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 Benefits in Amitabha-Recitation

The Amitabha Sutra translated by Master Xuanzhuang writes: Amitayus is the name with countless, boundless, inconceivable merits and virtues. The name ‘Namo Amituofo’ also consists of countless, boundless, inconceivable merits and virtues. So, this Name is The Name of countless, boundless, inconceivable merits and virtues.

Buddhas deliver sentient beings in many ways. Some deliver them by paranormal powers. Some deliver them by light. Some deliver them by name. Amitabha Buddha delivers sentient beings mainly by name. He delivers sentient beings in the ten directions with the six-character Name – “Namo Amituofo”.
The name, of course, is not an ordinary word, or ordinary title; but, the Name of the Buddha of Infinite Life and Light. It contains: the substance of the Buddha, the functional power of the Buddha, the light of the Buddha’s body ( with its paranormal vow power), the immeasurable compassion, wisdom, merits, and virtues. All are included in the Buddha’s Name.

Amitabha Buddha delivers sentient beings with his Name, his light, and with his paranormal powers. He enables any person who exclusively recites his Name to be protected forever within his immeasurable light. At the near end of a person’s life, Amitabha will appear, transport him, and welcome him to the Land of Bliss. He enables him to be assured of rebirth in his present life, and to be blessed and protected by Amitabha so that he has good luck with no jeopardy encountered.

‘Present’ means the benefits in the present life; ‘future’ means the benefits in the future life. The latter means the time after leaving the Three Domains and the Six Realms, and are reborn in the Land of Bliss. The former refers to the elimination of karmas and extension of our life, and the gains in blessings and wisdom. Expressed in contemporary words, it means to travel safely, to have less suffering and affliction, to enjoy a smooth and auspicious life, and to avoid misfortune under any circumstance.

Listed below Is a summary of the benefits of Amitabha-recitation in the present and future life:
  • Amitabha dwells over the head
  • Buddha’s light protects the body
  • To be embraced by Buddhas
  • To be accompanied by bodhisattvas
  • To be protected by a multitude of devas
  • All offensive karmic obstructions cleared
  • Blessings and wisdom gained
  • Jeopardy and disasters prevented
  • Longevity and health attained
  • Natural death to be given
  • Entering the Path of Definite Assurance
  • Reincarnation terminated
  • Rebirth in the Pure Land
  • Buddhahood achieved
  • Delivering sentient beings vastly
Out of the 11 benefits in the present life, the 11th one - Entering the Path of Definite Assurance is known as the chief benefit. That means it is the fundamental benefit. Because of it, we can attain the benefits in the present life above and the benefits in the future life below.
Buddhists of other schools may think that entering the Path of Definite Assurance is attained after rebirth in the Land of Bliss. However, as pristine Pure Land Buddhists, we believe that it can be attained at present.

Poor people who recite Amitabha’s name will come across rich people, who can help them to improve their standard of living.
Sick people who recite Amitabha’s name will recover faster with the aid of medicine. However, if we have an illness caused by karmic circumstances that cannot be cured by medicine, it is even more valuable to recite Amitabha’s name.
Amitabha-recitation can eradicate karma. Once karmic offenses are cleared, we will recover from illness.
Amitabha-recitation can also keep ghosts away, thus we can avoid disasters. Moreover, Amitabha-recitation can reconcile conflicts with enemies, and even deliver them.
If we can always recite Amitabha’s name, we will mitigate our afflictions, or even eradicate them, and we are always safe from jeopardy caused by common karma.

A practitioner of Amitabha-recitation, whether he has the knowledge or not, and whether he makes requests or not, will naturally attain the benefits in the present and future life.

Listening and reciting are basically the same. When we move our lips and tongue during recitation, it must be voluntarily performed under the instruction of our mind. Though our mind may not be earnest in giving the instruction, our oral recitation will, at least, produce a ‘seed’ in our Alaya Consciousness, the Eighth Consciousness.
Recitation is a kind of mouth-karma through the tongue. Listening is performed through the ear. Both tongue and ear belong to the Six Roots [sense organs]. Where do the Six Roots come from? They come from the fundamental Alaya Consciousness. When we speak in kind or evil words, good or bad, in various languages, the speech forms a ‘seed’ stored [as memory] in our Alaya Consciousness.
The name of Amitabha Buddha is the main substance of nirvana, containing a myriad of virtues. All of the merits and virtues cultivated by Amitabha Buddha in countless kalpas are included within his name. In the universe there are no merits and virtues that are not included in the name. The name is incredibly powerful in merits, and virtues.
All of the incredibly great power, merits and virtues of the name penetrate to our Alaya Consciousness, and in so doing, change of our karmic fate. Where is the substance of our karma?
It’s inside our Alaya Consciousness. However, karma is unreal and illusive, but the merit and virtues of the name are real. No matter how much unreal karma we have, it cannot fight against even a little bit of real merit and virtues.
So, when this name enters our ears and penetrates to our Alaya Consciousness, the unreal karmic obstruction will be naturally cleared.

Amitabha’s light universally illuminates the lands of the ten quarters. It embraces, without forsaking, those who recite and invoke Amitabha Buddha. It also disperses throughout the entire great cosmos, and shines on every single corner in the worlds. Illuminating light and embracing light are different, like the sunlight shining everywhere over the land, so that no land is not reached by sunlight. So, it is known as ‘light illuminating universally upon the lands of the ten quarters.’ It is a kind of expedient way to nourish a plant prior to its blossoming and fruition.
Nevertheless, not every single sentient being is benefited by the universally illuminating light of Amitabha Buddha. Only those who exclusively recite his name will receive the embracing light of Amitabha Buddha. It is not because Amitabha Buddha is discriminating and not treating us equally. Amitabha Buddha’s mind is absolutely equal without differentiation. Only sentient beings of different aptitude are unequal.
“Unequal’ means: some deep in their past accumulated deep virtuous roots, and when they hear of Amitabha’s deliverance, they believe and accept it immediately or soon after; some take a longer time to accept it. Some may not accept it, and continue or change to practice other teachings. Some may even not believe the basic teachings of Buddhism, such as good and bad karma, cause and effect in three periods of time, reincarnation within the Six Realms. It is because sentient beings have different aptitudes that causes Amitabha to embrace sentient beings in different ways at different paces.
In short, if we always exclusively recite Amitabha’s name, we will enjoy the benefits of the natural embrace of Amitabha’s light.

There are two kinds of Buddha’s light, one is the body light (emitted from the body) and the other is the mind light. Whether it is the body light or the mind light, they are as one in universally illuminating the worlds in the ten directions. Its illumination of the worlds in the ten directions, is like the sun that shines on all plants and animals universally and equally on earth.
Similarly, Amitabha Buddha’s light universally illuminates the worlds in the ten directions. All beings regardless if they are kind or evil ones, even those in hell, can receive Amitabha’s light equally. The only qualification required is ... only those who recite Amitabha’s name are to be embraced by his light. This is because the substance of Amitabha Buddha is his name. Responding to Amitabha’s vow, we are naturally embraced by his mind light if we recite his name.

Amitabha’s name is Amitabha Buddha himself. There is no other substance apart from his name. His name loses its meaning if the substance is not taken into account. Thus, those who believe and accept Amitabha’s deliverance, and recite Amitabha’s name, will naturally be embraced by Amitabha’s mind’s light, and naturally attain rebirth in the Land of Bliss. If we don’t recite Amitabha’s name, we cannot receive the benefits of his light’s embrace.

Why does Amitabha’s light illuminate everywhere, but only embrace those who invoke him, and not others who perform miscellaneous practices? It is because the miscellaneous practices are not specified in the Fundamental Vow. Amitabha-recitation is the practice specified in the Fundamental Vow, so those practitioners are illuminated and embraced.

You should know that all who recite Amitabha’s name are like the “pundarika” (white lotus flowers) among humankind, and the Bodhisattvas Avalokiteshvara and Mahasthamaprapta become their good friends. They will sit in the place of Enlightenment and be born into the family of the Buddhas.
There are 38 Chinese characters in this paragraph. How does Master Shandao explain it? He says, “It reveals the splendid functional merits of the Samadhi of Amitabha-recitation. No other miscellaneous practices are comparable to it.”
This reveals the splendid functional merits of the Samadhi of Amitabha-recitation – it is the functional merit of exclusive Amitabha-recitation. The capacity of the merit and virtues transcends the meditative and non-meditative virtues, and various other virtues and practices. It is transcendent, absolute, and not relative. As it is absolute, it is not comparable. If it were comparable, it would still be relative.
None of the sundry other practices are comparable to it – Amitabha-recitation cannot be compared with any other virtuous practices. This is a stunning statement! As we study their Commentaries, it is very difficult to find as excellent an explanation by any of the other Pure Land patriarchs.

Because Amitabha-recitation is unsurpassed in merit and virtues, it is unique. Uniqueness is absolute and nothing is comparable to it. It is absolutely incomparable – absolutely the opposite of relative.

Transcend reincarnation through the sole practice of Amitabha-recitation – Shakyamuni Buddha uses the metaphor of a white lotus, naturally protected by the two manifested sages( Avalokitesvara and Mahasthamaprapta) If we don’t recite Amitabha’s name and aspire to be reborn, we are dependents of King Yama (Lord of Hell). Although we are temporarily superior in status and power, each day we get closer to hell.
However, by sole practice of Amitabha-recitation, we have already connected with Avalokiteshvara, Mahasthamaprapta and various other great bodhisattvas. We don’t need to change and recite other sacred names. By exclusively reciting just one name “Namo Amituofo”, we attain the great benefit with sufficient unsurpassed merits and virtues. It also transcends any Dharani.

What are the merits and virtues of reciting Amitabha’s name? It can eradicate our karmic offenses related to birth and death. Its merit and virtues enable us to be reborn in the Pure Land and achieve Buddhahood.
As the Contemplation Sutra says, “You should know that all who are mindful of that Buddha are like “puṇḍarika” (white lotus flowers) among humankind; the Bodhisattvas Avalokiteshvara and Mahasthamaprapta become their good friends. They will sit in the place of Enlightenment and be born into the family of the Buddhas."
It means, whoever exclusively recites Amitabha’s name is already a “puṇḍarika” in this mundane world. What is meant by “puṇḍarika”? It is the king of flowers. Strictly speaking, only Shakyamuni Buddha can be said to be a “puṇḍarika”, because he is the only perfectly pure person in our universe, without any contamination by karmic obstructions and afflictions.
“Puṇḍarika” means no afflictions due to greed, hatred, and delusion, without any karmic obstructions, without any contaminations.
Shakyamuni Buddha praises Amitabha-reciters as “puṇḍarika”, which is the highest praise of all. It can be regarded as a ‘prediction’ of Buddhahood. That is to say, though we are ordinary beings with karmic obstructions subjected to birth and death, we will not be reincarnated, and will be reborn [in the Land of Bliss] to achieve Buddhahood. So, abiding by the law of cause and effect, Amitabha-reciters are predicted to be “puṇḍarikas”. They are future Buddhas, and as such, they are good friends of Avalokitesvara and Mahasthamaprapta, bodhisattvas of equal enlightenment.

Master Honen says in the Collection on the Selected Practice of Amitabha-recitation in Accordance with the Fundamental Vow, “The name of Amitabha consists of merit and virtues for ‘internal realization’ and for ‘external functions.’ Internal realization is the Threefold Body, the Four Wisdoms, the Ten Powers, and the Fourfold Fearlessness realized by the Buddha. The external functions are the appearance and light of the Buddha, his capacity to preach, and deliver sentient beings. It means this name includes all Buddha’s merit and virtues for ‘internal realization’ and for ‘external functions.’
The Threefold Body resulted from internal realization is the dharma body, reward body and manifestation body. The Four Wisdoms refer to the eight consciousness, the first five, and the 6th, 7th and 8th consciousness are transformed to four kinds of wisdom. Alaya Consciousness (the 8th) is transformed to the Wisdom of the Great Perfection Mirror; the Manas Consciousness (the 7th) is transformed to the Wisdom of the Equality in Nature; the Sixth Consciousness is transformed to the Wisdom of Wonderful Observance; the consciousness of eye, ear, nose, tongue, body is transformed to the Wisdom of Accomplishing Activities.
When our consciousness is changed to wisdom, the Threefold Body is thus revealed. The Threefold Body naturally possesses the functions of the Ten Powers and the Fourfold Fearlessness of the Buddha.
With respect to the Four Wisdoms, all Buddhas are the same and equal in transforming the Alaya Consciousness (the 8th) and the Manas Consciousness (the 7th) to the Wisdom of Great Perfection and the Wisdom of the Equality in Nature respectively. However, the Wisdom of Wonderful Observance and the Wisdom of Accomplishing Activities are different, because Amitabha Buddha’s vows made in his causal ground exceed those made by the Buddhas in the ten directions.
So, though the dharma realm body of all Buddhas is the same and equal, Amitabha’s reward body is magnificent and incomparable. His manifestation body’s functional capacity is infinite. Amitabha Buddha can deliver sentient beings that other Buddhas cannot. That is the difference in his power and its functional capacity.

Why does Amitabha exist? His ultimate aim is to deliver those who recite his name. It is because Amitabha’s name and light are one entity. So, when we recite his name, we are naturally embraced by his light. Both the reciter and Amitabha merge within his light. Conversely, if we don’t recite his name, we will, of course, not receive his light.

Amitabha Buddha is infinite in light, and thus is the best if you wish to pursue wisdom. Amitabha Buddha is infinite in life, so you need to recite Namo Amituofo if you wish to have good health, fortune, and auspicious karmic relationships. Amitabha is the great name with a myriad of virtues. Those who recite Namo Amituofo will be protected from disasters, relieved from jeopardy, and any misfortune will be changed to fortune.

Amitabha-recitation is expedient and easy. The merit and virtues attained through the practice are splendid. It enables us to be liberated from the cycle of birth and death directly, and more importantly, it assures our achievement of Buddhahood. Regardless whether we are monastics or householders, male or female, or whether we study the sutras thoroughly or not. As long as you wish to be reborn in the Land of Bliss, recite the name “Namo Amituofo” during your spare time, after work, under any circumstances [it is up to your aptitude to determine the way you recite and the number of recitations], you will be embraced and protected by Amitabha’s light. You will avoid disasters and jeopardy, and blessed with longevity in the present life. You will be reborn in the Land of Bliss at the near end of your life and transcend reincarnation.

Regardless whether one is a monastic or householder, male or female, or whether you study the sutras thoroughly or not; as long as you wish to be reborn in the Land of Bliss, and recite the name “Namo Amituofo” (during your spare time, after work, or under any circumstances) It is up to your aptitude to determine the way you recite and the number of recitations. You will be embraced and protected by Amitabha’s light with no disasters or jeopardy, and blessed with longevity in the present life. You will be reborn in the Land of Bliss at the near end of your life, so that your residual karma can be resolved and you will transcend reincarnation.

A person who exclusively recites “Namo Amituofo” is expressing gratitude to their parents. Though our minds may not think of repaying that invaluable debt, Amitabha’s vow power will automatically do it for us.

No matter how poor or lower class you are, or how many afflictions and delusions you have, as an Amitabha-reciter, you naturally have a kind of peace of mind at the bottom of your heart. You know that you are assured of liberation from reincarnation and assured rebirth in the Land of Bliss.
Thus, even though you have afflictions, false and scattered thoughts at present, your mind is always pacified and comforted. It is a kind of joy that is different from happiness of the five sensual desires, also different from the bliss attained through meditative practices.
It is the kind of joy that comes from our faith in and devotion to Amitabha Buddha. Through our complete reliance on Amitabha Buddha, we enjoy the pleasure of a settled mind, comfort, stability, and security.

The Name ‘Namo Amituofo’ is the body of Amitabha Buddha. It is endowed with Amitabha’s kindness, compassion, wisdom, light, vow-mind, paranormal powers, and energy.
The Name ‘Namo Amituofo’ is Amitabha’s life essence and circulated within Amitabha’s blood. The Name ‘Namo Amituofo’ is not only a sound or just words; but, is alive and swift. The Name ‘Namo Amituofo’ is the energy and the crystallization of Amitabha Buddha.
During every recitation, we absorb the nourishment of Amitabha’s life force, like a baby being breast fed. It enables Amitabha-reciters to clear the obstructions of their karmic offenses and nurture their roots of wisdom and good fortune. It enables reciters to expedite the rewards of virtuous karma and postpone those of the bad karma. It nurtures longevity and protects them from disasters. It ensures that Amitabha Buddha and a multitude of sagely beings will come at the near end of their lives and welcome them to be reborn in the Land of Bliss and, once there, achieving Buddhahood.

To recite the Buddha’s six-character Name is to praise the Buddha, is: to repent, to dedicate the merits, and aspire to rebirth. All virtuous roots become adornments in the Pure Land. We merely recite Na-Mo- A-Mi-Ta-Bha, which is naturally the unsurpassed and highest praise to Amitabha Buddha. It is similar to ‘Name-recitation is the practice of praising’ as said by Bodhisattva Vasubandhu in the Treatise on Rebirth.

The highest and most unsurpassed praise is reciting “Namo Amituofo” consistently and exclusively. Why? What is the meaning of this prayer “Namo Amituofo”?
It is to say: “Dear one, I come to save you. The only thing you need to do is to recite this name, and then you can be reborn in the Land of Bliss, thoroughly leave reincarnation within the Six Realms in the Three Domains, and expediently achieve Buddhahood.”
Among all prayers offered to Buddhas of the ten directions, only this six-character prayer “Namo Amituofo” possesses such qualities and hence is the most lofty and unsurpassed praise.

When you recite at home, the Buddha’s light will illuminate your whole family. If one of your family members recite Amitabha’s name at home, those travelling or living outside will be safe and at peace. Those who recite Amitabha’s name in this life are able [through Amitabha’s power] to deliver their ancestors in past lives. Those in the older generation can also benefit and protect, [through Buddha’s power], the younger generation. So, the merit and virtues of Amitabha-recitation are inconceivable.

An Amitabha-reciter will have the Buddha-light in his body, and he is embraced and protected by the light of Amitabha Buddha. All Buddhas of the ten directions always protect him. The 25 great Bodhisattvas, including Avalokitesvara and Mahasthamaprapta, always follow him like his own shadow. All the celestial gods and governors respect him. These are the benefits of Amitabha-recitation.

Amitabha Buddha will dispatch 25 bodhisattvas to protect an Amitabha- reciter, so that ghosts and demons cannot come close to hurt him. Therefore, reciting Amitabha’s name is the most comprehensive practice to help us remove karmic hindrances, grow in virtue, increase wisdom, bring us good luck, wellness, avoid jeopardy and disaster, turn calamities into blessings, and reduce or even eliminate all suffering.

According to Pure Land teaching, as long as you exclusively recite Amitabha’s name, you will naturally repay the Fourfold Gratitude (see below) and relieve the Threefold Sufferings (hell, ghost and animal).
We Buddhists must always remember the grace of parents, teachers, country, the earth, and sentient beings. To repay these compassionate gifts, all that we need to do is recite Amitabha’s name. By reciting Amitabha’s name, we automatically deliver our ancestors and protect the younger generations, even if we don’t ask for it or know about it. We may not think of repaying their great generosity; but, the practice of recitation, owing to the Buddha’s power, naturally has the functional capacity to repay those debts.

By often reciting Amitabha’s name, His merits and virtues, as well as his physical features and brilliant light, manifest in our body and mind. This is known as “the Buddha entering my mind”. At the same time, when sentient beings recite Amitabha’s name, Amitabha’s brilliant light embraces and receives them. This is known as “I enter the Buddha’s mind”.
In short, Amitabha-reciters exist constantly with Amitabha in any place and at any time; their aptitude is in unity with Amitabha’s teaching. For Amitabha-reciters, their efforts of name recitation will never be wasted; but,have great effects. (no matter how much they know about the meanings of Amitabha’s name)

Only those who exclusively recite Amitabha’s name are always illuminated by Amitabha’s mind-light and embraced without forsaking. Those who do not recite Amitabha’s name; but, practice other virtues, will not be embraced and protected by Amitabha’s mind-light. It is also the meaning of ‘benefit in the present life.’

By reciting Namo Amituofo exclusively, we are naturally embraced and protected by all buddhas in the ten directions. “Embraced and protected” means safeguarded and remembered, ensuring that the beneficiary is secure and free from obstacles and disasters.
We then know- By Reciting the name of Amitabha Buddha you are automatically reciting the names of all buddhas in the ten directions. Rebirth in Amitabha’s Pure Land means to be reborn in all pure lands in the ten directions. Gaining benefits for ourselves in this way, we are able to benefit all universally. Hence, we [Pure Land aspirants] don’t need to recite the names of other buddhas.

When we recite Namo Amituofo, Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara and Mahasthamaprapta will accompany us naturally. In addition, there are other great bodhisattvas, 25 in total, who will join them without needing to call them specifically. They are always happy and protect Amitabha-reciters, helping us to keep away from all kinds of afflictions and anxieties, and always stay in a state of stability and peace. From this we learn that simply by reciting Amitabha’s name, we are relating to all of the great bodhisattvas, including Bodhisattvas Avalokitesvara and Mahasthamaprapta, who will join them automatically. Hence, we don’t need to change and recite the names of other bodhisattvas.

‘Always exclusively reciting’ is the unsurpassed and unique practice of Amitabha’s Fundamental Vow. You (a being of aptitude) and Amitabha (his teaching) are already unified; so, you are always embraced by Amitabha’s light, without being forsaken. That is to say, you are always accompanied by the Buddha. So, it is said to be “always protected and embraced by all buddhas”(as stated in the Amitabha Sutra).

An Amitabha-reciter has Amitabha’s light permeating his body and shining over 40 ‘li’ (about a half kilometer), so that demons cannot attack. An Amitabha-reciter is always protected, as Amitabha always dwells over his head day and night. In this way, enemies cannot take advantage. Hence, he is secure and at peace in the present lifetime, and will have a smooth rebirth at the near end of his life.

Through the practice of Amitabha-recitation, our karmic obstructions of birth and death in the past 8-billion eons can be cleared with each recitation. We can attain merits, virtues, and blessings covering 8-billion eons. We are illuminated by Amitabha’s light with every single recitation. We are protected by Amitabha Buddha who dwells on the top of our heads during every single recitation. We are always surrounded and protected by all buddhas of the ten directions, Avalokitesvara and Mahasthamaprapta, heavenly devas, and gods on earth.

In their final stage, humans in effect wish for only two things, health and longevity. They want to have both, being healthy and having a long life. By exclusively and sincerely reciting Amitabha’s name, we can eradicate our karmic obstructions. Once they are eradicated, their karmic effect will be mitigated, or even vanish.
However, these benefits are secondary, not the primary one. Health and longevity are minor benefits. The main benefit is liberation from reincarnation within the Three Domains and rebirth in the Land of Bliss to achieve Buddhahood (which is also the purpose of Amitabha-recitation).
If we cannot escape from the Six Realms, we will have a physical body that is subject to all of the sufferings of birth, aging, sickness, death, loss of loved ones, conflicts with those we hate, losing what we yearn for, and afflictions due to our strong sensual desires. Hence, even if all of these problems were resolved, we will not be truly free. The only ultimate solution is attaining rebirth in the Land of Bliss. If we have not been reborn in the Land of Bliss, we are forever exposed to risks.

What is the reason for calling name-recitation the principal karma of assured rebirth? It is because name-recitation is based on Amitabha Buddha’s 18th Vow. Hence, as Master Shandao teaches us, this karma “accords with the Buddha’s vow”.
Meanwhile, name-recitation also coincides with the never forsaking embrace of Amitabha’s light that protects name-reciters in this life. They have a long life instead of a short life. They are blessed instead of suffering calamities. All serious problems will be mitigated, and all trivial problems will vanish. In brief, they are blessed in “elimination of calamities, relief of suffering, increase of happiness, and extension of life”, which are the benefits in the present life. When they are near the hour of death, Amitabha Buddha will appear, receive and take them to the Land of Bliss.
Thus, we see that Amitabha’s never forsaking embrace is effective from the present day to the end of life. Amitabha does not depart from him and will never leave him alone. Hence, name-recitation is the principal karma of assured rebirth in accordance with Amitabha’s vow on one side, and also the embrace of the light of Amitabha’s name on the other side.

‘Namo’ is taking refuge, believing, and accepting. It means all doubts are cleared, so that we can totally submit ourselves to the faith in and acceptance of Amitabha’s deliverance. Those who absolutely entrust themselves to Amitabha’s deliverance, and recite Amitabha’s name with complete faith, are forever united with Amitabha Buddha.
They are no longer ordinary beings trapped in the cycle of birth-and-death within the Six Realms; but, belong to a multitude of sagely beings. They possess supreme and unsurpassed merit and virtues, and are always protected and remembered by all buddhas and bodhisattvas in the ten directions.
They will be blessed in case of danger, and kept away from disasters. In the present, they have greater fortune and extended life. Evil demons, ghosts and enemies cannot disturb them. At the near end of their lives, they will assuredly be reborn in the Land of Bliss.

For Amitabha-reciters – embraced by Amitabha’s light, protected by all buddhas in the ten directions, respected by gods of the heavens and earth.
For other reciters – not embraced by Amitabha’s light, not protected by all buddhas in the ten directions, not respected by gods of the heavens and earth; but, attract wretched ghosts and devils to spit on them.

Amitabha-recitation – simple and easy, round and sudden
Amitabha-recitation – the simplest in method, the fastest in effect, and the highest in merits
Amitabha-recitation – an easy approach with high success rate; quickly taking effect with less effort.
Amitabha-recitation – having stability in the present life, and attaining rebirth at the near end of our life. Not only are reciters benefitted; but, also their family members.
Amitabha-recitation – the most expedient out of all expedient means, the most direct out of all directs ways, the simplest out of all simple practices, and the easiest out of all easy-to-practice paths. All can practice, and all can realize.
Amitabha-reciters – not harmed by ghosts, and not summoned by the ten kings (in the hell realm).
Amitabha-reciters – their body projects light for 40 “li” (about half kilometer), so that demons don’t dare to attack.
Amitabha-reciters – Amitabha Buddha always resides over their heads, and protects them day and night; enemies cannot take advantage; always stable and safe in the present life, and natural in rebirth at the near end of life.

As Amitabha-reciters, we should know we have benefits in this life and the future life: Rebirth is assured through Amitabha-recitation—this is the first agreement Amitabha Buddha made with us. The second agreement with Amitabha Buddha is that we are embraced, protected, and never forsaken by the light of Amitabha Buddha. The third agreement is that Amitabha Buddha will appear before our death to comfort us, protect us, and receive us。With these three agreements, our life is the happiest and the most secure.

Through Amitabha-recitation, the heavy karmic offenses of 8 billion eons will be eradicated. Many people like to recite sutras for eradication of offenses. Sutra-recitation, of course, can eradicate offenses; but the merits and virtues attained through sutra-recitation—if compared with Amitabha-recitation—are like the brightness made by a firefly. Their eradication of offenses is limited. Merits and virtues of Amitabha-recitation are great, just like the brilliance of the sun, they can eradicate immeasurable and offenses. How can these two be compared?

According to the Contemplation Sutra, sentient beings of “the highest level in the low tier” who hear the titles of the Mahayana sutras in the Twelve Divisions—the dharma teaching of sutra-recitation—will be absolved from the serious offenses committed in one thousand kalpas. Sentient beings of “the lowest level in the low tier” who recite Amitabha’s name just one time, however, will be absolved from offenses that would lead to the cycle of rebirth-and-death in eight billion kalpas.
With respect to the degree of difficulty in practice and worthiness of results, these two are not comparable. Sutra-recitation is difficult, while Amitabha-recitation is easy. In terms of absolution from karmic offenses, Amitabha-recitation is much better than sutra-recitation. The latter is inferior, and the former superior.

While sutra-recitation can clear extremely heavy karmic offenses, Amitabha-recitation can clear karmic offenses leading to birth and death. Obviously, although sutra-recitation can clear our karmic offenses, it cannot put an end to birth and death.
As Amitabha-recitation can clear our karmic offenses leading to birth and death, it can also naturally put an end to birth and death. Without further birth and death, we are assured of being reborn in the Land of Bliss.
Viewed from the perspective of eradication of karmic offenses, ending the cycle of birth and death, and rebirth in the Pure Land, Amitabha-recitation is better than sutra-recitation or holding dharani. No other practices yield greater rewards, yet are easier to practice than Amitabha-recitation.

Amitabha’s infinite light fills the entire universe, totally unobstructed. Obstacles such as: time, space, karmic offenses, disasters, or miscellaneous thoughts are unable to impede Amitabha’s deliverance. As long as a person recites “Namo Amituofo”, the unimpeded light will illuminate, protect, and deliver him.

The Contemplation Sutra states,“You should know that all who are mindful of that Buddha are like ‘pundarika,’ white lotus-flowers among humankind; the Bodhisattvas Avalokiteshvara and Mahasthamaprapta become their good friends. They will sit in the place of Enlightenment and be born into the family of the Buddhas." Shakyamuni Buddha praises Amitabha-reciters as “pundarika”, which is the highest and most respectful praise in the world.
Master Shandao explains as follows: “Amitabha-reciters are the most wonderful, remarkable, rare people among all human beings!” This is the highest praise possible. Bodhisattvas Avalokiteshvara, Mahasthamaprapta, and I are also reborn through Amitabha-recitation. Though there is a time lag, we have the same teacher, same mind, and same rebirth.

Master Shandao says: Amitabha-recitation provides four kinds of virtues – repenting, praising, aspiring, and adorning. Amitabha-recitation also provides five kinds of augmentative merit and virtues – eradication of karmic offenses, protection and caring, visualization of the Buddha, embracing for rebirth, and certification of rebirth. It doesn’t matter whether you know it or not, believe it or not, ask it or not, you will still have the same unsurpassed merits and virtues. It is purely because of the Buddha’s power. So, those who learn should learn this; those who have faith should put faith in this; and those who practice should practice this.

Buddhist scriptures are similar to a map, or a class on map reading. When we know the destination and the way after consulting the map and its instructions, we should directly make preparations for the trip and set out to reach our destination. We should not keep reciting the scriptures.
Reciting sutras of course, has merits and virtues; but other practices, such as “contemplating the mind according to the teachings, and practice in compliance with the teachings”, are more abundant in merits and virtues. Hence, the Amitabha Sutra tells us to “holdfast the Name” [of Amitabha], and by doing so, we and other objects of delivery, can be reborn in the Land of Bliss. It is a guarantee provided by all buddhas in the ten directions proactively, joyfully, and unanimously. It is also a confirmation of Shakyamuni Buddha’s words, which are absolutely true and never false. At the same time, while extolling the splendor of this teaching, they also protect and look after all Amitabha-reciters.

The light of Amitabha Buddha has a remarkable function that searches, follows, protects, and delivers those who recite Amitabha’s name. As long as we recite “Namo Amituofo”, our body will emit the light of Amitabha. It is all natural. It doesn’t matter whether you know it or not, or whether you seek it or not. It is a natural effect of Amitabha- recitation.
As an exclusive Amitabha-reciter, the light of Amitabha Buddha forever embraces and protects you whenever and wherever you are.

For countless eons, each of us has committed immeasurable karmic offenses. Many enemies and debtors have been waiting for us. They always remember us, even more than we remember our children. If a person is close to death, which teaching can save him, his enemies, and debtors, all at the same time?
The best method is assisted-recitation. Talk to him and encourage him to recite Amitabha’s name together with you. Why? It is because his enemies and debtors will also hear the recitations and wish to be reborn in the Pure Land. Subsequently, at the time recites ‘Namo Amituofo’, Amitabha’s light instantly illuminates him. Amitabha arrive, holding a lotus flower in his hand. All of them, including the dying person, lonely ghosts nearby, debtors, and enemies will go to the Land of Bliss together, just like boarding a ship.
Take the time to really think about this! The merits and virtues of Amitabha-recitation are infinite. So, if you want to pay your karmic debts, or turn enemies to friends, you can simply recite Namo Amituofo. It is not just the easiest; but, also the most effective practice we can pursue.

If a person always recites Amitabha’s name, he will experience a great variety of inconceivable rewards; such as, turning misfortune into blessings, being kept safe, and smoothing the bumps in your life. Some may know in advance when they will die. This allows them to take their last breath peacefully, and attain rebirth smoothly. They may even display a variety of auspicious phenomena.

There is a saying: It is better not to be enlightened even after a thousand years than to be attached to a demon for even a moment. In studying Buddhism, when cultivating and pursuing the Way, the worst thing is to be attached to a demon. There are two kinds of demons, one is internal and the other is external.
Internal demon refers to the demon of affliction, also known as the ‘mind demon’. It is said that these demons arise from our mind, and they develop in the human realm; if our mind is correct and sincere, all kinds of demons will not be able to intrude and attack us.
If a practitioner has no correct knowledge or correct view; but, seeks fantastic psychic events, he will be easily fall prey to an external demon. An external demon refers to our enemies and debtors. Among these, the most powerful one is the demon in the Sixth Heaven of the Desired Celestial Realm.
Nevertheless, no matter whether they are demons (enemies and debtors)in the wretched and ghostly realms, or even demons of the heavenly realm, once we recite Amitabha’s name single-mindedly, our body will emit light which will protect us against an attack by any demons. They cannot interfere, obstruct, or disturb, us.
So, it is impossible for an Amitabha-reciter to be disturbed and interfered with by external demons; but, we can still be vexed by demons from our own minds, which are the most terrible. Demons of the mind are attributed to incorrect knowledge and views, or demons of afflictions. If we are emotional and irrational in our daily lives, we obstruct ourselves.

During Amitabha-recitation, the Buddha-light of our body fills the entire universe, because it is the light of Amitabha. How big then, is the light of Amitabha? The Amitabha Sutra says, “For what reason is that Buddha called 'Amitabha'? That Buddha's light shines boundlessly and without hindrance over all the worlds of the ten quarters.”
Therefore, when we ordinary beings begin reciting Amitabha’s name, our feeble minds unite with Amitabha’s light and become vast and boundless during recitation.

Amitabha’s light shines over sentient beings who recite his name. They receive immense benefits of merits and virtues. Among the abundant benefits of merits and virtues, the most essential one is eradication of our karmic obstructions at the time near to the end of our lives.

Talking about the “heavy karma” of an Amitabha-reciter, what kind of karma is it? It is the karma created through Amitabha-recitation. Amitabha-recitation by itself has inconceivable merits and virtues, and it also has the karmic power of Amitabha’s great vow as the cause and condition to advance to a higher stage.

It is impossible for an Amitabha-reciter to be obstructed by his karmic enemies and creditors, because when we recite, our body emits light that makes karmic enemies and creditors unable to hinder us, and they will fail if they try to do so.

Those who do not recite Amitabha’s name always think and practice in accordance with their karmic afflictions and habitual behaviors. This makes them feel unhappy and agitated, both physically and mentally. By reciting Amitabha’s name, they can open their minds with wisdom, and clear karmic obstructions. Moreover, they feel relaxed and comfortable, both physically and mentally, because they no longer have scattered and deluded thoughts.
After they practice Amitabha-recitation for a period of time, they will experience tranquility. Their temperament, character, habits, and amusements are changed. The character of a person who was previously impatient, hot-tempered, calculative, and attached in all matters will also change. He will become easier going in all worldly inter-actions. As we see, Amitabha-recitation costs us nothing; but, benefits us in numerous ways.

Amitabha-recitation does not only eradicate our karmic offenses; but, also brings us happiness, and keeps us away from sorrow. These changes are visible. In comparison with the past, we no longer: feel life is unfair, feel resentful or dissatisfied, frequently argue with others, haggle over every ounce, easily take offense, and feel hatred towards others. It is because we have attained Amitabha’s merits and virtues and now feel satisfied and grateful. Our mindset, our personality, our habits, our appearance, and our fate, are all changed for the better.
Above all, a person who is satisfied and grateful is always smiling from ear to ear.

In facing any kinds of venomous snakes or beast of prey, if we recite Amitabha’s name with a compassionate mind, they will not do us harm; but, become calm and see no reason to attack us. It is because Amitabha-recitation can relieve the bad karma of our enemies and creditors, or even deliver them to the Land of Bliss.

There are two ways to resolve the karmic offenses of enemies and creditors. The first way relies on worldly virtues, i.e. accumulation of merits through virtuous practices. In this respect, we have to, first and foremost, exercise filial piety to our parents. In addition, we should also perform charitable deeds, be kind and considerate of others. By doing so, virtuous deities will protect us, and enemies and creditors will not seek revenge.
The other way [to resolve the karmic offenses of enemies and creditors] is to accumulate merits and virtues through taking refuge and abiding by the precepts. In this way, he will naturally be protected by heavenly deities. He sincerely repents his past karmic obstructions through reciting sutras, participating in repentance services, holding dharani, and reciting the Buddhas’ names. In this way, enemies and creditors do not take revenge. Moreover, we can also resolve our conflicts. These are the merits and virtues in Buddhist teachings.

If one gets “sick” due to a karmic obstruction, only the “medicine” of meritorious virtues can cure it. Otherwise, no matter how much money is spent, how many brilliant doctors are consulted, it does not yield any healing effect. The reason is, because the prescription is not right.
Taking into account our numerous past lives, we have accumulated large amounts of extremely heavy karma. Our offenses might be: killing centipedes, venomous snakes, and animals, as well as the karma of offending enemies and creditors. Because we are deluded and ignorant, we don’t know the importance of becoming a vegetarian and taking care of other living beings. Since birth we have killed numerous ants, mosquitos, mice, snakes, and animals. Just in one life, we have made an enormous amount of karmic enemies, not to mention those karmic offenses accumulated in numerous past lives. It is incalculable.
If we want to resolve and repay those karmic debts, accumulation of merits through practicing worldly virtues will be totally insufficient. If we want to resolve and repay them by our own effort—to attain merits and virtues through practicing Buddhist teachings, it is also impossible.
Then, what can we do? Rely on “Namo Amituofo”. “Namo Amituofo” is the great name of a myriad of virtues. It possesses all kinds of merits of all practices, of which the quantity is inconceivable, immeasurable, and boundless.
By reciting “Namo Amituofo” solely and exclusively, we can repay all karmic debts (obstructions) of our past lives, reduce the retributions from heavy to light, and transform retributions in future lives to the present life, or even dissolve them completely.

Amitabha Buddha’s Name contains his great compassion, great vow power, and great merits and virtues. This Name is alive and active, as it has Buddha’s eyes, ears, and internal organs. So, when we recite his Name, Amitabha Buddha can hear it immediately, and arrive to protect us, to clear all of our karmic obstructions, and enrich our merits and virtues.

Amitabha-recitation should be practiced ‘without forsaking’, as taught by Master Shandao. Whenever, wherever, and whatever we do, we must recite Amitabha’s name. The reason is, for every recitation, we are rewarded with merits and virtues.
Attention is not required in the practice of Amitabha-recitation. It is not necessary to arrange a particular period of time for the practice of Amitabha-recitation either. If we always recollect the name -‘Namo Amituofo,’ false and scattered thoughts will be reduced. Suffering from afflictions will be mitigated. Our body and mind becomes more relaxed; so, we will naturally suffer less from illness or depression. Amitabha-recitation benefits us all without any harm, only good and nothing bad.

Recitation of Amitabha’s name in a small quantity is associated with heavy afflictions, as well as the person’s habitual temperament. If one recites Amitabha’s name in large quantities, he will attach less to worldly love, and have fewer afflictions. To mitigate afflictions of other people, we should advise them of the teachings in addition to Amitabha-recitation.

The “masters” of ordinary beings are greed, hatred and delusion. Through frequent Amitabha-recitation, the “master” may become relatively quiet, clean, and closer to Emptiness that transcends good and evil. When the practice of Amitabha-recitation reaches a certain stage, the practitioner can realize a bit of the shadow of the thing-in-itself” (noumenon, or embodiment of things).

When a karmic obstruction is looming, we should recite Amitabha’s name devotedly and tranquilly. All big and small karmic obstructions will then be dissolved, or heavy karmic retributions mitigated.

“The real benefit, or the great benefit” as mentioned in the sutras refers to the benefit of attaining Buddhahood. “The unsurpassed merits and virtues” refer to the merits and virtues of attaining Buddhahood, which can be attained by Amitabha-recitation. Hence, when it says, “For acquiring the great benefit, it means having had sufficient unsurpassed merits and virtues”. In other words, “the great benefit” is the “unsurpassed merits and virtues”, and “the great benefit” is the same as “the unsurpassed merits and virtues”.

Through countless eons, we have accumulated measureless karmic offenses. If we repent and wish to pay for our offenses, the best, the simplest, and the most effective method is reciting ‘Namo Amituofo’.
If we hurt others, or ate another’s flesh, and wish to repent and pay for these offenses, the best and the most expedient method is to recite ‘Namo Amituofo’.
If we stole, or took something that was not given, or gained money unethically, and we wish to repent. The best and most expedient method is to recite ‘Namo Amituofo’.
If we bullied and offended others, or scolded others because of jealousy or slander, played off or separated others, and wish to repent and pay for these offenses, the best and the most expedient method is to recite ‘Namo Amituofo.’
Above all, no matter if the offense is great or small, tangible or intangible, known or not known, past or present, the best and the most splendid way to repent and pay for all offenses is to recite ‘Namo Amituofo.’

Master Shandao says, “Continuous name-recitation means repenting”. Always reciting means always repenting. He also says, “Amitabha’s name is a sharp sword. By one recitation, all karmic offenses can be cut off.” That is to say, it is relatively difficult to eradicate and atone for offenses by means of other cultivation practices. Only recitation of this name – “Namo Amituofo” —is the quickest way.
It doesn’t matter whether we recite the Name earnestly, carelessly, or recite in the form of a musical performance. The effect remains the same.
It is similar to taking medicine: although you don’t know the drug’s name, its functions and effects, or if you take it voluntarily or are forced, the medicine produces the same effect in your body. Amitabha’s Name functions in the same way.

Actually, our body is luminous. Not only humans; but, animals and plants of all kinds as well. It varies with people, however, in terms of brightness and dullness, strong light and weak light, large light and small light. Those who are kind emit bright light; those who are evil emit dark light. If you recollect and invoke the Buddha, your body will radiate the Buddha’s light, which is brilliant. Ordinary beings cannot see the Buddha’s light with their physical eyes. All buddhas and bodhisattvas, however, can see and know; even some spirits, gods and ghosts can see it as well.
Hence, humans should always strive to live in a wholesome manner. The best way is to recite Amitabha’s Name at all times, making the body radiate his light. In so doing, they will be protected and embraced by the Buddha’s light. As a result, dangers and disasters will be kept away, and blessings and longevity will be enriched. At the time close to the end of life, they will be received by the Buddha and smoothly reborn in the Pure Land.

If convenient, place a recording device at home to play the sound of “Namo Amituofo” from time to time, so that kids will hear Amitabha’s name and be perfumed (or influenced). Good and evil are 100% related to karma of the past. If the child has more favorable causal conditions cultivated in the past, with good roots of virtues and blessings, the parents have nothing to worry about.
However, in case the child has heavy bad karma from his past lives, let him hear, or even better, let him recite Amitabha’s name. This will eradicate his karmic offenses in advance.
Hence, relatively speaking, he will not become an evil person in the future, and will attain more blessings. Of course, while encouraging their kids to recite Amitabha’s name, the parents should also frequently recite.
If the kids can read, bring them some Buddhist storybooks. They generally love comics, and will follow the moral lessons of the stories. Having read these books, their stubborn and disobedient characters may change gradually, and they will become kind-hearted and honest due to the influence of the Buddhist teachings.

Those who always recite Amitabha’s name, feel relaxed and settled. This is because, if we don’t recite Amitabha’s name, we have afflictions and false thoughts in our minds. There are ‘weights’ in afflictions and false thoughts which exert pressure in our bodies and minds.
When we focus on Amitabha-recitation, not only do our miscellaneous thoughts recede; but, we feel refreshed and, at the same time, we are protected by Amitabha’s light.

It doesn’t matter whether a person has faith or not—whether he believes in Buddhism, Catholicism, Christianity, Yiguangdao [a Chinese folk religious sect], other folk beliefs, or even if he slanders Buddhism and has no religious affiliation at all. As long as he recites Amitabha’s name, his body will emit light.
It doesn’t matter whether he recites sincerely, or recites while singing songs of a Taiwanese folk opera, or recites casually, or recites in the middle of an angry remark, “Oh, you lousy ‘Amitabha Buddha’!” His body will emit light too. It is because emission of light during name recitation is an innate feature; it just happens naturally. It doesn’t require any intentional act, and also cannot be prevented from happening.

What is the heaviest burden in our life? Not money we owe or lack of food for a day. They can be overcome and are impermanent. The heaviest burden is the endless unbearable cycle of reincarnation.
It is Amitabha Buddha who takes command and bears this burden for us. He clears our karmic obstructions that lead us to reincarnation, and he accomplishes all of the pure karma necessary for us to achieve Buddhahood. Thus is born the saying, “He shoulders the heavy karmic burdens for a multitude of sentient beings’.
Amitabha Buddha takes on all of our heavy karmic burdens. We merely rely on him, recite his Name, and his unsurpassed merits and virtues clear all of our karmic offenses. Hence, the Infinite Life Sutra says, “Without even asking, he gives all of his merits and virtues to the poor.”

No matter how we recite Amitabha’s name, we are on an easy path of practice, not an ascetic way. Why? The minds of most people produce an endless stream of thoughts. All we do is simply direct our thoughts to recitation of “Namo Amituofo”.
Our thoughts are usually associated with afflictions and emotions, which are contaminated and the result of our karmic offenses. When we begin exclusive Amitabha- recitation, our thoughts become cleansed and more at peace. The name of the Buddha itself is the state of nirvana, and is pure and virtuous.
So, just by converting our confused thoughts to this Buddha’s Name through exclusive recitation, a kind of free and relaxed feeling is created. Moreover, as we are connected with the Buddha’s realm [through Amitabha-recitation], we are naturally blessed and relieved of any misfortune.

We really cannot bear the karma of everlasting reincarnation within the Six Realms, without any chance of escape. However, if this karmic hindrance is turned over to Amitabha Buddha, he can easily handle it and help us to be reborn in the Land of Bliss in the present life.
It doesn’t mean that our lives will be cut short if we aspire to be reborn in the Land of Bliss and exclusively recite Amitabha’s name. It is not like that. On the contrary, if we recite Amitabha’s name exclusively, we shall certainly receive more blessings and enjoy a longer life. When the time comes, we will be reborn immediately. If our time has not yet come, we will continue to enjoy the present life under the protection and embrace of Amitabha Buddha.

We are ordinary beings who are supposed to meet King Yama and receive his judgement [when we die]. However, because we now recite Amitabha’s name, we become friends with the two Great Bodhisattvas of Equal Enlightenment—that means Amitabha Buddha comes to join us as an inseparable companion. It is truly splendid, rare, unusual, and honorable.

Many Buddhists show repentance for their karmic offenses by reciting the Confession and Repentance Verse. This is highly commendable. However, our karmic obstructions being accumulated since the time of unknown eons is boundless and immeasurable. We cannot eliminate them even though we recite the Confession and Repentance Verse every day. What should we do then?
The only way to truly eliminate our karmic offenses is to recite Amitabha’s name, of which the merits and virtues are boundless and immeasurable, inconceivable, extremely profound, splendid, wonderful, and unsurpassed.

Master Shandao says, “Invocation of name-recitation means confession and repentance.” We are Amitabha-reciters, so we must take Amitabha-recitation for granted as our exclusive practice. We regard the Buddha’s Name as our life.
It must be “Namo Amituofo” whatever comes up in the mind; it must be “Namo Amituofo” too whenever we open our mouth. Every single recitation refers to confession and repentance of our karmic obscuration; every single recitation can eliminate our karmic offenses.

The ultimate aim of studying Buddhism is to become a Buddha. However, before becoming a Buddha, we hope our karmic offenses can be cleared, and our wisdom and blessing increased. Contemplation Sutra says, “In this way, he sincerely and continuously says 'Homage to Amitayus Buddha' [Na-mo-o-mi-t'o-fo] ten times. Because he calls the Buddha's Name, with each repetition, the evil karma that he has committed during eighty kotis of kalpas of Samsara is extinguished.”
As long as we sincerely recite “Namo Amituofo”, our heavy offenses of birth-and-death in reincarnation can be extinguished at each moment of our Buddha-invocation. So, we have to exclusively recite “Namo Amituofo” no matter we want to eliminate karmic offenses or enrich wisdom and blessing. Nothing is better than exclusively reciting “Namo Amituofo”, which is simple [in practice], yet splendid [in reward].

The Infinite Life Sutra says, “If there are people who hear the Name of that Buddha, rejoice greatly as to dance, and remember him even once, then you should know that they have gained great benefit by receiving the unsurpassed virtue.”
It means that when we hear this name – “Namo Amituofo”, we will have boundless, immeasurable, and inconceivable merits and virtues. By reciting this name, reincarnation within the Six Realms resulted by our karmic offenses can be eliminated. It also enables us to attain rebirth and expedite the achievement of Buddhahood in the Land of Bliss. So, we must be joyful and devoted in exclusive practice of Amitabha-recitation. In every single recitation, we are embraced by the unsurpassed merits and virtues with great benefits.
So, in the course of studying Buddhism, we have to clear karmic obstruction on one side, and to increase merits and virtues on the other. For achievement in both of these two areas, we have to exclusively recite “Namo Amituofo”. Nothing is easier or more splendor than reciting “Namo Amituofo”.

Amitabha’s Fundamental Vow is the original intent of all buddhas. All buddhas urge us to believe; they also extol and praise, also protect the Vow. That is to say, this teaching is the original intent of all buddhas, and protected by all buddhas, making sure that it will not get lost in lineage transmission.
All Amitabha-reciters are also protected by all buddhas, cherished by all buddhas, never be forgotten or discarded. This benefit can only be seen, be understood, and be afforded to be praised by the buddhas.

Recitation of Amitabha’s name is not just for relief from disasters or enrichment in blessings; but, more importantly, for attainment of direct rebirth in the rewarded Land of Bliss. This is due to Amitabha Buddha’s setting forth his Fundamental Vow that “rebirth be assured by name recitation”.

As long as we invoke the Buddha in mind, we are protected by the manifested buddhas and manifested bodhisattvas surrounding us in thousands of layers. We are always protected and supported by Amitabha, various buddhas, bodhisattvas, as well as dragon kings and devas, the dharma protectors day and night.
In other words, it doesn’t matter who, when, where, and under what circumstance, or whoever, whenever, wherever, and whatever the case is – as long as we recite Amitabha’s name, the Buddha must appear and emit light to protect us, and receive us near the end-of-life. Isn’t it we are comforted, feeling safe and delighted?

Amitabha-recitation is the principal karma of assurance for rebirth [in the Land of Bliss]. It suffices for having both present and future benefits. So, we can ask for anything we want through Amitabha-recitation. In addition to Amitabha-recitation, if you pray for your kin’s speedy recovery from an illness by “releasing living beings”, you may do so; but the act should not be considered as a supporting means for rebirth [in the Land of Bliss].

For those who recite Amitabha’s name, all karmic misfortunes and disasters will always be eliminated or avoided without being noticed. If it does happen, it will be mitigated and easily dissolved. A heavy retribution will become lighter. Even when death comes inevitably, they will be reborn in the Land of Bliss.
So, we Amitabha-reciters must entrust ourselves to Amitabha. In despite of happiness and suffering, favorable or unfavorable encounter, win or lose, gain or loss, we must feel and recognize that Amitabha Buddha works for us in behind, and protect us. So, we should not be too calculative, or have doubt on Amitabha Buddha under any circumstance.

People who have no faith, or do not understand Buddhist teachings deeply, may think that Amitabha-recitation is only applicable to deliverance of the dead. They may also think that Amitabha-recitation is inauspicious if it is not performed in occasions such as assisted-recitation or service for delivering the dead. Such a notion is totally a mistake.

The Amitabha Sutra says, “One cannot attain birth in that land with few virtuous roots and meritorious blessings as causal conditions.” It implies that abundant virtuous roots and meritorious blessings are required for rebirth in that land. What, then, are the meanings of “abundant virtuous roots and meritorious blessings”?
The Amitabha Sutra continues by saying, “If a good man or woman hears of Amitabha Buddha and holds fast to his name...” According to these words of Shakyamuni Buddha, if a person holds fast this Name of Amitabha Buddha, he/she is a person with abundant virtuous roots and meritorious blessings.
“When that person approaches the point of death, Amitabha Buddha and the sacred assembly will appear before him. When death comes, his mind will not be severely confused. He will at once gain rebirth in Amitabha Buddha’s Land of Bliss.”
When that person is about to die, Amitabha Buddha and the sacred assembly come before him and welcome him. Therefore, he can be reborn in the Land of Bliss right after the end of his life. So, we have to contribute merits and virtues to our parents and dependents by reciting “Namo Amituofo”. Such merits and virtues are the greatest, the most abundant, and the most splendid.

Human’s lives are dreams; worldly matters are illusions. Although we may be healthy for a hundred years and fortunate for the whole life, these will vanish in the twinkling of an eye and nothing leave behind. If we cannot be reborn [in the Land of Bliss], staying in the cycle of reincarnation, that is the greatest catastrophe. The aim and the benefit of Amitabha-recitation is rightly to eradicate this great catastrophe of reincarnation.
Benefits in the present life are limited, only last for a few decades; benefits of rebirth are unlimited, transcending all finite numbers. If we can be reborn, we will break forever the endless cycle of reincarnations of birth-and-death, and have no more sufferings from birth, aging, illness and death. Same as Amitabha, we will have immeasurable length of life, infinite light, infinite compassion, infinite wisdom, infinite paranormal powers, and freedom and comfort in the body and mind with unobstructed reward of joy.

A Buddhist Amitabha-reciter does not worship gods, not burn joss paper, not do “fu-ji” (planchette writing), otherwise he will easily be cheated, annoyed, and waste money too. Simply by reciting Amitabha’s name in devotion, one’s ancestors will be delivered, conflicts with the adversaries will be resolved, and calamities will become fortunes. As said, “A Buddha will respond to those who are sincere and devoted”.

Amitabha Buddha wants us not just to acquire benefits in the present lifetime by reciting His Name; but more importantly, urges us to aspire to be reborn in the Land of Bliss, and He will receive us at the point of death for our rebirth in the Land of Bliss. Because happiness in the present life, no matter how exuberant, is short-lived, only rebirth in the Land of Bliss is ultimate.
In general, people who learn Buddhism expect nothing more than to eradicate karmic obstruction, to seek more blessing and greater wisdom, and to invoke for better health, prosperous career, happy family, and fulfillment of wishes. However, as long as they recite Amitabha’s name faithfully, they will get what they ask unknowingly.

Fate is not unchangeable. There is a saying, “life is made by the mind, and the life can be changed in response to the change in mind”. As long as we are kind-hearted, often say good words, do good things, fulfill our duties and responsibilities, and do not over-exert ourselves, our fate will also change.
Especially, we rely thoroughly on Amitabha, and take his six-character great Name as our life and the basis of our living. In this respect, with Amitabha’s fortification, our karmic obstructions will be eliminated, our wisdom and blessings will increase, and our fate will change naturally. This will lead to so-called “eradication of calamities and elimination of catastrophes; increase in blessings and extension in longevity”.

Amitabha-recitation secures various kinds of benefits, such as clearing up karmic obstructions, enriching blessings and wisdom, elimination of disasters and avoidance of calamities, having good luck in case of meeting a mishap…and etc. In many real incidents, big troubles become trivial ones, and small troubles vanish away; the problems are resolved satisfactory without being noticed.
Although Amitabha-recitation yields such kinds of benefits, it is confined to the worldly ones. Since mundane benefits—no matter how immense—are impermanent, and not ultimate. After death, we will go for reincarnation again within the Six Realms. So, the main purpose of our recitation of the Buddha’s Name is to attain rebirth in the Land of Bliss.
That is to say, an Amitabha-reciter must take rebirth in the Land of Bliss as the highest, ultimate and sole purpose of studying Buddhism and practicing Amitabha-recitation; all other benefits are affiliated and secondary.

The virtues and merits attained through Amitabha-recitation are boundless. In cases like asking for a male offspring, extending lifespan, healing diseases, resolving (averting) calamities, getting a high position, setting up a home, seeking a good job, acquiring wealth, even relieving enmities by clearing up misunderstandings, delivering a died kin, we can do so by solely reciting Amitabha’s name, without mixing with any other practices.
Having said that we can get responses from Amitabha Buddha by reciting His Name and attain benefits in the present life, they are—no matter how immense—incomparable to the great benefit of attaining rebirth [in the Pure Land]; It is just like a drop in the ocean.

Though we do not come across any Buddhist karmic condition to learn Buddhism, and any wholesome conditions to practice wholesomeness, and we merely practice unwholesomeness under unwholesome conditions, we can turn the hell fire to red lotus when we recite Amitabha’s name once when the hell fire suddenly appears near our end-of-life. All kinds of evil karmic force cannot bind and obstruct us, and all enemies and demons are kept away from us.
So, we know: the sound of Amitabha-recitation is like a lion roar. When the lion appears, all beasts hide away. It is also like a lamp enters a dark room. It brightens up instantly, though it is dark for a long time. When the Buddha make an order, all demons set back and listen.

An Amitabha-reciter—even though being stupid, inferior, sick and dirty—is a wonderful good man and the most splendid man in humankind, forming one entity with Amitabha Buddha, being embraced by Amitabha’s light, protected by all Buddhas, accompanying with bodhisattvas, and surrounded, protected by devas, exempted from calamities, and granted an extended lifespan in the present life; at the end of his life, he will be reborn and realized nirvana. He is far better in transcendence than anybody in the world.
If a person does not recite Amitabha’s name and aspire to be reborn in the Land of Bliss—even though he is high-ranked in position and powerful in authority, he remains the dependent family member of King Yama (the King of Hell). He gets close to hell day after day, just like the cattle walking towards a slaughterhouse. Once deceased, he will regret and scare. Being escorted by the hell officers, he lonely trudges along the path with tears. When King Yama reproaches him in the court, he kneels down with solitude and sadness.

All matters are related to cause and effect. A certain cause will lead to respective effect. Amitabha-recitation can, of course, eliminate karmic offenses, safeguard us against jeopardy, and lead us to rebirth in the Pure Land. However, since our body thatformed by the Five Aggregates still exists, our mind has afflictions due to false and miscellaneous thoughts, our physical body suffers from aging and illness due to metabolism, the climate fluctuates between hotness and coldness due to changes of thefour seasons, and human efforts produce results in gain or loss due to right and wrong, or success and failure.
Being partial in terms of words and deeds, responses, life style, and diets, one will inevitably be affected by the results ofrespective causes. For example, if we don’t eat when we’re hungry, we will have stomach illness; if we are not warmly clothed in chilly weather, we will contract a cold; and if our words and deeds are improper, our relationship with others will not be smooth and harmonized.

The single Name of Amitabha is the king of Buddha, the king of the teaching, the king of dharani, and the king of merits and virtues. To exclusively recite one Buddha of ‘Namo Amituofo’ means upholding and reciting various Buddhas, various bodhisattvas, various sutras and dharani, various teachings and practices inclusively. It is so-called ‘all 84,000 teachings are collected and included within the six-character [Name]. Also called ‘The eight kinds of Buddhist teachings are inclusively covered, and all five schools are perfectly embraced.’ One can attain rebirth near end-of-life, and also the joy and peace of body and mind in the present life.

No matter invoking for peace and joy in the present life, or invoking for attainment of Buddhahood through rebirth at the end of one’s life, both can be achieved with the Name “Namo Amituofo”, which is perfect and complete without any deficiency. Hence, we should recite Amitabha’s name, day and night, whenever we recite. So we recite the name exclusively all the time until death. It is unnecessary to switch to any other teachings, or mix with other practices.
Such a practice truly accords with Amitabha’s Fundamental Vow – “recite even ten times”, accords with Shakyamuni’s advice – “always invoke exclusively”, and accords with the goal handed down from patriarchs – “always recite exclusively.
(completed by batch 22 in 2018)
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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