Skip to main content



A form of Mahāyāna Buddhism popular among the laity and especially important in Japan. It was founded by the Pure Land (Ch'ing T'u) or Lotus School in China in the 4th century a.d., if not earlier. Its three basic tenets are contained in three Sanskrit sūtras that were translated into Chinese, whence they passed into Japanese. Amida is the Japanese adaptation of the Sanskrit epithets of Buddha: Amitābha, "immeasurable light," and Amitāyus, "immeasurable life." The idea of the Pure Land is central in the Chinese Lotus School and in the Jôdo (Pure Land) doctrine developed in Japan in the 12th and 13th centuries. Salvation is offered to all men who have faith in Amida and invoke his name as "the Lord of immeasurable light and immeasurable life." Through this faith and repeated invocation the humblest layman is assured a re-birth in the Pure Land, the Western paradise. Amidism is the largest Buddhist sect in Japan.

See Also: buddhism.

Bibliography: r. masunaga, "Amida," f. kÖnig, ed., Religionswissenschaftliches Wörterbuch 4748. j. a. hardon, Religions of the World (Westminster, MD 1963) 124126. a. lloyd, The Creed of Half Japan (New York 1912). h. de lubac, Amida (Paris 1955). f. kiichi, "Die Jōdo-Lehre," Christus und die Religionen der Erde, ed. f. kÖnig (Vienna 1961) 3:428432. a. hauchecorne, "Les Religions du Japon" in Histoire des religions, ed. m. brillant and r. aigrain, v.2 (Paris 1954) 212215.

[m. r. p. mcguire]

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Amidism." New Catholic Encyclopedia. . 25 Mar. 2019 <>.

"Amidism." New Catholic Encyclopedia. . (March 25, 2019).

"Amidism." New Catholic Encyclopedia. . Retrieved March 25, 2019 from

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

The Chicago Manual of Style

American Psychological Association

  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.