The Amitābha Sūtra was taught by Śākyamuni Buddha at Jetavana Monastery in Śrāvastī to an assembly of many renown great Arhat monks (who have attained personal liberation, each foremost in various virtues) and many other great disciples.
Also there were many great Bodhisattvas (who aspire to guide all to Buddhahood), such as Mañjuśrī (who represents the perfect wisdom of all Buddhas), Maitreya Bodhisattva (who will be the next Buddha in our world) and many others. Also there were Śakra (who is a chief god) and many other gods.
The Buddha taught all, by telling Śāriputra (who was the Arhat foremost in wisdom) that to the West of our world, passing a trillion worlds, is the Pure Land Of Ultimate Bliss, where Āmítuófó (Amitā Buddha) is now teaching the Dharma. As named, that land’s beings are free from all suffering, and have all kinds of bliss.
It has seven layers of balustrades, nets and trees surrounded by four treasures. It has ponds with seven treasures, water of eight meritorious virtues, bottoms of golden sand, stairways of four treasures and towering pavilions of seven treasures above. In the ponds are large and radiant coloured lotus flowers, which are refined, wonderful, fragrant and pure. That land is adorned with such meritorious virtues.
It has heavenly music and gold ground. Day and night, rare and beautiful flowers rain. The beings there often use these various wonderful flowers to make offerings to a trillion Buddhas in other lands in the morning, before swiftly returning for meals and walking meditation. That land is adorned with such meritorious virtues.
It has many rare, wonderful and colourful birds. Day and night, they produce harmonious and elegant sounds to inspire all to become mindful of the Triple Gem (Buddha, Dharma, Sangha). As that land is without the realms and names of hell-beings, hungry ghosts and animals, they are not born from karmic retribution but manifested by Āmítuófó to propagate the Dharma.
It has gentle breezes that move the treasure trees and nets to produce refined and wonderful sounds, like a hundred thousand kinds of music playing together, to inspire all to become mindful of the Triple Gem. That land is adorned with such meritorious virtues.
As Āmítuófó’s light is immeasurable and illuminates lands everywhere without obstruction, he is named ‘Amitā’(bha: Immeasurable Light). As he and his people’s lifespans are immeasurable, he is named ‘Amitā’(yus: Immeasurable Life). Since he attained Buddhahood, ten world cycles have passed, and he has immeasurable Arhat and Bodhisattva disciples. That land is adorned with such meritorious virtues.
All born there will not backslide spiritually, and many are about to manifest Buddhahood in their next lives. Those who hear this teaching should vow to be born there, so as to meet all such beings of superior goodness.
Those with few good roots’ blessed virtues cannot attain birth there. However, those who faithfully uphold Āmítuófó’s name, for one, two, three, four, five, six, seven (or more) day(s), wholeheartedly without being scattered, when they approach the end of life, Āmítuófó with an assembly of many noble beings will appear, and their minds will not be inverted. They will then be immediately born in his land. As Śākyamuni Buddha sees these benefits, he speaks so. Thus, those who hear this teaching should vow to be born there.
Just as Śākyamuni Buddha praised Āmítuófó’s inconceivable meritorious virtues’ benefits, in the eastern, southern, western, northern, below and above directions, there were also thirty-eight Buddhas, who represented all other such innumerable Buddhas, each truthfully teaching in their worlds, that all should have faith in this ‘Sūtra With (Praises Of Inconceivable Meritorious Virtues And) All Buddhas’ Mindful Protection’, which is named so as all who accept it and practise accordingly will be mindfully protected by all Buddhas and attain non-backsliding progress for Buddhahood. Thus, all should faithfully accept this teaching by all Buddhas.
All who have already vowed, are now vowing, or will be vowing to be born in land will attain non-backsliding progress for Buddhahood. There, they have already been born, are now being born, or will be born. Thus, all who have faith should vow to be born there.
Just as Śākyamuni Buddha praised all Buddhas’ inconceivable meritorious virtues, they also praised his, for being able to accomplish the extremely difficult and rare matter of attaining Buddhahood in this world with ‘endurance’ (of suffering), during this evil period of the five defilements (which create many spiritual and physical obstacles), and for all taught this, which is difficult to have faith in. Śākyamuni Buddha affirms that it should be known that the above is indeed true, that this is extremely difficult.
Having heard this teaching, all the monks, gods, humans, asuras and others rejoiced and faithfully accepted it, as they paid homage and departed.
Summary Of The Amitābha Sūtra
New Translation Of The Amitābha Sūtra