Amitabha, the celestial buddha of infinite light, created a perfect world or “pure land” known as the Land of Bliss. His goal was to make buddhahood easily attainable, even for ordinary people. Anyone who spends one lifetime practicing Buddhist teachings in the Land of Bliss automatically becomes a buddha.
Buddhists from various traditions pray to be reborn in the Land of Bliss; others enter the pure land by merely reciting Amitabha’s name.
Can a buddha help avert war?
Seven artists fashioned this image of Amitabha, the celestial buddha of infinite light, out of the finest gilded copper. A minister in the Tibetan government had commissioned the sculpture in the hope of avoiding future wars. His generous gift was understood to create good karma, which can positively influence events both in an individual’s life and in the larger world. As long as an image is worshiped, it continues to fulfill its donor’s wishes.
The minister’s goals for this sculpture, as expressed in the inscription around its base, were that all “frontier wars be averted and all beings attain buddhahood.”
Why is my skin gold but my robe patched?
A fine layer of pure gold covers this bronze image of the Buddha Amitabha. Because it never rusts or discolors, this precious metal perfectly conveys one of the important marks (lakshanas) of enlightened beings: luminous, golden skin.
All buddhas, in their final lifetimes on earth, become monks who renounce material wealth. Accordingly, they usually are represented wearing garments fashioned from scraps of old fabric. Here, however, Amitabha’s robe is a patchwork of expensive Chinese silk, which Tibetans highly valued for its sumptuous beauty.