Reminder from last issue:
The Pure Land Buddha-recitation Dharma-door: Its Supreme Features.
II. Important Points of Cultivation
The Buddha-recitation method of "Holding the Name" has the three dharmas of faith, vows, and practice as its principle; these are also the three required provisions in this Dharma-door.
A. Faith Must Be True
1.Truly believe in the Buddha's words, that there is a Land of Ultimate Bliss in the West. Amitabha Buddha is now speaking the Dharma in that land. People of that land do not have any suffering but enjoy all kinds of pleasure. The life spans of Amitabha Buddha and his people, and the light emitted by them, are immeasurable; their merit and virtue are boundless; the ground in that land is paved with gold; the rows of trees, pools, and pavilions are all adorned with the seven precious things; the proper and dependent retributions are pure, clean, splendidly adorned, and so on. These are all true facts and are definitely not lies.
2.Deeply believe that the forty-eight great vows of Amitabha Buddha have all been realized, and they are definitely not empty vows.
3.Firmly believe that all Buddhas of the ten directions bring forth the appearance of a vast and long tongue to praise and guarantee the Pure Land Dharma-door, and that their words are definitely not false.
B. Vows Must Be Sincere and Genuine
1.A sincere vow is inspired by true faith. A sincere vow is one of detesting this filthy Saha world and wanting to leave it, while yearning to be reborn in the western Pure Land.
2.Thoroughly understand the filth of suffering, emptiness, impermanence, and egolessness of the Saha world, which must be renounced and left behind. Meanwhile, admire and long for the constantly blissful, true, permanent, and indestructible purity of the western Pure Land and resolve to attain rebirth there.
3.Great Master Ou Yi said, "When one loathes and wants to renounce the filth, he must do so thoroughly until there is nothing left to be renounced. When one admires purity and wants to attain it, then he must do so thoroughly until there is nothing more to be attained." That means putting down all affinities and seeking rebirth with a sincere vow.
C. In Practice, Pure Mindfulness Is Valued
1.With faith and vows, the wonderful practice of Holding the Name Buddha-recitation can be performed.
2.Replete with true faith and sincere vows, be mindful of the Buddha; with the six sense organs gathered in and pure mindfulness continuing, constantly recite the vast and virtuous name of Amitabha Buddha. Using the name to summon virtue is extremely effective. Thus, it is called the wonderful method of Buddha-recitation by "Holding the Name." Eventually, one's mind will become open, pure and clean. It is said, "The enlightenment at the stage of fruition is the result of the resolve made in the causal stage." Causes include the sea of results, and results penetrate through to the causal source. The ordinary people of the Dharma-ending Age should follow this Dharma door. .
3.The Sutra says, "Bring forth the Bodhi mind and always be mindful." It also says, "Good men and good women who hold the name with one mind unconfused for one day, up to seven days or even ten, or one thought before death, will obtain rebirth in the Pure Land." This indicates very clearly that people who have made the vow to be reborn in the Pure Land and to see Amitabha Buddha will quickly accomplish their vow if they can be mindful of the Buddha with a pure mind. .
4.A patriarch of the Pure Land School also said, "Whether or not one obtains rebirth all depends on whether one has faith and vows; whether the grade of rebirth is high or low depends on the depth of one's skill in recitation." This point is very important. We should not neglect it. .
5.If cultivators can practice according to the above and always be mindful of the Four Great Vows, then their minds will tally with the Buddha's. When the mind tallies with the Way, one will be able to enter the flow of sagehood in this very life and ascend straight to the highest grade of lotus at death. .
6.Shakyamuni Buddha praised Amitabha Buddha as the king of Buddhas, the most revered among all brightness. His vast and virtuous name contains the Three Treasuries and Twelve Divisions of the Canon; 'the Chan, Doctrinal, Vinaya, and Esoteric Schools; and the merit and virtue of all noumena and phenomena.
→To be continued