The pratyutpanna-buddha-saṃmukhāvasthita-samādhi (Chi. banzhou sanmei 般舟三昧) has long been viewed as a developed form of buddhānusmṛti (Chi. fo suinian 仏随念). Existing studies are based on Akanuma Chizen’s 赤沼智善 pioneering work (1939), which found that nianfo 念仏 is transformed into this samādhi through the doctrine of śūnyatā. Assuming nian 念 to be anu-√smṛ in Sanskrit, he regarded buddhānusmṛti as its original form.
Unfortunately, the Sanskrit original of the pratyutpanna-buddha-saṃmukhāvasthita-samādhi-sūtra (Chi. Banzhou sanmei jing 般舟三昧経) has been lost, except for one fragment. As Akanuma pointed out, the Chinese translation explains this samādhi as nianfo. Thus, the issue is whether the assumption about the original wording of nian is correct. There is a possibility that the translation is based on something other than anu-√smṛ, but this has not been studied so far, although it would allow for reconsideration of previous studies.
In this paper, I attempt to revisit the relationship between the pratyutpanna-buddha-saṃmukhāvasthita-samādhi and buddhānusmṛti in terms of two points: first, I clarify the concept of buddhānusmṛti in this sutra; second, I determine the original wording of nian in connection with this samādhi by referring to the Tibetan translation. Finally, I suggest that the original form of the pratyutpanna-buddha-saṃmukhāvasthita-samādhi should be reconsidered.