A Call to the Buddha Turns the Blazing Flames of Hell to a Crimson Lotus
There was a Brahman, a foolish man, but his wife was a Buddha reciter and very wise. The Brahman liked killing animals and had a voracious appetite for meat. His wife urged him to study Buddhism and recite Buddha’s Name. He said he didn’t have the wisdom needed to recite Buddha’s name. His wife took advantage of his love for her and demanded: “Every night before bedtime, we will recite Buddha’s Name together,” she continued: “if you refuse, how can I consent to any of your requests? Man and wife are like love birds flying wing to wing, sharing likely minds and similar desires, and working together.” Her husband reluctantly agreed; after that, every night, he beat the singing bowl and recited Buddha’s Name.
Three years later, this foolish Brahman died, and because of his evil karma, he fell into hell. It just so happened, a goblin, while beating the prisoners, accidentally hit a copper fryer which made a loud “dong.”! As he heard the sound, the Brahman unconsciously recited “Namo Amitabha Buddha. All of a sudden, the hell broke out. Prisoners who heard the sound of the Buddha’s name were immediately free and reborn in the Land of Ultimate Bliss. King Yama was alarmed and released the Brahman back to the human world.
The Brahman returned to the human world and told his story. Folks were astonished and gasped in admiration. Many of them turned out to be Buddha reciters.
He also recited a Gatha:
If one has committed numerous karmic offenses, and ought to fall to hell, as soon as he recites the name of Amitabha Buddha, the flames of hell will become a cool breeze.
If one, who has committed evil karmas and fallen into hell recites “Namo Amitabha Buddha,” or hears it, instantly, all the blazing flames, knife hills, and boiling fryers will become a gentle and soothing breeze, and he will be free from hell.
It is the name that has the power to rupture hell and free the prisoners, even if they do not recite it but only hear it. Such is the significance of the Eighteenth Vow. Like the Gatha says, “all sentient beings who hear his name and desire rebirth will, without exception, reach his land,” Those hell dwellers can gain rebirth just by hearing his name.
(Translated by the Pure Land School Translation Team;
edited by Kevin Orro (Fozhu))
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