Guided Amitabha meditation (download)
Taking refuge, generating the altruistic intention, and the four immeasurables
I take refuge until I have awakened
in the Buddhas, the Dharma, and the Sangha.
By the merit I create by engaging in generosity
and the other far-reaching practices,
may I attain Buddhahood in order to benefit all sentient beings. (3x)
May all sentient beings have happiness and its causes.
May all sentient beings be free of suffering and it causes.
May all sentient beings not be separated from sorrowless bliss.
May all sentient beings abide in equanimity, free of bias, attachment, and anger.
Visualization of Guru Amitabha Buddha
Visualize the following with single pointed clarity.
Above my crown on a lotus, moon, and sun sits Guru Amitabha Buddha in the vajra pose. His holy body is radiant and ruby red. He has one face and two hands resting in the gesture of meditation.
Holding an alms bowl filled with the elixir of immortality, he wears the saffron robes of ethical purity. His crown is marked by a shining white OM, his throat by a radiant red AH, and his heart by a blue HUM.
From the HUM in his heart, boundless light shines forth filling all of space. This light especially penetrates Amitabha’s Pure Land, invoking Amitabha Buddha, the eight great lion-like bodhisattvas, as well as the vast assembly of male and female bodhisattvas who reside in the Land of Great Bliss. These all enter Guru Amitabha’s crown chakra, descend his central channel, and absorb into his heart. They are unified and of one nature.
Hold this thought with single-pointed concentration.
I prostrate with my body, speech, and mind in heartfelt faithand admiration,
And make actual and mentally imagined exquisite offeringsthat fill the sky.
I reveal and confess every destructive action I have done since beginningless time,
And rejoice in the countless virtues done by ordinary beings
and the inconceivable virtues accumulated by aryas.
Please, Guru Amitabha, remain in your present vajra form until cyclic existence ends,
And turn the wheel of Dharma to benefit sentient beings.
I dedicate all past, present, and future virtues of myself and others to full awakening.
This ground, anointed with perfume, flowers strewn,
Mount Meru, four lands, sun and moon,
Imagined as a Buddha land and offered to you.
May all beings enjoy this pure land.
The objects of attachment, aversion, and ignorance—friends, enemies and strangers, my body, wealth, and enjoyments—I offer these without any sense of loss. Please accept them with pleasure and inspire me and others to be free from the three poisonous attitudes.
idam guru ratna mandalakam nirya tayami
To the guru, teacher, endowed transcendent destroyer, one thus gone, foe destroyer, completely and fully awakened one, magnificent king, Guru Amitabha of boundless light, I prostrate, make offerings, and go for refuge. Please bestow upon me great inspiration.
With heart-felt devotion I concentrate single-pointedly on Guru Amitabha. From his holy body, five-colored nectar light streams down into my crown, descending through my central channel. From there it flows through all the other channels of my body, completely filling it with blissful nectar and light. All hindrances, illness, and untimely death are completely purified. All negative emotions and disturbing attitudes, especially grasping at true existence, totally disappear. My body becomes crystal clear like a rainbow, and my mind becomes peaceful and free from craving.
om amitabha hrih1
Recite the mantra as many times as you like, while continuing to do the visualization. At the end of the recitation, rest the mind single-pointedly on Amitabha and feel completely free from obscurations.
All past, present, and future gurus, Buddhas, and bodhisattvas dwelling in the ten directions of space, especially Amitabha Buddha and the eight great lion-like bodhisattvas, please pay attention to me. Wishing to liberate all mother sentient beings from the vast ocean of samsaric suffering and to lead them to the supreme joy of full awakening, I realize that I must become a Buddha. In order to do that, I determine to take rebirth in the Land of Great Bliss and to hear teachings directly from Amitabha Buddha himself. Therefore, by the force of all my past, present, and future merit collected together, the immutable promise of all the Tathagatas, and the power of wisdom and ultimate truth may I, at the very moment of death, take immediate and spontaneous rebirth upon a fully opened lotus in the presence of Amitabha Buddha’s radiant form. Without difficulty, may I hear teachings directly from Amitabha Buddha.
May I develop the six far-reaching practices to their ultimate completion, and may I accomplish the ten bodhisattva stages. May I attain the wisdom, love, and power of myriads of Buddhas in countless Buddha-fields more numerous than all the atoms of the universe.
Since time without beginning, I have been confused and have circled in samsaric suffering. Bound by craving and grasping, I have experienced continuous misery. Unless I release this deluded and grasping mind, the Buddhas and bodhisattvas cannot be of ultimate benefit to me. Nothing in samsara is certain except that all mundane pleasures die away. This grasping and ignorant mind is the noose that binds me to the relentless turning of the wheel of conditioned existence. I yearn to go to Amitabha’s Pure Land, where even the word “suffering” does not exist, and from where I can again never fall into samsara’s misery.
The prayer for the time of death (optional)
At the moment the messenger of death arrives, please come instantaneously from your pristine realm, advise me to give up grasping at mundane existence, and invite me to come to your pristine realm.
When the earth absorbs into water, the mirage-like appearance is perceived, and my mouth becomes dry and foul-tasting, please come tell me not to be afraid and inspire me with true courage.
When water absorbs into fire, the smoke-like appearance is perceived, and my tongue gets thick and my speech is lost, please show me your shining face and give me solace and peaceful joy.
When fire absorbs into air, the firefly-like appearance is perceived, and my body heat and the light of my eyes rapidly fade away, please come and fill my mind with the sound of Dharma wisdom.
When air absorbs into consciousness, the burning like a butter lamp appearance is perceived, and my body becomes like the earth and my breathing altogether ceases, please draw me to your pure land with the radiant light of your shining face.
Then may the radiant red hook emanating from your pristine heart enter my crown, descend my central channel, and hook my very subtle clear light mind and bring it to your pure land.
Yet, if I must go into the intermediate state by the force of my destructive karma, may all the Buddhas and bodhisattvas rescue me with the power of Dharma and inspire me with the pure view that sees all beings as utterly pure, hears all sounds as Dharma teaching, and sees all places as a pure land.
The lotus, moon, and sun, as well as Guru Amitabha melt into light and dissolve into my heart center. Guru Amitabha’s mind and my mind become non-dual.
Rest the mind in the experience of being non-dual with Guru Amitabha’s realizations.
Due to this merit may we soon
Attain the awakened state of Amitabha
That we may be able to liberate
All sentient beings from their sufferings.
May the precious bodhi mind
Not yet born arise and grow.
May that born have no decline
But increase forever more.
Due to the merit accumulated by myself and others in the past, present, and future, may anyone who merely sees, hears, remembers, touches or talks to me be freed in that very instant from all sufferings and abide in happiness forever.
In all rebirths, may I and all sentient beings be born in a good family, have clear wisdom and great compassion, be free of pride and devoted to our spiritual mentors, and abide within the vows and commitments to our spiritual mentors.
By the force of these praises and requests made to you, may all disease, poverty, fighting, and quarrels be calmed. May the Dharma and all auspiciousness increase throughout the worlds and directions where I and all others dwell.
This sadhana was composed in 1981 at Tushita Retreat Center by Lama Thubten Yeshe in accordance with the scriptures and oral transmission. Abbreviated by Venerable Thubten Chodron.
This meditation is available in German: Meditation auf Buddha Amitabha
Mantra originally written “om amideva hrih.” See https://thubtenchodron.org/2017/11/visualize-mantra/ for an explanation of this edit by Venerable Thubten Chodron. ↩