Sukhavati Sadhana

The lineage of the Sukhavati Sadhana, it’s benefits, and a summary of the four causes for rebirth in the Sukhavati paradise


The Sukhavati Sadhana originating with the Dharmakaya Buddha Amitabha and Sambhogakaya Bodhisattva-s Avalokitesvara and Vajrapani was passed down through Arya Nagarjuna and the Nirmanakaya Guru Padmasambhava, from whom Khédrup Karma Chakmé received it in the manner of a direct oral transmission. The transmission passed to Drung Masé Chöki Lodrö, Paltrul Jikmé Chöki Wangpo, Khenchen Pema Namgyel, Palden Khyentsé Öser and my supreme teacher Sangyé Tendzin, from whom I received it. This concerns the direct form of transmission, while the continuous transmission from one individual to the next cannot be listed definitively. The direct transmission means that Karmically qualified masters of the teachings came face to face with the original deity like meeting them in person, just as Guru Padmasambhava, who was an emanation of Buddha Amitabha is said to have received the instructions directly in his presence, and my own root Guru Kyapjé Sangyé Tendzin Rinpoché’s teaching was based on his own numerous direct encounters with Amitabha and Avalokitesvara.



The benefits of exerting oneself in the Sadhana through development of the four causes are endless. The four causes are keeping the paradise in mind, accumulating virtue without limit, generating the mind of awakening, or Bodhicitta, and dedication of the merit and prayer, and the benefits of constantly pursuing all four are great. Buddha Amitabha declared ‘May all beings who hear my name be delivered to my paradise! By completing my prayer, may they reach there in the very next life!’ Buddha Amitabha affirmed that anyone free of the Karma of the five irremediable sins who participated in a single session of the Sadhana combining all four causes would be spared rebirth in the hells. Or in case they were reborn in the hells, Amitabha himself would instantly come to lead them to Sukhavati. In their present lives too, they would live long and in good health, protected against the harm caused by enemies and obstacles, able to fulfill their every wish, and eventually attain Buddhahood. These inconceivable benfits are explained fully in my ‘The Seed of Liberation: an explanation of the four causes for rebirth in Sukhavati’.

The Reason For Practising The Sukhavati Sadhana

There are Sadhana-s for many paradises, such as the eastern realm of Abhirati, the southern realm of , Amoghasiddhi in the north and the central realm of Akanisthakhecari, as well as the western realm of Sukhavati, each of which is the paradise of a different Buddha. However, except for those who can fulfill a large number of preconditions, such as having monastic vows, conduct bound to the ten virtues, and a physical body qualified by the Karmically granted eight freedoms, it is not easy to be reborn in these paradises. How is the Sukhavati Sadhana different? In the final period of the prevailing world system, sentient beings naturally tend to engage in nonvirtue without restraint, and as a result, disease, conflict and famine and suchlike become most widespread in this world, and sentient beings become mired in suffering, like a blind person wandering in the middle of an open wilderness, and in such bleak times, the Buddha-s and Bodhisattva-s have decided to send Amitabha to the aid of all beings as their common representative. Amitabha himself has undertaken not to forsake a single being until all have been delivered to Sukhavati, and solely for their benefit he watches over beings throughout the six phases of day and night like a mother caring for her only child, so that there is no need for any of us to wonder whether we will really be reborn in Sukhavati by applying ourselves to the four causes, and all should be convinced of it. 

That being so, Arya Nagarjuna, the crown jewel of all Indian Siddha-s, devoted himself to the Sukhavati Sadhana, and declared on his deathbed that “I am leaving here for Sukhavati!” The crown jewel of Tibetan Siddha-s Karma Chakmé also chose this as the object of his personal devotion, and it is said that after his death not only he but all his attendants and servants down to his cattle and house dogs were reborn in Sukhavati. In our own times, my root teacher the great Kyapjé Sangyé Tendzin Rinpoché practised the Sadhana throughout his life and introduced thousands of people in towns and cities across many countries in the practice, setting them on the path to liberation, which is something that anyone can see with their own eyes. One day he told me “You should take my teachings on the Sukhavati Sadhana and make them the most important thing you do wherever you go, for this will benefit many people in future”, and he gave me the empowerment, transmission and instructions in their entirety. I promised him that I would do so, and from then until now these teachings have been of quite some benefit to people from all over the land of Tibet, and it is my wish and prayer to accomplish the benefit of living beings through this Sukhavati Sadhana for as long as I have left to live.

Expenses for the Nepal Sukhavati Puja

Food for 200 hundred participants for seven days daily offering of Rs 200 each to 15 officiating Lamas and monks the total cost of offering materials, Torma offerings, flowers, butter lamps, and the Ganacakra offering on the final day was U$ 4,530 or so, or about U$647 per day.

During the main programme, Khenpo Karten Rinpoché gave the Mahayana Poshada vows to the participants at six in the morning, and spoke about the benefits of the vows. Breakfast was taken at 7:30. Recitation of the Sukhavati Sadhana began at 8:30 until 11:30 and lunch served at 12:00. During the Puja participants did not eat meat or take food in the evenings. In the second session at 1:30, Khen Rinpoché spoke especially to the Nepali participants about the benefits of the practice, the Four Noble Truths and so on. The afternoon sessions went on until 7:00. After the fourth day, a Nyungné fasting session began. This is a Sadhana of Avalokitesvara, and since he is considered the disciple of Amitabha, there is a tradition of observing Nyungné during the Sukhavati Puja. On the benefits of Nyungné practice, Avalokitesvara declared ‘Anyone, whether monk or layperson, who follows a single session of Nyungné with full faith and devotion will not be reborn in the lower realms, they will acheive all their goals in this life, and will not suffer obstacles or misfortune’. To practice Nyungné, one session lasts for 2 days. On the first day participants take breakfast and a midday meal, and on the second day they abstain from eating or drinking. Meanwhile they do not speak except for their recitations.

Through the pledge of lord Amitabha, this Sukhavati Sadhana is easy to do, brings great benefits, and swift rewards, yet although many Nyingma monasteries in Nepal and India have been arranging Drupchen ceremonies, no-one has being arranging Sukhavati Pujas, and so we would like to request the faithful public to provide donations in accordance with their means for this to continue.