Kṣitigarbha Sūtra’s Chapter On Recitation Of Buddhas’ Names 地藏经之称佛名号品


At that time, Earth Treasury [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 Earth Treasury Bodhisattva, ‘You now desire [to] give rise [to] loving-kindness [and] compassion, [to] save all [the] six paths’ sentient beings [with] transgressions suffering, [by] speaking [of] inconceivable matters. Now is [the] right time, [when you] should only quickly speak, [as] I [will] shortly [enter Pari]nirvāṇa. Enabling you [to] sooner complete this aspiration, I [will] also [be] without worry [for] all present [and] future sentient beings.’

[Note 1: The six paths (六道) are the paths of (i) hell-beings (地狱), (ii) hungry ghosts (饿鬼), (iii) animals (畜生), (iv) humans (人), (v) asuras (阿修罗) and (vi) gods (天人). The first half are the three evil paths (三恶道) and the second half the three good paths (三善道).]

地藏菩萨白佛言:「世尊!过去无量阿僧祇劫,有佛出世,号 [1] 无边身如来。若有男子女人闻是佛名,暂生恭敬,即得超越四十劫生死重罪,何况塑画形像,供养赞叹,其人获福无量无边。

Earth Treasury Bodhisattva to [the] Buddha said, ‘World-Honoured [One]! [In] past immeasurable asaṃkhyeya kalpas [ago], is [a] Buddha [who] arose [in the] world, named [1] Boundless Body [Anantakāya] Thus Come [One]. If [there] are men [and] women [who] hear this Buddha’s name, momentarily giving rise [to] reverence, [they will] immediately transcend forty 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 2: ‘Asaṃkhyeya’ means ‘incalculable’. A ‘kalpa’ is a world cycle, about 1.3 trillion years long.]

又于过去恒河沙劫,有佛出世,号 [2] 宝性如来。若有男子女人闻是佛名,一弹指顷,发心归依,是人于无上道永不退转。

Also, in past Ganges’ sands [of] kalpas [ago], is [a] Buddha [who] arose [in the] world, named [2] Treasure Nature [Ratnasvabhāva] Thus Come [One]. 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, from [the] unsurpassable path [to Buddhahood, will] forever not retrogress.

又于过去有佛出世,号 [3] 波头摩胜如来。若有男子女人闻是佛名,历于耳根,是人当得千返生于六欲天中,何况至心称念。

Also, in [the] past, is [a] Buddha [who] arose [in the] world, named [3] Padmā [i.e. Lotus] Supreme [Padmājīna] Thus Come [One]. 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 3: The six desire heavens (六欲天) are (i) Cātummahārājikā (Four Great Heavenly Kings’) Heaven (四天王天), (ii) Trāyastriṃśa (Thirty-Three) Heaven (忉利天), (iii) Yāma (Good Time; 善时分) Heaven (夜摩天), (iv) Tuṣita (Contentment) Heaven (兜率天), (v) Nirmāṇarati (Manifestation Of Joy) Heaven (化乐天) and (vi) Paranirmita-Vaśavartin (Ease With Others’ Manifestations) Heaven (他化自在天).]

又于过去不可说不可说阿僧祇劫,有佛出世,号 [4] 师子吼如来。若有男子女人闻是佛名,一念归依,是人得遇无量诸佛摩顶授记。

Also, in past unspeakably unspeakable [many] asaṃkhyeya kalpas [ago], is [a] Buddha [who] arose [in the] world, named [4] Lion Roar [Siṃhanāda] Thus Come [One]. 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].

又于过去有佛出世,号 [5] 拘留孙佛。若有男子女人闻是佛名,志心瞻礼,或复赞叹,是人于贤劫千佛会中,为大梵王,得授上记。

Also, in [the] past, is [a] Buddha [who] arose [in the] world, named [5] 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] Virtuous [i.e. bhadra] Kalpa’s thousand Buddhas’ assemblies within, as great Brahmā Kings, [will] attain conferment [of] superior prediction.

又于过去有佛出世,号 [6] 毗婆尸佛。若有男子女人闻是佛名,永不堕恶道,常生人天,受胜妙乐。

Also, in [the] past, is [a] Buddha [who] arose [in the] world, named [6] 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.

又于过去无量无数恒河沙劫,有佛出世,号 [7] 宝胜如来。若有男子女人闻是佛名,毕竟不堕恶道,常在天上受胜妙乐。

Also, in past immeasurable innumerable Ganges’ sands [of] kalpas [ago], is [a] Buddha [who] arose [in the] world, named [7] Treasure Supreme [Ratnasambhava] Thus Come [One]. 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.

又于过去有佛出世,号 [8] 宝相如来。若有男子女人闻是佛名,生恭敬心,是人不久得阿罗汉果。

Also, in [the] past, is [a] Buddha [who] arose [in the] world, named [8] Treasure Form [Ratnalakṣaṇa] Thus Come ]One]. 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.

又于过去无量阿僧祇劫,有佛出世,号 [9] 袈裟幢如来。若有男子女人闻是佛名者,超一百大劫生死之罪。

Also, in past immeasurable asaṃkhyeya kalpas [ago], is [a] Buddha [who] arose [in the] world, named [9] Kaṣāya Banner [Kaṣāyadhvajā] Thus Come [One]. If [there] are men [and] women [who] hear this Buddha’s name, [they will] transcend one hundred great kalpas’ transgressions [of] births [and] deaths.

又于过去有佛出世,号 [10] 大通山王如来。若有男子女人闻是佛名者,是人得遇恒河沙佛广为说法,必成菩提。

Also, in [the] past, is [a] Buddha [who] arose [in the] world, named [10] Great Penetration Mountain King [Mahābhijnā-Sumeru] Thus Come [One]. 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].

又于过去,有 [11] 净月佛、[12] 山王佛、[13] 智胜佛、[14] 净名王佛、[15] 智成就佛、[16] 无上佛、[17] 妙声佛、[18] 满月佛、[19] 月面佛,有如是等不可说佛。

Also in [the] past, are [11] Pure Moon [Śuddhācandrā] Buddha, [12] Mountain King [Sumeru] Buddha, [13] Wisdom Supreme [Jñānajīna] Buddha, [14] Pure Name King [Vimalanāmanrāja] Buddha, [15] Wisdom Accomplishment [Jñānasaddhi] Buddha, [16] Unsurpassable [Anuttara] Buddha, [17] Wonderful Voice [Sughoṣa] Buddha, [18] Full Moon [Pūrṇacandrā] Buddha, [19] 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 or human [beings], if male or female, only attaining mindfulness [of] one Buddha’s name, [the] meritorious virtues [are] immeasurable, what more [of] many names.


This kind [of] sentient beings, when living [and] when deceased, [will] personally attain great benefits, [in the] end not falling [into] evil paths.

[Note 4: Āmítuófó’s name’s meaning is ‘Immeasurable Buddhas’, thus as all many Buddhas’ name. With mindfulness of it, then not falling into the three evil paths, with Faith and Aspiration mindful, be born in his Pure Land Of Ultimate Bliss. (阿弥陀佛,名号义是,无量佛陀,诸多佛名。念而不堕,三恶道去,以信愿念,生极乐去。)]


If [there] are persons approaching life’s end, [when] family members within home, even if [with] one person, for these sick persons, recites aloud one Buddha’s name, these persons approaching life’s end, [will] eliminate [the] five uninterrupted transgressions, [with] other kinds [of] karmic retribution all attaining elimination.

[Note 5: The five uninterrupted transgressions (五无间罪) or Five Heinous Transgressions (五逆罪) are (i) Killing Father (杀父), (ii) Mother (杀母), (iii) Arhat (杀阿罗汉), (iv) causing Buddha’s body to bleed (出佛身血) and (v) breaking up the harmonious Saṃgha (破和合僧).]


[With] these five uninterrupted transgressions, although extremely heavy, [with the] moving [and] passing [of] koṭis [of] kalpas, [when] completed, [still] not attaining exit, [if] receiving this [support-chanting (助念)] when approaching life’s end, [with] other persons for them reciting mindfully [the] Buddha’s name, from these transgressions within, [they will] also [be] gradually eliminated, what more [if] sentient beings personally recite [and are] personally mindful, [who will] obtain blessings immeasurable, [and] eliminate immeasurable transgressions.’

[Note 6: 1 koṭi is 10 million. Although the five uninterrupted transgressions are the most difficult to eliminate, they can be done with utmost sincere and repentant mindfulness of a Buddha’s name.]

[Note 7: Āmítuófó, as one Buddha’s name, represents all Immeasurable Buddhas’ names. With the mind of repentance, Faith and Aspiration mindful of it, eliminate transgressions, obtain blessings and be born in his Pure Land Of Ultimate Bliss. (阿弥陀佛一佛名,代表无量诸佛名。以忏悔信愿心念,除罪获福生极乐。)]


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 eliminating 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 for repeated practice. Note that to personally hear mindfully is a way to recite mindfully too.

[f] The statement that even the five uninterrupted transgressions can be eliminated 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 Eighty-Eight 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

[01] 南无无边身如来 Námó Anantakāya Tathāgata
[02] 南无宝性如来 Námó Ratnasvabhāva Tathāgata
[03] 南无波头摩胜如来 Námó Padmājīna Tathāgata
[04] 南无师子吼如来 Námó Siṃhanāda Tathāgata
[05] 南无拘留孙佛 Námó Krakucchanda Buddha
[06] 南无毗婆尸佛 Námó Vipaśyin Buddha
[07] 南无宝胜如来 Námó Ratnasambhava Tathāgata
[08] 南无宝相如来 Námó Ratnalakṣaṇa Tathāgata
[09] 南无袈裟幢如来 Námó Kaṣāyadhvajā Tathāgata
[10] 南无大通山王如来 Námó Mahābhijnā-Sumeru Tathāgata
[11] 南无净月佛 Námó Śuddhācandrā Buddha
[12] 南无山王佛 Námó Sumeru Buddha
[13] 南无智胜佛 Námó Jñānajīna Buddha
[14] 南无净名王佛 Námó Vimalanāmanrāja Buddha
[15] 南无智成就佛 Námó Jñānasaddhi Buddha
[16] 南无无上佛 Námó Anuttara Buddha
[17] 南无妙声佛 Námó Sughoṣa Buddha
[18] 南无满月佛 Námó Pūrṇacandrā Buddha
[19] 南无月面佛 Námó Candrāmukhā Buddha

[iii] 南无阿弥陀佛 Námó Āmítuófó (Námó Amitā[bha] Buddha)

Namo Amituofo : Translation and notes by Shen Shi’an

Related Articles:

Kṣitigarbha Sūtra’s Niànfó Teachings

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

1 Comment

  • Most excellent that the great compassionate Kistigarbha Bodhisattva Mahasattava takes pity on sentient beings and rescues them tirelessly for innumerable kalpas by constantly making and renewing his great vows.

    He pronounces the most excellent dharma and turns the dharma wheel constantly rescuing beings without any fatigue.

    He expounds the names and virtues of the Buddhas to help us eradicate evil karmas and makes the sentient beings attain the Buddha path.

Please be mindful of your speech, Amituofo!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.