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Amitāyurdhyāna Sūtra | part 2-1

PART II.

9. Buddha then replied:

'You and all other beings besides ought to make it your only aim, with concentrated thought, to get a perception of the western quarter.

You will ask how that perception is to be formed. I will explain it now.

All beings, if not blind from birth, are uniformly possessed of sight, and they all see the setting sun.

You should sit down properly, looking in the western direction, and prepare your thought for a close meditation on the sun; cause your mind to be firmly fixed on it so as to have an unwavering perception by the exclusive application of your mind, and gaze upon it in particular when it is about to set and looks like a suspended drum.

'After you have thus seen the sun, let that image remain clear and fixed, whether your eyes be shut or open;-such is the perception of the sun, which is the First Meditation.

10. 'Next you should form the perception of water; gaze on the water clear and pure, and let (this image) also remain clear and fixed (afterwards); never allow your thought to be scattered and lost.

'When you have thus seen the water you should form the perception of ice. As you see the ice shining and transparent, you should imagine the appearance of lapis lazuli.

'After that has been done, you will see the ground consisting of lapis lazuli, transparent and shining both within and without.

Beneath this ground of lapis lazuli there will be seen a golden banner with the seven jewels, diamonds and the rest, supporting the ground. It extends to the eight points of the compass, and thus the eight corners (of the ground) are perfectly filled up.

Every side of the eight quarters consists of a hundred jewels, every jewel has a thousand rays, and every ray has eighty-four thousand colours which, when reflected in the ground of lapis lazuli, look like a thousand million suns, and it is difficult to see them all one by one.

Over the surface of that ground of lapis lazuli there are stretched golden ropes intertwined crosswise; divisions are made by means of strings of seven jewels with every part clear and distinct.

'Each jewel has rays of five hundred colours which look like flowers or like the moon and stars. Lodged high up in the open sky these rays form a tower of rays, whose storeys and galleries are ten millions in number and built of a hundred jewels.

Both sides of the tower have each a hundred million flowery banners furnished and decked with numberless musical instruments. Eight kinds of cool breezes proceed from the brilliant rays. When those musical instruments are played, they emit the sounds "suffering," "non-existence," "impermanence," and "non-self "; such is the perception of the water, which is the Second Meditation.

11. 'When this perception has been formed, you should meditate on its (constituents) one by one and make (the images) as clear as possible, so that they may never be scattered and lost, whether your eyes be shut or open. Except only during the time of your sleep, you should always keep this in your mind. One who has reached this (stage of) perception is said to have dimly seen the Land of Highest Happiness (Sukhāvatī).'

'One who has obtained the Samadhi of supernatural calm is able to see the land of that Buddha country clearly and distinctly: this state is too much to be explained fully; such is the perception of the land, and it is the Third Meditation.

'You should remember, Ānanda, the Buddha words of mine, and repeat this law for attaining to the perception of the land of the Buddha country for the sake of the great mass of the people hereafter who may wish to be delivered from their sufferings.

If anyone meditates on the land of that Buddha country, his sins which bind him to births and deaths during eighty million kalpas shall be expiated; after the abandonment of his present body, he will assuredly be born in the pure land in the following life.

The practice of this kind of meditation is called the "right meditation." If it is of any other kind it is called "heretical meditation."'

12. Buddha then spoke to Ānanda and Vaidehī:

'When the perception of the land (of that Buddha country) has been gained, you should next meditate on the jewel-trees (of that country).

In meditating on the jewel-trees, you should take each by itself and form a perception of the seven rows of trees; every tree is eight hundred yojanas high, and all the jewel-trees have flowers and leaves consisting of seven jewels all perfect.

All flowers and leaves have colours like the colours of various jewels -from the colour of lapis lazuli there issues a golden ray; from the colour of crystal, a saffron ray; from the colour of agate, a diamond ray; from the colour of diamond, a ray of blue pearls.

Corals, amber, and all other gems are used as ornaments for illumination; nets of excellent pearls are spread over the trees, each tree is covered by seven sets of nets,

and between one set and another there are five hundred million palaces built of excellent flowers, resembling the palace of the Lord Brahma; all heavenly children live there, quite naturally;

every child has a garland consisting of five hundred million precious gems like those that are fastened on Śakra's (Indra's) head, the rays of which shine over a hundred yojanas, just as if a hundred million suns and moons were united together; it is difficult to explain them in detail.

That (garland) is the most excellent among all, as it is the commixture of all sorts of jewels. Rows of these jewel-trees touch one another; the leaves of the trees also join one another.

'Among the dense foliage there blossom various beautiful flowers, upon which are miraculously found fruits of seven jewels.

The leaves of the trees are all exactly equal in length and in breadth, measuring twenty-five yojanas each way; every leaf has a thousand colours and a hundred different pictures on it, just like a heavenly garland.

There are many excellent flowers which have the colour of Jāmbūnada gold and an appearance of fire-wheels in motion, turning between the leaves in a graceful fashion. All the fruits are produced just (as easily) as if they flowed out from the pitcher of the God Śakra.

There is a magnificent ray which transforms itself into numberless jewelled canopies with banners and flags.

Within these jewelled canopies the works of all the Buddhas of the Great Chiliocosm appear illuminated; the Buddha countries of the ten quarters also are manifested therein.

When you have seen these trees you should also meditate on them one by one in order.

In meditating on the trees, trunks, branches, leaves, flowers, and fruits, let them all be distinct and clear;- such is the perception of the trees (of that Buddha country), and it is the Fourth Meditation.

13. 'Next, you should perceive the water (of that country). The perception of the water is as follows:

'In the Land of Highest Happiness there are waters in eight lakes; the water in every lake consists of seven jewels which are soft and yielding.

Deriving its source from the king of jewels that fulfils every wish, the water is divided into fourteen streams; every stream has the colour of seven jewels; its channel is built of gold, the bed of which consists of the sand of variegated diamonds.

'In the midst of each lake there are sixty million lotus-flowers, made of seven jewels; all the flowers are perfectly round and exactly equal (in circumference), being twelve yojanas.

The water of jewels flows amidst the flowers and rises and falls by the stalks (of the lotus); the sound of the streaming water is melodious and pleasing, and propounds all the perfect virtues (Paramitas), "suffering," "non-existence," "impermanence," and "non-self;" it proclaims also the praise of the signs of perfection, and minor marks of excellence of all Buddhas.

From the king of jewels that fulfils every wish, stream forth the golden-coloured rays excessively beautiful, the radiance of which transforms itself into birds possessing the colours of a hundred jewels, which sing out harmonious notes, sweet and delicious, ever praising the remembrance of Buddha, the remembrance of the Dharma, and the remembrance of the Sangha -- such is the perception of the water of eight good qualities, and it is the Fifth Meditation.

14. 'Each division of that (Buddha) country, which consists of several jewels, has also jewelled storeys and galleries to the number of five hundred million; within each storey and gallery there are innumerable Devas engaged in playing heavenly music.

There are some musical instruments that are hung up in the open sky, like the jewelled banners of heaven; they emit musical sounds without being struck, which, while resounding variously, all propound the remembrance of Buddha, of the Dharma and of the Sangha, Bhikkhus, and so forth.

When this perception is duly accomplished, one is said to have dimly seen the jewel-trees, jewel-ground, and jewel-lakes of that World of Highest Happiness (Sukhāvatī) -- such is the perception formed by meditating on the general features of that Land, and it is the Sixth Meditation.

'If one has experienced this, one has expiated the greatest sinful deeds which would otherwise lead one to Transmigration for numberless millions of kalpas; after his death he will assuredly be born in that land.