The figure is shown standing on a raised four legged base, the left hand raised in Mudra. The figure is wearing simple, diaphanous robes, and the head is framed by the flame-form mandorla which is surmounted by the standing figure of Amitabha Buddha.
Measures: Height 6.75 inches (17.25 cm.) Width 2.25 inches (6 cm) Depth 1.2 inches
According to the Larger Sutra of Immeasurable Life, Amitabha was, in very ancient times and possibly in another system of worlds, a monk named Dharmakara. In some versions of the sutra, Dharmakara is described as a former king who, having come into contact with Buddhist teachings through the buddha Lokesvararaja, renounced his throne. He then resolved to become a buddha and so to come into possession of a buddha etra (“buddha-field”, a realm existing in the primordial universe outside of ordinary reality, produced by a buddha’s merit) possessed of many perfections. These resolutions were expressed in his forty-eight vows, which set out the type of buddha-field Dharmakara aspired to create, the conditions under which beings might be born into that world, and what kind of beings they would be when reborn there.
In the versions of the sutra widely known in China, Vietnam, Korea and Japan, Dharmakara’s eighteenth vow was that any being in any universe desiring to be reborn into Amitabha’s pure land (Chinese: ??; pinyin: jìngtu; Japanese pronunciation: jodo; Korean: ??; romaja: jeongto; Vietnamese: ) and calling upon his name even as few as ten times will be guaranteed rebirth there. His nineteenth vow promises that he, together with his bodhisattvas and other blessed Buddhists, will appear before those who, at the moment of death, call upon him. This openness and acceptance of all kinds of people has made belief in pure lands one of the major influences in Mahayana Buddhism. Pure Land Buddhism seems to have first become popular in Gandhara, from where it spread to Central Asia and China.
The sutra goes on to explain that Amitabha, after accumulating great merit over countless lives, finally achieved buddhahood and is still residing in his land of Sukhavati, whose many virtues and joys are described. (Wikipedia)