Sutra Translations

Amitabha Sutra (Tibetan to English Equivalant)

འཕགས་པ་བདེ་བ་ཅན་གྱི་བཀོད་པ་ཞེས་བྱ་བ་ཐེག་པ་ཆེན་པོའི་མདོ།
’phags pa bde ba can gyi bkod pa zhes bya ba theg pa chen po’i mdo
The Noble Mahāyāna Sūtra “The Display of the Pure Land of Sukhāvatī
Āryasukhāvatīvyūhanāmamahāyānasūtra

Translated by the Sakya Pandita Translation Group (International Buddhist Academy Division)
Translation under the supervision of Khenpo Ngawang Jorden, from Tibetan to English by the monk Ngawang Rinchen Gyaltsen, Julia Stenzel, and Tsewang Gyaltsen.

Homage to all the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas.

Thus did I hear at one time. The Bhagavān was dwelling in Anāthapiṇḍaḍa’s park in the Jeta Grove in Śrāvastī, along with a large monastic saṅgha of 1,250 bhikṣus, all of them great elders, śrāvakas, and arhats, such as the Elder Śāriputra, Mahāmaudgalyāyana, Mahākāśyapa, Mahākātyayāna, Mahākapphiṇa, Mahākauṣṭhila, Revata, Śuddhipaṃthaka, Nanda, Ānanda, Rāhula, Gavāṃpati, Bhāradvāja, Kalodayin, Vakula, and Aniruddha. He dwelt with these and other great śrāvakas and with many Bodhisattva mahāsattvas, such as the youthful Mañjuśrī, the Bodhisattva Mahāsattva Ajita, the Bodhisattva Mahāsattva Gandhahastin, the Bodhisattva Mahāsattva Nityodyukta, and the Bodhisattva Mahāsattva Anikṣiptadhura, along with many other Bodhisattva Mahāsattvas. He was also accompanied by Indra, the lord of gods, and Brahmā, the ruler of the World of Endurance, along with many myriads of gods.

Then the Bhagavān addressed the venerable Śāriputra, ‘Śāriputra, if you go from this Buddha realm past 100,000 myriad Buddha realms toward the western direction, there is a world known as Sukhāvatī (The Delightful). In that place the Tathāgata Arhat, the perfectly and fully enlightened Buddha known as Amitāyus (Immeasurable Life), dwells, lives and abides, teaching the Dharma.’

‘Now what do you think, Śāriputra, why is that world called ‘Sukhāvatī’?

Śāriputra, in the Sukhāvatī world, sentient beings experience neither physical pain nor mental suffering and the causes for their happiness are limitless. For this reason, this world is called Sukhāvatī. Furthermore, Śāriputra, the Sukhāvatī world is surrounded on all sides by seven layers of terraces, seven rows of palm trees, and filigrees of chimes. It is radiantly beautiful. Śāriputra, this Buddha realm is beautifully adorned with displays of the excellences of Buddha realms, such as the four kinds of jewels, namely, gold, silver, beryl, and crystal. Furthermore, Śāriputra, the Sukhāvatī world has ponds adorned with seven kinds of jewels. The ponds are full of water possessing the eight qualities. They are covered by jeweled lotuses, are filled to the top to enable crows to drink, and are lined with golden sand. All around, on the four sides of the ponds are four radiantly elegant staircases, each made of one of the four precious substances, gold, silver, beryl, and crystal. By the banks of the ponds grow jeweled trees of the seven radiantly beautiful jewels, gold, silver, beryl, crystal, rosy pearls, emerald, and coral. From all those ponds grow lotuses that bloom as large as chariot wheels.

The golden lotuses have a golden hue, a golden sheen, and manifest as gold. The blue ones have a blue hue, a blue sheen, and manifest as blue. The yellow ones have a yellow hue, a yellow sheen, and manifest as yellow. The red ones have a red hue, a red sheen, and manifest as red. The white ones have a white hue, a white sheen, and manifest as white. The iridescent ones have an iridescent hue, an iridescent sheen, and manifest as iridescence. Śāriputra, this Buddha realm is beautifully adorned by such displays of the excellences of Buddha realms. Furthermore, Śāriputra, in the Sukhāvatī world, the sound of divine cymbals is always heard. The vast ground is magnificent, as if golden in color. Śāriputra, this Buddha realm is beautifully adorned by such displays of the excellences of Buddha realms.

‘Furthermore, Śāriputra, in that Buddha realm a shower of divine flowers, divine mandārava flowers, descends three times every day and three times every night. In a single morning, the sentient beings that are born there proceed from one Buddha realm to the next, paying homage to hundreds of thousands of Buddhas. They also toss hundreds of thousands of bouquets of flowers toward each Tathāgata. After making offerings, they return to that same world for their daily rest. Śāriputra, this Buddha realm is beautifully adorned by such displays of the excellences of Buddha realms.’

‘Furthermore, Śāriputra, in the Sukhāvatī world, there are swans, cranes, and peacocks that assemble three times during the day and three times at night and perform a concert, each singing its own melody. When they sing, the sounds of the powers, strengths, and branches of enlightenment emerge. Upon hearing those sounds, the sentient beings born there are moved to contemplate the Buddha, to contemplate the Dharma, and to contemplate the Saṅgha. Now what do you think about this, Śāriputra? Have those sentient beings taken birth as animals? You should not think so. Why is that so? Śāriputra, in this Buddha realm there are not even words for birth as a hell being, birth as an animal, or birth in the world of the Lord of Death. Those flocks of birds were manifested by the Tathāgata Amitāyus himself to voice the sound of Dharma. Śāriputra, this Buddha realm is beautifully adorned by such displays of the excellences of Buddha realms.’

‘Furthermore, Śāriputra, when the wind blows in that Buddha realm it sways the rows of palm trees and the filigree net of chimes, creating sweet, enchanting, and delightful sounds, like the myriad subtleties of divine cymbals when played by a skilled musician. The people there, upon hearing those sounds, settle into the recollection of the Buddha, the recollection of the Dharma, and the recollection of the Saṅgha. Śāriputra, this Buddha realm is beautifully adorned by such displays of the excellences of Buddha realms.’

‘Now what do you think, Śāriputra, why is that Tathāgata called ‘Amitāyus‘ (Immeasurable Life)? Śāriputra, the lifespan of Tathāgata Amitāyus is immeasurable. For this reason, he is called ‘Tathāgata Amitāyus.’ Furthermore, Śāriputra, why is that Tathāgata called ‘Amitābha’ (Immeasurable Light)? Śāriputra, the light of Tathāgata Amitābha shines unimpeded throughout all Buddha realms. For this reason, he is called ‘Tathāgata Amitābha.’ The Bhagavān Tathāgata Amitābha fully awakened to unsurpassable, completely perfect enlightenment ten eons ago.’

“Furthermore, Śāriputra, this Bhagavān has an immeasurable Saṅgha of śrāvakas, who are all pure Arhats; their number cannot be easily expressed. Furthermore, Śāriputra, the sentient beings born in this Buddha realm are all pure bodhisattvas who will not regress and are bound by only one more birth. Śāriputra, one cannot express the total number of bodhisattvas except to say that they are immeasurable or countless. Śāriputra, this Buddha realm is beautifully adorned by such displays of the excellences of Buddha realms.

‘Therefore Śāriputra, sons and daughters of good family should completely dedicate all roots of virtue in a respectful manner to be born in that Buddha realm. Why? Because by doing so, they will be able to meet holy beings similar to themselves. Śāriputra, one cannot take birth in the realm of Bhagavān Tathāgata Amitāyus merely with minimal roots of virtue.’

‘Śāriputra, if those sons and daughters of good family hear the name of the Bhagavān Tathāgata Amitāyus and keep it in mind unwaveringly for one, two, three, four, five, six, or seven nights, when the hour of their death arrives, they will depart in an undeluded state. After they have passed away, the Tathāgata Amitābha will stand before them, entirely surrounded by a śrāvaka assembly and accompanied by a congregation of bodhisattvas. These sons and daughters of good family will be born in the Sukhāvatī world, the Buddha realm of the Bhagavān Tathāgata Amitābha. Therefore, Śāriputra, having seen its real point, sons and daughters of good family, I declare, ought to respectfully make prayers to reach that Buddha realm.’

‘O Śāriputra, I, the Tathāgata, at present praise [this Sukhāvatī]. So, likewise, Śāriputra, in the east, the Tathāgata Akṣobhya, the Tathāgata Merudhvaja, the Tathāgata Meru, the Tathāgata Mahāmeru, the Tathāgata Mahāmeruprabhāsa, the Tathāgata Harmonious Speech, the Tathāgata Harmonious Voice, and the other Bhagavān Buddhas of the east, who are as numerous as the sands of the river Ganges, pervade their own Buddha realms with the power of their speech and proclaim, “You should place your trust in this Dharma discourse called ‘Complete Embrace by all Buddhas’, which praises inconceivable qualities.”‘

‘Likewise, in the south, the Bhagavān Buddhas of the south, such as the Tathāgata Candrasūryapradīpa, the Tathāgata Renown, the Tathāgata Yaśaḥprabha, the Tathāgata Mahārciskandha, the Tathāgata Merupradīpa, the Tathāgata Anaṃtavīrya and others, who are as numerous as the sands of the river Ganges, pervade their own Buddha realms with the power of their speech and proclaim, ‘You should place your trust in this Dharma discourse called “Complete Embrace by all Buddhas,” which praises inconceivable qualities.’

‘Likewise, in the west, the Bhagavān Buddhas of the west, such as the Tathāgata Amitāyus, the Tathāgata Amitaskandha, the Tathāgata Amitadhvaja, the Tathāgata Mahāprabha, the Tathāgata Illuminating Light Rays, the Tathāgata Ratnaketu, the Tathāgata Śuddharaśmiprabha and others, who are as numerous as the sands of the river Ganges, pervade their own Buddha realms with the power of their speech and proclaim, “You should place your trust in this Dharma discourse called ‘Complete Embrace by all Buddhas’, which praises inconceivable qualities.”‘

‘Likewise, in the north, the Bhagavān Buddhas of the north, such as the Tathāgata Mahārciskandha, the Tathāgata Vaiśvānaranirghoṣa, the Tathāgata Duṣpradharṣa, the Tathāgata Ādityasaṃbhava, the Tathāgata Jālenīprabha, the Tathāgata Prabhākara, and others, who are as numerous as the sands of the river Ganges, pervade their own Buddha realms with the power of their speech and proclaim, ‘You should place your trust in this Dharma discourse called “Complete Embrace by all Buddhas,” which praises inconceivable qualities.’

‘Likewise, in the nadir, the Bhagavān Buddhas of the nadir, such as the Tathāgata Siṃha, the Tathāgata Yaśas, the Tathāgata Yaśaḥprabhāsa, the Tathāgata Dharma, the Tathāgata Dharmadhara, the Tathāgata Dharmadhvaja, and others, who are numerous as the sands of the river Ganges, pervade their own Buddha realms with the power of their speech and proclaim, ‘You should place your trust in this Dharma discourse called “Complete Embrace by all Buddhas,” which praises inconceivable qualities.’

‘Likewise, in the zenith, the Bhagavān Buddhas of the zenith, such as the Tathāgata Brahmaghoṣa, the Tathāgata Nakṣatrarāja, the Tathāgata Gandhottama, the Tathāgata Gandhaprabhāsa, the Tathāgata Heap of Incense, the Tathāgata Ratnakusumasaṃpuṣpitagotra, the Tathāgata Sālendrarāja, the Tathāgata Ratnotpalaśrī, the Tathāgata Sarvārthadarśa, the Tathāgata Sumerukalpa, and others who are as numerous as the sands of the river Ganges, pervade their own Buddha realms with the power of their speech and proclaim, “You should place your trust in this Dharma discourse called ‘Complete Embrace by all Buddhas’, which praises Sukhāvatī’s inconceivable qualities.”‘

‘What do you think about this, Śāriputra, why is this Dharma discourse called “Complete Embrace by All Buddhas”? Śāriputra, those sons and daughters of good family who have heard, now hear, or will hear this Dharma discourse and the names of those Bhagavān Buddhas will all be embraced completely by the Bhagavān Buddhas. Śāriputra, of all those sentient beings who aspire, who have made, are making, or will make aspirations to the Sukhāvatī world, the Buddha realm of the Bhagavān Tathāgata Amitābha, none has turned away, is turning away, nor will ever turn away from the pursuit of unsurpassable, completely perfect enlightenment. Śāriputra, just as I now praise the inconceivable qualities of those Bhagavān Buddhas, likewise, Śāriputra, those Bhagavān Buddhas also praise my inconceivable qualities.’

Śāriputra declared, ‘Bhagavān Śākyamuni, king of the Śākyas, you have fully awakened to unsurpassable, completely perfect enlightenment in this World of Endurance. You have taught the Dharma that the whole world was reluctant to accept at the time of the degeneration of the eon, the degeneration of afflictions, the degeneration of beings, the degeneration of views, and the degeneration of lifespan. How marvelous indeed!’

The Bhagavān replied, “Śāriputra, having fully awakened to unsurpassable, completely perfect enlightenment in this world, the World of Endurance, at the time of the five degenerations, I have taught the Dharma that the whole world was reluctant to accept. This is the supreme feat I have accomplished.”

After the Bhagavān had thus spoken, the whole world, including the venerable Śāriputra, the great śrāvakas, bodhisattvas, gods, humans, demigods, and gandharvas were delighted and praised highly the words spoken by the Bhagavān.

This completes the Noble Mahāyāna Sūtra ‘The Display of Sukhāvatī’.

This sutra was translated and finalized by the Indian abbot Dānaśīla and the principal revisor-translator, the monk Yeshé Dé (ye shes sde), along with others.

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Please be mindful of your speech, Amituofo!