Indiana University Bloomington IU Bloomington IUB

Amitabha Buddha

Amitabha is one of the five power Buddhas in esoteric practice. Associated with the western direction, he is accompanied by Vajrapani and Avalokiteshvara. According to legend he was either a king or a monk who converted to Buddhism. Upon achieving Buddhahood he vowed that all sentient beings who said his name would upon death be reborn in his Western Paradise. The description of Amitabha’s paradise portrays a landscape of incomparable beauty: silver ponds, breezes redolent of perfume, and jewel-like flora. But his vow involved more than the promise of rebirth in this paradise as an end in itself. Rather, rebirth in the Western Paradise was an opportunity to continue to strive for Buddhahood under Amitabha’s tutelage, the true goal of all believers.

Amitabha Buddha
16th century
Thanka; ink and color on silk
12 5/8 x 9 3/16 in. (32.1 x 23.3 cm)
Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art, 61.48