And before the eyes of those beings, O Ananda, who again and again think of the Tathagata reverently and who make the great and unmeasured stock of good works grow, turning their thought towards Bodhi, and who pray to be born in that world, Amitabha, the Tathagata, holy and fully enlightened, when the time of their death has approached, will appear, surrounded by many companies of Bhikkhus and honored by them. And then these beings, having seen the Bhagavat, their thoughts filled with joy, will, when they have died, be born in that world of Sukhavati. And if, O Ananda, any son or daughter of a good family should wish, "How then may I see that Tathagata Amitabha visibly?" then he must raise his thought on to the highest perfect knowledge, he must direct his thought with perseverance and excessive desire towards that Buddha country, and direct the stock of his good works towards being born there.
# 28. ' But before the eyes of those who do not care much about the Tathagata Amitabha, and who do not vigorously increase the great and unmeasured stock of their good works, the Tathagata Amitabha, holy and fully enlightened, will appear, at the time of death, with the company of Bhikkhus, in breadth and height and form and beauty, very like the former, and very like the real Tathagata, but only created by thought. And they, through their meditation that dwells on perceiving the sight of the Tathagata, and with unfailing memory, will, when they have died, be born in the same Buddha country.
#29. 'And again, O Ananda, those beings who meditate on the Tathagata by giving him ten thoughts, and who will direct their desire towards that Buddha country, and who will feel satisfaction when the profound doctrines are being preached, and who will not fall off, nor despair, nor fail, but will meditate on that Tathagata, if it were by one thought only, and will direct their desire toward that Buddha country, they also will see the Tathagata Amitabha, while they are in a dream, they will be born in the world Sukhavati, and will never turn away from the highest perfect knowledge.
#30. 'And, O Ananda, after thus seeing the cause and effect, the Tathagatas of the ten quarters, in immeasurable and innumerable worlds, glorify the name of the Tathagata Amitabha, preach his fame, and proclaim his praise. And again, O Ananda, in that Buddha country, Bodhisattvas equal in number to the sand of the Ganges approach, from the ten quarters, and in each quarter towards that Tathagata Amitabha, in order to see him, to bow before him, to worship him, to consult him, and likewise in order to see that company of Bodhisattvas, and the different kinds of perfection in the multitude of ornaments and excellences belonging to that Buddha country.'
#31. Then at that time, the Bhagavat, in order to illustrate this matter in fuller measure, recited these verses:
1. 'As there are Buddha countries equal to the sand of the river Ganges in the eastern quarter, whence all the Bodhisattvas come to worship the Buddha, the lord Amitayu;
2. 'And they having taken many bunches of flowers of different colors, sweetly-scented and delightful, shower them down on the best leader of men, on Amitayu, worshipped by gods and men;
3. 'In the same manner there are as many Buddha countries in the southern, western, and northern quarters, whence they come with the Bodhisattvas to worship the Buddha, the lord Amitayus.
4. 'And they having taken many handfulls of scents of different colors, sweetly scented and delightful, shower them down on the best leader of men, on Amitayus, worshipped by gods and men.
5. 'These many Bodhisattvas having worshipped and revered the feet of Amitaprabha, and having walked round him respectfully, speak thus: "Oh, the country of Buddha shines wonderfully! "
6. 'And they cover him again with handfulls of flowers, with thoughts jubilant, with incomparable joy, and proclaim their wish before that lord: "May our country also be such as this."
7. 'And what was thrown there as handfuls of flowers arose in the form of an umbrella extending over a hundred yojanas, and the beautiful country shines and is well adorned, and flowers cover the whole body of Buddha.
8. 'These Bodhisattvas having thus honored him, how do they act? Delighted they pronounce this speech: "Gains by those people are well gained, by whom the name of the best man has been heard.
9. '"By us also all the gain has been well gained, because we have come to this Buddha country. See this dream-like country, how beautiful it is, which was made by the teacher during a hundred thousand kalpas.
10. '"Look, the Buddha possessed of a mass of the best virtues shines, surrounded by Bodhisattvas. Endless is his splendor, and endless the light, and endless the life, and endless the assembly."
11. 'And the lord Amitayus makes a smile of thirty-six nayutas of kotis of rays, which rays having issued from the circle of his mouth light up the thousand kotis of Buddha countries.
12. 'And all these rays having returned there again settle on the head of the lord; gods and men perceive the delight, because they have seen there this light of him.
13. 'There rises the Buddha-son, glorious, he indeed the mighty Avalokitesvara, and says: "What is the reason there, O Bhagavat, what is the cause, that thou smilest, O lord of the world ?
14. '"Explain this, for thou knowest the sense, and art full of kind compassion, the deliverer of many living beings. All beings will be filled with joyful thoughts, when they have thus heard this excellent and delightful speech.
15. '"And the Bodhisattvas who have come from many worlds to Sukhavati in order to see the Buddha, having heard it and having perceived the great joy, will quickly inspect this country.
16. '"And beings, come to this noble country, (quickly) obtain miraculous power, divine eye and divine ear, they remember their former births, and know the highest wisdom."
17. 'Then Buddha Amitayus preaches: "This prayer was mine formerly, so that beings having in any way whatever heard my name should for ever go to my country.
18. '"And this my excellent prayer has been fulfilled, and beings having quickly come here from many worlds into my presence, never return from here, not even for one birth."
19. 'If a Bodhisattva wishes here that his country should be such as this, and that he also should deliver many beings, through his name, through his preaching, and through his sight,
20. 'Let him quickly and with speed go to the world Sukhavati, and having gone near Amitaprabha, let him worship a thousand kotis of Buddhas.
21. 'Having worshipped many kotis of Buddhas, and having gone to many countries by means of their miraculous power, and having performed adoration in the presence of the Sugatas, they will go to Sukhavati with devotion.
#32. 'And again, O Ananda, there is a Bodhi-tree belonging to Amitayus, the Tathagata, holy and fully enlightened. That Bodhi-tree is ten hundred yojanas in height, having petals, leaves, and branches spread over eight hundred yojanas, having a circumference near the base of the root of five hundred yojanas, always in leaf, always in flower, always in fruit, of different colors, of many hundred thousand colors, of different leaves, of different flowers, of different fruits, adorned with many beautiful ornaments, shining with precious jewels, bright like the moon, beautified with precious jewels such as are fastened on Sakra's head, strewn with Kintamani jewels, well adorned with the best jewels of the sea, more than heavenly, hung with golden strings, adorned with hundreds of gold chains, jewel-garlands, necklaces, bracelets, strings of red pearls and blue pearls, Simhalata, girdles, bunches, strings of jewels, and all kinds of jewels, covered with nets of bells, nets of all kinds of jewels, nets of pearls, and nets of gold, adorned with the emblems of the dolphin, the Svastika, the Nandyavarta, and the moon, adorned with nets of jewels and of bells, and with ornaments of gold and of all kinds of jewels, in fact adorned according to the desires of beings whatever their wishes may be.
'And again, O Ananda, the sound and noise of that Bodhi-tree, when it is moved by the wind, reaches immeasurable worlds. And, O Ananda, for those beings whose hearing that Bodhi-tree reaches, no disease of the ear is to be feared until they reach Bodhi. And for those immeasurable, innumerable, inconceivable, incomparable, measureless, immense, and inexpressible beings, whose sight that Bodhi-tree reaches, no disease of the eye is to be feared until they reach Bodhi. And again, O Ananda, for those beings who smell the scent of that Bodhi-tree, no disease of the nose is to be feared until they reach Bodhi. For those beings who taste the fruits of that Bodhi-tree, no disease of the tongue is to be feared until they reach Bodhi. For those beings who are lighted up by the light of that Bodhi-tree, no disease of the body is to be feared until they reach Bodhi. And again, O Ananda, for those beings who meditate on that Bodhi-tree according to the Dharma, henceforward until they reach the Bodhi, no perplexity of their thought is to be feared. And all those beings, through the seeing of that Bodhi-tree, never turn away, namely, from the highest perfect knowledge. And they obtain three kinds of resignation, namely, Ghoshanuga, resignation to natural consequences, and (resignation to consequences which have not yet arisen, through the power of the former prayers of that same Tathagata Amitayus, through the service rendered by them to the former Jinas, and through the performance of the former prayers, to be well accomplished, and to be well conceived, without failure or without flaw.
#33. 'And again, O Aranda, those Bodhisattvas who have been born, are being born, or will be born there, are all bound to one birth only, and will thence indeed obtain the highest perfect knowledge; barring always the power of prayers, as in the case of those Bodhisattvas who are preaching with the voice of lions, who are girded with the noble armor of the Dharma, and who are devoted to the work of helping all people to attain Paranirvana.
#34. 'And again, O Ananda, in that Buddha country, those who are Sravakas are possessed of the light of a fathom, and those who are Bodhisattvas are possessed of the light of a hundred thousand kotis of yojanas; barring always the two Bodhisattvas, by whose light that world is everywhere shining with eternal splendor.'
Then the blessed Ananda said this to the Bhagavat: 'What are the names, O Bhagavat, of those two noble-minded Bodhisattvas?
The Bhagavat said: 'One of them, O Ananda, is the noble-minded Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara, and the second is Mahasthamaprapta by name. And, O Ananda, these two were born there, having left this Buddha country here'.
#35. 'And, O Ananda, those Bodhisattvas who have been born in that Buddha country are all endowed with the thirty-two marks of a great man, possessed of perfect members, skilled in meditation and wisdom, clever in all kinds of wisdom, having sharp organs, having well-restrained organs, having organs of sense capable of thorough knowledge, not mean, possessed of the five kinds of strength, of patience under censure, and of endless and boundless good qualities.
#36. 'And again, O Ananda, all those Bodhisattvas who have been born in that Buddha country are not deprived of the sight of Buddha, nor liable to fall down to the evil states, until they reach the Bodhi. Henceforward they all will never be forgetful of their former births; barring always those who are devoted to their former place, during the disturbances of the kalpas, and while the five kinds of corruption prevail, when there is the appearance of blessed Buddhas in the world, as for instance, that of me at present.
#37. 'And again, O Ananda, all the Bodhisattvas who have been bom in that Buddha country, having gone during one morning meal to the other world, worship many hundred thousand nayutas of kotis of Buddhas, as many as they like, through the favor of Buddha. They consider in many ways that they should worship Buddhas with such and such flowers, incense, lamps, scents, garlands, ointments, powder, cloaks, umbrellas, flags, banners, ensigns, music, concerts, and musical instruments; and, as soon as they have considered this, there arise also on their hands exactly such materials for every kind of worship. And while performing worship for those blessed Buddhas with those materials, beginning with flowers and ending with musical instruments, they lay up for themselves much immeasurable and innumerable merit. Again, if they wish that such handfuls of flowers should be produced on their hands, then such handfuls of heavenly flowers, of different colors, of many colors, of different scents, are produced on their hands as soon as thought of. They shower again and again such handfulls of flowers upon those blessed Buddhas. And the very smallest handfull of flowers, being thrown on high, appears above in the sky as an umbrella of flowers ten yojanas in circumference. And when the second has been thrown after it, the first does not fall down on the earth. There are handfuls of flowers there, which having been thrown up, appear in the sky as umbrellas of flowers twenty yojanas in circumference.
'There appear in the sky some flower-umbrellas, thirty, forty, or fifty yojanas in circumference, as far as a hundred thousand yojanas in circumference. Those Bodhisattvas there who perceive the noble pleasure and joy, and obtain the noble strength of thought, having caused a great and immeasurable and innumerable stock of good works to ripen, and having worshipped many hundred thousand nayutas of kotis of Buddhas, turn again to the world Sukhavati in one morning, through the favor of practising the former prayers of the same Tathagata Amitayus, owing to the hearing of the Dharma formerly given, owing to the stock of good works produced under former Jinas, owing to the perfect completion in the success of former prayers, owing to the well-ordered state of mind.
#38. 'And again, O Ananda, all those beings who have been born in that Buddha country recite the story of the Dharma, which is accompanied by omniscience. And for the beings in that Buddha country there exists no idea of property whatever. And all those going and walking through that Buddha country feel neither pleasure nor pain; stepping forward they have no desire, and with desire they do not step forward. They give no thought to any beings. And again, O Ananda, for those beings who have been born in that world Sukhavati, there is no idea of others, no idea of self, no idea of inequality, no strife, no dispute, no opposition. Full of equanimity, of benevolent thought, of tender thought, of affectionate thought, of useful thought, of serene thought, of firm thought, of unbiassed thought, of undisturbed thought, of unagitated thought, of thought fixed on the practice of discipline and transcendent wisdom, having entered on knowledge which is a firm support to all thoughts, equal to the ocean in wisdom, equal to the mountain Meru in knowledge, rich in many good qualities, delighting in the music of the Bodhyangas, devoted to the music of Buddha, they discard the eye of flesh, and assume the heavenly eye.
'And having approached the eye of wisdom, having reached the eye of the Dharma, producing the eye of Buddha, showing it, lighting it, and fully exhibiting it, they attain perfect wisdom. And being bent on the equilibrium of the three elements, having subdued and calmed their thoughts endowed with a perception of the causes of all things, clever in explanation of causes, endowed with the power of explaining the Dharma or things such as they really are, clever in taking and refusing, clever in leading and not leading, clever in resting, they, being regardless of worldly stories, derive true pleasures from stories transcending the world. They are clever in examining all things, familiar with the knowledge of the cessation of the working of all things, perceiving even what cannot be seen, caring for nothing, attached to nothing, without cares, without pain, free without clinging to anything, free from impurity, of blameless behavior, not clinging to anything, intent on the deep or profound laws, they do not sink, elevated to the entrance into the knowledge of Buddha difficult to comprehend, having obtained the path of one vehicles, free from doubt, beyond the reach of questionings, knowing the thoughts of others, free from self-confidence.
'Being elevated in knowledge, they are like Mount Sumeru; being imperturbable in thought, they are like the ocean; they surpass the light of the sun and moon, by the light of wisdom, and by the whiteness, brilliancy, purity, and beauty of their knowledge; by their light and splendor, they are like the color of molten gold; by their patiently bearing the good and evil deeds of all beings, they are like the earth; by their cleaning and carrying off the taint of all sins, they are like water; by their burning the evil of pride in anything, they are like the king of fire ; by not clinging to anything, they are like the wind; by pervading all things and yet not caring for anything, they are like the ether; by not being tainted by the whole world, they are like lotuses; by their shouting forth the Dharma, they are like the great cloud at the rainy season; by showering down the whole ocean of the Dharma, they are like the great rain; by overpowering great troops, they are like bulls; by the highest restraint of their thoughts, they are like great elephants; by being well trained, they are like noble horses; by their fearlessness, confidence, and heroism, they are like the lion, the king of beasts; by affording protection to all beings, they are like the fig-tree, the king of trees; by not being shaken by any calumniators, they are like the Sumeru, the king of mountains; by their feeling of unlimited love, they are like the sky; by their precedence, owing to their command of the Dharma, and their stock of all merit, they are like the great Brahman; by their not dwelling in what they have accumulated, they are like birds; by their scattering all calumniators, they are like Garuda, king of birds; by their not being averse to our obtaining difficult things, they are like the Udumbara flowers; calm like elephants, because their senses are neither crooked nor shaken; clever in decision, full of the sweet flavor of patience; without envy, because they do not hanker after the happiness of others; wise, because in their search after the Dharma, never tired of discussions on the Dharma; like the precious beryl, through their value; like jewel-mines, by their sacred knowledge; sweet-sounding by the noise of the great drum of the Dharma, striking the great kettledrum of the Dharma, blowing the great trumpet-shell of the Dharma, raising the great banner of the Dharma, lighting the torch of the Dharma, looking for wisdom, not foolish, faultless, passionless, pure, refined, not greedy, fond of distributing, generous, open-handed, fond of distributing gifts, not stingy in giving instruction and food, not attached, without fear, without desires, wise, patient, energetic, bashful, orderly, fearless, full of knowledge, happy, Pleasant to live with, obliging, enlightening the world, free from sorrow, free from taint, having left off the winking of the eye, possessing lightly acquired knowledge, strong in reasoning, strong in prayer, not crooked, not perverse; then, having accumulated a hundred thousand nayutas of kotis of lakshas of virtue, delivered from the thorns of pride, free from illusion, hatred, and passion; pure, devoted to what is pure, famous by the Jina-power, learned in the world, elevated by their purified knowledge, sons of the Jina, endowed with the vigor of thought, heroes, firm, unselfish, free from faults, unequalled, free from anger, collected, noble, heroes, bashful, energetic, possessed of memory, understanding, and prudence; sending forth the weapons of knowledge, possessed of purity, shining, free from faults and taints, endowed with memory, resting on serene knowledge. And such, O Ananda, are the beings in that Buddha country, stated briefly. But if the Tathagatas should describe them fully, even in a length of life that should last for a hundred thousand nayutas of kotis of kalpas, yet the end of the virtues of those good people would not be reached, and yet there would be no failure of the self-confidence of the Tathagata. And why? Because, O Ananda, both are indeed inconceivable and incomparable, that is, first, the virtues of those Bodhisattvas, and secondly, the unsurpassed light of knowledge of the Tathagata.
#39. 'And now, O Ananda, stand up, facing westward, and having taken a handful of flowers, fall down. This is the quarter where that Bhagavat Amitabha, the Tathagata, holy and fully enlightened, dwells, remains, supports himself, and teaches the Dharma, whose spotless and pure name, famed in every quarter of the whole world with its ten quarters, the blessed Buddhas, equal to the grains of the sand of the river Ganges, speaking and answering again and again without stopping, extol, praise, and eulogize.'
After this, the blessed Ananda said this to the Bhagavat : 'I wish, O Bhagavat, to see that Amitabha, Amitaprabha, Amitayus, the Tathagata, holy and fully enlightened, and those noble-minded Bodhisattvas, who are possessed of a stock of merit amassed under many hundred thousand nayutas of kotis of Buddhas.'
At that moment this speech was spoken by the blessed Ananda, and immediately that Amitabha, the Tathagata, holy and fully enlightened, let such a ray of light go out of the palm of his own hand, that even the most distant Buddha country was shining with the great splendor. And again at that time, whatever black mountains, or jewel-mountains, or Merus, great Merus, Mukilindas, great Mukilindas, Chakravadas, great Chakravadas, or erections, or pillars, trees, woods, gardens, palaces, belonging to the gods and men, exist everywhere in hundred thousand kotis of Buddha countries; all these were pervaded and overcome by the light of that Tathagata.
And as a man, followed by another at a distance of a fathom only, would see the other man, when the sun has risen, exactly in the same manner the Bhikkhus, Bhikkhunis, Upasakas, Upasikas, gods, Nagas, Yakshas, Rakshasas, Gandharvas, Asuras, Garudas, Kinnaras, Mahoragas, men and not-men, in this Buddha country, saw at that time that Amitabha, the Tathagata, holy and fully enlightened, like the Sumeru, the king of mountains, elevated above all countries, surpassing all quarters, shining, warming, glittering, blazing; and they saw that great mass of Bodhisattvas, and that company of Bhikshus, that is, by the grace of Buddha, from the pureness of that light.
And as this great earth might be, when all covered with water, so that no trees, no mountains, no islands, no grasses, bushes, herbs, large trees, no rivers, chasms, water-falls, would be seen, but only the one great earth which had all become an ocean, in exactly the same manner there is neither mark nor sign whatever to be seen in that Buddha country, except Sravakas, spreading their light over a fathom, and those Bodhisattvas, spreading their light over a hundred thousand kotis of yojanas.
And that Bhagavat Amitabha, the Tathagata, holy and fully enlightened, overshadowing that mass of Sravakas and that mass of Bodhisattvas, is seen, illuminating all quarters. Again at that time all those Bodhisattvas, Srivakas, gods and men in that world Sukhavati, saw this world Saha and Shakyamuni, the Tathagata, holy and fully enlightened, surrounded by a holy company of Bhikshus, teaching the Dharma.
#40. Then, the Bhagavat addressed the nobleminded Bodhisattva Ajita, and said: 'Do you see, O Ajita, the perfection of the array of ornaments and good qualities in that Buddha country; and above in the sky places with charming parks, charming gardens, charming rivers and lotus lakes, scattered with many precious Padmas, Utpalas, Kumudas, and Pundarikas; and below, from the earth to the abode of the Akanishthas, the surface of the sky, covered with flowers, ornamented with wreaths of flowers, shining on the rows of many precious columns, frequented by flocks of all kinds of birds created by the Tathagata?'
The Bodhisattva Ajita said: 'I see, O Bhagavat.'
The Bhagavat said: 'Do you see again, O Ajita, those flocks of immortal birds, making the whole Buddha country resound with the voice of Buddha, so that those Bodhisattvas are never without meditating on Buddha?'
Ajita said: 'I see, O Bhagavat.'
The Bhagavat said: 'Do you see again, O Ajita, those beings, who have ascended to the palaces which extend over a hundred thousand yojanas in the sky, walking about respectfully?'
Ajita said: 'I see, O Bhagavat.'
The Bhagavat said: 'What do you think, O Ajita, is there any difference between the gods called Paranirmitavasavartins, and men in the world Sukhavati?'
Ajita said: 'I do not, O Bhagavat, perceive even one difference, so far as the men in that world of Sukhavati are endowed with great supernatural powers.'
The Bhagavat said: 'Do you see again, O Ajita, those men dwelling within the calyx of excellent lotus-flowers in that world Sukhavati?'
He said: 'As gods called Trayastrimsas or Yamas, having entered into palaces of fifty or hundred or five hundred yojanas in extent, are playing, sporting, walking about, exactly in the same manner I see, O Bhagavat, these men dwelling within the calyx of excellent lotus-flowers in the world Sukhavati.
#41. 'Again there are, O Bhagavat, beings who, being born miraculously, appear sitting cross-legged in the lotus-flowers. What is there, O Bhagavat, the cause, what the reason, that some dwell within the calyx, while others, being born miraculously, appear sitting cross-legged in the lotus-flowers?'
The Bhagavat said: 'Those Bodhisattvas, O Ajita, who, living in other Buddha countries, entertain doubt about being born in the world Sukhavati, and with that thought amass a stock of merit, for them there is the dwelling within the calyx. Those, on the contrary, who are filled with faith, and being free from doubt, amass a stock of merit in order to be born in the world Sukhavati, and conceive, believe, and trust in the perfect knowledge of the blessed Buddhas, they, being born miraculously, appear sitting cross-legged in the flowers of the lotus. And those noble-minded Bodhisattvas, O Ajita, who, living in other Buddha countries, raise their thought in order to see Amitabha, the Tathagata, holy and fully enlightened, who never entertain a doubt, believe in the perfect knowledge of Buddha and in their own stock of merit, for them, being born miraculously, and appearing cross-legged, there is in one minute, such a body as that of other beings who have been born there long before. See, O Ajita, the excellent, immeasurable, unfailing, unlimited wisdom, that namely for their own benefit they are deprived during five hundred years of seeing Buddhas, seeing Bodhisattvas, hearing the Dharma, speaking about the Dharma with others, and thus collecting a stock of merit; they are indeed deprived of the successful attainment of every stock of merit, and that, through their forming ideas tainted with doubt.
'And, O Ajita, there might be a dungeon belonging to an anointed Kshatriya king, inlaid entirely with gold and beryl, in which cushions, garlands, wreaths and strings are fixed, having canopies of different colors and kind, covered with silk cushions, scattered over with various flowers and blossoms, scented with excellent scents, adorned with arches, courts, windows, pinnacles, fire-places, and terraces, covered with nets of bells of the seven kinds of gems, having four angles, four pillars, four doors, four stairs; and the son of that king having been thrown into the dungeon for some misdeed is there, bound with a chain made of the Jambunada gold. And suppose there is a couch prepared for him, covered with many woollen cloths, spread over with cotton and feather cushions, having Kalinga coverings, and carpets, together with coverlids, red on both sides, beautiful and charming. There he might be then either sitting or resting. And there might be brought to him much food and drink, of various kinds, pure and well prepared. What do you think, O Ajita, would the enjoyment be great for that prince?'
Ajita said: 'Yes, it would be great, O Bhagavat.'
The Bhagavat said: 'What do you think, O Ajita, would he even taste it there, and notice it, or would he feel any satisfaction from it?'
He said: 'Not indeed, O Bhagavat; but on the contrary, when he had been led away by the king and thrown into the dungeon, he would only wish for deliverance from there. He would seek for the nobles, princes, ministers, women, elders (rich merchants), householders, and lords of castles, who might deliver him from that dungeon. Moreover, O Bhagavat, there is no pleasure for that prince in that dungeon, nor is he liberated, until the king shows him favor.'
The Bhagavat said: 'Thus, O Ajita, it is with those Bodhisattvas who, having fallen into doubt, amass a stock of merit, but doubt the knowledge of Buddha. They are born in that world Sukhavati, through the hearing of Buddha's name, and through the serenity of thought only; they do not, however, appear sitting cross-legged in the flowers of the lotus, being born miraculously, but dwell only in the calyx of the lotus-flowers. Moreover for them there exist ideas of palaces and gardens. There is no discharge, there is no phlegm or mucus, there is nothing disagreeable to the mind. But they are deprived of seeing Buddhas, hearing the Dharma, seeing Bodhisattvas, speaking about and ascertaining the Dharma, gathering any new stock of merit, and practicing the Dharma, during five hundred years. Moreover they do not rejoice there or perceive satisfaction. But they wish to remove one another, and then they step out behind. And it is not known whether their exit takes place above, below, or across.
'See, O Ajita, there might be worshippings of many hundred thousand nayutas of kotis of Buddhas during those five hundred years, and also many, immense, innumerable, immeasurable stocks of merit to be amassed. But all this they destroy by the fault of doubt. See, O Ajita, to how great an injury the doubt of the Bodhisattvas leads. Therefore now, O Ajita, after the Bodhisattvas without doubting have quickly raised their thoughts towards Bodhi, in order to obtain power of conferring happiness for the benefit of all creatures, their stock of merit should be turned towards their being born in the world Sukhavati, where the blessed Amitabha, the Tathagata, holy and fully enlightened, dwells.'
#42. After these words, the Bodhisattva Ajita thus spoke to the Bhagavat: 'O Bhagavat, will the Bodhisattvas, who have gone away from this Buddha country, or from the side of other blessed Buddhas, be born in the world Sukhavati?'
The Bhagavat said: 'Indeed, O Ajita, seventy-two nayutas of kotis of Bodhisattvas are gone away from this Buddha country, who will be born in the world Sukhavati; Bodhisattvas, who will never return, thanks to the stock of merit, which they have accumulated under many hundred thousand nayutas of kotis of Buddhas. What then shall be said of those with smaller stocks of merit?
1. Eighteen hundred nayutas of kotis of Bodhisattvas will be born in the world Sukhavati from the place of the Tathagata Dushprasaha.
2. There lives in the Eastern quarter the Tathagata named Ratnakara. From his place ninety kotis of Bodhisattvas will be born in the world Sukhavati.
3. Twenty-two kotis of Bodhisattvas will be born in the world Sukhavati from the place of the Tathagata Jyotishprabha.
4. Twenty-five kotis of Bodhisattvas will be born in the world Sukhavati from the place of the Tathagata Amitaprabha.
5. Sixty kotis of Bodhisattvas will be born in the world Sukhavati from the place of the Tathagata Lokapradipa.
6. Sixty-four kotis of Bodhisattvas will be born in the world Sukhavati from the place of the Tathagata Nagabhibhu.
7. Twenty-five kotis of Bodhisattvas will be born in the world Sukhavati from the place of the Tathagata Virajaprabha.
8. Sixteen kotis of Bodhisattvas will be born in the world Sukhavati from the place of the Tathagata Simha.
9. Eighteen thousand Bodhisattvas will be born in the world Sukhavati from the place of the Tathagata Simha.
10. Eighty-one nayutas of kotis of Bodhisattvas will be born in the world Sukhavati from the place of the Tathagata Srikuta.
11. Ten nayutas of kotis of Bodhisattvas will be born in the world Sukhavati from the place of the Tathagata Narendraraja.
12. Twelve thousand Bodhisattvas will be born in the world Sukhavati from the place of the Tathagata Balabhijna.
13. Twenty-five kotis of Bodhisattvas, who have obtained strength, having gone to one place in one week of eight days, and having turned to the West during ninety hundred thousand nayutas of kotis of kalpas, will be born in the world Sukhavati from the place of the Tathagata Pushpadhvaga.
14. Twelve kotis of Bodhisattvas will be born in the world Sukhavati from the place of the Tathagata Jvalanadhipati.
15. From the place of the Tathagata Vaisaradyaprapta, sixty-nine kotis of Bodhisattvas will be born in the world Sukhavati, in order to see the Tathagata Amitabha, to bow before him, to worship him, to ask questions of him, and to consult him.
'For this reason, O Ajita, I might proclaim during a full nayuta of kotis of kalpas the names of those Tathagatas, from whom the Bodhisattvas proceed in order to see that Tathagata Amitabha in the world Sukhavati, to bow before him, and to worship him, and yet the end could not be reached.
#43. 'See, O Ajita, what easy gains are gained by those beings who will hear the name of the Tathagata Amitabha, holy and fully enlightened. Nor will those beings be of little faith, who will obtain at least one joyful thought of that Tathagata and of this treatise of the Dharma. Therefore now, O Ajita, I invite you, and command you to proclaim this treatise of the Dharma, before the world together with the gods. Having plunged into the vast universe full of fire, no one ought to turn back, if he has but once conceived the thought of going across. And why? Because kotis of Bodhisattvas indeed, O Ajita, return from the highest perfect knowledge, on account of not hearing such treatises of the Dharma as this. Therefore, from a wish for this treatise of the Dharma, a great effort should be made to hear, learn, and remember it, and to study it for the sake of fully grasping it and widely making it known. A good copy of it should be kept, after it has been copied in a book, if only during one night and day, or even during the time necessary for milking a cow.
'The name of Master should be given to a teacher who desires to conduct quickly innumerable beings to the state of never returning from the highest perfect knowledge, namely, in order that they may see the Buddha country of that blessed Amitabha, the Tathagata, and to acquire the excellent perfection of the array of good qualities peculiar to his own Buddha country.
'And, O Ajita, such beings will have easily gained their gains who, having amassed a stock of merit, having performed service under former Jinas, and having been guided by Buddhas, shall hear in future, until the destruction of the good Dharma, such-like excellent treatises of the Dharma, treatises which are praised, eulogized, and approved of by all Buddhas, and convey quickly the great knowledge of omniscience. And those also who, when they have heard it, shall obtain excellent delight and pleasure, and will learn, retain, recite and grasp, and wisely preach it to others, and be delighted by its study, or, having copied it at least, will worship it, will certainly produce much good work, so that it is difficult to count it.
'Thus indeed, O Ajita, I have done what a Tathagata ought to do. It is now for you to devote yourself to it without any doubt. Do not doubt the perfect and unfailing knowledge of Buddha. Do not enter into the dungeon made of gems built up in every way. For indeed, the birth of a Buddha, O Ajita, is difficult to be met with, so is the instruction in the Dharma, and also a timely birth. O Ajita, the way to gain the perfection of all stocks of merit has been proclaimed by me. Do now exert yourselves and move forward. O Ajita, I grant indeed a great favor to this treatise of the Dharma. Be valiant so that the laws of Buddhas may not perish or disappear. Do not break the command of the Tathagata.'
#44. Then at that time, the Bhagavat spoke these verses :
1. 'Such hearings of me will not be for people who have not done good; but those who are heroes and perfect, they will hear this speech.
2. 'And those by whom the Lord of the world, the enlightened and the light-giver, has been seen, and the law been heard reverentially, will obtain the highest joy.
3. 'Low people of slothful minds cannot find any delight in the laws of Buddha; those who have worshipped in the Buddha countries learn the service of the Lords of the three worlds.
4. 'As a blind man in darkness does not know the way, and much less can show it, so also he who is only a Sravaka in the knowledge of Buddha; how then should beings who are ignorant!
5. 'The Buddha only knows the virtues of a Buddha; but not gods, Nagas, Asuras, Yakshas, and Sravakas; even for Anekabuddhas there is no such way, as when the knowledge of a Buddha is being manifested.
6. 'If all beings had attained bliss, knowing the highest meaning in pure wisdom, they would not in kotis of kalpas or even in a longer time tell all the virtues of one Buddha.
7. 'Thereupon they would attain Nirvana, preaching for many kotis of kalpas, and yet the measure of the knowledge of a Buddha would not be reached, for such is the wonderfulness of the knowledge of the Jinas.
8. 'Therefore a learned man of an intelligent race who believes my words, after having perceived all paths of the knowledge of the Jinas, should utter speech, saying, "Buddha is wise."
9. 'Now and then a man is found, now and then a Buddha appears, knowledge of the object of faith is acquired after a long time; therefore one should strive to acquire the knowledge of the object of faith.'
#45. And while this treatise of the Dharma was being delivered, twelve kotis of nayutas of beings obtained the pure and spotless eye of the Dharma with regard to Dharmas. Twenty-four hundred thousand nayutas of kotis of beings obtained the Anagamin reward. Eight hundred Bhikshus had their thoughts delivered from faults so as to cling no more to anything. Twenty-five kotis of Bodhisattvas obtained resignation to things to come. And by forty hundred thousand nayutas of kotis of the human and divine race, thoughts such as had never risen before were turned toward the highest perfect knowledge, and their stocks of merit were made to grow toward their being born in the world Sukhavati, from a desire to see the Tathagata, the blessed Amitabha. And all of them having been born there, will in proper order be born in other worlds, as Tathagatas, called Manjusvara (sweet-voiced). And eighty kotis of nayutas having acquired resignation under the Tathagata Dipankara, never turning back again from the highest perfect knowledge, rendered perfect by the Tathagata Amitayus, practising the duties of former Bodhisattvas, will carry out, after they are born in the world Sukhavati, the duties enjoined in the former prayers.
#46. At that time this universe, the three millions of worlds, trembled in six ways. And various miracles were seen. On earth everything was perfect, and human and divine instruments were played, and the shout of joy was heard as far as the world of the Akanishthas.
#47. Thus spoke the Bhagavat enraptured, and the noble-minded Bodhisattva Ajita, and the blessed Ananda, the whole Assembly, and the world, with gods, men, spirits, mighty birds, and fairies, applauded the speech of the Bhagavat. The praise of the beauty of the excellences of Sukhavati, the country of the blessed Amitabha, the Tathagata, the entry of the Bodhisattva on the stage of never returning, the story of Amitabha, the Mahayanasutra of the Description of Sukhavati is finished.
NOTE: The famous "Sutra on the Contemplation of Buddha Amitayus" (or simply, "Contemplation Sutra") is revered as canonical by all Pure Land Buddhists, and is one of the Three Sutras of Pure Land Buddhism, the others being the Larger Sukhavati-vyuha Sutra and the Smaller Sukhavati-vyuha Sutra. In the Contemplation Sutra, the Nembutsu (Namo Amida Butsu) is specifically proclaimed as the avenue to liberation of suffering beings from samsara. This English translation by J. Takakusu published originally as vol. XLIX of The Sacred Books of the East series (Oxford, 1894, public domain) has been edited for ease of reading and comprehension by modern readers. Footnotes from the original edition are dated and have thus been eliminated. A reprint of the unaltered and fully annotated translation exists in Dover paperback.
1. Thus have I heard: At one time the Buddha dwelt in Rajagriha, on Vulture Peak, with a large assembly of Bhikkhus and with thirty-two thousand Bodhisattvas, with Manjushri the Dharma-Prince at the head of the assembly.
2. At that time, in the great city of Rajagriha there was a prince, the heir-apparent, named Ajatasatru. He listened to the wicked counsel of Devadatta and other friends and forcibly arrested Bimbisara his father, the king, and shut him up by himself in a room with seven walls, proclaiming to all the courtiers that no one should approach (the king). The chief consort of the king, Vaidehi by name, was true and faithful to her lord, the king. She supported him in this way: having purified herself by bathing and washing, she anointed her body with honey and ghee mixed with corn-flour, and she concealed the juice of grapes in the various garlands she wore in order to give him food without being noticed by the warder. As she stole in and made an offering to him, he was able to eat the flour and to drink the juice of grapes. Then he called for water and rinsed his mouth. That done, the king stretched forth his folded hands towards Vulture Peak and duly and respectfully made obeisance to the World-Honored One, who at that time was living there. And he uttered the following prayer: 'Mahamaudgalyayana is my friend and relative; let him, I pray, feel compassion towards me, and come and communicate to me the eight prohibitive precepts of the Buddha.' On this, Mahamaudgalyayana at once appeared before the king, coming with a speed equal to the flight of a falcon or an eagle, and communicated to him the eight precepts.
Day after day he visited the king. The World-Honored One sent also his worthy disciple Purna to preach the Dharma to the king. Thus a period of three weeks passed by. The king showed in his expression that he was happy and contented when he had an opportunity of hearing the Dharma as well as of enjoying the honey and flour.
3. At that time, Ajatasatru asked the warder of the gate whether his father was yet alive. On this, the warder answered him : 'Exalted king, the chief consort of your father brought food and presented it to him by anointing her body with honey and flour and filling her garlands with the juice of grapes, and the Sramanas, Mahamaudgalyayana and Purna, approached the king through the sky in order to preach the Dharma to him. It is impossible, king, to prevent them coming.'
When the prince heard this answer his indignation arose against his mother: 'My mother,' he cried, 'is indeed a rebel, for she was found in the company of that rebel. Wicked people are those Sramanas, and it is their art of spells causing illusion and delusion that delayed the death of that wicked king for so many days.' Instantly he brandished his sharp sword, intending to slay his mother. At that moment, there intervened a minister named Chandraprabha, who was possessed of great wisdom and intelligence, and Jiva (a famous physician). They saluted the prince and remonstrated with him, saying: 'We, ministers, Great king, heard that since the beginning of the kalpas there had been several wicked kings, even to the number of eighteen thousand, who killed their own fathers, coveting the throne of their respective kingdoms, as mentioned in the Sutra of the discourse of the Veda. Yet never have we heard of a man killing his mother, though he be void of virtue. Now, if you, king, should dare to commit such a deadly sin, you would bring a stain upon the blood of the Kshatriyas, the kingly race. We cannot even bear to hear of it. You are indeed a Chandala, the lowest race; we will not stay here with you.'
After this, the two great ministers withdrew stepping backward, each with his hand placed on his sword. Ajatasatru was then frightened and greatly afraid of them, and asked Jiva, 'Will you not be my friend?' In reply Jiva said to him, 'Do not then, O great king, by any means think of injuring your mother.' On hearing this, the prince repented and sought for mercy, and at once laid down his sword and did his mother no harm. He finally ordered the officers of the inner chambers to put the queen in a hidden palace and not to allow her to come out again.
4. When Vaidehi was thus locked up in confinement she became afflicted by sorrow and distress. She began to do homage to Buddha from afar, looking towards the Vulture Peak. She uttered the following words: 'Tathagata! World-Honored One! In former times you have constantly sent Ananda to me for enquiry and consolation. I am now in sorrow and grief. You, World-Honored One, are majestic and exalted; in no way shall I be able to see thee. Will thou, I pray you, command Mahamaudgalyayana and your honoured disciple, Ananda, to come and have an interview with me ?' After this speech, she grieved and wept, shedding tears like a shower of rain. Before she raised her head from doing homage to the distant Buddha, the World-Honored One knew what Vaidehi was wishing in her mind, though he was on the Vulture Peak. Therefore, he instantly ordered Mahamaudgalyayana and Ananda to go to her through the sky. Buddha himself disappeared from that mountain and appeared in the royal palace.
When the queen raised her head as she finished homage to Buddha, she saw before her the World-Honored Buddha Shakyamuni, whose body was purple gold in color, sitting on a lotus-flower which consists of a hundred jewels, with Mahamaudgalyayana attending on his left, and with Ananda on his right. Sakra (Indra), Brahman, and other gods that protect the world were seen in the midst of the sky, everywhere showering heavenly flowers with which they made offerings to Buddha in their obeisance. Vaidehi, at the sight of Buddha the World-Honored One, took off her garlands and prostrated herself on the ground, crying, sobbing, and speaking to Buddha: 'World-Honored One! what former sin of mine has produced such a wicked son? And again, Exalted One, from what cause and circumstances have you such an affinity (by blood and religion) with Devadatta (Buddha's wicked cousin and once his disciple)?'
5. 'My only prayer,' she continued, 'is this: World-Honored One, may you preach to me in detail of all the places where there is no sorrow or trouble, and where I ought to go to be born anew. I am not satisfied with this world of depravities, with Jambudvipa, which is full of hells, full of hungry spirits, and of the brute creatures. In this world of depravities, there are many assemblies of the wicked. May I not hear, I pray, the voice of the wicked in the future and may I not see any wicked person.
'Now I throw my limbs down to the ground before you, and seek for your mercy by confessing my sins. I pray for this only that the Sun-like Buddha may instruct me how to meditate on a world wherein all actions are pure.' At that moment, the World-Honored One flashed forth a golden ray from between his eyebrows. It extended to all the innumerable worlds of the ten quarters. On its return the ray rested on the top of the Buddha's head and transformed itself into a golden pillar just like Mount Sumeru, wherein the pure and admirable countries of the Buddhas in the ten quarters appeared simultaneously illuminated.
One was a country consisting of seven jewels, another was a country all full of lotus-flowers; one was like the palace of Mahesvara Deva (god Siva), another was like a mirror of crystal, with the countries in the ten quarters reflected therein. There were innumerable countries like these, resplendent, gorgeous, and delightful to look upon. All were meant for Vaidehi to see (and choose from).
Thereupon Vaidehi again spoke to Buddha: 'World-Honored One, although all other Buddha countries are pure and radiant with light, I should, nevertheless, wish myself to be born in the realm of Buddha Amitayus, in the world of Highest Happiness, Sukhavati. Now I simply pray you, World-Honored One, to teach me how to concentrate my thought so as to obtain a right vision of that country.'
6. Thereupon the World-Honored One gently smiled upon her, and rays of five colors issued forth out of his mouth, each ray shining as far as the head of king Bimbisara.
At that moment, the mental vision of that exalted king was perfectly clear though he was shut up in lonely retirement, and he could see the World-Honored One from afar. As he paid homage with his head and face, he naturally increased and advanced in wisdom, whereby he attained to the fruition of an Anagamin, the third of the four grades to Nirvana.
7. Then the World-Honored One said: 'Now do you not know, Vaidehi, that Buddha Amitayus is not very far from here? You should apply your mind entirely to close meditation upon those who have already perfected the pure actions necessary for that Buddha country.
'I now proceed to fully expound them for you in many parables, and thereby afford all ordinary persons of the future who wish to cultivate these pure actions an opportunity of being born in the Land of Highest Happiness (Sukhavati) in the western quarter. Those who wish to be born in that country of Buddha have to cultivate a threefold goodness. First, they should act filially towards their parents and support them; serve and respect their teachers and elders; be of compassionate mind, abstain from doing any injury, and cultivate the ten virtuous actions". Second, they should take and observe the vow of seeking refuge with the Three jewels, fulfill all moral precepts, and not lower their dignity or neglect any ceremonial observance. Third, they should give their whole mind to the attainment of perfect wisdom, deeply believe in the principle of cause and effect, study and recite the Mahayana doctrine, and persuade and encourage others who pursue the same course as themselves.
'These three groups as enumerated are called the pure actions leading to the Buddha country.'
'Vaidehi!'Buddha continued, 'To clarify if do you not understand now: These three classes of actions are the effective cause of the pure actions taught by all the Buddhas of the past, present, and future.'
8. The Buddha then addressed Ananda as well as Vaidehi: 'Listen carefully, listen carefully! Ponder carefully on what you hear! I, Tathagata, now declare the pure actions needful for Birth in that Buddha country, for the sake of all beings hereafter that are subject to the misery inflicted by the enemy of the passions. Well done, Vaidehi! Appropriate are the questions which you have asked! Ananda, be sure to remember these words of mine, the Buddha, and repeat them openly to many assemblies. I, Tathagata, now teach Vaidehi and also all beings hereafter in order that they may meditate on the World of Highest Happiness, Sukhavati, in the western quarter.
'It is by the power of Buddha only that one can see that pure land of Buddha as clear as one sees the image of one's face reflected in the transparent mirror held up before one.
'When one sees the state of happiness of that country in its highest excellence, one greatly rejoices in one's heart and immediately attains a spirit of resignation prepared to endure whatever consequences may yet arise.' Buddha, turning again to Vaidehi, said: 'You are but an ordinary person; the quality of your mind is weak and confused.
'You have not as yet obtained the divine eye and cannot perceive what is at a distance. All the Buddhas, Tathagatas have various means at their disposal and can therefore afford you an opportunity of seeing that Buddha country.' Then Vaidehi rejoined: 'World-Honored One, people such as I can now see that land by the power of Buddha, but how shall all those beings who are to come after Buddha's Nirvana, and who, as being depraved and devoid of good qualities, will be harassed by the five worldly sufferings - how shall they see the World of Highest Happiness of the Buddha Amitayus?'
9. Buddha then replied: 'You and all other beings besides ought to make it your only aim, with concentrated thought, to get a perception of the western quarter. You will ask how that perception is to be formed. I will explain it now. All beings, if not blind from birth, are uniformly possessed of sight, and they all see the setting sun. You should sit down properly, looking in the western direction, and prepare your thought for a close meditation on the sun; cause your mind to be firmly fixed on it so as to have an unwavering perception by the exclusive application of your mind, and gaze upon it in particular when it is about to set and looks like a suspended drum.
'After you have thus seen the sun, let that image remain clear and fixed, whether your eyes be shut or open;-such is the perception of the sun, which is the First Meditation.
10. 'Next you should form the perception of water; gaze on the water clear and pure, and let (this image) also remain clear and fixed (afterwards); never allow your thought to be scattered and lost.
'When you have thus seen the water you should form the perception of ice. As you see the ice shining and transparent, you should imagine the appearance of lapis lazuli.
'After that has been done, you will see the ground consisting of lapis lazuli, transparent and shining both within and without. Beneath this ground of lapis lazuli there will be seen a golden banner with the seven jewels, diamonds and the rest, supporting the ground. It extends to the eight points of the compass, and thus the eight corners (of the ground) are perfectly filled up. Every side of the eight quarters consists of a hundred jewels, every jewel has a thousand rays, and every ray has eighty-four thousand colors which, when reflected in the ground of lapis lazuli, look like a thousand million suns, and. it is difficult to see them all one by one. Over the surface of that ground of lapis lazuli there are stretched golden ropes intertwined crosswise; divisions are made by means of strings of seven jewels with every part clear and distinct.
'Each jewel has rays of five hundred colors which look like flowers or like the moon and stars. Lodged high up in the open sky these rays form a tower of rays, whose storeys and galleries are ten millions in number and built of a hundred jewels. Both sides of the tower have each a hundred million flowery banners furnished and decked with numberless musical instruments. Eight kinds of cool breezes proceed from the brilliant rays. When those musical instruments are played, they emit the sounds "suffering," "non-existence," "impermanence," and "non-self "; such is the perception of the water, which is the Second Meditation.
11. 'When this perception has been formed, you should meditate on its (constituents) one by one and make (the images) as clear as possible, so that they may never be scattered and lost, whether your eyes be shut or open. Except only during the time of your sleep, you should always keep this in your mind. One who has reached this (stage of) perception is said to have dimly seen the Land of Highest Happiness (Sukhavati).'
'One who has obtained the Samadhi of supernatural calm is able to see the land of that Buddha country clearly and distinctly: this state is too much to be explained fully; such is the perception of the land, and it is the Third Meditation.
'You should remember, Ananda, the Buddha words of mine, and repeat this law for attaining to the perception of the land of the Buddha country for the sake of the great mass of the people hereafter who may wish to be delivered from their sufferings. If any one meditates on the land of that Buddha country, his sins which bind him to births and deaths during eighty million kalpas shall be expiated; after the abandonment of his present body, he will assuredly be born in the pure land in the following life. The practice of this kind of meditation is called the "right meditation." If it is of any other kind it is called "heretical meditation."'
12. Buddha then spoke to Ananda and Vaidehi: 'When the perception of the land (of that Buddha country) has been gained, you should next meditate on the jewel-trees (of that country). In meditating on the jewel-trees, you should take each by itself and form a perception of the seven rows of trees; every tree is eight hundred yojanas high, and all the jewel-trees have flowers and leaves consisting of seven jewels all perfect. All flowers and leaves have colors like the colors of various jewels -from the color of lapis lazuli there issues a golden ray; from the color of crystal, a saffron ray; from the color of agate, a diamond ray; from the color of diamond, a ray of blue pearls. Corals, amber, and all other gems are used as ornaments for illumination; nets of excellent pearls are spread over the trees, each tree is covered by seven sets of nets, and between one set and another there are five hundred million palaces built of excellent flowers, resembling the palace of the Lord Brahman; all heavenly children live there, quite naturally; every child has a garland consisting of five hundred million precious gems like those that are fastened on Sakra's (Indra's) head, the rays of which shine over a hundred yojanas, just as if a hundred million suns and moons were united together; it is difficult to explain them in detail. That (garland) is the most excellent among all, as it is the commixture of all sorts of jewels. Rows of these jewel-trees touch one another; the leaves of the trees also join one another.
'Among the dense foliage there blossom various beautiful flowers, upon which are miraculously found fruits of seven jewels. The leaves of the trees are all exactly equal in length and in breadth, measuring twenty-five yojanas each way; every leaf has a thousand colors and a hundred different pictures on it, just like a heavenly garland. There are many excellent flowers which have the color of Jambunada gold and an appearance of fire-wheels in motion, turning between the leaves in a graceful fashion. All the fruits are produced just (as easily) as if they flowed out from the pitcher of the God Sakra. There is a magnificent ray which transforms itself into numberless jewelled canopies with banners and flags. Within these jewelled canopies the works of all the Buddhas of the Great Chiliocosm appear illuminated; the Buddha countries of the ten quarters also are manifested therein. When you have seen these trees you should also meditate on them one by one in order. In meditating on the trees, trunks, branches, leaves, flowers, and fruits, let them all be distinct and clear;- such is the perception of the trees (of that Buddha country), and it is the Fourth Meditation.
13. 'Next, you should perceive the water (of that country). The perception of the water is as follows:
'In the Land of Highest Happiness there are waters in eight lakes; the water in every lake consists of seven jewels which are soft and yielding. Deriving its source from the king of jewels that fulfills every wish, the water is divided into fourteen streams; every stream has the color of seven jewels; its channel is built of gold, the bed of which consists of the sand of variegated diamonds.
'In the midst of each lake there are sixty million lotus-flowers, made of seven jewels; all the flowers are perfectly round and exactly equal (in circumference), being twelve yojanas. The water of jewels flows amidst the flowers and rises and falls by the stalks (of the lotus); the sound of the streaming water is melodious and pleasing, and propounds all the perfect virtues (Paramitas), "suffering," "non-existence," "impermanence," and "non-self;" it proclaims also the praise of the signs of perfection, and minor marks of excellence of all Buddhas. From the king of jewels that fulfills every wish, stream forth the golden-colored rays excessively beautiful, the radiance of which transforms itself into birds possessing the colors of a hundred jewels, which sing out harmonious notes, sweet and delicious, ever praising the remembrance of Buddha, the remembrance of the Dharma, and the remembrance of the Sangha -- such is the perception of the water of eight good qualities, and it is the Fifth Meditation.
14. 'Each division of that (Buddha) country, which consists of several jewels, has also jewelled storeys and galleries to the number of five hundred million; within each storey and gallery there are innumerable Devas engaged in playing heavenly music. There are some musical instruments that are hung up in the open sky, like the jewelled banners of heaven; they emit musical sounds without being struck, which, while resounding variously, all propound the remembrance of Buddha, of the Dharma and of the Sangha, Bhikkhus, and so forth. When this perception is duly accomplished, one is said to have dimly seen the jewel-trees, jewel-ground, and jewel-lakes of that World of Highest Happiness (Sukhavati) -- such is the perception formed by meditating on the general features of that Land, and it is the Sixth Meditation.
'If one has experienced this, one has expiated the greatest sinful deeds which would otherwise lead one to Transmigration for numberless millions of kalpas; after his death he will assuredly be born in that land.
15. 'Listen carefully! listen carefully! Think over what you have heard! I, Buddha, am about to explain in detail the law of delivering one's self from trouble and torment. Commit this to your memory in order to explain it in detail before a great assembly.' While Buddha was uttering these words, Buddha Amitayus stood in the midst of the sky with Bodhisattvas Mahasthama and Avalokitesvara, attending on his right and left respectively. There was such a bright and dazzling radiance that no one could see clearly; the brilliance was a hundred thousand times greater than that of gold (Jambunada). Thereupon Vaidehi saw Buddha Amitayus and approached the World-Honored One, and made obeisance to him, touching his feet, and spoke to him as follows: 'Exalted One! I am now able, by the power of Buddha, to see Buddha Amitayus together with the two Bodhisattvas. But how shall all the beings of the future meditate on Buddha Amitayus and the two Bodhisattvas?'
16. The Buddha answered: 'Those who wish to meditate on that Buddha ought first to direct their thought as follows: form the perception of a lotus-flower on a ground of seven jewels, each leaf of that lotus exhibits the colors of a hundred jewels, and has eighty-four thousand veins, just like heavenly pictures; each vein possesses eighty-four thousand rays, of which each can be clearly seen. Every small leaf and flower is two hundred and fifty yojanas in length and the same measurement in breadth. Each lotus-flower possesses eighty-four thousand leaves, each leaf has the kingly pearls to the number of a hundred million, as ornaments for illumination; each pearl shoots out a thousand rays like bright canopies. The surface of the ground is entireIy covered by a mixture of seven jewels. There is a tower built of the gems which are like those that are fastened on Sakra's head. It is inlaid and decked with eighty thousand diamonds, Kimsuka jewels, Brahma-mani and excellent pearl nets.
'On that tower there are miraculously found four posts with jewelled banners; each banner looks like a hundred thousand million Sumeru mountains.
'The jewelled veil over these banners is like that of the celestial palace of Yama, illuminated with five hundred million excellent jewels, each jewel has eighty-four thousand rays, each ray has various golden colors to the number of eighty-four thousand, each golden color covers the whole jewelled soil, it changes and is transformed at various places, every now and then exhibiting various appearances; now it becomes a diamond tower, now a pearl net, again clouds of mixed flowers, freely changing its manifestation in the ten directions it exhibits the state of Buddha -- such is the perception of the flowery throne, and it is the Seventh Meditation.'
Buddha, turning to Ananda, said: 'These excellent flowers were created originally by the power of the prayer of Bhikkhu, Dharmakara. All who wish to exercise the remembrance of that Buddha ought first to form the perception of that flowery throne. When engaged in it one ought not to perceive vaguely, but fix the mind upon each detail separately. Leaf, jewel, ray, tower, and banner should be clear and distinct, just as one sees the image of one's own face in a mirror. When one has achieved this perception, the sins which would produce births and deaths during fifty thousand kalpas are expiated, and he is one who will most assuredly be born in the World of Highest Happiness.
17. 'When you have perceived this, you should next perceive Buddha himself. Do you ask how? Every Buddha Tathagata is one whose spiritual body is the principle of nature (Darmadhatu-kaya), so that he may enter into the mind of any beings. Consequently, when you have perceived Buddha, it is indeed that mind of yours that possesses those thirty-two signs of perfection and eighty minor marks of excellence which you see in a Buddha. In conclusion, it is your mind that becomes Buddha, nay, it is your mind. that is indeed Buddha. The ocean of true and universal knowledge of all the Buddhas derives its source from one's own mind and thought. Therefore you should apply your thought with an undivided attention to a careful meditation on that Buddha Tathagata, Arhat, the Holy and Fully Enlightened One. In forming the perception of that Buddha, you should first perceive the image of that Buddha; whether, your eyes are open or shut, look at an image like Jambunada gold in color, sitting on that flower throne mentioned before.
'When you have seen the seated figure your mental vision will become clear, and you will be able to see clearly and distinctly the adornment of that Buddha country, the jewelled ground, and so forth. In seeing these things, let them be clear and fixed just as you see the palms of your hands. When you have passed through this experience, you should further form a perception of another great lotus-flower which is on the left side of Buddha, and is exactly equal in every way to the above-mentioned lotus-flower of Buddha. Still further, you should form (a perception of) another lotus-flower which is on the right side of Buddha. Perceive that an image of Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara is sitting on the left-hand flowery throne, shooting forth golden rays exactly like those of Buddha. Perceive then that an image of Bodhisattva Mahasthama is sitting on .the right-hand flowery throne.
'When these perceptions are gained the images of Buddha and the Bodhisattvas will all send forth brilliant rays, clearly lighting up all the jewel-trees with golden color. Under every tree there are also three lotus-flowers. On every lotus-flower there is an image, either of Buddha or of a Bodhisattva; thus (the images of the Bodhisattvas and of Buddha) are found everywhere in that country. When this perception has been gained, the devotee should hear the excellent Dharma preached by means of a stream of water, a brilliant ray of light, several jewel-trees, ducks, geese, and swans. Whether he be wrapped in meditation or whether he has ceased from it, he should ever hear the excellent Dharma. What the devotee hears must be kept in memory and not be lost, when he ceases from that meditation ; and it should agree with the Sutras, for if it does not agree with the Sutras, it is called an illusory perception, whereas if it does agree, it is called the rough perception of the World of Highest Happiness;-such is the perception of the images, and it is the Eighth Meditation.
'He who has practiced this meditation is freed from the sins (which otherwise involve him in) births and deaths for innumerable million kalpas, and during this present life he obtains the Samadhi due to the remembrance of Buddha.
18. 'Further, when this perception is gained, you should next proceed to meditate on the bodily marks and the light of Buddha Amitayus.
'You should know, Ananda, that the body of Buddha Amitayus is a hundred thousand million times as bright as the color of the Jambunada gold of the heavenly abode of Yama; the height of that Buddha is six hundred thousand nayutas of kotis of yojanas innumerable as are the sands of the river Ganges.
'The white twist of hair between the eyebrows all turning to the right is just like the five Sumeru mountains.
'The eyes of Buddha are like the water of the four great oceans; the blue and the white are quite distinct.
'All the roots of hair of his body issue forth brilliant rays which are also like the Sumeru mountains.
'The halo of that Buddha is like a hundred million Great Chiliocosms; in that halo there are Buddhas miraculously created, to the number of a million nayutas of kotis innumerable as the sands of the Ganges; each of these Buddhas has for attendants a great assembly of numberless Bodhisattvas who are also miraculously created.
'Buddha Amitayus has eighty-four thousand signs of perfection, each sign is possessed of eighty-four minor marks of excellence, each mark has eighty-four thousand rays, each ray extends so far as to shine over the worlds of the ten quarters, whereby Buddha embraces and protects all the beings who think upon him and does not exclude any one of them. His rays, signs, and so forth are difficult to be explained in detail. But in simple meditation let the mind's eye dwell upon them.
'If you pass through this experience, you will at the same time see all the Buddhas of the ten quarters. Since you see all the Buddhas it is called the Samadhi of the remembrance of the Buddhas.
'Those who have practiced this meditation are said to have contemplated the bodies of all the Buddhas. Since they have meditated on Buddha's body, they will also see Buddha's mind. It is great compassion that is called Buddha's mind. It is by his absolute compassion that he receives all beings.
'Those who have practiced this meditation will, when they die, be born in the presence of the Buddhas in another life, and obtain a spirit of resignation wherewith to face all the consequences which shall hereafter arise.
'Therefore those who have wisdom should direct their thought to the careful meditation upon that Buddha Amitayus. Let those who meditate on Buddha Amitayus begin with one single sign or mark -- let them first meditate on the white twist of hair between the eyebrows as clearly as possible; when they have done this, the eighty-four thousand signs and marks will naturally appear before their eyes. Those who see Amitayus will also see all the innumerable Buddhas of the ten quarters. Since they have seen all the innumerable Buddhas, they will receive the prophecy of their future destiny to become Buddha in the presence of all the Buddhas -- Such is the perception gained by a complete meditation on all forms and bodies of Buddha, and it is the Ninth Meditation.
19. 'When you have seen Buddha Amitayus distinctly, you should then further meditate upon Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara, whose height is eight hundred thousand nayutas of yojanas ; the color of his body is purple gold, his head has a turban at the back of which there is a halo; the circumference of his face is a hundred thousand yojanas. In that halo, there are five hundred Buddhas miraculously transformed just like those of Shakyamuni Buddha; each transformed Buddha is attended by five hundred transformed Bodhisattvas who are also attended by numberless gods. Within the circle of light emanating from his whole body appear illuminated the various forms and marks of all beings that live in the five paths of existence.
'On the top of his head Is a heavenly crown of gems like those that are fastened (on Indra's head), in which crown there is a transformed Buddha standing, twenty-five yojanas high.
'The face of Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara In, like Jambunada gold in color.
'The soft hair between the eyebrows has all the colors of the seven jewels, from which eighty-four kinds of rays flow out, each ray has innumerable transformed Buddhas, each of whom is attended by numberless transformed Bodhisattvas; freely changing their manifestations they fill up the worlds of the ten quarters; (the appearance) can be compared with the color of the red lotus-flower.
'He wears a garland consisting of eight thousand rays, in which is seen fully reflected a state of perfect beauty. The palm of his hand has a mixed color of five hundred lotus-flowers. His hands have ten tips of fingers, each tip has eighty-four thousand pictures, which are like signet-marks, each picture has eighty-four thousand colors, each color has eighty-four thousand rays which are soft and mild and shine over all things that exist. With these jewel hands he draws and embraces all beings. When he lifts up his feet, the soles of his feet are seen to be marked with a wheel of a thousand spokes which miraculously transform themselves into five hundred million pillars of rays. When he puts his feet down to the ground, the flowers of diamonds and jewels are scattered about, and all things are simply covered by them. All the other signs of his body and the minor marks of excellence are perfect, and not at all different from those of Buddha, except the signs of having the turban on his head and the top of his head invisible, which two signs of him are inferior to those of the World-Honored One -- such is the perception of the real form and body of Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara, and it is the Tenth Meditation.'
The Buddha, especially addressing Ananda, said: 'Whosoever wishes to meditate on Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara must do so in the way I have explained. Those who practice this meditation will not suffer any calamity; they will utterly remove the obstacle that is raised by karma, and will expiate the sins which would involve them in births-and deaths for numberless kalpas. Even the hearing of the name of this Bodhisattva will enable one to obtain immeasurable happiness. How much more, then, will the diligent contemplation of him!
'Whosoever will meditate on Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara should first meditate on the turban of his head and then on his heavenly crown.
'All the other signs should also be meditated on according to their order, and they should be clear and distinct just as one sees the palms of one's hands.
'Next you should meditate on Bodhisattva Mahasthama, whose :bodily signs, height and size are equal to those of Avalokitesvara; the circumference of his halo is one hundred and twenty-five yojanas, and it shines as far as two hundred and fifty yojanas. The rays of his whole body shine over the countries of the ten quarters, they are purple gold in color, and can be seen by all beings that are in favorable circumstances. If one but sees the ray that issues from a single root of the hair of this Bodhisattva, he will at the same time see the pure and excellent rays of all the innumerable Buddhas of the ten quarters.
'For this reason this Bodhisattva is named the Unlimited Light; it is with this light of wisdom that he shines over all beings and causes them to be removed from the three paths of existence, and to obtain the highest power. For the same reason this Bodhisattva is called the Bodhisattva of Great Strength (Mahasthama). His heavenly crown has five hundred jewel-flowers; each jewel-flower has five hundred jewel-towers, in each tower are seen manifested all the pure and excellent features of the far-stretching Buddha countries in the ten quarters. The turban on his head is like a lotus-flower; on the top of the turban there is a jewel pitcher, which is filled with various brilliant rays fully manifesting the state of Buddha. All his other bodily signs are quite equal to those of Avalokitesvara. When this Bodhisattva walks about, all the regions of the ten quarters tremble and quake. Wherever the earth quakes there appear five hundred million jewel-flowers; each jewel-flower with its splendid dazzling beauty looks like the World of Highest Happiness (Sukhavati).
'When this Bodhisattva sits down, all the countries of seven jewels at once tremble and quake: all the incarnate, divided Amitayuses - innumerable as the dust of the earth - and all the incarnate Bodhisattvas - Avalokitesvara and Mahasthamaprapta - who dwell in the middlemost Buddha countries situated between the Buddha country of the lower region presided over by Buddha "Golden Light," and the country of the upper region presided over by Buddha "King of Light" -- all these assemble in the World of Highest Happiness (Sukhavati) like gathering clouds, sit on their thrones of lotus-flowers which fill the whole sky, and preach the excellent Dharma in order to deliver all the beings that are immersed in suffering -- such is the perception of the form and body of Bodhisattva Mahasthamaprapta, and it is the Eleventh Meditation.
'Those who practice this meditation are freed from the sins which would otherwise trap them in births-and-deaths for innumerable asamkhya kalpas.
'Those who have practiced this meditation do not live in an embryo state but obtain free access to the excellent and admirable countries of Buddhas. Those who have experienced this are said to have perfectly meditated upon the two Bodhisattvas Avalokitesvara and Mahasthamaprapta.
20. 'After you have had this perception, you should imagine yourself to be born in the World of Highest Happiness in the western quarter, and to be seated, cross-legged, on a lotus-flower there. Then imagine that the flower has shut you in and has afterwards unfolded; when the flower has thus unfolded, five hundred colored rays will shine over your body, your eyes will be opened so as to see the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas who fill the whole sky; you will hear the sounds of waters and trees, the notes of birds, and the voices of many Buddhas preaching the excellent Dharma, in accordance with the twelve divisions of the scriptures. When you have ceased from that meditation you must remember the experience ever after.
'If you have passed through this experience you are said to have seen the World of Highest Happiness in the realm of the Buddha Amitayus -- this is the perception obtained by a complete meditation on that Buddha country, and is called the Twelfth Meditation.
'The innumerable incarnate bodies of Amitayus, together with those of Avalokitesvara and Mahasthamaprapta, constantly come and appear before such devotees as above mentioned.'
21. Buddha then spoke to Ananda and Vaidehi: 'Those who wish, by means of their serene thoughts, to be born in the western land, should first meditate on an image of the Buddha, who is sixteen cubits high, seated on a lotus-flower in the water of the lake. As it was stated before, the real body and its measurement are unlimited, incomprehensible to the ordinary mind.
'But by the efficacy of the ancient prayer of that Tathagata, those who think of and remember him shall certainly be able to accomplish their aim.
'Even the mere perceiving of the image of that Buddha brings to one immeasurable blessings. How much more, then, will the meditating upon all the complete bodily signs of that Buddha! Buddha Amitayus has supernatural power; since everything is at his disposal, he freely transforms himself in the regions of the ten quarters. At one time he shows himself as possessing a magnificent body, which fills the whole sky, at another he makes his body appear small, the height being only sixteen or eighteen cubits. The body he manifests is always pure gold in color; his halo - bright with transformed Buddhas - and his jewel lotus-flowers are as mentioned above. The bodies of the two Bodhisattvas are the same always.
'All beings can recognize either of the two Bodhisattvas by simply glancing at the marks of their heads. These two Bodhisattvas assist Amitayus in his work of universal salvation -- such is the meditation that forms a joint perception of the Buddha and Bodhisattvas, and it is the Thirteenth Meditation.'
22. Buddha then spoke to Ananda and Vaidehi: 'The beings who will be born in the highest form of the highest grade (i. e. to Buddhahood) are those, whoever they may be, who wish to be born in that country and cherish the threefold thought whereby they are at once destined to be born there. What is the threefold thought, you may ask. First, the True Thought; second, the Deep Believing Thought; third, the Desire to be born in that Pure Land by bringing one's own stock of merit to maturity. Those who have this threefold thought in perfection shall most assuredly be born into that country.
'There are also three classes of beings who are able to be born in that country. What, you may ask, are the three classes of beings ? First, those who are possessed of a compassionate mind, who do no injury to any beings, and accomplish all virtuous actions according to Buddha's precepts; second, those who study and recite the Sutras of the Mahayana doctrine, for instance, the Vaipulya Sutras; third, those who practice the sixfold remembrance. These three classes of beings who wish to be born in that country by bringing (their respective stocks of merit) to maturity, will become destined to be born there if they have accomplished any of those meritorious deeds for one day or even for seven days.
'When one who has practiced (these merits) is about to be born in that country, Buddha Amitayus, together with the two Bodhisattvas Avalokitesvara and Mahasthamaprapta, also numberless created Buddhas, and a hundred thousand Bhikkhus and Sravakas, with their whole retinue, and innumerable gods, together with the palaces of seven jewels, will appear before him out of regard for his diligence and courage; Avalokitesvara together with Mahasthamaprapta, will offer a diamond seat to him; thereupon Amitayus himself will send forth magnificent rays of light to shine over the dying person's body. He and many Bodhisattvas will offer their hands and welcome him, when Avalokitesvara, Mahasthamaprapta, and all the other Bodhisattvas will praise the glory of the man who practiced the meritorious deeds, and convey an exhortation to his mind. When the new-comer, having seen these, rejoicing and leaping for joy, looks at himself, he will find his own body seated on that diamond throne; and as he follows behind Buddha he will be born into that country, in a moment When he has been born there, he will see Buddha's form and body with every sign of perfection complete, and also the perfect forms and signs of all the Bodhisattvas; he will also see brilliant rays and jewel forests and hear them propounding the excellent Dharma, and instantly be conscious of a spirit of resignation to whatever consequences may hereafter arise. Before long he will serve every one of the Buddhas who live in the regions of the ten quarters. In the presence of each of those Buddhas he will obtain successively a prophecy of his future destiny. On his return to his own land Sukhavati, in which he has just been born he will obtain countless hundreds of thousand Dharanis -- such are those who are to be born in the highest form of the highest grade to Buddhahood.
23. 'Next, the beings who will be born in the middle form of the highest grade are those who do not necessarily learn, remember, study, or recite those Vaipulya Sutras, but fully understand the meaning of the truth contained in them, and having a firm grasp of the highest truth do not speak evil of the Mahayana doctrine, but deeply believe in (the principle of) cause and effect; who by bringing these good qualities to maturity seek to be born in that Country of Highest Happiness. When one who has acquired these qualities is about to die, Amitayus, surrounded by the two Bodhisattvas Avalokitesvara and Mahasthamaprapta, and an innumerable retinue of dependents, will bring a seat of purple gold and approach him with words of praise, saying: "O my son in the Dharma! you have practiced the Mahayana doctrine; you have understood and believed the highest truth; therefore I now come to meet and welcome you." He and the thousand created Buddhas extend their hands all at once.
'When that man looks at his own body, he will find himself seated on that purple gold seat; he will, then, stretching forth his folded hands, praise and eulogize all the Buddhas. As quick as thought he will be born in the lake of seven jewels of that country. That purple gold seat on which he sits is like a magnificent jewel-flower, and will open after a night; the new-comer's body becomes purple gold in color, and he will also find under his feet a lotus-flower consisting of seven jewels. Buddha and the Bodhisattvas at the same time will send forth brilliant rays to shine over the body of that person whose eyes will instantaneously be opened and become clear. According to his former usage (in the human world) he will hear all the voices that are there, preaching primary truths of the deepest significance.
'Then he will descend from that golden seat and make obeisance to the Buddha with folded hands, praising and eulogizing the World-Honored One. After seven days, he will immediately attain to the state of the highest perfect knowledge, anuttarasamyaksambodhi, from which he will never fall away; next he will fly to all the ten regions and successively serve all the Buddhas therein; he will practice many a Samadhi in the presence of those Buddhas. After the lapse of a lesser kalpa he will attain a spirit of resignation to whatever consequences may hereafter arise, and he will also obtain a prophecy of his future destiny in the presence of Buddhas.
24. 'Next are those who are to be born in the lowest form of the highest grade: this class of beings also believes in the principle of cause and effect, and without slandering the Mahayana doctrine, simply cherishes the thought of obtaining the highest Bodhi and by bringing this good quality to maturity seeks to be born in that Country of Highest Happiness. When a devotee of this class dies, Amitayus, with Avalokitesvara, Mahasthamaprapta and all the dependents, will offer him a golden lotus-flower; he will also miraculously create five hundred Buddhas in order to send for and meet him. These five hundred created Buddhas will all at once extend their hands and praise him, saying: "O my son in the Dharma! you are pure now; as you have cherished the thought of obtaining the highest Bodhi, we come to meet you." When he has seen them, he will find himself seated on that golden lotus-flower. Soon the flower will close upon him; following behind the World-Honored One he will go to be born in the lake of seven jewels. After one day and one night the lotus-flower will unfold itself. Within seven days he may see Buddha's body, though his mind is not as yet clear enough to perceive all the signs and marks of the Buddha, which he will be able to see clearly after three weeks; then he will hear many sounds and voices preaching the excellent Dharma, and he himself, travelling through all the ten quarters, will make obeisance to all the Buddhas, from whom he will learn the deepest significance of the Dharma. After three lesser kalpas he will gain entrance to the knowledge of a hundred divisions of nature and become settled in the first joyful stage of Bodhisattva. The perception of these three classes of beings is called the meditation upon the superior class of beings, and is the Fourteenth Meditation.
25. 'The beings who will be born in the highest form of the middle grade are those who observe the five prohibitive precepts, the eight prohibitive precepts and the fasting, and practice all the moral precepts; who do not commit the five deadly sins, and who bring no blame or trouble upon any being; and who by bringing these good qualities to maturity seek to be born in the World of Highest Happiness in the western quarter. On the eve of such a person's departure from this life, Amitayus, surrounded by Bhikkhus and dependents, will appear before him, flashing forth rays of golden color, and will preach the Dharma of suffering, non-existence, impermanence, and non-self. He will also praise the virtue of homelessness that can liberate one from all sufferings. At the sight of Buddha, that believer will excessively rejoice in his heart; he will soon find himself seated on a lotus-flower. Kneeling down on the ground and stretching forth his folded hands he will pay homage to Buddha. Before he raises his head he will reach that Country of Highest Happiness and be born there. Soon the lotus-flower will unfold, when he will hear sounds and voices praising and glorifying the Four Noble Truths of suffering. He will immediately attain to the fruition of Arhatship, gain the threefold knowledge and the six supernatural faculties, and complete the eightfold emancipation.
26. 'The beings who will be born in the middle form of the middle grade are those who either observe the eight prohibitive precepts, and the fasting for one day and one night, or observe the prohibitive precept for Sramanera for the same period, or observe the perfect moral precepts, not lowering their dignity nor neglecting any ceremonial observance for one day and one night, and by bringing their respective merits to maturity seek to be born in the Country of Highest Happiness. On the eve of departure from this life, such a believer who is possessed of this moral virtue, which he has made fragrant by cultivation during his life, will see Amitayus, followed by all his retinue; flashing forth rays of golden color, this Buddha will come before him and offer a lotus-flower of seven jewels.
'He will hear a voice in the sky, praising him and saying: "O son of a noble family, you are indeed an excellent man. Out of regard for your obedience to the teachings of all the Buddhas of the three worlds, I now come and meet you." Then the newcomer will see himself seated on that lotus-flower. Soon the lotus-flower will fold around him, and being in this he will be born in the jewel-lake of the World of Highest Happiness in the western quarter.
'After seven days that flower will unfold again, when the believer will open his eyes, and praise the World-Honored One, stretching forth his folded hands. Having heard the Dharma, he will rejoice and obtain the fruition of a Srotapanna.
'In the lapse of half a kalpa he will become an Arhat.
27. 'Next are the beings who will be born in the lowest form of the middle grade to Buddhahood. If there are sons or daughters of a noble family who are filial to their parents and support them, besides exercising benevolence and compassion in the world, at their departure from this life such persons will meet a good and learned teacher who will fully describe to them the state of happiness in that Buddha country of Amitayus, and will also explain the forty-eight prayers of the Bhikkhu Dharmakara. As soon as any such person has heard these details, his life will come to an end. In a brief moment he will be born in the World of Highest Happiness in the western quarter.
'After seven days he will meet Avalokitesvara and Mahasthamaprapta, from whom he will learn the Dharma and rejoice. After the lapse of a lesser kalpa he will attain to the fruition of an Arhat. The perception of these three sorts of beings is called the meditation of the middle class of beings, and is the Fifteenth Meditation.
28. 'Next are the beings who will be born in the highest form of the lowest grade. If there be any one who commits many evil deeds, provided that he does not speak evil of the Mahayana Sutras, he, though himself a very stupid man, and neither ashamed nor sorry for all the evil actions that he has done, yet, while dying, may meet a good and learned teacher who will recite and laud the headings and titles of the twelve divisions of the Mahayana scriptures. Having thus heard the names of all the Sutras, he will be freed from the greatest sins which would involve him in births and deaths during a thousand kalpas.
'A wise man also will teach him to stretch forth his folded hands and to say, "Adoration to Buddha Amitayus" ( Namo Amitabhaya Buddhaya, or Namu Amida Butsu ). Having uttered the name of the Buddha, he will be freed from the sins which would otherwise involve him in births and deaths for fifty million kalpas. Thereupon the Buddha will send a created Buddha, and the created Bodhisattvas Avalokitesvara and Mahasthamaprapta, to approach that person with words of praise, saying: "O son of a noble family, as you have uttered the name of that Buddha, all your sins have, been destroyed and expiated, and therefore we now come to meet you." After this speech the devotee will observe the rays of that created Buddha flooding his chamber with light, and while rejoicing at the sight he will depart this life. Seated on a lotus-flower he will follow that created Buddha and go to be born in the jewel-lake.
'After the lapse of seven weeks, the lotus-flower will unfold, when the great compassionate Bodhisattvas Avalokitesvara and Mahasthamaprapta will stand before him, flashing forth magnificent rays, and will preach to him the deepest meaning of the twelve divisions of the scriptures. Having heard this, he will understand and believe it, and cherish the thought of attaining the highest Bodhi. In a period of ten lesser kalpas he will gain entrance to the knowledge of the hundred divisions of nature and be able to enter upon the first joyful stage of Bodhisattva. Those who have had an opportunity of hearing the name of Buddha, the name of the Dharma, and the name of the Sangha - the names of the Three jewels - can also be born in that country.'
29. Buddha continued: 'Next are the beings who will be born in the middle form of the lowest grade. If there is any one who transgresses the five and the eight prohibitive precepts, and also all the perfect moral precepts; he, being himself so stupid as to steal things that belong to the whole community or things that belong to a particular Bhikkhu and not be ashamed nor sorry for his impure preaching of the Dharma (in case of preacher), but magnify and glorify himself with many wicked deeds - such a sinful person deserves to fall into hell in consequence of those sins. At the time of his death, when the fires of hell approach him from all sides, he will meet a good and learned teacher who will, out of great compassion, preach the power and virtue of the ten faculties of Amitayus and fully explain the supernatural powers and brilliant rays of that Buddha; and will further praise moral virtue, meditation, wisdom, emancipation, and the thorough knowledge that follows emancipation. After having heard this, he will be freed from his sins, which would involve him in births and deaths during eighty million kalpas; thereupon those violent fires of hell will transform themselves into a pure and cool wind blowing about heavenly flowers. On each of these flowers will stand a created Buddha or Bodhisattva to meet and receive that person. In a moment he will be born in a lotus-flower growing in the lake of seven jewels. After six kalpas the lotus-flower will open, when Avalokitesvara and Mahasthama will soothe and encourage him with their Brahma-voices, and preach to him the Mahayana Sutras of the deepest significance.
'Having heard this Dharma, he will instantaneously direct his thought toward the attainment of the highest Bodhi.
30. 'Finally, there are the beings who will be born in the lowest form of the lowest grade. If there is any one who commits evil deeds, and even completes the ten wicked actions, the five deadly sins and the like; that man, being himself stupid and guilty of many crimes, deserves to fall into a miserable path of existence and suffer endless pains during many kalpas. On the eve of death he will meet a good and learned teacher who will, soothing and encouraging him in various ways, preach to him the excellent Dharma and teach him the remembrance of Buddha, but, being harassed by pains, he will have no time to think of Buddha. Some good friend will then say to him: "Even if you cannot exercise the remembrance of Buddha, you may, at least, utter the name, "Buddha Amitayus." Let him do so serenely with his voice uninterrupted; let him be (continually) thinking of Buddha until he has completed ten times the thought, repeating the formula, "Adoration to Buddha Amitayus" (Namah Amitabha Buddhayah, Namu Amida Butsu). On the strength of his merit of uttering that Buddha's name he will, during every repetition, expiate the sins which involved him in births and deaths during eighty million kalpas. He will, while dying, see a golden lotus-flower like the disk of the sun appearing before his eyes; in a moment he will be born in the World of Highest Happiness. After twelve greater kalpas the lotus-flower will unfold; thereupon the Bodhisattvas Avalokitesvara and Mahasthamaprapta, raising their voices in great compassion, will preach to him in detail the real state of all the elements of nature and the law of the expiation of sins. On hearing them he will rejoice and will immediately direct his thought toward the attainment of the Bodhi -- such are the beings who are to be born in the lowest form of the lowest grade to Buddhahood. The perception of the above three is called the meditation of the inferior class of beings, and is the Sixteenth Meditation.'
31. When Buddha had finished this speech, Vaidehi, together with her five hundred female attendants, could see, as guided by the Buddha's words, the scene of the far-stretching World of the Highest Happiness, and could also see the body of Buddha and the bodies of the two Bodhisattvas. With her mind filled with joy she praised them, saying: 'Never have I seen such a wonder!' Instantaneously she became wholly and fully enlightened, and attained a spirit of resignation, prepared to endure whatever consequences might yet arise. Her five hundred female attendants too cherished the thought of obtaining the highest perfect knowledge, and sought to be born in that Buddha country.
32. The World-Honored One predicted that they would all be born in that Buddha country and be able to obtain the Samadhi (the supernatural calm) of the presence of many Buddhas. All the innumerable Devas (gods) also directed their thought toward the attainment of the highest Bodhi.
Thereupon Ananda rose from his seat, approached Buddha, and spoke thus: 'World-Honored One, what should we call this Sutra? And how should we receive and remember it in the future?'
Buddha said in his reply to Ananda: 'Ananda, this Sutra should be called 'The Meditation on the Land of Sukhavati, on Buddha Amitayus, Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara, Bodhisattva Mahasthamaprapta,' or otherwise be called 'The Sutra on the entire removal of the obstacle of Karma, the means of being born in the realm of the Buddhas.' You should take and hold it, not forgetting nor losing it. Those who practice the Samadhi in accordance with this Sutra will be able to see, in the present life, Buddha Amitayus and the two great Bodhisattvas.
'In case of a son or a daughter of a noble family, the mere hearing of the names of the Buddha and the two Bodhisattvas will expiate the sins which would involve them in births and deaths during innumerable kalpas. How much more will the remembrance of that Buddha and the Bodhisattvas!
'Know that the one who remembers that Buddha is the White Lotus among people, whom the Bodhisattvas Avalokitesvara and Mahasthama consider an excellent friend. Such a person will, sitting in the Bodhi-mandala, be born in the abode of Buddhas.'
The Buddha further spoke to Ananda : 'You should carefully remember these words. To remember these words is to remember the name of Buddha Amitayus.' When Buddha concluded these words, the worthy disciples Mahamaudgalyayana, and Ananda, Vaidehi and the others were all enraptured with boundless joy.
33. Thereupon the World-Honored One came back, walking through the open sky to Vulture Peak. Ananda soon after spoke before a great assembly of all the occurrences as stated above. On hearing this, all the innumerable Devas, Nagas and Yakshas were inspired with great joy; and having made obeisance to the Buddha they went their way.
Here ends the Sutra of the Meditation on Buddha Amitayus, spoken by Buddha Shakyamuni.