In subtle contrast to other depictions, our Amitabha Buddha statue is not adorned in the jewels and crown of a Bodhisattva. Additionally, the statue may be a reflection of Amitabha as he is seen in his Pure Land of Sukhavati. His monastic robe is gracefully engraved with elegant designs. Amitabha Buddha also sits in the full lotus pose expressing the meditation mudra. The alms bowl of a monastic monk gently rests in the palm of his right hand.
Furthermore, the alms bowl was given profound significance by the actions of Shakyamuni Buddha. While Shakyamuni was approaching enlightenment he was gifted some rice in a golden bowl by an admirer. As a result, Shakyamuni threw the golden bowl into the river in an act of sincere renunciation of the material world. Therefore, Amitabha projects the disdain for attachment and ignorance which has been passed down to the sangha in Buddhist teachings.
Amitabha Buddha Guardian of the West
As one of the 5 Dhyani Buddhas, Amitabha sits as a guardian of the western direction. Additionally, an Amitabha Buddha statue is often seen with his 2 disciples sitting along side him – Avalokitesvara and Vajrapani. As a result, commonly Avalokitesvara is seen seated on his right side and Vajrapani on his left. His consort is Pandaravasini.
Longevity Attribute & Pure Land of Sukhavati
In Vajrayana Buddhist belief Amitabha is strongly associated with his longevity attribute that is embodied by Aparmita Buddha. Additionally, the Amitabha mantra is widely believed to grant devotees access to the Pure Land of Sukhavati.
Infinite Merit of Amitabha
Furthermore, in the “Larger Sutra of Immeasurable Life” we are told to believe that Amitabha was a Bodhisattva named Dharmakara. However, the divine origins of Dharmakara are similar to Shakyamuni. This is because Dharmakara was once a king who renounced his earthly Kingdom due to the influence of Buddhist teachings. As a result, Dharmakara was able accumulate infinite merit though his countless Bodhisattva lifetimes. Eventually, he passed through to enlightenment to become Amitabha and he resides in his Pure Land of Sukhavati. All devotees who recite his mantra are invited to join him in his Pure Land. Click here to learn more about the origin of Amitabha Buddha.