Buddhists believe in the transmigration of the soul through various stages before reaching Nirvana or the Land of Bliss. The lotus ponds there are made of the Seven Treasures. The Seven Treasures feature prominently within Samsara, the realm of reincarnation and rebirth, as well.
In the original sutras (Buddhist scriptures) written in Sanskrit, the Seven Treasures are:
The Sanskrit terms were interpreted and translated into different Chinese terms in the various sutras. And even for the same sutra, different translations made during the various Chinese dynasties yielded different items. The Amitayurdhyana Sutra alone lists various sets of Seven Treasures as translated during different Chinese dynasties.
- Purple gold
- White silver
- Lapis lazuli
- White coral
- Ruby (the Chinese characters for ‘Rose’ originally meant ‘Red stone’)
Further complications arose when the Chinese terms were translated to English, where the same Chinese term was interpreted as different substances in Western literature.
For example, Mr. Rhys Davids listed the Seven Treasures as Gold, Silver, Lapis lazuli, Rock crystal, Ruby, Diamond / Emerald and Agate, while Major Cunningham replaced Diamond / Emerald with Amethyst.
Other precious substances that have been selected include:
- Red coral / Red pearl / Sapphire: Alternatives for Ruby.
- Pearl / Mother of pearl / Tridacna: Alternatives for White coral.
- Turquoise / Lazurite / Beryl / Karketana stone (Chrysoberyl): Alternativs for Lapis lazuli.
No matter the specific substance, the Seven Treasures embody the light and wisdom of the Pure Land. The positive influences they have on the believers include calming effects, relieving stress, increasing alertness, giving inspiration, eliminating negative energies and offering protection by driving away evil.