Thursday, January 9, 2020

Commentary on the Sutra on the Buddha of Infinite Life (Larger Sutra) - free online edition

temporary cover until I find a professional
to make me a better one
last revised version uploaded on January 9, 2020 

First of all, it must be clearly understood that this is not an academic, secular or historical study, but a religious commentary. Its goal is to explain in easy to understand terms the deep meaning of the Larger Sutra[1] so that people can receive faith in Amida Buddha and be born in His Pure Land after death. I, the author of this commentary, accept in faith the contents of the sutra and consider that it describes real events, a real, existing Buddha called Amida[2] and a real Enlightened place called the Pure Land. My heart’s desire is that readers will come to share the same view so that true faith and aspiration arise in them.
There are many ways to read the Larger Sutra and various layers of interpretation, which is why different types of practitioners benefit from it - those who choose to focus on Amida Buddha but still cling to their self-power like followers of the 19th and 20th Vows, as well as followers of the Primal Vow (18th) who rely exclusively on Amida’s power.

However, because Jodo Shinshu is the school of the Primal Vow, this commentary and explanation is written from the perspective of the Primal Vow and the complete reliance on the Power of Amida Buddha.

As I am an unenlightened being with many limitations my commentary cannot be perfect. Only a Buddha is able to perfectly teach His own teaching. However, because no Buddha is now here in human form, I tried my best, while invoking Amida’s help and blessings, to explain it to my fellow travelers on the Nembutsu Path. I did this especially because there are a lot of misunderstandings regarding the sutra among Jodo Shinshu practitioners and many people find obstacles and so-called contradictions when reading it without prior guidance. This is why members and followers of Amidaji temple should look to this commentary as their guide in reading and studying the Larger Sutra.

In my commentary, I used mostly the English translation of Rev Hisao Inagaki[3] and sometimes the one by Hongwanji International Centre[4].

I am very grateful to my Dharma friend, Gansen John Welch from Australia for the proofreading of the English manuscript.


The free online edition (515 pages):
According to one of my religious vows, I always provide a free online edition (pdf) of anything I write, so I invite you to download this book from the following links:

If you have difficulties in downloading it, please write to me at, and I will send you a copy myself.

Please consider a donation to support me and my Dharma activities. Any little help is useful and very much needed. I hope that I will soon be able to provide a printed version with the funds I might be able to raise.

Namo Amida Bu


When I was working on this book I added a chapter each time I finished it, so you can still read them bellow. However, they are not proofread, so I recommend you to download the entire book from the links above.

. Thus I have heard - the time and place of the deliverance of the Larger Sutra - commentary on section 1

The qualities of Bodhisattvas in the audience - commentary on section 2

Shakyamuni Buddha's supreme appearance and the reason for His coming to this world - commentary on section 3

The story of Dharmakara becoming Amida Buddha - commentary on sections 4 to 10

The 48 Vows - commentary on section 7 

The twelve Lights of Amida Buddha - commentary on section 11   (part one)

To encounter or see Amida's Light - commentary on section 11 (part two)

The meaning of praising or glorifying Amida's Light - commentary on section 11 (part three) 

The lifespan of Amida Buddha and the enlightened beings in His Pure Land - commentary on section 12

The first teaching assembly of Amida Buddha - commentary on section 13th 

The Nirvanic features of the Pure Land and its inhabitants - commentary on sections 14-21 
(part 1)

The Nirvanic features of the Pure Land and its inhabitants - commentary on sections 14-21 
(part 2)

Assurance of attaining Nirvana in the Pure Land through faith and the praising of Amida's merits by all Buddhas - commentary on section 22 

The three grades of aspirants to birth in the Pure Land - commentary on sections 23 - 25

Visit of Bodhisattvas from other worlds to Sukhavati and prediction for attaining Buddhahood for them and all beings - commentary on sections 26-27  

Favorable conditions for accepting the Larger Sutra in faith - commentary on verses 21-30 from section 27

Listening to the Dharma in the presence of Amida and attaining perfect Enlightenment - commentary on section 29th

Virtues and activities of the Enlightened Bodhisattvas of the Pure Land - commentary on sections 28 and 30

The karmic situation of beings who have no aspiration for Enlightenment and Shakyamuni's encouragement to do good and wish to be born in the Pure Land ( sections 31 - 40, PART I)

The karmic situation of beings who have no aspiration for Enlightenment and Shakyamuni's encouragement to do good and wish to be born in the Pure Land (sections 31 - 40, PART II)

The testimony of Ananda and the audience gathered on  Vulture Peak to the existence of Amida Buddha and His Pure Land - commentary on sections 41 and 42 

The difference between those born in the Pure Land in embryonic form and those born by transformation - commentary on sections 43rd, 44th and 45th

Non-retrogressive Mahayana followers (bodhisattvas in aspiration) who will be born in the Pure Land of Amida - commentary on section 46

Faith as the cause of entering the stage of non-retrogression - commentary on section 47

Various benefits gained by the audience- commentary on section 48

[1] Sutra on the Buddha of Infinite Life delivered by Shakyamuni Buddha ( Larger Sukhavativyuha Sutra  in Skt./Bussetsu Muryōju Kyo in Jpn.); it is often called Larger Sutra. This sutra was translated into Chinese during the Ts’ao-Wei dynasty (252 C.E.), by Tripitaka Master Samghavarman (Kosogai in Jpn.) It’s the most important sutra of the Jodo Shinshu school. The other two sutras we use in our school are:
1) Sutra on Visualisation of the Buddha of Infinite Life (Amitayurdhyana Sutra in Skt./Bussetsu Kanmuryoju Kyo in Jpn.). It is often called Contemplation Sutra. This sutra was translated into Chinese during the Liu-Sung dynasty (424-442 C.E.) by the Tripitaka Master Kalayasas (Kyoryoyasha)
2) Sutra on the Amitayus Buddha (Smaller Sukhavativyuha Sutra in Skt./Bussetsu Amida Kyo in Jpn.); it is often called Smaller Sutra or Amidakyo. This sutra was translated  into Chinese during the Yao-Ch’in dynasty (402 C.E.), by the Tripitaka Master Kumarajiva (Kumaraju in Jpn).
[2] Amida is the Japanese reading for Amitayus (Buddha of Infinite Life) and Amitabha (Buddha of Infinite Light).
[3] The Three Pure Land Sutras - A Study and Translation from Chinese by Hisao Inagaki in collaboration with Harold Stewart, Bukkyo Dendo Kyokai and Numata Center for Buddhist Translation and Research, Kyoto, 2003
[4] The Three Pure Land Sutras, volume II, The Sutra on the Buddha of Immeasurable Life, Shin Buddhism Translation Series, Jodo Shinshu Hongwanji-ha, Kyoto, Japan, 2009 Rev Hisao Inagaki was also member of the translation comitee who did the Hongwanji edition.

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