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 Amitabha-Recitation Extinguishes Fire

One day in the autumn of 2005, householder Foyuan’s niece A-Mei was farming in the hills of Nanning, capital of Guangxi Province in southern China. To clear the weeds and dead trees on the ground, she gathered some straw and lit a fire. She didn’t take precautions against fire, however. As it happened, strong gusts arose and fanned the flames, spreading them rapidly. The fire approached a large area of sugar cane, whose crop was worth a fortune.

A-Mei was shocked. But there was no water in the hills, or any fire-fighting tools. Desperate, she cried out for help. At the same time, she tried to extinguish the flames by flapping some branches she grabbed. Her efforts were entirely in vain.

Nearby, a peasant woman heard her call for help and ran towards her, but the fire was too fierce. Exasperated, the woman blamed A-Mei, saying: “If the several acres of sugar cane worked by three production brigades were burned down, can you compensate for the loss? You will go to prison for sure.” A-Mei didn't know what to do; she was scared.

At this critical moment, A-Mei suddenly remembered that a few years ago her aunt had told her about the six characters, “Namo Amitabha Buddha.” Reciting Amitabha’s name, her aunt said, could extinguish fires as well as help the reciter avoid disaster and gain rebirth in the Land of Bliss. It was as though A-Mei had grasped a life-saving straw. She waved her branches with all her strength, eyes closed and shouting desperately, “Namo Amitabha Buddha, Namo Amitabha Buddha, Namo Amitabha Buddha, Namo Amitabha Buddha ...

Before long, A-Mei felt behind her ears the wind weakening and the fire gradually becoming smaller. When she opened her eyes, she saw that the flames had stopped spreading. The sugar cane was spared. She had escaped disaster!

A-Mei visited her aunt, householder Foyuan, during the Spring Festival (lunar new year) of 2013 and told her about the incident. Exclaimed A-Mei, “Reciting Namo Amitabha Buddha is truly unfathomable! You see, Auntie, I barely recited a few times before the wind stopped. The fire diminished and was eventually extinguished. Amitabha Buddha is efficacious indeed!"

– English translation by Householder Jingfa,
Edited by Householder Jingtu

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