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Thirteenth Patriarch of the Pure Land school Whether a layperson or a monastic, we need to respect those who are older than we are and to exist harmoniously with those around us. We are to endure what others cannot and practice what others cannot achieve. We should do all we can on behalf of others and help them to be good. When sitting quietly, we would do well to reflect on our own faults. When talking with friends do not discuss the rights and wrongs of others.
In our every action, f-rom dawn to dusk and dusk to dawn, mindfully chant the Buddha’s name. When chanting, whether aloud or silently, do not give rise to wandering thoughts. If wandering thoughts arise, immediately dismiss them. Constantly maintain a modest and regretful heart. Even if we have upheld true cultivation, we still need to feel that our practice is shallow and never boast. We should mind our own business and not the business of others. We should see only the good examples of others instead of their shortcomings. We would do well to see ourselves as ordinary and everyone else as bodhisattvas.


If we can cultivate according to these teachings, we are sure to reach the Western Pure Land of Ultimate Bliss.



You may recite the Buddha's name sitting, standing, kneeling, or circumambulating the altar, etc. but you should not be attached to any set ways.


If you become attached to a fixed position, your body may tire easily and your mind may find it difficult to merge with the Mind of the Buddhas. To reap benefits, you should make allowances for your health or habits and skillfully se-lect the practice that fits your circumstances.


Traditionally, Pure Land practitioners circumambulate the altar at the beginning of a Buddha Recitation session. then sit down, and, finally, kneel. However, if you feel tired when circumambulation or kneeling, you should sit down and recite. If you become drowsy while seated, you can circumambulate the altar or recite standing up, waiting for the drowsiness to go away before sitting down again. When reciting, it is better to determine the length of the session with a clock, rather than fingering a rosary, as doing so may make it difficult to focus the mind and keep it empty and pure.



Greed, anger, and delusion are afflictions common to everyone. However, if you are aware that they are diseases, their power should not be overwhelming. They are like thieves who have broken into the house. If the owner mistakes them for members of the household, all the valuables in the house will be stolen. If, on the other hand, he recognizes the thieves as such and immediately chases them away, his valuables will be safeguarded and he will be at peace. In this connection, the ancients have said:


Fear not the early arising of thoughts [greed, anger, delusion, etc.]; fear only the late awareness of them as such.


When greed, anger, and delusion arise, as long as you recognize them for what they are, these thoughts will immediately be destroyed. However, if you take them for the true master of your household, it is no different f-rom mistaking a thief for your son. How can your riches not be squandered and lost.




When ordinary beings meet with disaster, if they do not resent the heavens, they blame their fellow beings. Very few think of repaying their karma and developing a mind of repentance and reform. You should know that “if you plant melons, you reap melons; if you plant beans, you reap beans.” This is the natural course of events. Having sown thorns, do not expect, when the harvest comes, to have wheat and rice. If those who cre-ate evil still enjoy blessings, it is because in previous lifetimes they amassed great blessings; if not for their transgressions, their blessings would have been much greater.


It is as if a scion of a wealthy family were to lead a dissipated life, lusting and gambling, squandering money like so much dirt without suffering hunger and cold immediately because of his great fortune. Yet, if he were to continue in this manner day in and day out, even with a family estate in the millions, one day he would surely lose all his property and suffer a premature death. 


If those who perform wholesome deeds customarily meet with misfortune, it is because they planted the seeds of transgression deeply in past lifetimes. If not for their good deeds, their misfortunes would have been much worse.




When one feels it is difficult to concentrate while chanting, one should first collect one’s wandering thoughts and chant sincerely with serious effort. Then one’s mind will be unified. To unify one’s mind, one must first be sincere and serious. If sincerity and seriousness are lacking, it is not possible for one to collect one’s wandering thoughts. If one is sincere and serious, but the wandering thoughts persist, one should attentively listen to one’s own chanting.


Whether the chants are silent or voiced, every chant must arise f-rom one’s mind. The voice exits one’s mouth and enters one’s ears.


Giving rise to the Buddha-name clearly with one’s mind, chanting it clearly with one’s mouth, and hearing it clearly with one’s ears will help unify one’s mind and the wandering thoughts will naturally stop. If one’s mind is still flooded with wandering thoughts, then one should use the ten-chant-and-count method, and devote all one’s energy to chanting the Buddha-name. Even if the wandering thoughts still exist, they will not be able to function.


This is the ultimate method to unify one’s mind and one’s chant.

Those who expounded the Pure Land school in the past did not mention this method because their faculties were considered sharp enough and they were able to unify their minds without it.


I had problems collecting and controlling my wandering thoughts and then realized the effectiveness of this method. I have used it many times and never failed. I am not sharing this information lightly or by imagination. I want to share this method with everyone as well as those in future generations so that anyone who practices this method can successfully attain rebirth in the Pure Land.

What is the ten-chant-and-count method?


When chanting, one chants ten times in a single breath. Every chant must be clear, and one must count and remember whe-re one is and stop at the tenth chant. One then repeats the process, but never counts to the twentieth or the thirtieth chant. One must count and remember while chanting, and not rely on moving the chanting beads. Counting and remembering must be in one’s mind.


If it is difficult to complete ten chants in one breath, one can chant for two breaths. The first breath is for the first five chants, the second breath for the remaining five chants. If two-breath chanting is still difficult, one can break the ten chants into three breaths. The first through the third, the fourth through the sixth, and the seventh through the tenth chants complete in three breaths.


If one can chant clearly, count and remember the chants clearly, and hear one’s own chants clearly, wandering thoughts will have no place to step in. Over time, the state of one-mind undisturbed can be attained naturally.



Belief and Vow


If one wants to quickly be free of the suffering in samsara, there is no method better than mindfully chanting the Buddha-name and seeking rebirth in the Land of Ultimate Bliss.


f one wants to be absolutely certain of attaining rebirth in the Land of Ultimate Bliss, it is best for one to be led by belief and compelled forward by vow.

When one’s belief is firm and vow is earnest, even if one chants the Buddha-name with a scattered mind, one will surely be reborn in the Land of Ultimate Bliss. When one’s belief is not sincere and vow is not resolute, even if one chants with One Mind Undisturbed, one still will not be able to be reborn in the Land of Ultimate Bliss.


What is belief? First, one believes in the power of the vows of Amitabha Buddha. Second, one believes in the teachings of Sakyamuni Buddha. Third, one believes in the extolment by all the Buddhas in the six directions.


When people of integrity in this world do not speak any untruthful words, how would Amitabha Buddha, Sakyamuni Buddha, and all the Buddhas in the six directions do so? If one does not believe these Buddhas’ words, one truly cannot be saved.


What is vow? At all times, one feels aversion to the suffering of the cycle of birth and death in the Saha world and believes and yearns for the Bodhi bliss in the Western Pure Land.


When one does a deed, if it is a good one, then one dedicates the merit to rebirth in the Western Pure Land; if it is a bad one, then one repents and vows to be reborn in the Western Pure Land. One has no other aspirations. This is vow.


When one has both belief and vow, mindfully chanting the Buddha-name to attain rebirth [in the Western Pure Land] is the main practice, and correcting wrongdoings and cultivating good deeds is the auxiliary practice.


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