It was translated into Chinese by Po-Yen, a royal Kuchean monk, in 258 at the famous White Horse Temple in Luoyang, which was then the capital of China.
It is the longest of the three major texts of Pure Land Buddhism.
The text provides a detailed account of the various levels and beings in the Mahayana Buddhist cosmology. The sutra also contains the forty-eight vows of Amitabha Buddha to save all sentient beings. The eighteenth vow is among the most important as it forms a basic tenet of the Pure Land school. This vow is most commonly known as shi nian bi sheng yuan, because it states that if a sentient being makes even «ten recitations» of the Amitabha Buddha’s name they will attain «certain rebirth» into the Pure Land.