Two Eyewitness Accounts of Amitabha-recitation
By Master Jingyuan
(I) Amitabha Buddha cured my acute disease and saved my life
I was born into a Buddhist family in November 1998 and became a monk on Buddha's Birthday in 2014.
I have been learning Buddhist Dharma from my grandmother since I was a child. Every day I joined in the five lessons and the rest of the time I studied on my own. However, I didn’t know about the Pure Land Path and the salvation in the Land of Ultimate Bliss. I never gave it any serious thought. It was not until the end of 2014 when I was fortunate enough to come across Master Shandao’s teaching propagated by Master Huijing. I learned about the Land of Bliss and the deliverance by Amitabha ‘s Fundamental Vow. That was also the year when Amitabha Buddha plucked me from the hands of King Yama (Grim Reaper).
In August 2014, after having been a novice monk for merely three months, I was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease. That is a type of inflammatory bowel disease. It is intractable and chronic, affects the digestive system and may lead to cancer. There's no cure for this condition no matter how much you can afford. It can relapse any time and once that happens, the intestines will rot away bit by bit. Many patients are tortured to death as a result.
It was very painful at the beginning. As a result of acute gastrointestinal bleeding, coupled with the hospital misdiagnosis, I was on the verge of dying. Even the hospital director told my parents to bring me home to prepare for my imminent death. But my parents refused to give up and begged the hospital director to treat me no matter what. After repeated pleading, I was transferred to the intensive care unit. In addition to paying tens of thousands of dollars on medical bills every day, there were tubes inserted into my stomach and small intestine because they were all so rotten that I could no longer eat or drink. My life was dependent on injections. At that time, I was thinking, ‘Isn’t this the horror of hell?’ The Saha world is full of sufferings. In this life, we must escape the cycle of birth and death. That was the moment of my real renunciation and I realized that suffering is one of the favorable causes for seeking emancipation.
On the fifteenth day of my hospitalization, a Pure Land Buddhism practitioner was transferred into the intensive care unit. Seeing that I was young and a monk, he urged me to recite "Namo Amitabha Buddha." He told me that most of the medically incurable diseases were karmic diseases that could only be cured by Amitabha Buddha. That is because Amitabha Buddha is the great Lord of Healing. Listening to his explanation, I began to practice Amitabha-recitation single-mindedly. That householder was moved to the general ward the next day.
There was a miracle on the morning of the third day of recitation. There was no blood in my stool, and the stool was well-formed, which the doctors thought was unbelievable. Three days later, enteroscopy and gastroscopy showed there were no signs of further rotting, and the ulcer was healed. The doctors were surprised because it was the first medical case in which a Crohn’s disease patient recovered without treatment in such a short time . They were very curious and asked me how I did it? I told them I met the Great Lord of Healing - I recited the name of Amitabha Buddha and he saved me.
To be prudent, I stayed in the hospital for observation for half a month before being discharged. When I was sick, I lost a lot of weight (from 150 to 90 pounds) because I could not eat. However, under the compassionate care of Amitabha Buddha, I returned to my original weight in just over forty days.
Since I recovered from the illness, reciting the Buddha's name and relying on Amitabha Buddha have become the only practice and belief that are integrated into my life. I also began to enrich my knowledge about the Pure Land Path online. I saw on YouTube that Master Huijing was promoting Shandao’s Pure Land’s teaching. In the Pure Land Dharma teaching videos, Master Huijing speaks unhurriedly and gently, and comes across as a patient and amiable elder. He’s very engaging to his audience. I've been listening to his talks on YouTube for two years. I felt at ease every day and finally realized the meaning of "to all fear-ridden beings, shall I give great peace” in the Infinite Life Sutra. After learning the Pure Land path, I totally entrusted myself to Amitabha Buddha. I felt relaxed and relieved.
I have had the opportunity to come to Thailand. I am teaching the Dharma of the Pure Land path to the Buddhist aspirants around me every day in Thailand. They are very happy, and like me, believe that Amitabha has unconditionally saved them.
(II) The boy recites the name of the Buddha and sits in a vat with his body coated with gold
Fifteen to sixteen years after Brother Zhou's death, his story is still being circulated by the people of this town.
Zhou Peng, a native of Suizhou, Hubei Province, was born in 1988, died on March 4, 2000, at the age of 12.
Brother Zhou was the son of a friend of my father's. He had a very kind nature. When he saw children of his age hurting animals, he would dissuade them and teach them the Dharma. He also taught them to recite Namo Amitabha Buddha. At the age of six, he followed in the footsteps of his grandparents and took refuge in Buddhism. His Dharma name is Yan Peng. Unfortunately, he was diagnosed with leukemia at the age of eight.
After learning that he had leukemia, Brother Zhou became more diligent in practicing Amitabha-recitation. Due to his illness, he could only go to school a few days a month, but his score was the top in the class. He was very mature. Knowing that the hospitalization cost was very high, and that there was no sign of his recovery, he refused to be treated further. At the age of twelve, his condition became critical.
Three days before his death, Zhou asked his grandpa to take him to the temple where he took refuge as he wanted to attend a consecrated ceremony (normally a special ritual for the Buddhist monk to bring to life a Buddha image or a place of worship). His grandpa saw that he was weak and could not walk and asked, “what’s the purpose of going there?” Believing that he had lost his mind due to the illness, his grandpa refused to take him. But Zhou insisted. The next day, the second day of March, his parents, grandparents, and several other villagers painstakingly took turns to carry him on their backs to the Tong Ling Feng Temple on top of the mountain.
At the temple, his grandpa told the abbot, Master Chang Mao, the entire story. To their surprise, Master Chang Mao said that the temple was indeed holding the Seven-day retreat of Amitabha-recitation and that there would be a consecrated ritual for the Hall of Patriarchs the following day. Master Chang arranged for them to stay.
On the morning of the day after the consecrated ceremony, Brother Zhou asked his grandpa to bathe him and wash his hands and feet thoroughly. Shortly after the bath, he died peacefully.
After Zhou died, Master Chang Mao was planning to hire a carpenter of the temple to build a coffin with some wooden boards for Zhou. As he was about to fetch the wooden boards, they fell on top of him and he couldn’t move. At that moment, he saw a water vat in front of the main hall, and an idea flashed across his mind: "Do you want to sit in the vat instead?" With this thought, the master broke free from the boards.
So the master asked several lay Buddhists to quickly wash the vat and lay Zhou in it. After three years and nine months, when the vat was opened, they found that Brother Zhou's body was intact, with long hair and nails. The year following the opening of the vat, we officially dressed Brother Zhou's body in gold and placed his golden body in one of the temple halls.
Looking back at the whole incident, I feel that even though Brother Zhou was young, there must have been a profound connection between him and the Buddhist temple which could be traced back to his past lives. Hence, this incredible miracle.
To this day, the story of Zhou’s rebirth is still being relayed by the villagers, touching every local Buddhist aspirant. Today, I am sharing his story with everyone. May you all recite the name of Amitabha Buddha together and be reborn in the Land of Bliss.
June 20, 2017
(Translated by the Pure Land School Translation Team;
edited by Householder Fojin)
- 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