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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