The Infinite Light & Life of Amitabha Buddha

Amita Buddha’s Light

佛告阿难: ‘无量寿佛威神光明最尊第一,诸佛光明所不能及。或照百佛世界,或千佛世界,取要言之,乃照东方恒沙佛刹,南西北方,四维上下,亦复如是;或有佛光照于七尺,或照一由旬,二三四五由旬,如是转倍,乃至照一佛刹,是故无量寿佛号:

The Buddha [Shakyamuni] said to Ananda, ‘The majestic light of the Buddha Amitayus [Amita; Amitabha; Amituofo] is the most exalted. No other Buddha’s light can match his. The light of some Buddhas illuminates a hundred Buddha-lands, and that of others, a thousand Buddha-lands. Briefly, that of Amitayus illuminates the eastern Buddha-land, as numerous as the sands of the River Ganges. In the same way, it illuminates the Buddha-lands in the south, west and north, in each of the four intermediate quarters, above and below. Further, the light of some Buddhas extends seven feet; that of others, one yojana, or two, three, four or five yojanas; and the distance covered increases in this way until the light of some Buddhas illuminates one Buddha-land. For this reason, Amitayus is called by the following names: [十二光如来 Tathagata of 12 Kinds of Light]

  1. 无量光佛
    The Buddha of Infinite Light,
  2. 无边光佛 
    The Buddha of Boundless Light,
  3. 无碍光佛 
    The Buddha of Unhindered Light,
  4. 无对光佛 
    The Buddha of Incomparable Light,
  5. 炎王光佛 
    The Buddha of the Light of the King of Flame,
  6. 清净光佛 
    The Buddha of Pure Light,
  7. 欢喜光佛 
    The Buddha of the Light of Joy,
  8. 智能光佛 
    The Buddha of Light of Wisdom,
  9. 不断光佛
    The Buddha of Unceasing Light,
  10. 难思光佛 
    The Buddha of Inconceivable Light,
  11. 无称光佛 
    The Buddha of Ineffable [Indescribable/ Unspeakable] Light, and
  12. 超日月光佛
    The Buddha of the Light Outshining the Sun and the Moon.


If, sentient beings encounter his light, their three defilements are removed; they feel tenderness, joy and pleasure; and good thoughts arise. If sentient beings in the three realms of suffering see his light, they will all be relieved and freed from affliction. At the end of their lives, they all reach emancipation.’ [Relates to Amitabha Buddha’s Vow #33 earlier in the sutra]


[33] Vow of Receiving Light that Benefits Upon Touching the Body: If, when I attain Buddhahood, beings of all kinds in all immeasurable and inconceivable Buddha-lands of the ten directions, who receive my light that touches their bodies, should not experience [peace, happiness,] gentleness and softness [tenderness] of body and mind that surpasses that of devas and humans, may I not attain perfect awakening. [Attainment of ability to receive Buddha’s blessings via his light]


The light of Amitayus shines brilliantly, illuminating all the Buddha-lands of the ten quarters. There is no place where it is not perceived. … [Relates to Vow #12]


[12] Vow of Light Pervading and Illuminating the Ten Directions: If, when I attain Buddhahood, my light should be limited, unable to illuminate at least a hundred thousand kotis of nayutas of Buddha-lands, may I not attain perfect awakening. [Attainment of ability to be reached by Amitabha Buddha’s light of compassion, merits and wisdom]

I am not the only one who now praises his light. All the Buddhas, shravakas, pratyekabuddhas and bodhisattvas praise and glorify it in the same way. [Relates to Vow #17]


[17] Vow of Name Being Proclaimed and Highly Praised by All Buddhas: If, when I attain Buddhahood, all immeasurable Buddhas in the worlds of the ten directions should not all praise and proclaim my name, may I not attain perfect awakening. [Attainment of ability to be introduced by all Buddhas to beings of their worlds]

If sentient beings, having heard of the majestic virtue of his light, glorify it continually, day and night, with sincerity of heart, they will be able to attain birth in his land, as they wish. Then the multitudes of bodhisattvas and shravakas will praise their excellent virtue. Later, when they attain Buddhahood, all the Buddhas and bodhisattvas in the ten quarters will praise their light, just as I now praise the light of Amitayus.’

佛言: ‘我说无量寿佛光明威神,巍巍殊妙,昼夜一劫,尚未能尽!’

The Buddha continued, ‘The majestic glory of the light of Amitayus could not be exhaustively described even if I praised it continuously, day and night, for the period of one kalpa.’

阿弥陀佛之寿 Amita Buddha’s Life-span

佛语阿难: ‘又无量寿佛,寿命长久,不可称计,汝宁知乎?假使十方世界无量众生皆得人身,悉令成就声闻、缘觉,都共集会禅思一心,竭其智力,于百千万劫悉共 推算,计其寿命长远之数,不能穷尽,知其限极。声闻菩萨、天人之众,寿命长短亦复如是,非算数譬喻所能知也。又声闻菩萨其数难量不可称说,神智洞达威力自 在,能于掌中持一切世界。’

The Buddha said to Ananda, ‘The life of Amitayus is so long that it is impossible for anyone to calculate it. …’ [Relates to Vow #13]


[13] Vow of Everlasting Lifespan Similar to [Amitabha] Buddha: If, when I attain Buddhahood, [my] life-span[s] should be limited, even to at least a hundred thousand kotis of nayutas of kalpas, may I not attain perfect awakening. [Attainment of ability to be benefitted from Amitabha Buddha for indefinite time]

To give an illustration, let us suppose that all the innumerable sentient beings in the worlds of the ten quarters were reborn in human form and that every one became a shravaka or pratyekabuddha. Even if they assembled in one place, concentrated their thoughts, and exercised the power of their wisdom to the utmost to reckon the length of the Buddha’s life, even after a thousand million kalpas they could still not reach its limit. So it is with the life-span of shravakas, bodhisattvas, heavenly beings and human beings in his land. [Relates to Vow #15]

第十五寿命修短随意愿:设我得佛,国中天人, 寿命无能限量,除其本愿修短自在。若不尔者,不取正觉。

[15] Vow of Shortening Life-span According to Aspiration: If, when I attain Buddhahood, devas and humans in my land should not have unlimited life-spans, except when they wish to shorten them freely according to their original vows, may I not attain perfect awakening. [Attainment of ability to have immeasurable life-span that can be shortened at will]

Similarly, it is not to be encompassed by any means of reckoning or by any metaphorical expression. Again, the number of the shravakas and bodhisattvas living there is incalculable. [Relates to Vow #14]


[14] Vow of Immeasurable Shravakas: If, when I attain Buddhahood, the number of the shravakas in my land could be calculable, even if beings in the three-thousandfold, great-thousandfold world system should all become pratyekabuddhas and count them all for a hundred thousand kalpas could know their number, may I not attain perfect awakening. [Attainment of ability to be received despite number]

They are fully endowed with transcendent wisdom and free in their exercise of majestic power; they could hold the entire world in their hands.’

Excerpt from the Buddha Speaks the Infinite Life Sutra 佛说无量寿
Reformatted and edited from

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