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 In sickness,can we rely on Amitabha Buddha?

Guo Huizhen(Master Daozheng)

In my first year as a resident doctor in the department of internal medicine, I was on duty in the intensive care unit (ICU) one night when a heart-attack patient was rushed in from the emergency room. The man had stopped breathing and was unconscious. His face and tongue were dark purple. An ECG (electrocardiogram) and blood test showed that his heart had been seriously damaged.

According to the director, even patients with a less serious heart attack could not be saved. We asked the family to be psychologically prepared for the worst.

As usual, I recited Amitabha Buddha's name while I was giving emergency treatment.

We had already put the patient on an intravenous drip but could not detect any blood pressure. He remained unconscious and could not breathe by himself.

His wife said with great sorrow, "People say god loves simple honest folk. How come he doesn't love me? Doctor, please try your best to save him. I will take care of him even if he goes into a vegetative state."

I could feel that she did have a sort of simple-minded sincerity. I comforted her and said, "In order to have a breakthrough from a crisis, one should make a great vow and recite Amitabha's name."

"How do I make such a vow?" she asked.

"Do it with your own sincerity," I said.

She immediately said, "From now on my husband and I will become vegetarian and we will recite the name of Amitabha Buddha. Being a school teacher, my husband can help promote the Dharma when he is well again."

I handed her and her children each a string of recitation beads and said, "It doesn't help if you simply stay outside the ICU and worry. Why not calm yourself and do 10,000 recitations? Pray for Amitabha's unfathomable blessings. We will do our best. Dedicate the merit of your recitation to him. If he doesn't pull through, he will be reborn in the Pure Land."

Two other doctors and I were busy watching the ECG monitor and adjusting the dosage that whole night, from 7 or 8 pm until 3 in the morning. One of the doctors sighed, "The three of us spent the entire night on a person who doesn't even have a pulse."

About 4 or 5 in the morning, the patient's blood pressure miraculously rose. He was gradually coming round.

I immediately opened the door of the ICU to break the news to his family. What I saw moved me to tears – the whole family was in line reciting most earnestly and faithfully.

One of his kids wrote this on a piece of paper: "Dear Dad, how I wish you will open your kind eyes again!"

A young man came to visit and was crying so intensely that I mistook him for a relative. He said to me, "This man was my teacher. In those years, he lived in a simple hut outside someone's courtyard and gave up his salary so we could be educated. If it weren't for him, I wouldn't be here today. Doctor, please bring him back!"

He was choked by tears before he could finish. I then realized that this patient was once voted one of the Top 10 Most Benevolent Teachers.

He was on a breathing machine for three days after he recovered consciousness. However, he was able to recite Amitabha's name.

Besides the heart attack, he also had a rather serious case of tuberculosis. Yet he managed to walk out of the hospital, alive and well. Later, he came back to help me fund the publication of some Buddhist scriptures.

The doctors who had reviewed the man's ECG and blood-test reports and witnessed his recovery all found the entire episode incredible!

Characteristics

  • Recitation of Amitabha’s name, relying on his Fundamental Vow (the 18th)
  • Rebirth of ordinary beings in the Pure Land’s Realm of Rewards
  • Rebirth assured in the present lifetime
  • Non-retrogression achieved in this lifetime

Amitabha Buddhas

The 18th Vow of Amitabha Buddha

If, when I achieve Buddhahood, sentient beings of the ten directions who sincerely and joyfully entrust themselves to me, wish to be reborn in my land and recite my name, even ten times, should fail to be born there, may I not attain perfect enlightenment. Excepted are those who commit the five gravest transgressions or slander the correct Dharma.

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Guiding Principles

Faith in, and acceptance of, Amitabha’s deliverance
Single-minded recitation of Amitabha’s name
Aspiration to rebirth in Amitabha’s Pure Land
Comprehensive deliverance of all sentient beings