Saturday, September 28, 2019

Vows explaining the characteristics, the capacities and activities of beings who attained Enlightenment in the Pure Land after being born there


 As I previously explained, beings born in the Pure Land are sometimes called “humans and devas (gods) in my land “, which doesn’t mean that in the Pure Land there are the six unenlightened realms of existence, namely the hells, hungry spirits, animals, humans, demigods (asuras) and gods. Shakyamuni himself explained in section 17 of this sutra that when the expression “humans and devas” in the Pure Land appears in this sacred discourse it is only in relation with the states of existence prior to their birth in the Pure Land:

“They are all of one form, without any differences, but are called 'heavenly beings' (devas) and 'humans' simply by analogy with the states of existence in other worlds. They are of noble and majestic countenance, unequaled in all the worlds, and their appearance is superb, unmatched by any being, heavenly or human. They are all endowed with bodies of Naturalness, Emptiness, and Infinity."[1]

To have the body of Naturalness, Emptiness and Infinity means that these people born in the Pure Land of Amida through the gate of the Primal Vow actually attained Buddhahood or supreme Enlightenment (Nirvana), as promised in the second part of the 11th Vow.

That the Pure Land is an enlightened realm outside birth and death is also shown in the 1st Vow of Amida Buddha:

“If, when I attain Buddhahood, there should be in my land a hell, a realm of hungry spirits or a realm of animals, may I not attain perfect Enlightenment.”[2]

The passages showing the fulfillment of the 1st Vow are mentioned in section 10:

“In that land there is no hell; neither are there realms of hungry ghosts or animals nor other adverse conditions.”[3]

and section 16:
“Not even the names of the three realms of suffering are heard there, but only Nirvanic sounds of bliss. For this reason that land is called ‘Peace and Bliss’”.[4]


In the following vows the characteristics of beings born in the Pure Land are thoroughly explained:

The 2nd Vow:
If, when I attain Buddhahood, humans and devas in my land should after death fall again into the three evil realms, may I not attain perfect Enlightenment.”[5]

There is no retrogression, no falling again in the realms of samsara for those born after death in the Pure Land of Amida. They are forever safe and forever outside birth and death. The three evil realms (hells, hungry spirits and animals) are especially emphasized in this vow because people are normally very much afraid of being born there. So, they are encouraged to take refuge in Amida and wish to be born in His land in order to escape the danger of repeating the bad experiences of samsara.

The passage showing the fulfillment of the 2nd vow is in section 28:

“Those bodhisattvas will not be subject to rebirth in evil realms before they become Buddhas”.[6]

The 3rd Vow:
If, when I attain Buddhahood, humans and devas in my land should not all be the color of pure gold, may I not attain perfect Enlightenment.”[7]
 
This is in close connection with the 4th Vow:
If, when I attain Buddhahood, humans and devas in my land should not all be of one appearance, and should there be any difference in beauty, may I not attain perfect Enlightenment.”[8]

Unenlightened beings in samsara have various forms and shapes, color and beauty. They differ greatly from one another and this is due to the different types of karma they inherit from past lives. But once they are born in the Pure Land and become Buddhas they are liberated from the shackles of karma and go beyond form, color and any differences. This is what is meant by “all be of one appearance”. To be of the color of pure gold means to have transcendent bodies of the qualities of Enlightenment.

Also, the 21st Vow is another proof that those born in the Pure Land attained Buddhahood:

“If, when I attain Buddhahood, humans and devas in my land should not all be endowed with the thirty-two physical characteristics of a Great Man, may I not attain perfect Enlightenment.”[9]

A “Great Man” is an Enlightened Person, a Buddha. Whenever they manifest in the samsaric universes to do various Dharma activities like Shakyamuni, their bodies of Accommodation or Transformation (Nirmanakayas) will always have the thirty-two physical characteristics[10].

The passage showing the fulfillment of the 21st vow is in section 28:

“Ananda, the sentient beings born there all fully posses the thirty-two physical characteristics of a Great Man as well as perfect wisdom, with which they penetrate deeply into the nature of all dharmas (phenomena) [11] and reach their subtle essence. Their supernatural powers know no obstruction and their physical senses are sharp and clear”.[12]

The 5th Vow:
If, when I attain Buddhahood, humans and devas in my land should not remember all their former lives, not knowing at least the events that occurred during the previous hundred thousand kotis of nayutas of kalpas, may I not attain perfect Enlightenment.”[13]

This is one of the main characteristics of someone who attained freedom from birth and death, thus becoming a Buddha, that he is able to know his previous lives when he was still unenlightened. Other qualities will be presented in the following vows. Again, the numerical expression “hundred thousand kotis of nayutas of kalpas” stands for infinite, so I will not explain it again with each vow.

The passage showing the fulfillment of the 5th Vow is in section 28 of the sutra:

“They can freely exercise supernatural powers and always remember their previous lives”.[14]

The 6th Vow:
If, when I attain Buddhahood, humans and devas in my land should not possess the divine eye of seeing at least a hundred thousand kotis of nayutas of Buddha-lands, may I not attain perfect Enlightenment.”[15]

To see everything as we wish, and especially to see our former relatives and places they are born in the six realms and the forms they take in their new lives will be very useful in helping them.

This, together with the faculty of knowing the thoughts of all living beings, which is promised in the 8th Vow, will make us be aware of the mental states they have and know how to deal with them:

If, when I attain Buddhahood, humans and devas in my land should not possess the faculty of knowing the thoughts of others, at least those of all sentient beings living in a hundred thousand kotis of nayutas of Buddha-lands, may I not attain perfect Enlightenment.”[16]

Traveling anywhere in an instant according to one’s wishes means we can always be together with any being we want to help, as promised in the 9th Vow:

If, when I attain Buddhahood, humans and devas in my land should not possess the supernatural power of travelling anywhere in one instant, even beyond a hundred thousand kotis of nayutas of Buddha-lands, may I not attain perfect Enlightenment.”[17]

Also, because we are able to travel anywhere we can go even to other Buddha Lands, hear the teachings of Buddhas dwelling there and pay homage to them. But even without leaving the Pure Land we can hear with the “divine ear” the teachings of all Buddhas as promised in the 7th Vow:

“If, when I attain Buddhahood, humans and devas in my land should not possess the divine ear of hearing  the teachings of at least a hundred thousand kotis of nayutas of Buddhas and should not remember all of them, may I not attain perfect Enlightenment.”[18]


We will not only hear but also remember everything we heard from their teachings which is wonderful when we think that in the state we are now we can hardly remember even small things, not to mention the most important teachings.

Also, in the 10th Vow it is said:
“If, when I attain Buddhahood, humans and devas in my land should give rise to thoughts of self-attachment, may I not attain perfect Enlightenment.”[19]

To be free of self-attachment is to go beyond limited visions of “I and others”, to perceive all beings with equanimity and non-discrimination. This is the same with having understood the emptiness of all phenomena. In section 30 of the sutra it is said:

“Whether going or coming, proceeding or remaining, their hearts are unattached, their acts are in accordance with their will and are unrestricted, and they have no thought of discrimination. In them there is no idea of self or others, no idea of compensation or dispute. With the heart of great Compassion to benefit all living beings and with tenderness and self-control, they bear no enmity or grudge against anyone[…]They are like the great earth, because they have no discriminative thoughts, such as pure or impure, beautiful or ugly. […] They are like the sky, because they have no attachments. […] They are like a flock of playful birds, because they do not store things. [….] They are like the vas sky, because their great Compassion reaches everywhere without discrimination. They have destroyed envy by not being jealous of the superiority of others. […] Thus they become lamps to the world and fields of supreme merit; they always become teachers and harbor no thought of discrimination, aversion or attachment”.[20]

As it is promised in the 16th Vow, no wrongdoing can be found in the beings born in the Pure Land:

“If, when I attain Buddhahood, humans and devas in my land should even hear of any wrongdoing, may I not attain perfect Enlightenment.”[21]

This Vow does not imply that those born there do not know that suffering exists in samsara or that they don’t do anything to stop it, but in themselves, as Enlightened beings, no wrongdoing, blindness or suffering can be found. They can help others because they are forever free from all internal and external obstacles.

Because they have no attachments, no ignorance and no blind passions, perfect happiness is the natural condition of those born in the Pure Land, as it is promised in the 39th Vow:

“If, when I attain Buddhahood, humans and devas in my land should not enjoy happiness and pleasure comparable to those of a monk who has exhausted all the passions, may I not attain perfect Enlightenment.”[22]

Even the dressing garments that are promised (in the 38th Vow) to cover the transcendental bodies of the Enlightened persons in the Pure Land are not worldly clothes, but religious and Dharmic adornments, themselves a manifestation of pure karmic merits:

“If, when I attain Buddhahood, humans and devas in my land should not obtain clothing, as soon as such a desire arises in their minds, and if the fine robes as prescribed and praised by the Buddhas should not be spontaneously provided for them to wear, and if these clothes should need sewing, bleaching, dyeing or washing, may I not attain perfect Enlightenment.”[23] (the 38th Vow)

However, no matter what words, names and other means accessible to us we use to describe the inhabitants of the Pure Land and the manifestations associated with them, we cannot really succeed in understanding them at the level we are now as unenlightened beings, because, as the 27th Vow says, they are beyond description and are situated beyond our experience and even beyond the experience of gods.

“If, when I attain Buddhahood, sentient beings should be able, even with the divine eye, to distinguish by name and calculate by number all the myriads of manifestations provided for the humans and devas in my land, which will be glorious and resplendent and have exquisite details beyond description, may I not attain perfect Enlightenment.”[24] (the 27th Vow)

Next, the 15th Vow explains another very important point:
“If, when I attain Buddhahood, humans and devas in my land should have limited life-spans, except when they wish to shorten them in accordance with their original vows, may I not attain perfect Enlightenment”.[25]

The passage showing the fulfillment of the 15th Vow is in section 12 of this sutra:

“So it is with the lifespan of sravakas, bodhisattvas, heavenly beings, and human beings in His Land. It is not to be encompassed by any means of reckoning or by any metaphorical expression”.[26]

Those born in the Pure Land are beyond death, so their Sambhogakaya (transcendent) bodies have unlimited life span. However, they can send many of their transformation bodies (nirmanakayas) who have a beginning and an end when they wish to terminate them, for various missions in the samsaric worlds. So, the expression “shorten their lives” is actually referring to the fact that they are not in the Pure Land for fun, but constantly work for the salvation of beings everywhere. Because they are enlightened, they can be in three places in the same time: 1) in Dharmakaya beyond form (Buddha-nature), 2) in the Pure Land in Sambhogakaya form and 3) in various places of samsara through multiple Nirmanakayas (transformantion/accommodation bodies) to benefit all beings.

The expression in accordance with their original vows” also appears in the 22nd Vow: “those who wish to teach and guide sentient beings in accordance with their original vows”. This is a very important aspect that must be taken into consideration when discussing the state of beings born in the Pure Land through the gate of the Primal Vow. As I already explained in the chapter dedicated to the 22nd Vow, the “original vows” are in fact, the four main Bodhisattva vows and the vows of Samantabhadra – the guideline of an endless career of saving others after attaining Buddhahood in the Pure Land. This proves that the terms “humans and devas in my land” and “bodhisattvas in my land” are referring to the same type of beings – all those who are born in the Pure Land through the gate of the Primal Vow (the gate of simple faith in Amida) and who, after attaining Buddhahood there, return to samsara as Enlightened Bodhisattvas to save all beings.

There is also another term which describes those born in the Pure Land through the gate of the Primal Vow – “sravakas in my land” and it appears in the 14th Vow:

“If, when I attain Buddhahood, the number of the sravakas in my land could be known, even if all the beings and pratiekabuddhas[27] living in this universe of a thousand million worlds should count them during a hundred thousand kalpas, may I not attain perfect Enlightenment”. [28]

Usually “sravaka” is used in the Hinayana sense of a person who seeks to realize Nirvana for himself alone, but in this vow as well as in other parts of this sutra, it preserves its original meaning of “disciple” and “hearer”. So, it is promised that all beings born in the Pure Land are the personal disciples (sravaka) of Amida Buddha. Their number is infinite because they come to be born in the Pure Land from all the corners of the universe and will continue to do so in the infinite future. So again, there is no difference between “humans and devas in my land”, “bodhisattvas in my land” and “sravakas in my land”. These words refer to the same thing – us after we are born in the Pure Land through the Primal Vow and attain Enlightenment there.

The passages showing the fulfilment of the 14th Vow are located in sections 12 and 13:

“Again, the number of sravakas and Bodhisattvas living there is incalculable.”[29]

“The number of Sravakas at the first teaching assembly of that Buddha was incalculable; so was the number of Bodhisattvas. Even if an immeasurable and countless number of humans multiplied by millions of koṭis should all become like Mahamaudgalyayana and together reckon their number during innumerable nayutas of kalpas, or even until they attain Nirvana, they still could not know that number. Let us suppose that there is a great ocean, infinitely deep and wide, and that one takes a drop of water out of it with a one-hundredth part of a split hair. How would you compare that drop of water with the rest of the ocean?”[30]

*

In my next explanations I will concentrate on the vows which mention the words “bodhisattvas in my land”. These vows are also an elaboration of various aspects already promised in the 22nd Vow. Thus, in the 23rd Vow and the 24th, it is promised again, that beings who attain Buddhahood in the Pure Land of Amida, and will forever manifest themselves as Bodhisattvas, can go everywhere in the ten direction of the universe to make offerings to all Buddhas, praise them and worship them, out of gratitude for having been guided by them when they were unenlightened, as all Buddhas work to help beings to entrust to Amida and be born in His Pure Land.[31]:

“If, when I attain Buddhahood, bodhisattvas in my land who would make offerings to Buddhas through my divine power, should not be able to reach immeasurable and innumerable kotis of nayutas of Buddha-lands in as short a time as it takes to eat a meal, may I not attain perfect Enlightenment.”[32] (23rd Vow)

The passage showing the fulfillment of the 23rd Vow is in section 28:

“By the Buddha’s power, Bodhisattvas of that land go to innumerable worlds of the ten directions, in as short a time as it takes to eat a meal, in order to pay homage and make offerings to the Buddhas and World Honored Ones.”[33]

The 24th Vow promises:

“If, when I attain Buddhahood, bodhisattvas in my land should not be able, as they wish, to perform meritorious acts of worshipping the Buddhas with the offerings of their choice, may I not attain perfect Enlightenment.[34]

The passage showing the fulfillment of the 24th Vow is also in the section 28:

“If those Bodhisattvas so wish, countless and innumerable offerings, such as flowers, incense, music, silken canopies, and banners, spontaneously appear before them as soon as they are imagined. They are, accordingly, offered to the assemblies of Buddhas, Bodhisattvas and Sravakas[35]”.[36]

This is because the Enlightened Bodhisattvas of the Pure Land can see, clearly like looking into a mirror, all the Buddha lands of the ten directions, as promised in the 40th Vow:

“If, when I attain Buddhahood, the bodhisattvas in my land who wish to see the immeasurable glorious Buddha-lands of the ten directions, should not be able to view all of them reflected in the jeweled trees, just as one sees one's face reflected in a clear mirror, may I not attain perfect Enlightenment.”[37]

In the 25th Vow, 29th,  and the 30th Vow, it is promised that the Enlightened Bodhisattvas of the Pure Land will have unsurpassed and unlimited wisdom for instructing beings everywhere in accordance with their capacities:

“If, when I attain Buddhahood, bodhisattvas in my land should not be able to expound the Dharma with the all-knowing wisdom, may I not attain perfect Enlightenment.”[38]
(25th Vow)

“If, when I attain Buddhahood, bodhisattvas in my land should not acquire eloquence and wisdom in upholding sutras and reciting and expounding them, may I not attain perfect Enlightenment.”[39] (29th Vow)

“If, when I attain Buddhahood, the wisdom and eloquence of bodhisattvas in my land should be limited, may I not attain perfect Enlightenment. [40]
(30th Vow)

The passage showing the fulfilment of the 30th Vow is in section 30 of this sutra:

“Although they observe with the eye of equality that the three worlds are empty and non-existent, they strive to learn the Buddha Dharma and acquire varied eloquence to rid living beings of affliction caused by the evil passions”.[41]

This aspect is also contained in the 22nd Vow where it is said that those born in the Pure Land will “enlighten uncountable sentient beings as numerous as the sands of the River Ganges, and establish them in the highest, perfect Enlightenment”.

They can also hear and learn spontaneously any type of teaching they wish, as promised in the 46th Vow:

“If, when I attain Buddhahood, bodhisattvas in my land should not be able to hear spontaneously whatever teachings they may wish, may I not attain perfect Enlightenment.”[42]

These Enlightened Bodhisattvas, that means us after being born in the Pure Land of Amida, are able to engage in saving and guiding sentient beings because they have manifestations (“bodies”) like the Vajra-god Narayana:
Vajrapani

“If, when I attain Buddhahood, there should be any bodhisattva in my land not endowed with the body of the Vajra-god Narayana, may I not attain perfect Enlightenment.”[43]
(26th Vow)

Vajra-god[44] Narayana is, in fact, Vajrapani (from Sanskrit vajra, "thunderbolt" or "diamond" and pani, lit. "in the hand")[45], one of the most important Enlightened Bodhisattvas of Mahayana pantheon and often associated with Esoteric Buddhism. He is the protector of Buddha Dharma, and represents the Power of all Buddhas. In Pure Land Buddhism we associate Him with Bodhisattva Mahasthamaprapta, one of the two companions of Amida Buddha.  They actually represent two aspects of the same Enlightened Being - Mahasthamaprapta is the peaceful form and Vajrapani is the fierce form. Just as Samantabhadra Bodhisattva (mentioned in the 22nd Vow) represents the endless saving activity of all Buddhas, Vajrapani as the fierce aspect of Mahasthamaprapta, represents the immense and all-surpassing Power of the Buddhas[46]. How wonderful it is that after we are born in the Pure Land we will be exactly like these two great Enlightened Bodhisattvas! Just like Samantabhadra we will always be active in samsara, and like Vajrapani we will be all-powerful!

And because Vajrapani is a protector of the Dharma, we too, will forever protect it and destroy wrong understandings. In the esoteric Buddhist iconography, Vajrapani is often depicted as a wrathful warrior[47] with His outstretched right hand brandishing a vajra and His left hand holding a lasso to bind demons. In some depictions, He wears a skull crown with His hair standing on end while in others He wears a five-pointed Bodhisattva crown to depict the power of the five major Buddhas (Vairocana, Akyobhya, Amida, Ratnasambhava, Amogasiddhi) and He has a third eye.

At the end of this chapter, I wish to explain the special case of the 28th Vow in which there is a strange usage of the term bodhisattvas in my land” who have “little store of merit”:

“If, when I attain Buddhahood, bodhisattvas in my land, even those with little store of merit, should not be able to see the Bodhi-tree which has immeasurable light in countless colors and is four million li in height, may I not attain perfect Enlightenment.”[48]

This Vow refers to the previous states of existence of actual Enlightened Bodhisattvas from the Pure Land, when they were unenlightened bodhisattvas in aspiration, living in other realms. Although they were bodhisattvas of little personal merit, that is, not so much advanced on the Path, upon birth in the Pure Land and their attainment of Buddhahood, they also became able to see the Bodhi-tree of Amida Buddha. “Little store of merit” refers to their previous existence and “bodhisattvas in my land” refer to their actual state of Enlightened Bodhisattvas in the Pure Land.

The passage showing the fulfilment of this vow is in section 15:

“The Bodhi tree of Buddha Amitayus is four million li in height and five thousand yojanas in circumference at its base. Its branches spread two hundred thousand li in each of the four directions. It is a natural cluster of all kinds of precious stones and is adorned with the kings of jewels, namely, moonbright maṇi-gems and ocean-supporting wheel gems. Everywhere between its twigs hang jeweled ornaments with a thousand million different colors intermingling in various ways, and their innumerable beams shine with the utmost brilliance. The Bodhi tree itself is covered with nets of rare, excellent gems, and on it appear all kinds of ornaments in accordance with one’s wishes.”[49]






[1] The Three Pure Land Sutras, translated into English by Hisao Inagaki in collaboration with Harold Stewart, revised second edition, BDK English Tripitaka12-II, II, IV, Numata Center for Buddhist translation and Research, 2003, p.31
Shinran himself made reference to that passage in the Larger Sutra, in his work Passages on the Pure Land Way [REALIZATION]:
“Further the sutra states:
The words "human beings" and "devas" are used simply in accordance with the usage elsewhere. Their countenances are dignified and wonderful, surpassing things of this world. Their features, subtle and delicate, are not those of human beings or devas; all receive the body of naturalness  or of emptiness, the body of boundlessness.”
[2] The Three Pure Land sutras, translated into English by Hisao Inagaki in collaboration with Harold Stewart, revised second edition, BDK English Tripitaka12-II, II, IV, Numata Center for Buddhist translation and Research, 2003, p.14
[3]The Three Pure Land sutras, translated into English by Hisao Inagaki in collaboration with Harold Stewart, revised second edition, BDK English Tripitaka12-II, II, IV, Numata Center for Buddhist translation and Research, 2003, p.24
[4] The Three Pure Land sutras, translated into English by Hisao Inagaki in collaboration with Harold Stewart, revised second edition, BDK English Tripitaka12-II, II, IV, Numata Center for Buddhist translation and Research, 2003, p.30
[5] The Three Pure Land sutras, translated into English by Hisao Inagaki in collaboration with Harold Stewart, revised second edition, BDK English Tripitaka12-II, II, IV, Numata Center for Buddhist translation and Research, 2003, p.14
[6] The Three Pure Land sutras, translated into English by Hisao Inagaki in collaboration with Harold Stewart, revised second edition, BDK English Tripitaka12-II, II, IV, Numata Center for Buddhist translation and Research, 2003, p.42
[7] The Three Pure Land sutras, translated into English by Hisao Inagaki in collaboration with Harold Stewart, revised second edition, BDK English Tripitaka12-II, II, IV, Numata Center for Buddhist translation and Research, 2003, p.14
[8] The Three Pure Land sutras, translated into English by Hisao Inagaki in collaboration with Harold Stewart, revised second edition, BDK English Tripitaka12-II, II, IV, Numata Center for Buddhist translation and Research, 2003, p.14
[9] The Three Pure Land sutras, translated into English by Hisao Inagaki in collaboration with Harold Stewart, revised second edition, BDK English Tripitaka12-II, II, IV, Numata Center for Buddhist translation and Research, 2003, p.16
[10] The 32 marks of physical excellence of a Buddha. They are: 1) protuberance on the head, 2) hair of the head is blue-black and curling from left to right, 3) even and broad forehead, 4) white tuft of hair between the eyebrows, 5) blue eyes, 6) forty teeth, 7) even and orderly teeth, 8) teeth close together, 9) white teeth, 10) ability of tasting any food as the best, 11) jaw like a lion’s, 12) long and thin tongue, 13) voice like Brahma’s, 14) well-framed shoulders, 15) seven prominent parts (i.e both hands, both feet, both shoulders, and the back), 16) both shoulders well filled out, 17) fine, golden skin, 18) arms reaching the knees when standing upright, 19) majestic upper part of the body like a lion’s, 20) body like a Nyagrodha tree in circumference, 21) a hair growing from each pore, 22) hair growing upwards and its point bending towards the right, 23) male organ hidden in the foreskin, 24) well-rounded thighs, 25) unprotuberant ankle-bone, 26) soft and tender hands and feet, 27) hands and feet with webs between fingers and toes, 28) long fingers, 29) soles bearing the mark of a thousand-spoked wheel, 30) both feet standing firm, 31) long and broad heels, and 32) calves like the shanks of the king of black antelopes.
The Three Pure Land Sutras, A Study and Translation from Chinese by Hisao Inagaki in collaboration with Harold Stewart, Nagata Bunshodo, Kyoto, 1995, p. 418-419
[11] When dharma appear with small “d” it refers to phenomena. When it appears with capital “D” it refers to the teaching of the Buddha.
[12] The Three Pure Land sutras, translated into English by Hisao Inagaki in collaboration with Harold Stewart, revised second edition, BDK English Tripitaka12-II, II, IV, Numata Center for Buddhist translation and Research, 2003, p.41-42
[13] The Three Pure Land sutras, translated into English by Hisao Inagaki in collaboration with Harold Stewart, revised second edition, BDK English Tripitaka12-II, II, IV, Numata Center for Buddhist translation and Research, 2003, p.14
[14] The Three Pure Land sutras, translated into English by Hisao Inagaki in collaboration with Harold Stewart, revised second edition, BDK English Tripitaka12-II, II, IV, Numata Center for Buddhist translation and Research, 2003, p.42
[15] The Three Pure Land sutras, translated into English by Hisao Inagaki in collaboration with Harold Stewart, revised second edition, BDK English Tripitaka12-II, II, IV, Numata Center for Buddhist translation and Research, 2003, p.14
[16] The Three Pure Land sutras, translated into English by Hisao Inagaki in collaboration with Harold Stewart, revised second edition, BDK English Tripitaka12-II, II, IV, Numata Center for Buddhist translation and Research, 2003, p.15
[17] The Three Pure Land sutras, translated into English by Hisao Inagaki in collaboration with Harold Stewart, revised second edition, BDK English Tripitaka12-II, II, IV, Numata Center for Buddhist translation and Research, 2003, p.15
[18] The Three Pure Land sutras, translated into English by Hisao Inagaki in collaboration with Harold Stewart, revised second edition, BDK English Tripitaka12-II, II, IV, Numata Center for Buddhist translation and Research, 2003, p.14
[19] The Three Pure Land sutras, translated into English by Hisao Inagaki in collaboration with Harold Stewart, revised second edition, BDK English Tripitaka12-II, II, IV, Numata Center for Buddhist translation and Research, 2003, p.15
[20] The Three Pure Land sutras, translated into English by Hisao Inagaki in collaboration with Harold Stewart, revised second edition, BDK English Tripitaka12-II, II, IV, Numata Center for Buddhist translation and Research, 2003, p.43-45
[21] The Three Pure Land sutras, translated into English by Hisao Inagaki in collaboration with Harold Stewart, revised second edition, BDK English Tripitaka12-II, II, IV, Numata Center for Buddhist translation and Research, 2003, p.15
[22] The Three Pure Land sutras, translated into English by Hisao Inagaki in collaboration with Harold Stewart, revised second edition, BDK English Tripitaka12-II, II, IV, Numata Center for Buddhist translation and Research, 2003, p.19
[23] The Three Pure Land sutras, translated into English by Hisao Inagaki in collaboration with Harold Stewart, revised second edition, BDK English Tripitaka12-II, II, IV, Numata Center for Buddhist translation and Research, 2003, p.18-19
[24] The Three Pure Land sutras, translated into English by Hisao Inagaki in collaboration with Harold Stewart, revised second edition, BDK English Tripitaka12-II, II, IV, Numata Center for Buddhist translation and Research, 2003, p.17
[25] The Three Pure Land sutras, translated into English by Hisao Inagaki in collaboration with Harold Stewart, revised second edition, BDK English Tripitaka12-II, II, IV, Numata Center for Buddhist translation and Research, 2003, p.15
[26] The Three Pure Land sutras, translated into English by Hisao Inagaki in collaboration with Harold Stewart, revised second edition, BDK English Tripitaka12-II, II, IV, Numata Center for Buddhist translation and Research, 2003, p.26
[27] Pratyekabuddha (“solitary Enlightened One”): A Hinayana (lower /small vehicle) sage, the Pratyekabuddha attains freedom from birth and death without the guidance of a teacher. He also does not teach others. It is considered bellow the Buddha of Mahayana.
[28] The Three Pure Land sutras, translated into English by Hisao Inagaki in collaboration with Harold Stewart, revised second edition, BDK English Tripitaka12-II, II, IV, Numata Center for Buddhist translation and Research, 2003, p.15
[29] The Three Pure Land sutras, translated into English by Hisao Inagaki in collaboration with Harold Stewart, revised second edition, BDK English Tripitaka12-II, II, IV, Numata Center for Buddhist translation and Research, 2003, p.26
[30] The Three Pure Land sutras, translated into English by Hisao Inagaki in collaboration with Harold Stewart, revised second edition, BDK English Tripitaka12-II, II, IV, Numata Center for Buddhist translation and Research, 2003, p.26
[31] In the 22nd Vow it is also promised that Bodhisattvas in the Pure Land will make offerings to Buddha Tathagatas, throughout the ten directions”. 
[32] The Three Pure Land sutras, translated into English by Hisao Inagaki in collaboration with Harold Stewart, revised second edition, BDK English Tripitaka12-II, II, IV, Numata Center for Buddhist translation and Research, 2003, p.17
[33] The Three Pure Land sutras, translated into English by Hisao Inagaki in collaboration with Harold Stewart, revised second edition, BDK English Tripitaka12-II, II, IV, Numata Center for Buddhist translation and Research, 2003, p.42
[34] The Three Pure Land sutras, translated into English by Hisao Inagaki in collaboration with Harold Stewart, revised second edition, BDK English Tripitaka12-II, II, IV, Numata Center for Buddhist translation and Research, 2003, p.17
[35] They are offered to Buddhas ruling those lands and to their Enlightened Asembly of Bodhisattvas and Sravakas (disciples).
[36] The Three Pure Land sutras, translated into English by Hisao Inagaki in collaboration with Harold Stewart, revised second edition, BDK English Tripitaka12-II, II, IV, Numata Center for Buddhist translation and Research, 2003, p.42
[37] The Three Pure Land sutras, translated into English by Hisao Inagaki in collaboration with Harold Stewart, revised second edition, BDK English Tripitaka12-II, II, IV, Numata Center for Buddhist translation and Research, 2003, p.19
[38] The Three Pure Land sutras, translated into English by Hisao Inagaki in collaboration with Harold Stewart, revised second edition, BDK English Tripitaka12-II, II, IV, Numata Center for Buddhist translation and Research, 2003, p.17
[39] The Three Pure Land sutras, translated into English by Hisao Inagaki in collaboration with Harold Stewart, revised second edition, BDK English Tripitaka12-II, II, IV, Numata Center for Buddhist translation and Research, 2003, p.17
[40] The Three Pure Land sutras, translated into English by Hisao Inagaki in collaboration with Harold Stewart, revised second edition, BDK English Tripitaka12-II, II, IV, Numata Center for Buddhist translation and Research, 2003, p.17
[41] The Three Pure Land sutras, translated into English by Hisao Inagaki in collaboration with Harold Stewart, revised second edition, BDK English Tripitaka12-II, II, IV, Numata Center for Buddhist translation and Research, 2003, p.44
[42] The Three Pure Land sutras, translated into English by Hisao Inagaki in collaboration with Harold Stewart, revised second edition, BDK English Tripitaka12-II, II, IV, Numata Center for Buddhist translation and Research, 2003, p.20
[43] The Three Pure Land sutras, translated into English by Hisao Inagaki in collaboration with Harold Stewart, revised second edition, BDK English Tripitaka12-II, II, IV, Numata Center for Buddhist translation and Research, 2003, p.17
[44] Here the word „god” is not used in the sense of a limited being who is karmically related to the realm of the gods, although sometimes Vajrapani can appear in the form of a guardian god.
[45] In Japan, Vajrapani is known as Kongojin ("Diamond-hand) which manifests as two pair of muscular guardian deities of the Buddha Dharma often depicted at the entrance of Buddhist temples. Their names are Misshaku Kongo and Naraen Kongo. "Naraen" is the equivalent of Narayana from Sanskrit
[46] Also Avalokitesvara represents the great compassion of the Buddhas, Manjushri their wisdom, and Tara their miraculous deeds.
[47] In Japan, Vajrapani is known as Kongojin (“Diamond-hand”).


[48] The Three Pure Land sutras, translated into English by Hisao Inagaki in collaboration with Harold Stewart, revised second edition, BDK English Tripitaka12-II, II, IV, Numata Center for Buddhist translation and Research, 2003, p.17
[49] The Three Pure Land sutras, translated into English by Hisao Inagaki in collaboration with Harold Stewart, revised second edition, BDK English Tripitaka12-II, II, IV, Numata Center for Buddhist translation and Research, 2003, p.28

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