"A Mi Tuo Fo"
One of the most common
inscriptions found on Chinese Buddhist temple coins is
"a mi tuo fo"
(阿弥陀佛). "A mi
tuo fo", sometimes pronounced "e mi tuo fo", is
the Chinese pronunciation for the Sanskrit name of the
Amitābha Buddha (Amida Buddha). The
"a mi tuo" is
the transliteration of the Sanskrit word "Amida" which
means "boundless" (wuliang
is the Chinese word for "Buddha".
Amitabha is the name of a specific Buddha
known as the Buddha of Infinite Light. He vowed
to forgo nirvana until all beings were able to join
In Chinese, "a mi
tuo fo" therefore means the "boundless" or
"immeasurable" Buddha. This is a reference to
Pure Land Buddhism where the Buddha is "immeasurably"
bright, everlasting and immeasurably "pure".
Over time, however, the expression "a mi tuo fo"
gradually evolved into a very common blessing and
greeting meaning "may Buddha protect", "may Buddha
preserve us" and "take refuge in the Buddha".