Tuesday, August 19, 1975 (evening)
How do you practice recitation when you are very busy? You practice the "Morning and Evening Dharma of Ten Recitations." In the morning and the evening do "ten recitations." Recite for the length of a single breath, "Na-mo A-mi-to-fo," and that is one recitation. Ten such "breaths" is called " ten recitations." In the morning when you get up, wash your face and brush your teeth. Then face the West, or better still, face an image of Amitabha Buddha. If any of you would like to have an image, I have some paper images at Gold Mountain Monastery that I can give you. Face the Buddha image, join your palms together very respectfully and bow three times. Chant "Na-mo A-mi-to-fo" for the length of ten full breaths. Do this in the morning and in the evening. Recite "Na-mo A- mi-to-fo, Na-mo A-mi-to-fo, Na-mo A-mi-to-fo..." until you run out of breath and that counts as "one recitation." Do this ten times in the morning and ten times in the evening. Don't deliberately stretch out the length of your breath or cut it short. It should be very natural. This is called the "Morning and Evening Dharma of Ten Recitations." Do this every day without interruption; it will only take five or ten minutes. Can you recite at other times during the day? Of course you can. The more you recite, the better. With the skill derived from your practice of this Dharma you can be reborn in the Western Land of Ultimate Bliss. This method of Buddha Recitation is the most convenient Dharma-door.
As I said, "Those with wisdom should
recite the Buddha's name, stupid people should do it, too."
Suppose someone says, "I'm very stupid. Probably it's
useless for me to recite." In using this technique, the more
stupid you are, the better! The wiser you are, the better!
No matter how wise you are you cannot exhaust the method of Buddha Recitation. No matter how stupid you are, you are still included within it and it can be your guide.
Among the Buddha's disciples, one in particular was extremely stupid. How stupid was he? When you taught him how to recite "Na-mo A-mi-to-fo"—a mere six syllables—he could not remember them. Finally the Buddha thought of a plan.
"Fine," he said, "since you can't remember the Buddha's name, I'll give you two words. Just recite 'sweep clean.'" But he still forgot! He would say "sweep" and forget "clean," and then he would say, "clean...uhh...what was the first word again? Oh! Sweep! Sweep...sweep...Just a minute now; don't tell me, ah'..what was the second word?" He'd remember one and forget the other. He was that dumb. None of us here is quite that stupid. Even me. I'm a bit more intelligent than him. Don't you think so? I do. You are all, of course, much more intelligent than I am. Anyway, what was his name? Little Roadside (Shuddhipanthaka).
He got that name because he was born by the side of the
road. Although he was very stupid, he later became
enlightened when he found out--What
did he find out?
The Venerable Master's cherished
Amitabha Buddha image.
He discovered that his mother was a woman! He didn't know that before. The Buddha certified his enlightenment and he gained spiritual powers. See, if such a stupid person can get enlightened, we who are so intelligent will certainly have even more success. Okay, that's all for today because someone is thinking the idle thought that, "You know, the lectures are really too long."
To be continued