▪ Buddhist belief(Sanskrit: “Pure Land”), in Mahāyāna Buddhism, the Western Paradise of the Buddha Amitābha, described in the Pure Land sutras (Sukhāvatī-vyūha-sūtras). According to followers of the Pure Land sects, which are widespread throughout East Asia, rebirth in Sukhāvatī is ensured by invoking the name of Amitābha (q.v.), particularly at the moment of death. No woman, however virtuous, may enter Sukhāvatī until she has first attained masculinity through rebirth. Sukhāvatī is expressively described in the Pure Land sutras as being a joyous world, soft and glowing, filled with the music of birds and the tinkling of trees adorned with precious jewels and garlands of golden bells. Amitābha sits on a lotus in the midst of a terraced pond, attended by the bodhisattvas (“buddhas-to-be”) Avalokitésvara and Mahāsthāmaprāpta. The newly dead enter into lotus buds, which unfold when the occupants have become entirely purified. They remain eternally in this land of bliss until the time of their final enlightenment. See also Pure Land Buddhism.
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