All things in this world are unpredictable and impermanent, always arising and ceasing endlessly. There is no such thing as a banquet that never ends or a sun that never sets. Even sorrows and joys, like the waves of a sea, will dissipate in the end.
People’s minds are easily excited, curious, and intrigued by mysteries, always chasing after all kinds of mirages while adrift with hopes and expectations. We prefer clinging to beautiful colors, while shunning and detesting dark, gray ones. All of us pass through the transient years in the midst of gain and loss, prosperity and misfortune. The appearance and disappearance of the external world stir our nerves; with it come the birth and death of our inner minds.
Contemplate the world as such: after the waves pass, the sea returns to a state of calmness; after the storm passes, the earth returns to a state of serenity; likewise, after one’s pains and pleasures pass, so too will the heart return to a state of peace.
Having gone through the ups and downs and tasted both the sweet and the bitter, we will ultimately feel that the ordinary is best, and it is not worthwhile to chase after all sorts of ephemeral entities. By spending our days, reciting the Buddha’s name, and passing through this illusory life all in a state of ordinariness, we move forward along the Pure Land path in a relaxed and natural way, living and dying peacefully.
The impermanent world, because of its magnificent and numerous splendors, touches people’s hearts. But only the rare pundarika flowers among humankind are perfectly content and embraced in the Buddha’s light. Do not be fooled if they are poor and illiterate, for they are considered cintamanis, beyond comparison.
(Translated and edited by the Pure Land School Translation Team)
 “Cintamani” is a Sanskrit term referring to a magical wish-fulfilling jewel.
- 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