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Praise of Amida Buddha | T'an Luan

Gāthā in Praise of Amida Buddha
San Amida Butsu Ge

by Master T'an Luan (Jp. Donran) (476-542)

1.  

From the time Amida became a Buddha
Till the present, ten kalpas have elapsed;
The Dharma Body's Light boundlessly
Shines on the darkness in the world.

2.  

Immeasurable is the Light of Wisdom;
So the Buddha is called 'Immeasurable Light'.
All limited beings are blessed by the Light.
Hence, I bow my head to the Truly Luminous One.

3.  

Boundless is the Light-wheel of Deliverance:
So the Buddha is called 'Boundless Light'.
Those touched by the Light are freed of being and non-being.
Hence, I bow my head to the Equal Enlightenment

4.  

The Light-cloud is unhindered like open space;
So the Buddha is called 'Unhindered Light'.
All those with hindrances are blessed by the Light.
Hence, I prostrate myself and worship the Inconceivable One.

5.  

Unequalled is the Light of Purity;
So the Buddha is called 'Unequalled Light'.
Those meeting the Light are rid of karmic bonds.
Hence, I bow to the Ultimate Resort.

6.  

With utmost brillilance the Buddha's Light shines;
So the Buddha is called 'Majestically Flaming Light'.
The darkness of the three realms receives the blessing of the Light.
Hence, I prostrate myself and worship the Great Alms-Deserving.

7.  

Bright is the Bodhi-light and surpassing are the colours;
So the Buddha is called 'Light of Purity'.
Once shone upon, the filth of sin is removed, and all are delivered.
Hence, I prostrate myself and worship Him.

8.  

Far reaches the Merciful Light giving men peace;
So the Buddha is called 'Light of Joy'.
Wheresoever the Light reaches, Joy of Dharma arises.
I prostrate myself and worship the Great Consoler.

9.  

The Buddha's Light rends the ignorance-gloom;
So the Buddha is called 'Wisdom Light'.
All Buddhas and the sages of the Three Vehicles laud him together.
Hence, I bow to Him.

10.  

At all times the Light shines universally;
So the Buddha is called 'Unceasing Light'.
By hearing the Light-Power, with thought uninterrupted,
   all attain Birth.
Hence, I prostrate myself and worship Him.

11. 

His Light cannot be measured, except by Buddhas.
Hence the Buddha is called 'Light Difficult to Conceive'.
Buddhas in the ten quarters admire our Birth and praise His Virtue.
Hence, I bow in reverence to Him.

12. 

The majestic Light, being formless, cannot be named;
So the Buddha is called 'Ineffable Light'.
By the cause of Light did He become a Buddha,
   whose Light resplendent is praised by the Buddhas.
Hence, I prostrate myself and worship Him.

13. 

The Light shines brighter than the sun and the moon;
So the Buddha is called 'Light Excelling Sun and Moon'.
Even Sakya Buddha's praises are not exhaustive.
Hence, I bow in reverence to the Peerless One.

14. 

The assembly of hearers at Amida Buddha's first sermon
Consisted of numerous Śrāvakas and Bodhisattvas;
Even those with supernal knowledge and skill
   cannot count the number.
Hence I bow in reverence to the Great Assemblage.

15. 

Innumerable Great Beings in the Land of Bliss
Will attain Buddha's place after one more life,
Excepting those whose great original vow
Seeks to deliver beings universally.

16. 

Śrāvakas in the Land of Peace and Bliss have halos,
   one fathom long, like a falling star.
Bodhisattvas' halos are four thousand li long
   like the full moon in autumn reflected on purple gold.
They collect the Buddha's Dharma-store for the beings' sake.
Hence, I prostrate myself and worship the Sea of the Great Mind.

17. 

Avalokiteśvara and Mahāsthāmaprāpta,
   The first and foremost of the sacred beings,
Illuminate the great chiliocosm with compassionate light,
Attending majestically on the right and left of the Buddha.
They rest not in saving those who are related,
   Like the ocean tide which ebbs and flows at the right time.
To them, the Great Compassion and the Power Attained,
I prostrate myself and bow with singleness of mind.

18. 

Those sentient beings born in the Land of Peace and Bliss
   all possess thirty-two characteristics;
Excluded are those born in the worlds of five defilements,
   manifesting themselves just like the Great Sage.
Whoever is born in the Land of Peace and Bliss
   gains great benefits.
Hence, with mind sincere, I kneel and bow to Him.

19. 

Bodhisattvas in the Land of Peace and Bliss,
   through the Buddha's Power,
Go to the Buddha Lands in the ten quarters and return
   before the morning meal.
In the Buddha Lands beyond calculation, they worship,
   revere, and give offerings to the Tathagatas.
Their divine power, freely employed, is unfathomable.
Hence, I prostrate myself and worship the Most Honorable One.

20. 

Śrāvakas and Bodhisattvas in the Land of Bliss
And men and devas as well all excel in wisdom.
Their physical marks and adornments are not different.
These names are simply given as in other worlds.

21. 

Their figures, serene and lordly, are incomparable.
Unlike men's and devas' are their exquisite forms;
Theirs are the body of emptiness and infinitude.
Hence, I prostrate myself and worship the Power of Equality.

22. 

Those who have attained Birth in the Land of Peace and Bliss
Will all dwell in the Rightly Established State.
Men of Improperly Established and Indeterminate States
   do not dwell in that Land.
All Buddhas praise Him. Hence, I prostrate myself and worship Him.

23. 

If one hears the virtuous Name of Amida Buddha,
   rejoices in Faith and finds joy in what he hears,
Thinking of Him even once with mind sincere,
   transferring his merits and desiring Birth he attains Birth.
Excepted are those with five deadly sins and abusers
   of the Dharma.
Hence, I prostrate myself in worship and desire to be Born.

24. 

Bodhisattvas and Śrāvakas in the Land of Bliss
Have no equal in this world.
All of this was due to Dharmakāra’s Vow-Power.
I prostrate myself and worship the Great Mind Power.

25. 

The Sakyan Sage,
With great unimpeded eloquence,
Can show only a little by means of metaphors.
Hence, I bow to the Ineffable Buddha.

26. 

Bodhisattvas from the Buddha-lands of the ten quarters
And Bhikkhus who are Born in the Land of Peace and Bliss,
Are immeasurable, innumerable, and countless in number.
Those Born in the past, present, and future are the same.

27. 

If one hears the virtuous Name of Amida Buddha,
And his mind takes refuge in It with joy and adoration,
He gains, even with one thought, the great benefit,
And is endowed with the treasure of merit.

28. 

Be it that a fire spreads throughout the great chiliocosm,
One should pass straight through it to hear the Buddha's Name.
He who hears Amida will not fall back from the Way.
Hence, with mind sincere I bow and worship Him.

29. 

Amida of the limitless wonderful Power
Is praised by immeasurable Buddhas in the ten quarters;
From the eastern Buddha-lands, as many as sands of the Ganges,
Numberless Bodhisattvas all go to visit Him.

30. 

The remaining nine quarters are the same.
Śākyamuni, the Tathagata, praises in a gatha
His immeasurable virtues.
Hence, I prostrate myself and worship Him.

31. 

Immeasurable Bodhisattvas who have come
Revere and worship Him in order to plant the root of virtues:
Some adore the Buddha by playing music and chanting gāthās,
Some sing gāthās on the Buddha's Wisdom
   which illuminates the world.
Hence, I prostrate myself and worship the Bhāgavat.

32. 

When the Bhāgavat, the Holy Lord, preaches the Dharma,
Like clouds the multitude assemble in the seven-jewelled Hall.
Hence, I turn my thought towards the Hall and worship it.
The Bodhi-tree is four million li in height
   and fifty yojanas in circumference.
Hence, I prostrate myself and worship the Bodhi-tree.

33. 

The Exquisite Land is vast and beyond measurement:
It is made of seven natural jewels.
It has arisen from the glory of the Buddha's Original Vow.
I bow in worship to the Pure, Magnanimous Embracer.

34. 

Excellent and unsurpassed is the splendour of the World;
Comfort and ease prevail, without seasonal changes.
His Power to benefit Himself and others is perfected.
I take refuge in the ingenious adornments of expediency.
   I bow in worship to the Inconceivable Sage.

35. 

The Divine Power and the Original Vow!
The Perfect, Clear, Firm, and Fulfilling Vow.
Indescribable is His Compassionate Means.
I revere and take refuge in the Truly Unfathomable One.

36. 

The sounds of the jewelled trees, likewise,
   are thousand-fold excellent;
Again, there flows natural music of delicacy,
   serene with the sounds of Dharma and pleasant to the mind;
Unsurpassed in the ten quarters are the pathos, grace,
   elegance, and resonance.
Hence, I bow to worship the Pure, Serene Music.

37. 

The World abounds with seven-jewelled trees and forests;
Their radiances are clear and bright, each reflecting the other;
The blossoms, fruits, boughs, and leaves reflect each other.
I bow to the Merit-Store of the Original Vow.

38. 

When the pure breeze wafts the jewelled trees
   from time to time,
Five notes are produced, each harmonizing with the other.
The elegant, exquisite music is naturally played.
Hence, I prostrate myself and worship the Pure, Meritorious One.

39. 

The various jewelled lotus flowers abound in the World;
Each flower has a hundred thousand kotis of petals.
Immeasurable are the hues of rays from the flower;
Vermilion, purple, red, and green, variously combined,
   make five colours,
Luminous and brilliant like the rays of the sun.
The rays issuing forth from each and every flower
   are thirty-six hundred thousand kotis in number.

40. 

In each and every ray there dwells a Buddha;
The Buddhas equal the number of the rays produced.
The signs and marks of their bodies
   are like the golden mountain.

41. 

Each storied building has a bathing pond,
   symmetrical in form;
The water of the eight merits fills the pond,
Excellent in colour, taste, and fragrance, like nectar.
Hard to conceive is the undefiled subordinate Recompense.
Hence, I bow in worship to the Treasury of Virtues.

42. 

Names of suffering in the Three Realms no longer exist;
There are only the pleasant sounds of naturalness;
Hence, the Land is called 'Peace and Bliss'.
I prostrate myself and worship the Utmost Honourable One.

43. 

Infinitely Wise Ones of the three periods in the ten quarters,
All by riding the Vehicle of Oneness, become Enlightened.
Their Twofold Wisdom is perfect and their Bodhi equal.
Acts of saving according to the conditions are numerous.

44. 

My taking refuge in the Pure Land of Amida
Is the same as my taking refuge in all the Buddhas' Lands.
I praise and adore one Buddha with one mind;
May my praise extend to other Unhindered Ones
   in the ten quarters.
These innumerable Buddhas in the ten quarters
   I, prostrating myself, worship with sincere mind.

45. 

Whosoever hears the virtuous Name of Amida Buddha,
Rejoices in Faith and finds joy in what he hears,
In adoration to the Inconceivable Light
I sincerely take refuge in Him and bow in worship.

46. 

I praise the Buddha's Mercy and His virtuous sound.
May the sentient beings in the ten quarters hear it!