In this present Superior Aeon, the Bodhisattvas Manjushri, Chenrezig, and Vajrapani, as well as deities, nagas and humans, requested Shakyamuni to teach "The Sutra of the Pure Realm of Dewachen". This sutra describes the qualities of Dewachen. In brief, these qualities are that the earth is made of precious substances, the ground being as flat as the palm of a hand, not uneven like our world of mountains and valleys. It is vast and spacious, and the light shining from the body of Amitabha, and from the jewels and precious substances, makes it very clear. The ground is not rough, solid or stony, but soft, smooth and comfortable. If one were to press down on the ground, it would give way and spring back like foam rubber.
In Déwachen, the trees are made of 7 precious gems: all the roots are of gold, the trunks are silver, the branches lapis-lazuli; the large leaves are crystal and the small ones are pyrites; the blossoms are pearls and the fruits are diamonds. Whatever one wishes for appears from these trees. Jewels, tassels and adornments loop from one tree to another. Birds and animals, unlike those of our world, are manifestations of Buddhas and bodhisattvas. Some are the colours of conches, turquoises and corals, and their bird-calls are very enchanting, like the sound of a lute. Within those sounds are taught the vast and deep teachings of the Dharma.
The rivers flow softly and gently, carrying the fragrance of camphor and white and red sandalwood. This water has 8 qualities: its essence is very cool, its taste delicious, its outer appearance light, soft to the touch, very clear and unsullied by stones or pebbles; if drunk, it gives no harm to the throat or stomach. On the water are buddha-manifestations of geese, ducks and cranes. One can bathe in the many pools, reached by descending flights of 7 steps made of precious stones.
Although these pools are deep, as one enters, the depth of the water adapts itself to the size of one's body. Surrounding these bathing-pools are fragrant utpala and lotus blooms, emanating light-rays. At the tips of the light-rays appear innumerable Buddhas, each surrounded by Arhats.
Within this buddha-realm resides Amitabha, known in Tibetan as Opame, meaning 'Immeasurable Light' or 'Limitless Radiance' because light-rays from his body pervade every buddha-realm, illuminating them all. He is also known as Buddha Amitayus, or in Tibetan 'Tsépamé', meaning 'Immeasurable Life', because the extent of his life cannot be calculated. His body is as red as ruby, which symbolises the warmth of his compassion extending to all beings.
Amitabha has the 32 principal and 80 secondary marks of a Buddha, like Shakyamuni. On his head, one of the main marks is the head-mound or 'ushnisha', gained whilst he was practising the spiritual path (as Chöchi Lodro and Zipji Muchee), from bowing down with reverence to the Buddhas Jikten Wangchuk Gyalpo and Rinchen Nyingpo. As a result, at the time of attaining buddhahood, the head-mound appeared. Amitabha's 'one face' symbolises that the dharmakaya is free from all conceptual complication. His 2 arms represent means and wisdom, and his 2 hands in meditation gesture signify the unification of means and wisdom. He holds a begging-bowl filled with amrita, symbolising his kindness towards sentient beings by giving vast and deep Dharma teachings. He wears the 3 dharma-robes, denoting gradual instruction of beings through Sravaka, Pratyekabuddha and Bodhisattva Paths. As he never wavers from resting in the equality of samsara and nirvana, his legs are in vajra-posture.
Amitabha sits on a throne that is supported by 8 peacocks. When the sutras and commentaries describe the 5 buddha-families, a particular aspect of wisdom and a specific direction are ascribed to each one, even though they each embrace every aspect of wisdom. Amitabha is associated with the western direction, and he embodies discriminating wisdom, which arises when thoughts of desire and craving are purified. Within the minds of ordinary beings, all the kleshas are present: anger, desire, ignorance, pride, jealousy and so on. It is believed that birds, in particular, have strong desire and craving, so, as a symbol of craving transformed into discriminating wisdom, Amitabha's throne is supported by peacocks.
In other practices, Akshobya is associated with the eastern direction and his throne is supported by horses; Ratnasambhava with the south, his throne supported by elephants; Amoghasiddhi with the north, his throne supported by shang-shang creatures; Vairochana with the centre, his throne supported by lions.
On Amitabha's throne is a 1000-petalled lotus, which symbolises that he remains unstained by samsara. Although he has attained liberation, he has not abandoned his body nor entered nirvana, but stays in the world, due to his compassion, in order to benefit beings. His back rests against a bodhi tree, 600,000 yojanas high, and its branches, leaves and flowers extend 800 yojanas (1 yojana is approximately 4 miles). Due to our impure vision, we only see a small bodhi tree at Bodhgaya, but once we are reborn in Déwachen, a bodhi tree resembles this one described above. It is called a bodhi tree because every Buddha has one, and when one achieves buddhahood, it is obligatory that one must have a bodhi tree to lean against! (Rinpoché chuckles). The cause for achieving buddhahood is to take the Bodhisattva Vow and to develop bodhicitta. In every sadhana practised, one takes refuge and generates bodhicitta. The bodhi tree symbolises bodhicitta.
To Amitabha's right is Chenrezig, with 4 arms, and to his left Vajrapani, with 2 arms. The fact that both are standing symbolises, first, that until samsara has been emptied they will work to liberate sentient beings, and, secondly, that they are disciples of Buddha Amitabha. They are surrounded by an infinite number of Buddhas, Bodhisattvas, and Arhats all with head-mounds, and wheel-marks on their hands and feet, wearing dharma robes.
In Karma Chagmé's long 'Déwachen Prayer', he describes Amitabha, Chenrezig and Vajrapani as 'very vivid' by using 3 synonyms. Firstly, they are physically 'vivid' because, amongst the entourage of Buddhas and bodhisattvas, they stand out as exceptional, like 3 supreme mountains. This is due to the proportions and qualities of their major and minor marks of buddhahood. In terms of speech, they are also 'vivid' because first Amitabha teaches Dharma, followed by Chenrezig and Vajrapani, and at that time their speech permeates all the buddha-realms. For the mind aspect, Amitabha is again described as 'vivid' because of his compassion.
Having taken birth in Déwachen, one does not hear any more even the mere names of the 8 unfavourable states, or of the lower existences . In Déwachen, there are no ordinary women with anger, pride or desire. In this world, sometimes men love women, and at other times they are angry with them and quarrel, yet feel great suffering when they die. However, in Déwachen there are only goddesses, 3000 emanated to serve each individual.
If someone in Déwachen wishes to visit the other pure realms of, for example, Vairochana, Ratnasambhava, Tara or the Glorious Copper Coloured Mountain of Guru Rinpoche, one can simply go there, receive empowerments and teachings from those particular Buddhas, and return again to Déwachen. Having been born in Déwachen, one possesses unobscured clairvoyant powers, including the ability to see other beings in their particular worlds and give them protection and blessings, or, at the time of their death, to go to the bardo to meet them and bring them to Déwachen. All these qualities of Déwachen are explained in "The Sutra of Amitabha", which was eventually brought to Tibet and translated by the learned lotsawas, and now exists as part of the Kangyur.
http://www.quietmountain.org/links/teac ... itabha.htm