Amida Butsu

Amida Butsu, 19th century
Attribution unknown
Wood, lacquer, gilt
:BORGM 05822a-b
© Russell-Cotes Art Gallery and Museum

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Amida Butsu, 19th century

Sculpture depicting Amida Butsu or Amitābha, the Buddha of Infinite Light and the principal Buddha of Pure Land Buddhism. Devotion to Amitābha became a major feature of Japanese Buddhism.

In the Longer Sukhāvatīvyūha Sūtra, the Buddha begins by describing to his attendant Ānanda a past life of the Buddha Amitābha. He states that in a past life, Amitābha was once a king who renounced his kingdom and became a bodhisattva monk named Dharmākara. Under the guidance of the buddha Lokeśvararāja, innumerable buddha-lands throughout the ten directions were revealed to him. After meditating as a bodhisattva, he then made a great series of vows to save all sentient beings (beings with consciousness, sentience, or in some contexts life itself), and through his great merit, created the realm of Sukhāvatī (Land of Bliss or Western Pure Land).

The Japanese form of the mantra of Amitābha is Namu Amida Butsu (I take refuge in Amida Butsu).

 

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