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 Debating Amitabha-Recitation, Emitting Light

By Tang Dynasty

Once, Master Shandao was debating the virtues of Amitabha-recitation with Master Jingang in Xijing Monastery. Shandao swore an oath:

“If the teaching of the Buddha in various sutras that reciting Amitabha's name once or ten times, for a day or a week, invariably leads to rebirth in the Pure Land is truthful, not deceitful, may the two Buddha images in this hall emit light. If the teaching is false, fails to bring rebirth in the Pure Land or deceives sentient beings, may I immediately fall from this high seat into hell and suffer there eternally.”He then pointed his staff at the images in the hall – which emitted light.

(From Mirror of Amitabha-Recitation, Tang Dynasty)


– English translation by Householder Jingtu


  • Recitation of Amitabha’s name, relying on his Fundamental Vow (the 18th)
  • Rebirth of ordinary beings in the Pure Land’s Realm of Rewards
  • Rebirth assured in the present lifetime
  • Non-retrogression achieved in this lifetime

Amitabha Buddhas

The 18th Vow of Amitabha Buddha

If, when I achieve Buddhahood, sentient beings of the ten directions who sincerely and joyfully entrust themselves to me, wish to be reborn in my land and recite my name, even ten times, should fail to be born there, may I not attain perfect enlightenment. Excepted are those who commit the five gravest transgressions or slander the correct Dharma.

Guiding Principles

Faith in, and acceptance of, Amitabha’s deliverance
Single-minded recitation of Amitabha’s name
Aspiration to rebirth in Amitabha’s Pure Land
Comprehensive deliverance of all sentient beings