[18] Immeasurable Life Sūtra’s Eighteenth Chapter’s Summary & Explanation《无量寿经》第十八品:小结与解释

The below is with reference to: Eighteenth Chapter On Countenances’ Uprightness (Of Immeasurable Life Sūtra)《无量寿经》颜貌端正第十八 at

Immeasurable Life Sūtra’s Eighteenth Chapter’s Summary & Explanation

[1] Āmítuófó’s (阿弥陀佛) Pure Land’s (净土) beings are empowered to have noble and brilliant wisdom (智慧), with supernormal powers (神通) that extend to complete their understanding.

[2] These beings all look equally magnificent. They are called ‘heavenly and human beings’ (天人) because of their past lives’ identities, where they came from. However, even hell-beings (地狱众生), hungry ghosts (饿鬼) and animals (畜生) can be reborn in the Pure Land with the Three Provisions (三资粮), to resemble likewise.

[3] Their upright appearances are unsurpassably rare, transcending that of heavenly and human beings with their refined wonders, not being worldly at all. Their forms are naturally received through the blessings of Āmítuófó, at one with emptiness and without limit.

[4] To know the incomparable nature of these beings in Pure Land, is this series of comparisons – 

(i) A beggar’s (乞人) appearance by a worldly emperor (帝王) is very different, by a thousand million koṭis of incalculable times.

(a) The beggar’s extremely wretched physical state of being unclothed, starving and cold is karmically caused by a great lack of morality in past lives, and the non-doing of good, such as not practising generosity, while greedily gathering riches, wanting to do so without effort. Also doing much evil, when his riches are dissolved, he suffers physically, leading to troubles in mind. Thus reborn into lower realms to experience extended suffering, only when his negative karma deserving such suffering exhausts, is he reborn as an extremely ignoble human beggar.

(b) A worldly emperor in contrast, is the opposite – being the most honoured among humans, due to doing of much good in past lives, such as practising generosity with loving-kindness, being trustworthy, truthful and harmonious. Thus reborn blissfully into higher realms, such as the heavens. With continual doing of good and remnant positive karma, he is later reborn as noble royalty among humans, with appearance upright and respect of many. He is splendidly clothed and eats good food too.

(ii) A worldly emperor’s appearance by a Wheel-Turning Noble King (转轮圣王) (who rules a whole world system) is very different, extremely ugly, just like the beggar above by a worldly emperor.

(iii) A Wheel-Turning Noble King’s appearance, although the most honoured in the world, by a Trāyastriṃśa Heaven’s King (忉利天王), is in turn also extremely ugly, by ten thousand koṭis of times.

(iv) A Trāyastriṃśa Heaven’s (i.e. Desire Realm’s [欲界] Second Heaven [第二天]) King’s appearance by a Sixth Heaven’s King (第六天王), is very different, by a hundred thousand koṭis of times. 

(v) A Sixth Heaven’s King’s appearance, when compared with Āmítuófó’s Pure Land’s beings, the latter’s radiance surpass by a thousand million koṭis of incalculable times.

Related Article:

Why Are Heavenly And Human Beings Stated In Āmítuófó’s Vows?

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