What is the relation of sukhāvatī to 蓮華藏莊嚴世界海 ("the lotus's vault, the perfected lokadhātu, the ocean") attested to in the Buddhāvataṃsakanāmamahāyānasūtra T279 & Āryasaddharmapuṇḍarīkanāmamahāyānasūtra T262, wherein arahantaḥ, according to the Mahāyāna as attested to in aforementioned scriptures, perfect Buddhahood?


Inquiry: in the Arhat's past lives the causes and conditions for being subject to embodiment necessarily ought to have been eradicated, in light of this they dwell where to perfect buddhahood?

Response: when attaining arhatship, the three realms' myriad outflows' causes and conditions are exhausted, there is no more birth again in the three realms. There is a pure buddha land, beyond the three realms, where not even the word affliction has a name, in this kingdom of the Buddha, they hear the Dharma Flower Sūtra [i.e. the Lotus Sūtra], with this they perfect Buddhahood. As in the Dharma Flower Sūtra's words: "There are arhantaḥ, for example, who’ve not heard the Dharma Flower Sūtra,themselves they call 'ones who have attained cessation'; I in another realm for them speak this matter, that you all shall become samyaksaṁbuddhāḥ."

(Mahāprajñāpāramitopadeśaḥ T1509.714a9)

Furthermore, these pure lands, what relation do they have to ākaniṣṭaghanavyūha?

1 Answer 1


Perhaps your title question is too board. And I'm too lazy to check all the Sanskrit names of the Sutras in corresponding to the Chinese.

So, you are asking to compare Sukhavati with the Lotus-treasure World? Let's give it few directions:

  1. Sukhavati and Lotus-treasure are not in the same category. Category means when you can compare China with USA, but you can't compare China with America. Here USA and China are names for the countries, America is the continent. But you can compare America with Asia, both are continents.

  2. Lotus-treasure World includes Sukhavati. Why? Because Lotus-treasure World is a generic name given to all existences and phenomena, all non-existences and non-phenomena, i.e., the all of all, the total of totality. In the Avatamsaka, it said the Lotus-treasure World is formed by innumerable world-seas and world-seeds. Sukhavati will be one of the world in one of the world-seeds.

  3. Sukhavati is very far from Sahā-lokadhātu our world. One is it is mentioned in the Amitabha Sutra, said it is at certain and certain huge distance from our world of the western direction. The other is, in Avatamsaka the chapters describing the structure of the worlds, after it described the world-seed our world resides, it goes to describe the neighboring ones; when it depicted a world with known relationship to our world, say, both are at the 13th dimension, it stated clearly, also at the 13th dimension, such and such world is called so and so name... But it never mentioned the world Sukhavati. Therefore we can know Sukhavati is not a neighborhood world to ours.

From my reading, it seems Sukhavati is a "purified" world, that is, it is emanated from Buddha Amitabha's mind. But Lotus-treasure is the primordial, it is the manifestation of Vairocana.

  • Good answer, I would add that one of my points of confusion was the description of the lotus vault in the Mahāprajñāpāramitopadeśa that I quoted earlier (問曰:阿羅漢先世因緣所受身必應當滅,住在何處而具足佛道?答曰: 得阿羅漢時,三界諸漏因緣盡,更不復生三界。有淨佛土,出於三界,乃至無煩惱之名,於 是國土佛所,聞法華經,具足佛道。如法華經說:「有羅漢,若不聞法華經,自謂得滅度;我於餘國為說是事,汝皆當作佛。」) where it seems very "Sukhāvatī-like", as in a "Sukhāvatī just for the arhantaḥ".
    – Caoimhghin
    Nov 24, 2018 at 15:51
  • So your quote is from 大般若經?If so, if it does state as 蓮華藏?You see, many English translations, almost all, are incapable to give correct interpretation and rendering, they are not with any attainment in Dharma except perhaps scholastic knowledge. Anyhow, the Three Spheres 三界 are what a being conceived, it depends on its Five Constitutions 五藴 to manifest as perceived. So, an Arhat doesn't necessarily conceive the same world even he lives on Earth - refer to 維摩經 the Buddha turned Saha-lokadhatu to pureland with his :D big toe. Sukhavati is just one of the purelands. Nov 25, 2018 at 5:46
  • Not 大般若經, the commentary 大智度論. It doesn't name 蓮華藏莊嚴世界海, just says 淨佛土出於三界 (a pure buddha field beyond the three realms).
    – Caoimhghin
    Nov 25, 2018 at 23:42
  • My association of arhantaḥ with the Lotus Vault is also from Āryopāsaka Korin's study notes on Venerable Vasubandhu's Abhidharmakośakārikābhāṣya which can be seen in the notes to the Sattvaloka section page 47 --> (see Abhidharmakośabhāṣya study: abhidharmakosa.files.wordpress.com/2010/09/…) <-- on Sattvaloka chart it cites Buddhāvataṃsakasūtra Ch 5 華藏世界品 Kusumatalagarbhavyūhālaṃkāraparivartaḥ for Mahāyāna exegesis on śrāvaka śuddhāvāsā (淨居天)
    – Caoimhghin
    Nov 26, 2018 at 4:33
  • Ok. Lotus-world is different from purelands, as explaint in my answer esp. the last paragraph. Lotus-world is like the "natural" universe. With naked eyes we see dark space and stars, with Hubble we see colorful galaxies, with Samantabhadra we see the Lotus-world as described in Avatamsaka. But Arhat has realized no-self, his Five Constitutions nor long dictate his perception, therefore the Three Spheres can no longer bond him, in this sense he lives in the pureland. Pureland is just another dimension resided within the Lotus-world. Nov 26, 2018 at 9:30

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