The Practice of the Pure-Land School Simplified, Part I
The Buddhist Yogi C. M. Chen
I. The Necessity
No treatment by nature is so equal towards everybody as death.
The poor must die and the rich also; foolish people must die and wise ones
too; the weak and powerful also; sinful individuals and virtuous people
must die; the common people must die, as well as emperors and kings. Neither
in the sky nor in the ocean nor in a cave nor underground can a living
being escape death. Communists may think of themselves as bacillus which
can infect everybody throughout the whole world, but where is Stalin today?
Fascists may think of themselves as gods who are able to control every
country on earth, but where is Hitler now? In this Saha world there is
no one who is free from death. But in the Sukhavati world, there is no
death. Good rebirth in such a world is the aim of the practice of the Pure-Land
B. Although the practices of various schools are cast in different
molds, all the practices of the different schools leave their practitioners
still subject to death.
Chih-I the founder of the T'ien-T'ai School and Han-Shan, a Patriarch
of the Ch'an School, both repeated the name of Amitabha at the time of
their death. In the Tantric School, there is a method of Phowa. In the
Ch'an School there is a Hua-Tou "Who repeats the name Amitabha?" Hence
one should not take the conception of a school too literally.
To confess one's evil deeds and perform good karma, one has to tread
the pathway of the Vinaya school; to learn the right Dharma and all of
Buddhist psychology, the path of the Idealistic school; to control one's
mind and unfold the potentialities of Tathata, the path of the T'ien-T'ai
School is to be followed; to study the Voidness of Truth and perform all
good deeds to benefit others, there is the path of the Prajnaparamita school;
to gain some mystic power from the Samapatti of the real-value of conditional-nature,
there is the path of the Hua-yen school; to develop wisdom energy and a
wisdom body follow the path of the Tantric school; to directly discover
the final truth and attain the perfect realization there is a path of Ch'an,
and to control and transcend one's consciousness to get good rebirth, there
is the path of the Pure-Land School. One who is a perfect Buddhist should
learn the practices of all the doctrines of all schools. Why should the
important practice for one's good rebirth be disregarded?
C. Under the influence of Mercantilism and sightless pragmatism,
Westerners scarcely get any real Ch'an works to study except a few translations
from ancient Chinese Ch'an works. In this Kali age there is no shame about
what one writes for money and false reputation. Neither is there honesty,
truth, reason or devotion for what one writes; these modern authors have
to be led by the nose by the advisor of the publisher who wants one work
to satisfy all readers of every religion, so that the profound truth of
Ch'an must be omitted. Writers make contact with Buddhist societies as
if they are real Ch'an scholars and give lectures there for the purpose
of proving that their publications are worth buying and reading. Japanese
monks are introduced to give lectures to prove that sitting straight and
counting the breath accurately are the real Ch'an practices. Thus advisors,
publishers, and society form an Indra-net of false Ch'an teaching. People
subjected to such instruction are never awake to what they are doing; they
are actually tied to the apron-strings of mercantilism but still think
they are propagating real Ch'an teaching.
Most Western readers are apostates of Christianity. In their inward
thoughts they think it is bad not to have any religion, but that it is
better to follow one that has no god, no soul, and no doctrine of renunciation.
Hence they choose Ch'an Buddhism (or Zen as it is known in Japan) as their
religion. They mistake Ch'an Buddhism as a religion which fits in with
their ideals. Eastern Ch'an Buddhists who seek after pleasure, the dollar,
and who love the West emphasize that Ch'an Buddhism does not admit the
existence of a god, a soul or a doctrine of renunciation but that Ch'an
is found in daily life and needs no practice of any kind for the Ch'an
is continually appearing. Such a misconception very much encourages those
westerners, and certainly such eastern scholars are misleaders who have
joined with western publication advisors to form a net of Charlatans. Most
readers are not able to be free of this kind of net.
Buddha rejects the doctrine of an absolute god and permanent soul, but
he never said that there is no conditional god and impermanent soul. He
allows that one who has become accomplished in the voidness Samadhi may
connect with evil persons in this world in order to convert them to the
Buddhist order; but he never allowed his new disciples to share and indulge
in the sorrows of evil ones in this Saha world. He who does not know how
to get the entrance of Ch'an and how to be free from the volition of Ch'an
cannot practice the Ch'an of daily life. I dare to say that most western
believers of the Ch'an school have been deceived by those advisors and
false Ch'an masters.
Regarding the practice of Tantra, many Western hypocrites outwardly
refuse the doctrine of Vajra-love but inwardly they want to try to practice
it. Young brothers and sisters after they have read the Hevajra-Tantra
have much interest in it and immediately try to practice it without proper
initiation. This is very dangerous and they will only fall into Hell instead
of attaining rebirth in Sukhavati.
Hence among all the practical schools, the only one which is reliable
and one may easily follow is the Pure-Land School.
II. The Rectification
Traditionally the doctrines of this school are in extremely different
emphasis, some of which are quite right while others are in need of rectification.
It is the natural law of mankind that to follow the right doctrine is as
difficult as climbing a hill, but to follow the false doctrine is as easy
as slipping down a slope. It is also true that the right doctrine grows
slowly and is easily forgotten, while the false one grows fast and creates
wide influence. Hence we who introduce this doctrine of this school to
the West have to rectify the false doctrines lest practitioners accidentally
wander between these two different ways.
A. Mistaking Repetition at the Time of Death as That Done at Usual
This occurs since some Chinese ancients of this school emphasized that
by only repeating an incantation of Amitabha ten times one may get rebirth
in Sukhavati. Their opinion was based upon the Amita Buddha Sutra in which
it was written: "Should such an unwise person, at the moment of his passing
away, meet a Benefactor who teaches him how to repeat the name Amita Buddha
and he would sincerely say in his heart, 'Namo Amita Buddha' ten times
without interlude, he would be reborn in Sukhavati immediately." But the
ancient commentators ignored the different attitudes found at the time
of death and at other times. When one is going to die, one may be earnest
and enthusiastic to repeat this and there would be no desire wedded in
his mind and no chance to further sin. That is why although the repetition
is only done ten times, yet their degree of inspiration is very strong
and deep and much better than those repetitions which are done by living
persons in an unintentional way. The person who is just converted at the
time of his death is like a new student whose devotion is much deeper than
that of longtime ones. The following poem translated from Chinese may serve
Believing in Buddha the first year,
Buddha seemed very near;
But in the second year on one day,
Buddha has gone away!
Certainly it is not that the Buddha has gone away, but that the practitioner's
devotion has become insipid by being mixed with worldly desires.
This mistake can greatly harm the practitioner by increasing his laziness,
and the result is that he just whiles away his time. Rome was not built
in a day, so how can Sukhavati be gotten to by such an easy way? In this
Kali age this traditional mistake added to indolence of human nature has
widely influenced practitioners. Recently I received a letter from a German
Buddhist who was studying in Japan asking me whether it is true that by
repeating something a few times one may get rebirth in Sukhavati despite
whatever great sins he had committed. Here the repetitions done at the
time of death were mistaken as that done in usual times. Certainly this
is a saying of the Japanese blind being lead by the Chinese blind.
Being a Chinese Buddhist as I am, this traditional error should be pointed
out through reason and example. Did not the patriarch of this school in
Japan, Rev. Sen Toa, practice very diligently? He created a ritual named
"Confession in Six Times" which should be performed three times throughout
the whole day and three times throughout the whole night. For this reason
the Japanese Pure-Land School is also called the "School of Time." To this
patriarch, even a little moment was not to be wasted without repetition.
Besides repetitions, by worship, praise, confession, writing the Amita
Sutra and performing many good conducts, he set down his personal example
for us to follow. He himself copied this sutra one hundred thousand times.
He drew three hundred different forms of pictures of Sukhavati. He repeated
the Holy name numberless times. After he received realization, the holy
light shone from his mouth and he still continued his repetition until
Surely the Pure-Land is not a Land of Nod; the Sine quo non (indispensable)
for good rebirth is diligence but not dolce far niente (indulgent laziness).
Those sleeping partners and waiters on Providence will never share the
happiness of Sukhavati. Lazy people who take the least pains will never
flee from transmigration.
B. Mistaking the Sins Committed before One's Conversion which May
Be Confessed and Excused, as Those Committed Frequently after One's Conversion
It is written in the Visualizing Amita Buddha Sutra that even a sinner
who commits the five enormities and thus will fall into hell, may have
all his sins excused and get rebirth in Sukhavati if he is converted by
some benefactor at the time of his death and repeats the Holy name. But
some Chinese ancients who had the good intention to convert those sinners
said that their great sins may be continued when they get rebirth in that
Pure-Land. Thus those sinners who repeat the Holy name on one hand and
commit great sins again and again on the other hand, just treat Sukhavati
as if it is the refuge for their evil. That is why many members of this
school in China often kill chickens, fish, doves and other kinds of animals
for their meals. This kind of sinner may be found in China ever and anon.
I am very unhappy that even many of my patrons who were advised by me have
not forbidden themselves such sins. It is my hope that those in the West
may have a good start. Hence I set forth this rectification here. If one
does not become a vegetarian, at least he should forbid himself to kill.
After one's conversion, every sin one has committed may be an obstacle
to his rebirth. One who causes others to die and seeks a good rebirth only
for himself will never succeed. Unlike a person who is converted at the
time of his death and has no chance to further commit any sins, one who
is living may get many opportunities to do evil. Just like the proverb
which runs: "He who fights and runs away may live to fight another day;
but who's in the battle slain will never fight again." One should be afraid
of committing a sin. In the midst of life or in death one should enthusiastically
repeat the Holy name.
C. Mistaking the Signs of Heavenly-rebirth as Those of Sukhavati-rebirth
The Ancients have set down many records and rebirth biographies wherein
are collected all the signs which happened at the death of many monks and
laymen but in these works the signs of heavenly rebirth are mixed with
those of Sukhavati. Without proper examination and discernment between
this difference, some of the ancients arbitrarily and discretionally exaggerated,
saying, "Myriad people have repeated, myriad people have gone." Hence I
have to point out the discriminations between these two kinds of signs
and rectify the Ancient's saying with "Myriad people have gone to heaven
but few people to Sukhavati."
In general, good rebirth either in heaven or in Sukhavati is indicated
by the same signs as follows:
- Heavenly music,
- Holy light,
- Mystic fragrance,
- Foretelling of the date of death,
- The last part of the body to hold warmth at the time of death is the head,
- Gods or divinities or angels appear.
But in particular it is only the person who will really get rebirth in
Sukhavati who will receive a sign of Amita Buddha or of the three sages
of Sukhavati or the single sage of Kuan-Yin (Avalokitesvara) who comes
to the dying person and invites him to go to Sukhavati.
On the other hand, if the last place in the head that is warm at the
time of death is the fontanelle, this proves that the consciousness will
pass through there to go to heaven. But the gate to the Buddha-lands (not
only Skukhavati) is located approximately four fingers behind the fontanelle
and when the climax of warmth is right there, it proves that the consciousness
will leave the body through this gate and go to one of the Buddha-lands.
The rebirth-biographies have written records about the head warmth, but
have never distinguished between the above two situations. Hence rebirth
in heaven is mistaken as that in Sukhavati. It is excusable as the Ancients
of the Pure-Land School in China did not learn the knowledge of Buddhist
Tantra in which these two different gates have been well distinguished.
(See Booklet New No. 30)
Furthermore the sky, the heaven, and the Pure-Land are three different
places. The sky is visible to the naked eye wherein the clouds, sun, moon
and stars are placed; heaven is visible to the heavenly eye only (vide
the five kinds of eyes taught about in the Diamond Sutra.) All the kingdoms
of gods mentioned by non-Buddhists are said to be in heaven and not the
sky. The Pure-Land is visible to the other three kinds of eyes, viz., Wisdom-eyes,
Dharma-eyes, and Buddha-eyes which are beyond the nine-haveness in which
the three kinds of heaven are included. All four kinds of Pure-Land are
based upon the Buddhist truth of Voidness. In Tantra, the median nerve
manifests the truth of Voidness and the Dharmakaya, while its upside-mouth
is the gate through which one's consciousness goes to the Pure-Land. The
Pure-Land School does not know about these differentiations.
D. Mistaking the Power which is Limited and Relative as One which
is Absolute and Unlimited
Fundamentally, Buddhist philosophy is a denial of every kind of absoluteness
or extremity. Buddhism never allows that there is a cause of an absolute.
Everything either secular or sacred is formed by some conditions. Among
all the conditions of any one thing, some condition may be a little more
important than other conditions. As good rebirth in Sukhavati is based
upon the good vows of Amita Buddha, so it is certain that the most important
condition of a practitioner of the Pure-Land school is the power from Amita-Buddha.
Nevertheless, this is not to say that there is no need at all of self-power.
From the following sayings and lores, one can know that power from a
higher being and self-power are relative and both form an interplay.
- If you do nothing for your fellowmen, then all your prayers to the Buddha
are in vain. (Chinese lore)
- Even Buddha cannot become enlightened unless he has something to learn
of. (Burmese proverb)
- One's Buddha is oneself. (Japanese proverb)
- The way is born of the heart; if the heart is upright, the way will be
open. (Japanese lore)
- Buddha does not save those who have no condition relating to Him. (Chinese
- First endeavour, then god. (Marathi proverb).
- God gives food to every bird, but does not throw it into the nest. (Swedish,
Slovenian, Dutch and Danish proverb)
- Call on God but row away from the rocks. (Hindi proverb)
- Victory is from God, but strike with all your might. (India proverb)
- One who has never suffered is not dear to God. (Montenegrin proverb)
- God does not look down upon those who do not look up to him. (German proverb)
- God has no sympathy for those who let it rain through their roofs. (Swiss
- God helps us, but you don't lie on your back. (Russian proverb)
- God is a good worker, but He loves to be helped. (Basque proverb)
- Where God holds the ladder there is luck in climbing. (German proverb)
Besides the above proverbs which are of common sense, does not the Amita
Buddha Sutra write the following?
- "Firstly, have a compassionate mind, do not kill living beings and observe
- Secondly, read and study the Mahayana Sutras;
- Thirdly, practice the six thoughts (Remembrances)."
- "Although one does not recite the Sutras, one should understand their meaning
well and should not be astonished on hearing the Supreme doctrine."
- "One should believe the Law of Cause and Effect and not calumniate the
teachings of Mahayana."
- "Any person who observes the five Precepts and the eight Precepts or all
of the rules...
- Does not do the five Enormities and has no evil conduct."
- "A good man or good woman supports his or her parents and has kind conduct
toward the world."
Would all the statements quoted from the Amita Buddha Sutra not be relevant
to the self-power? Besides these, though, there are some statements in
the same Sutra concerning three divisions of the inferior class who are
evil persons who have no good conduct for their good rebirth, yet they
all are mentioned with the same condition, i.e. "When he is about to pass
away and meets a beneficial person who tells him about Amita Buddha . .
." This proves what I have previously said: he who does evil before his
conversion may be exempted but not for sins committed after conversion.
He who is converted when he is alive should not do evil again and should
try to fulfill the above eight good conditions through his self power which
should be as perfect as possible.
One may, however, inquire of me the reason why every ancient of China
has emphasized that this school lays most stress on higher power. I do
not reject the theory of the other power, but disagree in the absoluteness
of the other power. God helps one who helps himself and whatsoever one
can do, one must do oneself. Buddha helps with only what one cannot do.
According to the Buddhist Idealistic school, if the ordinary person, whether
good or bad, does not achieve the realization of the Sunyata truth (nature
of Voidness), he cannot get a rebirth in any kind of the Pure Lands of
What does pure mean? Pure here means the realization of voidness which
is really holy, bright, clear and clean, without the impurities of false
view of good or bad Karmas and of egoism. In short, it is free from every
kind of haveness of Profanity. That is why it is only the pure person who
can enter into the Pure-Land. Though it is not impossible for the wise,
diligent, sincere, renunciative and rare practitioner to achieve the accomplishment
of purification of voidness, yet the common multitudes who are treading
a path of worldly affairs and spend little time upon repetition, have need
of the help of other power.
Of course every Buddha may be a helpful power to the Practitioner, but
among them it is only the Amita Buddha who is so merciful that he has developed
48 great vows, most of which concern his Pure-Land. Among them the eighteenth
promises a holy birth in his pure land to those who have perfect reliance
upon Him, believing with serene heart and repeating His name. The nineteenth
promises a welcome by Amita Buddha Himself on the eve of death to those
who have performed meritorious deeds, and the twentieth even to anyone
who only repeats His name. Hence the other power the practitioner, who
aims at Holy birth in Sukhavati, can rely on is certainly, surely and particularly
that of Amita Buddha. All those holy works or practices which the common
multitude cannot do have been prepared by Amita Buddha; but this does not
mean that what the common multitude can do should be set aside with the
pretext that there is no need to use and develop one's self power as Amita's
power can be relied on. That is why in the Amita Buddha Sutra we have been
taught about pure Karmas as follows:
"One who wishes to be reborn in the pure-land should cultivate three
virtues; they are firstly, supporting one's parents, respecting one's teachers,
refraining from killing living beings, and doing the ten good deeds; secondly,
taking the Three Refuges and observing the precepts perfectly; and thirdly,
cherishing the Bodhi heart, believing the law of Cause and Effect."
III. The Repetition
The Ancient upasaka Mr. Cheng Wei-An edited forty-eight methods
of Amitabha repetitions which now are translated as follows:
1) Repetition in mindfulness: Mind should not be disturbed by worldly
affairs when one repeats the Holy-name of Amitabha.
2) Repetition with speech restrained: As ten main functions of repetition
comes from the mouth, so one's speech should be restrained from evil even
during the time of non-repetition.
3) Repetition in the posture of erect body: One's body should be kept
upright without declination. All one's actions of walking, staying, sitting
and sleeping should be in their correct postures. By doing so one's devotion
4) Repetition with rosary: Repeat only the four sounds, e.g., A-MI-TA-BHA
without na-mo, and count the times of repetition accurately, neither more
5) Repetition in a loud voice: When one is sleepy or has many delusions
disturbing his mind, say the repetitions loud enough to wake sound sleepers
and penetrate one's head and ears without being occupied by other multisonant
6) Repetition in a soft voice: When one is tired, one should concentratedly
keep one's spirit quiet and repeat in a soft voice through which one might
hear a pin drop.
7) Vajra-Repetition: When one is not comfortable or is under a bad condition,
the above two kinds of repetitions, in loudness and softness, are not suitable
to one's practice. One should then follow the Vajra Repetition. It is done
by small movements of the lips, but every word of the repetition should
pass through the nature of Vajra which means the unshaken mind or the Samadhi
8) Repetition in silence: Let only the tip of the tongue slightly touch
the teeth, but keep the sounds of the Holy name still very clear in one's
mind. Thus mind attends to the tongue, tongue transmits the sound of mind
and sound turns back to its nature. These three conditions are identified.
9) Repetition with quiet breathing: First of all one visualizes one's
body which is in a halo, eyes concentratedly look at the tip of the nose,
and then let both the exhalation and inhalation become soft and quiet.
One repeats the Holy name once within the current of one exhalation and
one inhalation. Thus the mind and breathing both are identified. Samadhi
of this kind will be attained through a long duration of practice.
10) Repetition of any kind, whichever you choose in accordance with
the particular condition or circumstance: When one is tired and sleepy,
repeat while strolling; when one is disturbed with mundane affairs, repeat
while sitting; proud of something, repeat while kneeling; or troubled in
sickness, repeat in bed.
11) Repetition everywhere: In spite of the place, whether clean or dirty,
quiet or noisy, pleasant or distasteful, one should think of the many kinds
of circumstances and surroundings one has passed through during one's long
transmigration, that none have been permanent and one should not be concerned
about it again. What one ought to do is only to repeat the Holy name. No
matter what place or situation one is in, either lavatory or market, either
in childbirth or a painful disease, one should only repeat without doubt
the Holy name.
12) Repetition both at times certain and uncertain: Repetition should
be practiced without ceasing at a certain time as a daily lesson. Such
a certain time must be settled upon whether in morning or in evening and
one must perform the repetition regularly without change. Besides this,
one should repeat it at any time when he has leisure. To reduce nonsense
talk and increase the repetition of the Holy name, both should be diligently
13) Repetition done before or without an image: When one is in front
of the Amita Buddha image, one need not choose a direction but believe
that the Image and Amita Buddha and his Dharmakaya are identified. Keep
this Samadhi of identification until the repetition is finished. When one
is without an image of Amita, one should sit toward the Western direction
which is said to be the direction of Sukhavati on one hand and a direction
of killing delusions on the other. If delusions are still arising, visualize
the Buddha on one's head and his Holy light being thrown down upon the
practitioner. Thus all delusions and sins may be vanished.
14) Repetition in haste: Whenever one is very rushed and on the spur
of the moment one could repeat the Holy name for only one or two times,
do so for that one or two times. Even between the cup and the lips one
should not lose even one repetition. Just like the saying of the very well
known Chinese poem written by Pai L'o Tie'n:
When I walk, I call Amita;
When I sit, I call Amita;
Even when I am in haste like an arrow,
My calling of Him must still follow.
15) Repetition in leisure: All businessmen desire to have leisure but few
are satisfied. Hence when one actually gets it, one should repeat the Holy
name without wasting time. Be aware of Yama who will come at an uncertain
time; one must go back to the pureland sooner or later.
16) Repetition by the noble caste: A noble birth is in consequence of
the good Karmas done in past lives. Most noble persons are incarnations
of monks. They should do many good Karmas again, either building monasteries,
or making images of the three sages of the western direction, i.e., Sukhavati,
or printing the Sutras of the Pure Land School. Whatsoever they do should
be done for rebirth in the Pure-Land. Whenever one is about to do any good
Karma, do it together with repetition.
17) Repetition by lower castes: If one is born into a poor family or
a lower caste, one must be aware that this was due to laziness and negligence
of repetition in a past life and so one has got such a bad rebirth. One
should then repeat the Holy name in this lifetime diligently until death
comes and a good rebirth in Sukhavati is at hand.
18) Repetition done in wisdom: One should not be proud of one's profane
and mundane wisdom which may lead one's self to do evil. It cannot save
one from death. The Holy name should be repeated in one's wisdom of Excellency.
19) Repetition done in faith: Without any selfish delusion, one should
just repeat faithfully. The Ancient Patriarch said, "Nowadays we could
not find out anyone of stupidity; most of them are too wise to be selfish."
20) Repetition done at any worldly celebration: Whenever there is a
celebration of a birth-day or funeral or holy-day or day of congratulations
of any kind, one should repeat the Holy name with some prayers.
21) Repetition with good vows: Any good wish or good vow may be developed
before you begin repeating the Holy name.
22) Repetition done for self consolation: When any bad things happen,
you should bear in mind and console yourself with the idea that such an
idea might have come from Him as a temptation. You should then repeat his
Holy name with patience.
23) Repetition done in shame for encouragement: When one repeats the
Holy name for a long duration of time without any inspiration, one should
be shameful and should think of one's own conducts, some of which might
not be good enough to inspire Him. Hence one has to encourage oneself to
do one's utmost repetition until inspiration is gained.
24) Repetition done in earnest: Think that although Amita has great
mercy upon us, yet we ourselves have not had pity on ourselves. Hence,
we must repeat his Holy name in earnest.
25) Repetition with offerings: Whenever one offers something to Buddha
one should repeat his Holy name at the same time.
26) Repetition done to give gratitude: To gratify all the Benefactors
such as parents, teachers, patrons, Buddhas, Bodhisattvas, Arhats, and
Gods, one must repeat the Holy name and pray for or to them.
27) Repetition with alms-giving: Whenever one gives something to others
with a prayer to save all these spirits, hungry ghosts, painful slaves
and every sentient being in transmigration, one should repeat the Holy
28) Repetition heard by one's mind: When one is repeating, one should
hear it in one's own mind and remember Him; thus tongue, mind and remembrance
should be identified. Amita would appear at such a time.
29) Repetition done with sound: When repetition has been skillfully
accomplished with realization, one may concentrate on only one guna (attribute)
among the six gunas and all the functions of the six indriyas (perceptions)
may be harmonized into the one indriya of the ears. Body does not care
about its movements, tongue does not care about its utterance, mind does
not care about its discrimination, nostrils do not care about their breathing,
eyes do not care about their sight. In short, the six indriyas become only
one of the ears and the six gunas becomes only one of sound. When the six
gunas are identified with the six indriyas, these will be identified with
the six senses too. Thus eighteen realms are harmonized into oneness—the
one of repetition. At least that only one sound of repetition becomes the
Dharmakaya in which Amita and the Practitioner are in oneness. This is
called the Samadhi of repetition.
30) Repetition with the Holy light: As the sound of repetition is a
sound of mind, so the light of repetition is of mind, also. Sound prevails
with mind, light also prevails with mind, hence the defilement of the mind
through the prevailing of light has been washed away.
31) Repetition of the Holy Mirror: When one's sound of mind and the
light of Truth both have been developed in one's repetition, the entity
of nature will appear which is the Tathata in the likeness of a Mirror.
Transparent and omnipresent are its characteristics without obstacles.
All Buddhas and sentient beings are its manifestations. The sound is the
light, the light is the mirror and the mirror is the Dharmakaya. They all
are in oneness. One should make the best of one's time to practice and
get such a par excellent realization.
32) Repetition without ceasing: Repetition should be done in the morning
and evening, at one's leisure and while one is in a hurry, in a clean place
and a dirty place. There should be no mind and no time without repetition
even during social intercourse. Though sometimes it may seem quenched,
yet its spirit and habit should still be going on. This is the continuity
33) Repetition without confusion: When one is rid of the confusion of
one's mind, there is the Samadhi. The three kinds of Avyakhyata of the
mind, viz., goodness, evil, and innocence disappear. The mind is sublimated
into Truth which is clear without innocence; is silent without goodness
and evil. Besides the Holy name, there is nothing; that is why it is silent.
In this silence there is the Holy name; that is why it is clear.
34) Repetition without obstinacy: Repetition without obstinacy is the
Samapatti which is wisdom. The former one of repetition is passed, the
latter one of repetition is coming; between them is the middle one, though
it is not a repetition, yet it is no obstinacy. It is very clear and unattainable.
It is the Truth.
35) Repetition done in the identification of Ch'an and Buddha: When
the repetition reaches the Samadhi, it is Ch'an and the name which is repeated
is the Buddha. Thus the Ch'an and Buddha and repetition are in oneness.
36) Repetition done in the identification of Vinaya and Buddha: To control
one's body with Vinaya, to control one's speech with repetition and to
control one's mind with the identification of Vinaya and Buddha; these
three practices make one integrate with Samadhi. The result of good rebirth
in Sukhavati is at hand.
37) Repetition done in the identification of Doctrine and Buddha: All
doctrines guide to Samadhi, all Samadhi ends at the Enlightenment of Buddhahood.
When doctrine and Enlightenment are identified in the repetition, the accomplishment
of Buddha is attainable.
38) Repetition identifies with non-repetition: Whenever one is walking
someplace, though it seems there is no repetition at all, yet the repetition
itself is still going on in the bottom of the heart, habitually and naturally.
This is the sign of Samadhi.
39) Non-repetition identifies with repetition: As the repetition has
become natural in habit, it seems there is no movement at all. This is
what is called non-repetition identifying with the repetition. While the
repetition is going on itself without the care of the practitioner, it
seems, the name of Buddha, the practitioner and the repetition all are
in Voidness. Hence the mind is in the Samadhi of Voidness and the repetition
in such a samadhi is very clear. The greater is the voidness, the greater
is the clearness. Mind in the Buddha-nature repeats the name of Buddha
in mind, thus the objectivity and subjectivity are identified.
40) Repetition of a single person: When one is living alone in solitude,
his repetition may be done in his own way, however he likes. Samadhi is
41) Repetition continued for a certain duration: Confine oneself to
repeat concentratedly for a certain duration of time, whether one week
or two or more. Allow no admission of any person or thing.
42) Repetition in an assembly: Companions of the same right view with
the same rank of realization and the same habit of practice may gather
together for a certain practice within a certain duration. Such an assembly
might easily inspire the Buddha.
43) Repetition for benefiting others: Whenever one finds somebody who
is ill or who is going to die, he should repeat earnestly for him.
44) Repetition for getting rid of distress: Whenever there is a civil
war or an epidemic disease and many people are in a very dangerous condition,
one should repeat the Holy name and ask Him to sit on people's heads and
throw Holy light upon their bodies and ask many gods to help Buddha to
45) Repetition in dream: As one has practiced during the daytime and
during the nighttime, repetition has become habitualized, so it is convenient
for the practitioner to even carry this on in his dreams. One should pray
for this before going to bed.
46) Repetition done in illness: Near to illness is death, so one should
prepare to go to Sukhavati through repetition. If it is not the right time,
the illness will be cured through the same effort.
47) Repetition at death: When one is dying, no matter whether the repetition
is loud or soft, one has to keep it in mind without ceasing. One should
exert oneself with patience. Say to oneself, as I have repeated his Holy
name throughout my entire lifetime, now is my time of ripeness for good
rebirth in Sukhavati. I would like to go without any attachment to this
48) Repetition with confession and good vows: A confession of sinful
deeds done during one's lifetime and some good vows for coming to this
world to save others are quite necessary along with the repetition done
sometime before death.
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