At that time, Kṣitigarbha Bodhisattva Mahāsattva to [Śākyamuni] Buddha [释迦牟尼佛] said, ‘World-Honoured [One]! I now for future sentient beings, [am] speaking [of] beneficial matters, for [those with] births [and] deaths within, [to] attain great benefits, only wishing [that the] World-Honoured [One] listens [to what] I speak of.’
[The] Buddha told Kṣitigarbha Bodhisattva, ‘You now desire [to] give rise [to] loving-kindness [and] compassion, [to] rescue all [the] six paths’ sentient beings [with] suffering [from] transgressions, [with the] speaking [of] inconceivable matters. Now is [the] right time, [when you] should only swiftly speak, [as] I [will] shortly [enter Pari]nirvāṇa. Enabling you [to] sooner complete this wish, I [will] also [be] without worry [for] all sentient beings [of the] present [and] future.’
[Note: Six Paths (六道): Paths of hell-beings (地狱道), hungry ghosts (饿鬼道), animals (畜生道), humans (人道), asuras (阿修罗道) and gods (天道). The first half are the Three Evil Paths (三恶道) and the second half the Three Good Paths (三善道).]
Kṣitigarbha Bodhisattva to [the] Buddha said, ‘World-Honoured [One]! [In] past immeasurable asaṃkhyeya kalpas [ago], is [a] Buddha [who] arose [in the] world, named  Boundless Body [Anantakāya] Tathāgata. If [there] are men [and] women [who] hear this Buddha’s name, momentarily giving rise [to] reverence, [they will] immediately transcend 40 kalpas [of] births’ [and] deaths’ heavy transgressions, what more [if they] sculpt [and] paint [his] image, making offerings [and] praising, [as] these persons [will] obtain blessings [that are] immeasurable [and] boundless.
[Note: Asaṃkhyeya: Incalculable. Kalpa: A world cycle, about 1.3 trillion years long.]
Also, in past Ganges’ sands [of] kalpas [ago], is [a] Buddha [who] arose [in the] world, named  Treasure Nature [Ratnasvabhāva] Tathāgata. If [there] are men [and] women [who] hear this Buddha’s name, [in] one moment [of] snapping [the] fingers, giving rise [to] taking [of] refuge, these persons of [the] unsurpassable path [to Buddhahood will] forever not retrogress.
Also, in [the] past, is [a] Buddha [who] arose [in the] world, named  Padmā [i.e. Lotus] Supreme [Padmājīna] Tathāgata. If [there] are men [and] women [who] hear this Buddha’s name, passing through [their] ear roots, these persons will attain [a] thousand returning births in [the] six desire heavens within, what more [if they with] sincere minds recite [it] mindfully.
[Note: Six Desire Heavens (六欲天): Cātummahārājikā (Four Great Heavenly Kings’) Heaven (四天王天), Trāyastriṃśa (Thirty-three) Heaven (忉利天), Yāma (Good Time; 善时分) Heaven (夜摩天), Tuṣita (Contentment) Heaven (兜率天), Nirmāṇarati (Manifestation Of Joy) Heaven (化乐天) and Paranirmita-Vaśavartin (Ease With Others’ Manifestations) Heaven (他化自在天).]
Also, in past unspeakably unspeakable [many] asaṃkhyeya kalpas [ago], is [a] Buddha [who] arose [in the] world, named  Lion Roar [Siṃhanāda] Tathāgata. If [there] are men [and] women [who] hear this Buddha’s name, [with] one thought taking refuge, these persons [will] attain meeting [of] immeasurably many Buddhas, [who will] rub [their] crowns [to] confer prediction [of Buddhahood].
Also, in [the] past, is [a] Buddha [who] arose [in the] world, named  Krakucchanda Buddha. If [there] are men [and] women [who] hear this Buddha’s name, [with the] sincere mind revere [and] prostrate, or repeatedly praise [him], these persons in [this] bhadra [i.e. virtuous] kalpa’s thousand Buddhas’ assemblies within, as great Brahmā kings, [will] attain conferment [of] superior prediction.
Also, in [the] past, is [a] Buddha [who] arose [in the] world, named  Vipaśyin Buddha. If [there] are men [and] women [who] hear this Buddha’s name, [they will] forever not fall [into] evil paths, [and] often [be] born [as] human [and] heavenly [beings], receiving excellent [and] wonderful joy.
Also, in past immeasurable innumerable Ganges’ sands [of] kalpas [ago], is [a] Buddha [who] arose [in the] world, named  Treasure Supreme [Ratnasambhava] Tathāgata. If [there] are men [and] women [who] hear this Buddha’s name, [they will] ultimately not fall [into] evil paths, often in [the] heavens above receiving excellent [and] wonderful joy.
Also, in [the] past, is [a] Buddha [who] arose [in the] world, named  Treasure Form [Ratnalakṣaṇa] Tathāgata. If [there] are men [and] women [who] hear this Buddha’s name, giving rise [to the] reverent mind, these persons, not long [after, will] attain [the] Arhat fruit.
Also, in past immeasurable asaṃkhyeya kalpas [ago], is [a] Buddha [who] arose [in the] world, named  Kaṣāya Banner [Kaṣāyadhvajā] Tathāgata. If [there] are men [and] women [who] hear this Buddha’s name, [they will] transcend one hundred great kalpas’ transgressions [of] births [and] deaths.
Also, in [the] past, is [a] Buddha [who] arose [in the] world, named  Great Penetration Mountain King [Mahābhijnā-Sumeru] Tathāgata. If [there] are men [and] women [who] hear this Buddha’s name, these persons [will] attain meeting [of] Ganges’ sands [of] Buddhas extensively for [them] speaking [the] Dharma, [and will] definitely accomplish Bodhi [i.e. awakening of Buddhahood].
Also in [the] past, are  Pure Moon [Śuddhācandrā] Buddha,  Mountain King [Sumeru] Buddha,  Wisdom Supreme [Jñānajīna] Buddha,  Pure Name King [Vimalanāmanrāja] Buddha,  Wisdom Accomplishment [Jñānasaddhi] Buddha,  Unsurpassable [Anuttara] Buddha,  Wonderful Voice [Sughoṣa] Buddha,  Full Moon [Pūrṇacandrā] Buddha,  Moon Face [Candrāmukhā] Buddha, with such [and] other unspeakably [many] Buddhas.
World-Honoured One! Now [and in the] future, all sentient beings, if [as] heavenly [beings] or humans, if male or female, [who] only attain mindfulness [of] one Buddha’s name, [the] meritorious virtues [are] immeasurable, what more [of] many names.
These sentient beings [and] others, when living [and] when dying, [will] personally attain great benefits, [in the] end not falling [into] evil paths.
If [there] are humans approaching [the] end [of] life, relatives within home, even if one person, for this sick person recites aloud one Buddha’s name, this person approaching [the] end [of] life, excluding [the] five uninterrupted transgressions, [will have] other karmic retribution all attaining eradication.
[Note: Five Uninterrupted Transgressions (五无间罪) or Five Heinous Transgressions (五逆罪): Killing Father (杀父), Mother (杀母), Arhat (杀阿罗汉), causing Buddha’s body to bleed (出佛身血) and breaking up the Saṃgha (破和合僧)]
These five uninterrupted transgressions’ [suffering], although extremely heavy, passing koṭis [of] kalpas, [when they] finish, [are still] not [able to] attain exit [from], receiving [support-chanting; 助念] thus, when approaching [the] end [of] life, [with] other people for them reciting mindfully [a] Buddha’s name, of these transgressions within, [they] also [will] gradually [be] eradicated, what more [if] sentient beings personally recite [and are] personally mindful, [which] obtains blessings [that are] immeasurable, [and] eradicates immeasurable transgressions.’
[Note: 1 koṭi is 10 million. Although the Five Uninterrupted Transgressions are the most difficult to eradicate, they can be done with utmost sincere and repentful mindfulness of a Buddha’s name.]
Sūtra [Of] Kṣitigarbha Bodhisattva’s Fundamental Vows:
Chapter Nine [On] Recitation [Of] Buddhas’ Names
[a] The following is a collective summary of how to receive the benefits above, in terms of all the Buddhas’ names listed… If hearing and reciting the 19 Buddhas’ names mindfully, sincerely and reverently, for refuge, with prostrating and praising, this attains immeasurable meritorious virtues, for eradicating immeasurable transgressions and much karmic retribution, to never fall into evil paths, attain many joyous human and heavenly rebirths, meet many Buddhas, hear the Dharma extensively, attain Arhathood, never retrogress on the path to Buddhahood, receive prediction of Buddhahood and definitely attain Buddhahood.
[b] This chapter is on general benefits of mindfulness of Buddha, although not focusing upon using it to reach any Pure Land (净土). It also describes support-chanting for avoiding fall into a lower path, and to ensure there is good rebirth. This is a skilful means for those who have yet to have faith in Pure Lands, or still find it difficult to do so.
[c] To most easily attain the best rebirth possible, for the swiftest path to Buddhahood, there should be mindfulness of Amitābha Buddha’s name – Āmítuófó (阿弥陀佛), with Faith in him and Aspiration to reach his Pure Land Of Ultimate Bliss (极乐世界). As there is non-retrogressive progress towards Buddhahood there, this transcends attaining rebirth in a heaven, and even attaining of Arhathood (which is also possible there first, before advancing on the Bodhisattva path to Buddhahood).
[d] As Āmítuófó’s name means ‘Immeasurable Buddha[s] (无量佛)’, it is the Buddha name of all immeasurable Buddha names, with all their immeasurable meritorious virtues. As all Buddhas are interconnected, all individual benefits above are included, synergised and thus transcended with focused mindfulness of his name.
[e] Although mindfulness of many Buddhas’ names is beneficial, such focus for continual practice is easier for sustaining wholeheartedness without being scattered, for swifter and firmer connection, without any loss of benefits. Thus is it most popular for practice. If there is time, the 19 Buddhas’ names can also first be swiftly recited once, to let the dying hear sincerely and mindfully, before settling upon Āmítuófó’s name. Note that to personally hear mindfully is a way to recite mindfully too,
[f] The statement that even the five uninterrupted transgressions can be eradicated with mindfulness of a Buddha’s name is proof that even such transgressors can practise accordingly with sincere repentance to avoid the hells, and even reach a Pure Land, including that of Āmítuófó. This is important, for encouraging all, including the once extremely evil, to be mindful of Buddha. It also encourages support-chanters to do their best to encourage the dying to be mindful of Buddha, without which, they might fall into a lower path.
[g] To conclude with practice, may we most sincerely recite homage to the 19 Buddhas below, beginning with homage to the Buddha and Bodhisattva, who made this teaching possible. Following the tradition of adding Āmítuófó’s name at the end of the list of 88 Buddhas’ names in the ‘Great Repentance Text With 88 Buddhas’ (八十八佛大忏悔文), this list also ends with the all-encompassing ‘catch-all’ name of Āmítuófó. (Note that Kṣitigarbha Bodhisattva personally guides beings to Āmítuófó’s Pure Land too, as stated in the Sūtra [In Which The] Buddha Speaks [Of] Kṣitigarbha Bodhisattva (Dùnhuáng Treasury Version)《佛说地藏菩萨经》炖煌藏本.)
[i] 南无本师释迦牟尼佛 Námó Śākyamuni Buddha
[ii] 南无地藏王菩萨 Námó Kṣitigarbha Bodhisattva
 南无无边身如来 Námó Anantakāya Tathāgata
 南无宝性如来 Námó Ratnasvabhāva Tathāgata
 南无波头摩胜如来 Námó Padmājīna Tathāgata
 南无师子吼如来 Námó Siṃhanāda Tathāgata
 南无拘留孙佛 Námó Krakucchanda Buddha
 南无毗婆尸佛 Námó Vipaśyin Buddha
 南无宝胜如来 Námó Ratnasambhava Tathāgata
 南无宝相如来 Námó Ratnalakṣaṇa Tathāgata
 南无袈裟幢如来 Námó Kaṣāyadhvajā Tathāgata
 南无大通山王如来 Námó Mahābhijnā-Sumeru Tathāgata
 南无净月佛 Námó Śuddhācandrā Buddha
 南无山王佛 Námó Sumeru Buddha
 南无智胜佛 Námó Jñānajīna Buddha
 南无净名王佛 Námó Vimalanāmanrāja Buddha
 南无智成就佛 Námó Jñānasaddhi Buddha
 南无无上佛 Námó Anuttara Buddha
 南无妙声佛 Námó Sughoṣa Buddha
 南无满月佛 Námó Pūrṇacandrā Buddha
 南无月面佛 Námó Candrāmukhā Buddha
[iii] 南无阿弥陀佛 Námó Āmítuófó (Námó Amitā[bha] Buddha)
Kṣitigarbha Bodhisattva’s Guidance To The Western Pure Land
Why Be Mindful Of One Buddha For Rebirth In His Pure Land?
The One Method Of Upholding The Name Completely Gathers 10,000 Methods
How The Future Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva ‘First’ Visited Hell
Namo Amituofo : Translation, notes and summary by Shen Shi’an