AMITAYUS, THE LONG-LIFE BUDDHA, 2008
pastel and ink on paper
45 x 33 inches (frame)
Amitayus is the Buddha of long-life, wisdom, and good fortune. Amita means immeasurable and ayus means length of life. He is identified by the vase (kalasha) he is holding which contains the elixir of immortality (amrita) and leaves of the ashoka tree, which symbolize a long life without the misery (shoka) of disease.
Amitayus is the samboghakaya form of the Dhyani Buddha Amitabha (infinite light). Amitayus is depicted in his body of visionary enjoyment (samboghakaya) represented by the eight types of jeweled ornaments including crown, earrings, three types of necklaces, bracelets, arm bands, and rings; and the five types of silk garments including shawl, scarf, skirt, sash, and tie that holds together the jewels of the crown.
Amitayus and Amitabha represent the direction of the west, whose color is red, which is reflected in Amitayus’s skin color. The Buddha of the West is said to live in the pure land called Sukhavati (Tib. Devachan) or the Western Paradise.