THE LARGER SUKHAVATIVYUHA SUTRA
Sutra on the Buddha of Eternal Life
Kinh Vô Luong
Chapter 18 to 47
' 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 odour, carrying
bunches of flowers adorned with various gems, resounding with sweet voices. ^45
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.
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
those great rivers flow along, full of water scented with the best perfumes of
the Uragasara sandal-wood, of Tagaras, Kalanusarin (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^46 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^47.
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 (the Law), Sangha (the Church),
the Paramitas (highest perfections), the Bhumis (stages), the Balas (powers),
Vaisaradya (perfections), Avenikabuddhadharma (freedom from attachment),
Pratisamvit (consciousness); Sunyata (emptiness), Animitta (unconditioned),
Apranihita (free from desire), Anabhisamskara (not made), Ajata (not born),
Anutpada (without origin), Abhava (not being), and Nirodha (cessation); Santa,
prasanta, and upasanta (peace); Mahamaitri (great love), Mahakaruna (great
pity), Mahamudita (great rejoicing), and Mahopeksha (great forgiveness);
Anutpattikadharmakshanti (resignation to consequences which have not yet
arisen), and Abhishekabhumipratilambha (attainment of the royal stage)."
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.
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, shortly, 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.
'And again, O Ananda, the beings, who have been and will be born in that world
Sukhavati, will be endowed with such colour, strength, vigour, height and
breadth, dominion, accumulation of virtue^48; with such enjoyments of dress,
ornaments, gardens, palaces, and pavilions; and such enjoyments of touch, taste,
smell, and sound; in fact with all enjoyments and pleasures, exactly like the
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.
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^49.
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
colours and many hundred thousand colours, then with these very best cloaks the
whole Buddha country shines. And the people feel themselves covered with them.
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^50, 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.
if they desire a palace, with colours and emblems of such and such height and
width, adorned with hundred thousand gates made with different jewels, covered
with different heavenly flowers^51, 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 honoured, and
surrounded by seven times seven thousands of Apsarases.
'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 impotent 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.
'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-coloured
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 colours 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 (some
kind of soft substance). 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 Bhikshu (mendicant) who has obtained Nirvana.
'And in that Buddha country, O Ananda, no mention is ever made of the names of
fire, sun, moon, planets, Nakshatras (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
'And again, O Ananda, in that world Sukhavati at the proper time clouds full of
heavenly perfumed water pour down heavenly flowers of all colours; heavenly
seven jewels, heavenly sandalwood-powder, and heavenly umbrellas, flags, and
banners are poured down. And in the sky, the heavenly flowers of all colours,
and heavenly canopies are held, likewise heavenly excellent umbrellas and all
kinds of ornaments, heavenly musical instruments are played, and heavenly
'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 (rasis), such as beings not constant or
constant in falsehood.
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.'
Then the Bhagavat at that time spoke the following verses^52:
O Ananda, the world Sukhavati is endowed with immeasurable good qualities and
'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.
'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 (knowledge), 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
Bhikshus and honoured 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
--What?--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.
' 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 Bhikshus, 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.
'And again, O Ananda, those beings who meditate on the Tathagata by giving him
the 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.
'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.'
Then at that time, the Bhagavat, in order to illustrate this matter in fuller
measure, recited these verses^53:
'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
'And they having taken many bunches of flowers of different colours,
sweetly-scented and delightful, shower them down on the best leader of men, on
Amitayu, worshipped by gods and men;--
'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 Amitayu.
'And they having taken many handfulls of scents of different colours, sweetly
scented and delightful, shower them down on the best leader of men, on Amitayu,
worshipped by gods and men.
'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! "
'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."
'And what was thrown there as handfulls 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.
'These Bodhisattvas having thus honoured 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.
'"By us also all the gain has been well gained, because we have come to
this Buddha country. See this dream-like country^54 how beautiful it is, which
was made by the teacher during a hundred thousand kalpas.
'"Look, the Buddha possessed of a mass of the best virtues shines,
surrounded by Bodhisattvas. Endless is his splendour^55, and endless the light,
and endless the life, and endless the assembly."
'And the lord Amitayu 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.
'And all these rays having returned there again settle on the head of the lord;
gods and men produce (perceive) the delight, because they have seen there this
light of him.
'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 ?
'"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.
'"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.
'"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."
'Then Buddha Amitayu preaches: "This prayer was mine formerly, so that
beings having in any way whatever heard my name should for ever go to my
'"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."
'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,
'Let him quickly and with speed go to the world Sukhavati, and having gone near
Amitaprabha, let him worship a thousand kotis of Buddhas.
'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^56.
'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 colours, of many
hundred thousand colours, 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, lion twists (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.
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 (highest knowledge). 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 kshanti or resignation, namely,
Ghoshanuga, Anulomiki (resignation to natural consequences), and
Anutpattika-dharma-kshanti (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.
'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^57, 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 armour (of the Dharma), and who are devoted to the
work of helping all people to attain Paranirvana.
'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
the blessed Ananda said this to the Bhagavat: 'What are the names, O Bhagavat,
of those two noble-minded Bodhisattvas?
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'.
'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.
'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^58; 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.
'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
favour 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 handfulls
of flowers should be produced on their hands, then such handfulls of heavenly
flowers, of different colours, of many colours, 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 handfulls of flowers
there, which having been thrown up, appear in the sky as umbrellas of flowers
twenty yojanas in circumference.
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 favour 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
'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^60. And for
the beings in that Buddha country there exists no idea of property whatever^61.
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^62, devoted to the music of Buddha, they discard
the eye of flesh, and assume the heavenly eye.
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^63, 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^64,
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^65, of
blameless behaviour, 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
elevated in knowledge, they are like the 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 splendour, they are like the colour 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^66 of all sins,
they are like water; by their burning the evil of pride^67 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 Nyagrodha (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^68, because their senses are
neither crooked nor shaken; clever in decision, full of the sweet flavour 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^69, full of knowledge, happy, Pleasant to live with,
obliging, enlightening the world^70, 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^71 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 vigour
of thought, heroes, firm, unselfish^72, 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^73.
'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.'
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.'
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 splendour. 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.
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 Bhikshus,
Bhikshunis, Upasakas (laymen), Upasikas (laywomen), 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.
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.
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
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^74,
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?'
Bodhisattva Ajita said: 'I see, O Bhagavat.'
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?'
said: 'I see, O Bhagavat.'
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
said: 'I see, O Bhagavat.'
Bhagavat said: 'What do you think, O Ajita, is there any difference between the
gods called Paranirrnitavasavartins, and men in the world Sukhavati?'
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.'
Bhagavat said: 'Do you see again, O Ajita, those men dwelling within the calyx
of excellent lotus-flowers in that world Sukhavati?'
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.
'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?'
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.
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 colours 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^75, 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
said: 'Yes^76, it would be great, O Bhagavat.'
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?'
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^77, 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 favour.'
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^78. 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 practising 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.
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 the 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.'
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?'
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^79?
Eighteen hundred nayutas of kotis of Bodhisattvas will be born in the world
Sukhavati from the place of the Tathagata Dushprasaha.
There lives in the Eastern quarter the Tathagata named Ratnakara. From his place
ninety kotis of Bodhisattvas will be born in the world Sukhavati.
Twenty-two kotis of Bodhisattvas will be born in the world Sukhavati from the
place of the Tathagata Jyotishprabha.
Twenty-five kotis of Bodhisattvas will be born in the world Sukhavati from the
place of the Tathagata Amitaprabha.
Sixty kotis of Bodhisattvas will be born in the world Sukhavati from the place
of the Tathagata Lokapradipa.
Sixty-four kotis of Bodhisattvas will be born in the world Sukhavati from the
place of the Tathagata Nagabhibhu.
Twenty-five kotis of Bodhisattvas will be born in the world Sukhavati from the
place of the Tathagata Virajaprabha.
Sixteen kotis of Bodhisattvas will be born in the world Sukhavati from the place
of the Tathagata Simha.
Eighteen thousand Bodhisattvas will be born in the world Sukhavati from the
place of the Tathagata Simha (sic).
Eighty-one nayutas of kotis of Bodhisattvas will be born in the world Sukhavati
from the place of the Tathagata Srikuta.
Ten nayutas of kotis of Bodhisattvas will be born in the world Sukhavati from
the place of the Tathagata Narendraraja.
Twelve thousand Bodhisattvas will be born in the world Sukhavati from the place
of the Tathagata Balabhijna.
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^80, will be born in the world
Sukhavati from the place of the Tathagata Pushpadhvaga.
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.
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.
'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^81, 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.
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.
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.
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^82. O Ajita,
the way to gain the perfection (piramita) of all stocks of merit has been
proclaimed by me. Do now exert yourselves and move forward. O Ajita, I grant
indeed a great favour 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
Then at that time, the Bhagavat spoke these verses :
'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.
'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
'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.
'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^83 in the knowledge of Buddha; how then should
beings who are ignorant!
'The Buddha only knows the virtues of a Buddha; but not gods, Nagas, Asuras,
Yakshas, and Sravakas (disciples); even for Anekabuddhas^84 there is no such
way, as when the knowledge of a Buddha is being manifested.
'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.
'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.
'Therefore a learned man of an intelligent race^85 who believes my words, after
having perceived all paths of the knowledge of the Jinas, should utter speech,
saying, "Buddha is wise."
'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)^86.
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^87 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 Pranidhanas (prayers).
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.
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
[by the Translator]
[And, O Ananda] Instead of tasam, it is better to read tatha.
[...cranes, swans] The Tibetan translation puts these birds as follows: geese,
swans, cranes, ducks, karandavas, parrots, grouse (kokilas), kunalas,
kalavinkas, and peacocks.
[...according to the Dharma] Instead of Dharmah, the Tibetan translator seems to
have read Dharmavat.
[accumulation of virtue] Here the text seems corrupt.
[...does always reach his nose] The Tibetan translator seems to have read: tatra
yas tam gandham agratukamo na bhavati, tasya sarvaso gandhasangna vasana ka na
[gold nets] The Tibetan translation suggests the reading svarnajala.
[...different heavenly flowers] Instead of pushpa the Tibetan translator seems
to have read dushya, 'garment.'
[...the following verses] The text of these verses is so corrupt that I thought
it best to follow the example of the five Chinese translators, all of whom leave
them out. They only repeat what was said before, that people might go on for
ever praising the excellences of Sukhavaati, yet they would never reach the end
of them, and that the merit of hearing even the name of Sukhavati is greater
than all other blessings on earth. The best thing, however, is to have faith in
Jina, and to drive away all doubt. The Tibetan translator gives a translation of
seven verses, but his translation also seems as obscure as the original.
[...recited these verses] In these verses there are again many doubtful passages
which could be rendered tentatively only.
[...this dream-like country] Maitra, 'love,' possibly 'kindness,' or was it
[endless is his splendour] Amita asyabha?
[with devotion] The Tibetan translation has 'in the morning,' as if the text had
[one birth only] Their present birth.
[of their former births] 'Na' must be left out, or we must read
[well-ordered state of mind] The text of this passage is very imperfect in all
the MSS. Comparing the sentence with the last sentence of Chapter XXXII, it
might seem possible to read paripurnanunataya, or paripuryatayanunataya, for
paripuryatmabhutaya. On suvibhakta, see Childers, s. v. vibhajati.
[accompanied by omniscience] See the twenty-third Pranidhana.
[no idea of property whatever] See the tenth Pranidahana.
[Bodhyangas] Requisites for attaining the supreme knowledge of a
Buddha.'--Childers, Pali Dictionary, p. 93 b.
[the three elements] Probably the three dhatus, Kamadhatu, Rupadhatu, and
Arupadhatu; see Childers, s.v. dhatu.
[clever in resting] The text may originally have been sthanasthanakusalah.
[free from impurity] The next words aparyasthayinah and abhijnasvamulasthayinah
seem to have a technical meaning, but neither the Tibetan nor the Chinese
translators give an intelligible rendering.
[the taint] The Tibetan translation presupposes mala instead of mula.
[the evil of pride] Mana, 'pride,' is one of the Klesas.
[calm like elephants] The Tibetan translator seems to have read sagaravat,
instead of nagavat.
[fearless] The Tibetan translation seems to have read ratnakarasadrisah.
[enlightening the world] If the same as nirgahana.
[lakshas] The Tibetan translation has Buddha for laksha.
[unselfish] Asamah in the Tibetan translation.
[knowledge of the Tathagata] For these passages, see the end of Chapter XII.
[charming parks] A substantive seems to be wanting to which all these adjectives
[coverlids] The text is corrupt. One might begin a new word with
[Yes] One expects, No.
[women] Stryagara, like the German Frauenzimmer.
[palaces and gardens] They imagine they are living in palaces and gardens.
[smaller stocks of merit] What is meant is that their number is much larger.
[...kotis of kalpas] Sanghavarman's translation of this passage is: 'Within
seven days they can take hold of the firm conditions (dharmas) practised by a
noble-minded one during hundred thousands of kotis of kalpas.' Bodhiruchi's is:
'Within seven days they can cause beings to separate from their state of
transmigration during hundred thousands of nayutas of kotis.'
[be of little faith] Hinadhimuktika, see Vagrakkhedika XV; or 'following the
[a timely birth] Of the hearer; so that the student should be born at a time
when there is a Buddha on earth.
[Sravaka] Those who are as yet hearers only of the Dharma.
[Anekabuddhas] Should it be Pratyekabuddhas?
[a learned man of an intelligent race] The text is evidently corrupt, and the
[...the object (of faith)] The tenth verse is again unintelligible, but may have
meant something like that 'those who having heard the best Laws, are joyful in
remembering Sugata, are our friends in time past, and they also who whish for
[Anagamin] One who is not born again, except in the Brahma world, and then may