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A Dictionary of Buddhism

Damien Keown


(Skt.). ‘Land of Bliss’, the western paradise or Pure Land of the Buddha Amitābha. This heavenly realm, one of many mentioned in Mahāyāna sūtras, was created by Amitābha through the power of his merit (puṇya) as a utopia where beings who invoke his name with faith (śraddhā) and devotion may be reborn. Once there, they dwell in bliss and may reach nirvāṇa easily. The goal of rebirth in such a place became the object of the ‘Pure Land’ schools (Chin., Ching-T'u; Jap. Jōdo) that flourished in east Asia. The delights of Sukhāvatī are described in texts such as the Longer and Shorter Sukhāvatī-vyūha Sūtras and the Amitāyurdhyāna Sūtra.