Pure Land Buddhism

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  • Author Aashish Nagarkoti
  • Published September 6, 2022
  • Word count 957

The Pure Land of Buddha Amitabha: Sukhavati

Sukhavati: The Western Pure Land

According to the Sukhavati-vyuha sutras, Sukhavati, also known as the realm of happiness, is a pristine land of Amitabha in Mahayana Buddhism. Another name for it is Western Pure Place, which is a well-known Buddhist pure land. Anyone who invokes Amitabha's name in this place, particularly at the moment of death, will experience rebirth.

Different names for Sukhavati are frequently used by practitioners. Based mostly on Chinese translations, the title in East Asia also uses extra adjectives like Western, Blissful, and Pure country. But since Sukhavati is so important, it is designated as "The Pure Land," setting it apart from other pure areas.

The three main Sanskrit texts that form the basis of the Pure Land philosophy are the Amitayus Vipasyana-sutra, the Larger and Smaller Pure Land Sutras (Sukhavati-vyuha-sutras), and the Sukhavati-vyuha-sutras.

The idea of the Pure Land

In the second century BCE, India gave birth to the Buddhist school known as Pure Land Buddhism. At that time, Amitabha had a huge following in China. As a result, Pure Land Buddhism's teachings swiftly spread to China and, by the sixth century, to Japan.

The first separate branch of Japanese Pure Land Buddhism, Jodo-shu (The Pure Land School), was founded by Honen, a pioneer in religious reform. He disregarded the intricate theories and advanced meditation practices used by other schools of Buddhism. In the 12th century, Pure Land Buddhism saw a substantial increase in popularity as a result of his simplifications. Shinran's improved comprehension of the Pure Land ideals led to the founding of the Shin (genuine) sect a century later (1173–1262), Honen's Disciple.

Relationship between Amitabha Buddha and Pure Land Buddhism

Source: Enlightenment Thangka

The Pure Land Buddhist teachings and sutras are built on the principles of Amitabha Buddha. In Buddhism's Pure Land. He represents unadulterated consciousness and a profound understanding of nothingness. This concept demonstrates the connection between Pure Land and conventional Mahayana Buddhism.

The Four Noble Truths and the Eightfold Path are fundamental Buddhist teachings that are upheld by Pure Land Buddhists. The chanting of Amitabha Buddha's name is the central practice shared by all Pure Land groups. The goal of Amitabha's devotees is to attain rebirth in his pure country, which would mark the end of their journey and the beginning of Enlightenment.

Rebirth Mantra of Pure Land

Mantra in Sanskrit:

namo amitābhāya tathāgatāya

tadyathā

amṛtod-bhave

amṛta-siddhaṃ bhave

amṛta-vikrānte

amṛta-vikrānta

gāmine gagana

kīrta-kare svāhā

English Translation

Adoration to the Exalted one of Infinite Light

namely: Oh! Nectar-producing one!

Nectar-creation-perfecting one!

Nectar-miracle one!

(he) performs miracle with nectar,

he makes (nectar) glory in the sky,

All Hail!

The Pure Land: The Essentials

Nembutsu

In Japanese, the phrase "nembutsu" (salvation) is used by practitioners. It indicates that the seeker is opening up to Amitabha's (Amida's) salvific Light, exhibiting compassion, answering his call, and practicing other qualities. In Chinese, it is known as "Nianfo."

Chanting

Repeating a name or mantra entails using a certain text. This is one of the primary methods used in Buddhism to learn about and express devotion to Buddhist teachings and deities. "The True Faith is invariably accompanied by the uttering of the Name," said Shinran.

Scripture

The Larger Sutra on Amityus, The Sutra on Contemplation of Amityus, and The Smaller Sutra on Amityus are all parts of the sacred text known as The Pure Land.

Faith

According to Shin Buddhism, Amitabha's followers get their faith as a gift from the god. One should be proud of or give Amitabha credit for their faith. Shin Buddhists reject the idea that individuals can only gain merit via their acts, and that neither conducting rituals nor doing good deeds will assist; this rejection is in line with their attitude of humility.

Popularity and Acknowledgement

In Pure Land Buddhism, intelligence or monastic ordination are not required nor included in practice. This is accessible to anybody with the determination to obtain it, including social outcasts. This was and continues to be the cause of the Pure Land teaching's global acceptance and adoration.

Different Nations' Pure Land Teachings

In Tibetan Buddhism, Pure Land Buddhism has prospered throughout the years. It is said that the Panchen Lamas, a Tibetan lineage of reincarnated tulkus, are emanations of both Padmasambhava, a well-known tantric teacher in Tibet, and Amitabha Buddha. The latter was finally recognized as an Amitabha Buddha manifestation.

In the Tibetan practice known as "Phowa," participants project their awareness into Sukhavati. Tibetan practitioners frequently recite "Om Mani Padme Hum," which is thought to cause rebirth in Sukhavati.

Pure Land Buddhist teachings have had a considerable impact on Japanese intellectual and social life since the sixth century CE. Honen was the Japanese Pure Land's greatest revolutionary (1133–1212). Honen used his in-depth understanding of Mahayana philosophy and practice, particularly the works of Shandao, to search for the guidance that would be most beneficial for individuals navigating this chaotic and fearful period.

Pure Land is one of the most renowned schools of Buddhism in China. The majority of Buddhist temples in the West that cater to Chinese-ethnic people are Pure Land temples.

Wonhyo (617–686) brought Pure Land to Korea, where it is known as Jeongto. Buddhists from Vietnam commonly engage in Pure Land meditation.

So, in conclusion, Pure Land Buddhism provides a path to Enlightenment for individuals unable to handle the challenges of meditation or put up with drawn-out rituals. The magical elements that Pure Land Buddhism offers make it easier to engage with the essential Buddhist teachings. One's confidence and trust in Amitabha Buddha as their ultimate rescuer and a conviction that Pure Land Buddhism serves as a stepping stone towards enlightenment and freedom are examples of the mystic aspects.

Hi I am Aashish Nagarkoti.

I am keenly interested in Buddhism, its principles, different deities, and Mantras. I love writing articles covering different topics to share what I have learned.

https://enlightenmentthangka.com/

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