The Buddha Amitabha is revered in China, Japan, Korea and Tibet. According to tradition the Buddha resides in the Pure Land called Sukhavati. Amitabha is said to be the Lord of the Lotus family and is the pure expression of the wisdom of discriminating awareness, which transmutes the poison of attachment and desire. Along with the other Buddhas of the Lotus family, Amitabha supports the initiate’s gradual spiritual unfolding and his enlightenment.
The King Who Became a Monk
The history of Amitabha identifies a king many ages ago who became a monk with the name Dharmakara. Buddhist tradition finds the monk taking 48 vows to sustain other beings on their path to enlightenment. One important vow was to refuse his own personal salvation until he gained the power to offer any being that remembered his name upon death to be reborn in the Pure Land. Dharmakara is said to have fulfilled this vow, thereby becoming the Buddha Amitabha and Ruler of the Pure Land, Sukhavati. It is said that the being who is reborn in this land will not only achieve enlightenment, but also will not be required to reincarnate.
Although Amitabha is occasionally depicted in the patched saffron robes of a monk, most often he is depicted as red in color. He is also occasionally shown with his wisdom consort, Gokarmo, who embodies the pure element of fire. Traditionally however, Amitabha’s is one dewaqq of a Buddha seated in the center of a lotus blossom, symbolizing spiritual unfoldment, purity, the true nature of being realized through enlightenment and compassion. He sits in full lotus posture and resting his two hands in his lap. He is portrayed as being in deep meditation and holding a begging bowl of nectar. His Buddhist mantra is made up of the symbolic syllables OM AMI DEWA HRIH.
A Story of Amitabha’s Mantra The following story is told in Jonathon Landaw’s Images of Englightenment: Tibetan Art in Practice (Snow Lion Publications, 1994).
A learned monk came across an old woman reciting the mantra of Amitabha as she walked along. “Where are you going?” he asked her, “to Sukhavati,” was the reply. “Then tell me, Granny,” said the monk in a mocking tone, “where is Sukhavati?” The old woman pointed to her heart and the monk, touched by this simple woman’s understanding, bowed to her in respect.
Amitabha’s Messages for Today
Amitabha continues to speak to his students today through the messenger David C. Lewis. A recent heartstream given on December 30, 2006 addresses the role of the crown chakra:
We come with an intensity of our wisdom for a holy purpose and that is to shine them forth through your crown chakras now opened and activated, mirroring them forth to a world in need of greater understanding. For the pall of ignorance that has come upon the crowns of the evolutions of this planet-besetting lifewaves with that dullness and density that not only maintains the status quo of the human condition but causes greater darkness to manifest in many quarters, blessed ones-is that which must be wiped clean through a process whereby it is as if a great cosmic Bunsen burner would dispense the darkness through this essential light of God.