A small but well-detailed of Amitabha may be found in this nicely detailed copper rupa. Holding a begging bowl and a vase of nectar, which represents longevity, Amitabha is an inspiration for practitioners from all buddhist paths.
Amitabha may also be referred as Amitayus depending on the tradition from which it comes. Amitabha means “Infinite light” and Amitayus means “Infinite life”. According to Mahayana Buddhism, Amitabha is a principal or celestial buddha. According to Vajrayana Buddhism, Amitabha (or Amitayus) is known for his attribute of longevity. In China and Japan, the two names are used interchangeably, but in Tibet the two forms are kept separate.
In most representations, the Amitabha-Amitayus figure holds in his left hand a vase with nectar that supports long life. His right hand may be either touching the ground (the way Shakyamuni Buddha is usually displayed) (Amitabha) or may join hands under the bowl (in posture known as dhyani) (Amitayus).
The three longevity deities of the Vajrayana are Ushnishavijaya, Amitayus and White Tara, and are known as the Long Life Trinity. In advanced practice, by connecting authentically with the guru as represented by the deity, one may drink of the nectar of longevity.