SUTRA
on the
CONTEMPLATION
of
BUDDHA AMITAYUS

 
NOTE: The famous "Sutra on the Contemplation of Buddha Amitayus" (or simply, "Contemplation Sutra") is revered as canonical by all Pure Land Buddhists, and is one of the Three Sutras of Pure Land Buddhism, the others being the Larger Sukhavati-vyuha Sutra and the Smaller Sukhavati-vyuha Sutra. In the Contemplation Sutra, the Nembutsu (Namo Amida Butsu) is specifically proclaimed as the avenue to liberation of suffering beings from samsara. This English translation by J. Takakusu published originally as vol. XLIX of The Sacred Books of the East series (Oxford, 1894, public domain) has been edited for ease of reading and comprehension by modern readers. Footnotes from the original edition are dated and have thus been eliminated. A reprint of the unaltered and fully annotated translation exists in Dover paperback.

PART I.

1. Thus have I heard: At one time the Buddha dwelt in Rajagriha, on Vulture Peak, with a large assembly of Bhikkhus and with thirty-two thousand Bodhisattvas, with Manjushri the Dharma-Prince at the head of the assembly.

2. At that time, in the great city of Rajagriha there was a prince, the heir-apparent, named Ajatasatru. He listened to the wicked counsel of Devadatta and other friends and forcibly arrested Bimbisara his father, the king, and shut him up by himself in a room with seven walls, proclaiming to all the courtiers that no one should approach (the king). The chief consort of the king, Vaidehi by name, was true and faithful to her lord, the king. She supported him in this way: having purified herself by bathing and washing, she anointed her body with honey and ghee mixed with corn-flour, and she concealed the juice of grapes in the various garlands she wore in order to give him food without being noticed by the warder. As she stole in and made an offering to him, he was able to eat the flour and to drink the juice of grapes. Then he called for water and rinsed his mouth. That done, the king stretched forth his folded hands towards Vulture Peak and duly and respectfully made obeisance to the World-Honored One, who at that time was living there. And he uttered the following prayer: 'Mahamaudgalyayana is my friend and relative; let him, I pray, feel compassion towards me, and come and communicate to me the eight prohibitive precepts of the Buddha.' On this, Mahamaudgalyayana at once appeared before the king, coming with a speed equal to the flight of a falcon or an eagle, and communicated to him the eight precepts.

Day after day he visited the king. The World-Honored One sent also his worthy disciple Purna to preach the Dharma to the king. Thus a period of three weeks passed by. The king showed in his expression that he was happy and contented when he had an opportunity of hearing the Dharma as well as of enjoying the honey and flour.

3. At that time, Ajatasatru asked the warder of the gate whether his father was yet alive. On this, the warder answered him : 'Exalted king, the chief consort of your father brought food and presented it to him by anointing her body with honey and flour and filling her garlands with the juice of grapes, and the Sramanas, Mahamaudgalyayana and Purna, approached the king through the sky in order to preach the Dharma to him. It is impossible, king, to prevent them coming.'

When the prince heard this answer his indignation arose against his mother: 'My mother,' he cried, 'is indeed a rebel, for she was found in the company of that rebel. Wicked people are those Sramanas, and it is their art of spells causing illusion and delusion that delayed the death of that wicked king for so many days.' Instantly he brandished his sharp sword, intending to slay his mother. At that moment, there intervened a minister named Chandraprabha, who was possessed of great wisdom and intelligence, and Jiva (a famous physician). They saluted the prince and remonstrated with him, saying: 'We, ministers, Great king, heard that since the beginning of the kalpas there had been several wicked kings, even to the number of eighteen thousand, who killed their own fathers, coveting the throne of their respective kingdoms, as mentioned in the Sutra of the discourse of the Veda. Yet never have we heard of a man killing his mother, though he be void of virtue. Now, if you, king, should dare to commit such a deadly sin, you would bring a stain upon the blood of the Kshatriyas, the kingly race. We cannot even bear to hear of it. You are indeed a Chandala, the lowest race; we will not stay here with you.'

After this, the two great ministers withdrew stepping backward, each with his hand placed on his sword. Ajatasatru was then frightened and greatly afraid of them, and asked Jiva, 'Will you not be my friend?' In reply Jiva said to him, 'Do not then, O great king, by any means think of injuring your mother.' On hearing this, the prince repented and sought for mercy, and at once laid down his sword and did his mother no harm. He finally ordered the officers of the inner chambers to put the queen in a hidden palace and not to allow her to come out again.

4. When Vaidehi was thus locked up in confinement she became afflicted by sorrow and distress. She began to do homage to Buddha from afar, looking towards the Vulture Peak. She uttered the following words: 'Tathagata! World-Honored One! In former times you have constantly sent Ananda to me for enquiry and consolation. I am now in sorrow and grief. You, World-Honored One, are majestic and exalted; in no way shall I be able to see thee. Will thou, I pray you, command Mahamaudgalyayana and your honoured disciple, Ananda, to come and have an interview with me ?' After this speech, she grieved and wept, shedding tears like a shower of rain. Before she raised her head from doing homage to the distant Buddha, the World-Honored One knew what Vaidehi was wishing in her mind, though he was on the Vulture Peak. Therefore, he instantly ordered Mahamaudgalyayana and Ananda to go to her through the sky. Buddha himself disappeared from that mountain and appeared in the royal palace.

When the queen raised her head as she finished homage to Buddha, she saw before her the World-Honored Buddha Shakyamuni, whose body was purple gold in color, sitting on a lotus-flower which consists of a hundred jewels, with Mahamaudgalyayana attending on his left, and with Ananda on his right. Sakra (Indra), Brahman, and other gods that protect the world were seen in the midst of the sky, everywhere showering heavenly flowers with which they made offerings to Buddha in their obeisance. Vaidehi, at the sight of Buddha the World-Honored One, took off her garlands and prostrated herself on the ground, crying, sobbing, and speaking to Buddha: 'World-Honored One! what former sin of mine has produced such a wicked son? And again, Exalted One, from what cause and circumstances have you such an affinity (by blood and religion) with Devadatta (Buddha's wicked cousin and once his disciple)?'

5. 'My only prayer,' she continued, 'is this: World-Honored One, may you preach to me in detail of all the places where there is no sorrow or trouble, and where I ought to go to be born anew. I am not satisfied with this world of depravities, with Jambudvipa, which is full of hells, full of hungry spirits, and of the brute creatures. In this world of depravities, there are many assemblies of the wicked. May I not hear, I pray, the voice of the wicked in the future and may I not see any wicked person.

'Now I throw my limbs down to the ground before you, and seek for your mercy by confessing my sins. I pray for this only that the Sun-like Buddha may instruct me how to meditate on a world wherein all actions are pure.' At that moment, the World-Honored One flashed forth a golden ray from between his eyebrows. It extended to all the innumerable worlds of the ten quarters. On its return the ray rested on the top of the Buddha's head and transformed itself into a golden pillar just like Mount Sumeru, wherein the pure and admirable countries of the Buddhas in the ten quarters appeared simultaneously illuminated.

One was a country consisting of seven jewels, another was a country all full of lotus-flowers; one was like the palace of Mahesvara Deva (god Siva), another was like a mirror of crystal, with the countries in the ten quarters reflected therein. There were innumerable countries like these, resplendent, gorgeous, and delightful to look upon. All were meant for Vaidehi to see (and choose from).

Thereupon Vaidehi again spoke to Buddha: 'World-Honored One, although all other Buddha countries are pure and radiant with light, I should, nevertheless, wish myself to be born in the realm of Buddha Amitayus, in the world of Highest Happiness, Sukhavati. Now I simply pray you, World-Honored One, to teach me how to concentrate my thought so as to obtain a right vision of that country.'

6. Thereupon the World-Honored One gently smiled upon her, and rays of five colors issued forth out of his mouth, each ray shining as far as the head of king Bimbisara.

At that moment, the mental vision of that exalted king was perfectly clear though he was shut up in lonely retirement, and he could see the World-Honored One from afar. As he paid homage with his head and face, he naturally increased and advanced in wisdom, whereby he attained to the fruition of an Anagamin, the third of the four grades to Nirvana.

7. Then the World-Honored One said: 'Now do you not know, Vaidehi, that Buddha Amitayus is not very far from here? You should apply your mind entirely to close meditation upon those who have already perfected the pure actions necessary for that Buddha country.

'I now proceed to fully expound them for you in many parables, and thereby afford all ordinary persons of the future who wish to cultivate these pure actions an opportunity of being born in the Land of Highest Happiness (Sukhavati) in the western quarter. Those who wish to be born in that country of Buddha have to cultivate a threefold goodness. First, they should act filially towards their parents and support them; serve and respect their teachers and elders; be of compassionate mind, abstain from doing any injury, and cultivate the ten virtuous actions". Second, they should take and observe the vow of seeking refuge with the Three jewels, fulfill all moral precepts, and not lower their dignity or neglect any ceremonial observance. Third, they should give their whole mind to the attainment of perfect wisdom, deeply believe in the principle of cause and effect, study and recite the Mahayana doctrine, and persuade and encourage others who pursue the same course as themselves.

'These three groups as enumerated are called the pure actions leading to the Buddha country.'

'Vaidehi!'Buddha continued, 'To clarify if do you not understand now: These three classes of actions are the effective cause of the pure actions taught by all the Buddhas of the past, present, and future.'

8. The Buddha then addressed Ananda as well as Vaidehi: 'Listen carefully, listen carefully! Ponder carefully on what you hear! I, Tathagata, now declare the pure actions needful for Birth in that Buddha country, for the sake of all beings hereafter that are subject to the misery inflicted by the enemy of the passions. Well done, Vaidehi! Appropriate are the questions which you have asked! Ananda, be sure to remember these words of mine, the Buddha, and repeat them openly to many assemblies. I, Tathagata, now teach Vaidehi and also all beings hereafter in order that they may meditate on the World of Highest Happiness, Sukhavati, in the western quarter.

'It is by the power of Buddha only that one can see that pure land of Buddha as clear as one sees the image of one's face reflected in the transparent mirror held up before one.

'When one sees the state of happiness of that country in its highest excellence, one greatly rejoices in one's heart and immediately attains a spirit of resignation prepared to endure whatever consequences may yet arise.' Buddha, turning again to Vaidehi, said: 'You are but an ordinary person; the quality of your mind is weak and confused.

'You have not as yet obtained the divine eye and cannot perceive what is at a distance. All the Buddhas, Tathagatas have various means at their disposal and can therefore afford you an opportunity of seeing that Buddha country.' Then Vaidehi rejoined: 'World-Honored One, people such as I can now see that land by the power of Buddha, but how shall all those beings who are to come after Buddha's Nirvana, and who, as being depraved and devoid of good qualities, will be harassed by the five worldly sufferings - how shall they see the World of Highest Happiness of the Buddha Amitayus?'

PART II.

9. Buddha then replied: 'You and all other beings besides ought to make it your only aim, with concentrated thought, to get a perception of the western quarter. You will ask how that perception is to be formed. I will explain it now. All beings, if not blind from birth, are uniformly possessed of sight, and they all see the setting sun. You should sit down properly, looking in the western direction, and prepare your thought for a close meditation on the sun; cause your mind to be firmly fixed on it so as to have an unwavering perception by the exclusive application of your mind, and gaze upon it in particular when it is about to set and looks like a suspended drum.

'After you have thus seen the sun, let that image remain clear and fixed, whether your eyes be shut or open;-such is the perception of the sun, which is the First Meditation.

10. 'Next you should form the perception of water; gaze on the water clear and pure, and let (this image) also remain clear and fixed (afterwards); never allow your thought to be scattered and lost.

'When you have thus seen the water you should form the perception of ice. As you see the ice shining and transparent, you should imagine the appearance of lapis lazuli.

'After that has been done, you will see the ground consisting of lapis lazuli, transparent and shining both within and without. Beneath this ground of lapis lazuli there will be seen a golden banner with the seven jewels, diamonds and the rest, supporting the ground. It extends to the eight points of the compass, and thus the eight corners (of the ground) are perfectly filled up. Every side of the eight quarters consists of a hundred jewels, every jewel has a thousand rays, and every ray has eighty-four thousand colors which, when reflected in the ground of lapis lazuli, look like a thousand million suns, and. it is difficult to see them all one by one. Over the surface of that ground of lapis lazuli there are stretched golden ropes intertwined crosswise; divisions are made by means of strings of seven jewels with every part clear and distinct.

'Each jewel has rays of five hundred colors which look like flowers or like the moon and stars. Lodged high up in the open sky these rays form a tower of rays, whose storeys and galleries are ten millions in number and built of a hundred jewels. Both sides of the tower have each a hundred million flowery banners furnished and decked with numberless musical instruments. Eight kinds of cool breezes proceed from the brilliant rays. When those musical instruments are played, they emit the sounds "suffering," "non-existence," "impermanence," and "non-self "; such is the perception of the water, which is the Second Meditation.

11. 'When this perception has been formed, you should meditate on its (constituents) one by one and make (the images) as clear as possible, so that they may never be scattered and lost, whether your eyes be shut or open. Except only during the time of your sleep, you should always keep this in your mind. One who has reached this (stage of) perception is said to have dimly seen the Land of Highest Happiness (Sukhavati).'

'One who has obtained the Samadhi of supernatural calm is able to see the land of that Buddha country clearly and distinctly: this state is too much to be explained fully; such is the perception of the land, and it is the Third Meditation.

'You should remember, Ananda, the Buddha words of mine, and repeat this law for attaining to the perception of the land of the Buddha country for the sake of the great mass of the people hereafter who may wish to be delivered from their sufferings. If any one meditates on the land of that Buddha country, his sins which bind him to births and deaths during eighty million kalpas shall be expiated; after the abandonment of his present body, he will assuredly be born in the pure land in the following life. The practice of this kind of meditation is called the "right meditation." If it is of any other kind it is called "heretical meditation."'

12. Buddha then spoke to Ananda and Vaidehi: 'When the perception of the land (of that Buddha country) has been gained, you should next meditate on the jewel-trees (of that country). In meditating on the jewel-trees, you should take each by itself and form a perception of the seven rows of trees; every tree is eight hundred yojanas high, and all the jewel-trees have flowers and leaves consisting of seven jewels all perfect. All flowers and leaves have colors like the colors of various jewels -from the color of lapis lazuli there issues a golden ray; from the color of crystal, a saffron ray; from the color of agate, a diamond ray; from the color of diamond, a ray of blue pearls. Corals, amber, and all other gems are used as ornaments for illumination; nets of excellent pearls are spread over the trees, each tree is covered by seven sets of nets, and between one set and another there are five hundred million palaces built of excellent flowers, resembling the palace of the Lord Brahman; all heavenly children live there, quite naturally; every child has a garland consisting of five hundred million precious gems like those that are fastened on Sakra's (Indra's) head, the rays of which shine over a hundred yojanas, just as if a hundred million suns and moons were united together; it is difficult to explain them in detail. That (garland) is the most excellent among all, as it is the commixture of all sorts of jewels. Rows of these jewel-trees touch one another; the leaves of the trees also join one another.

'Among the dense foliage there blossom various beautiful flowers, upon which are miraculously found fruits of seven jewels. The leaves of the trees are all exactly equal in length and in breadth, measuring twenty-five yojanas each way; every leaf has a thousand colors and a hundred different pictures on it, just like a heavenly garland. There are many excellent flowers which have the color of Jambunada gold and an appearance of fire-wheels in motion, turning between the leaves in a graceful fashion. All the fruits are produced just (as easily) as if they flowed out from the pitcher of the God Sakra. There is a magnificent ray which transforms itself into numberless jewelled canopies with banners and flags. Within these jewelled canopies the works of all the Buddhas of the Great Chiliocosm appear illuminated; the Buddha countries of the ten quarters also are manifested therein. When you have seen these trees you should also meditate on them one by one in order. In meditating on the trees, trunks, branches, leaves, flowers, and fruits, let them all be distinct and clear;- such is the perception of the trees (of that Buddha country), and it is the Fourth Meditation.

13. 'Next, you should perceive the water (of that country). The perception of the water is as follows:

'In the Land of Highest Happiness there are waters in eight lakes; the water in every lake consists of seven jewels which are soft and yielding. Deriving its source from the king of jewels that fulfills every wish, the water is divided into fourteen streams; every stream has the color of seven jewels; its channel is built of gold, the bed of which consists of the sand of variegated diamonds.

'In the midst of each lake there are sixty million lotus-flowers, made of seven jewels; all the flowers are perfectly round and exactly equal (in circumference), being twelve yojanas. The water of jewels flows amidst the flowers and rises and falls by the stalks (of the lotus); the sound of the streaming water is melodious and pleasing, and propounds all the perfect virtues (Paramitas), "suffering," "non-existence," "impermanence," and "non-self;" it proclaims also the praise of the signs of perfection, and minor marks of excellence of all Buddhas. From the king of jewels that fulfills every wish, stream forth the golden-colored rays excessively beautiful, the radiance of which transforms itself into birds possessing the colors of a hundred jewels, which sing out harmonious notes, sweet and delicious, ever praising the remembrance of Buddha, the remembrance of the Dharma, and the remembrance of the Sangha -- such is the perception of the water of eight good qualities, and it is the Fifth Meditation.

14. 'Each division of that (Buddha) country, which consists of several jewels, has also jewelled storeys and galleries to the number of five hundred million; within each storey and gallery there are innumerable Devas engaged in playing heavenly music. There are some musical instruments that are hung up in the open sky, like the jewelled banners of heaven; they emit musical sounds without being struck, which, while resounding variously, all propound the remembrance of Buddha, of the Dharma and of the Sangha, Bhikkhus, and so forth. When this perception is duly accomplished, one is said to have dimly seen the jewel-trees, jewel-ground, and jewel-lakes of that World of Highest Happiness (Sukhavati) -- such is the perception formed by meditating on the general features of that Land, and it is the Sixth Meditation.

'If one has experienced this, one has expiated the greatest sinful deeds which would otherwise lead one to Transmigration for numberless millions of kalpas; after his death he will assuredly be born in that land.

15. 'Listen carefully! listen carefully! Think over what you have heard! I, Buddha, am about to explain in detail the law of delivering one's self from trouble and torment. Commit this to your memory in order to explain it in detail before a great assembly.' While Buddha was uttering these words, Buddha Amitayus stood in the midst of the sky with Bodhisattvas Mahasthama and Avalokitesvara, attending on his right and left respectively. There was such a bright and dazzling radiance that no one could see clearly; the brilliance was a hundred thousand times greater than that of gold (Jambunada). Thereupon Vaidehi saw Buddha Amitayus and approached the World-Honored One, and made obeisance to him, touching his feet, and spoke to him as follows: 'Exalted One! I am now able, by the power of Buddha, to see Buddha Amitayus together with the two Bodhisattvas. But how shall all the beings of the future meditate on Buddha Amitayus and the two Bodhisattvas?'

16. The Buddha answered: 'Those who wish to meditate on that Buddha ought first to direct their thought as follows: form the perception of a lotus-flower on a ground of seven jewels, each leaf of that lotus exhibits the colors of a hundred jewels, and has eighty-four thousand veins, just like heavenly pictures; each vein possesses eighty-four thousand rays, of which each can be clearly seen. Every small leaf and flower is two hundred and fifty yojanas in length and the same measurement in breadth. Each lotus-flower possesses eighty-four thousand leaves, each leaf has the kingly pearls to the number of a hundred million, as ornaments for illumination; each pearl shoots out a thousand rays like bright canopies. The surface of the ground is entireIy covered by a mixture of seven jewels. There is a tower built of the gems which are like those that are fastened on Sakra's head. It is inlaid and decked with eighty thousand diamonds, Kimsuka jewels, Brahma-mani and excellent pearl nets.

'On that tower there are miraculously found four posts with jewelled banners; each banner looks like a hundred thousand million Sumeru mountains.

'The jewelled veil over these banners is like that of the celestial palace of Yama, illuminated with five hundred million excellent jewels, each jewel has eighty-four thousand rays, each ray has various golden colors to the number of eighty-four thousand, each golden color covers the whole jewelled soil, it changes and is transformed at various places, every now and then exhibiting various appearances; now it becomes a diamond tower, now a pearl net, again clouds of mixed flowers, freely changing its manifestation in the ten directions it exhibits the state of Buddha -- such is the perception of the flowery throne, and it is the Seventh Meditation.'

Buddha, turning to Ananda, said: 'These excellent flowers were created originally by the power of the prayer of Bhikkhu, Dharmakara. All who wish to exercise the remembrance of that Buddha ought first to form the perception of that flowery throne. When engaged in it one ought not to perceive vaguely, but fix the mind upon each detail separately. Leaf, jewel, ray, tower, and banner should be clear and distinct, just as one sees the image of one's own face in a mirror. When one has achieved this perception, the sins which would produce births and deaths during fifty thousand kalpas are expiated, and he is one who will most assuredly be born in the World of Highest Happiness.

17. 'When you have perceived this, you should next perceive Buddha himself. Do you ask how? Every Buddha Tathagata is one whose spiritual body is the principle of nature (Darmadhatu-kaya), so that he may enter into the mind of any beings. Consequently, when you have perceived Buddha, it is indeed that mind of yours that possesses those thirty-two signs of perfection and eighty minor marks of excellence which you see in a Buddha. In conclusion, it is your mind that becomes Buddha, nay, it is your mind. that is indeed Buddha. The ocean of true and universal knowledge of all the Buddhas derives its source from one's own mind and thought. Therefore you should apply your thought with an undivided attention to a careful meditation on that Buddha Tathagata, Arhat, the Holy and Fully Enlightened One. In forming the perception of that Buddha, you should first perceive the image of that Buddha; whether, your eyes are open or shut, look at an image like Jambunada gold in color, sitting on that flower throne mentioned before.

'When you have seen the seated figure your mental vision will become clear, and you will be able to see clearly and distinctly the adornment of that Buddha country, the jewelled ground, and so forth. In seeing these things, let them be clear and fixed just as you see the palms of your hands. When you have passed through this experience, you should further form a perception of another great lotus-flower which is on the left side of Buddha, and is exactly equal in every way to the above-mentioned lotus-flower of Buddha. Still further, you should form (a perception of) another lotus-flower which is on the right side of Buddha. Perceive that an image of Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara is sitting on the left-hand flowery throne, shooting forth golden rays exactly like those of Buddha. Perceive then that an image of Bodhisattva Mahasthama is sitting on .the right-hand flowery throne.

'When these perceptions are gained the images of Buddha and the Bodhisattvas will all send forth brilliant rays, clearly lighting up all the jewel-trees with golden color. Under every tree there are also three lotus-flowers. On every lotus-flower there is an image, either of Buddha or of a Bodhisattva; thus (the images of the Bodhisattvas and of Buddha) are found everywhere in that country. When this perception has been gained, the devotee should hear the excellent Dharma preached by means of a stream of water, a brilliant ray of light, several jewel-trees, ducks, geese, and swans. Whether he be wrapped in meditation or whether he has ceased from it, he should ever hear the excellent Dharma. What the devotee hears must be kept in memory and not be lost, when he ceases from that meditation ; and it should agree with the Sutras, for if it does not agree with the Sutras, it is called an illusory perception, whereas if it does agree, it is called the rough perception of the World of Highest Happiness;-such is the perception of the images, and it is the Eighth Meditation.

'He who has practiced this meditation is freed from the sins (which otherwise involve him in) births and deaths for innumerable million kalpas, and during this present life he obtains the Samadhi due to the remembrance of Buddha.

18. 'Further, when this perception is gained, you should next proceed to meditate on the bodily marks and the light of Buddha Amitayus.

'You should know, Ananda, that the body of Buddha Amitayus is a hundred thousand million times as bright as the color of the Jambunada gold of the heavenly abode of Yama; the height of that Buddha is six hundred thousand nayutas of kotis of yojanas innumerable as are the sands of the river Ganges.

'The white twist of hair between the eyebrows all turning to the right is just like the five Sumeru mountains.

'The eyes of Buddha are like the water of the four great oceans; the blue and the white are quite distinct.

'All the roots of hair of his body issue forth brilliant rays which are also like the Sumeru mountains.

'The halo of that Buddha is like a hundred million Great Chiliocosms; in that halo there are Buddhas miraculously created, to the number of a million nayutas of kotis innumerable as the sands of the Ganges; each of these Buddhas has for attendants a great assembly of numberless Bodhisattvas who are also miraculously created.

'Buddha Amitayus has eighty-four thousand signs of perfection, each sign is possessed of eighty-four minor marks of excellence, each mark has eighty-four thousand rays, each ray extends so far as to shine over the worlds of the ten quarters, whereby Buddha embraces and protects all the beings who think upon him and does not exclude any one of them. His rays, signs, and so forth are difficult to be explained in detail. But in simple meditation let the mind's eye dwell upon them.

'If you pass through this experience, you will at the same time see all the Buddhas of the ten quarters. Since you see all the Buddhas it is called the Samadhi of the remembrance of the Buddhas.

'Those who have practiced this meditation are said to have contemplated the bodies of all the Buddhas. Since they have meditated on Buddha's body, they will also see Buddha's mind. It is great compassion that is called Buddha's mind. It is by his absolute compassion that he receives all beings.

'Those who have practiced this meditation will, when they die, be born in the presence of the Buddhas in another life, and obtain a spirit of resignation wherewith to face all the consequences which shall hereafter arise.

'Therefore those who have wisdom should direct their thought to the careful meditation upon that Buddha Amitayus. Let those who meditate on Buddha Amitayus begin with one single sign or mark -- let them first meditate on the white twist of hair between the eyebrows as clearly as possible; when they have done this, the eighty-four thousand signs and marks will naturally appear before their eyes. Those who see Amitayus will also see all the innumerable Buddhas of the ten quarters. Since they have seen all the innumerable Buddhas, they will receive the prophecy of their future destiny to become Buddha in the presence of all the Buddhas -- Such is the perception gained by a complete meditation on all forms and bodies of Buddha, and it is the Ninth Meditation.

19. 'When you have seen Buddha Amitayus distinctly, you should then further meditate upon Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara, whose height is eight hundred thousand nayutas of yojanas ; the color of his body is purple gold, his head has a turban at the back of which there is a halo; the circumference of his face is a hundred thousand yojanas. In that halo, there are five hundred Buddhas miraculously transformed just like those of Shakyamuni Buddha; each transformed Buddha is attended by five hundred transformed Bodhisattvas who are also attended by numberless gods. Within the circle of light emanating from his whole body appear illuminated the various forms and marks of all beings that live in the five paths of existence.

'On the top of his head Is a heavenly crown of gems like those that are fastened (on Indra's head), in which crown there is a transformed Buddha standing, twenty-five yojanas high.

'The face of Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara In, like Jambunada gold in color.

'The soft hair between the eyebrows has all the colors of the seven jewels, from which eighty-four kinds of rays flow out, each ray has innumerable transformed Buddhas, each of whom is attended by numberless transformed Bodhisattvas; freely changing their manifestations they fill up the worlds of the ten quarters; (the appearance) can be compared with the color of the red lotus-flower.

'He wears a garland consisting of eight thousand rays, in which is seen fully reflected a state of perfect beauty. The palm of his hand has a mixed color of five hundred lotus-flowers. His hands have ten tips of fingers, each tip has eighty-four thousand pictures, which are like signet-marks, each picture has eighty-four thousand colors, each color has eighty-four thousand rays which are soft and mild and shine over all things that exist. With these jewel hands he draws and embraces all beings. When he lifts up his feet, the soles of his feet are seen to be marked with a wheel of a thousand spokes which miraculously transform themselves into five hundred million pillars of rays. When he puts his feet down to the ground, the flowers of diamonds and jewels are scattered about, and all things are simply covered by them. All the other signs of his body and the minor marks of excellence are perfect, and not at all different from those of Buddha, except the signs of having the turban on his head and the top of his head invisible, which two signs of him are inferior to those of the World-Honored One -- such is the perception of the real form and body of Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara, and it is the Tenth Meditation.'

The Buddha, especially addressing Ananda, said: 'Whosoever wishes to meditate on Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara must do so in the way I have explained. Those who practice this meditation will not suffer any calamity; they will utterly remove the obstacle that is raised by karma, and will expiate the sins which would involve them in births-and deaths for numberless kalpas. Even the hearing of the name of this Bodhisattva will enable one to obtain immeasurable happiness. How much more, then, will the diligent contemplation of him!