The Sūtra of (the Buddha of) Immeasurable Life

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The Sūtra of (the Buddha of) Immeasurable Life
Translated by Hisao Inagaki

The Sūtra of (the Buddha of) Immeasurable Life

Translated by Hisao Inagaki

Table of Contents


1. Prologue
2. Virtues of the bodhisattva audience
3. Glorious features of the Buddha
4. 53 past Buddhas
5. Lokêśvararāja Buddha and Dharmakāra
5. Verses Praising the Buddha
6. Dharmakāra's resolution to become a Buddha
7. The Forty-eight Vows
8. Verses Confirming the Vows
9. Dharmakāra's practices of the Bodhisattva Path
10. Dharmakāra's attainment of Buddhahood
11. Amitāyus' light
12. Amitāyus' life-span
13. The number of the audience at the first assembly
14. Jeweled trees
15. The Bodhi-tree
16. Glorious Adornments
17. Bodily appearance of the inhabitants and the pleasures they enjoy
18. Karmic rewards of a beggar and a king
19. Comparison between heavens and the Pure Land
20. Pleasures in the Pure Land
21. Flowers and innumerable rays of light emitted f-rom them
22. Fulfillment of the 11th, 17th, and 18th vows
23. Three grades of aspirants: 1) higher grade
24. 2) middle grade
25. 3) lower grade
26. Bodhisattvas' visit to the Pure Land f-rom other lands
27. Verses on bodhisattvas' visit
28. Bodhisattvas in the Pure Land
29. Amitāyus' preaching and exquisite sounds produced by the trees, etc.
30. Bodhisattvas' virtues
31. Three kinds of evil passions and their consequences
32. Śākyamuni's encouragement to do good
33. Śākyamuni's admonition against evil acts
34. Admonition against five evils:
35. 1) first evil
36. 2) second evil
37. 3) the third evil
38. 4) the fourth evil
39. 5) the fifth evil
40. Further admonition by the Buddha
41. Amitāyus and the Pure Land shown to the audience
42. Two kinds of birth in the Pure Land
43. The cause of the two kinds of birth
44. Śākyamuni's encouragement of faith
45. Embryonic birth
46. Bodhisattvas' visits to the Pure Land f-rom other Buddha-lands
47. Śākyamuni's encouragement to accept this sutra
48. Epilogue



This Sutra expounds the Sacred Story of Amitāyus and was delivered by Śākyamuni Buddha and translated into Chinese during the Ts'ao-Wei dynasty by the Tripiṭaka Master Saṃghavarman f-rom India

Translated f-rom Chinese by Hisao Inagaki

The text follows the Taishō Tripiṭaka edition, vol. 12, and the passage numbers follow Jōdo shinshū Seiten, 1988, pp. 3-40.

[Chinese Source Text]


1. Prologue

[Chinese Source Text]


Thus have I heard. At one time the Buddha was staying on the Vulture Peak in Rājagṛha with a large company of twelve thousand monks. They were all great sages who had already attained supernatural powers. Among them were the following: the Venerable Ājñāta-kauṇḍinya, the Venerable Aśvajit, the Venerable Vāṣpa, the Venerable Mahānāma, the Venerable Bhadrajit, the Venerable Vimala, the Venerable Yaśodeva, the Venerable Sūbahu , the Venerable Pūrṇaka, the Venerable Gavāṃpati, the Venerable Uruvilvā-kāśyapa, the Venerable Gayā-kāśyapa, the Venerable Nadī-kāśyapa, the Venerable Mahākāśyapa, the Venerable Śāriputra, the Venerable Mahāmaudgalyāyana, the Venerable Kapphiṇa, the Venerable Mahākauṣṭhila, the Venerable Mahākātyāyana, the Venerable Mahācunda, the Venerable Pūrṇa-maitrayāṇīputra, the Venerable Aniruddha, the Venerable Revata, the Venerable Kimpila, the Venerable Amogha-rāja, the Venerable Parayānika, the Venerable Vakkula, the Venerable Nanda, the Venerable Svāgata, the Venerable Rāhula and the Venerable Ānanda. All of these were Elders.

[Chinese Source Text]


Mahayana bodhisattvas also accompanied the Buddha, including all those of this Auspicious Kalpa, such as the Bodhisattva Samantabhadra, the Bodhisattva Mañjuśrī and the Bodhisattva Maitreya. There were also the sixteen lay bodhisattvas, such as Bhadrapala, as well as the Bodhisattva Profound Thought, the Bodhisattva Wisdom of Faith, the Bodhisattva Voidness, the Bodhisattva Bloom of Supernatural Power, the Bodhisattva Hero of Light, the Bodhisattva Superior wisdom, the Bodhisattva Banner of Wisdom, the Bodhisattva Tranquil Ability, the Bodhisattva Wisdom of Vows, the Bodhisattva Sweet-smelling Elephant, the Bodhisattva Hero of Treasures, the Bodhisattva Dwelling-in-the-Center, the Bodhisattva Practice of Restraint and the Bodhisattva Emancipation. 

2. Virtues of the bodhisattva audience

[Chinese Source Text]


Each of these bodhisattvas, following the virtues of the mahāsattva Samantabhadra, is endowed with the immeasurable practices and vows of the Bodhisattva Path, and firmly dwells in all the meritorious deeds. He freely travels in all the ten quarters and employs skillful means of emancipation.

[Chinese Source Text]


He enters the treasury of the Dharma of the Buddhas, and reaches the Other Shore. Throughout the innumerable worlds he attains Enlightenment. First, dwelling in the Tuṣita Heaven, he proclaims the true Dharma. Having left the heavenly palace, he descends into his mother's womb. Soon after he is born f-rom her right side, he takes seven steps. As he does so, an effulgence illuminates everywhe-re in the ten quarters and innumerable Buddha-lands shake in six ways. Then he utters these words, "I will become the most honored one in the world."

[Chinese Source Text]


[266a] Śakra and Brahma reverently attend him, and heavenly beings adore and worship him. He shows his ability in calculation, writing, archery and horsemanship. He is also conversant with the divine arts and well-read in many volumes. In the field outside the palace he trains himself in the martial arts, and at court shows that he also enjoys the pleasures of the senses. When he first encounters old age, sickness and death, he realizes the impermanence of the world. He renounces his kingdom, wealth and throne, and goes into the mountains to practice the Way. After sending back the white horse that he has been riding, together with the jeweled crown and ornaments which he has been wearing, he takes off his magnificent clothes and puts on a Dharma robe. He cuts his hair and shaves his beard, sits upright under a tree and strives at ascetic practices for six years in accord with the traditional way. Since he has appeared in the world of the five defilements, he behaves as the multitude. And as his body appears dirty, he takes a bath in the Golden River. As a god bends a branch down towards him, he is able to climb up the river bank. A divine bird follows him closely to the seat of Enlightenment. A deva takes the form of a youth and, perceiving a favorable sign, respectfully presents him with the auspicious grass. The Bodhisattva compassionately accepts it, spreads it under the Bodhi-tree and sits upon it with his legs crossed. He emits a great flood of light to inform Mara of this. Mara and his army come to attack and tempt him, but he brings them under control with the power of wisdom and makes them all surrender. Then he attains the supreme Dharma and realizes the highest, perfect Enlightenment.

[Chinese Source Text]


As Śakra and Brahma request him to turn the Wheel of the Dharma, the Buddha visits various places and preaches the Dharma in his thunderous voice. He beats the Dharma-drum, blows the Dharma-conch, brandishes the Dharma-sword, hoists the Dharma-banner, rolls the Dharma-thunder, hurls the Dharma-lightning, brings the Dharma-rain, and bestows the Dharma-gift. At all times, he awakens the world with the sound of the Dharma. His light illuminates countless Buddha-lands, causing the entire world to quake in six ways. It encompasses Mara's realm, shaking his palace, so that he and his host become frightened and surrender. The bodhisattva tears asunder the net of evil, destroys wrong views, removes afflictions, flushes the gutters of desire, protects the Dharma-castle, opens the Dharma-gate, washes off the grime of the passions, and reveals the pure white Dharma. He unifies everything in the Buddha Dharma, and thus proclaims the right teaching. He enters the town to beg alms; he accepts even rich food to enable the donors to accumulate merit and also to show that he is a field of virtue.

[Chinese Source Text]


Wishing to expound the Dharma, he smiles and so cures the three pains with various Dharma-medicines. He teaches that the aspiration for Enlightenment has immeasurable merit and, by giving predictions to bodhisattvas, he enables them to attain Buddhahood. He demonstrates that he passes into Nirvāṇa, but endlessly brings sentient beings to emancipation. In removing their defilements, planting various roots of virtue and attaining excellent merit, he displays wonderful and inconceivable works. Furthermore, each of the bodhisattvas in the assembly is able to visit various Buddha-lands and expound teachings of the Way. His manner of practice is pure and undefiled. Just as a magician with his perfect skill can cre-ate at will various illusions, including images of man or woman, at will, so the bodhisattva, having thoroughly learned all the methods of emancipation and attained serene awareness of reality, can freely teach and transform beings. He maṇifests himself everywhe-re in innumerable Buddha-lands, performing acts of compassion for sentient beings tirelessly and with diligence.

[Chinese Source Text]


[266b] He has thus obtained complete mastery of such methods of emancipation. He is thoroughly conversant with the essentials of the sutras for bodhisattvas and, as his fame spreads everywhe-re, he guides sentient beings throughout the ten quarters. All Buddhas remember him and give him their protection. He has already dwelt in all the Buddha's abodes and performed all the deeds of the Great Sage. He proclaims the Tathāgata's teachings, acts as a great master for other bodhisattvas and, with profound samādhi and wisdom, guides multitudes of beings. With penetrating insight into the essential nature of dharmas, he discerns different aspects of living beings and closely watches over all the worlds. In making offerings to the Buddhas, he maṇifests transformed bodies like flashes of lightning.

[Chinese Source Text]


Having well learned the extensive wisdom of fearlessness and having realized the illusory nature of dharmas, he destroys Mara's nets and unties all the bonds of passion. He rises above the stages of śrāvakas and pratyekabuddhas and attains the samādhis of emptiness, non-form, and non-desire. He skillfully provides expedient means and thus reveals three distinct teachings. Then for those of the middle and lower stages, he demonstrates his passing into Nirvāṇa. But, in reality, he is non-active and non-acquisitive, and, being aware that dharmas in themselves neither arise nor perish, he realizes that they are of absolute equality. He has attained innumerable dhāraṇīs, a hundred thousand samādhis and various kinds of spiritual faculties and wisdom. With the Meditation of Vast and Universal Tranquility, he enters deeply into the Dharma-treasury for bodhisattvas.

[Chinese Source Text]


After attaining the Buddha-garland samādhi, he proclaims and expounds all the sutras. While dwelling deep in meditation, he visualizes all the innumerable Buddhas and in an instant visits every one of them. By elucidating and teaching the ultimate truth to sentient beings, he delivers them f-rom the state of extreme pains, f-rom the conditions in which suffering is so great as to prevent people f-rom finding time for Buddhist practices, and also f-rom the conditions in which suffering is not so great as to prevent them f-rom doing so. Having attained the Tathāgata's thorough knowledge and eloquence, he has fluent command of languages, with which he enlightens all beings. He is above all worldly affairs and his mind, always serene, dwells on the path of emancipation; this gives him complete control over all dharmas.

[Chinese Source Text]


Without being asked to do so, he becomes a good friend to each within the multitude of beings and carries their heavy karmic burdens on his back. He upholds the Tathāgata's profound Dharma-treasury and protects the seeds of Buddhahood, so that they may continue to multiply. Having awakened great compassion for sentient beings, he kindly expounds the teaching, and endows them with the Dharma-eye. He blocks the paths to the three evil realms, opens the gate of virtue and, without waiting for their request, provides beings with the Dharma. He does this for the multitude of beings just as a dutiful son loves and respects his parents. He indeed looks upon sentient beings as his own self. With such roots of virtue, all the bodhisattvas in the assembly had reached the shore of emancipation. They had acquired the Buddha's immeasurable merit and attained the sacred, pure and inconceivable wisdom. Innumerable bodhisattvas, mahāsattvas, such as these assembled there all at once.

3. Glorious features of the Buddha

[Chinese Source Text]


At that time all the senses of the World-Honored One radiated joy, [266c] his entire body appeared serene and glorious, and his august countenance looked most majestic.

[Chinese Source Text]


Having perceived the Buddha's holy intention, the Venerable Ānanda rose f-rom his seat, bared his right shoulder, prostrated himself, and joining his palms in reverence, said to the Buddha, "World-Honored One, today all your senses are radiant with joy, your body is serene and glorious, and your august countenance is as majestic as a clear mirror whose brightness radiates outward and inward. The magnificence of your dignified appearance is unsurpassed and beyond measure. I have never seen you look so superb and majestic as today. With respect, Great Sage, this thought has occurred to me: 'Today, the World-Honored One dwells in the rare and marvelous Dharma; today, the World-Hero dwells in the Buddha's abode; today, the World-Eye concentrates on the performance of the leader's duty; today, the World-Valiant One dwells in the supreme Bodhi; today, the One Most Honored in Heaven realizes the Tathāgata's virtue. The Buddhas of the past, present and future contemplate each other. How can this present Buddha not contemplate all other Buddhas?' For what reason does his countenance look so majestic and brilliant?"

[Chinese Source Text]

於是世尊告阿難曰。云何阿難。諸天教汝來問佛耶。自以慧見問威顏乎。阿難白佛。無有諸天來教我 者。自以所見問斯義耳。

Then the World-Honored One said to Ānanda, "Tell me, Ānanda, whether some god urged you to put this question to the Buddha or whether you asked about his glorious countenance f-rom your own wise observation." Ānanda replied to the Buddha, "No god came to prompt me. I asked you about this matter of my own accord."

[Chinese Source Text]


The Buddha said, "Well said, Ānanda. I am very pleased with your question. You have shown profound wisdom and subtle insight in asking me this wise question out of compassion for sentient beings. As the Tathāgata, I regard beings of the three worlds with boundless great compassion. The reason for my appearance in the world is to reveal teachings of the Way and save multitudes of beings by endowing them with true benefits. Even in countless millions of kalpas it is difficult to come upon and meet a Tathāgata. It is as difficult as seeing an udumbara flower, which blooms very rarely. Your question is of great benefit and will enlighten all heavenly and human beings. Ānanda, you should realize that the Tathāgata's perfectly enlightened wisdom is unfathomable, capable of leading innumerable beings to emancipation, and that his penetrating insight cannot be obstructed. With just one meal, he is able to live for a hundred thousandkoṭīs of kalpas, or an incalculable and immeasurable length of time, or beyond. Even after that lapse of time, his senses will still be radiant with joy and show no signs of deterioration; his appearance will not change, and his august countenance will look just the same. The reason for this is that the Tathāgata's meditation and wisdom are perfect and boundless and that he has attained unrestricted power over all dharmas. Ānanda, listen carefully. I shall now expound the Dharma."

Ānanda replied, "Yes, I will. With joy in my heart, I wish to hear the Dharma."

4. 53 past Buddhas

[Chinese Source Text]


The Buddha said to Ānanda, "In the distant past —innumerable, incalculable and inconceivable kalpas ago — a Tathāgata named Dīpaṃkara appeared in the world. Having taught and freed innumerable beings and led them all along the path of Enlightenment, he passed into Nirvāṇa. Next appeared a Tathāgata named Far-reaching Light. After him came Moonlight, and then Sandalwood-Incense, King of Beautiful Mountains, Crown of Mount Sumeru, Brilliant like Mount Sumeru, Color of the Moon, Right Recollection, Free of Defilement, Non-attachment, Dragon-deva, Nocturnal Light, Peaceful and Brilliant Peak, Immovable Ground, [267a] Exquisite Beryl Flower, Golden Beryl Luster, Gold-treasury, Flaming Light, Fiery Origin, Earth-shaking, Image of the Moon, Sound of the Sun, Flower of Freedom, Glorious Light, Miraculous Power of the Ocean of Enlightenment, Water Light, Great Fragrance, Free of Dust and Defilement, Abandoning Enmity, Flame of Jewels, Beautiful Peak, Heroic Stance, Merit-possessing Wisdom, Outshining the Sun and the Moon, Beryl Light of the Sun and the Moon, Supreme Beryl Light, Highest Peak, Flower of Enlightenment, Brightness of the Moon, Sunlight, King of the Colors of Flowers, Moonlight on the Water, Dispelling the Darkness of Ignorance, Practice of Removing Hindrances, Pure Faith, Storage of Good, Majestic Glory, Wisdom of the Dharma, Call of the Phoenix, Roar of the Lion, Voice of the Dragon and Dwelling-in-the-world. All these Buddhas have already passed into Nirvāṇa."

5. Lokêśvararāja Buddha and Dharmakāra

[Chinese Source Text]


"Then appeared a Buddha named Lokêśvararāja, the Tathāgata, Arhat, Perfectly Enlightened One, Possessed of Wisdom and Practice, Perfected One, Knower of the World, Unsurpassed One, Tamer of Men, Master of Gods and Men, Buddha and World-Honored One.

"At that time there was a king, who, having heard the Buddha's exposition of the Dharma, rejoiced in his heart and awakened aspiration for the highest, perfect Enlightenment. He renounced his kingdom and the throne, and became a monk named Dharmakāra. Having superior intelligence, courage and wisdom, he distinguished himself in the world. He went to see the Tathāgata Lokêśvararāja, knelt down at his feet, walked round him three times keeping him always on his right, prostrated himself on the ground, and putting his palms together in worship, praised the Buddha with these verses:

5. Verses Praising the Buddha

[Chinese Source Text]

 光顏巍巍  威神無極  如是炎明 無與等者  日月摩尼  珠光炎耀 皆悉隱蔽  猶如聚墨  

1. The shining face of the Buddha is glorious;

Boundless is his magnificence.

Radiant splendor such as his

Is beyond all comparison.

The sun, the moon and the maṇi-jewel,

Though shining with dazzling brightness,

Are completely dimmed and obscured

As if they were a pile of ink-sticks .

[Chinese Source Text]

如來容顏 超世無倫  正覺大音  響流十方 戒聞精進  三昧智慧  威德無侶

2. The countenance of the

Tathāgata Is beyond compare in the whole world.

The great voice of the Enlightened One

Resounds throughout the ten regions.

His morality, learning, endeavor,

Absorption in meditation, wisdom

And magnificent virtues have no equal;

They are wonderful and unsurpassed.

[Chinese Source Text]

 殊勝希有  深諦善念  諸佛法海 窮深盡奧  究其崖底  無明欲怒 世尊永無  人雄師子  神德無量

3. He meditates deeply and directly

On the oceanic Dharma of all the Buddhas.

He knows its depth and breadth

And penetrates to its farthest end.

Ignorance, greed and anger

Are forever absent in the World-Honored One.

He is the lion, the most valiant of all men;

His glorious virtue is unlimited.

[Chinese Source Text]

 功德廣大  智慧深妙  光明威相 震動大千  願我作佛  齊聖法王 過度生死  靡不解脫

4. His meritorious achievements are vast;

His wisdom is deep and sublime.

His light, with awe-inspiring glory, [267b]

Shakes the universe of a thousand million worlds.

I resolve to become a Buddha,

Equal in attainment to you,

O holy king of the Dharma,

To save living beings f-rom birth-and-death,

And to lead them all to emancipation.

[Chinese Source Text]

 布施調意 戒忍精進  如是三昧  智慧爲上 吾誓得佛  普行此願  一切恐懼 爲作大安

5. My discipline in giving, mind-control,

Moral virtues, forbearance and effort,

And also in meditation and wisdom,

Shall be supreme and unsurpassed.

I vow that, when I have become a Buddha,

I shall carry out this promise everywhe-re;

And to all fear-ridden beings Shall I give great peace.

[Chinese Source Text]

 假令有佛  百千億萬 無量大聖  數如恒沙  供養一切 斯等諸佛  不如求道  堅正不卻

6. Even though there are Buddhas,

A thousand million koṭīs in number,

And multitudes of great sages

Countless as the sands of the Ganges,

I shall make offerings

To all those Buddhas.

I shall seek the supreme Way

Resolutely and tirelessly.

[Chinese Source Text]

 譬如恒沙  諸佛世界  復不可計 無數刹土  光明悉照  遍此諸國 如是精進  威神難量

7. Even though the Buddha-lands are as innumerable

As the sands of the Ganges,

And other regions and worlds

Are also without number,

My light shall shine everywhe-re,

Pervading all those lands.

Such being the result of my efforts,

My glorious power shall be immeasurable.

[Chinese Source Text]

 令我作佛 國土第一  其衆奇妙  道場超絕  國如泥洹  而無等雙  我當愍哀 度脫一切

8. When I have become a Buddha,

My land shall be most exquisite,

And its people wonderful and unexcelled;

The seat of Enlightenment shall be supreme.

My land, being like Nirvāṇa itself,

Shall be beyond comparison.

I take pity on living beings

And resolve to save them all.

[Chinese Source Text]

 十方來生  心悅淸淨 已到我國  快樂安隱  幸佛信明 是我眞證  發願於彼  力精所欲

9. Those who come f-rom the ten quarters

Shall find joy and serenity of heart;

When they reach my land,

They shall dwell in peace and happiness.

I beg you, the Buddha, to become my witness

And to vouch for the truth of my aspiration.

Having now made my vows to you,

I will strive to fulfill them.

[Chinese Source Text]

 十方世尊  智慧無礙  常令此尊 知我心行  假令身止  諸苦毒中 我行精進  忍終不悔

10. The World-Honored Ones in the ten quarters

Have unimpeded wisdom;

I call upon those Honored Ones

To bear witness to my intention.

Even though I must remain

In a state of extreme pain,

I will diligently practice,

Enduring all hardships with tireless vigor.

6. Dharmakāra's resolution to become a Buddha

[Chinese Source Text]


The Buddha said to Ānanda, "Having spoken these verses, the Bhikṣu Dharmakāra said to the Buddha Lokêśvararāja, 'Respectfully, World-Honored One, I announce that I have awakened aspiration for the highest, perfect Enlightenment. I beseech you to explain the Dharma to me fully, so that I can perform practices for the establishment of a pure Buddha-land adorned with infinite excellent qualities. So please teach me how to attain Enlightenment quickly and to remove the roots of afflictions of birth-and-death for all.' "

[Chinese Source Text]


The Buddha said to Ānanda, "At that time the Buddha Lokêśvararāja replied to the Bhikṣu Dharmakāra, 'You yourself should know by what practice you can establish a glorious Buddha-land.' The Bhikṣu said to the Buddha, 'That is far too vast and deep for my comprehension. I sincerely beseech you, World-Honored One, to explain in detail the practices by which Buddhas, Tathāgatas, established their pure lands. After I hear that, I wish to practice as instructed and so fulfill my aspirations.' "

[Chinese Source Text]


At that time the Buddha Lokêśvararāja recognized the Bhikṣu Dharmakāra's noble and high aspirations, and taught him as follows: 'If, for example, one keeps on bailing water out of a great ocean with a pint-measure, one will be able to reach the bottom after many kalpas [267c] and then obtain rare treasures. Likewise, if one sincerely, diligently and unceasingly seeks the Way, one will be able to reach one's destination. What vow is there which cannot be fulfilled?'

[Chinese Source Text]


"Then the Buddha Lokêśvararāja explained in detail the greater and lesser aspects of two hundred and ten koṭīs of Buddha-lands, together with the good and evil natures of heavenly and human beings living there. He revealed them all to the Bhikṣu just as he had requested. Then the Bhikṣu, having heard the Buddha's exposition of the glorious pure land and also having seen all of them, resolved upon his supreme, unsurpassed vows. His mind being serene and his aspirations free of attachment, he was unexcelled throughout the world. For five full kalpas he contemplated the vows, and then chose the pure practices for the establishment of his Buddha-land."

[Chinese Source Text]

阿難白佛。彼佛國土壽量幾何。佛言。其佛壽命四十二劫。時法藏比丘。攝取二百一十億諸佛妙土淸淨之行。如是修已詣彼佛所。稽首禮足遶佛三匝合掌而住。白言世尊。我已攝取莊嚴佛土淸淨之行。佛告比丘。汝今可說 宜知是時。發起悅可一切大衆。菩薩聞已修行此法。緣致滿足無量大願。比丘白佛。唯垂聽察。如我所願當具說之

Ānanda asked the Buddha, "How long was the life-span of beings in the land of the Buddha Lokêśvararāja?"

The Buddha replied, "The length of life of that Buddha was forty-two kalpas." He continued, "After that Dharmakāra Bodhisattva adopted the pure practices which had led to the establishment of the excellent lands of two hundred and ten koṭīs of Buddhas. When he had finished this task, he went to the Buddha, knelt down at his feet, walked round him three times, joined his palms in worship and sat down. He then said to the Buddha, 'I have adopted the pure practices for the establishment of a glorious Buddha-land.' The Buddha said to him, 'You should proclaim this. Know that now is the right time. Encourage and delight the entire assembly. Hearing this, other bodhisattvas will practice this Dharma and so fulfill their innumerable great vows.' The Bhikṣu replied, 'I beg you to grant me your attention. Now I will fully proclaim my vows.' "

7. The Forty-eight Vows

[Chinese Source Text]


(1) If, when I attain Buddhahood, there should be in my land a hell, a realm of hungry spirits or a realm of animals, may I not attain perfect Enlightenment.

[Chinese Source Text]


(2) If, when I attain Buddhahood, humans and devas in my land should after death fall again into the three evil realms, may I not attain perfect Enlightenment.

[Chinese Source Text]


(3) If, when I attain Buddhahood, humans and devas in my land should not all be the color of pure gold, may I not attain perfect Enlightenment.

[Chinese Source Text]


(4) If, when I attain Buddhahood, humans and devas in my land should not all be of one appearance, and should there be any difference in beauty, may I not attain perfect Enlightenment.

[Chinese Source Text]


(5) If, when I attain Buddhahood, humans and devas in my land should not remember all their previous lives, not knowing even the events which occurred during the previous hundred thousand koṭīs of nayutas of kalpas, may I not attain perfect Enlightenment.

[Chinese Source Text]

(6) If, when I attain Buddhahood, humans and devas in my land should not possess the divine eye of seeing even a hundred thousand koṭīs of nayutas of Buddha-lands, may I not attain perfect Enlightenment.

[Chinese Source Text]


(7) If, when I attain Buddhahood, humans and devas in my land should not possess the divine ear of hearing [268a] the teachings of at least a hundred thousand koṭīs of nayutas of Buddhas and should not remember all of them, may I not attain perfect Enlightenment.

[Chinese Source Text]


(8) If, when I attain Buddhahood, humans and devas in my land should not possess the faculty of knowing the thoughts of others, at least those of all sentient beings living in a hundred thousand koṭīs of nayutas of Buddha-lands, may I not attain perfect Enlightenment.

[Chinese Source Text]


(9) If, when I attain Buddhahood, humans and devas in my land should not possess the supernatural power of traveling anywhe-re in one instant, even beyond a hundred thousand koṭīs of nayutas of Buddha-lands, may I not attain perfect Enlightenment.

[Chinese Source Text]


(10) If, when I attain Buddhahood, humans and devas in my land should give rise to thoughts of self-attachment, may I not attain perfect Enlightenment.

[Chinese Source Text]


(11) If, when I attain Buddhahood, humans and devas in my land should not dwell in the Definitely Assured State and unfailingly reach Nirvāṇa, may I not attain perfect Enlightenment.

[Chinese Source Text]


(12) If, when I attain Buddhahood, my light should be limited, unable to illuminate at least a hundred thousand koṭīs of nayutas of Buddha-lands, may I not attain perfect Enlightenment.

[Chinese Source Text]


(13) If, when I attain Buddhahood, my life-span should be limited, even to the extent of a hundred thousand koṭīs of nayutas of kalpas, may I not attain perfect Enlightenment.

[Chinese Source Text]


(14) If, when I attain Buddhahood, the number of the śrāvakas in my land could be known, even if all the beings and pratyekabuddhas living in this universe of a thousand million worlds should count them during a hundred thousand kalpas, may I not attain perfect Enlightenment.

[Chinese Source Text]


(15) If, when I attain Buddhahood, humans and devas in my land should have limited life-spans, except when they wish to shorten them in accordance with their original vows, may I not attain perfect Enlightenment.

[Chinese Source Text]


(16) If, when I attain Buddhahood, humans and devas in my land should even hear of any wrongdoing, may I not attain perfect Enlightenment.

[Chinese Source Text]


(17) If, when I attain Buddhahood, innumerable Buddhas in the land of the ten quarters should not all praise and glorify my Name, may I not attain perfect Enlightenment.

[Chinese Source Text]


(18) If, when I attain Buddhahood, sentient beings in the lands of the ten quarters who sincerely and joyfully entrust themselves to me, desire to be born in my land, and call my Name, even ten times, should not be born there, may I not attain perfect Enlightenment. Excluded, however, are those who commit the five gravest offences and abuse the right Dharma.

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