The Amitabha Sutra

The Amitabha Sutra, or amidakyō (阿弥陀経) is the shortest of three Buddhist texts, or sutras, that are considered the core teachings of the Pure Land Buddhist path. Many other sutras in the Mahayana tradition mention Amitabha and the Pure Land, but only in passing, or as an ancillary teaching. The Amitabha Sutra, being one of the three “Pure Land sutras” however, focuses squarely on the Buddha of Infinite Light (Amitabha) and the Pure Land. As the shortest of the three, it is frequently used in Buddhist liturgy and chanting, as well as for memorial services in East Asia and beyond.

While short, and readable within 10 minutes, the sutra is frequently discussed in Buddhist circles (not just Pure Land ones) for its profound teachings. Venerable Buddhist masters of the past wrote extensive commentaries on it, while many Buddhist temples across Asia make it an important text in their liturgy. The sutra is presented here as taken from a few sources: the JSRI website but with the Japanese romanization modified from Nihon-shiki style to Hepburn-style for improved readability, this helpful website by Kōzenji Temple, and with text from Wikisource online. Also I have posted a couple translations at the bottom. I also used the Jodo Shu prayer book I brought back from Kamakura in 2011 to help verify the readings of certain characters. As far as I can tell, this text below should be accurate and error-free (I hope).

To generate this huge text, I used a simple Perl script to parse the romanized text into HTML format, copy/paste it into the blog, then filled in the Classical Chinese characters by hand. As of writing, this process of filling the Chinese text is ongoing.

Also, I left capitol letters in places to denote where the text traditionally breaks into paragraphs.

Can’t read the characters?

If you’re having trouble reading the Kanji characters, you might have one or two problems with your computer:

  • Your computer may not have Asian fonts installed. In Windows you have to enable UTF8 and East Asian fonts under the Control Panel. Modern Mac computers are fully compatible already.
  • Your browser may be assuming the wrong character set. If you use a relatively modern browser and use UTF8 as character set, you should be able to read fine. IE, Firefox and Safari all read this fine as far as I can tell.

Even if not, then you can still use the romanized characters.

Disclaimer and Legal Info

I hereby release this into the public domain. Please use it as you see fit, but if you attribute it to this site, greatly appreciated. Also, please bear in mind this is an amateur work, and should not be taken too seriously.

Dedication

I dedicate this effort to all sentient beings everywhere. May all beings be well, may they all be reborn in the Pure Land, and may they all attain perfect peace.

Namu Amida Butsu

The Buddha Preaches the Amitabha Sutra
       
Bus- setsu A mi da kyo        
Yo ze ga mon ichi ji butsu zai sha e
koku gi ju gik- ko doku on yo dai bi
ku shu sen ni hyaku go juu nin ku kai
ze dai a ra kan shu sho chi shiki cho
ro sha ri hotsu ma ka mo ken ren ma
ka ka sho ma ka ka sen nen ma ka
ku chi ra ri ha da shu ri han da
ka nan da a nan da ra go ra kyo
bon ha dai bin zu ru ha ra da ka
ru da i ma ka ko hin na ha ku
ra a nu ru da nyo ze to sho dai
de shi byo sho bo satsu ma ka satsu mon
ju shi ri ho o ji a i ta bo
satsu ken da ka dai bo satsu jo sho jin
bo satsu yo nyo ze to sho dai bo satsu
gyu shaku dai kan nin to mu ryo sho ten
dai shu ku Ni ji butsu go cho ro sha
西
ri hotsu ju ze sai ho ka ju man noku
butsu do u se kai myo watsu goku raku go
do u butsu go a mi da kon gen zai
sep po sha ri hotsu hi do ga ko myo
i goku raku go koku shu jo mu u shu
ku tan ju sho raku ko myo goku raku u
sha ri hotsu goku ra koku do shichi ju ran
jun shichi ju ra mou shichi ju go ju kai
ze shi hou shu so in yo ze ko hi
koku myo watsu goku raku U sha ri hotsu goku
ra koku do u shi po chi ha ku doku
滿
sui ju man go chu chi te ju ni kon
sha fu ji shi hen kai do kon gon ru
ri ha ri go jo jo u ro kaku yaku
i kon gon ru ri ha ri sha ko shaku
shu men ou ni gon jiki shi chi chu ren
ge dai nyo sha ri sho shiki sho ko o
shiki o ko shaku shiki sha ko byaku shiki bya
ko mi myo ko ketsu sha ri hotsu goku ra
koku do jo ju nyo ze ku doku sho gon
U sha ri hotsu hi bu koku do jo sa
ten gaku o go ni ji chu ya roku ji
ni u man da ra ke go koku shu jo
jo i sho tan kaku i e koku jo shu
nyo ke ku yo ta ho ju man oku butsu
soku i jiki ji gen to hon goku bon jiki
kyo gyo sha ri hotsu goku ra koku do jo
ju nyo ze ku doku sho gon Bu shi sha
ri hotsu hi koku jo u shu ju kim yo
za shiki shi cho bya ko ku jaku o mu
sha ri ka ryo bin ga gu myo shi cho
ze sho shu cho chu ya roku ji shutsu wa
ge on go on en cho go kon go riki
shichi bo dai bun ha sho do bun nyo ze
to ho go do shu jo mon ze on ni
kai shitsu nen butsu nen pon en so sha ri
hotsu nyo motsu i shi cho jitsu ze zai ho
sho sho sho i sha ga hi bu koku do
mu san naku shu sha ri hotsu go bu koku
do sho mu san aku do shin myo ga kyo
u jitsu ze sho shu cho kai ze a mi
da butsu yoku ryo ho on sen ru hen ge
sho sa sha ri hotsu hi bu koku do mi
fu sui do sho ho go ju gyu ho ra
mo shutsu mi myo on hi nyo hyaku sen ju
gaku do ji ku sa mon ze on sha kai
ji nen sho nen butsu nen po nen so shi
shin sha ri hotsu go bu koku do jo ju
nyo ze ku doku sho gon Sha ri hotsu o
nyo i un ga hi butsu ga ko go a
mi da sha ri hotsu hi bu ko myo mu
ryo sho ji po koku mu sho sho ge ze
ko go i a mi da u sha ri hotsu
hi butsu ju myo gyu go nin min mu ryo
mu hen a so gi ko ko myo a mi
da sha ri hotsu a mi da butsu jo butsu
i rai o kon ji ko u sha ri hotsu
hi butsu u mu ryo mu hen sho mon de
shi kai a ra kan hi ze san ju shi
sho no chi sho bo sa shu yaku bu nyo
ze sha ri hotsu hi bu koku do jo ju
nyo ze ku doku sho gon U sha ri hotsu
goku ra koku do shu jo sho ja kai ze
a bi ba chi go chu ta u i sho
fu sho go shu jin ta hi ze san ju
sho no chi shi tan ka i mu ryo mu
hen a so gi ko setsu sha ri hotsu shu
jo mon ja o ton hotsu gan gan sho hi
koku sho i sha ga toku yo nyo ze sho
jo ze nin ku ye i sho sha ri hotsu
fu ka i sho zen gon fuku toku i nen
toku sho hi koku Sha ri hotsu nyaku u zen
nan shi zen nyo nin mon u a mi da
butsu shu ji myo go nyaku ichi nichi nyaku ni
nichi nyaku san nichi nyaku shi nichi nyaku gon nichi
nyaku roku nichi nyaku shichi nichi i shin fu ran
gon in rin myo ju ji a mi da butsu
yo sho sho ju gen zai go zen ze nin
ju ji shin pu ten do soku toku o jo
a mi da butsu go kura koku do sha ri
hotsu ga ken ze ri ko se shi gon nyaku
fu shu jo mon ze se sha o to hotsu
gan sho hi koku do Sha ri hotsu nyo ga
kon ja san dan a mi da butsu fu ka
shi gi ku doku to bo yaku u a shuku
bi butsu shu mi so butsu dai shu mi butsu
shu mi ko butsu myo on butsu nyo ze to
go ga sha shu sho butsu kaku o go koku
shu ko jo ze so hen bu san zen dai
sen se kai setsu jo jitsu gon nyo to shu
jo to shin ze sho san fu ka shi gi
ku doku is sai sho butsu sho gon en gyo
Sha ri hotsu nan bo se kai u nichi ga
to butsu myo mon ko butsu dai en ken butsu
shu mi to butsu mu ryo sho jin butsu nyo
ze to go ga sha shu sho butsu kaku o
go koku shu ko jo ze so hen bu san
zen dai sen se kai setsu jo jitsu gon nyo
to shu jo to shin ze sho san bu ka
shi gi ku doku i sai sho butsu sho go
西
nen gyo Sha ri hotsu sai ho se kai u
mu ryo ju butsu mu ryo so butsu mu ryo
do butsu dai ko butsu dai myo butsu ho so
butsu jo ko butsu nyo ze to go ga sha
shu sho butsu kaku o go koku shu ko jo
zes- so hen pu san zen dai sen se kai
setsu jo jitsu gon nyo to shu jo to shin
ze sho san bu ka shi gi ku doku is
-sai sho butsu sho go nen gyo Sha ri hotsu
ho po se kai u en ken butsu sai sho
on butsu nan so butsu ni sho butsu mo myo
butsu nyo ze to go ga sha shu sho butsu
kaku o go koku shu ko jo ze so hen
bu san zen dai sen se kai setsu jo jitsu
gon nyo to shu jo to shin ze sho san
bu ka shi gi ku doku i sai sho butsu
sho go nen gyo Sha ri hotsu ge ho se
kai u shi shi butsu myo mon butsu myo ko
butsu datsu ma butsu ho do butsu ji ho butsu
nyo ze to go ga sha shu sho butsu kaku
o go koku shu ko jo ze so hen bu
san zen dai sen se kai setsu jo jitsu gon
nyo to shu jo to shin ze sho san bu
ka shi gi ku doku i sai sho butsu sho
go nen gyo Sha ri hotsu jo ho se kai
宿
u bon non butsu shuku o butsu ko jo butsu
ko ko butsu dai en ken butsu za shiki ho
ke gon shin butsu sha ra ju o butsu ho
ke toku butsu ken i sai gi butsu nyo shu
mi sen butsu nyo ze to go ga sha shu
sho butsu kaku o go koku shu ko jo ze
so hen bu san zen dai sen se kai setsu
jo jitsu gon nyo to shu jo to shin ze
sho san bu ka shi gi ku doku i sai
sho butsu sho go nen gyo Sha ri hotsu o
nyo i un ga ga ko myo i i sai
sho butsu sho go nen gyo sha ri hotsu nyaku
u zen nan shi zen nyo nin mon ze sho
butsu sho setsu myo gyu kyo myo sha ze sho
zen nan shi zen nyo nin kai i i sai
退
sho butsu gu sho go nen kai toku fu tai
ten o an oku ta ra san myaku san bo
dai ze ko sha ri hotsu nyo to kai to
shin ju ga go gi sho bu sho setsu sha
ri hotsu nyaku u nin i hotsu gan kon botsu
gan to hotsu gan yoku sho a mi da bu
退
koku sha ze sho nin to kai toku fu tai
ten o an oku ta ra san myaku san bo
dai o hi koku do nyaku i sho nya kon
jo nyaku to jo ze ko sha ri hotsu sho
zen nan shi zen nyo ni nyaku u shin ja
o to hotsu gan sho hi koku do Sha ri
hotsu nyo ga kon ja sho san sho butsu fu
ka shi gi ku doku hi sho bu to yaku
sho setsu ga fu ka shi gi ku doku ni
sa ze gon sha ka mu ni butsu no i
jin nan ke u shi ji no o sha ba
koku do go joku aku se ko joku ken joku
bon no joku shu jo joku myo joku chu toku
a noku ta ra san myaku san bo dai i
sho shu jo setsu ze i sai se ken nan
shin shi ho sha ri hotsu to chi ga o
go joku aku se gyo shin an ji toku a
noku ta ra san myaku san bo dai i i
sai se ken se shin an shin shi ho ze
i jin nan bu se shi kyo i sha ri
hotsu gyu sho bi ku i sai se ken ten
nin a shu ra to mon bu sho setsu kan
gi shin ju sa rai ni ko bu setsu a
             
mi da kyo              

Translation

I recommend a couple different translations for reference:

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