Sukhavati

The Amitābha welcomes Chûjôhime to the Western Paradise (Japanese hanging scroll painting, 16th century)

Sukhāvatī, or the Western Paradise, refers to the western pure land of Amitābha in Mahayana Buddhism. The Sanskrit sukhavatī (sukhāvatī) is the feminine form of sukhāvat ("full of joy; blissful"),[1][2] from sukha ("delight, joy") and -vat ("full of").[3]

There are a number of translations for Sukhāvatī. The Tibetan name is Dewachen (བདེ་བ་ཅན་, Wylie: bde ba can, "Blissful [Land]"). In Chinese, it is called Jílè (極樂, "Ultimate Bliss"), Ānlè (安樂, "Peaceful Bliss"), or Xītiān (西天, "Western Heaven"). In Japanese, it is pronounced Gokuraku (極楽, "Ultimate Bliss") or Anraku (安楽, "Peaceful Bliss"). In Korean, it is called the "Western Pure Land of Ultimate Bliss" (Korean서방극락정토; Hanja西方極楽浄土; RRSeobang Geungnak Jeongto) or simply Jeongto "Pure Land" (Korean정토; Hanja浄土). In Vietnamese, it is called Cực lạc (Hán Nôm: 極樂 "Ultimate Bliss") or Tây Phương Tịnh Độ (西方浄土 "Western Pure Land").

In the final part of the Amitāyurdhyāna Sūtra, Gautama Buddha discusses the nine levels into which those born into the pure land are categorized.[4]

In Tibetan Buddhism, the world of Sukhavati is invoked during Buddhist funerals as a favorable destination for the deceased.[4] Such rituals are often accompanied with the tantric technique of phowa ("transference of consciousness") to the pure land of Amitābha, performed by a lama on the behalf of the departed. Halkias (2013:148) explains that "Sukhavati features in funeral rites and scriptures dedicated to the ritual care of the dead ('das-mchod). The structure and performance of Tibetan death ceremonies varies according to a set sequence of events...For the duration of these rites, the consciousness of the dead is coaxed into increasing levels of clarity until the time for the ritual transference to Sukhavati."

Raigō (来迎, "welcoming approach") in Japanese Buddhism is the appearance of the Amida on a "purple" cloud (紫雲) at the time of one's death.[5] The most popular belief is that the soul would then depart to the Western Paradise. A number of hanging scroll paintings depict the western paradise.