Today, the 17th Day of the 11th Chinese Lunar Month, 22nd Dec 2010,
the Chinese Mahayana world celebrates the Solemnity of Amitabha Buddha
The Buddha Speaks on Amitabha Sutra
Sariputra, what do you think? Why is this Buddha called Amitabha?
Sariputra, the brilliance of that Buddha's light is measureless, illumining the lands of the ten directions everywhere without obstruction; for this reason he is called Amitabha.
Moreover Sariputra, the life of that Buddha and that of his people extends for measureless limitless asankhyeya kalpas; for this reason he is called Amitayus.
And Sariputra, since Amitabha realized Buddhahood, ten kalpas have passed.
The Buddha Speaks on the Larger Amitayus Sutra
The Buddha further said, "I have expounded this teaching for the sake of sentient beings and enabled you to see Amitayus and all in His Land. Strive to do what you should.
After I have passed into Nirvana, do not allow doubt to arise.
In the future, the Buddhist scriptures and teachings will perish.
But, out of pity and compassion, I will especially preserve this Sutra and maintain It in the world for a hundred years more.
Those beings who encounter it will attain deliverance in accord with their aspirations.
The Buddha Speaks on Contemplation of Amitayus Sutra
Then the World-Honored One said to Vaidehi, "Do you know that Amitayus is not far away?
Fix your thoughts upon and contemplate that Buddha-land, then you will accomplish the pure acts.
I shall describe it to you in detail with various illustrations,
so that all ordinary people in the future who wish to practice the pure karma may also be born in that Western Land of Utmost Bliss.
Whoever wishes to be born there should practice three acts of merit:
first, caring for one's parents, attending to one's teachers and elders, compassionately refraining from killing, and doing the ten good deeds;
second, taking the three refuges, keeping the various precepts and refraining from breaking the rules of conduct; and
third, awakening aspiration for Enlightenment, believing deeply in the law of causality, chanting the Mahayana Sutras and encouraging people to follow their teachings.
These three are called the pure karma."
The Buddha further said to Vaidehi,
"Do you know that these three acts are the pure karma practiced by all the Buddhas of the past, present and future as the right cause of Enlightenment?"