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 Nianfo is the Greatest offering

  

       Of all offerings, “dharma-offerings are the greatest.” And among all dharma-offerings, nianfo[1] is the greatest.

       There are seven kinds of dharma-offerings:

       First offering: Self-cultivation according to Buddha’s teachings.

       Second offering: To benefit sentient beings.

       Third offering: To guide sentient beings through their cultivations.

       Fourth offering. To take over sentient beings’ sufferings.

       Fifth offering. Diligent cultivation of meritorious roots.

       Sixth offering. To never abandon bodhisattva responsibilities.

       Seventh offering. To guard bodhicitta, the mind of awakening.

      We are iniquitous mortals, unable to cultivate virtues and merits, ceaselessly creating transgressions and evil karmas. How can we make pure and honorable dharma-offerings to buddhas? What dharma-offerings can we make to benefit sentient beings? How can we shoulder sentient beings’ sufferings when we are bound in samsara and complain about our own woes every day?

       If we want to make the most wondrous and purest dharma-offering to buddhas and to benefit sentient beings, the only way is nianfo—reciting “Namo Amituofo.”

       It is the most supreme offering because all buddhas are reciting Namo Amituofo. It is also all Buddhas’ way of delivering sentient beings to attain buddhahood.

      Respectfully join our palms and gently recite “Namo Amituofo” when in contact with people. It is the greatest offering to sentient beings, also to the buddhas of the ten directions.

     By offering Buddha-recitation to sentient beings, one gains the benefits of becoming a Buddha; it also provides an opportunity for sentient beings to connect with Amituofo and attain enlightenment one day.

       Such an offering is simple. Reciting Namo Amituofo is the most elevated dharma-offering to all buddhas.

       Is that Buddha’s greed?

       On the contrary, the salvific name of Amituofo represents his primal vows, established for our sake. To fulfill his promise, the Buddha cultivated over innumerous and incalculable eons. He then imbued in the name with all his virtues and merits. In the long and endless process, he shared our sufferings and shed his blood. So says The Mahayana Compassionate White Lotus Sutra: The blood that Amituofo has poured out for us exceeds the four great  .

       He gives us freely his name embedded in all his merits.  Can it be of greed?

       If there is something the Buddha expects in return, it is for sentient beings to practice nianfo and aspire to be born in the Land of Ultimate Bliss to be buddhas. That is all he asks of us.

All wishes that sentient beings joyfully aspire to will be fulfilled.
I, therefore, seek rebirth in the Land of Amituofo.

 

(Translated and Edited by the Pure Land School Translation Team)

 

[1] Nianfo in Chinese pinyin: nian means to recite vocally or mentally, fo is the Buddha. Nianfo means Buddha-recitation and Buddha-remembrance.

 

 

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Master Huijing

Master Huijing

Master Jingzong

Master Jingzong

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