Among the complex mapping of worlds and the cosmic hierarchy of Buddhas, bodhisattvas and arhats of Buddhism mahayana, Surely we must save a special place for The paradise of Amitabha and its pure land, the Western Paradise or Sukhavati. Between the different schools of Buddhism, it is difficult to find a more Gentile and a more loving than the of the Tierra Pura de Amitabha, the Buddha of infinite light.
Amitabha (or amide as it is known in Japan), According to the Sukhāvatīvyūha Sūtra, was a King called Dharmakara, who in his last life renounced his throne and made lighting following the dharma. When you wake up, Amitabha-Dharmakara made vows to help the other living beings to achieve the State of liberation, including access to paradise to all who sincerely wish to do so. The source of its merits, Amitabha was raining flowers and emanated a pure land, a Buddha-field, What is known as budaksetra, a radiant dimension of happiness, which is support the life of the beings that are delivered to his goodness. This is also known as Amitabha, the Buddha of love and compassion, having followed the via regia of the bodhisattva of putting the realization of all beings rather than his own glory.
One of the vows of Amitabha promises that any person who repeats his name you will have access to the Paradise of the West. This is what is known as the nembutsu (nianfo in Japanese). The formula is to tell:
Namo Amitābhāya. (in sansrcito: I love to Amitabha Buddha or adore the Luz Infnita), o Namu Amida Butsu (in Japanese: I love the Amida Buddha)
It should be remembered that Buddhism is a philosophy of merit which each Act, every thought and every intention are the seeds of what will be. So it is not very logical to think that we can achieve salvation by repeating the nembutsu automatically, looking for a miracle. Says Manly P. Hall in his book Western Paradise of Amitabha:
“There is little merit in merely repeating these words. The formula should cause a serene and meditative experience through which reveal the meaning of this mystical greeting. There must be a total acceptance of the power of Amitabha. Must be known as an image that lives inside, continuously enhanced by the contemplative procedure. For fans of the power of Amitabha, the nembutsu is a prayer which makes salvation Lotus seed to fall at the West Paradise pool, and which assures the believer to enter the pure land of Amitabha”.
The nembutsu is a powerful technique of meditation and purification, that he even came to be banned in Kyoto in the century 13, When the founder of the school of the pure land in Japan, Honen, He was exiled. Buddhism says that Amitabha exists within us, his infinite light is the consciousness in which we we our existence, our conscience in its pure State, and this is why it is not a divine intercession, but a process of identification with our own nature, perceive the internal reality which is the illuminated essence of the universe. New Manly P. Hall:
"Whenever a person recites the 'Namu Amida Butsu' strengthens the memory of salvation within himself. This is why Amitabha is forced to declare that those who say his name with the nambutsu are rescued from the illusion and the sin of the world and are welcomed to his pure land. Life, death, the good and the evil, hope and fear, they belong to the sensory world, with its countless regions of suffering, but the nembutsu says the mystery of eternal light through which all the shadows are eradicated".
The strength of this formula has to do with the "budanusmrti", Remembrance of the Buddha. This is, the memory of our Buddhahood; more than a magical operation, This prayer is a technique for perceiving reality: We already are with Amitabha in the pure land, among the lotuses of light and gem trees, I have already awakened. In this sense, the nembutsu is a heuristic tool not distinct from that taught Plato with the anamnesis: to know is to remind. Remembering Amitabha saying his name is a way to recognize us.
Finally I want to mention what seems to me the most beautiful aspect of the sotierologia of Amitabha. And if for some, it is difficult to believe in paradise and finding faith in a heavenly world, at least you can look like a fairy tale, as a beautiful legend this last story. In the various traditions of the pure land, It is said that you one time that a person has an act of sincere kindness, that your heart is born the desire to help others and awaken, at that time, unfailingly, a seed of a Lotus in the paradise springs and falls in the water. The Lotus seed will bloom a future Buddha. In the words of Manly P. Hall:
“The most important symbol of Buddhism is the Lotus or padma, which has been associated with the philosophy from Gautama. Lotus means the development of the Buddha-consciousness in all living beings. Grows in the land of the original credit, the first noble action of a dedicated soul. Grows through the dark earth and slime of the illusion, always looking for the Sun, and hatching is free of all gloomy atmosphere Immaculate”.
The paradise of Amitabha
On the death of, the devotee waiting the appearance of Amitabha, accompanied by the boddhisatvas Kannon and Seishi. If in your life have sown sufficient merit, your soul will be carried upon a Lotus pedestal to the blessed confines of the West Paradise.