The Method of Contemplating and Making Offerings to Amitāyus Tathāgata Vidhi

Imperially Sanctioned Translation (c. 746–774)

Presented by the Lord Specially Advanced of the Opening of Government Offices with Prestige Equal to that of the Three Offices, Examiner, Chief Minister for Making Loud Announcements, the Respectful Duke of State, Fief of 3000 Households, Bestowed the Purple Robe; Posthumously: Minister of Works; Posthumously: Great Mirror; Correct Title: He of Vast Wisdom, the Trepiṭaka of Daxingshan Temple, the Śramaṇa Amoghavajra (705–774)

Translated into English by Shaku Shingan (31.10.2023)

1. Setting and Purpose

At that time, Vajrapāṇi Bodhisattva, in the great assembly of Mahāvairocana Buddha, arose from his seat, joined his palms in respect, and addressed the Buddha, saying: 

O Bhagavān! I shall speak the dhāraṇī of Amitāyus Buddha for sentient beings of evil karma in the world of defilement in the future Age of Dharma Decline so that by practising the gates of the three secrets, they will realise recollection of the Buddha samādhi and will attain birth in the Pure Land and enter upon the rank of the determined among bodhisattvas. Not through little merit or no wisdom and skilful means will they attain birth in that land; hence, by relying on this Dharma teaching of right mindfulness and carrying it out, they will certainly attain birth in the Land of Sukhāvatī, being born in the highest grade of the highest rank, and attaining the first bhūmi. 

2. The Practitioners

If there are householders or monastics who wish for birth in the Pure Land, they should first enter the maṇḍala and receive abhiṣeka; then, they should receive the mindful recitation vidhi from a teacher.

3. Establishing the Platform

Either at an auspicious location or at their own abode, they should spread [gomaya] to purify and establish a platform, covering it with a canopy and hanging banners all around. On the platform, they should lay out an eight-petaled maṇḍala, grind white candana and smear it on the ārya. On the western side of the platform, place an image of Amitāyus; the mantrin should sit on the eastern side of the platform, facing westwards towards the image, either on a straw mat or on a low stool with short feet. Three times a day, they should scatter flowers, burn various kinds of incense, and place two argha offerings using vessels that have not yet been used, such as bowls and cups made of gold, silver, copper, stone, rock, or pottery: they should fill them with fragrant water and place them on the platform. Place four auspicious vases [kumbha] at the platform's four corners, burning incense, lighting lamps, spreading aromatic powders, and offering food and drink according to one's ability, each receiving adhiṣṭhāna and respectfully being offered. Each day, the practitioner should bathe and wear new, clean clothes or use an adhiṣṭhāna mantra as a form of bathing. They should contemplate: 

All sentient beings are intrinsically pure but are covered by adventitious afflictions; not realising the truth, they lose bodhi, drowning in the mire of saṃsāra and undergoing innumerable sufferings. Hence, I speak of the adhiṣṭhāna of the three secrets so that both self and other may attain purity.

3. Purifying the Three Karmas

Then, with both hands in padmāñjali, recite the mantra for purifying the three karmas three times. The mantra goes:

OṂ svabhāvaśuddhāḥ sarvadharmāḥ svabhāvaśuddho 'haṃ!

By the adhiṣṭhāna of this mantra, one immediately attains purity through an internal mental bath. 

4. Procedure for Entering the Bodhimaṇḍa

Whenever entering the bodhimaṇḍa, stand upright with a proper demeanour before the iṣṭadevatā, put your hands in padmāñjali, close your eyes and carry in mind a visualisation of oneself in the Land of Sukhāvatī before Amitāyus Tathāgata and his assembly of bodhisattvas, and prostrating to the ground with a pañcamaṇḍalanamaskāra, visualise yourself respectfully paying homage before each and every buddha and bodhisattva. Then recite the universal homage mantra, saying:

OṂ sarvatathāgatapādavandanaṃ karomi!

Kneeling on the right knee and joining one's hands in añjali before the heart, sincerely and devoutly confess and repent of all hindering faults one has committed since beginningless time, then, delight in accord with all the meritorious karma accumulated by all buddhas, bodhisattvas, śrāvakas, pratyekabuddhas, and all sentient beings. Further, visualise the tathāgatas in the worlds of the ten directions who have attained perfect awakening and request them to turn the Dharma Wheel. For those tathāgatas who are manifesting nirvāṇa, request them not to enter parinirvāṇa but to abide in the world for a long time. Then, arouse an aspiration, saying: 

May I, with all the immeasurable wholesome roots I have heaped up by worshipping the buddhas, repenting, delighting in accord, and requesting, dedicate this wholesome merit to all sentient beings; may they all attain birth in the Land of Sukhāvatī, see the Buddha, hear the Dharma, and quickly realise unexcelled perfect bodhi.

5. Buddha-Group Samaya Adhiṣṭhāna

After that, either sit in paryaṅkabandha or half paryaṅka, with the right leg over the left. Smear the hands with fragrance, and first form the buddha-group samaya mudrā: place the two hands in the sampuṭa mudrā open the two index fingers and slightly bend them, touching the upper joint of the middle fingers, then open the two thumbs and touch them to the lower joints of the index fingers. After forming the mudrā, clearly and distinctly visualise Amitāyus Tathāgata with the thirty-two marks and eighty minor marks. Then, recite the buddha-group samaya mantra, saying:

OṂ tathāgatodbhavāya SVĀHĀ!

Recite three times or seven times, place the mudrā on top of your head, and disperse it. By forming this mudrā and reciting this mantra, all admonishing buddhas in the buddha-group will assemble to perform adhiṣṭhāna for the mantrin, quickly causing them to attain purity of bodily karmas, eliminate their hindrances due to faults, and increase their merits and wisdom.

6. Lotus-Group Samaya Adhiṣṭhāna

Next, form the lotus-group samaya mudrā: place the two hands in the sampuṭa mudrā, touch the tips of the two thumbs and the two little fingers together, and slightly bend the remaining six fingers to form a shape like a spreading lotus flower. After forming this mudrā, visualise Avalokiteśvara Bodhisattva with the beautiful major and minor marks, together with the innumerable koṭis of āryas of the lotus family surrounding him. Then, recite the lotus-group samaya mantra:

OṂ padmodbhavāya SVĀHĀ!

Recite three or seven times for adhiṣṭhāna, place the mudrā on the right side of your head, and disperse it. By forming this mudrā and reciting this mantra, the admonishing Avalokiteśvara Bodhisattva and the āryas of the lotus-group all come and perform adhiṣṭhāna for the practitioner to attain purity of verbal karmas, with a voice of respectful authority that makes people delight in listening, and to attain unobstructed eloquence in freely expounding the Dharma.

7. Vajra-Group Samaya Adhiṣṭhāna

Next, form the vajra-group samaya mudrā: place the left hand on top of the right, making the backs touch, clasp the left little finger with the right thumb, clasp the right little finger with the left thumb, the six fingers in the middle attach to the wrists to form a shape like a three-pronged [vajra-]mallet. Place the mudrā at the heart, visualise Vajragarbha Bodhisattva with resplendent major and minor marks, together with his retinue of innumerable vajradharas surrounding him. Then, recite the vajra-group samaya mantra, saying:

OṂ vajrodbhavāya SVĀHĀ!

Recite three or seven times for adhiṣṭhāna, place the mudra on the left side of your head, and disperse it. By forming this mudrā and reciting this mantra, the admonishing Vajragarbha Bodhisattva and the āryas of the vajra-group all come and perform adhiṣṭhāna for the practitioner to attain purity of mental karmas, realise bodhicitta, manifest samādhi, and quickly attain liberation.

8. Establishing the Body-Protecting Armour

Next, form the body-protecting armour mudrā: press the little finger and ring finger of the left hand with the little finger and ring finger of the right hand so that they are joined inside, the two middle fingers stand up, leaning against each other at the tips, the two index fingers bend like hooks, and are placed behind the middle fingers without touching them,  the two thumbs are lined up and touch the ring fingers to complete it. Place the mudrā at the heart, recite the mantra and place the mudrā on the five points of the body, with one recitation for each: first on the forehead, then on the right shoulder, on the left shoulder, at the heart and the throat, these are the five points. Then, arouse a mind of great loving-kindness and compassion, extending it to all sentient beings, wishing that they will all don the armour and helmet of great loving-kindness and compassion, quickly enabling them to be free from all obstacles and realise the attainment of both worldly and supraworldly, the best of the best, extraordinarily superior, attainments. After this contemplation, one will directly don the vajra armour, and no māras will dare to obstruct one. The body-protecting mantra goes:

OṂ vajrāgni prajñaptāya SVĀHĀ! [var. ...pradīptāya...]

By forming this mudrā and reciting the mantra, because of the power of one's compassionate mind and thoughts of loving-kindness, all māra devas and obstructors will all see the practitioner's majestic light, blazing just like the disc of the sun, and each will give rise to a mind of loving-kindness and will not be able to obstruct them; unwholesome people will not be able to take advantage of them, afflictions and karmic hindrances will not defile their bodies, and they will be protected from the suffering of the unfortunate realms in the future, and quickly realise unexcelled bodhi.

9. Establishing a Vajra Boundary in the Nadir

Next, form the earth vajrakīla [vajra-dagger] mudrā: first, insert the left middle finger into the gap between the right index finger and middle finger, then insert the right ring finger into the gap between the left ring finger and little finger, with all the fingertips sticking out; then, hook the back of the right middle finger with the left middle finger, and insert it into the gap between the right middle finger and index finger, and hook the back of the right ring finger with the left ring finger, and insert it into the gap between the right ring finger and little finger; both of the little fingers and index fingers lean against each other at the tips, and the two thumbs are joined and pointing downwards to complete it. After forming this mudrā, visualise the mudrā as having the form of a vajra mallet, touch the earth with the two thumbs, and recite the mantra once for each touch of the mudrā to the earth. Do this three times to establish a firm vajra seat. The mantra for the nadir direction goes:

OṂ kīli kīli vajra vajri bhūr bandha bandha HŪṂ PHAṬ!

By forming this mudrā and reciting this mantra of the power of adhiṣṭhāna, one establishes an indestructible vajra boundary as far down as the kāñcanacakra [the metal-wheel circle], even māras of great power are not able to shake it,  and with minimal effort, great accomplishments are achieved. Unwholesome and defiled substances within the earth, through this adhiṣṭhāna's power, are all purified. This boundary can be made large or small at will.

10. Establishing a Vajra Fence

Next, form the vajraprākāra [vajra-fence] mudrā: following the procedure for the prior earth boundary mudrā, open the palm and raise the two thumbs to make the shape of a fence to complete it. Visualise flames flowing forth from the mudrā, encircling the body with the mudrā three times, reciting like with the prior earth boundary, establishing a firm vajra wall. The prākāra [fence] boundary mantra goes:

OṂ sāra sāra vajra prākāra HŪṂ PHAṬ!

By forming this mudrā and reciting this mantra, and through the power of the visualisation, a blazing vajra boundary fence in the various directions is established, which can be made large or small at will, and all māras, unwholesome people, tigers, wolves, lions, and poisonous insects cannot come near.

11. Generating Innumerable Offerings

Next, form the great Ākāśagarbha Bodhisattva mudrā: place the two hands in añjali, press the left middle finger with the right middle finger so that they are joined to the backs of the hands, and join and compress the two index fingers to they make the shape of a jewel to complete it. Visualise innumerable offerings flowing from this mudrā, such as clothing, drink and food, palaces, towers, and so forth, as explained in detail in the yoga [manuals]. Then, recite the great Ākāśagarbha Bodhisattva mantra, saying:

OṂ gagana sambhava vajra HOḤ!

Even if the practitioner has weak powers of visualisation, through the adhiṣṭhāna power of this mudrā and mantra, all the offerings become true and real, just like practising extensive great offerings in the Land of Sukhāvatī.

12. Establishing HRĪḤ on the Platform

Next, visualise the letter HRĪḤ in the centre of the platform, emitting great beams of light, just like the colour of red sphaṭika, illuminating the worlds of the ten directions. Of those sentient beings who encounter that light, none does not have their hindrances due to faults eliminated.

13. Transforming this world into Sukhāvatī

Next, form the tathāgatamuṣṭi [tathāgata-fist] mudrā: form a fist with the four fingers of the left hand, pointing the thumb upwards; with the right hand, form a vajramuṣṭi [vajra-fist], and grasp the nail of the left thumb. Seal the earth with this mudrā, and recite the adhiṣṭhāna mantra seven times, transforming this world. The tathāgatamuṣṭi mantra goes:


By forming this mudrā and reciting this mantra of the might of adhiṣṭhāna, this cosmos of three thousand great thousand worlds is transformed into the Land of Sukhāvatī, with the earth made of the seven jewels, where the waters, birds, and trees all expound the sound of the Dharma, and with innumerable adornments just as in the sūtras. Then, recite the following gāthā:

By the power of my merits,
The power of the tathāgatas' adhiṣṭhāna,
And by the power of the dharma-realm,
May Sukhāvatī-kṣetra be established. 

Practitioners who repeatedly practise this meditation will, in their present lives, always see within their meditations the Land of Sukhāvatī, with Amitāyus Tathāgata in the great assembly of bodhisattvas, hear the recitation of innumerable sūtras, and at the final moments of their lives, will have undistracted minds and will manifest samādhi. In a kṣaṇa [moment], they will instantly be born in that land, born, transformed on a lotus flower, realising the rank of a bodhisattva.

14. Inviting the Tathāgata and Saṅgha

Next, form the ratnaratha [jewelled chariot] mudrā: mutually interlock the two hands, right over left, then, the two index fingers lean against each other, touch the lower joint of the two index fingers with the two thumbs to complete it. The ratha- [chariot-] dispatching mantra goes:

OṂ turu turu HŪṂ!

By forming this mudrā, visualise a ratha adorned with the seven jewels going to the Land of Sukhāvatī, inviting Amitāyus Tathāgata together with his saṅgha of bodhisattvas to board this ratha. Without dispersing this mudrā, move the tips of the two middle fingers towards one's body with the two thumbs, and then recite the ratha mantra, saying:

namas tryadhvikānāṃ tathāgatānāṃ OṂ vajrāgny ākarṣaya SVĀHĀ!

Then, visualise the ratha coming to the bodhimaṇḍa, floating in the air.

Next, form the āryasaṅgha [assembly of noble ones] invitation mudrā: interlock the two hands inwardly, right over left, and form a fist, put the palms together, and bend the left thumb inside the firsts, and bend the right thumb [outside] like a hook, inclined towards one's body in invitation. Then, recite the mantra for welcoming, saying:

OṂ arolik ehy ehi SVĀHĀ!

By forming this mudrā and reciting this mantra of respectful invitation, Amitāyus Tathāgata, not abandoning his compassionate vow, comes to this place of samādhi which has been transformed into a Pure Land bodhimaṇḍa, together with the saṅgha of an innumerable koṭis of great bodhisattvas, who accept offerings from the practitioner, quickly enabling them to accomplish the attainment of the best of the best.

15. Creating an Exclusionary Boundary

Next, form the Hayagrīva Avalokiteśvara Bodhisattva Mudrā: to create an exclusion boundary [for māras], place the two hands in añjali, bend the two index fingers and two middle fingers into the palm, so that they are back-to-back,  and in parallel, slightly bend the two thumbs without letting them touch the index fingers to complete it. Then, recite the Hayagrīva Vidyārāja mantra, saying:

OṂ amṛtodbhava HŪṂ PHAṬ SVĀHĀ!

Recite it three times, then encircle [the body] with the mudrā counter-clockwise three times to exclude all māras, so they all scatter in retreat. Then, encircle [the body] with the mudrā clockwise three times to establish a great firm boundary.

16. Establishing a Vajra Net in the Zenith

Next, form the vajrapañjara [vajra-net] mudrā: following the procedure for the prior earth boundary mudrā, touch the lower joint of the two index fingers with the two thumbs to complete it. Recite the mantra three times, and while reciting, place the mudrā above your head and rotate it clockwise to disperse it. The pañjara mantra goes:

OṂ visphurād rakṣa vajra pañjara HŪṂ PHAṬ!

By forming this mudrā and reciting this mantra of the power of adhiṣṭhāna, you establish a firm vajra net veiling the zenith direction, so that the devas up to the paranirmitavaśavartin [heavens] cannot cross through it and give rise to obstacles, and the practitioner's body and mind will find peace and comfort, and they will easily accomplish samādhi.

17. Establishing a Vajra Fire Court Boundary

Next, form the vajra fire court boundary mudrā: place the palm of the left hand against the back of the right hand so that they touch, and extend the two thumbs to complete it. Visualise an immeasurable blazing fire emerging from the mudrā, and encircle [the body] with the mudrā clockwise three times; then, a ring of burning fire appears outside of the vajra fence, thus forming a firm and pure great fire court boundary. The fire court mantra goes:

OṂ asamāgni HŪṂ PHAṬ!

18. Perfumed Argha Water Offering

Next, form the offering purfumed argha water mudrā: offer the argha vessel with two hands in front of your forehead and offer it, reciting the mantra three times, visualising that one is washing the feet of the ārya saṅgha. The argha mantra goes:

namaḥ samantabuddhānāṃ gagana samāsama SVĀHĀ!

By offering up the perfumed argha water offering, the practitioner's three karmas are purified, all their afflictions and defilements from faults are washed away, and from the stages of resolute practice up to the ten stages and the stage of a tathāgata,  when one would realise the pāramitās of the stages, one obtains the waters of the ambrosial Dharma of all tathāgatas, and receives them in abhiṣeka.

19. Establishing the Lotus Seat

Next, form the kamalāsana [lotus seat] mudrā: following the procedure for the lotus-group samaya mudrā, slightly bend the fingers to form a full circle and complete it. After forming this mudrā, visualise innumerable vajra-lotus flowers spreading out from the mudrā throughout this Land of Sukhāvatī, Amitāyus Tathāgata and the entire ārya saṅgha of great bodhisattvas each take their seats upon these vajra lotus flowers. The kamalāsana mantra goes:

OṂ kamala SVĀHĀ!

By forming the kamalāsana mudrā and reciting the adhiṣṭhāna mantra, the practitioner attains the fulfilment of the ten stages, will obtain a vajra seat, and have their three karmas become firm just like a vajra.

20. The Extensive Amoghamaṇi Offering

Next, form the extensive amoghamaṇi [unfailing wish-fulfilling gem] offering mudrā: with two hands form vajrāñjali, and bend the two index fingers like the shape of a jewel, both thumbs are extended to complete it. Recite the extensive amoghamaṇi offering dhāraṇī as follows:

OṂ amoghapūjā maṇipadmavajre tathāgatavilokite samantaprasara HŪṂ!

Reciting this extensive amoghamaṇi offering dhāraṇī just three times, one immediately makes innumerable extensive offerings rain down in the assembly of Amitāyus Tathāgata and as many lands as dust motes, namely, various kinds of oceans of clouds of aromatic powders, various kinds of oceans of clouds of flower garlands, various kinds of oceans of clouds of burning incense, various kinds of oceans of clouds of divine and subtle drink and food, various kinds of oceans of clouds of divine and subtle vestments, various kinds of oceans of clouds of illuminations from the light of maṇis, various kinds of oceans of clouds of flags, banners, jewelled banners, and jewelled canopies, and various kinds of oceans of clouds of divine and subtle music; these offerings become true and real extensive great offerings for the buddhas and bodhisattva assemblies, all because of forming this mudrā and reciting this offering mantra. One gains an immeasurable heap of merit, just as limitless as the sky, and life after life, one will always be born in a transformed birth with the five supernormal powers upon a lotus flower in the great assemblies of all tathāgatas, manifesting one's body into a hundred koṭis, being able to rescue suffering sentient beings from the defiled world and benefit them all with calm tranquillity. In the present life, one will receive immeasurable fruit; in the future, one will attain birth in the Pure Land.

21. The Stotra in Praise of Amitāyus Tathāgata

Next, one should settle the mind and concentrate on a single object, visualising Amitāyus Tathāgata clearly and distinctly as if he were before one's very eyes, endowed with the major and minor marks, together with his innumerable followers and his land. With each thought of joyful aspiration, one attains the accomplishment of samādhi. Sincerely, devoutly, and single-mindedly aspiring to be born in that land, the mind does not stray from this object but has continuity from thought to thought. Then, recite the stotra in praise of Amitāyus Tathāgata three times. The stotra goes:

namo 'mitābhāya, namo 'mitāyuṣe, namo namo 'cintyaguṇākarātmane, namo 'mitābhāya jināya, te mune, sukhavatīn yāmi tavānukampya, sukhāvatīṃ kanakavicitrakānanāṃ, manoramāṃ sugatasutair alaṃkṛtāṃ, tavāśrayāt prathitaguṇasya dhīmataḥ, prayāmi tāṃ bahuguṇaratnasaṃcayāṃ!
[Translation: Homage to Amitābha! Homage to Amitāyus! Homage, homage to the one of a multitude of inconceivable virtues! Homage to Amitābha, the Jina, the Muni! I proceed to Sukhāvatī by your compassion—Sukhāvatī, with its various golden forests, delighting to the mind, adorned by sons of the Sugata! To take refuge in your wisdom, with established virtues, I go forth to that accumulation of many virtuous jewels!]

Practitioners who three times daily continue to recite this stotra of praise of the Buddha's merits will arouse the compassionate vow of Amitāyus Tathāgata without abandonment; his immeasurable light will shine on the practitioner, and all their karmic hindrances and heavy faults will be extinguished. Their bodies and minds will attain peace and comfort, and they will be quiescent and joyful, and they will be able to sit and recite for long periods without giving rise to fatigue, quickly attaining samādhi and a pure mind.

22. The Visualisation of Avalokiteśvara Bodhisattva

Then, entering the samādhi of visualisation of Avalokiteśvara Bodhisattva, close your eyes and clear your mind. Observe their own body as entirely pure and white, just as if there were a pure moon disc facing upwards at your heart. Upon this pure moon, visualise the letter HRĪḤ, emitting a great light. This letter transforms into an eight-petaled lotus flower, and upon this lotus flower is Avalokiteśvara Bodhisattva, seen clearly with the major and minor marks; in his left hand, he holds a lotus flower and his right hand is open, like unfurled petals. This bodhisattva contemplates: 

All sentient beings are endowed with this lotus flower of awakening within their bodies, a pure dharma-realm without any defiled afflictions.

On each of the eight petals of this lotus flower, there is a tathāgata seated in paryaṅkabandha, each facing Avalokiteśvara Bodhisattva, radiating a circular halo, their bodies golden in colour, with dazzling brilliance. Then, visualising this eight-petaled lotus flower gradually expanding to fill all of space, contemplate: 

May this awakened flower illuminate the ocean assembly of tathāgatas, and may it become an extensive offering. 

If your mind remains steady in this meditation, you will deeply arouse compassion for limitless sentient beings. Anyone illuminated by that awakened flower will be entirely liberated from their suffering and afflictions and become equal to Avalokiteśvara Bodhisattva. Then, visualising the lotus flower gradually shrinking back to the size of one's own body, form the Avalokiteśvara Bodhisattva mudrā to give adhiṣṭhāna to the four points, namely, the heart, forehead, throat, and crown. For this mudrā, the two hands are clasped together with the fingers outside, the two index fingers stand together, like the petals of lotus flowers, and the two thumbs are lined up and extended to complete it. Then, recite the Avalokiteśvara Bodhisattva mantra, saying:

OṂ vajradharma HRĪḤ!

By forming this mudrā and reciting this mantra of adhiṣṭhāna, one's own body and that of Avalokiteśvara Bodhisattva do not have any difference.

22. The Amitāyus Tathāgata Root Dhāraṇī

Next, form the Amitāyus Tathāgata root mudrā: cross the two hands outwardly and make fists, raise the two middle fingers so that the tips support each other, like the shape of lotus flower petals. After forming this mudrā, recite the Amitāyus Tathāgata [root] dhāraṇī seven times and disperse the mudrā above your head. The Amitāyus Tathāgata root dhāraṇī goes:

namo ratnatrayāya namaḥ āryāmitābhāya tathāgatāyārhate samyaksambuddhāya tad yathā: OṂ amṛte amṛtodbhave amṛtasambhave amṛtagarbhe amṛtasiddhe amṛtateje amṛtavikrānte amṛtavikrāntagāmine amṛtagaganakịrtikare amṛtadundubhisvare sarvārthasādhane sarvakarmakleśakṣayaṃkare SVĀHĀ!'

Just one recitation of this Amitāyus Tathāgata dhāraṇī will eliminate, in this body, the faults of the ten unwholesome [actions], the four grave [pārājikas], and the five anantarya deeds, completely extinguishing all karmic hindrances. If a bhikṣu or bhikṣuṇī has committed a pārājika offence, after reciting this seven times, their set of precepts is then returned to purity. Reciting it a full ten thousand times will bring about the attainment of non-forgetfulness of bodhicitta and samādhi, and their bodhicitta will manifest within their bodies immaculate and perfectly clear, just like the pure moon. At the time of death, they will see Amitāyus Tathāgata, together with his assembly of his innumerable koṭis of bodhisattvas surrounding him, coming to welcome the practitioner, peacefully comforting their body and mind, leading them to be born in the Land of Sukhāvatī, born in the highest grade of the highest rank, realising the stage of a bodhisattva. 

23. The Thousand-Revolution Mālā Adhiṣṭhāna Mantra

Then, gently take up a lotus seed mālā in the hand, hold the beads in two hands in añjali in the shape of a half-opened lotus flower, and recite the thousand-revolution mālā adhiṣṭhāna mantra seven times. The mantra goes:

OṂ vajraguhyajāpasamaye HŪṂ!

After this adhiṣṭhāna, hold the mālā on top of your head, giving rise to the following vow in your mind: 

May all sentient beings quickly attain their extraordinarily superior great vows, whether worldly or supraworldly.

And with the two hands held at the heart, open each of your five fingers like a half-opened lotus, with the left hand holding the mālā and the thumb of the right hand moving the beads, reciting the [root] dhāraṇī once [for each], adjusting the voice and advancing one bead with the recitation of SVĀHĀ. The recitation should be neither too slow nor too fast, neither too high nor too low, and one should not shout out the letters of the mantra but should make each one clear and distinct. Visualise the Pure Land created by this samādhi and the invited Amitāyus Buddha perfectly complete with the major and minor marks in the centre of the platform. Keep this visualisation clear and distinct, concentrate and recite without any interruption, far removed from distractions. In one sitting, complete either a hundred or a thousand recitations; if less than one hundred and eight are performed, then it is incomplete, and one's aspiration will be foiled. Due to the adhiṣṭhāna of Amitāyus Tathāgata, one's body and mind become pure, and one will constantly see Amitāyus Tathāgata whether one's eyes are open or closed. In meditation, one will hear the deeply profound sublime Dharma. With each and every letter and each and every phrase, one will awaken to innumerable samādhi doors, innumerable dhāraṇī doors, and innumerable liberation doors. One's body becomes equal to that of Avalokiteśvara Bodhisattva, and one will quickly be able to reach that land. Once the recitations are complete, hold the mālā on top of your head and arouse the following aspiration, saying: 

May all sentient beings attain birth in the Land of Sukhāvatī, see the Buddha, hear the Dharma, and quickly realise unexcelled bodhi.

24. The Bodhicitta Contemplation and Emergence of Sukhāvatī

Next, form the dhyāna mudrā, and visualise bodhicitta within your body, immaculate and perfectly clear, just like the full moon. Then, make this contemplation: 

The essence of bodhicitta is separate from all things, free from the aggregates, realms, and fields, and free from subject and object; as dharmas are without a self, they are all fundamentally equal, the mind is originally unarisen, and its self-existence is emptiness, because of the emptiness of self-existence.

Upon the perfectly complete and pure moon disc, visualise the letter gate HRĪḤ, with immeasurable light emitting from that letter, and in each and every ray of light, one sees the Land of Sukhāvatī emerge, thronging with the ārya saṅgha and Amitāyus Buddha (just as in the Contemplation Sūtra).

25. The Procedure for Leaving the Bodhimaṇḍa

After reciting and cultivating this samādhi, if you wish to leave the bodhimaṇḍa, you should form the mudrā of the iṣṭadevatā, recite the root dhāraṇī seven times, disperse the mudrā above your head, and recite the praise stotra mantra. After reciting the praise stotra mantra,  form the universal offering mudrā and recite the extensive amoghamaṇi offering dhāraṇī. Then, offer up argha and express the aspiration that you hold in your mind, saying to the ārya saṅgha: 

May the āryas fulfil my aspiration without forsaking their original vows.

After these recitations, offerings, and the arousal of aspiration, form the fire court mudrā as before, and encircling oneself counter-clockwise, dissolve the previously established boundary. Then, form the ratnaratha mudrā, and with the two thumbs facing outward, open the tips of the two middle fingers and recite the root mantra to send off the ārya saṅgha respectfully. Next, form the samaya mudrās of the three groups, reciting the mantras three times for each. Then, form the body-protecting armour mudrā, sealing your body at the five points. Then, sincerely and devoutly make your aspiration and worship the Buddha before the iṣṭadevatā, following which you may leave the bodhimaṇḍa and proceed at will.

26. Further Practices Outside of the Bodhimaṇḍa

You should regularly recite the Amitāyus Sūtra, avoid conceit in your aspiration, vigorously strive in your recitation, sealing buddhas, sealing stūpas, joyfully practising dāna, cultivate and uphold the precepts, patience, diligence, meditation, and wisdom. Cultivate wholesome qualities and dedicate them all, offering the [merit] to all sentient beings, so they may together be born in the Pure Land, in the highest grade of the highest rank, realising the stage of joy, and obtaining a vyākaraṇa of their attainment of unexcelled bodhi.

27. The Heart Mantras of Amitāyus Tathāgata

The heart mantra of Amitāyus Tathāgata goes:

OṂ lokeśvararāja HRĪḤ!

One repetition of this mantra is equal to one recitation of the Amita Sūtra, or an ineffable number of recitations; as it is secret and superior, it breaks through grave obstacles and difficulties (its details cannot be fully described). [The more usual heart mantra of Amitāyus Tathāgata goes:]

OṂ amṛta teje hara HŪṂ!

This Dharma method is common to all the lotus-group. [This is] the recitation Dharma method of Amitāyus Tathāgata. Upon reciting a full ten thousand times, one is certain to see Amita Tathāgata, and upon death, one is certain to be born in the Land of Sukhāvatī.

28. The Aspiration Arousal Dhāraṇī of Amitāyus Tathāgata

The aspiration arousal dhāraṇī of Amitāyus Tathāgata goes:

[Uncertain:] "'kārikā saṃskṛtā: niryā! niruktam nirṇiktatu vimokṣatantrakam mama ca sucaritena yā sarva[sa]ttvāḥ paramasukhena sukhāvatīṃ prayantu!'"
[Translation: "'Sanskrit verse: Go forth! May this liberative tantra purify, and may all beings, by my good practice, go forth to Sukhāvatī with the highest bliss.'"]

Translator's note:This ritual manual (vidhi) translated by Amoghavajra provides a mantrayāna method for attaining birth in Sukhāvatī. It appears to utilise mantras and ritual procedures found in other texts for other deities, but they are here focused on Amitāyus (most of the mantras can be found in Yukio Hatta's Shingon Jiten (1985)). It is presented here for reading purposes, but the practice of mantrayāna should be undertaken only with the guidance of a qualified teacher (as specified in this manual). As many esoteric concepts and ritual ideas are easily misunderstood if translated into English, and the target audience here is not the general public readership, a large portion of the ritual and technical vocabulary has been left untranslated and is best interpreted with the aid of supplementary material or guidance from a teacher. The final aspiration arousal dhāraṇī presented me with some trouble. No parallels could be found, so my transcription and translation are, therefore, entirely tentative. However, the general idea is evident from the more apparent words: it is a verse of aspiration for the birth of all beings in Sukhāvatī. The structure is of the vidhi clear: the practitioner establishes the ritual space, purifies, empowers (adhiṣṭhāna) it, protects it with boundaries, invites the Buddha and his saṅgha, and then dismisses them. It is noteworthy that boundaries are created all around the place of worship (bodhimaṇḍa) but not the zenith until the Tathāgata and his saṅgha have been invited by ratha (chariot). Throughout, various benefits accrue to the practitioner and other sentient beings. There is no instruction for visualising Amitāyus, and Mahāsthamaprāpta is not named in this vidhi. Avalokiteśvara appears to have an exceptionally heightened role in this vidhi, and one effect of its practice is that the practitioner's body becomes equal to that of Avalokiteśvara. For the visualisation of Sukhāvatī, the reader of the vidhi is directed to the Contemplation Sūtra (T365) and to recite the Amitāyus Sūtra (T360-T364). Some descriptions within the text, particularly in section 13, appear to echo descriptions found in those two texts.As a word of dedication, this translation was requested and is offered to Abhayajñāna.