Tuesday, June 5, 2012

The Pure Land of Amida reveals in its Light all the Buddha-lands - short explanation of the 31st Vow of Amida-



 “If, when I attain Buddhahood, my land should not be resplendent, revealing in its light all the immeasurable, innumerable and inconceivable Buddha-lands, like images reflected in a clear mirror, may I not attain perfect Enlightenment.” 
                                        the 31st Vow

This Vow is linked with the 12th Vow where Dharmakara, the actual Amida Buddha, promises that his light as a Buddha will be infinite, capable to illuminate all the Buddha-lands[1]. Thus, the 31st Vow shows the unity between Amida as an Enlightened Person and his Pure Land, which is his own manifestation. The Light of Amida is also the Light of his Pure Land.

Upon birth in the Land of Amida, all the lands of the Buddhas, as numerous as the sands of the Ganges, are revealed to us and we understand the specific characteristics of each one of them. The things that are now inconceivable for our unenlightened minds will be known when we attain Buddhahood in the Pure Land. “Like images reflected in a clear mirror”, means that in the Pure Land there is no obstruction caused by karmic evil and blind passions. Everything is seen and revealed in its true nature and the ultimate nature (Dharmakaya) of all the Buddhas and Buddha-lands is the same, even if their manifestations and conditions are different. By becoming Buddhas upon birth in the Pure Land we understand this Dharmakaya unity between all Buddhas and their lands.


By being born in the Pure Land of Amida we fulfill the aspirations of all Buddhas[2]. This is because, as stated in the 17th Vow, Buddhas from all the Buddha-lands praise Amida’s method of salvation and encourage beings to follow it[3]. Thus, we can safely assume that all the lands of the Buddhas have their main roads connected to the Pure Land, each Buddha encouraging those born in their lands to entrust to Amida. In short, all Buddha-lands point to Amida’s Land. This might also be the meaning of the 31st Vow. And it is proved by Shakyamuni in the Smaller Amida Sutra when he enumerates all the Buddhas in the eastern quarter, southern quarter, western quarter, northern quarter, nadir and zenith that praise Amida[4] and encourage beings everywhere to follow the method of birth in his Pure Land.
 
 - my articles in the category Vows of Amida Buddha are under constant revision-


[1] “If, when I attain Buddhahood, my light should be limited, unable to illuminate at least a hundred thousand kotis of nayutas of Buddha-lands, may I not attain perfect Enlightenment.” (the 12th Vow)
[2] Shinran Shonin said in his Jodo Wasan (Pure Land hymns):

“When we take refuge in the Pure Land of Amida,
We take refuge in all the Buddhas.
To praise the one Buddha, Amida, with the mind that is single
Is to praise all the unhindered Ones”
.
[4] [6] "Shariputra, just as I praise the inconceivable virtue of Amida Buddha, so do the Buddhas in the eastern quarter, as numerous as the sands of the Ganges, such as Aksobhya Buddha, Meru-dhvaja Buddha, Mahameru Buddha, Meru-prabhasa Buddha, and Manju-svara Buddha. While dwelling in their own lands, they extend their long, broad tongues and, encompassing with them the universe of a thousand million worlds, pronounce these words of truth: Sentient beings should accept this sutra entitled 'Praise of the Inconceivable Virtue and Protection by All Buddhas.'

[7] "Shariputra, there are in the southern quarter Buddhas as numerous as the sands of the Ganges, such as Candra-surya-pradipa Buddha, Yashah-prabha Buddha, Maharci-skandha Buddha, Meru-pradipa Buddha, and Ananta-virya Buddha. While dwelling in their own lands, they extend their long, broad tongues and, encompassing with them the universe of a thousand million worlds, pronounce these words of truth: Sentient beings should accept this sutra entitled 'Praise of the Inconceivable Virtue and Protection by All Buddhas.'

[8] "Shariputra, there are in the western quarter Buddhas as numerous as the sands of the Ganges, such as Amitayus Buddha, Amita-ketu Buddha, Amita-dhvaja Buddha, Mahaprabha Buddha, Mahaprabhasa Buddha, Ratna-ketu Buddha and Shuddha-rashmi-prabha Buddha. While dwelling in their own lands, they extend their long, broad tongues and, encompassing with them the universe of a thousand million worlds, pronounce these words of truth: Sentient beings should accept this sutra entitled 'Praise of the Inconceivable Virtue and Protection by All Buddhas.'

[9] "Shariputra, there are in the northern quarter Buddhas as numerous as the sands of the Ganges, such as Arci-skandha Buddha, Vaishvanara-nirghosa Buddha, Duspradharsa Buddha, Aditya-sambhava Buddha and Jalini-prabha Buddha. While dwelling in their own lands, they extend their long, broad tongues and, encompassing with them the universe of a thousand million worlds, pronounce these words of truth: Sentient beings should accept this sutra entitled 'Praise of the Inconceivable Virtue and Protection by All Buddhas.'

[10] "Shariputra, there are in the nadir Buddhas as numerous as the sands of the Ganges, such as Simha Buddha, Yashas Buddha, Yashah-prabhasa Buddha, Dharma Buddha, Dharma-dhvaja Buddha and Dharma-dhara Buddha. While dwelling in their own lands, they extend their long, broad tongues and, encompassing with them the universe of a thousand million worlds, pronounce these words of truth: Sentient beings should accept this sutra entitled 'Praise of the Inconceivable Virtue and Protection by All Buddhas.'

[11] "Shariputra, there are in the zenith Buddhas as numerous as the sands of the Ganges, such as Brahma-ghosa Buddha, Naksatra-raja Buddha, Gandhottama Buddha, Gandha-prabhasa Buddha, Maharci-skandha Buddha, Ratna-kusuma-sampuspita-gatra Buddha, Salendra-raja Buddha, Ratnotpalashri Buddha, Sarva-artha-darsha Buddha and Sumeru-kalpa Buddha. While dwelling in their own lands, they extend their long, broad tongues and, encompassing with them the universe of a thousand million worlds, pronounce these words of truth: Sentient beings should accept this sutra entitled 'Praise of the Inconceivable Virtue and Protection by All Buddhas.'”
  

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