Buddha-name Chanting: "Amituofo"
The simplest way to practice Pure Land is by chanting "Amituofo," which is Amitabha Buddha in Chinese. It does not matter whether we chant in Chinese or any other language as long as we do it properly. When we chant, the sound of "Amituofo" arises in our minds. And as we utter "Amituofo," our minds concentrate on and embrace that sound. While chanting, do so sincerely and continuously.
As one keeps chanting and the mind focuses on the sound of "Amituofo," errant thoughts are replaced with pure thoughts. In this way, we also create less negative karma. After Amitabha Buddha has been in our mind continuously for a long time, our true nature--our Buddha nature--will gradually be uncovered.
It is similar to a child remembering a dearly loved one: a mother, father, or someone else. The dearly loved one is always with him, always in his heart. Likewise, he is always in the dearly loved one's heart--and never forgotten. In a similar way, Amitabha is always thinking of us, waiting for us to reach out to him so that he may respond to us.
Amitabha Buddha is the wise and compassionate teacher who understands everything, and who is always thinking of us, lifetime after lifetime after lifetime. We are the students who are trying to learn and to practice. Just as a good teacher listens to the calls for help from a student looking for the right answers, if we have unwavering belief, vow to be reborn in the Pure Land, and sincerely practice, Amitabha will respond. All we have to do is chant his name mindfully.
When we chant to the point of single-mindedness with the sole thought of "Amituofo," we successfully form a connection with him--in fact, we become one with him. In that instant we are in the Pure Land--far to the west and deep within us. As we breathe our last breath in this world, if we can form this connection, form this oneness with "Amituofo," we will attain our next rebirth in the Western Pure Land and leaving suffering behind. And once there, we will have all the time we need to continue our practice and learning, for we will be in the company of Amitabha Buddha and all the Bodhisattvas. They will help us learn all the ways to wisely and compassionately help other beings.
Buddha-name Chanting: The Ten-Recitation Method
This simple, convenient, and effective way to practice Buddha name chanting is especially suitable for those who find that they have little time for cultivation. The chanting helps us to be mindful of Amitabha Buddha. It brings us quiet joy.
We begin when we wake up. Sit up straight and clearly chant "Amituofo" ten times with a calm and focused mind, aloud or silently. We repeat this eight more times throughout the day. Each time we chant "Amituofo" ten times.
Repeat nine times daily at the following schedules:
Upon waking up.
Before breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Before and after morning work.
Before and after afternoon work.
Upon retiring to bed.
The key is regularity; disruption of this practice will reduce its effectiveness. When we recite consistently without interruption, we will soon feel an increase in our purity of mind, wisdom, and serenity.
Diligence practice of this method, together with unwavering belief and vows, can ensure fulfillment of our wish to be reborn in the Western Pure Land.
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