Images of descending Amida

wishing
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Images of descending Amida

Postby wishing » Mon Sep 12, 2011 10:41 am

Hello all, first post here so please be gentle. :)

I'm sure many people here are familiar with the image of Amida Buddha descending from the sky surrounded by rays of light and attending Bodhisattvas, which is (was) a popular subject for paintings in Japan. What I am wondering is whether this image is based on a specific sutra passage? Looking over the shorter and longer Sukhavativyuha Sutras, I've only noticed descriptions of the glories of Sukhavati itself - not of the image of Amida descending to earth. Any ideas?

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Astus
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Re: Images of descending Amida

Postby Astus » Mon Sep 12, 2011 10:58 am

It's Amita Buddha greeting the deceased to escort them to the Pure Land. I guess.
1 Myriad dharmas are only mind.
Mind is unobtainable.
What is there to seek?

2 If the Buddha-Nature is seen,
there will be no seeing of a nature in any thing.

3 Neither cultivation nor seated meditation —
this is the pure Chan of Tathagata.

4 With sudden enlightenment to Tathagata Chan,
the six paramitas and myriad means
are complete within that essence.


1 Huangbo, T2012Ap381c1 2 Nirvana Sutra, T374p521b3; tr. Yamamoto 3 Mazu, X1321p3b23; tr. J. Jia 4 Yongjia, T2014p395c14; tr. from "The Sword of Wisdom"

wishing
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Re: Images of descending Amida

Postby wishing » Mon Sep 12, 2011 11:34 am

Indeed. What I'm wondering is what text or story the image is based on, if any.

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Astus
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Re: Images of descending Amida

Postby Astus » Mon Sep 12, 2011 12:25 pm

"When an aspirant is about to be born in that land through dedicated and undaunted practices, the Tathagata Amitayus arrives together with Avalokiteshvara, Mahasthamaprapta, innumerable transformed Buddhas, a great assembly of a hundred thousand monks and shravakas and innumerable devas in seven-jewelled palaces. The Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara, carrying a vajra-seat, together with the Bodhisattva Mahasthamaprapta, approaches the aspirant. Amitayus releases a great flood of light which illuminates the aspirant's body and, along with the bodhisattvas, extends his hands in welcome. Avalokiteshvara and Mahasthamaprapta, together with innumerable bodhisattvas, praise and encourage the aspirant. Seeing this, the aspirant rejoices so greatly as to dance. Then he sees himself sitting on the vajra-seat, and following the Buddha, is born into that land in the time it takes to snap one's fingers."
(Contemplation Sutra, tr. H. Inagaki)
1 Myriad dharmas are only mind.
Mind is unobtainable.
What is there to seek?

2 If the Buddha-Nature is seen,
there will be no seeing of a nature in any thing.

3 Neither cultivation nor seated meditation —
this is the pure Chan of Tathagata.

4 With sudden enlightenment to Tathagata Chan,
the six paramitas and myriad means
are complete within that essence.


1 Huangbo, T2012Ap381c1 2 Nirvana Sutra, T374p521b3; tr. Yamamoto 3 Mazu, X1321p3b23; tr. J. Jia 4 Yongjia, T2014p395c14; tr. from "The Sword of Wisdom"

plwk
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Re: Images of descending Amida

Postby plwk » Mon Sep 12, 2011 3:57 pm

What I am wondering is whether this image is based on a specific sutra passage?

The image is based on the Primal Vow of Amitabha Buddha. Consider this excerpt....(Vow #18)
http://www.ymba.org/BWF/bwf83.htm
In the realm of the ten directions, there are innumerable beautifully and purely adorned Buddha lands, such as the Pure Lapis Lazuli Land mentioned in the Medicine (Healing) Buddha Sutra, or the Land of Many Fragrances and Sublime Joy found in the Vimalakirti Sutra. This being so, why should we restrict ourselves to seeking rebirth in the Western Pure Land? There are basically three reasons, namely:
2. Because Amitabha Buddha has adorned the Western Pure Land with Forty-Eight lofty Vows. These Vows [particularly the Eighteenth Vow of "welcoming and escorting"] embrace all sentient beings, from Bodhisattvas to common beings full of evil transgressions.

The Primal Vow of Amitabha Buddha...
http://web.mit.edu/stclair/www/larger.html
"O Bhagavat, if, when I attain Buddhahood, sentient beings in the Lands of the Ten Quarters who sincerely and joyfully entrust themselves to Me, desire to be born in My Land, and call My Name, even ten times, should not be born there, may I not attain Perfect Enlightenment.
Excluded, however, are those who commit the Five Gravest Offenses and abuse the Right Dharma.

And others...
http://buddhistfaith.tripod.com/purelan ... s/id2.html
If, when I attain Buddhahood, sentient beings in the Lands of the Ten Quarters, who awaken aspiration for Enlightenment, do various meritorious deeds and sincerely desire to be born in My Land, should not, at their death, see Me appear before them surrounded by a multitude of Sages, may I not attain Perfect Enlightenment.
http://www.drba.org/dharma/amitabhasutra.asp
Shariputra, if there is a good man or good woman who hears of Amitabha and holds his name whether for one day, two days, three, four, five days, six days, as long as seven days with one mind unconfused, when this person nears the end of life, before him will appear Amitabha and all the Assembly of Holy Ones.

wishing
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Re: Images of descending Amida

Postby wishing » Tue Sep 13, 2011 11:31 pm

That's fantastic, thank you. :)

南無阿弥陀仏

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sinweiy
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Re: Images of descending Amida

Postby sinweiy » Sun Oct 09, 2011 2:09 am

noted from Master Chin Kung that to a good cultivator, one do not die here and go there. we go there while we are ALIVE (when Amitabha and all come and get us), then the body dies. not so much the other way around, that we die first before we go there.

/\
_/\_
Amituofo!

"Enlightenment is to turn around and see MY own mistake, Other's mistake is also my mistake. Others are right even if they are wrong. i'm wrong even if i'm right. " - Master Chin Kung

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rory
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Re: Images of descending Amida

Postby rory » Fri Oct 14, 2011 5:11 am

Gassho & welcome wishing;
people in this forum are extremely kind & helpful, I've known many of them for years from e-sangha; so please ask anything, No worries; we're here to help one another along the pure land path!
rory
Namu Kanzeon Bosatsu
Chih-I:
The Tai-ching states "the women in the realms of Mara, Sakra and Brahma all neither abandoned ( their old) bodies nor received (new) bodies. They all received buddhahood with their current bodies (genshin)" Thus these verses state that the dharma nature is like a great ocean. No right or wrong is preached (within it) Ordinary people and sages are equal, without superiority or inferiority
Paul, Groner "The Lotus Sutra in Japanese Culture"eds. Tanabe p. 58


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