Amitabha Pureland Practice and Amituofo Chanting

Amitabha Pureland Practice and Amituofo Chanting

Pure Land Buddhism (Chinese: 淨土宗) is a broad branch of Mahayana Buddhism focused on achieving rebirth in a Buddha’s Buddha-field or Pure Land. It is one of the most widely practiced traditions of Buddhism in East Asia. 

Pure Land is a tradition which is primarily focused on achieving rebirth in a Buddha’s “pure land” or buddha-field (Sanskrit: buddhakṣetra), which generally speaking is a Buddha’s field of influence. Some Buddha-fields are considered to be superior places to spiritually train for full Buddhahood, since a Buddha has compassionately “purified” it for this purpose and since in these realms, one can meet a Buddha face to face and study under them. The most common pure land today is that of Amitābha, called Sukhavati, “Land of Bliss”.

For many Buddhists, simply chanting the name of Amitabha Buddha, the Buddha of Infinite Light, is a complete mindfulness and devotional practice. Taking refuge in this way brings a feeling of immediate peace. Shakyamuni Buddha taught this method in the Amitabha Sutra. This simple, yet divinely rich practice combines devotion with mindfulness, of the sacred name of the Buddha.

The Buddha taught us many ways to practice in decades of teaching the Buddha Dharma, mapped out in 80,000 discourses and Sutras. Some of these are “learning practices” such as “Sutra recitation.” Others are vastly intricate and beautiful, such as Vajrayana visualization Sadhanas. Yet, for most of us, the sublimely simple practices are the best way to approach the Dharma, from mindfulness practice, to the most misunderstood of practices, chanting Amituofo. Ten Benefits of Chanting Namo Amituofo Practice Shakyamuni Buddha taught the 10 great benefits of chanting the name of Amitabha Buddha, as a complete practice, in the Amitabha Sutra. This is a devotional mindfulness practice. Single-Pointed focus and mindfulness is the ultimate goal, and can be achieved a number of ways.

Three Holy Beings in Western Pure Land

Zen Koans are blissfully challenging. Watching the breath is a relaxing mindfulness practice. Chanting the Name or Name Praise of Amitabha is another quintessentially simple — yet penetratingly deep — practice. It makes the focus of our mindfulness, the Perfect Buddha. These ten great benefits of chanting Amitabha, as taught in sutra, include protection, support of all the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, purification of negative karmas, restful sleep, a peaceful mind, and rebirth in Amitabha’s Pure Land. When you participate in this elegant and powerful practice, you feel immediate peace and comfort.

The entire practice is to mindfully chant the name — sometimes just the name, sometimes as a praise — of the Buddha of Infinite Light, Amitabha. Often this is embellished with the wondrous sound of the hypnotic fish drum, or the regular gong of a bell. Sometimes it is chanted musically; sometimes spoken; sometimes whispered. The immediate reward: a feeling of peace and protection. Many Buddhists — in Non-Pureland traditions — tend to think the practice is too simple, too reliant on faith and praise. If we think this way, we are missing the point. Single-Pointed Focus on Amitabha Like other traditions with single-focus meditation methods, Pureland Buddhist’s chant the name of Amitabha over and over. Mindfulness of the name of Amitabha is a powerful and profound practice. Instead of remaining mindful of something mundane, such as breath, or your walk in the park, Amituofo chanting keeps our mind focused in the present moment on the Enlightened Perfection of Amitabha Buddha. The entire practice is to simply chant, or say, with mindfulness: Amitabha, Amitabha, Amitabha… nothing else. Or using the Chinese version of the name Amituofo, Amituofo, Amituofo. Fo translates as Buddha. Keep the mind focused, in the present moment, on just the sound of your own voice: Amituofo, Amituofo, Amituofo.

Amitabha Pureland Practice and Amituofo Chanting



What is pure land? Can I rebirth in the pure land after I die?

What is pure land? Can I rebirth in the pure land after I die?

Ever since I heard that Namo H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III and Fomu, Holy Mother the Great Mahasattva, entered parinirvana, I felt my dreamy plan shattered. For many years I have thought: I will definitely die before Buddha enters parinirvana, and Buddha will kindly deliver me to the Pure Land — West paradise. Now that Buddha has entered parinirvana, what should I do with the matter of my own death? This woke me up, and I asked myself what Dharma I have learned that can help me on this. I remembered I haven’t listened to the Dharma discourses for a while, and have not touched the Dharma books lying on the altar for several months.

It was time for me to earnestly read the Buddha’s Dharma books and listen to the Buddha’s discourses.
A small booklet, “Learning from Buddha”, I have read many times. We even had a group study on it. And Buddha required every disciple to study it, and to always bring it whenever we have the chance to see Buddha. I thought I completely understood the book, and that I always followed Buddha’s teaching in my daily cultivation. But I was so wrong, for until now I realize that I didn’t even understand what is pure land. In the book, Buddha clearly told us: a member of any of the Buddha-land worlds does not have the slightest dark karma or impure karma in his conduct. That is why those worlds are called Buddha-land worlds of pure karma. For example, the pure land of Amitabha Buddha is the Western World of Ultimate Bliss , which is also called the Pure Land. The Eastern World of Lapis Lazuli is called a Pure Land of Peace and Bliss. It is also a pure land.

There are as many as ten trillion such worlds, which are called the rigorously pure Buddha-lands. What is called “rigorously pure Buddha-lands” means that they are rigorously governed, and pure karma is mandatory. There is not an iota of contamination; only absolutely pure karma. Dark karma is forbidden. The pureness is due to good karma and merit. The pureness is due to the state of holy beings there who have ended cyclic birth and death. Those are called the pure lands.

I felt I was so foolish and ignorant. I had dreamed that Buddha will kindly deliver me to the pure land after I die on this earth. I did not ponder to myself if I was really qualified to be a member of pure land. Do I still have a mind of selfish thoughts, a mind of differentiation, hatred, greed, jealousy, presumptuousness, arrogance, or shamelessness, a mind that considers oneself always in the right, or a mind that deceives others? If evil or bad people carrying impure karma could ascend to a pure land, there would long ago have been nobody left in this world. Everybody would have gone to the World of Ultimate Bliss. The World-Honored One also would not have taught people to practice the Ten Wholesome Behaviors and the Four Limitless States of Mind. The Buddha would simply have come to receive people, sending both the good and the bad ones to a pure land.

I felt ashamed that I have read this book many times before, but failed to introspect and examine myself; I always falsely considered myself as truly following Buddha’s teaching. Yet, indeed I did not. Today I searched deeply for the reason why. It is because I still didn’t attain a state of mind that truly fears impermanence, thus I could not establish a firm mind that gives rise to thoughts of leaving the cycle of reincarnation. I still naively and selfishly wish to rely upon Buddha’s great compassion to re-birth in the pure land, to live a grand, wonderful, blissful life. In pure land I can learn from Buddha and all the holy beings without any worries, struggling, sufferings… only well-being and happiness. I deeply and sincerely repent that I treated Buddha’s teaching so lightly, and didn’t use my mind and heart to think carefully about Buddha’s teachings, let alone to practice Buddha’s teachings correctly.

After this several days continually study the book, I finally understood if I want to go to pure land, I must completely cleanse my own dark karma by being patient under humiliation and adversity and cultivating myself, practicing the Ten Wholesome Courses of Action, practicing the Four Limitless States of Mind and Six Paramitas, and arousing bodhicitta. Following the simple and easy guidance from Buddha in daily life: “Before I went to sleep at night, did I think of anything unbeneficial to living beings? Did I think about doing those things? Did I think of doing something not good to others for the sake of myself, my children, or my relatives? Did I think of doing something not good to my fellow brothers and sisters? Did I crave credit or merit for myself? If I did, I must repent at once, I must correct myself!” By doing that every day, I will naturally and gradually become purified and will become a great holy person.

I have no excuse for not doing “the three daily introspections”, because I want to leave the death and birth cycle. I want to go to the pure land, and when I become a holy being, I will come back to this Saha world to help other people and living beings to reach the liberation. I deeply feel the great compassion of the Buddha. He never tires of repeating the Dharma for us –foolish beings. He never tires of helping us to reach the enlightenment and liberation.

Great compassionate Buddha and Fomu, Holy Mother the Great Mahasattva! Thank you boundlessly for using your life to sound the alarm of impermanence for me. And thank you boundlessly for using your life to bring Buddhist disciples the extraordinary cause and condition to study the Tathagata Dharma. I vow to use my own real actions to wash away my sins, and benefit all beings with compassion and pure goodness in order to repay Buddha’s grace!

Great compassionate Buddha and Fomu, Holy Mother the Great Mahasattva! I, a disciple, still want to hold on to a glimmer of hope and beg you all to return to the Saha world and give us foolish beings another chance!

What is pure land? Can I rebirth in the pure land after I die?

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Wish to live in the Pure Land of Bliss

Wish to live in the pure land of bliss

In life there are always some unforeseen things that happen and disrupt our arrangements. We planned to go back to my country to see my mom, after my younger son finished high school. The new coronavirus that suddenly swept the world prevented us from traveling. I had not seen my mom for almost 7 years. However, thanks to new digital technologies, we can use video call to chat and see each other. That bring us much closer, the vast distance between us not feeling that far apart. The best part is that she can talk to her grandchildren. Whenever she talks to my sons, she opens her eyes wide and has the happiest smile on her face. She seems to get energy and joy from the youngsters. My mom always says to them, “ Oh my, you guys grew up so big now, more handsome, when you will come to visit me, I miss you guys……”. All the grandma’s style talk.

That reminds me my grandmother, who used to talk to me exactly like that. My grandmother was my childhood best friend in the family. She lived with us since I was in elementary school until I went to high school. Grandma and I lived in the same one room, slept in the same one bed, and I had so many secret talks with her. She taught me how to sew, how to cook, how to clean the house, and told me the best bedtime stories…. She is a very strong and gentle lady. My grandma lived a very hard life. My grandfather, her husband, died when she was only 28 years old. She never married again, and raised up their two kids by herself.

That hard life hurt her health. She got chronic bronchitis. When the weather got cold especially in winter, she coughed severely. Sometimes at night she couldn’t lay down to sleep. She had to roll up and with her face on the pillow to prevent the choking cough. When I saw this I felt so painful and helpless. How I wished my grandma could live happily, healthily and never die. Grandma told me: when you get old you will understand, everyone will get old and sick and die. When I heard this, my heart generated great fear; someday I will be as old as grandma and as sick as grandma and die? I will follow the same life path as my grandma?

I want to know why we come to this world, just to suffer, get old, and die. Is that true what Buddhism says, that life is a cycle of death and birth? Sometimes I went to the temple to burn incense and bow to the Buddha Statues, just wanting to be blessed and protected. At that time I didn’t know what was Buddhism about, didn’t know what cultivation was or what the goal of cultivation was. To me Buddhism was more like myth, and the Buddha and Bodhisattva are wizards, with magical powers. The only thing I knew was the name of Amitaba Buddha and Guanshiyin Bodhisattva, so I just prayed to them, wishing they will somehow grant me a long and healthy life.

It is very fortunate that I then encountered the correct Buddha Dharma about fifteen years ago. I understand everything is following the law of the cause and effects. We live in the web of reincarnation of life and death woven by our own karma. One can get out of the birth and death cycle through practicing the true Buddha Dharma. The goal of believing in and learning Buddhism is for attaining liberation, accomplishment and becoming a holy one. 
How lucky I am to be able to listen to the Dharma discourses imparted by the living Buddha H.H. Dojre Chang III. I feel so grateful that H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha came to this world again, bringing us the original supreme Buddha Dharma with great compassion.

Now my mom is a grandma, and I can feel the trace of aging of myself. H.H Dorje Chang Buddha III told us the very truth about life in “What is Cultivation”: “My body is impermanent, is changing every nanosecond, and is moving toward decline, old age, and death. I compare why my face has aged over a ten-year period, over a forty-year period, or over a seventy-year period. The degree of agedness of my skin has changed. I will soon enter old age, sickness, and death and continue revolving in the cycle of reincarnation, where I will experience suffering. I also contemplate that joyfully innocent, newborn, fresh, and lively look I had when I was a small child. I contemplate how I no longer have that childlike appearance. My face and skin have aged. My energy has declined. I often fall ill. That quality of youth is gone. The power of impermanence will end my life. My relatives and old friends will all die one after another. Like a dream, it will soon be all over. …….”

How I wished that I could learn about Buddhism earlier; maybe then I could help my dearest grandma to rebirth in the happiest Pure Land.

I hope that I can slow down the steps of impermanence, so I can have time to share the benefits and merits I got from practicing the correct Dharma with my mom. Even though my mom believes in Buddhism, her belief is superstitious and she dose’t truly understand the goal of cultivation. She just wants the Buddha to bless her and her family living healthy and peacefully. I often tell her, you need to vow to re-birth in the Amitaba western paradise; in that world you can have everything that you want to, you will live happiest life and never die; don’t worry about other stuff and don’t be attached to material things you have in this world. I hope I can soon visit her, and listen to the dharma discourse by H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III together.

All the Buddha and Bodhisattva in the ten directions, please beseech my mom to encounter the true Dharma, and lead her to the Western Paradise when she is at the end of her life. Please beseech my grandma and me as well so we can all live in the western pure land altogether and forever.

Namo Amitabha Buddha!
Namo GuanShiYin Bodhisattva!

By Peace Lily

Wish to live in the pure land of bliss


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