I hope all of you are doing well. Today is the fifth day of the Aspirations to End Adversity. Today, the texts we will recite together are the Sutra of the Essence of Immeasurable Longevity and Wisdom and Karma Chakme’s Aspiration for Rebirth in Sukhavati.
The Sutra of the Essence of Immeasurable Longevity and Wisdom is one of several sutras associated with the Buddha Amitayus in the Tibetan Kangyur. The Buddha Amitayus is one of the most well-known buddhas of all those mentioned in the Mahayana sutras. In the Pure Land tradition of Chinese Buddhism, the Buddha Amitabha is the main focus of practice. The practice of Amitabha is easy to do and has great blessings, so it has spread widely among the public. Amitabha is probably the only buddha of the Mahayana to whom a specific lineage is devoted. I don’t think there is any other.
Though there is no separate Pure Land tradition in Tibet, there are countless teachings and practices of Amitabha that come from the Kangyur, Terma, and pure visions. Among them, the ones everyone considers authoritative are the sutras and dharanis of Amitayus in the Kangyur. This Sutra of the Essence of Immeasurable Longevity and Wisdom is, between sutra and tantra, included within tantra.
As the Sutra of the Features of Manjushri’s Realm says:
All dharmas depend on conditions;
They rest on the base of aspiration.
Whoever makes any aspiration
Will achieve that result.
The amazing, wonderful pure realm of Sukhavati arose because of the aspirations of the Buddha Amitabha, it is said. Thus we should also, even within our present daily lives, take up the intention to help others, foster a good motivation, and take care of the natural environment and animals. If we do so, we can create a small Sukhavati around ourselves. These days, we face many severe, perilous environmental crises such as climate change. Scientists see this and lead us by the hand to show us, but if we lack sufficient motivation and courage to change, it cannot be of much benefit to our actual situation.
We might think that we can just ruin this earth and then go off to some other pleasant place, but I don’t think that karmic cause and effect works that way. This earth of ours doesn’t belong just to our generation. It doesn’t belong just to humans. Either we can transform this earth into a pure realm for future generations and other sentient beings, or we can transform it into a hell. It’s in our hands right now. We all must do as the Buddha Amitabha did and make vast aspirations for the sake of other sentient beings, make a strong commitment, and strive to benefit others. I think that this is one of the most important points of the teachings on Amitabha.
Next, please join me in reciting the Sutra of the Essence of Immeasurable Longevity and Wisdom and Karma Chakme’s Aspiration for Rebirth in Sukhavati with the kind intention of bringing benefit to all sentient beings.