What Xinzhang Saw
In the summer of 1994, Qiu Yongchang and his wife took their grandson Xinzhang for Amitabha-recitation at the home of their neighbor, Xu Qinggui. Xinzhang recited loudly and earnestly. His childish voice impressed everyone there.
After a while, Xinzhang suddenly told his grandmother, who was sitting next to him, “Grandma, I saw Amitabha Buddha teaching inside a golden house.”
His grandmother replied, “A child should never lie.”
“Grandma, I′m not lying,” Xinzhang insisted. “I really saw Amitabha Buddha.”
After they returned home, Xinzhang said to his grandmother again, “When we were reciting, I saw Amitabha Buddha speaking in the golden house. His lotus flower was large, while those of Avalokitesvara and Mahasthamaprapta were smaller. I also saw golden birds and golden trees, and the houses were golden.” He went on: “In Amitabha′s place there was no dirt but gold on the ground. It was shining everywhere and so beautiful.”
Another day, Xinzhang and his grandmother were watching the TV show Wonders of Mainland China, which introduced the country′s scenic spots. While she was praising the beautiful views, Xinzhang said to her, “Granny, the views on TV aren′t beautiful at all. The Western Land of Bliss, on the other hand, is gorgeous!”
Grandma had just started learning the Dharma; she was illiterate and never read a Buddhist scripture before. Since Xinzhang seemed so serious, she asked Householder Qiu, “Our Xinzhang told me that when he recited Amitabha’s name, he saw the Western Land of Bliss and its Three Sacred Beings. All the houses, trees and birds there were golden. Is that true?”
Householder Qiu replied, “The Amitabha Sutra says that in the Land of Bliss, the ground is made of gold, and the palaces and pavilions are adorned with the seven jewels. All the trees are made of gems and are neatly arranged. The birdsong is soft and pleasing to the ear, expounding the marvelous Dharma.” After hearing these words, she finally was convinced that her grandson was telling the truth.
- Narrated by Qiu Yongchang, recorded by Qingxin
(English translation by Foyue, edited by Jingtu)
- 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
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.
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