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Sukhāvatī And The Light-World: Pure Land Elements In The Chinese Manichaean Eulogy Of The Light-World

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Chapter Summary

Pure Land devotionalism was the most popular and widespread form of Mahāyāna Buddhism in medieval China. The image of Amitābha and his Pure Land or Western Paradise, known in Sanskrit as Sukhāvatī, "Land of Bliss", with all its splendour and magnificence, captured the imagination of countless Chinese who aspired to be reborn there and thus attain complete enlightenment and buddhahood. The significant rise in the number of Amitābha images in Buddhist art coincided with and may be seen partly as an outcome of the proselytizing activities of Shandao, the third of the great Pure Land masters, who effectively and successfully spread the teachings of the Pure Land school in the capital Chang'an from the 640's to his death in 681. Each of the three Pure Land sūtras contains vivid and detailed descriptions of Sukhāvatī.

Keywords: Amitābha; Chinese Manichaean; Shandao; Sukhāvatī



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