Posted on: October 12, 2021 Posted by: admin Comments: 0


Before Zen Buddhism flourished, Chinese Buddhism had many cultivation methods, in which the practice of reciting the Buddha’s name developed strongly and popularly since the time of Mr. Huiyuan (334-416).

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For those who have understood the teachings and have spiritual experience, whether Zen or Pure Land is a means of practice to achieve liberation. However, for many people, especially those who are new to the Way, the basic doctrinal foundation and purpose of practice are not fully grasped, and when faced with many spiritual disciplines, it is inevitable that they will be surprised, bewildered, and confused. do not know which method to practice.

In addition, the inevitable consequence of not having a thorough understanding of the teachings is the perception that the practices seem to have conflicts and contradictions with each other, making the practitioner sometimes even more suspicious of the Buddha’s teachings. . This is also easy to understand, because the teachings that the Buddha preached are for treatment, depending on the disease for medicine, depending on the level of foundation, there are many different methods of practice. There is no single medicine that cures all diseases, and there is no single method that is suitable for all faculties. Therefore, there is no method that is the ultimate goal, the first, only enlightenment and liberation is the first goal.

Illustration of Patriarch Bodhidharma

Indeed, when Bodhidharma came to China to promote the Zen practice, many people felt that this method was in conflict with traditional methods, including the method of reciting the Buddha’s name. Understanding this mentality, the Patriarch wrote “Missing seven six subjects of practice”, recording the sincere and important affirmations of the Zen master, including a chapter in the form of discussion, solving questions about the method of meditation. The practice of dharma subjects such as Tri precepts, Six degrees, Buddha recitation… compared to Zen practice. For example, regarding the Pure Land method, someone asked: “The sutras say that if anyone sincerely recites the Buddha’s name, he will be reborn in the Western Pure Land. If so, just this one method is enough to become a Buddha, there is no need to contemplate the mind to seek liberation.” That is, just need to practice and recite the Buddha’s name, there is no need to sit and contemplate the mind like a Zen practice.

Bodhidharma resolved this question as follows: “Reciting the Buddha’s name is a method of practicing Mindfulness. Willow means chief. Not willow means evil. Mindfulness is sure to be reborn. As for wrong thoughts, how can one reach the Buddha realm? Buddha means enlightenment, that is, controlling body and mind, not creating evil. Mindfulness is remembering. Remember what? Remember to practice the precepts, not to be distracted, always be diligent. That is the meaning of the two words reciting Buddha. Therefore, it must be known that mindfulness is mindfulness in the mind, not in the mouth. Just like by using a fishing net to catch a fish, if you get a fish, then you give up the fishing net. Thanks to the words, we understand the meaning, if we get the idea, we forget the words. Having declared the Buddha’s name, one must know the method of reciting the Buddha’s name. If the mind is not real, not earnest, the mouth is merely reciting, the three poisons in the heart are not eliminated, the human ego is full of heart, and the mind full of ignorance seeks the Buddha outside, then it will only be in vain.

“The two words of recitation also have wonderful morals. Reading in the mouth is called chanting, in the mind remembering and thinking is called mindfulness. Therefore, mindfulness comes from the mind. That is called the door to full enlightenment. Chanting from the mouth is the sign of sound. Accepting outside of the law, in the end, is all hope. Therefore, in the past, the Saints and sages who practiced the dharma door of reciting the Buddha’s name were not merely reciting on the outside of their mouths, but in their minds. Mind is the source of all good deeds, mind is the master of all virtues. Nirvana is often born from the true mind, but the three worlds of reincarnation also arise from the mind. Mind is the door to the world, the shore of liberation. If you know the gate, do you think it’s difficult to enter, why don’t you worry about coming when you know the port?” (Missing seven six subjects, The Great Tripitaka, volume 48).

This statement shows the consistent nature of the Buddha’s teachings, no matter what method of practice, only for the sole purpose of purifying the mind: “Purify your mind / Is the word of the Buddhas teach”. Practicing meditation is to purify the mind, and reciting Buddha’s name is also to purify the mind. If you want to keep your mind pure, you must eliminate the three poisons of greed, hatred, and delusion. If you sit in meditation but your mind is not transformed, defilements are not eliminated, and the three poisons are not neutralized, then “sharpening a stone will not become a mirror, sitting in meditation will not become a Buddha”. In the same way, if you say and recite the Buddha’s name with your mouth, but your mind does not correspond to the Buddha’s mind at all, and is still full of non-self, it is just like a “reciting machine”.

Is it possible to become a Buddha in one lifetime by reciting Buddha’s name?

Therefore, to cultivate is to cultivate from the heart, to convert the mind of sentient beings into the mind of reciting the Buddha’s name, so is Zen but also Pure. Bodhidharma said, “For the three minds of greed, hatred, and delusion, in one there are countless evil thoughts, and each such thought is considered a kalpa, then the three poisons of greed, hatred, si has countless lives, so it is called three great a-rise-periods (uncountable numbers). The true nature is as if it has been covered by these three poisons, if we do not overcome these three great evil minds, how can we be liberated?” (phone number).

It is clear that the minds of sentient beings are constantly changing, but are all unwholesome thoughts, so the Pure Land method takes the name of Amitabha Buddha instead of each of those thoughts. The Buddha once said: “The Tathagata Buddhas take the Dharma Realm as their body and enter the minds of all sentient beings. Therefore, when your mind recites the Buddha’s name, that mind will have 32 good marks and 80 beauty. That mind is Buddha, that mind is Buddha. The Buddhas are the sea of ​​Right Transformation, born from that mind. Therefore, one must recite the Buddha’s name with one heart. If anyone knows how to recite the Buddha’s name, they should know that this person is a precious lotus in the human race. Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva, Mahasattva Mahasattva is that person’s best friend” (Buddha’s discourse on the Avalokitesvara Buddha’s Sutra, Mahayana Tripitaka, volume 12).

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