Sutra Translations

佛说阿弥陀经 The Sūtra In Which The Buddha Speaks Of Amitā Buddha (Amitābha Sūtra); 一切诸佛所护念经 The Sūtra Protected & Kept In Mind By All Buddhas

姚秦三藏法师鸠摩罗什译
Translated (from Sanskrit to Chinese) in Yao-Qin Dynasty by Tripiṭaka Master Kumārajīva
二零一二年沈时安译
Translated (from Chinese to English) in Oct 2012 by © Shen Shi’an (with addition of subheadings)

[诸大阿罗汉俱
All Great Arhats Together]

如是我闻,一时佛在舍卫国,祇树给孤独园,与大比丘僧,千二百五十人俱,皆是大阿罗汉,众所知识。长老舍利弗、摩诃目犍连、摩诃迦叶、摩诃迦旃延、摩诃俱絺罗、离婆多、周利槃陀 伽、难陀、阿难陀、罗侯罗、憍梵波提、宾头卢颇罗堕、迦留陀夷、摩诃劫宾那、薄拘罗、阿㝹楼驮,如是等诸大弟子。

Thus have I heard, at one time, the Buddha [Śākyamuni] was at the state of Śrāvastī, in the Grove of Jeta and Anāthapiṇḍada, with the Sangha of great Bhikṣus, [numbering] one thousand two hundred and fifty together, all [of whom] are great Arhats, as known by many: the Elders Śāriputra, Mahāmaudgalyāyana, Mahākāśyapa, Mahākātyāyana, Mahākauṣṭhila, Revata, Śuddhipanthaka, Nanda, Ānanda, Rāhula, Gavāṃpati, Piṇḍola-Bhāradvāja, Kālodayin, Mahākapphiṇa, Vakkula, Aniruddha, and all other such great disciples.

[诸大菩萨与天人俱
All Great Bodhisattvas & Gods Together]

并诸菩萨摩诃萨,文殊师利法王子、阿逸多菩萨、乾陀诃提菩萨、常精进菩萨,与如是等诸大菩萨,及释提桓因等,无量诸天大众俱。

Also present were all Bodhisattva-Mahāsattvas: Mañjuśrī, the Dharma Prince, Ajita Bodhisattva, Gandhahastin Bodhisattva, Constant Diligence [Nityodyukta] Bodhisattva, and all other such great Bodhisattvas, with Śakro-Devānām-Indra [Śakra], together with all other immeasurable multitudes of gods.

[西方极乐世界阿弥陀佛
Amitā Buddha Of The Western Land Of Ultimate Bliss]

尔时,佛告长老舍利弗。从是西方,过十万亿佛土,有世界名曰极乐。其土有佛,号阿弥陀,今现在说法。

At that time, the Buddha told the Elder Śāriputra, ‘From here, in the western direction, passing a hundred thousand koṭis of Buddha Lands, there is a world [land] named “Ultimate Bliss”. In that land, is a Buddha named “Amitā”, [who is] now speaking the Dharma.

[彼土何故名为极乐 (1): 无众苦有诸乐
Why Is That Land Named ‘Ultimate Bliss’ (1): Without All Suffering & With All Bliss]

舍利弗,彼土何故名为极乐?其国众生,无有众苦,但受诸乐,故名极乐。

Śāriputra, why is that land named “Ultimate Bliss”? The beings in that land are without all [kinds of] suffering, and only experience all kinds of bliss, which is why it is named “Ultimate Bliss”.

[彼土何故名为极乐 (2): 栏楯、罗网、行树与四宝
Why Is That Land Named ‘Ultimate Bliss’ (2): Balustrades, Nets, Trees & Four Treasures]

又舍利弗,极乐国土,七重栏楯、七重罗网、七重行树,皆是四宝周匝围绕,是故彼国名为极乐。

Moreover, Śāriputra, in the Land of Ultimate Bliss, there are seven layers of balustrades, seven layers of nets, and seven layers of lined trees, all surrounded by four treasures. This is why that land is named “Ultimate Bliss”.

[彼土功德庄严 (1): 宝池、功德水、金沙、阶道、楼阁、七宝、莲花
That Land’s Adornment Of Meritorious Virtues (1): Treasure Ponds,
Water Of Meritorious Virtues, Golden Sand, Stairways, Towers, Seven Treasures, Lotus Flowers]

又舍利弗,极乐国土,有七宝池,八功德水,充满其中,池底纯以金沙布地。四边阶道,金、银、琉璃、玻璃合成。上有楼阁,亦以金、银、琉璃、玻璃、砗磲、赤珠、玛瑙而严饰之。池中莲花,大如车轮,青色青光、黄色黄光、赤色赤光、白色白光,微妙香洁。舍利弗,极乐国土,成就如是功德庄严。

Moreover, Śāriputra, the Land of Ultimate Bliss has ponds with seven treasures, filled with water of eight meritorious virtues, and bottoms spread purely with golden sand. On the four sides are stairways composed of gold, silver, beryl and crystal. Above are towers [pavilions], also adorned with gold, silver, beryl, crystal, tridacna, red pearls [ruby], and carnelian. Within the ponds are lotus flowers as large as chariot wheels, blue coloured of blue light, yellow coloured of yellow light, red coloured of red light, white coloured of white light, subtle [refined], wonderful, fragrant and pure. Śāriputra, the Land of Ultimate Bliss is accomplished with such adornment of meritorious virtues.

[彼土功德庄严 (2.1): 天乐、金地、曼陀罗华、供养佛
That Land’s Adornment Of Meritorious Virtues (2.1):
Heavenly Music, Gold Ground, Māndarāva Flowers, Offering Of Buddhas]

又舍利弗,彼佛国土,常作天乐,黄金为地。昼夜六时,雨天曼陀罗华。其土众生,常以清旦,各以衣祴,盛众妙华,供养他方十万亿佛,即以食时,还到本国,饭食经行。舍利弗,极乐国土,成就如是功德庄严。

Moreover, Śāriputra, in that Buddha Land, there is always playing of heavenly music, and gold as ground. Day and night, during the six periods, māndarāva flowers rain from the sky. The beings of that land often, in the morning, each fill to the hem of their clothes, with various wonderful flowers, to make offerings to a hundred thousand koṭis of Buddhas in other directions. At meal time, they immediately return to the original land, to eat and practise walking meditation. Śāriputra, the Land of Ultimate Bliss is accomplished with such adornment of meritorious virtues.

[彼土功德庄严 (2.2): 奇妙杂色之鸟
That Land’s Adornment Of Meritorious Virtues (2.2): Rare & Wonderful Birds]

复次,舍利弗,彼国常有种种奇妙杂色之鸟。白鹤、孔雀、鹦鹉、舍利、迦陵频伽、共命之鸟。是诸众鸟,昼夜六时,出和雅音。其音演畅五根、五力、七菩提分、八圣道分,如是等法。其土众生,闻是音已,皆悉念佛、念法、念僧。

Once again, Śāriputra, that land always has many kinds of rare and wonderful birds of various colours: white cranes, peacocks, parrots, śāris, kalaviṅkas, and life-sharing birds [jīvajīvas]. All these various birds, day and night, during the six periods, produce harmonious and elegant sounds. These sounds expound on the Five Roots, Five Powers, Seven Factors of Enlightenment, Eightfold Noble Path and other such Dharma [teachings]. The beings of that land, after hearing these sounds, all become mindful of the Buddha[s], mindful of the Dharma and mindful of the Sangha.

[彼土无三恶道
That Land Is Without Three Evil Paths]

舍利弗,汝勿谓此鸟,实是罪报所生。所以者何?彼佛国土,无三恶道。

Śāriputra, you should not say these birds are really born due to retribution of evil karma. Why is this so? In that Buddha Land, there are no three evil paths.

[诸鸟弥陀所化
All Birds As Amitā Buddha’s Manifestations]

舍利弗,其佛国土,尚无恶道之名,何况有实。是诸众鸟,皆是阿弥陀佛,欲令法音宣流,变化所作。

Śāriputra, that Buddha Land does not even have the names of the evil paths, much less their reality. All these various birds are [from] Amitā Buddha, who desires to let sounds of the Dharma be propagated, thus manifesting them.

[彼土功德庄严 (3): 百千种乐
That Land’s Adornment Of Meritorious Virtues (3): Hundred Thousand Kinds Of Music]

舍利弗,彼佛国土,微风吹动,诸宝行树,及宝罗网,出微妙音,譬如百千种乐,同时俱作。闻是音者,自然皆生念佛、念法、念僧之心。舍利弗,其佛国土,成就如是功德庄严。

Śāriputra, in that Buddha Land, when gentle breezes blow and move all the layers of treasure trees and treasure nets, they produce subtle [refined] and wonderful sounds, as if a hundred thousand kinds of music are playing together at the same time. Those who hear these sounds all naturally give rise to the mind with mindfulness of the Buddha[s], mindfulness of the Dharma and mindfulness of the Sangha. Śāriputra, that Buddha Land is accomplished with such adornment of meritorious virtues.

[彼佛何故号阿弥陀 (1): 无量光
Why Is That Buddha Named ‘Amita’ (1): Immeasurable Light]

舍利弗,于汝意云何?彼佛何故号阿弥陀?舍利弗,彼佛光明无量,照十方国,无所障碍,是故号为阿弥陀。

Śāriputra, what do you think? Why is that Buddha named “Amitā”? Śāriputra, that Buddha’s light is immeasurable, illuminating lands of the ten directions without any obstruction. This is why he is named “Amitā”[bha: Immeasurable Light].

[彼佛何故号阿弥陀 (2): 无量寿
Why Is That Buddha Named ‘Amita’ (2): Immeasurable Life]

又舍利弗,彼佛寿命,及其人民,无量无边阿僧祇劫,故名阿弥陀。舍利弗,阿弥陀佛成佛已来,于今十劫。

Moreover, Śāriputra, that Buddha’s life span, and [that land’s] people, are of immeasurable and boundless asaṃkhyeya kalpas. This is why he is named “Amitā”[yus: Immeasurable Life]. Śāriputra, since Amitā Buddha attained Buddhahood, ten kalpas have passed.

[无量阿罗汉与菩萨
Immeasurable Arhats & Bodhisattvas]

又舍利弗,彼佛有无量无边声闻弟子,皆阿罗汉,非是算数之所能知。诸菩萨众,亦复如是。舍利弗,彼佛国土,成就如是功德庄严。

Moreover, Śāriputra, that Buddha has immeasurable and boundless Śrāvaka disciples, all of whom are Arhats, whose number cannot be known by counting. All Bodhisattva assemblies are likewise such. Śāriputra, that Buddha Land is accomplished with such adornment of meritorious virtues.

[无量阿鞞跋致与一生补处众生
Immeasurable Avaivartikas & Eka-jati-pratibaddhas]

又舍利弗,极乐国土,众生生者,皆是阿鞞跋致。其中多有一生补处,其数甚多,非是算数所能知之,但可以无量无边阿僧祇说。

Moreover, Śāriputra, in the Land of Ultimate Bliss, beings born there are all Avaivartikas [in the Stage of Non-retrogression]. Among them, there are many in the Stage of One Life to Replacement [of other Buddhas: Eka-jati-pratibaddhas]. Their number is extremely great, whose number cannot be known by counting, and can only with immeasurable and boundless asaṃkhyeya kalpas be spoken of.

[何故发愿往生彼国 (1): 与诸上善人俱会
Why Aspire To Be Born In That Land (1): Gather With All Beings Of Superior Goodness]

舍利弗,众生闻者,应当发愿,愿生彼国。所以者何?得与如是诸上善人俱会一处。

Śāriputra, beings who hear this should vow [aspire] to be born in that land. Why is this so? They will be able to, with all such beings of superior goodness, meet together in one place.

[如何得生彼国
How To Attain Birth In That Land]

舍利弗,不可以少善根、福德、因缘,得生彼国。舍利弗,若有善男子、善女人,闻说阿弥陀佛,执持名号,若一日、若二日、若三日、若四日、若五日、若六日、若七日,一心不乱,其人临命终时,阿弥陀佛,与诸圣众,现在其前。是人终时,心不颠倒,即得往生阿弥陀佛极乐国土。

Śāriputra, one cannot, with little good roots, blessed virtues [merits], causes and conditions, attain birth in that land. Śāriputra, if there are good men and good women, who hear of Amitā Buddha, firmly [faithfully] uphold [practise mindfulness of] his name [Amituofo; Amitā(bha/yus) Buddha], if for one day, if for two days, if for three days, if for four days, if for five days, if for six days, if for seven days, wholeheartedly [single-mindedly] and without confusion [being scattered], when they approach the end of life, Amitā Buddha, with an assembly of various noble beings, will appear before them. When their lives [are] end[ing], their minds will not be inverted, and they will immediately attain birth in Amitā Buddha’s Land of Ultimate Bliss.

[佛陀劝愿言
Exhortation Of Aspiration By The Buddha]

舍利弗,我见是利,故说此言。若有众生,闻是说者,应当发愿,生彼国土。

Śāriputra, as I see these benefits, I speak these words. If there are beings who hear this [teaching], they should vow [aspire] to be born in that land.

[东方诸佛劝信称赞言
Exhortation Of Faith In Praises Of This Sutra By All Buddhas Of The Eastern Direction]

舍利弗,如我今者,赞叹阿弥陀佛不可思议功德之利,东方亦有阿閦鞞佛、须弥相佛、大须弥佛、须弥光佛、妙音佛,如是等恒河沙数诸佛,各于其国,出广长舌相,遍覆三千大千世界,说诚实言:汝等众生,当信是称赞不可思议功德,一切诸佛所护念经。

Śāriputra, as I now praise Amitā Buddha’s inconceivable meritorious virtues’ benefits, in the eastern direction, there are also Akṣobhya [Immovable] Buddha, Sumeru Form [Merudhvaja] Buddha, Great Sumeru [Mahāmeru] Buddha, Sumeru Light [Meru-prabhāsa] Buddha, Wonderful Sound [Mañjusvara] Buddha, and all such other Buddhas, as numerous as the sands of the Ganges river, each in his land, extending the form of broad and long tongue, that covers the three-thousand great-thousand worlds everywhere, speaking these truthful words: “You and other beings, should have faith in these praises of the inconceivable meritorious virtues in this ‘Sūtra Protected and Kept in Mind by All Buddhas’.”

[南方诸佛劝信称赞言
Exhortation Of Faith In Praises Of This Sutra By All Buddhas Of The Southern Direction]

舍利弗,南方世界,有日月灯佛、名闻光佛、大焰肩佛、须弥灯佛、无量精进佛,如是等恒河沙数诸佛,各于其国,出广长舌相,遍覆三千大千世界,说诚实言:汝等众生,当信是称赞不可思议功德,一切诸佛所护念经。

Śāriputra, in worlds of the southern direction, there are Sun Moon Lamp [Candra-sūryapradīpa] Buddha, Renown Light [Yaśaḥ-prabha] Buddha, Great Flaming Shoulders [Mahārciskandha] Buddha, Sumeru Lamp [Meru-pradīpa] Buddha, Immeasurable Diligence [Anantavīrya] Buddha, and all such other Buddhas, as numerous as the sands of the Ganges river, each in his land, extending the form of broad and long tongue, that covers the three-thousand great thousand worlds everywhere, speaking these truthful words: “You and other beings, should have faith in these praises of the inconceivable meritorious virtues in this ‘Sūtra Protected and Kept in Mind by All Buddhas’.”

[西方诸佛劝信称赞言
Exhortation Of Faith In Praises Of This Sutra By All Buddhas Of The Western Direction]

舍利弗,西方世界,有无量寿佛、无量相佛、无量幢佛、大光佛、大明佛、宝相佛、净光佛,如是等恒河沙数诸佛,各于其国,出广长舌相,遍覆三千大千世界,说诚实言:汝等众生,当信是称赞不可思议功德,一切诸佛所护念经。

Śāriputra, in worlds of the western direction, there are Immeasurable Life [Amitāyus] Buddha, Immeasurable Form [Amita-ketu] Buddha, Immeasurable Banner [Amita-dhvaja] Buddha, Great Light [Mahāprabha] Buddha, Great Radiance [Mahāprabhāsa] Buddha, Treasure Form [Ratna-ketu] Buddha, Pure Light [Śuddha-raśmi-prabha] Buddha, and all such other Buddhas, as numerous as the sands of the Ganges river, each in his land, extending the form of broad and long tongue, that covers the three-thousand great-thousand worlds everywhere, speaking these truthful words: “You and other beings, should have faith in these praises of the inconceivable meritorious virtues in this ‘Sūtra Protected and Kept in Mind by All Buddhas’.”

[北方诸佛劝信称赞言
Exhortation Of Faith In Praises Of This Sutra By All Buddhas Of The Northern Direction]

舍利弗,北方世界,有焰肩佛、最胜音佛、难沮佛、日生佛、网明佛,如是等恒河沙数诸佛,各于其国,出广长舌相,遍覆三千大千世界,说诚实言:汝等众生,当信是称赞不可思议功德,一切诸佛所护念经。

Śāriputra, in worlds of the northern direction, there are Flaming Shoulders [Arci-skandha] Buddha, Most Victorious Voice [Vaiśvānaranirghoṣa] Buddha, Difficult to Defeat [Duṣpradharṣa] Buddha, Sun Birth [Ādityasaṃbhava] Buddha, Netted Radiance [Jālinīprabha] Buddha, and all such other Buddhas, as numerous as the sands of the Ganges river, each in his land, extending the form of broad and long tongue, that covers the three-thousand great-thousand worlds everywhere, speaking these truthful words: “You and other beings, should have faith in these praises of the inconceivable meritorious virtues in this ‘Sūtra Protected and Kept in Mind by All Buddhas’.”

[下方诸佛劝信称赞言
Exhortation Of Faith In Praises Of This Sutra By All Buddhas Of The Below Direction]

舍利弗,下方世界,有师子佛、名闻佛、名光佛、达摩佛、法幢佛、持法佛,如是等恒河沙数诸佛,各于其国,出广长舌相,遍覆三千大千世界,说诚实言:汝等众生,当信是称赞不可思议功德,一切诸佛所护念经。

Śāriputra, in worlds of the below direction, there are Lion [Siṃha] Buddha, Renown [Yaśas] Buddha, Name of Light [Yaśaḥ-prabhāsa] Buddha, Dharma Buddha, Dharma Banner [Dharma-dhvaja] Buddha, Upholding Dharma [Dharma-dhara] Buddha, and all such other Buddhas, as numerous as the sands of the Ganges river, each in his land, extending the form of broad and long tongue, that covers the three-thousand great-thousand worlds everywhere, speaking these truthful words: “You and other beings, should have faith in these praises of the inconceivable meritorious virtues in this ‘Sūtra Protected and Kept in Mind by All Buddhas’.”

[上方诸佛劝信称赞言
Exhortation Of Faith In Praises Of This Sutra By All Buddhas Of The Above Direction]

舍利弗,上方世界,有梵音佛、宿王佛、香上佛、香光佛、大焰肩佛、杂色宝华严身佛、娑罗树王佛、宝华德佛、见一切义佛、如须弥山佛,如是等恒河沙数诸佛,各于其国,出广长舌相,遍覆三千大千世界,说诚实言:汝等众生,当信是称赞不可思议功德,一切诸佛所护念经。

Śāriputra, in worlds of the above direction, there are Brahma Voice [Brahma-ghoṣa] Buddha, Constellation King [Nakṣatra-rāja] Buddha, Superior Fragrance [Gandhottama] Buddha, Fragrant Light [Gandha-prabhāsa] Buddha, Great Flaming Shoulders [Mahārciskandha] Buddha, Varicoloured Treasure Flower Adorned Body [Ratna-kusuma-saṃpuṣpita-gātra] Buddha, Sala Tree King [Sālendra-rāja] Buddha, Treasure Flower Virtue [Ratnotpalaśrī] Buddha, Seeing of All Meanings [Sarva-artha-darśa] Buddha, Likeness to Sumeru Mountain [Sumerukalpa] Buddha, and all such other Buddhas, as numerous as the sands of the Ganges river, each in his land, extending the form of broad and long tongue, that covers the three-thousand great-thousand worlds everywhere, speaking these truthful words: “You and other beings, should have faith in these praises of the inconceivable meritorious virtues in this ‘Sūtra Protected and Kept in Mind by All Buddhas’.”

[何故名为一切诸佛所护念经
Why Is This Named The ‘Sutra Protected & Kept In Mind By All Buddhas’]

舍利弗,于汝意云何?何故名为一切诸佛所护念经?舍利弗,若有善男子、善女人,闻是经受持者,及闻诸佛名者,是诸善男子、善女人,皆为一切诸佛之所护念,皆得不退转于阿耨多罗三藐三菩提。是故舍利弗,汝等皆当信受我语,及诸佛所说。

Śāriputra, what do you think? Why is this named the “Sūtra Protected and Kept in Mind by All Buddhas”? Śāriputra, if there are good men and good women, who hear this sūtra, accept and uphold it, also hearing the names of all [these] Buddhas, all these good men and good women will be protected and kept in mind by all Buddhas, and will all attain non-retrogression for [attaining] Anuttara Samyak Sambodhi [Unsurpassable Equally Perfect Enlightenment; Buddhahood]. This is why, Śāriputra, you and all others should faithfully accept my words, and those which all Buddhas speak.

[何故发愿往生彼国 (2): 得不退转于阿耨多罗三藐三菩提
Why Aspire To Be Born In That Land (2):
Attainment Of Non-Retrogression For Anuttara Samyak Sambodhi]

舍利弗,若有人已发愿、今发愿、当发愿,欲生阿弥陀佛国者,是诸人等,皆得不退转于阿耨多罗三藐三菩提,于彼国土,若已生、若今生、若当生。是故舍利弗,诸善男子、善女人,若有信者,应当发愿,生彼国土。

Śāriputra, if there are those who have already vowed [aspired], are now vowing [aspiring], or will be vowing [aspiring], with desire to be born in Amitā Buddha’s land, all of them will attain non-retrogression for [attaining] Anuttara Samyak Sambodhi. In that land, they have already been born, or are now being born, or will be born. This is why, Śāriputra, all good men and good women, if they have faith, should vow [aspire] to be born in that land.

[诸佛称赞言
Praise By All Buddhas]

舍利弗,如我今者,称赞诸佛不可思议功德,彼诸佛等,亦称赞我不可思议功德,而作是言:释迦牟尼佛能为甚难希有之事,能于娑婆国土,五浊恶世,劫浊、见浊、烦恼浊、众生浊、命浊中,得阿耨多罗三藐三菩提,为诸众生,说是一切世间难信之法。

Śāriputra, as I now praise all Buddhas’ inconceivable meritorious virtues, all those other Buddhas also praise my inconceivable meritorious virtues, speaking these words: “Śākyamuni Buddha is capable of accomplishing extremely difficult and rare [extraordinary] deeds, able to, in this land of the Sahā World, during this evil period of the five defilements [turbidities]: defilement of [the] kalpa, defilement of views, defilement of afflictions, defilement of sentient beings, and defilement of [their] life spans, attain Anuttara Samyak Sambodhi, and for all beings, speak this Dharma [teaching], that is difficult for all in the world to have faith in.”

[成佛说此法之难
Difficulty Of Attaining Buddhahood & Speaking This Dharma]

舍利弗,当知我于五浊恶世,行此难事,得阿耨多罗三藐三菩提,为一切世间说此难信之法,是为甚难。

Śāriputra, you should know that I, in this evil period of the five defilements, accomplished these difficult deeds, of attaining Anuttara Samyak Sambodhi, and for all in the world spoke this Dharma, that is difficult to have faith in, which is extremely difficult!’

[大众欢喜信受
Rejoice & Acceptance By The Assembly]

佛说此经已,舍利弗,及诸比丘,一切世间天人、阿修罗等,闻佛所说,欢喜信受,作礼而去。

After the Buddha has spoken this sūtra, Śāriputra, and all the Bhikṣus, with all gods, humans, asuras and others in the world, having heard what the Buddha has spoken, rejoiced and faithfully accepted it, made obeisance and departed.

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Please be mindful of your speech, Amituofo!