Unification of Mind and Wind
A wonderful method of chanting Amitabha
Written in Chinese by Dr. Yutang Lin
translated by Chun-Jane Chen
edited by Anne Klein
The ancient sages of the Pureland School passed down a method of chanting "Amitabha," which combines the mind and the wind (breathing), that is, chanting while concentrating on breathing. This method enables one to achieve single-mindedness while chanting "Amitabha." The practice of Buddhist Tantra is based on the teaching of the undifferentiability of mind and wind; therefore, they aim at achieving the unification of mind and wind through mental and/or breathing training. However, the practice of Tantra requires devoted and intensive engagement, and hence, it is not within the reach of everyone.
In this article, I would like to introduce a method which is based on the original practice of the Pureland School, but enriched with a simplified tantric visualization for ordinary Buddhists to practice. Thereby, we may soon achieve the goal of purifying one's own mind. This method consists of deep breathing; therefore, it is also beneficial to one's health. It is indeed a wonderful practice, having many merits. I would hope that Buddhists who engage in this practice of chanting "Amitabha" will spread this method to others so they can share the benefits.
II. the Practice
Sit or stand in a place with fresh air; chant "Amitabha" silently, slowly and continuously. Visualize the air of the entire universe being transformed into the white light of wisdom and compassion by Amitabha Buddha. Close your mouth, and slowly inhale the air through the nostrils to the abdomen; visualize that after the light has entered, it fills your entire body. Hold the breath for a few moments. Slowly exhale through your nostrils, simultaneously visualizing that all your sickness, karmic hindrances and sorrows are transformed into black, foul-smelling air, leaving through the nostrils. This black air is then purified by Amitabha's light of limitless Buddha power.
Keep repeating the above breathing and visualization. Visualize your body continuously being filled with Amitabha's light, and your karmic hindrances and sorrows being reduced more and more. During the last round of practice, think of your entire body as cool, fresh and bright, with all your karmic hindrances and sorrows eradicated. Then, fold your palms together, thank Amitabha Buddha for the blessing, and pray for all sentient beings to receive this grace.
Beginners should practice continuously for fifteen minutes or less; later on, the session may be gradually prolonged. The period of breath holding should be increased naturally and non-forcefully.
September 19, 1990
El Cerrito, California, U.S.A.
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