Introductions to the principle Buddhas

Shakyamuni Buddha – Đức Phật Thích Ca

Shakyamuni Buddha is the founder of Buddhism. He is generally called The Buddha. After 500 previous incarnations, Sakyamuni finally attained to the state of Bodhisattva, was born the son of Suddhodana, of the ksatriya caste, ruler of Kapilavastu. In search for truth, he left home, severely disciplining himself and became an ascetic. Finally at age of 35, under a bodhi tree, he realized that the way of release from the chain of rebirth and death lay not in asceticism but in moral purity through wisdom and compassion – the “middle way.” He founded his community on the basis of poverty, chastity, and insight or meditation, and it became known as Buddhism.

Amita Buddha – Phật A Di Đà

Amita Buddha is the Buddha (Ruler) of the Western Land of Ultimate Bliss. He is also known as Amitabha Buddha (The Buddha of Infinite Light), and Amitayus Buddha (The Buddha of Infinite Life).

Please click The Visualization Sutra to learn more about the Amita Buddha and his Pure Land. This is an “actual manual of meditation” consisting of 16 visualizations taught by Shakyamuni Buddha, which, when perfected, will allow one to have a vision of Amitabha Buddha and his Pure Land in one’s present life.

The Hymn of the Buddha Amitabha

Amitabha’s body is the color of gold,
The splendor of his hallmarks has no peer.
The light of his brow shines round a hundred worlds,
Wide as the sea are his eyes pure and clear.
Shining in his brilliance by transformation
Are countless Bodhisattvas and infinite Buddhas.
His forty-eight vows will be our liberation,
In nine lotus-stages we reach the farthest shore.
Homage to the Buddha of the Western Pure Land,
Kind and Compassionate Amitabha.
(RH 137-138; UW 28 )

Kệ Tán Phật A Di Đà

A Di Đà Phật thân kim sắc.
Tướng hảo quang minh vô đẳng luân.
Bạch hào uyển chuyển ngũ tu di.
Hám mục trừng thanh tứ đại hải.
Quang trung hóa Phật vô số ức.
Hóa Bồ tát chúng diệc vô biên.
Tứ thập bát nguyện độ chúng sanh.
Cửu phẩm hàm linh đăng bỉ ngạn.
Nam mô Tây phương Cực Lạc thế giới đại từ đại bi A Di Đà Phật.
(Trích Kinh A Di Đà)

Bhaisajya-guru Buddha (Medicine Master Buddha) – Phật Dược Sư

Bhaisajya-guru Buddha is the Buddha (Ruler) of the Eastern Pure Land. He is also known as the Healing Buddha. The Buddha holds a medicine pot in his left hand and shows the mudra of delivering an absence of fear (Semui). He surely does dispense healing medicines to cure illnesses.

Please click the Medicine Master Buddha Sutra to learn more. In this sutra, Shakyamuni Buddha spoke of and praised the Medicine Buddha and his Pure Land of the East.

Maitreya Buddha (Happy Buddha) – Phật Di Lặc

Maitreya is a bodhisattva who in the Buddhist tradition is to appear on Earth, achieve complete enlightenment, and teach the pure dharma. He will be the next Buddha after the Shakyamuni Buddha, predicted by The Buddha himself. According to scriptures the Maitreya Bodhisattva was born in Varanasi in southern India to a Brahman family. He received the teachings from the Shakyamuni Buddha who predicted that he would become the next Buddha. The Maitreya Bodhisattva then ascended to Tusita Heaven where he now teaches the Dharma to the Gods residing there. Tusita Heaven refers to a heaven of full knowledge and satisfaction, where no greed or worldly desires exist. The Gods there have perfect knowledge and do not need materials or external objects to be satisfied.

According to tradition, the Matireya Bodhisattva will return to the Earth 5 670 000 000 (5 trillion 670 billion) years after the death of the Shakyamuni Buddha. He will attain Buddhahood under the Naga-puspa (dragon-flower) tree in a lotus garden and will save all sentient beings with 3 Dharma Talks.

The Maitreya Bodhisattva represents a very important figure in Buddhism. It is believed that if one dilligently cultivates one’s virtues in this lifetime, one will be reborn into Tusita Heaven where he/she will meet the Maitreya Bodhisattva. Furthermore , he/she will also be present at the Maitreya Bodhisattva’s first Dharma Talk after his enlightenment and attain enlightenment himself.

These are the 4 popular and well-known Buddhas worshiped by Buddhists around the world. Next topic will be about the well-known Bodhisattvas.

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