PLEASE CLICK ON IMAGES FOR MORE IMPORTANT INFORMATION ON AMIDA
Amida is the first to offer salvation to all and the only one to offer it without demanding blood sacrifice. Amida embodies positive energy.
The Lotus Sutra is the King of all scriptures and it states that Kannon can take any form necessary to save all beings and as seen in Her crown, Kannon's highest emanation is Amida (Amituofo in China) Who the Lotus Sutra anoints as, "The Charioteer of all and Sovereign of Heaven Who akin to Kannon is the Lord of all mankind with no equal in 3 realms of existence - One we should all try to emulate". Amida and Kannon are always used interchangeably like President and Commander-in-Chief and most sutras always refer to both of them in conjunction. Some see Amida as the Father and Kannon the Son. Some see Amida as the President who sits in the 'White House' of Heaven while Kannon is the General who goes to rescue you in the Battle-field of life. By different aspects of Kannon we present Divinity as a 3 dimensional Being that is limitless. The Lotus Sutra says that Divinity has 3 main roles -- as the Supreme Lord and Protector (Kannon), the Lord and Savior (Amida) and the Lord and Teacher the historic Buddha. 80% of the world's tallest statues are of Amida/ Kannon/ Buddha and while Kannon is uniquely popular with all Buddhists worldwide, Amida is extremely popular in East Asia. Kannon, Amida & Buddha are always seen as manifestations of each other called Dharmakaya (Absolute Source of Light and Life a la Amida), Sambogakaya (Celestial or Heavenly manifestation a la Kannon) and Nirmanakaya (Human manifestation a la the historic Buddha).
Amida means boundless light and meditating on Amida helps perfect our karma and remove the darkness of negativity, hate, anger and ignorance. Amida also means Eternal Life and thus represents the Light we reportedly see in near-death experiences for the light is a sign that Amida, Kannon and Nio have come to take us to heaven. The oldest extant description of heaven in the world is the Lotus Sutra that states that everyone can be re-born in a ravishing paradise headed by Amida when they die as long as they have faith in the Lotus Sutra or the mantra Namo Amida/ Namo Kannon. Amida is thus the first to describe the wonders of heaven and the first to offer the free gift of universal salvation to everyone - not just religious types or monks or scholars. What's more is that Amida is the only Savior who offers salvation to all without any need for a sacrificial lamb that must 'pay the price for our sins'. Just lead a good life and believe in Amida/ Kannon/ the Lotus Sutra and you will go to heaven where Amida presides and you can become a Bodhisattva or Guardian angel that goes about helping others. No other rituals are needed. From a scientific view, if you meditate on Amida/Kannon/Lotus Sutra, you will be surrounded by positive energy in life and go to a place of positive energy on death. Most East Asian Buddhists revere the Lotus sutra and the most popular chapter 25 honors Kannon and Amida. Similarly, Chapter 16 talks about the Eternal Life of the Buddha which is personified as Amida. Hence while all Buddhists honor Kannon -- the Super-God of the Lotus sutra - most East Asian Buddhists of the most influential Buddhist nations of Japan, China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Korea et all see Amida as a close second. The Tendai Tradition which is the Mother of Japanese Buddhism honors the Lotus Sutra, Kannon and Amida and most Japanese, Chinese & East Asian Buddhists uphold one if not all 3 of these sacred pillars of Buddhism. It is important to note that in real-world Buddhism, Buddhists consider Amida, Kannon and the historic Buddha to be the different manifestations of the same being and all are glorified in the Lotus sutra which is the "body of the Buddha". Amida also personifies Faith and Kannon embodies Hope and the historic Buddha Shakyamuni embodies Wisdom thus ensuring we keep a positive mindset in all of life's challenges. This helps us embrace uncertainty with faith in the benevolent cosmos and helps us overcome our own ego and the false belief that we can control every situation. It becomes teamwork between our own inner power (Karma) and the Higher Power (Kannon). It must also be noted that Buddhism discourages us from attaching ourselves to the material world which is transient and so forging a connection with Amida is a way for us to place spirituality over materialism. The Sanskrit mantra is Namo Amitabhaya or Namo Amitava-loki-tesh-vara and the Chinese version is Namo Amituofo. The Tendai tradition chants Namu Myoho Renge Kyo & Namo Amidabo as "Asa Daimoku Yu Nembutsu". This means chant the Lotus Sutra in the morning and the Amida mantra in the evening to get the best of the 2 most influential scriptures. In the real-world of practicing Buddhists, most Japanese either chant the name of Amida or the Lotus Sutra - however all Buddhists venerate Kannon who unifies all Buddhist traditions.