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This blog is devoted to the propagation of Jodo Shinshu Buddhism, a 750-year-old Buddhist tradition.

Friday, May 21, 2010

The Smaller Sutra on Amida Buddha

The Smaller Sutra on Amida Buddha, also known as the Amida Sutra (Amidakyo) is the last of the three Pure Land Sutras that make up the principal Dharma texts of the Jodo Shin School of Pure Land Buddhism. It is a very brief sutra, and it is typically chanted during funeral services at Shinshu temples (also Shoshinge is sometimes used instead). This sutra contanis another description of the glories of the Pure Land, and then a longer recitation of the Buddhas in the ten directions who witness the validity of the Pure Land and Amida’s Vow to bring all sentient beings there. At its conclusion, the Buddha proclaims to Sariputra that this sutra is the most difficult to accept in faith; in fact, he repeats this assertion at least twice in the text. Importantly, the Buddha emphasizes that those individuals who have taken refuge in the Vow of Amida Buddha, and aspire to be born in the Pure Land, dwell in the stage of Non-Retrogression, thereby not falling back into the cycle of birth-and-death.

“Sariputra, those who have already aspired, now aspire or in the future will aspire to be born in the land of Amida Buddha, all dwell in the Stage of Non-retrogression for realizing the highest, perfect Enlightenment. They have already been born, are now being born, or will be born in that land. Hence, Sariputra, good men and women of faith should aspire to be born there.” Inagaki translation, p. 359.

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