sect of Mahayana Buddhism centring on worship of Amida (in Japanese; Sanskrit Amitabha; Chinese O-mi-t'o-fo), Buddha (Buddha of Infinite Light), whose merits can be transferred to a believer. Amidism holds that the faithful-by believing in Amida, hearing or saying his name, or desiring to share in his Western Paradise-can be reborn in the Pure Land (see Pure Land Buddhism). Originating in India, Amidism emerged in China in the 4th century and by the 9th century was brought to Japan, where, in the 20th century, the Pure Land sects compose one of the two largest Buddhist groups. See also Amitabha.
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