Amitabha Buddha Sutra & The Heart Sutra
English translations by
F. Max Muller & Lu K'uan-yu, respectively
Both revised by the Buddhist Yogi C. M. Chen
Amitabha Buddha Sutra
(The Smaller Sukhavati-Vyuha)
Thus it was heard by me: At one time the Blessed (Bhagavat, i.e. Buddha) dwelt at Sravasti, in the Jeta-grove, in the garden of Anathapindaka, together with a large company of Bhiksus (mendicant friars), viz. with twelve hundred and fifty Bhiksus, all of them acquainted with the five kinds of Knowledge, elders, great disciples, and Arhats, such as Sariputra, the elder, Mahamaudgalyayana, Mahakasyapa, Mahakapphina, Mahakatyayana, Mahakausthila, Revata, Suddhipanthaka, Nanda, Ananda, Rahula, Gavampati, Bharadvaja Kalodayin, Vakkula, and Aniruddha. He dwelt together with these and many other great disciples, and together with many nobleminded Bodhisattvas, such as Manjusri, the prince, the Bodhisattva Ajita, the Bodhisattva Gandhahastin, the Bodhisattva Nityodyukta, the Bodhisattva Aniksiptadhura. He dwelt together with them and with Sakra, the Indra or King of the Devas, and with Brahman Sahampati. With these and many other hundred thousand nayutas of sons of the gods, Bhagavat dwelt at Sravasti.
Then Bhagavat addressed the honored Sariputra and said, "O Sariputra, after you have passed from here over a hundred thousand kotis of Buddha countries there is in the Western part a Buddha country, a world called Sukhavati (the happy country). And there a Tathagata, called Amitayus, fully enlightened, dwells now, and remains, and supports himself, and teaches the Dharma."
"Now what do you think, Sariputra, for what reason is that world called Sukhavati (the happy)? In that world Sukhavati, O Sariputra, there is neither bodily nor mental pain for living beings. The sources of happiness are innumerable there. For that reason is that world called Sukhavati (the happy)."
"And again, O Sariputra, that world Sukhavati is adorned with seven terraces, with seven rows of palm trees, and with strings of bells. It is enclosed on every side, beautiful, brilliant with the four gems, e.g. gold, silver, beryl, and crystal. With such arrays of excellences peculiar to a Buddha country is that Buddha country adorned."
"And again, O Sariputra, in that world Sukhavati, there are lotus-lakes, adorned with the seven gems, e.g. gold, silver, beryl, crystal, red pearls, diamonds, and corals as the seventh. They are full of water which possesses the eight good qualities, their waters rise as high as the fords and bathing-places, so that even crows may drink there; they are strewn with golden sand. And in these lotus-lakes there are all around on the four sides four stairs, beautiful and brilliant with the four gems, e.g. gold, silver, beryl, crystal. And on every side of these lotus-lakes gem trees are growing, beautiful and brilliant with the seven gems, e.g. gold, silver, beryl, crystal, red pearls, diamonds, and coral as the seventh. And in those lotus-lakes lotus-flowers are growing, blue, blue-colored, of blue splendor, blue to behold; yellow, yellow-colored, of yellow splendor, yellow to behold; red, red-colored, of red splendor, red to behold; white, white-colored, of white splendor, white to behold; beautiful, beautifully-colored, of beautiful splendor, beautiful to behold, and in circumference as large as the wheel of a chariot."
"And again, O Sariputra, in that Buddha country there are heavenly musical instruments always played on, and the earth is lovely and of golden quality. And in that Buddha country a flower-rain of heavenly Mandarava blossoms pours down three times every day, and three times every night. And the beings who are born there worship before their morning meal a hundred thousand kotis of Buddhas by going to other worlds; and having showered a hundred thousand kotis of flowers upon each Tathagata, they return to their own world in time for the afternoon rest. With such arrays of excellences peculiar to a Buddha country is that Buddha country adorned."
"And again, O Sariputra, there are in that Buddha country swans, curlews, and peacocks. Three times every night, and three times every day, they come together and perform a concert, each uttering his own note. And from them thus uttering proceeds a sound proclaiming the five roots, the five powers, and the seven steps leading towards the highest Enlightenment. When the men there hear that sound, remembrance of Buddha, remembrance of the Dharma, remembrance of the Sangha rises in their mind."
"Now, do you think, O Sariputra, that there are beings who have entered into the nature of animals (birds, etc.)? This is not to be thought of. The very name of hells is unknown in that Buddha country, and likewise that of (descent into) animal bodies and of the realm of Yama (the four apayas). No, these tribes of birds have been made on purpose by the Tathagata Amitayus, and they utter sounds of the Dharma. With such arrays of excellences peculiar to a Buddha country is that Buddha country adorned."
"And again, O Sariputra, when those rows of palm-trees and strings of bells in that Buddha country are moved by the wind, a sweet and enrapturing sound proceeds from them. Yes, O Sariputra, as from a heavenly musical instrument consisting of a hundred thousand kotis of sounds, when played by Aryas, a sweet and enrapturing sound proceeds, a sweet and enrapturing sound proceeds from those rows of palm-trees and strings of bells moved by the wind. And when the men hear that sound, reflection on Buddha arises in them, reflection on the Dharma, reflection on the Sangha. With such arrays of excellences, etc."
"Now what do you think, O Sariputra, for what reason is that Tathagata called Amitayus? The length of life (ayus), O Sariputra, of that Tathagata and of those men there is immeasurable (amita). Therefore is that Tathagata called Amitayus. And ten kalpas have passed, O Sariputra, since that Tathagata awoke to Full Enlightenment."
"And what do you think, O Sariputra, for what reason is that Tathagata called Amitabha? The splendor (abha), O Sariputra, of that Tathagata is unimpeded over all Buddha countries. Therefore is that Tathagata called Amitabha."
"And there is, O Satriputra, an innumerable assembly of disciples with that Tathagata, purified and venerable persons, whose number it is not easy to count. With such arrays of excellences, etc."
"And again, O Sariputra, of those beings also who are born in the Buddha country of the Tathagata Amitayus as purified Bodhisattvas, never to return again and bound by one birth only, of those Bodhisattvas also, O Sariputra, the number is not easy to count, except they are reckoned as infinite in number."
"Then again all beings, O Sariputra, ought to make fervent prayer for that Buddha country, And why? Because they come together there with such excellent men. Beings will not be born in that Buddha country of the Tathagata Amitayus with only a few good works, merits and conditions of this present life. Whatever man or woman shall hear the name of the blessed Amitayus, the Tathagata, and having heard it, shall keep it in mind, and with thoughts undisturbed shall keep it in mind for one, two, three, four, five, six or seven days and nights,--when that man or woman comes to die, then that Amitayus, the Tathagata, surrounded by an assembly of disciples and followed by a host of Bodhisattvas, will stand before him or her at the hour of death, and he or she will depart this life with a tranquil mind and will be born in the world Sukhavati, in the Buddha country of the same Amitayus, the Tathagata. Therefore, then, O Sariputra, having perceived this cause and effect, I with reverence say thus. Every man and every woman ought with their whole mind to make fervent prayer for that Buddha country."
"And now, O Sariputra, as I here at present glorify that world, thus in the East, O Sariputra, other blessed Buddhas, led by the Tathagata Aksobhya, the Tathagata Merudhvaja, the Tathagata Mahameru, the Tathagata Meruprabhasa, and the Tathagata Manjudhvaja, equal in number to the sand of the river Ganga, comprehend their own Buddha countries in their speech, and then reveal them. Saying, "All sentient beings, you should accept this repetition of the Dharma, called the "Favor of all Buddhas," which magnifies their inconceivable excellences."
"Thus also in the South do other blessed Buddhas, led by the Tathagata Kandrasuryapradipa, the Tathagata Yasahprabha, the Tathagata Maharkiskandha, the Tathagata Merupradipa, the Tathagata Anantavirya, equal in number to the sand of the river Ganga, comprehend their own Buddha countries in their speech, and then reveal them, saying the same."
"Thus also in the West do other blessed Buddhas, led by the Tathagata Amitayus, the Tathagata Amitaskandha, the Tathagata Amitadhvaja, the Tathagata Mahaprabha, the Tathagata Maharatnaketu, the Tathagata Suddharasmiprabha, equal in number to the sand of the river Ganga, comprehend etc."
"Thus also in the North do other blessed Buddhas, led by the Tathagata Maharkiskandha, the Tathagata Vaisvanaranirghosa, the Tathagata Dundubhisvaranirghosa, the Tathagata Duspradharsa, the Tathagata Adityasambhava, the Tathagata Jaleniprabha (Jvalanaprabha?), the Tathagata Prabhakara, equal in number to the sand, etc."
"Thus also in the Nadir do other blessed Buddhas, led by the Tathagata Simha, the Tathagata Yasas, the Tathagata Yasahprabhava, the Tathagata Dharma, the Tathagata Dharmadhara, the Tathagata Dharmadhvaga, equal in number to the sand, etc."
"Thus also in the Zenith do other blessed Buddhas, led by the Tathagata Brahmaghosa, the Tathagata Naksatraraja, the Tathagata Indraketudhvajaraga, the Tathagata Gandhottama, the Tathagata Gandhaprabhasa, the Tathagata Maharkiskandha, the Tathagata Ratnakusumasampushpitagatra, the Tathagata Salendraraja, the Tathagata Ratnotpalasri, the Tathagata Sarvathadarsa, the Tathagata Sumerukalpa, equal in number to the sand, etc."
"Now what do you think, O Sariputra, for what reason is that repetition (treatise) of the Dharma called 'the Favor of all Buddhas?' Every man or woman who shall hear the name of that repetition of the Dharma and retain in their memory the names of those blessed Buddhas, will be favored by the Buddhas, and will never return again, being once in possession of the transcendent true knowledge. Therefore then, O Sariputra, believe, accept, and do not doubt of me and those blessed Buddhas!"
"Whatever man or woman shall make vow-like prayer for the Buddha country of that blessed Amitayus, the Tathagata, or are making it now or have made it formerly, all these will never return again, being once in possession of the transcendent true knowledge. They will be born in that Buddha country, have been born, or are being born now. Therefore, then, O Sariputra, vow-like prayer is to be made for that Buddha country by faithful men and women."
"And as I at present magnify here the inconceivable excellences of those blessed Buddhas, thus, O Sariputra, do those blessed Buddhas magnify my own inconceivable excellences: 'A very difficult work has been done by Sakyamuni, the sovereign of the Sakyas. Having obtained the transcendent true knowledge in this world Saha, he taught the Dharma which all the world is reluctant to accept, during this corruption of the present kalpa and that of mankind, and that of belief, and that of life, and that of passions.'"
"This is even for me, O Sariputra, an extremely difficult work that, having obtained the transcendent true knowledge in this world Saha, I taught the Dharma which all the world is reluctant to accept, during this kalpa of Five Corruptions."
Thus spoke Bhagavat joyful in his mind. And the honorable Sariputra, and the Bhiksus and Bodhisattvas, and the whole world with the gods, men, evil spirits and genies, applauded the speech of Bhagavat.
The Heart Sutra
(The Prajna-Paramita-Hrdaya Sutra)
When Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara practices the profound Prajna-paramita, he intuitively realizes that the five aggregates (skandhas) are of Sunyata nature thus securing his deliverance from all distress and sufferings.
Sariputra! Form (rupa) does not differ from Sunyata, nor Sunyata from form. Form is identical with Sunyata (and) Sunyata is identical with form. So also are reception (vedana), conception (sanjna), mental conduct (samskara) and consciousness (vijnana) in relation to Sunyata.
Sariputra, the Sunyata nature of all things is neither created nor annihilated; neither impure nor pure; and neither increasing nor decreasing.
Therefore, in Sunyata, there is neither form (rupa), reception (vedana), conception (sanjna), mental conduct (samskara), nor consciousness (vijnana); there is neither eye, ear, nose, tongue, body nor mind; there is neither form, sound, odor, flavor, feeling nor idea; there are no such things as the eighteen realms of sense (dhatus) from the realm of sight up to that of the faculty of mind (vijnana); there are no such things as the twelve links in the chain of existence (nidanas) from ignorance (avidya) with also the end of ignorance up to old age and death (jaramarana) with also the end of old age and death; there are no (such things as) the four noble truths and there is neither Wisdom nor obtainment.
Because of no obtainment, Bodhisattvas who rely on Prajna-paramita, have no hindrance in their minds, and since they have no hindrance, they have no fear, are free from perversive and delusive ideas and attain the Ultimate Nirvana.
All Buddhas of the past, present and future attain the Full Enlightenment (anuttara-samyak-sambodhi) by relying on Prajna-paramita. So we know that Prajna-paramita is the great supernatural Mantra, the great bright, unsurpassed and unequalled Mantra which can truly and without fail wipe out all sufferings.
Therefore, He uttered the Prajna-paramita mantra which reads:
Gate, Gate, Paragate, Parasamgate Bodhi Svaha!
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