[11] Who Are The Heavenly Beings In The Amitābha Sūtra Assembly?《阿弥陀经》法会有何天人众?


D3: Heavenly [Beings’] Assembly


[Sūtra]: and Śakro-Devānām-Indra [with] others, immeasurably many heavenly great assemblies together.


[Explanation]: [On] ‘Śakro-Devānām-Indra [i.e. Śakra]’, this [is] called [the] ‘Capable Master’, [the] same as Trāyastriṃśa Heaven’s King.

「等」者,下等四王,上等夜摩、兜率、化乐、他化,色、 无色,「无量诸天」也。

[With reference to Trāyastriṃśa Heaven], those ‘others’, [are the] lower grade’s [heaven of the] Four [Heavenly] Kings, [and the] higher grades’ [heavens called] Yama, Tuṣita, Manifestation [Of] Joy [i.e. Nirmāṇarati], Others’ Manifestation [i.e. Parinirmita-vaśavartin], Form [i.e. Rūpa] [and] Formless [i.e. Ārūpa], [with their] ‘immeasurably many heavenly’ [beings].

[Note 1: The Formless Heavens’ beings have to exit their meditative concentration, to have the affinity and aspiration come forth to hear the Dharma, as they previously exist in states without the five dusts (五尘) of form, sound, smell, taste and touch (色声香味触), while form, sound (色声) and are needed to see the Buddha, and to hear his teachings.]


‘Great assemblies together’, [are] called [the] ten directions’ heavenly beings, [the] Eight Divisions’ asuras, humans-[and-]non-humans [i.e. kiṃnaras] [and] others, without [those] not participating [in the] assembly, without [those] not [by the] Pure Land Dharma Door, of [the] root ability [i.e. 根机] [to be] those gathered.

[Note 2:

Eight Divisions (八部)

(1) Gods (天人: 提婆 [Devas] and 梵天 [Brahmas])
(2) Nāgas (龙: dragons)
(3) Yakṣas (夜叉)
(4) Gandharvas (乾达婆)
(5) Asuras (阿修罗)
(6) Garuḍas (迦楼罗)
(7) Kiṃnaras (紧那罗)
(8) Mahorāgas (摩睺罗伽)    

Note 3: Buddhas are thus ‘Teachers (Of) Human (And) Heavenly (Beings)’ (人天教主), capable to teach even great gods, who are still trapped in rebirth. Even the highest heaven is no lasting refuge that offers liberation from suffering.]


[The] Common Preface [is now] complete.

– 净土宗九祖澫益大师

– Pure Land Tradition’s 9th Patriarch Great Master Ǒuyì
(Essential Explanation [Of The] Sūtra [In Which The] Buddha Speaks [Of] Amitā[bha] Buddha)

Namo Amituofo : Translation and notes by Shen Shi’an

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Next Section: Where Is Amitābha Buddha & His Pure Land?

Complete English Translation Of ‘The Essential Explanation On The Amitābha Sūtra As Spoken By The Buddha’

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