From The Shambhala Dictionary of Buddhism and Zen translated by Michael H. Kohn; © 1991 by Shambhala Publications, Inc. Reprinted by arrangement with Shambhala Publications, Inc., www.shambhala.com
(also Amita), Skt. (Jap., Amida), lit., “Boundless Light”; one of the most important and popular buddhas of the Mahāyāna, unknown in early Buddhism. He is ruler of the western paradise Sukhāvati, which is not to be understood as a location but as a state of consciousness. Amitābha is at the center of the worship of the Pure Land school of Chinese and Japanese Buddhism. He symbolizes mercy and wisdom.