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The Smaller Sukhavativyuha Sutra (Amitabha Sutra or Amida Sutra)


        The Sutra is the shortest of the three basic Sutras in Pure Land School, so it is also The Smaller Sukhavativyuha.

        It starts by giving a description of the splendours of Sukhavati, the Pure Land of Amitabha Buddha, and further explains what must be done in order to be reborn there, The Buddhas of the six directions extol the merits and virtues of Amitabha Buddha, so one should make a great vow to be reborn in Sukhavati by believing and reciting the name of Amitabha upon hearing His name.

        As its short length, this Sutra is frequently recited at religious services and daily ritual routine as well.





Sukhavati Vyuha Sutra - or Sutra of Amitabha (or Sutra of the Buddha's Teaching on Amitabha Buddha) - Short form of Amitabha Sutra (or Amida Sutra).  One of the three basic sutras of the Pure Land sect. It was translated into Chinese by Kumarajiva.

 

The Buddha speaks of Amitabha Sutra:

 

Namo Sea vast Lotus Pool Assembly of Buddhas and Bodhisattvas (3 times).

 

Thus I have heard, at one time, the Buddha dwelt at Shravasti in Jeta Grove, in the Garden of the Benefactor of Orphans and Solitary, together with a gathering of Great Bhikshus twelve hundred fifty in all, all Great Arhats whom the Assembly knew and recognized:

 

Elder Shariputra, Mahamaudgalyayana, Mahakasyapa, Mahakatyana, Mahakaushtila, revata, Suddhipanthaka, Nanda, Ananda, Rahula, Gavampati, Pindola Bharadvja, Kalodayin, Mahakaphina, Vakkula, Aniuruddha, and others such as these, all Great Disciples; together with all the Bodhisattvas, Mahasattvas: Dharma Prince Manjushri, Ajita Bodhisattvas, Gandhastin Bodhisattvas, Nitya Bodhisattvas, and others such as these, all Great Bodhisatvas and together with Shakra, Chief among Gods, and numberless Great multitudes from all heavens.

 

At that time the Buddha told the Elder Shariputra: "Passing from here through hundreds of thousands of millions of Buddhalands to the West, there is a world called Ultimate Bliss. In the land of a Buddha called Amitabha right now teaches the Dharma."

 

Shariputra! For what reason is this land called Ultimate Bliss? All living beings of this country ensure none of the sufferings, but enjoy every bliss. Therefore, it is called Ultimate Bliss.

 

Moreover, Shariputra! This land of Ultimate Bliss is everywhere surrounded by seven tiers of railings, seven layers of netting and seven rows of trees, all formed from the four treasures and for this reason named Ultimate Bliss.

 

Moreover, Shariputra! The land of Ultimate Bliss has pools of the seven jewels, filled with the eight waters of merit and virtue. The bottom of each pool is pure, spread over with golden on the four sides are stairs of gold, silver, lapis lazuli and crystal; above are raised pavilions adored with gold, silver, lapis lazuli, crystal, mother-of-pearl, red pearls and carnelian. In the pool are lotuses as large as carriage wheels: green colored of green light; yellow colored of yellow light; red colored of red light; white colored of white light; subtly, wonderfully fragrant and pure.

 

Shariputra! The realization of the land of Ultimate Bliss is thus meritoriously adorned.

 

Moreover, Shariputra! In that Buddhaland there is always heavenly music and the ground is yellow gold. In the six periods of the day and night a heavenly rain of madarava flower falls, and throughout the clear morning for each living being of this land, which sacks full of the myriads of wonderful flowers, makes offerings to the hundreds of thousands of millions of Buddhas of the other directions. At mealtime they return to their own country, after having eaten they stroll around.

 

Moreover, Shariputra! In this country there are always rare and wonderful varicolored birds: white cranes, peacocks, parrots, and egrets, kalavinkas, in the six periods of the day and night, the flocks of birds sing joyful sounds proclaim the five roots, the five powers, the seven bodhi shares, the eight sagely way shares, and Dharma such as these. When living beings of this land hear these sounds, they are all together mindful of the Buddha of the Dharma, mindful of the Sangha.

 

Shariputra! Do not say that these birds are born as retribution for their karmic offenses. For what reason? In this Buddhaland there are no three evil ways of rebirth. Shariputra! In this Buddha-land not even the names of the three evil ways exists, how much the less their actuality I desiring that the Dharma sound be widely proclaimed, Amitabha Buddha by transformation made this multitude of birds.

 

Shariputra! In that Buddha-land, when the soft wind blows, the rows of jewelled trees and jewelled nets, give forth subtle and wonderful sounds, like one hundred thousand kinds of music played at the same time. All those who hear this sound naturally bring forth in their hearts mindfulness of the Buddha, mindfulness of the Dharma, and mindfulness of the Sangha.

 

Shariputra! The realization of the land of Ultimate Bliss is thus meritoriously adorned. Shariputra! What do you think? Why is this Buddha called Amitabha? Shariputra The brilliance of that Buddha’s light is measureless, illuminating the lands of ten directions everywhere without obstruction; for this reason he is called Amitabha.

 

Moreover, Shariputra! The life of that Buddha and that of his people extends for measureless limitless asankhyeya kalpas. For this reason he is called Amitayus. And Shariputra! since Amitabha realized Buddhahood, ten kalpas have passed.

 

Moreover, Shariputra! That Buddha has measureless, limitless Sound-hearer disciples, all Arhats, their number incalculable; thus also is the Assembly of Bodhisattvas.

 

Shariputra! The realization of the land of Ultimate Bliss is thus meritoriously adorned.

 

Moreover, Shariputra! Those living beings born in the land of Ultimate Bliss are all Avaivartika. Among them are many who in this very life will dwelt in Buddhahood. Their number is extremely many; it is incalculable and only in measureless, limitless asankhyeya kalpas could it be spoken. Shariputra! Those living beings who hear should vow, "I wish to be born in that country." And why? All those who thus attain are all superior and good people, all coming together in one place.

 

Shariputra! One cannot have few good roots, blessings, virtues, and causal connections to attain birth in that land.

 

Shariputra! If there is a good man or woman who hears spoken Amitabha and holds the name, whether for one day, two days, three days, four days, five days, six days, as long as seven days, with one heart unconfused, when this person approaches the end of life, before him will appear Amitabha and all the Assembly of holy ones. When the end comes, his heart is without inversion; in Amitabha’s land of Ultimate bliss he will attain rebirth.

 

Shariputra! Because I see this benefit, I speak these words: "If living beings hear this spoken they should make the vow, "I wish to be born in that land."

 

Shariputra! As I now praise the inconceivable benefit from the merit and virtue of Amitabha.

 

Thus in the East are also Aksobhya Buddha, Sumeru Appearance Buddha, Great Sumeru Buddha, Sumeru Light Buddha, Wonderful Sound Buddha; all Buddhas such as these, numberless as ganges sands, in his own country each brings forth the appearance of a vast and long tongue. Everywhere covering the three thousand great thousand worlds (great cosmos), and speaks the sincere and actual words, "All you living beings should believe, praise and hold in reverence the inconceivable merit and virtue of this sutra of the mindful one of whom all are Buddhas are protective."

 

Shariputra! In the Southern World are Sun-Moon-Lamp Buddha, Well-Known Light Buddha, Great-Blazing Shoulder Buddha, Sumeru-Lamp-Buddha, Measureless Vigor-Buddha; all Buddhas such as these, numberless as ganges sands. In his country, each bring forth the appearance of a vast and long tongue, everywhere covering the three thousand great thousand worlds (great cosmos), and speaks the sincere and actual words, "All living beings should believe, praise and hold in reverence the inconceivable merit and virtue of this sutra of the mindful one of whom all Buddhas are protective."

 

Shariputra! In the Western World are Measureless-Life Buddha, Measureless-Appearance Buddha, Measureless-Curtain Buddha, Great-Light Buddha, Great Brightness Buddha, Jewelled-Appearance Buddha, Pure-Light Buddha; all Buddhas such as these, numberless as ganges sands. In his own country each brings forth the appearance of a vast and long tongue, everywhere covering the three thousand great thousand worlds (great cosmos), and speaks the sincere and actual words, "All you living beings should believe, praise and hold in reverence the inconceivable merit and virtue of this sutra of the mindful one of whom all Buddhas are protective."

 

Shariputra! In the Northern World are Blazing-Shoulders Buddha, Most-Victorious-Sound Buddha, Hard-To-Injure Buddha, Sun-Birth Buddha, Net-Brightness Buddha; all Buddhas such as these, numberless as ganges sands. In his country each brings forth the appearance of a vast and long tongue, everywhere covering the three thousand great thousand worlds (great cosmos), and speaks the sincere and actual words, "All you living beings should believe, praise and hold in reverence the inconceivable merit and virtue of this sutra of the mindful one of whom all Buddhas are protective."

 

Shariputra! In the world below are Lion-Buddha, Well-Known Buddha, Famous-Light Buddha, Dharma Buddha, Dharma-Curtain Buddha, Dharma-Maintaining Buddha, all Buddhas such as these, numberless as ganges sands. In his own country, each brings forth the appearance of a vast and long tongue, everywhere covering the three thousand great thousand worlds (great cosmos), and speaks the sincere and actual words: "All you living beings should believe, praise and hold in reverence the inconceivable merit and virtue of this sutra of the mindful one of whom all Buddhas are protective."

 

Shariputra! In the world above are Pure-Sound Buddha, King-Of-Stars Buddha, Superior-Fragrance Buddha, Fragrant-Light Buddha, Great-Blazing-Shoulder Buddha, Varicolored-Jewelled-And-Flower-Adornment Buddha, Sal King Buddha, Jewelled-Flower-Virtue-Buddha, Vision-Of-All-Meaning Buddha, Such-As-Mount Sumeru Buddha; all Buddhas such as these, numberless as ganges sands. In his country each brings forth the appearance of a vast and long tongue, everywhere covering the three thousand great thousand worlds (great cosmos) and speaks the sincere and actual words: "All you living beings should believe, praise and hold in reverence the inconceivable merit and virtue of this sutra of the mindful one of whom all Buddhas are protective."

 

Shariputra! What do you think? Why is it called sutra of the mindful one of whom all Buddhas are protective?

 

Shariputra! If a good man or a good woman hears this sutra and holds to it, and hears the names of all these Buddhas, this good man or good woman will be the mindful one of whom all Buddhas are protective, and will irreversibly attain to annutttara-samyak-sambodhi. Therefore, Shariputra, all of you should believe and accept my works, and those which all Buddhas speak.

 

Shariputra! If there are people who have already made the vow, who now made the vow, or who are about to make the vow, "I desire to be born in Amitabha’s country," these people whether born in the past, now being born, or to be born in the future, all ill irreversibly attain annuttara-Samyak-Sambodhi.

 

Therefore, Shariputra! All good men and good women, if they are among those who have faith, should make the vow, "I will be born in that country."

 

Shariputra! Just as I am now one who praises the merit and virtue of all Buddhas. All those Buddhas equally praise my inconceivable merit and virtue saying these words: "Sakyamuni Buddha can complete extremely rare and difficult deeds, in the Saha Land, in the evil time of the five turbidities, in the midst of kalpa turbidity, the view turbidity, the affliction turbidity, the living beings turbidity, and the life turbidity, he can attain Annuttara-Samyak-Samboddhi and for the sake of living beings, speak this Dharma which in the whole world is hard to believe.

 

Sariputra! For the people of the defiled world, I preached unbelievable and difficult-to- practice dharmas.

 

After the Buddha spoke this sutra, Shariputra and all the Bhiksus, all the Gods, Human and Asuras, and others from all the worlds, hearing what the Buddha had said, joyously welcome, faithfully accepted, bowed and withdrew.

 

The Buddha speaks of Amitabha Sutra.




This is translation 1 of Amitabha Sutra (or Amida Sutra), there are other translations of this Sutra as well, including:


       

Translation 2       Translation 3      Translation 4

with translation 4 is an illustrated version.