Thus I, Ananda, have heard: At one time, the Buddha Shakyamuni was at the Jetavana garden in Shravasti. As many as twelve hundred and fifty humans assembled, and they were especially eminent monks. They were all illustrious practitioners who had eliminated their delusions and were of great renown. Among them, the elders Shariputra, Mahamaudgalyayana, Mahakashyapa, Mahakatyayana, Mahakausthila, Revata, Suddhipanthaka, Nanda, Ananda, Rahula, Gavampati, Pindola Bharadvaja, Kalodayin, Mahakapphina, Vakkula, and Aniruddha, were outstanding disciples.
Many Great Bodhisattvas were also present —the most excellent among them were Dharma Prince Manjushri, the Bodhisattva Ajita Maitreya, the Bodhisattva Gandhahastin, and the Bodhisattva Nityodyukta. In addition, innumerable celestial deities had gathered, headed by Indra, their king.
Then the Buddha Shakyamuni explained to the venerable Shariputra: “To the far west of this world of delusion, beyond as many as ten trillion Pure Lands, there’s another Land called Ultimate Bliss, presided by a Buddha whose name is Amideva, who is there even now teaching the Dharma. Shariputra, do you know why that Pure Land is called Ultimate Bliss? It is because the people who live there never experience suffering; they are mantled in multitude forms of happiness. For that reason it is called Ultimate Bliss.
“Also, Shariputra, that Pure Land is adorned with seven railings, with seven rows of gauze curtains with diminutive bells, and surrounded by seven rows of trees. All are set with four kinds of jewels, which adorn the Land throughout. For that reason this world is called Ultimate Bliss.
“Again, Shariputra, in that world there are lotus ponds whose shores are decorated with seven kinds of jewels. The ponds brim with waters of eight good qualities, and the floor of the ponds is lined with sand of gold. The ponds are surrounded by steps on their four sides made of gold, silver, lapis lazuli, and crystal. Above are pavilions lavishly adorned with the seven jewels of gold, silver, lapis lazuli, crystal, coral, red pearls, and agate.
“There are lotuses blooming in the ponds, and their flowers are as large as the wheel of a cart. The blue flowers emit a blue light; the yellow flowers emit a yellow light; the red flowers emit a red light; and the white flowers emit a white light. Each of the lotus flowers glows, weaving an harmonic scene while emitting a subtle fragrance. Shariputra, this Land of Ultimate Bliss is an ideal environment so that whatever one lays eyes upon will bring about awakening.”
[from the Skt. (Smaller) Sukhavativyuha sutra (Ch. Amituo jing, Jp. Amida-kyo), based on the translation of Kumarajiva]