The Buddha Amitayus is a celestial Buddha who is most often described in the sacred texts that belong to the Buddhism school known as the Mahayana school. He is one of the manifestations of Amitabha, who is closely associated with longevity. Amitayus is typically described and illustrated in a seated position, with his hands holding onto a vessel that contains the nectar of immortality. There are two other deities associated with long life, including Ushnishavijaya and White Tara.
The name Amitayus can be easily understand when broken down into two parts.
This means that Amitayus’ name can be translated to mean “who with boundless life” or “he whose life is infinite.” His name can also be understood as infinite light.
It is said that Amitayus was, many thousands of years ago, a monk by the name of Dharmakara. In some versions of the stories surrounding him, he is described as one who was once the king. The king is said to have discovered the Buddhist teachings through the Buddha known as Lokesvararaja, and having reached an understanding of Buddhism, he renounced his throne; thus giving up the life of privilege and luxury. Dharmakara then become firm in his resolve to set out on his own pathway toward enlightenment so that he could ultimately become a Buddha himself.
The mantra of Amitayus is longer than some, but is also relatively easy to recite. It is as follows.
Om A Ma Ra Ni Dzi Wan Ti Ye Soha
While some mantras and texts in Buddhism leave much to the imagination and are pretty open to interpretation, the mantra of Amitayus can be easily defined in the following manner.
“By this virtue, may I swiftly attain Buddha Amitayus’ state. May all sentient beings without exception, attain this state.”
By reciting the mantra of Amitayus, we can hope to achieve the goal of effectively overcoming the power that ignorance and death hold over all of us. Ignorance and death are two contributors of the suffering that will keep us from reaching a state of true enlightenment. If we can work to remove them from our lives, we will be able to effectively fulfill our true goal, which is the achievement of true happiness and Nirvana.
In sutras that Buddha Sakyamuni wrote, he spoke about the great power and benefit that the mantra of Buddha Amitayus can offer to us. The sutra goes on to describe just how intensely powerful the mantra is, with reciting it just once is akin to ninety-nine million Buddhas chanting the mantra themselves.
Buddha Amitayus is the Buddha who is representative of boundless merit, life, and of course wisdom. By engaging in reciting the mantra of Amitayus, we will be able to develop our own qualities of wisdom, life, and boundless merit; all of which are an essential aspect of our spiritual development, which will ultimately help us to achieve true enlightenment. Engaging in the practices that Amitayus spoke on is said to be able to help us with the elimination of the obstacles that are in our way of achieving long life. These obstacles could be pain and sickness. Devotion to Amitayus and the things that he spoke on can also help to pacify the potential for untimely or premature death, and is said to also be helpful for those who are expecting a baby but who may have suffered from a miscarriage in the past.
Amitayus and all that he represents is an essential part of any journey towards enlightenment because longevity is an essential factor that will permit us all the extra time that we need to work through our elimination of suffering in our quest for enlightenment. The practice of Amitayus can also help us to remove the obstacles that can contribute towards endangering the lives of others we care for.
In illustrations and sacred texts, Amitayus is described and depicted as holding a vase of amrita, which is the precious nectar responsible for immortality. The leaves of the ashoka tree also feature prominently, as this tree is said to symbolize a long life that is free from the suffering that disease inflicts on our physical forms.
Amitayus is shown as being a brilliant red color, and is often compared to the red of a dazzling ruby. His body is said to be relatable to the strength of a ruby mountain; eagerly eliminating the ignorance and the suffering that sentient beings are struggling with. Shown typically seated on the sacred lotus, illustrations of Amitayus show a brilliant ruby red ring behind him, and in some illustrations he is depicted as the primary figure amongst the three deities of longevity.
Amitayus is sometimes said to have had a consort by the name of Chandali, but as he is one of the manifestations of the Buddha Amitabha, his consort is often also said to be Pandaravasini.
Reciting the very powerful Amitayus mantra should be an essential part of your journey towards seeking enlightenment. The mantra will not only help you with the elimination of some of the suffering from your life, but it will also help you to better understand just what it means to truly be enlightened.