The Buddha Speaks of the Infinite Life Sutra of Adornment, Purity,
Equality and Enlightenment of the Ma-hayana School
; The full name of this sutra is The Buddha Speaks of the Infinite Life Sutra of Adornment, Purity,
Equality and Enlightenment of the Mahayana School.
; Buddha is a Sanskrit (Skrt) word meaning a perfect, enlightened being. He has gained complete
awareness of the nature, phenomenon and function of the whole universe, in the past, present and
; There are three kinds of realization: self, helping others to achieve their own and complete all-
; An Arhat (Skrt) is one who has reached self-realization; a state in which one possesses no erroneous
perceptions, views, speech or behavior.
; A Bodhisattva (Skrt) is one who helps others to reach realization after achieving their own.
; A Buddha is one who has reached perfection in both self-realization and helping others to reach
; Names of each Buddha and Bodhisattva represent their specialties within the teachings.
; Shakyamuni (Skrt) is the name of the historical and latest Buddha in our world who lived over 2500
years ago. “Shakya” means kindness, which represents the way we should treat others. “Muni”
means stillness, which represents freedom from agitation, the state in which our mind ultimately
; Buddhists regard Buddha Shakyamuni as our “Original Teacher.” Buddhism is an educational system,
for the title of teacher is not found in religions, only in education.
; The aspiration of a Buddha is to help all beings to be free from suffering, to reach full realization.
When the time comes for beings to accept the Pure Land teachings, great joy arises in all the Buddhas.
; The power of visualization is tremendous. Everything in the universe is derived from one’s mind.
Constant contemplation of the Buddha leads to becoming a Buddha, whereas a mind constantly
harboring ignorance, greed and anger leads one to the three lower realms of animals, hungry ghosts and
; A Buddha’s mind, in essence, is equal to that of an ordinary being. However, a Buddha has a clear
mind without any greed, anger, and ignorance, whereas, an ordinary being has a deluded one. This
makes an ordinary being different from a Buddha.
; Amitabha (Skrt) is a Buddha’s name, primarily meaning Infinite Life.
; “Infinite Life” is the most important meaning within “Amitabha.” Others include infinite light,
boundless wisdom, virtue, talent, etc.
; “Amitabha” virtually encompasses every word from the Infinite Life Sutra. The Western Pure Land is
also contained within this name. No virtue is beyond the scope of the name “Amitabha.”
; Contemplation of Buddha Amitabha’s name all the time, persistently and without any doubt or
intermingling with other thoughts leads one to true realization.
; By purifying one’s body, mind and speech through the practice of chanting “Amitabha,” one is
adorned with magnificence radiated from within.
; The Western Pure Land, Amitabha’s world, is a world of truth, grace, splendor and wisdom. All beings
there develop their purity from within.
; Many great masters in China, even ones from other Buddhist schools, have chosen to be reborn into
the Pure Land, for example, the Zen masters Yung Ming of the Sung Dynasty and Cher Wu of the
; Chanting only one Buddha’s name, Amitabha, contributes to the benefits of purifying one’s mind and
of being reborn into the Western Pure Land within the shortest period of time.
; The Western Pure Land has all the wonderful things that other Buddhalands have, but none of the
unpleasant ones. That is why it is called the Land of Ultimate Bliss.
; All other Buddhas admire Buddha Amitabha and praise the Western Pure Land. Therefore, they
strongly encourage all sentient beings to seek rebirth into Buddha Amitabha’s world.
; The practice of Buddha name chanting will work effectively with pure conviction and strong
determination. The practitioner is assured to go to the Western Pure Land and become a Buddha in
one lifetime when one also practices according to the teachings.
; Buddha Amitabha is a Buddha within one’s self-nature. His world also appears in one’s mind.
Everything essentially is a reflection of and cannot be separated from one’s true nature.
; In order to attain a pure mind, one must overcome the internal obstacles of worry, delusion and habit
accumulated over aeons of lifetimes, and the external obstacles of the enticements of too many
adverse conditions which surround us.
; It is just a matter of thought whether we remain in or transcend the cycle of birth and death. We make
the decision. Realizing this, we can escape from this cycle by cultivating a pure mind and vowing to go
to the Western Pure Land.
; How does one check to see whether one’s practice is progressing? A good sign is when we have less
worry and wandering thoughts.
; The Buddha has taught us many methods to be freed from worry and delusion. If one method,
sincerely practiced, does not work, one can try another, just as a doctor would give different
prescriptions to patients with different illnesses.
; Master Yin-Guang, the thirteenth Patriarch of the Pure Land School, recommended people in this
Dharma Ending Age practice the Pure Land teachings.
; The study and practice of the Buddha’s teaching follow three guidelines: 1.Following the precepts 2.
Cultivating deep concentration and 3. Uncovering wisdom.
; The primary methods of practice are reciting the sutra and Buddha name chanting. When reciting, one
also practices the Six Principles or Paramitas (Skrt) of giving, precept observation, endurance,
diligence, concentration and wisdom. When no other thought is concerned, it is “Giving.” When no
erroneous thought occurs, it is “Precept observation.” When staying with this process without
interruption, it is “Endurance.” When reaching one’s goal in recitation, it is “Diligence.” When
focusing on recitation, it is “Concentration.” When insight is obtained from within, it is “Wisdom.”
; Diligently reciting the sutra helps one to eliminate karmic obstacles, worry and established habits
acquired over aeons. Consequently, one attains purity, equality and finally, ultimate realization.
; Duality is not equality. Oneness is equality. A wandering thought arising in one’s mind disturbs this
oneness and renders everything unequal.
; The Infinite Life Sutra can help everyone to become a Buddha. Everyone who follows this teaching,
from a Bodhisattva to an Arhat, from an ordinary being to one in the three lower realms can turn into a
; The benefits from this Pure Land teaching are so inconceivable that initially they are extremely
difficult for people to believe.
Chapter 1: The Assembly of Sages Attend the Dharma Teaching
; All the teachings given by Buddha Shakyamuni were based upon true reality. Venerable Ananda
learned and memorized all the teachings from Buddha Shakyamuni.
; Observing that the opportunity is near for a certain number of people to attain Buddhahood, the
Buddha then started this Pure Land teaching.
; It was in the city of Ragagriha, on the mountain Gridhrakuta, that an assembly of twelve thousand of
the Buddha’s great Bhikshus (monks), together with those great Bodhisattvas, attended this teaching.
; Buddha Shakyamuni played a leading character while other Buddhas were supporting characters, with
some as his students. When Buddha Shakyamuni appeared in this world, their role-playing helped to
educate all beings.
; Venerable Kondanna was the first one to actualize the achievement of an Arhat from the Buddha’s
teachings. His presence at this teaching represents that the Infinite Life Sutra is the foremost teaching
for all Buddhas in helping sentient beings to escape the cycle of birth and death.
; Venerable Sariputra was the student foremost in wisdom. One who can believe this sutra and put this
teaching into practice will attain foremost wisdom.
; Venerable Mahamaudgalyayana was the foremost in spiritual penetrations. Once one is reborn into
the Western Pure Land and later becomes a Buddha, aided by Amitabha, one recovers this foremost
; Maha is a Sanskrit word meaning great.
; The first Patriarch in the Zen school was Venerable Mahakasyapa who also attended this meeting.
; Venerable Ananda did the primary work of compiling the Buddha’s teachings into sutras.
; For one to become a left-home person, one must have planted good roots in past lives. One time
Buddha Shakyamuni tested his student’s ability to decide whether to accept an old man who asked to
be a monk. An Arhat is capable of knowing a being’s past lifetimes over many lifetimes. All of the
Buddha’s Arhat students doomed the old man as a prospect, because they thought that he had no
connection with Buddhism in his past lives. Shakyamuni then announced that many aeons ago, this old
man was a woodchopper. One day when he ran into a tiger on the mountain, he climbed up a tree to
escape, calling out, “Namo Buddha” (Homage to the Buddha) for help. With only those few words,
the old man planted his good roots. In this life, he became a monk as he had wished and later attained
; The Buddha gave this Pure Land teaching as a special way to help beings in this Dharma Ending Age.
; For one to be able to accept the Pure Land teaching, one must have previously nurtured countless
; The attendance of the great Samantabhadra Bodhisattva at this teaching symbolized the unity of the
Pure Land and Esoteric Schools.
; The presence of the great Manjusri Bodhisattva symbolized the integration of the Zen and Pure Land
; Both of these venerables represent that all the teachings of the Buddha are contained within this
; The name of “Amitabha” is in itself a supreme mantra. By chanting this name and vowing to go to the
Western Pure Land, one can attain the utmost achievement: to be reborn into the Western Pure Land
and become a Buddha within one lifetime.
; The great Maitreya Bodhisattva is currently in the Tusita Deva (a level in heaven). After 5,706,000,000
years, he will appear in the human realm and become the next Buddha in this world.
; In our current aeon, one thousand Buddhas will appear in our world. Buddha Shakyamuni was
the fourth; Maitreya Bodhisattva will be the fifth. All these great sages came to this teaching as well.
Chapter 2: The Virtues of Samantabhadra were Followed by All
; It is stated in the Flower Adornment Sutra that if one does not cultivate Samantabhadra Bodhisattva’s
virtue, one cannot achieve the perfect awakening of enlightenment.
; The Western Pure Land is the ultimate destination for practicing Samantabhadra’s Ten Great Vows.
; Many great Bodhisattvas, appearing as lay persons, attended this teaching. The first was “Worthy and
Protective” Bodhisattva, the only one from our Saha (Skrt) world. His name teaches us that the
Buddhas and Bodhisattvas always protect and help those who sincerely generate their Bodhi mind,
the great compassionate mind to help all beings.
; “Skillful in Contemplation” and “Wise and Eloquent” Bodhisattvas represent true understanding. In
Buddhism, if one does not have true understanding, one cannot believe this sutra. Every sutra tells us
that the time required for an ordinary being to become a Buddha is three great Asankhya aeons (an
incalculably long amount of time). However, in this Pure Land teaching, three great Asankhya aeons
can be transcended by a single thought of Buddha Amitabha.
; “Observation of Non-Dwelling” Bodhisattva reminds us of the teaching from the Diamond Sutra,
“One’s mind should not attach to anything, then the true mind will arise.”
; “Spiritual Penetration Flower” Bodhisattva teaches us that many different abilities can be used to help
sentient beings as he pledged in his vows.
; “Light Emitting” Bodhisattva symbolizes the light of wisdom. Chanting Buddha’s name will help us
generate this limitless light.
; “Precious Pennant” Bodhisattva stands for how precious the opportunity is to help all beings through
the Buddha’s teachings. In the past, people would raise a pennant from a pole in front of a Buddhist
teaching center, which signaled that a lecture would be given that day.
; “Utmost Wisdom” Bodhisattva illustrates that infinite wisdom is within this Pure Land teaching.
; “Stilled Root” Bodhisattva demonstrated purification of the six sense organs (eye, ear, nose, tongue,
mind, and body). Practicing according to the Buddha’s teachings naturally purifies these six sense
; “Faith and Wisdom” Bodhisattva clarified that, without wisdom, one cannot believe in this teaching.
; “Vow and Wisdom” Bodhisattva told us that, after unwavering belief is developed, it is important to
vow to go to the Western Pure Land. From true wisdom comes the vow.
; The elephant was the strongest animal to haul vehicles in ancient times. So the name of “Fragrant
Elephant” Bodhisattva is a way to show us how great the benefit is to chant the Buddha’s name.
; “Treasury Revelation” Bodhisattva taught us that after one goes to the Western Pure Land, with the
help of Buddha Amitabha, the treasury in one’s self-nature will be uncovered.
; “Dwelling in the Middle” Bodhisattva represents how one’s mind should be set on the practice in the
middle path, avoiding the extremes.
; “Practice of Restraint” Bodhisattva advocated two points in the Pure Land School; following the
precepts and Buddha-name chanting. Following the precepts disciplines one’s thought, speech and
; “Liberation” Bodhisattva was the last of the sixteen great guests of honor. He represented the result
one attains from this practice: to be freed from worry and to attain liberation from the cycle of life and
; The first fourteen Bodhisattvas teach us to recognize this Buddha Name Chanting method and the