The Shorter Sukhâvatî-vyûha
Anonymous
Buddhist
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The Shorter Sukhāvatīvyūha Sūtra is one of the two Indian Mahayana sutras that describe Sukhavati, the pure land of Amitābha. This text is highly influential in East Asian Buddhism, including China, Korea, Japan, and Vietnam. This text is revered by the Jōdo Shinshū, one of Japan's largest Buddhist congregations. The original Sanskrit versions of the Shorter Sukhāvatīvyūha Sūtra and Longer Sukhāvatīvyūha Sūtra were translated into English by Luis Gomez in The Land of Bliss.
The Smaller
Sukhāvatī-Vyūha.

ADORATION TO THE OMNISCIENT!

Thus it was heard by me: At one time the Blessed (Bhagavat, i.e. Buddha) dwelt at Śrāvastī in the Jeta-grove, in the garden of Anāthapiṇḍaka, together with a large company of Bhikshus (mendicant friars), viz. with twelve hundred and fifty Bhikshus, all of them acquainted with the five kinds of knowledge elders, great disciples and Arhats such as Śāriputra, the elder, Mahāmaudgalyāyana, Mahākāśyapa, Mahākapphiṇa, Mahākātyāyana, Mahākaushṭhila, Revata, Śuddhipanthaka, Nanda, Ānanda, Rāhula, Gavāmpati, Bharadvāja, Kālodayin, Vakkula, and Aniruddha. He dwelt together with these and many other great disciples, and together with many noble-minded Bodhisattvas, such as Mañgusrī, the prince, the Bodhisattva Agita, the Bodhisattva Gandhahastin, the Bodhisattva Nityodyukta, the Bodhisattva Anikshiptadhura. He dwelt together with them and many other noble-minded Bodhisattvas, and with Śakra, the Indra or King of the Devas, and with Brahman Sahāmpati. With these and many other hundred thousand nayutas of sons of the gods, Bhagavat dwelt at Śrāvastī.

Then Bhagavat addressed the honoured Śāriputra and said, ‘O Śāriputra, after you have passed from here over a hundred thousand koṭīs of Buddha countries there is in the Western part a Buddha country, a world called Sukhāvatī (the happy country). And there a Tathāgata, called Amitāyus, an Arhat, fully enlightened, dwells now, and remains, and supports himself, and teaches the Law ‘Now what do you think, Śāriputra, for what reason is that world called Sukhāvatī (the happy)? In that world Sukhāvatī O Śāriputra, there is neither bodily nor mental pain for living beings. The sources of happiness are innumerable there. For that reason is that world called Sukhāvatī (the happy).

‘And again, O Śāriputra, that world Sukhāvatī is adorned with seven terraces, with seven rows of palm-trees, and with strings of bells It is enclosed on every side beautiful, brilliant with the four gems, viz. gold, silver, beryl and crystal With such arrays of excellences peculiar to a Buddha country is that Buddha country adorned.

‘And again, O Śāriputra, in that world Sukhāvatī there are lotus lakes, adorned with the seven gems, viz. gold, silver, beryl, crystal, red pearls, diamonds, and corals as the seventh. They are full of water which possesses the eight good qualities their waters rise as high as the fords and bathing-places, so that even crows may drink there; they are strewn with golden sand. And in these lotus-lakes there are all around on the four sides four stairs, beautiful and brilliant with the four gems, viz. gold, silver, beryl, crystal. And on every side of these lotus-lakes gem-trees are growing, beautiful and brilliant with the seven gems, viz. gold, silver, beryl, crystal, red pearls, diamonds, and corals as the seventh. And in those lotus-lakes lotus-flowers are growing, blue, blue-coloured, of blue splendour, blue to behold; yellow, yellow-coloured, of yellow splendour, yellow to behold; red, red-coloured, of red splendour, red to behold; white, white-coloured, of white splendour, white to behold; beautiful, beautifully-coloured, of beautiful splendour, beautiful to behold, and in circumference as large as the wheel of a chariot. pg 95

‘And again, O Śāriputra, in that Buddha country there are heavenly musical instruments always played on, and the earth is lovely and of golden colour. And in that Buddha countrya flower-rain of heavenly Māndārava blossoms pours down three times every day, and three times every night. And the beings who are born there worship before their morning meal a hundred thousand koṭīs of Buddhas by going to other worlds; and having showered a hundred thousand koṭīs of flowers upon each Tathāgata, they return to their own world in time for the afternoon rest With such arrays of excellences peculiar to a Buddha country is that Buddha country adorned.

‘And again. O Śāriputra, there are in that Buddha country swans, curlews and peacocks. Three times every night, and three times every day, they come together and perform a concert each uttering his own note. And from them thus uttering proceeds a sound proclaiming the five virtues, the five powers, and the seven steps leading towards the highest knowledge When the men there hear that sound, remembrance of Buddha, remembrance of the Law, remembrance of the Church, rises in their mind. ‘Now, do you think, O Śāriputra, that there are beings who have entered into the nature of animals (birds, &c.)? This is not to be thought of. The very name of hells is unknown in that Buddha country, and likewise that of (descent into) animal bodies and of the realm of Yama (the four apāyas) No, these tribes of birds have been made on purpose by the Tathāgata Amitāyus, and they utter the sound of the Law. With such arrays of excellences.

‘And again, O Śāriputra, when those rows of palm-trees and strings of bells in that Buddha country are moved by the wind, a sweet and enrapturing sound proceeds from them. Yes, O Śāriputra, as from a heavenly musical instrument consisting of a hundred thousand koṭīs of sounds, when played by Āryas, a sweet and enrapturing sound proceeds from those rows of palm-trees and strings of bells moved by the wind. And when the men hear that sound, reflection on Buddha arises in them, reflection on the Law, reflection on the Church. With such arrays of excellences.

‘Now what do you think, O Śāriputra, for what reason is that Tathāgata called Amitāyus? The length of life (āyus), O Śāriputra, of that Tathāgata and of those men there is immeasurable (amita). Therefore is that Tathāgata called Amitāyus. And ten kalpas have passed, O Śāriputra, since that Tathāgata awoke to perfect knowledge.

‘And what do you think, O Śāriputra, for what reason is that Tathāgata called Amitābha? The splendour (ābhā), O Śāriputra, of that Tathāgata is unimpeded over all Buddha countries. Therefore is that Tathāgata called Amitābha. ‘And there is, O Śāriputra, an innumerable assembly of disciples with that Tathāgata, purified and venerable persons, whose number it is not easy to count. With such arrays of excellences.

‘And again, O Śāriputra, of those beings also who are born in the Buddha country of the Tathāgata Amitāyus as purified Bodhisattvas, never to return again and bound by one birth only, of those Bodhisattvas also, O Śāriputra, the number is not easy to count, except they are reckoned as infinite in number ‘Then again all beings, O Śāriputra, ought to make fervent prayer for that Buddha country. And why? Because they come together there with such excellent men. Beings are not born in that Buddha country of the Tathāgata Amitāyus as a reward and result of good works performed in this present life No, whatever son or daughter of a family shall hear the name of the blessed Amitāyus, the Tathāgata, and having heard it, shall keep it in mind, and with thoughts undisturbed shall keep it in mind for one, two, three, four, five, six or seven nights,—when that son or daughter of a family comes to die, then that Amitāyus, the Tathāgata, surrounded by an assembly of disciples and followed by a host of Bodhisattvas, will stand before them at their hour of death, and they will depart this life with tranquil minds. After their death they will be born in the world Sukhāvatī in the Buddha country of the same Amitāyus, the Tathāgata. Therefore, then, O Śāriputra, having perceived this cause and effect I with reverence say thus, Every son and every daughter of a family ought with their whole mind to make fervent prayer for that Buddha country.

‘And now, O Śāriputra, as I here at present glorify that world, thus, in the East, O Śāriputra, other blessed Buddhas, led by the Tathāgata Akshobhya, the Tathāgata Merudhvaga, the Tathāgata Mahāmeru, the Tathāgata Meruprabhāsa, and the Tathāgata Mañgudhvaga, equal in number to the sand of the river Gangi, comprehend their own Buddha countries in their speech, and then reveal them Accept this repetition of the Law, called the “Favour of all Buddhas,” which magnifies their inconceivable excellences.

‘Thus also in the South do other blessed Buddhas, led by the Tathāgata Kandrasūryapradīpa. the Tathāgata Yasaḥprabha, the Tathāgata Mahārkiskandha, the Tathāgata Merupradīpa, the Tathāgata Anantavīrya, equal in number to the sand of the river Gangā, comprehend their own Buddha countries in their speech, and then reveal them. Accept.

‘Thus also in the West do other blessed Buddhas, led by the Tathāgata Amitāyus, the Tathāgata Amitaskandha, the Tathāgata Amitadhvaga, the Tathāgata Mahāprabha, the Tathāgata Mahcāratnaketu, the Tathāgata Śuddharaśmiprabha, equal in number to the sand of the river Gangā, comprehend.

‘Thus also in the North do other blessed Buddhas, led by the Tathāgata Mahārkiskandha, the Tathāgata Vaiśvānaranirghosha, the Tathāgata Dundubhisvaranirghosha, the Tathāgata Dushpradharsha, the Tathāgata Ādityasambhava, the Tathāgata Galeniprabha (Gvalanaprabha?), the Tathāgata Prabhākara, equal in number to the sand.

‘Thus also in the Nadir do other blessed Buddhas, led by the Tathāgata Siṃha, the Tathāgata Yaśas, the Tathāgata Yaśaḥprabhāva, the Tathāgata Dharma, the Tathāgata Dharmadhara, the Tathāgata Dharmadhvaja, equal in number to the sand.

‘Thus also in the Zenith do other blessed Buddhas, led by the Tathāgata Brahmaghosha, the Tathāgata Nakshatrarāga, the Tathāgata Indraketudhvagarāga, the Tathāgata Gandhottama, the Tathāgata Gandhaprabhāsa, the Tathāgata Mahārkiskandha, the Tathāgata Ratnakusumasampushpitagātra, the Tathāgata Sālendrarāga, the Tathāgata Ratnotpalaśrī, the Tathāgata Sarvārthadarśa, the Tathāgata Sumerukalpa, equal in number to the sand.