Amitābha

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Portal:Buddhism

Amitābha (Sanskrit: अमिताभ, Amitābha (wordstem), Hindi pronunciation: [əmɪtaːbʱə]; Amitābho; Chinese: 阿彌陀佛, Ēmítuó Fó[1]; Vietnamese:A-mi-đà Phật; Japanese: 阿弥陀如来, Amida Nyorai; Tibetan:འོད་དཔག་མེད།, Ö-pa-me; Mongolian: Одбагмэд Odbagmed, Аминдаваа Amindavaa, Аюуш Ayush) is a celestial buddha described in the scriptures of the Mahāyāna school of Buddhism. Amitābha is the principal buddha in the Pure Land sect, a branch of Buddhism practiced mainly in East Asia, while in Vajrayana Amitābha is known for his longevity attribute and the aggregate of distinguishing (recognition) and the deep awareness of individualities. According to these scriptures, Amitābha possesses infinite merits resulting from good deeds over countless past lives as a bodhisattva named Dharmakāra. "Amitābha" is translatable as "Infinite Light," hence Amitābha is often called "The Buddha of Infinite Light."

Contents

Doctrine

According to the Larger Sūtra of Immeasurable Life (Mahāyāna Amitāyus Sūtra) Amitābha was, in very ancient times and possibly in another system of worlds, a monk named Dharmakāra. In some versions of the sūtra, Dharmakāra is described as a former king who, having come into contact with the Buddhist teachings through the buddha Lokesvararaja, renounced his throne. He then resolved to become a buddha and so to come into possession of a buddhakṣetra ("buddha-field", a realm existing in the primordial universe outside of ordinary space time, produced by a buddha's merit) possessed of many perfections. These resolutions were expressed in his forty-eight vows, which set out the type of buddha-field Dharmakāra aspired to create, the conditions under which beings might be born into that world, and what kind of beings they would be when reborn there.

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