Pureland Daily Practice
under the guidance of the Buddhist Yogi C. M. Chen
Table of Content
|Foreword to the Second Edition|
Pureland Daily Practice
Under the guidance of my late guru, Yogi C. M. Chen, I compiled in Chinese Daily Recitations for Pureland Practitioner (Jing Ye Zhao Mu Ke Song Du Ben) in 1986. Up to now there are four printings of that booklet, totaling 10,000 copies. I am now translating it into English so that more Buddhists may use it.
The basic instruction of Yogi Chen for this booklet was that the center of attention should be all Three Holinesses of the Western Pureland, namely, Amitabha Buddha, Avalokitesvara and Mahasthanaprapta. Hence, the prostrations, sutras and mantras center on them. Yogi Chen emphasized practicing visualization of the whole Dharmadhatu and including the Heart Sutra (Xin Jing) as one of the basic sutras of the Pureland School. Thus, the practices here are to be visualized as done by all sentient beings together; and the Heart Sutra is included to familiarize the practitioners with the most basic philosophy of Buddhism. The inclusion of the magnificent images of the Three Holinesses at the beginning of the booklet was also Yogi Chen's instruction.
While translating the Buddha Expounding Amitabha Sutra ((Fo Shuo A Mi Tuo Jing), I consulted the following works:
While translating the Heart Sutra, I consulted the following works:
Paramita (Bo Luo Mi Duo), meaning to reach the other shore, is commonly translated as perfection. In this translation I chose to translate it as sublimation. Because perfection may mean just an accomplishment on a certain level, while sublimation brings out the transcendental aspect of the Buddhist practices that are rooted in the philosophy of Sunyata.
While translating the Section on Mahasthanaprapta of the Surangama Sutra, I consulted the following work:
May whatever merits generated through this work be shared by all sentient beings and thereby shorten their path toward Full Enlightenment.
El Cerrito, California
The Heart Sutra presented in this edition is a revised version of my original translation. Only minor changes are made to elucidate the meaning.
Three appendices have been added. My Sastra on Limitless-Oneness Compassion is included to compliment the wisdom teaching of the Heart Sutra. For a detailed exposition on the unification of wisdom and compassion, please read my book, Wisdom and Compassion in Limitless-Oneness.
The Unification of Mind and Wind introduces an effective method of chanting which unifies chanting, visulization and deep breathing into one practice. The chanting of Amitabha is the core of this daily practice, therefore this wonderful method is recommended to the practitioners.
On Chanting Amitabha provides a simple explanation in daily terms of the benefits of this practice to people who have no prior contact with Buddhist teachings.
The size of this manual and that of the printed words have been enlarged to facilitate daily practice.
Thanks to Ann Klein for improving the English of this edition and to Chen-jer Jan for formatting the entire book.
On one's right and left side stand one's father and mother, respectively. One's relatives, friends, creditors or foes of this or previous lives gather in front of oneself, while sentient beings in the six realms gather behind in the following order: hell beings, hungry ghosts, animals, human beings, asuras and heavenly beings. All of these beings stare up at the holy beings. The holy beings and the beings in transmigration are infinite in number and fill the whole Dharmadhatu.
Visualize that all sentient beings are simultaneously doing this practice with you, and that the holy beings, who are the objects of our veneration, are pleased to grant their blessings by reciting the sutras and the mantras with us.
Repeat each one of the following salutations three times; each repetition is to be accompanied by one prostration.
Namo Amitabha Buddha!
Namo Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara!
Namo Bodhisat tva Mahasthanaprapta!
Namo holy beings of the Western Pureland!
Namo Buddhas, Bodhisattvas and holy beings of the Ten Directions and Three Times!
Thus have I heard. Once Buddha was in the garden of the almsgiving elder Anathapindaka that contains Jeta's grove, located in the country of Sravasti. With Him there were one thousand two hundred fifty great monks; all wellknown great Arhats. They were the great disciples such as the elder Sariputra, the great Maudgalyayana, the great Kasyapa, the great Katyayana, the great Kausthila, Revata, Suddhipanthaka, Nanda, Ananda, Rahula, Gavampati, Pindolabharadvaja, Kalodayin, the great Kapphina, Vakkula and Aniruddha. There were also the great Bodhisattvas such as the Dharmaprince Manjusri, the Bodhisattva Ajita, the Bodhisattva Gandhahastin and the Bodhisattva Constantdiligence. Also present were Sakra, the King of skygods, and countless other beings of the various heavens.
Then Buddha told the Elder Sariputra:
To the West ten thousand billion Buddhalands from here, there is a world named Utmost Joy. There is a Buddha, called Amitabha, in that land. He is preaching right now. Sariputra, why is that land named Utmost Joy? The sentient beings of that land are free from all kinds of suffering, yet enjoy variegated pleasures, thus it is named Utmost Joy. Furthermore, Sariputra, the Utmost Joy Land is enclosed by seven rows of railings, seven layers of nets and seven rows of trees, all made of four kinds of jewels, hence, that land is named Utmost Joy.
Furthermore, Sariputra, in the Utmost Joy Land there are ponds made of seven kinds of jewels and fully filled with water with eight kinds of merits, and their bottoms are covered with gold sand. The stairways on the four sides are made of gold, silver, beryl and crystal, and lead to towers adorned with gold, silver, beryl, crystal, diamonds, red pearls, and coral. The lotus flowers in these ponds are as large as the wheel of a chariot. They are blue and emitting blue light; yellow, emitting yellow light; red, emitting red light; or white, emitting white light. They are sublime, wonderful, fragrant and pure. Sariputra, the Utmost Joy Land is complete in such meritorious grandeur. Again, Sariputra, the land of that Buddha is constantly filled with heavenly music and the ground is made of gold. Three times daily and three times nightly there falls from the sky a rain of heavenly Mandarava flowers. Regularly, in the early morning, the sentient beings of that land carry all sorts of wondrous flowers in their skirts to make offerings to the ten thousand billion Buddhas of other places. By breakfast time they have returned to their own land to have a meal followed by a meditative walk. Sariputra, the Utmost Joy Land is complete in such meritorious grandeur. Furthermore, Sariputra, In that land there are all sorts of wonderful birds of variegated colors: white cranes, peacocks, parrots, saris, Kalavinkas and sharedfate birds. All these birds sing harmonious and sublime melodies three times daily and three times nightly. These melodies propagate the teachings on the Five Roots, the Five Forces, the Seven Bodhibranches and the Eightfold Right Path. Beings of that land, upon hearing such melodies, all turn their thoughts toward the Buddha, the Dharma and the Sangha. Sariputra, you should not say that these birds are born as a result of their sinful karma. Why is it so? There are no three bad realms in the land of that Buddha. Sariputra, in the land of that Buddha there is not even the name of a bad realm, not to mention the reality of such. All these birds are miraculously produced by Amitabha Buddha in order to propagate the Dharma sounds. Sariputra, in the land of that Buddha breezes wave the rows of jeweled trees and the jeweled nets, thereby, producing sublime and wondrous sounds. This is analogous to hundreds and thousands of harmonious kinds of music playing simultaneously. Whoever hears such sounds naturally develops a mind that fixes upon the Buddha, the Dharma and the Sangha. Sariputra, the land of that Buddha is complete in such meritorious grandeur.
Sariputra, what do you think, why is that Buddha called Amitabha? Sariputra, the brightness of that Buddha's light is immeasurable, it shines upon lands in the ten Directions without any hindrance, hence, He is called Amitabha--infinite light. Further, Sariputra, the life span of that Buddha or anyone of His subjects is countlessly and boundlessly innumerable kalpas, thus, He is named Amitabha--infinite life. Sariputra, ever since Amitabha Buddha awoke to Full Enlightenment it has been ten kalpas. Furthermore, Sariputra, that Buddha has innumerable boundless sravaka disciples, all of whom are Arhats, and their number is beyond the knowledge of arithmetic. The number of Bodhisattvas in that land is likewise innumerable. Sariputra, the land of that Buddha is complete in such meritorious grandeur. Further, Sariputra, sentient beings who are born in the Utmost Joy Land will not regress on the path toward Enlightenment. Many among them are candidates for Buddhahood and will be born as humans just once more in order to achieve Buddhahood. Their number is so great that it is beyond the knowledge of arithmetic and can only be described as countlessly and boundlessly innumerable.
Sariputra, sentient beings who hear the above should vow to be born in that land. Why is it so? Because then one may enjoy the company of these aforementioned most benevolent people. Sariputra, it is impossible to be born in that land with only a few good dispositions, meritorious and moral causes and conditions. Sariputra, if there is a good man or woman who hears about Amitabha Buddha and keeps chanting His holy name for one day, two days, three days, four days, five days, six days or seven days with one mind free from distractions, then such a person, upon the end of his life, will see Amitabha Buddha and His holy assembly appear before him. At the time of death this person's mind will not be perturbed and will take rebirth in the Utmost Joy Land of Amitabha Buddha. Sariputra, I see such advantage, hence I say such words. Whosoever hears this should develop the vow to be born in that Land.
Sariputra, just as now I am praising the advantage of the inconceivable merits of Amitabha Buddha, in the Eastern Universe there are Buddhas such as Immovability Buddha, Meru Form Buddha, Great Meru Buddha, Meru Light Buddha, Wondrous Voice Buddha, equal in number to the sands of the river Ganges. Each Buddha in his own land displays his superior power of speech and spreads the following honest words throughout his domain of one billion worldsystems: "You sentient beings should have faith in this sutra that praises the inconceivable merits and is favored by all Buddhas."
Sariputra, in the Southern Universe there are Buddhas such as Sun Moon Lamp Buddha, Famous Light Buddha, Great Flaming Shoulders Buddha, Meru Lamp Buddha, Immeasurable Diligence Buddha, equal in number to the sands of the river Ganges. Each Buddha in his own land displays his superior power of speech and spreads the following honest words throughout his domain of one billion worldsystems: "You sentient beings should have faith in this sutra that praises the inconceivable merits and is favored by all Buddhas."
Sariputra, in the Western Universe there are Buddhas such as Immeasurable Life Span Buddha, Immeasurable Form Buddha, Immeasurable Pennant Buddha, Great Light Buddha, Great Brightness Buddha, Precious Form Buddha, Pure Light Buddha, equal in number to the sands of the river Ganges. Each Buddha in his own land displays his superior power of speech and spreads the following honest words throughout his domain of one billion worldsystems: "You sentient beings should have faith in this sutra that praises the inconceivable merits and is favored by all Buddhas."
Sariputra, in the Northern Universe there are Buddhas such as Flaming Shoulders Buddha, Most Superior Voice Buddha, Impeccable Buddha, Rising Sun Buddha, Net of Brightness Buddha, equal in number to the sands of the river Ganges. Each Buddha in his own land displays his superior power of speech and spreads the following honest words throughout his domain of one billion worldsystems: "You sentient beings should have faith in this sutra that praises the inconceivable merits and is favored by all Buddhas."
Sariputra, in the Nadiral Universe there are Buddhas such as Lion Buddha, Famous Buddha, Fame Light Buddha, Dharma Buddha, Dharma Pennant Buddha, Dharma Holding Buddha, equal in number to the sands of the river Ganges. Each Buddha in his own land displays his superior power of speech and spreads the following honest words throughout his domain of one billion worldsystems: "You sentient beings should have faith in this sutra that praises the inconceivable merits and is favored by all Buddhas."
Sariputra, in the Zenithal Universe there are Buddhas such as Pure Voice Buddha, King of Constellations Buddha, Supreme Incense Buddha, Fragrance Light Buddha, Great Flaming Shoulders Buddha, Adorned with Variegated Jewel Ornaments Buddha, King Teak Tree Buddha, Jewel Flower Merits Buddha, Seeing All Truths Buddha, Like Meru Mountain Buddha, equal in number to the sands of the river Ganges. Each Buddha in his own land displays his superior power of speech and spreads the following honest words throughout his domain of one billion worldsystems: "You sentient beings should have faith in this sutra that praises the inconceivable merits and is favored by all Buddhas."
Sariputra, what do you think? Why is this sutra named the Favor of All Buddhas Sutra? Sariputra, if there are good men or women who hear, accept and uphold this sutra and hear the names of these Buddhas, all these good men or women will be favored by all Buddhas and will never regress on the path toward the Unsurpassable Right and Full Enlightenment. Therefore, Sariputra, all of you should believe and accept these words of mine and those of the Buddhas.
Sariputra, those people who have vowed, vow now, or will vow to be born in the land of Amitabha Buddha will never regress on the path toward the Unsurpassable Right and Full Enlightenment. They have been born, are born or will be born in that land. Hence, Sariputra, all good men or women, if they have faith, should vow to be born in that land.
Sariputra, just as I am now praising the inconceivable merits of those Buddhas, likewise they are praising my inconceivable merits by uttering the following: "Sakyamuni Buddha is capable of rare and most difficult accomplishments. He is able to achieve the Unsurpassable Right and Full Enlightenment in the land of Toleration during the corrupt age of Five Obscurities -- those of the era, the views, the sorrows, the sentient beings and the lives, and to preach to the sentient beings such teachings that are difficult to believe by all worldlings." Sariputra, you should realize that it is extremely difficult for me to accomplish the heavy task of achieving the Unsurpassable Right and Full Enlightenment in the corrupt age of Five Obscurities and to preach to all worldlings such unbelievable teachings.
Thus Buddha concluded the preaching of this sutra. Sariputra, the monks and the worldlings--heavenly beings, humans, asuras, etc., all rejoiced in hearing the teaching of Buddha, and they accepted the teaching with great faith. They all prostrated to Buddha and then departed.
Whenever Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara practices deeply sublimation through Transcendent Wisdom, He intuitively perceives that the five aggregates are of Blank Essence, thus transcending all suffering and difficulties. "Sariputra, phenomena are inseparable from Blank Essence, and Blank Essence is inseparable from phenomena; phenomena are identical to Blank Essence, and Blank Essence is identical to phenomena. Feeling, conceptualization, motivation and consciousness are also inseparable from and identical to Blank Essence."
"Sariputra, the characteristics of Blank Essence of all these things are: neither born nor deceased, neither dirty nor clean, neither increasing nor decreasing. Therefore in Blank Essence there are no phenomena, no feeling, conceptualization, motivation, consciousness; no eye, ear, nose, tongue, body, mind; no color, sound, odor, flavor, touch, impression; no eye-species up to and including no perceptual-consciousness-species; no Ignorance and no elimination of Ignorance, up to and including no senility and death and no elimination of senility and death; no suffering, its causes, its transcendence, the path toward its transcendence; no Wisdom and no attainment. Since there is no attainment, by sublimation through Transcendent Wisdom, a Bodhisattva's mind has no attachment. Since there is no attachment, there is no fear. There is freedom from perversive delusions, and Nirvana is realized."
"Buddhas of the past, present and future attain the Unsurpassable Right and Full Enlightenment by sublimation through Transcendent Wisdom. Therefore sublimation through Transcendent Wisdom is known to be the great wondrous mantra, the great open mantra, the unsurpassable mantra, the no-equal-rank mantra, capable of eliminating all suffering, truthful and without deceit. Hence, the mantra of sublimation through Transcendent Wisdom is to be proclaimed." So He utters the mantra:
Gate gate paragate parasamgate bodhi svaha
The Dharma Prince Mahasthanaprapta and fiftyone Bodhisattvas of his kind rose from their seats and prostrated to Buddha by touching His feet with the top of their heads. Then Mahasthanaprapta told Buddha: As I recall, a long time ago, as many kalpas back as the number of sands of the river Ganges, there was a Buddha in the world, named Immeasurable Light Buddha. Beginning with this Buddha, during one kalpa, there were twelve Buddhas, one succeeding the other. The last Buddha of this sequence was named Transcending Sun and Moon Light. That Buddha taught me the Samadhi of Chanting Buddha's Name.
For example, if there are two persons, and one keeps remembering the other, while the other keeps forgetting the first, then such two persons either come across each other without a meeting together, or see each other without a mutual recognition. If two persons remember each other dearly and deeply, then even from life to life, they would stay together, like a body and its shadow, in unseparable harmony.
Buddhas of the Ten Directions compassionately remember sentient beings, just as a mother remembers a child. If the child runs away, what is the use of her remembrance? If the child remembers the mother just as the mother remembers the child, then the mother and the child will not be far apart even through many lives. If sentient beings wholeheartedly remember Buddha and chant the name of Buddha, then immediately or in the future they will surely see Buddha. Being not far from Buddha, hence, not dependent on disciplines, they will naturally open up their minds. Just as the body of a person imbued with perfume will smell fragrant, likewise this practice is named the Adornment with Fragrance and Light.
While I was in the causal stage I realized the Patience of Non-Born through the mind that chants Buddha's name. Now I stay in this world to attract people who chant Buddha's name in order to guide them to return to the Pureland. Buddha, you inquire about how I attained complete unification. I had no preference over using any one of the six sensory organs, but withdrew from all the distractions produced through them, and maintained the continuation of pure thoughts by chanting Buddha's name, thus I attained Samadhi. Hence, I recommend this practice to be the foremost one.
Chinese Pin Yin is used to transliterate the mantras below.
The Mantra of Amitabha Buddha:
Weng A Mi Da Wa Xie
The Mantra of Avalokitesvara:
Weng Ma Ni Bei Mi Hong
The Mantra of Mahasthanaprapta (Vajrapani):
Weng Ban Zha Ba Ni Hong Pei
The Mantra of Great Compassion:
Na Mo Ye La Zha Ya Ya
Na Mo A Ya Ga La San Ga Ya
Pi Lu Zha Na
Bu Ha La Zha Ya
Da Ta Ga Da Ya
Na Mo Sa Wa Da Ta Ga Da Bei
A Ha Dei Bei
San Ya Ga San Bu Dei Bei
Na Mo A Ya A Wa Luo Ke Bei Xia Ya Ya
Pu Ti Sa Duo Ya
Ma Ha Sa Duo Ya
Ma Ha Ga Lu Ni Ga Ya Da Ya Ta
Weng Da Ra Da Ra
Di Li Di Li
Du Lu Du Lu
Yi Zha Wei Zha
Zha Lei Zha Lei
Zha Zha Lei Zha Zha Lei
Gu Shu Mei Gu Shu Mei Wa Lei
Yi Li Mi Li
Zi Di Za Ra
Ma Ba La Ye Suo Ha
The Mantra of Rebirth-in-the-Pureland:
Na Mo O Mi Duo Po Ye
Duo Tuo Qie Duo Ye
Duo Di Ye Tuo
O Mi Li Duo Po Pi
O Mi Li Duo Xi Dan Po Pi
O Mi Li Duo Pi Jia Lan Di
O Mi Li Duo Pi Jia Lan Duo
Qia Mi Ni
Qia Qia Nuo
Zhi Dan Qie Li
Suo Po Huo
AmitabhaSet a number yourself for your repetitions. For example, start with one thousand repetitions daily and gradually increase your number of repetitions.
I finished compiling the Pureland Daily Practice in the evening of August 21, 1989. The next morning, just before I woke up, I dreamed that in my house on top of a bookcase there were three boxes of birdies just hatched from their eggs, and in my dining room all over the floor were tiny white swans with golden beaks also just hatched from their eggs.
I believe that this is a very auspicious omen, signifying that many practitioners will be reborn through adopting this Pureland Daily Practice. The birdies on top of the bookcase signify that the practice is based on knowledge, yet goes beyond studies. The swans on the floor in the dining room signify that those practitioners who do the practice as regularly as people taking meals, will obtain solid grounding.
I recorded and explained this dream in order to encourage and add faith to the practitioners of this practice. May the blessings of Buddha, Dharma and Sangha be with you always!