Loading...

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The five Mindfulness Trainings

The Five Mindfulness Trainings

(according to Thich Nath Hanh, www.plumvillage.org)


-First Training-

Aware of the suffering caused by the destruction of life, I am committed to cultivating compassion and learning ways to protect the lives of people, animals, plants, and minerals. I am determined not to kill, not to let others kill, and not to condone any act of killing in the world, in my thinking, and in my way of life.

-Second Training-

Aware of the suffering caused by exploitation, social injustice, stealing, and oppression, I am committed to cultivate loving kindness and learn ways to work for the well-being of people, animals, plants, and minerals. I am committed to practice generosity by sharing my time, energy, and material resources with those who are in real need. I am determined not to steal and not to possess anything that should belong to others. I will respect the property of others, but I will prevent others from profiting from human suffering or the suffering of other species on Earth.

-Third Training-

Aware of the suffering caused by sexual misconduct, I am committed to cultivate responsibility and learn ways to protect the safety and integrity of individuals, couples, families, and society. I am determined not to engage in sexual relations without love and a long-term commitment. To preserve the happiness of myself and others, I am determined to respect my commitments and the commitments of others. I will do everything in my power to protect children from sexual abuse and to prevent couples and families from being broken by sexual misconduct.

-Fourth Training-

Aware of the suffering caused by unmindful speech and the inability to listen to others, I am committed to cultivate loving speech and deep listening in order to bring joy and happiness to others and relieve others of their suffering. Knowing that words can create happiness or suffering, I am committed to learn to speak truthfully, with words that inspire self-confidence, joy, and hope. I am determined not to spread news that I do not know to be certain and not to criticise or condemn things of which I am not sure. I will refrain from uttering words that can cause division or discord, or that can cause the family or the community to break. I will make all efforts to reconcile and resolve all conflicts, however small.

-Fifth Training-

Aware of the suffering caused by unmindful consumption, I am committed to cultivate good health, both physical and mental, for myself, my family, and my society by practising mindful eating, drinking, and consuming. I am committed to ingest only items that preserve peace, well-being, and joy in my body, in my consciousness, and in the collective body and consciousness of my family and society. I am determined not to use alcohol or any other intoxicant or to ingest foods or other items that contain toxins, such as certain TV programs, magazines, books, films, and conversations. I am aware that to damage my body or my consciousness with these poisons is to betray my ancestors, my parents, my society, and future generations. I will work to transform violence, fear, anger, and confusion in myself and in society by practising a diet for myself and for society. I understand that a proper diet is crucial for self-transformation and for the transformation of society.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

The Twelve Links of Dependent Origination


Amituofo _/\_

The Buddha said there are twelve links (nidanas) in the "chain" of Dependent Origination. Dependent Origination is the Buddhist teaching on how things come to be, are, and cease to be. According to this teaching, no beings or phenomena exist independently of other beings and phenomena.

The Twelve Links show us how Dependent Origination "works." Please note that there is no first link. The "numbering" could begin anywhere. Although they are described in a linear way, in fact each link connects to all the other links.

1.IGNORANCE (AVIDYA)

Avidya means lack of light or lack of understanding. In Buddhism, "ignorance" usually refers to ignorance of the Four Noble Truths, in particular that life is dukkha (unsatisfactory; stressful).

Ignorance also refers to ignorance of anatman, a teaching that there is no "self" in the sense of a permanent, integral, autonomous being within an individual existence. What we think of as our self, our personality and ego, are temporary creations of the skandhas.
The twelve links are illustrated in the outer ring of the Bhavachakra (Wheel of Life). Ignorance is depicted as a blind man or woman.

Ignorance conditions the next link in the chain, volitional action.

2.VOLITIONAL FORMATION (SAMSKARA)

Ignorance links to samskara, which can be translated volitional action, formation, impulse, motivation, or karma formation. Out of ignorance come thoughts, words and actions that sew the seeds of karma. Samskara are the impulses that come before action, and action creates karma.

In the outer ring of the Bhavachakra (Wheel of Life), samskara usually is illustrated as potters making pots.

Volitional formation conditions the next link, consciousness.

3.CONSCIOUSNESS (VIJNANA)

Vijnana usually is translated to mean "consciousness." In Buddhist teaching there are many kinds of vijnana. Very generally, vijnana is what happens when one of the six faculties (eye, ear, nose, tongue, body, mind) reacts to or becomes aware of one of the six external phenomena (visible form, sound, smell, taste, touch, and ideas and thoughts). The third link includes all kinds of vijnana.

In the outer ring of the Bhavachakra (Wheel of Life), vijnana is represented by a monkey. A monkey leaps thoughtlessly from one thing to another, easily tempted and distracted by sensations. Monkey energy pulls us away from ourselves and away from the dharma.

Vijnana conditions the next link, name and form.

4.NAME AND FORM ( NAMA RUPA)

Nama-rupa is name and form, corporeality and mentality, the joining of the five skandhas into an individual existence. With name and form also come sensory perception.

In the outer ring of the Bhavachakra (Wheel of Life), nama-rupa is represented by people in a boat, traveling through samsara.

Nama-rupa works together with the next link, faculties and objects, to condition other links.

5.FACULTIES AND OBJECTS (SHADAYATANA)

The Vijnana, or consciousness, link described above involves the the six faculties or sense organs (eye, ear, nose, tongue, body, mind) and six corresponding external phenomena, or objects (visible form, sound, smell, taste, touch, and ideas and thoughts). The faculties and their corresponding objects are the shadayatana.

Of course, the sense organs do not exist separately from the previous link, physical form. If you reflect on the links, you see that each link connects to every other link.

The Bhavachakra (Wheel of Life) illustrates shadayatana as a house with six windows.
Shadayatana relates directly to the next link, which is the contact between faculties and objects.

6.CONTACT (SPARSHA)

Sparsha is contact with environment, or the contact with the faculties and object discussed of Shadayatana. The Wheel of Life illustrates sparsha with an embracing couple.

The contact of faculties and objects leads to the experience of sensation, which is the next link.

7.SENSATION (VEDANA)

Vedana is the recognition and experience of sensations. These experiences are pleasurable or painful, which leads to desire and aversion.

The Wheel of Life illustrates vedana with an arrow piercing an eye to represent sense data piercing the senses.

Sensation conditions the next link, craving.

8.CRAVING ( TRISHNA)

The Second Noble Truth teaches that trishna -- thirst, desire or craving -- is the cause of stress or suffering (dukkha).

If we are not mindful, we are perpetually being jerked around by desire for what we want and aversion of what we don't want. In this state we heedlessly create karma, which keeps us entangled in the cycle of rebirth.
The Wheel of Life illustrates trishna with a man drinking beer, usually surrounded with empty bottles.

Desire and aversion conditions the next link, clinging.

9.CLINGING OR GRASPING (UPADANA)

Upadana is a grasping and clinging mind. We cling to sensual pleasures, mistaken views, external forms and appearances. Most of all, we cling to ego and a sense of an individual self, a sense reinforced moment-to-moment by our cravings and aversions. Upadana also represents clinging to a womb and the beginning of rebirth.

The Wheel of Life illustrates Upadana by picturing a monkey, or sometimes a person, reaching for a fruit.

Upadana conditions the next link, becoming.

10.BECOMING (BHAVA)

Bhava is new becoming, set in motion by the other links. The Wheel of Life illustrates bhava by picturing a couple making love or a woman in an advanced state of pregnancy.

Becoming conditions the next link, birth.

11.BIRTH (JATI)

The cycle of rebirth naturally includes birth. In the Wheel of Life, a woman in childbirth illustrates jati.

Birth inevitably leads to old age and death.

12.OLD AGE AND DEATH ( JANA MARANAM)

The chain comes to old age and death, or the dissolution of what came to be. The karma of one life sets in motion another life, rooted in ignorance (avidya). A circle is closed.

In the Wheel of Life, Jara-maranam is illustrated with a corpse.

Amituofo _/\_

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Origin of Kuan Yin


Kuan Yin, known as Miao Shin while on earth, had a real problem with her father. He insisted on forcing her to marry an older, wealthy man so that he (the father) could have everlasting security. Miao Shin had no interest in marrying this man or preparing for the wedding and spent all of her time praying and meditating. To punish her, Miao Shin's father sent her to a convent to spend her days in silence with nuns. Little did he know that Miao Shin had her greatest desire met, as spending her days in prayer and meditation, in silence, with others like her was more than she could ever ask. She lived there happily for many years.

When her father found out how happy she was he had her removed and taken into the forest to be slashed to death with the swords of her father's guards. Miao Shin was so beloved, even by the guards, this was a terrible thing to ask of even them. Being loyal to Miao Shin's father, they carried out the task. But right before the swords struck her, a fierce tiger snatched her up in his mouth and carried her off to a far away mountain cave. Miao Shin thinking that her fate was now worse than before, prepared herself for death, as she knew the tiger would certainly devour her. Just as she had this thought, the tiger vanished, leaving her alone in the mountain cave.

The next thing she knew, the cave literally dissolved and she was floating, just like a feather caught by the wind. When she landed she found herself in a dark place, much darker than the mountain cave the tiger had brought her to. Had she died? She wondered this because ghosts were swishing by on all sides of her. As she looked up, a man with fire shooting out of his head and eyes appeared. It was Yen Lo Wang, ruler of the dead. Why was she in his realm? She wondered.

As Miao Shin looked around she was saddened by the trapped souls who would never have the chance to reincarnate. Never would they be given the opportunity to settle their karma or seek enlightenment. It was at that moment that Miao Shin realized why she had come there. She was there to perform her miracles. Straightening up, standing tall, with a wise woman expression on her face Miao Shin confronted Yen Lo Wang.

She asked why he kept the souls there with him like he did and explained how important it is that they have the chance to be reborn again to Earth. How they needed and deserved the opportunity to work off the evil they had done in their former lives. She told him he had no right to keep these souls in his realm in misery, where they will never have a chance for salvation.

Kuan Yin is definitely a woman after my own heart. Standing in her power.

Well, of course this really ticked off Wang. Flames shot out of his head higher than before, yet Miao Shin stood before him glowing as only a saint can glow. Wang, for sure, did not want saints in his realm. Heaven forbid! (Pardon the pun.) And Miao Shin wasn't about to back down. She wanted answers!

Finally, when Yen Lo Wang was about to curse Miao Shin and raise his hand to her a strange peace came over him. He had never felt that before. He looked at Miao Shin standing there. Meditating. Calm. Her light shining so brightly that it was almost blinding. All of the souls were drawn to her light and came near to her.

Yen Lo Wang, seeing this, realized he had no power over such a holy woman and told her to leave and take the souls with her. Yen Lo Wang was no longer angry, he just wanted them all to leave him alone.

Miao Shin blessed each of the souls, one by one, and as she did, they drifted up and out of the deep, dark cave and slipped into new bodies as babies. Ready to live again and correct the mistakes they had made in previous lifetimes in order to balance their karma.

Before Miao Shin knew what hit her, she found herself standing before the Buddha and looking into his kind and happy face. "Miao Shin", he said. "You have attained enlightenment. You are very near to becoming a manifestation of all that is divine. But, your father wants to stop you. So you must hide. Go to the holy island of Polata. There you will find the silence you need to become perfectly holy." Ready for further enlightenment, Miao Shin went on her way. Miao Shin spent many years on the Holy Island of Polata and became even more holy than ever. To the point that she glowed from within. The absolute beauty of her soul shone right through her skin. On the island she became a bodhisattva (almost a Buddha) and possessed loving kindness and magical powers like no one had ever known before. Miao Shin helped as many people as she possibly could during this time.

She rescued drowning sailors, gave food to those who were starving and assisted all who had been wronged in some way. Miao Shin had the ability to see and hear all things in the world and could even feel the pain of homeless children and could hear the crying sobs of each one of them. Because she could fly, she flew to their side and helped each one.

Once Miao Shin was pure enough and strong enough to face her father, she went back home. She found her father dying and fearful of her brilliance. After assuring him she had come to heal and not hurt him she showed him the little place in his heart that still had a smidgen of love and told him about the path to enlightenment.

By saving her father in this way, after all the harm he had tried to do to her, Miao Shin became as holy as the Buddha and found herself beginning to disappear into the spiritual realms and out of the world. Forever. She was finally on her way to eternal light and peace, which was always her life's most intense desire. It was all she could do to resist.

"I do not wish it," she told the Universal Light. She explained how so many people were still unhappy and unenlightened and how, everywhere she looked, she saw starvation and suffering, wars and misery of all kinds. "Everyone is holy," she said. "But they do not yet know it." Miao Shin gave up Buddhahood so that she could help others. Her desire was to do good on behalf of the people of the Earth.

Immediately a prayer was heard from a child who had just been badly mistreated. "Kuan Yin Pu'sa," the little girl prayed. Meaning "O holy Kuan Yin." These words had never before been spoken out loud. The very instant Miao Shin made the decision to stay and help the people of the Earth, a new prayer formed in the minds of all those who lived on the Earth. The prayer was a petition to the newest Buddhist saint, a goddess like never before.

Miao Shin became Kuan Yin whose name means "she who listens to the sounds (cries and prayers) of the world". Kuan Yin has been worshipped ever since as a Chinese goddess of compassion and mercy.

Kuan Yin's vibrational imprint is still among us. Present with us to this day. Kuan Yin can still be summoned for help of any kind.

Say it out loud slowly and softly, "Kuan Yin." Simply saying her name is a magical act that brings hope to difficult situations and comfort to those who call on her.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Amitabha Sutra


The Amitabha Sutra 阿彌陀經 Translated into Chinese by Tripitaka Master Kumarajiva Translated from Chinese into English by J.C. Cleary Thus have I heard: Once Buddha was in the land of Shravasti, in the garden of Jeta and Anathapindika. He was accompanied by twelve hundred and fifty great bhikshus, all of them great Arhats, well known to the assembly. Among them were his leading disciples, such figures as the Elders Shariputra, Maudgalyayana, Mahakashyapa, Mahakatyayana, and Mahakausthila, Revata, Suddhipanthaka, Nanda, Ananda, Rahula, Gavampati, Pindolabharadvaja, Kalodayin, Mahakapphina, Vakula, and Aniruddha, etc., all great disciples. Also present were the Bodhisattvas Mahasattva: Manjushri, Prince of the Dharma, the Bodhisattva Ajita the Invincible, and the Bodhisattva of Constant Progress, Gandhahastin, Nityodyukta, and other such great enlightening beings. Also present was Shakra, the king of the gods, along with countless numbers of heavenly beings, making up a great assembly. At that time Buddha said to the Elder Shariputra: "West of here, past a hundred billion Buddha-lands, there exists a world called "Ultimate Bliss". In this land there exists a Buddha called Amitabha, who is expounding the Dharma right now. [Buddha says to Shariputra:]"Why is this land called Ultimate Bliss"? It is called "Ultimate Bliss" because the sentient beings in this land are free from the myriad sufferings, and only know every kind of joy. Furthermore, this land is called "Ultimate Bliss" because it is surrounded by seven rings of railings, and seven layers of nets, and seven rows of trees, all made of the four precious jewels. Moreover, the Land of Ultimate Bliss has many jewelled ponds filled with the waters of eight virtues. The bottom of each of the ponds is pure golden sand, and the stepped walkways that lead up from all four sides of each of the ponds are made of gold, silver, lapis lazuli and crystal. Above the ponds there are towers which are adorned with silver and gold and lapis lazuli and crystal and mother of pearl and red agate. In the ponds there are lotus flowers as big as cart wheels: blue ones shining with blue light, yellow ones shining with yellow light, red ones shining with red light, and white ones shining with white light, each emitting a subtle pure fragrance. The Land of Ultimate Bliss is complete with all these merits and adornments. And there is more -- celestial music is constantly playing in this Buddha-land, and the ground is made of tawny gold. Flowers in the shape of heavenly orbs rain down at all hours of the day and night. Every morning the sentient beings of this land decorate their garments with multitudes of wondrous flowers and make offerings to hundreds of billions of Buddhas in other worlds. When it is meal time, they return to their own lands, to eat and circumambulate [the teaching assembly]. The Land of Ultimate Bliss is complete with all these merits and adornments. And there is more still -- in this land there are birds of all sorts of wondrous variegated colors: white cranes, peacocks, orioles, myna birds, cuckoos. All these birds bring forth harmonious songs day and night. Their songs communicate such Buddhist teachings as the five roots, the five powers, the seven factors of enlightenment, the eightfold path, as well as other teachings. When the sentient beings in this land hear the voices of the birds, they are mindful of the Buddhas, mindful of the Dharma [Buddha's teachings], and mindful of the Sangha [Community of Seekers of Enlightenment]. Do not think that these birds were born as birds due to karmic retribution for past misdeeds. Why not? In this Buddha-land, the three evil planes of existence (as animals, hungry ghosts, and hell-beings) do not exist. In this Buddha-land even the names of the evil planes of existence do not exist, much less the realities. All these birds are the creations of Amitabha Buddha, fashioned in order to broadcast the sounds of the Dharma. In this Buddha-land, there is a slight breeze that stirs the rows of jewel trees and jewel nets, so that they emit subtle wondrous sounds, like hundreds and thousands of melodies playing all at once. All those who hear these sounds spontaneously develop the intention to be mindful of the Buddha, mindful of the Dharma, and mindful of the Sangha. This Buddha-land is complete with all these merits and adornments. What do you think: why is this Buddha called Amitabha? The light of this Buddha is infinite, and shines on all lands throughout the universe without obstruction. Thus this Buddha is called Amitabha. Also, the life span of this Buddha and his people is an infinite number of immeasurable eons, and so he is called Amitabha. Amitabha Buddha attained enlightenment ten eons ago. Moreover, this Buddha has innumerable disciples, all of whom are Arhats, and whose numbers are incalculable. Amitabha also has a following of innumerable Bodhisattvas. The Land of Ultimate Bliss is complete with all these merits and adornments. None of the sentient beings who are born in the Land of Ultimate Bliss ever fall back into a lower realm [i.e., they are avaivartika]. Many among them have only one more lifetime [to go before enlightenment]. These beings are very numerous, and their number is incalculable: they can be spoken of as innumerable. When sentient beings hear [of the Land of Ultimate Bliss], they must take a vow to be born in this land. Why so? So that they can be together with all these beings of superior goodness. One cannot be born in this land through minor good roots, blessings, virtues and causal connections. If there are good men or good women who hear of Amitabha Buddha, and recite his name singlemindedly and without confusion, for one day or two days or three days or four days or five days or six days or seven days, then when these people are about to die, Amitabha Buddha and all the sages who are with him will appear before them. When these people die, their minds will not fall into delusion, and they will attain rebirth in Amitabha Buddha's Land of Ultimate Bliss. I have seen this benefit, and so I speak these words. If sentient beings hear what I say, they must make a vow to be born in that land. Right now I am extolling the benefits of the inconceivable merits of Amitabha Buddha. But in the eastern direction there are also countless other Buddhas, like Akshobhya Buddha, and the Buddha "Marks of the Polar Mountain", and the Buddha "Great Polar Mountain", and the Buddha "Light of the Polar Mountain", and the Buddha "Wondrous Voice". Each of them preaches in his own land with the eloquence of a Buddha, and covers a whole cosmos, speaking the truth. All of you sentient beings should believe this scripture extolling their inconceivable merits, and which all Buddhas protect and keep in mind. In the worlds of the southern direction there are countless other Buddhas, like the Buddha "Lamp of the Sun and Moon", and the Buddha "Light of Renown", and the Buddha "Great Flaming Shoulders", and the Buddha "Lamp of the Polar Mountain", and the Buddha "Infinite Progress". Each of them preaches in his own land with the eloquence of a Buddha, and covers a whole cosmos, speaking the truth. All of you sentient beings should believe this scripture extolling their inconceivable merits, and which all Buddhas protect and keep in mind. In the worlds of the western direction there are countless other Buddhas, like the Buddha "Infinite Life", and the Buddha "Innumerable Characteristics", and the Buddha "Innumerable Banners", and the Buddha "Great Light", and the Buddha "Great Illumination", and the Buddha "Mark of Reality", and the Buddha "Light of Purity". Each of them preaches in his own land with the eloquence of a Buddha, and covers a whole cosmos, speaking the truth, All of you sentient beings should believe this scripture extolling their inconceivable merits, and which all Buddhas protect and keep in mind. In the worlds of the northern direction there are countless other Buddhas, like the Buddha "Flaming Shoulders", and the Buddha "Supreme Voice", and the Buddha "Unstoppable", and the Buddha "Born of the Sun", and the Buddha "Netted Light". Each of them preaches in his own land with the eloquence of a Buddha, and covers a whole cosmos, speaking the truth. All of you sentient beings should believe this scripture extolling their inconceivable merits, and which all Buddhas protect and keep in mind. In the worlds of the nadir there are countless other Buddhas, like the Buddha "Lion", and the Buddha "Repute", and the Buddha "Light", and the Buddha "Dharma Banner", and the Buddha "Upholding the Dharma". Each of them preaches in his own land with the eloquence of a Buddha, and covers a whole cosmos, speaking the truth. All of you sentient beings should believe this scripture extolling their inconceivable merits, and which all Buddhas protect and keep in mind. In the worlds of the zenith there are countless other Buddhas, like the Buddha "Pure Voice", and the Buddha "Sojourner King", and the Buddha "Incense Fragrance", and the Buddha "Fragrant Light", and the Buddha "Great Blazing Shoulders", and the Buddha "Body of Multicolored Jewel Flower Garlands", and the Buddha "Sala Tree King", and the Buddha "Precious Flower Virtue", and the Buddha "Sees All Truths", and the Buddha "Like the Polar Mountain". Each of them preaches in his own land with the eloquence of a Buddha, and covers a whole cosmos, speaking the truth. All of you sentient beings should believe this scripture extolling their inconceivable merits, which all Buddhas protect and keep in mind. Why do you think this is called the sutra that is protected and kept in mind by all the Buddhas? If there are good men and good women who hear this scripture, accept it, and uphold it, and they hear the names of all these Buddhas, all these good men and good women will be protected and kept in mind by all these Buddhas, and all of them will reach the level where they do not turn back from complete, unexcelled, correct enlightenment. Therefore, all of you should faithfully accept what I say and what all the Buddhas have said. All those people who have vowed, or are vowing, or will vow to be born in the land of Amitabha Buddha reach the level where they do not turn back from complete, unexcelled enlightenment, whether in their past lives, their present lives, or their future lives. Therefore; all good men and good women, if they have faith, must make a vow to be born in that land. Just as I am now extolling the inconceivable merits of all the Buddhas, all those Buddhas are likewise extolling my inconceivable merits, with these words: "Sakyamuni Buddha is able to carry out a most difficult and rare task. In the world "Endurance" [this world], in an evil world of the Five Corruptions -the corruption of the age, the corruption of views, the corruption of afflictions, the corruption of sentient beings, and the corruption of life -- he is able to achieve complete, unexcelled enlightenment, and to expound the Truth which all beings in all worlds find hard to believe." Know then that in the midst of this evil world of the Five Corruptions, I am able to carry out this difficult task, attain complete, unexcelled enlightenment, and expound the Truth which is so hard to believe for beings in all worlds. This is indeed most difficult! When Buddha had finished preaching this scripture, Shariputra and all the monks and all the other gods and humans and asuras and the rest who had been listening, having heard what the Buddha said, rejoiced and faithfully accepted it. They all bowed in homage and departed.

The forty six vows


1. "O Bhagavat, if in that Buddha country of mine there should be either hell, animals, the realm of departed (ghostly) spirits, or the body of fighting spirits, then may I not obtain the highest perfect Buddhahood. 2. "O Bhagavat, if in that Buddha country of mine the beings who are born there should die and fall into hell, the animal realm, the realm of departed (ghostly) spirits, or into the body of fighting spirits, then may I not obtain the highest perfect Buddhahood. 3. "O Bhagavat, if in that Buddha country of mine the beings who are born there should not all be of one color, that is, of the hue of pure royal purple-gold, then may I not obtain the hignest perfect Buddhahood. 4. "O Bhagavat, If in that Buddha country of mine there should be perceived any difference between gods and men, except when people count and tell, saying: 'These are gods and men, but only in ordinary and imperfect parlance,' then may I not obtain the highest perfect Buddhahood. 5. "O Bhagavat, if in that Buddha country of mine the beings who are born there should not be possessed of the highest perfections of miraculous power and self-control, so that they could at least in the shortest moment of one thought step over a hundred thousand nayutas of kotis of Buddha countries, then may I not obtain the highest perfect Buddhahood. 6. "O Bhagavat, if in that Buddha country of mine the beings who are born there should not all be possessed of the recollection of their former births, so as at least to remember a hundred thousand nayutas of kotis of kalpas, then may I not the highest perfect Buddhahood. 7. "O Bhagavat, if in that Buddha country of mine the beings who are born there should not all acquire the divine eye, so as at least to be able to see a hundred thousand nayutas of kotis of worlds, then may I not obtain the highest perfect Buddhahood. 8. "O Bhagavat, if in that Buddha country of mine the beings who are born there should not all acquire the divine ear, so as at least to be able to hear at the same time the good Dharma from a hundred thousand nayutas of kotis of Buddha countries, then may I not obtain the highest perfect Buddhahood. 9. "O Bhagavat, if in that Buddha country of mine the beings who are born there should not all be skilled in the knowledge of the thoughts of other people, so as at least to be able to know the deeds and thoughts of beings belonging to a hundred thousand nayutas of kotis of Buddha countries, then may I not obtain the highest perfect Buddhahood. 10. "O Bhagavat, if in that Buddha country of mine the beings who are born there should form any idea of property, even with regard to their own body, then may I not obtain the highest perfect Buddhahood. 11. "O Bhagavat, if in that Buddha country of mine the beings who are born there should not all be firmly established, that is, in absolute truth, till they have reached Mahaparinirvana, then may I not obtain the highest perfect Buddhahood. 12. "O Bhagavat, if any being should be able to count the pupils belonging to me after I have obtained the highest perfect knowledge in that Buddha country of mine, even if all beings who are contained in those three millions of spheres of worlds, after having become Pratyekabuddhas, should be counting for a hundred thousand nayutas of kotis of kalpas, then may I not obtain the highest perfect Buddhahood. 13. "O Bhagavat, if, after I have obtained the highest perfect knowledge, my light should be liable to be measured in this Buddha country of mine, even by the measure of a hundred thousand nayutas of kotis of Buddha countries, then may I not obtain the highest perfect Buddhahood. 14 "O Bhagavat, if the measure of the life of the beings in that Buddha country of mine, after I have obtained the highest perfect knowledge, should be liable to be measured, excepting always by their own power of prayer, then may I not obtain the highest perfect Buddhahood. 15. "O Bhagavat, if the measure of my life after I have obtained Bodhi should be limited, even by numbering a hundred thousand nayutas of kotis of kalpas, then may I not obtain the highest perfect Buddhahood. 16. "O Bhagavat, if, for the beings in this Buddha country of mine, after I have obtained Bodhi, even the name of sin should exist, then may I not obtain the highest perfect Buddhahood. 17. "O Bhagavat, if immeasurable and innumerable blessed Buddhas in immeasurable Buddha countries do not glorify my name, after I have obtained Bodhi; if they do not preach my fame and proclaim my praise, and utter it together, then may I not obtain the highest perfect Buddhahood. 18. "O Bhagavat, if those beings who have directed their thought towards the highest perfect knowledge in other worlds, and who, after having heard my name, when I have obtained Bodhi , have meditated on me with serene thoughts; if at the moment of their death, after having approached them, surrounded by an assembly of Bhikkhus, I should not stand before them, worshipped by them, that is, so that their thoughts should not be troubled, then may I not obtain the highest perfect Buddhahood. 19. "O Bhagavat, if those beings who in immeasurable and innumerable Buddha countries, after they have heard my name, when I shall have obtained Bodhi, should direct their thought to be born in that Buddha country of mine, and should for that purpose bring their stock of merit to maturity, if these should not be born in that Buddha country, even those who have only ten times repeated the thought of that Buddha country, barring always those beings who have committed the five deadly sins, and who have caused an obstruction and abuse of the good Law, then may I not obtain the highest perfect Buddhahood. 20. "O Bhagavat, if those beings who have been born in that Buddha country of mine, after I have obtained Bodhi, should not all be bound to one birth only, before reaching the highest perfect knowledge, barring always the special prayers of those very noble-minded Bodhisattvas who have put on the whole armor (of the Dharma), who understand the welfare of all beings, who are devoted, to all beings, who work for the attainment of Nirvana of all beings, who wish to perform the duty of a Bodhisattva in all worlds, who wish to serve all Buddhas, and to bring beings, in number like grains of sand of the river Ganges, to the highest perfect knowledge, and who besides are turned towards the higher practice and perfect in the practice of Samantabhadra's discipline, then may I not obtain the highest perfect Buddhahood. 21. "O Bhagavat, if the Bodhisattvas who are born in that Buddha country of mine, after I have obtained Bodhi, should not all be able, after having gone to other Buddha countries, after their one morning-meal, to worship many hundreds of Buddhas, many thousands of Buddhas, many hundred thousands of Buddhas, many kotis of Buddhas, and so forth, till up to many hundred thousand nayutas of kotis of Buddhas, with objects which give every kind of pleasure, and this through the grace of the Buddha, then may I not obtain the highest perfect Buddhahood. 22. "O Bhagavat, if those Bodhisattvas in that Buddha country of mine, after I have obtained Bodhi, should wish their stock of merit to grow in the following shapes, that is, either in gold, in silver, in jewels, in pearls, in beryls, in shells, in stones, in corals, in crystal, in amber, in red pearls, in diamond, and so forth, or in any one of the other jewels; or in all kinds of perfumes, in flowers, in garlands, anointment, in incense-powder, in cloaks, in umbrellas, in flags, in banners, or in lamps; or in all kinds of dancing, singing, and music; and if such gifts should not appear for them, from being produced as soon as thought of, then may I not obtain the highest perfect Buddhahood. 23. "O Bhagavat, if those beings who are born in that Buddha country of mine, after I have obtained Bodhi, should not all recite the story of the Dharma which is accompanied by omniscience, then may I not obtain the highest perfect Buddhahood. 24. "O Bhagavat, if the Bodhisattvas in that Buddha country of mine, after I have obtained Bodhi, should think thus: May we, remaining in this world, honor revere, esteem, and worship the blessed Buddhas in immeasurable and innumerable Buddha countries, that is, with cloaks, alms-bowls, beds, stools, refreshments, medicines, utensils, with flowers, incense, lamps, perfumes, garlands, ointment, powder, cloaks, umbrellas, flags, banners, with different kinds of dancing singing, and music, and with showers of jewels, and if the blessed Buddhas should not accept them, when they are produced as soon as thought of, that is, from compassion, then may I not obtain the highest perfect Buddhahood. 25. "O Bhagavat, if the Bodhisattvas who are born in that Buddha country of mine, after I have obtained Bodhi, should not all be in possession of strength of body as strong as the diamond of Narayana, then may I not obtain the highest perfect Buddhahood. 26. "O Bhagavat, if any being in that Buddha country of mine, after I have obtained Bodhi, should learn the limit of the beauty of its ornament, even if he be possessed of the divine eye, and should know its various beauty, saying: 'That Buddha country possesses so much beauty and so much magnificence,' then may I not obtain the highest perfect Buddhahood. 27. "O Bhagavat, if in that Buddha country of mine, after I have obtained Bodhi, a Bodhisattva possessed even of a very small stock of merit, should not perceive the Bodhi-tree of noble beauty, at least a hundred yojanas in height, then may I not obtain the highest perfect Buddhahood. 28. "O Bhagavat, if in that Buddha country of mine, after I have obtained Bodhi, either teaching or learning should have to be made by any being, and they should not all be in possession of the perfect knowledge, then may I not obtain the highest perfect Buddhahood. 29. "O Bhagavat, if that Buddha country of mine, after I have obtained Bodhi, should not be so brilliant, that in it could be seen on all sides immeasurable, innumerable, inconceivable, incomparable, immense Buddha countries, as a round face is seen in a highly burnished round mirror, then may I not obtain the highest perfect Buddhahood. 30. "O Bhagavat, if in that Buddha country of mine, after I have obtained Bodhi, there should not be a hundred thousand of vases full of different sweet perfumes, made of all kinds of jewels, always smoking with incense, fit for the worship of Bodhisattvas and Tathagatas, rising into the sky beyond gods, men, and all things, then may I not obtain the highest perfect Buddhahood. 31. "O Bhagavat, if in that Buddha country of mine, after I have obtained Bodhi, there should not be showers of sweet jewel-flowers, always pouring down, and if there should not be sweet-sounding music-clouds, always playing, then may I not obtain the highest perfect Buddhahood. 32. "O Bhagavat, if the beings belonging to me, after I have obtained Bodhi, who are visible by their splendor, in immeasurable, innumerable, inconceivable, incomparable worlds, should not all be filled with pleasure, far beyond gods and men, then may I not obtain the highest perfect Buddhahood. 33. "O Bhagavat, if, after I have obtained Bodhi, the noble-minded Bodhisattvas in immeasurable, inconceivable, incomparable, immense Buddha countries on all sides, after having heard my name, should not be delivered from birth, through the merit arising from that hearing, and should not be strong in the knowledge of dharanis, until they have obtained the very throne of Bodhi, then may I not obtain the highest perfect Buddhahood. 34. "O Bhagavat, if, after I have obtained Bodhi, women in immeasurable, innumerable, inconceivable, incomparable, immense Buddha countries on all sides, after having heard my name, should allow carelessness to arise, should not turn their thoughts towards Bodhi, should, when they are free from birth, not despise their female nature; and if they, being born again, should assume a second female nature, then may I not obtain the highest perfect Buddhahood. 35. "O Bhagavat, if, after I have obtained Bodhi, the Bodhisattvas who in immeasurable, innumerable, inconceivable, incomparable, immense Buddha countries round about in the ten quarters having heard my name, and having fallen down, shall worship me with prostrate reverence, should not, when performing the duty of Bodhisattvas, be honored by the world and by the gods, then may I not obtain the highest perfect Buddhahood. 36. "O Bhagavat, if, after I have obtained Bodhi, the work of dyeing, sewing, drying, washing ot his cloaks should have to be performed by any Bodhisattva, and they should not perceive themselves, as quick as thought, covered by newly-produced excellent cloaks, granted to them by the Tathagata, then may I not obtain the highest perfect Buddhahood. 37. "O Bhagavat, if the beings who are born at the same time in that Buddha country, after I have obtained Bodhi, should not obtain such happiness as that of the holy Bhikkhu who is free from pain and has obtained the third meditation, then may I not obtain the highest perfect Buddhahood. 38. "O Bhagavat, if those Bodhisattvas who are born in that Buddha country of mine, after I have obtained Bodhi, should not produce from different jewel-trees such a mass of excellent ornaments in that Buddha country, as they should wish for, then may I not obtain the highest perfect Buddhahood. 39. "O Bhagavat, if the Bodhisattvas who are born in other Buddha countries, when they have heard my name, after I shall have obtained Bodhi, should suffer any diminution in the strength of their senses, then may I not obtain the highest perfect Buddhahood. 40. "O Bhagavat, if, after I have obtained Bodhi, the Bodhisattvas, from hearing my name in a place of a different Buddha country, should not obtain the Samadhi in which the Bodhisattvas will see immeasurable, innumerable, inconceivable, incomparable, immense, blessed Buddhas one moment after another; and if that Samadhi of theirs should come to an end meanwhile, then may I not obtain the highest perfect Buddhahood. 41. "O Bhagavat, if, after I have obtained Bodhi, beings, having heard my name in Buddha countries different from this, should not, through the stock of merit which follows on that hearing, obtain birth in a noble family, till they arrive at Bodhi, then may I not obtain the highest perfect Buddhahood. 42. "O Bhagavat, if, after I have obtained Bodhi, the Bodhisattvas who live in other Buddha countries, after hearing my name, till they have reached Bodhi by the stock of merit which follows on that hearing, should not all obtain a combination of their stock of merit with the joy and gladness of their Bodhisattva life, then may I not obtain the highest perfect Buddhahood. 43. "O Bhagavat, if, after I have obtained Bodhi, the Bodhisattvas, as soon as they have heard my name, in other worlds, should not obtain the Samadhi called Samantanugata, in which Bodhisattvas honor one moment after another immeasurable, innumerable, inconceivable, incomparable, immense, blessed Buddhas, and if that Samadhi of theirs should come to an end before they have reached the throne of Bodhi, then may I not obtain the highest perfect Buddhahood. 44. "O Bhagavat, if the beings who are born in that Buddha country of mine, after I have obtained Bodhi, should not hear, as quick as thought, such a teaching of the Dharma as they wish to hear, then may I not obtain the highest perfect Buddhahood. 45 "O Bhagavat, if, after I ave obtained Bodhi, the Bodhisattvas in this and other Buddha countries, as soon as they have heard my name, should ever turn back from the highest perfect knowledge, then may I not obtain the highest perfect Buddhahood. 46. "O Bhagavat, if, after I have obtained Bodhi, and have become a Buddha-teacher, the Bodhisattvas who hear my name in Buddha countries, and obtain the first, the second, and the third degrees of endurance, as soon as they have heard my name, should turn away again from Buddha, the Dharma, and the Sangha, then may I not obtain the highest perfect Buddhahood. The Buddha Speaks of the Sutra of Buddha Infinite Life (Amitāyus), Infinite Light (Amitābha), the Pure Land of Magnificence, Purity, Equality, and Enlightenment (Infinite Life Sutra)

In the distant past before He achieved Buddhahood, Amitābha was a king. After he listened to Lokeshvararaja Buddha’s teaching of the Dharma, he renounced his kingdom and the throne and became a monk by the monastic title of Bhikkhu Dharmakāra. Cultivating merits, good karma, and blessings under the guidance of Lokeshvararaja Buddha, Dharmakāra made the following forty-eight vows to create a Pure Land for all sentient beings. He vowed to become a Buddha only when the Pure Land is created for all sentient beings. Dharmakāra cultivated with diligence through innumerable kalpas. Dharmakāra fulfilled his dream ten kalpas ago and achieved Buddhahood, earning the title Buddha Amitābha. Currently, He presides from Pure Land, teaching the Buddha-Dharma and guiding and receiving sentient beings into Pure Land. He also oversees the liberation of sentient beings who are trapped in the three evil realms, sins, evils, pains, sufferings, greed, anger, ignorance, samsara, and endless reincarnation in the six samsara realms. The Pure Land is described in the "Infinite Life Sutra" as a land of beauty that surpasses all other realms. More importantly for the Pure Land practitioner, once one has been "born" into this land (birth occurs painlessly through lotus flowers), one will never again be reborn (unless by one's own choice to go reborn to salvage other suffering beings). In the Pure Land one will be personally instructed and be personally blessed by Amitābha Buddha and numerous Bodhisattvas until one reaches full and complete enlightenment. In effect, being born into the Pure Land is akin to achieving enlightenment, escaping reincarnation and samsara, the deluded and defiled world, the Buddhist concept of sufferings throughout blind-sighted samsaric reincarnation: "the wheel of endless births and deaths." At any time in Pure Land, if one wishes, one can travel to or reborn into other worlds from Pure Land to salvage suffering beings and then go back home to Pure Land at the end of one's life. The Pure Land believers and adherents on Earth should cultivate a pure heart, a heart of purity, be kind, help people, and help to make this world a better place.