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 'The Laws of Three-Dimensional Space Seemed to Have Been Altered'

March 29, 2015

On my way to pick up my daughter at the horse stables where she rides, I was driving north on our local stretch of E18, a highway that runs from the south of Norway up to Oslo. Due to a recent bridge collapse, the highway closes and detours through a small town on the coast. Before the road closes, however, the speed limit is decreased and the normal two lanes are reduced to one by concrete barriers. This one lane then exits the highway directly onto the detour.

Having reduced my speed, I happened to glance in my rear-view mirror and, to my horror, saw an SUV attempting to pass me in the left lane at an incredible rate of speed. I was just about to enter the portion of road that narrows to one lane, and I understood immediately that the vehicle would not manage to pass me before colliding with the concrete barrier. The driver of the SUV, realizing this as well, began to merge into my lane. His rate of speed, however, meant that his lane change put him on a direct collision course with my vehicle.

I braced for impact; I saw that the SUV was going to sideswipe me and force me off the road into the hillside. Though I had slowed my vehicle, I was still traveling at around 70 kph, and the SUV was travelling significantly faster. The moment felt electric with catastrophe. Any collision would certainly result in death for one or both of us. Against what appeared to be an inevitable outcome, the SUV managed to execute the lane change and fall into place directly behind me without incident. The whole thing was surreal; it truly seemed as if the laws governing three-dimensional space had been momentarily altered. I was badly shaken, but otherwise unhurt. Inexplicably, our vehicles never so much as touched.

What stands out in my mind is that I had been practicing Amitabha-recitation just prior to this. I drive deliveries for a living, and one of the advantages of this line of work is that it gives me the time and solitude needed to recite the name of Amitabha Buddha. Thus, I have long made it a habit to practice nianfo whenever I am driving somewhere alone. Today was no exception. While I understand that this near-disaster was the flowering of some of my past evil karma, I have no doubt that my practice of Amitabha-recitation saved me from certain injury or death. Because of the intimacy with Amitabha that single-minded, exclusive recitation promotes, I was able to return home to my family.

I’ve known from the testimony of others that the effects of exclusive Amitabha-recitation are profound and often mysterious. Today, I know it firsthand. I share this in the hopes that it will be passed along and help to strengthen the faith of fellow practitioners. Namo Amituofo!

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