Purify Mind
     Glossary A-
       Glossary N-
         Pure Land

Power Of Mind    
Hua Yen        
Chanting the Holy Name of Amitabha



The Buddha Sakyamuni understands that all the beings have very heavy illusion, therefore, are deluded and unenlightened by ignorance, TREAT impermanence AS permanence, TREAT no ego, no soul (of an independent and self-contained character), impersonal, no individual independent existence (of conscious or unconscious beings) [The empirical ego is merely an aggregation of various elements, and with their disintegration it ceases to exist, therefore it has no ultimate reality of its won] AS the ego, the self, TREAT misery, trouble, and distress AS joy, TREAT filthiness or impurity AS purity, ever since the beginningless (without beginning, as is the chain of transmigration). These all kind of Upside Down become deeply rooted, so it is doubly hard for beings to eliminate the illusion and attain truth by personal experience, therefore, Buddha Sakyamuni indicated its meaning of Doctrine of Chanting the Name of Buddha with heart of looking on all sympathetically as of the same nature as oneself. This way Buddha Sakyamuni puts a pearl of Buddha into every impure being’s mind, eliminates all the force of worried habit (the remainder or remaining influence of illusion) in every thought of all the beings, purify the mind of all the beings, and eventually lead the beings to the West Pure Land.

  The Relying on chanting the name of Amitabha is a very special doctrine of Buddhist cultivating:

  Firstly, only a holy name “Amitabha”, anybody can chant, anytime can chant, anywhere can chant, just remember keeping it in mind all the time. Once the thought raising and the thought is Amitabha, when thought after thought raising and all the thoughts are Amitabha, although the aim of chanting Amitabha is not for “beholding the Buddha-nature within oneself”, but the “beholding the Buddha-nature within oneself” will be in there, this is so called “meet the reality” or “meet the right path”. As long as we chant the Amitabha either in mouth or in mind no matter walking, standing, sitting, lying (in every state), then we will get into “without a thought” (apart from thought, nothing exists) from “with a thought” gradually, in this moment both the mind of beings and Amitabha are identical. (the Pure Land as a place is identical with the Pure Land in the mind).

  Secondly, for those who were born with base character (or of low capacity), their barrier of temptation, passion, or defilement (which obstructs the attainment of the nirvana-mind) are much heavier, their mind of discriminating and holding on to the reality of self or things are also very heavy. If they can regret or repent for error for the past and future, and rely on the chanting of Amitabha with a mind profoundly engrossed in faith and vows, continuing instant in unbroken thought when chanting the Amitabha, as time goes on, the erroneous thinking and delusion will be cut down gradually, and the mind which clings to things as real will be changed gradually too, when the present life reach the end, the world where saints and sinners dwell together in West Land will be the next life for them.

  Thirdly, for those who were born with medium character (or of medium capacity), their barrier of temptation, passion, or defilement are little lighter, they can reach the level of “To do no evil, to do only good”, external and internal are corresponded, and are learning the four all-embracing virtues (1, giving what others like, in order to lead them to love and receive the truth, 2, affectionate speech, with the same purpose, 3, conduct profitable to others, with the same purpose, 4, cooperation with and adaptation of oneself to others, to lead them into the truth), in the meantime the name of Amitabha never leave their mouth and mind, as time goes on, they will reach the level of “with the whole mind or heart”, and get rid of the illusory or misleading views and thoughts gradually, also desire, detestation, and delusion will be removed gradually, when the present life reach the end, the temporary realms (where the occupants have got rid of the evils of unenlightened views and thoughts, but still have to be reborn) in West Land will be the next life for them.

  Fourthly, for those who were born with superior character (or of superior capacity), their root of prajna (power of wisdom) are much sharper, and have deep faith in “cause and effect” (every cause has its effect, as every effect arises from a cause”), and never confused with the “reality” (absolute fundamental reality, the ultimate, the absolute), some of them try to get enlightened heart with meditation, some of them try to benefit all beings with preaching or expounding the doctrine, and all of them are relying on chanting the name of Amitabha with pure mind, and devote their merits and virtues to West Pure Land. When they are practicing the relying on chanting the name of Amitabha, they can reach the level of the identity of chanting and contemplating, the level of unimpeded interaction of noumenon and phenomenon, and understand that there is no Buddha that is chanted besides the mind that can chant, also there is no mind that can chant besides the Buddha that is chanted, and reach the level of the active and passive ideas (ability to transform, or transformable and the object that is transformed) are the one and undivided (non-duality), when their present life reach the end, the Realm of permanent reward and freedom in West Land will be the next life for them.

The Conditions of Cultivating
  The basic conditions for cultivating the relying on chanting the name of Amitabha: Preparing the supplies for beseeching rebirth in West Pure Land. The Faith, The Vow, and The Action are the three supplies of beseeching rebirth in Pure Land according to The Amitabha Sutra. And the Faith is most important of them all (faith as the first and leading step), Faith regarded as the faculty of the mind which sees, appropriates, and trusts the Amitabha, that’s why we say only those who have deep faith can reach the great ocean of Buddhist doctrines. And when having the Real Faith, then the vows and actions can be started out.

  What is the Real Faith? According to Master Jei-Lio of The Lotus Sect in China, “I and Amitabha are not two but one in [the enlightened mind free from all illusion]”, “I am the being within Buddha’s heart, Amitabha is the Buddha within my heart”, “Remember Amitabha, maintain Amitabha, and chant the name of Amitabha, eventually I will meet Amitabha”, this is just like pouring some water into milk, then the water are within the milk, the milk are within the water, they are blending mutually, combining mutually. Therefore, when we are chanting the name of Amitabha, there will be mutual interaction between the individual and Amitabha Buddha.

  Let’s talk about Vows, according to Avatamsaka Sutra, “When people are reaching the end of their life, all the organs of sense are going out of order, there is nothing we can do, only the power of the vow never leave us”, we should understand how important is the vow. Master Ou-Ee of The Lotus Sect pointed out “The point of going to be born in the Pure Land of Amitabha is Faith and Vow”.

  The content of Vow is “To weary of the Soha world and abandon it and to seek gladly the Western Utmost Joy World” and “Starting out the mind of bodhi”, Master Ou-Ee of The Lotus Sect said: “The Saha World is the projection of the dirty thought of our mind, and this kind of dirty thought should be got rid of”, and “The Western Utmost Joy Word is the projection of the pure thought of our mind, and this kind of pure thought should be beseeched”, that’s why we call it “When the mind is pure and the land is pure also”. According to the sutra, when people asked Sakyamuni Buddha, the lands of other Buddhas are so pure, and why yours is not pure, in this moment Sakyamuni Buddha touched the ground with his foot, the world suddenly become pure just like the Utmost Joy World. From these words, we should understand that the Saha World also is pure, but just the thoughts in our mind are not pure.

  According to The Sukhavativyuha Sutra, one of the conditions of beseeching rebirth in West Pure Land for the three ranks (superior, medium, and inferior) of practicing the Pure Land Buddhist doctrine is to start out the mind of the supreme bodhi or enlightenment (the mind that perceives the real behind the seeming, believes in moral consequences, and that all have the Buddha-nature, and aims at Buddhahood) (above to seek bodhi, below to save all).

  The Vows will lead to the Action, since we have already the deep Faith and the strong Vows, then the Action will be automatically started out. And the action is to rely on chanting the name of Amitabha. The Amitabha indicates the idea of unlimited eternal light and life, in Amitabha’s Paradise, the Western Pure Land, Amitabha receives to unbounded happiness all who call upon the name of Amitabha. This is consequent on Amitabha’s forty-eight vows, especially the eighteenth, in which Amitabha vows to refuse Buddha-hood until he has saved all living beings to Amitabha’s Pure Land, except those who had committed the five unpardonable sins, or were guilty of blasphemy against the Faith. The Amitabha’ Paradise is theoretically only a stage on the way to rebirth in the final joys of Nirvana, it is popularly believed as the final resting-place of those who Believe and Chant Namo Amitabha, or Blessed be, or Adoration to, Amitabha Buddha.

  When chanting Amitabha will eliminate the heavy guilt ever since beginningless, chanting Amitabha will get blessedness and wisdom of endlessness. The “A” in Amitabha means the original nature of “impartial and equal attitude towards all beings”, also means all dharani or mantra and the mother of all Buddhas. Therefore, relying on chanting the name of Amitabha is the cultivation of all nature. Relying on the name of Amitabha means to hold to the dharani or mantra, is the cultivation of esoteric incantation.

  Master Ou-Ee of The Lotus Sect in China said: [Sutras show us all kind of ways of practicing Pure Land, such as "Contemplating the image of Buddha", "Contemplating the thought", "To worship", "To make offerings of whatever nourishes", "The five stages in a penitential service" (1, confession of past sins and forbidding them for the future; 2, appeal to the universal Buddhas to keep the law-wheel rolling; 3, rejoicing over the good in self and others; 4, offering all one's goodness to all the living and to the Buddha-way; 5, resolve, or vows), and "The six thoughts to dwell upon: Buddha, the Law, the Order, the Commands, Almsgiving, and Heaven with it prospective joys", when completing any practicing way, will lead you to Pure Land, and only the "relying on the name of Amitabha" covers wildest and easiest to start out]. The relying on chanting the name of Amitabha is really the king of treasure.

  "Covers wildest and easiest to start out", in the 84,000 teachings or lessons credited to the Buddha for the cure of all sufferings, only the relying on chanting the name of Amitabha can cover wildly all kinds of being, from the greatest Bodhisattvas like Manjusri and Samantabhadra to The five rebellious acts or deadly sins (parricide, matricide, killing an arhat, shedding the blood of a Buddha, destroying the harmony of the sangha) and The ten evil things (killing, stealing, adultery, lying, double-tongue, coarse language, filthy language, covetousness, anger, perverted views; these produce the ten resultant evils) all can practice it and will be leaded to Pure Land.

How to practise Chanting the Name of Amitabha
  The most important part is Vitality, do not practice when we cannot concentrate, are in a gloomy mood, have weak will, and have too much thought in mind, these will make no result at all. The words from our mouth should be very clear, if we don’t hear it don’t expect the others (Buddhas, Bodhisattvas, and other beings) will hear it, don’t start the voice loud and lower it minute by minute, the syllable or tone has to be harmonious this will result in controlling our mind easier.

  When we have too much thought during chanting the name of Amitabha (we don’t know where they are from and cannot get rid of them), this is the phenomenon we will meet but we have to ignore it (leave all the thoughts alone, no matter they are in or out, and just listen to the words[Namo Amitabha] from your mouth clearly), the point is the words “Namo Amitabha”. The TONE from our mouth is very important point for the Pure Land Doctrine, and the idea is “LISTEN to our own tone”, we are chanting “Namo Amitabha” at the same time we are hearing “Namo Amitabha”.

  When we say “To control the six senses”, first we have to control the sense of tongue and ears, then when we are thinking of the name of Amitabha, we control the sense of thought, when we are holding the Buddha pearl (to tell beads) or forming a mystic positions of the hand, we control the sense of body, when we are watching the Buddha’s image, we control the sense of eyes, when we are smelling the burning incense, we control the sense of nose. The point of control the six senses is “LISTEN”.

  The best volume of mouth speaks is the Diamond speaks (a little sound between teeth and lips), it will help us to chant Amitabha longer and won’t hurt our lungs. Also can do the silent chanting way, but it is little harder to listen the words (listen with mind). The volume of sound is kind of flexible, the sound can be raised when we feel scattered or disturbed, thoughts can be controlled by higher volume of mouth speaks. If we can chant very clear, the sound can be very low, but there must be sound in the mouth, and always listen to this sound because it will control our thought. We all know that relying on chanting the name of Amitabha is a very extraordinary way to practice the Buddhist doctrines and the point is here “TO LISTEN TO OUR OWN VOICE” (remember “listen to our own tone”).

  If there are delusions or temptations of the passions and of ignorance which disturb and distress the mind, then the sound we chant must be awful. When we chant Namo Amitabha without single mind, our ears will lose their function, then the sound from our mouth will lose the function too (cannot control the mind). In this case there is no way to control the six senses, only to create perceptions or discernings. The reason we cultivate ourselves so hard is to transmute the common knowledge (perceptions or discernings) of this transmigration-world into Buddha-knowledge, one of the purposes for us to chant the name of Buddha is to transmute the discrimination perception into the profound observing wisdom of Buddha. To reach the chanting Namo Amitabha with the whole mind is doubly hard, first we have to learn how to chant Namo Amitabha with quiet mind (do not let it moving around).

  When we chanting Namo Amitabha, we have to feel this way that we are in front of Amitabha, or begging Amitabha for help to save our lives when we are in deep trouble, at this moment, every word of chanting Amitabha should be from the bottom of our hearts truly and reliably, one word “Namo Amitbha” after another “Namo Amitabha”, this is called “Pure Thought Continuity”, as time goes on, one day we will reach the level of chanting Namo Amitabha anytime anywhere (every state in our daily life).

  The sound (voice) of chanting Buddha should be harmonious and quiet, noble and graceful if they are from those who have true, trustworthy, and pure mind. This wonderful sound of chanting Buddha reach our own mind through our own ears, what we hear is what we chant, therefore, they meet together naturally (the sound meet the mind). The sound is the Buddha’s name that is adorned by millions virtues, therefore the sound is the sound that is also adorned by millions virtues. The sound getting into our mind through our sense of ear is the sound what we chant. Our mind chanting the Buddha, our mind becoming the Buddha. Therefore our mind and the sound what we hear should be corresponded. In fine, we chant Amitabha, it causes the sound of Amitabha, and the sound of Amitabha will help us in return naturally. When we chanting this way, we don’t have to get rid of the false or misleading thoughts, and they will be purified naturally.

  In our daily life, no matter how busy we are, no matter how hard we are, when we are wandering about homeless or drifting from place to place, we should always apprehend and hold Amitabha and Pure Land in memory, if we lose them, we should bring them back right away, when time goes on, Amitabha and Pure Land will be in our mind forever. Like Surangama-sutra says: {If the mind of being always keeps Amitabha in mind (remember and maintain Amitabha) and chants the name of Amitabha, now present or future will meet Amitabha and will not leave Amitabha far}. If we fix the thoughts on Amitabha like this, the mind will block all kind of evil thoughts, when we want to make evil doings, it cannot be made because of keeping Amitabha in mind, and supposed we have to it, usually we will become soft-hearted in handling evil doings. When we see the others in deep trouble, we will pray for them to leave the trouble behind, it is because of the mind of chanting Buddha.

Chanting the Name of Amitabha and Keeping the Commandments
  Sutra says: {Precepts(disciplines) are the ladder of all doctrines}. Keeping precept is the cause, condition, or organ of advance to a higher stage. The pure precept will produce Samadhi(composing the mind, absorption of thought into the one object of meditation), and Samadhi will produce Buddhist wisdom. When we complete the three passionless knowledge (disciplines, samadhi, and wisdom), the three poisons, concupiscence, anger, and stupidity (greed, hate, and ignorance) will be destroyed naturally. From this, we should understand the precept is the most important thing that we have to rely on if we want the Buddhist doctrines live forever. We have to watch for the precept and follow the precept. And also this is very important for the Pure Lane practitioners, because this is the cause of advance to get rebirth in Pure Land. Therefore, we have to treat the precept as teacher of preceptor, respect precept, admire precept, protect precept, and study precept, remember the Sutra says:{Precepts are the ladder of all doctrines}.

  Buddha Sakyamuni made three kinds of commandment, the first one is five or eight of ten commandments that are for laymen or laywomen, the second one is the ten commandments of the sramanera(male), the ten commandments taken by the sramanerika(female), the monk’s rules, and the nun’s rules, and the third one is the rules for bodhisattva. The precept is the root of supreme bodhi, the point is that we have to follow and keep it, this will prolong Buddhist doctrines.

  When we are in our sober senses and never confused, we are closed to the step of meditation, the delusion doesn’t have its substance, if there is meditation, there is no delusion. When our mind are like empty sky, we have to remember “do not cling to the heterodox view that karma and nirvana are not real”. When we are mutable or immutable (moving or not moving) should be without any mind. The feelings, passions, and desires of the sinners and saints should be forgotten, the active and passive ideas should be all flowed off, in this case we are always in meditation, this is always called “the impartial mind” (not loving one and hating another).

  Buddha Sakyamuni once said: {The precepts benefit beings more than wisdom}, keeping the commandments, chanting Buddha’s name with our mind, starting out the great mind of bodhi are the right deeds of cultivating Buddhist doctrine of Pure Land. And starting out the vows, turning towards (to turn something from one person or thing to another, transference of merit), praising Buddha, worshipping Buddha, seeking forgiveness and regretting for error (repentance), almsgiving, and releasing living creatures as a work of merit are the auxiliary discipline to blessed virtues.

How to Chant the Name of Amitabha
  The virtuous actions and felicitous cooperating cause are the true or direct cause of good roots of Bodhi. Just like the sutras say, “If not starting the mind or vow of Bodhi of omniscience of Buddha, although we have been doing the six paramitas (1, charity, or giving, including the bestowing of the truth on others, 2, Keeping the commandments, 3, patience under insult, 4, zeal and progress, 5, meditation or contemplation, and 6, wisdom, the power to discern reality or truth), even for numberless years, we still cannot become Buddha.”

  The root of numberless virtues is the Cause, it needs all kind of blessed virtues (all good deeds) to build the Bodhi, BUILDING wisdom with virtues, seeking for virtues and wisdom, completing the theory with practice (reaching noumenon through phenomenon), all these auxiliary actions are the felicitous cooperating cause, therefore, there are all kind of Causes and the felicitous cooperating causes.

  According to the sutra, there are three kind of virtues: {first, filial and obedient to parents, to carry out orders from teachers or elderly people, do not take lives (kill the livings, or any conscious being) because of a compassionate heart, and cultivate the excellent karma resulting from practice of the ten commandments; second, to take three formulas refuge, or three surrenders (the three formulas are Buddham, Dharmam, and Sangham, the surrender is to the Buddha as teacher, the Law as medicined, the Sangha as friends), complete whole rules, do not offend against the respect-inspiring deportment, and third, start out the mind of Bodha, deep faith of Cause and effect (every cause has its effect, as every effect arises from a cause), read Mahayana sutras, and exhort others}.

  When contemplating Buddha, control our mind with chanting the name of Buddha. The spiritual or true body (universal body of Buddha) of Amitabha is all over the place, the sound of the mind come out of the mouth, the sound of the mind then get into the light of Buddha, when the light of Buddha get into sound of mind, the sound and light blend together, then Amitabha and us become ONE. The doctrine of chanting Buddha is called “A samadhi for realizing that the nature of all Buddhas is the same”, but we have to chant it, otherwise become scattered also we are building karmas. Therefore we have to learn to chant Amitabha with controlling mind, controlling our thought our mind anytime anywhere. Moreover, contemplate Buddha with setting the heart (all kind of thoughts) at rest, such as dirty and polluted thoughts, greedy thoughts, hateful thoughts, infatuated thoughts, worried thoughts, suffering thoughts, haughty thoughts, impudent thoughts, envious thoughts, indecent thoughts, heterodox thoughts, dreary thoughts, and hollow thoughts, all of these thoughts should be destroyed.

  There are four kinds of contemplating Buddha, Relying on the name of Buddha, Contemplating Buddha in the mind and repeat his name, Contemplating the image of Buddha and repeat his name, and Meditating on Reality and repeat his name, but the Relying on the name of Buddha is the best for tallying the opportune teaching.

  The relying on the name of Buddha is not just chanting the Amitabha with our mouth, but we have to remember Amitabha with our mind, fix the thought on the name of Amitabha anytime and anywhere, this is called "Relying the name of Buddha".

Relying on the Name of Buddha with deep Faith and strong Vows
  Although the Pure Land is far way, but if we have the deep faith and strong vows, the West Pure Land must be the place for our next lives.

  The Faith and Vows are the actions of wisdom, and these actions of wisdom is the guiding principle of beseeching for rebirth in Pure Land, the Faith and vows are the Right deeds of cultivating the Pure Lane Buddhist doctrine, if we follow this step, rebirthing in Pure Land is not a hard thing.

  The master power (strength) of Relying on the name of Buddha is Faith: Believing birth and death, rebirth and redeath, Believing lives are impermanent, Believing the flow of transmigrations are dangerous and trouble, Believing to take very long time for getting out of the evil paths or destinies (animals, pretas, and purgatory), Believing Buddha's words are true, Believing there is a West Pure Land, Believing rebirth in Pure Land if we have Faith and Vows, Believing when rebirth will be in the position from which there is no falling away, Believing becoming Buddha in a whole lifetime, and Believing all things ( anything small or great, visible or invisible, real or unreal) are all from mind only (the theory that the only reality is mental, that of the mind).

There is Western Utmost Joy World and Amitabha Buddha
  Believing that there is Western Utmost Joy World and Amitabha Buddha. The Deep Faith of Buddhist doctrine is Right Faith. The sutra says:{The Faith is the mother of the beginning of right doctrine and all meritorious virtues, it supports and cultivates all good roots}, it is called the root of Faith, it is power, it is strength, it is good causation, it also is the seed of Bodhi. But for those beginners, [who have doubting heart, heterodox views (not recognizing the doctrine of moral karma), inertia, force of habit (the uprising or recurrence of thoughts, passions, or delusions after the passion or delusion has itself been overcome, the remainder or remaining influence of illusion)], who will meet the real when getting rid of the doubting heart, who will meet the Right when getting rid of the heterodox views, this way will build the Faith and Vows, overcome the inertia, the devotion will follow, destroy the force of habit, then will free from evil and defilement, if we can build the Faith like this, then soon we will start out the mind of Bodhi, once the mind of Bodhi is built, then reaching the Buddha-hood is not far away. A sastra ascribed to Nagarjuna on the greater Prajna-paramita sutra says:{One who can get into the Dharma because of pure and clean Faith in one’s mind, one who cannot get into the Dharma becsuse of no Faith in one's mind}.




  The Oral Commentaries of His Holiness The Drikung Kyabgön, Chetsang Rinpoche.

  Translated by Michael Lewis / Transcribed by Ngakpa Jeffery Könchog Gyaltsen / ©San Francisco Ratna Shri Sangha

  This morning His Holiness is going to give teachings concerning Amitabha Buddha, the Buddha of Boundless Light, and His Pureland. In conjunction with the teachings in general, this afternoon, His Holiness will teach how to obtain the transference of consciousness to the Pureland of Amitabha Buddha through this practice. Specifically, He will teach you how to practice the text of which all of you should get a copy. It is the daily sadhana for the practice of Amitabha Buddha. Yesterday, you received that empowerment. Generally, it can be said that there are many purelands, many paradises of Enlightened Beings we call Buddhas. The Pureland of Great Bliss of the Buddha of Boundless Light, Amitabha, is quite a unique place. There are purelands in the four directions, East, South, West, North, and in the center. Among them, the Pureland of Amitabha is the easiest to get to and therefore quite special. By formulating a special aspiration to be reborn in the Pureland of Great Bliss, one can accomplish the transference of one’s consciousness to that pureland. The power of prayer, the power of devoted and fervent aspiration, is all that is necessary. It is said that the Pureland of Amitabha Buddha, in relation to our universe, is in the western direction and above our universe. We have to adopt a cosmic view and realize that there are many world systems throughout space. This is a very vast system of which I am speaking. Let us get our bearings here. What I am speaking of, in terms of the grand scheme of things, works like this: Lord Buddha Shakyamuni is the chief enlightened being in one great chiliocosm. This means that our entire known universe, with its suns and moons and stars and planets, is one unit. Multiply that by one thousand and then multiply that by one thousand and multiply that by one thousand. That is one trichiliocosm. Lord Buddha Shakyamuni is the lord of one of those. The realm of the Buddha of Boundless Light goes beyond even that cosmic scale. I am teaching right now, from a prayer for expressing this powerful aspiration to be reborn in the Pureland of Great Bliss, composed by Karma Chagne Rinpoche. In the prayer, Karma Chagne Rinpoche says the Pureland of Great Bliss is on such a vast scale, so greatly distant from our ordinary reality, our flesh eyes can never behold it. It is not something that can be beheld physically. It is so vast; its scale is incommensurate with any kind of scale we know that it is beyond the possibility for our senses to perceive. It is so far and vast, so completely beyond our abilities to measure. We can see stars and travel to the moon, but we will never be able to appropriate to the reaching range our senses the actuality of Land of Great Bliss. It is that vast and distant from our ordinary thinking and perceiving. In that sense, it cannot be reached by any material means. However, our own minds, when purified, when stripped of their faults, when returned to their own primordially pristine condition can directly experience the reality of the Pureland of Great Bliss. The way to perceive the Pureland is through the mind, not through the senses. So, establish that vision in your mind and imagine that, in the center of the vast, all-encompassing Land of Great Bliss, resides the Lord of the Pureland: the Buddha Amitabha, the Buddha of Boundless Light. He is red in color and he looks like Shakyamuni Buddha. He has all the 80 major marks and the 32 minor signs of a fully enlightened manifestation of nirmanakaya. He has, for example, the crown protuberance that you see on the statues and thangkas of Lord Buddha. He has wheels on His hands and so forth, so, as you can see there are many different signs. He holds His hands in the posture on meditative equipoise, the Dhyana Mudra, and in His hands is a begging bowl. He looks quite like Shakyamuni Buddha, only His skin is a deep, ruby red color. He is resplendent and radiant. He sits on top of a lotus and moon seat. Behind His back is the Wish Fulfilling Tree. To His right is Lord Avalokiteshvara, Chenrezig, white in body color. To His left is Vajrapani, the Lord of Powerful Means. These are the three chief lords of the Pureland of Great Bliss. To give a little bit of history of the formation of the Pureland of Great Bliss of Buddha Amitabha, it is a pureland, which has no flaws. It is perfect in every way. The realization of that pureland did come without cause. What was this cause of this perfect paradise? Very many aeons ago, before he was a Buddha, the Buddha Amitabha was a monk whose name was Dharmakara, which literally translated means ‘the origin of Dharma’. When He was in training as a bodhisattva, He formulated a series of prayers, or powerful aspirations, about the way things should be when He becomes completely enlightened. He said, “There are so many purelands that exist and can be reached by those sentient beings who abandoned non-virtue, who accumulated a great deal of merit, and assiduously practiced the Dharma. They can reach those purelands, but that is very difficult. What about all those who have not abandoned non-virtue, who have not accumulated a great deal of merit, and cannot practice in a rigorous way? Let me establish a pureland that can be easily reached by them. May I liberate all those sentient beings who don’t have those supernal qualities of the practitioners that reach the other purelands of all the other Buddhas.” There are many versions of the prayer (or vows), of Amitabha Buddha formulated when He was Dharmakara. There are 500 different versions of the prayer in Tibet alone. In China there are many texts concerning the formulation of the Great Vows of Amitabha. In general, it can be said that all of His powerful aspirations can be subsumed under 48 Great Vows. The Pureland of Great Bliss was brought into reality because of one of the 48 Great Vows. This is the cause for the existence of Pureland of great Bliss. This pureland does not exist causelessly, nothing does. The cause for it was the activity of the bodhisattva who became the Buddha Amitabha. In general, all the Buddhas hold all sentient beings in the core of their heart with love and compassion. Out of their great compassion, they formulate powerful aspirations. They make great vows. They work through many lifetimes; while in training as bodhisattvas before they became Buddhas to affect all sentient beings in vast variety of ways. Just as you can create fire by rubbing two sticks together, long enough and hard enough, so, by the accumulation of merit and primordial wisdom, anything can be accomplished. What was accomplished, in this case, was the establishment of the Pureland of Great Bliss in the western direction of our universe by the Buddha Amitabha through His vast store of merit and primordial wisdom. Let us, again, examine the metaphor of the two sticks that are needed to create fire. Fire does not spring automatically from one stick. You need two sticks and you need the effort of rubbing them together in a particular way over a period of time. Eventually a spark leaps from the conjunction of the sticks and fire begins. In a similar way, all phenomena, all reality, all dharmas, manifest by the conjunction of emptiness and interdependent origination. Everything is totally interrelated with each other thing. That is called interdependent origination. That is one stick. The other stick is emptiness. : The truth of emptiness, the complete lack of inherent existence of any phenomena. The two sticks together, are the actual nature of reality. This is true of everything, of all realities. Leave aside the pureland for a moment and let us examine the realm in which we live. Our world is the same. Our world is the product of non-dual union of clarity and emptiness, of appearance and emptiness. Things appear in a completely unimpeded way, and yet they have no essence. Their essence is empty. That means that all possibilities of experience derive from the non-dual union of appearance and emptiness. Let us examine the manifestation of our world or of the pureland. Everything is not a mere emptiness because it appears, does it not? We can clearly see everything. Everything seems to have existence and everything seems to have a material basis in our world. That is the side of the equation indicating the clear manifestation of phenomena, of experiences . However, that side could not be if it were not for emptiness. If anything, at all, had solid substantial, material, inherent existence, nothing could exist. It is because of emptiness that things can manifest as appearances. Only because there is emptiness, can anything exist at all. Without emptiness, there would only be one indissoluble monolithic blob. There would only be one thing, if that. Nothing could possibly come into relative existence without the ultimate grounding in emptiness. Therefore, it is because of emptiness that our world exists. Because of emptiness, the Pureland of Great Bliss was established through the power of the aspiration, the accumulation of merit, and the primordial wisdom of the enlightened being Amitabha. This is quite difficult to understand if you are new to Buddhism, I understand that, but it is only because there is emptiness that there is appearance. Lets us now continue with our examination of the particular qualities of the Pureland formulated by the aspiration of Amitabha Buddha know as the Land of Dewachen. There are many other buddhafields, as has been said, but in order to reach them, one must attain quite an exalted status. For example to reach the pureland of another Buddha, it is necessary to be a tenth stage bodhisattva, or approaching the portals of complete and perfect enlightenment, and to have accumulated a great deal of merit. It is very difficult for ordinary sentient beings to aspire to this. For us, Amitabha Buddha formulated His great powerful prayers of aspiration. Although His Pureland seems to be quite far from our world, it is relatively easy to reach for sentient beings like us. This is due to the power of Amitabha Buddha’s prayers and vows. As was said before, there exist many versions of the vows, prayers, and aspirations of Amitabha Buddha. To briefly encompass them in a single statement, it need be said that the essence of the vows, prayers, and aspirations are: “May a Pureland be established that is reachable by ordinary sentient beings of impure karma, beings of karmic evil, who have not abandoned non-virtue.” When you reach the purelands of other Buddhas, because of exalted status before going there, you become enlightened. In the case of Dewachen, you can get there, but it does not mean you become enlightened. What happens is that you will not revert to cyclic existence, rather, you will have, instead, all the positive and auspicious conditions for the accumulation of merit and primordial wisdom. You will be able to abandon all non-virtue there and practice to tame and train your mind until such point you are ripe for enlightenment. That is then a general introduction to the Land of Great Bliss.

  Now I will give an explanation of prayer aspiring to be reborn in the Land of Dewachen composed by Karma Chagne Rag-Astrs Rinpoche. To begin with, I will start with a description of the topography of the Pureland itself. The earth is not like the earth on our world. It is not, rough, and covered with stones. It is completely smooth and completely even. It is composed of jewel dust. In the Pureland of Great Bliss, you always have a feeling of expansive view. It is very vast. There are no alterations of light and shade. A universal all-pervasive light derives from the physical form of the Buddha of Boundless Light, Amitabha. The entire realm is infused with the luminosity of the enlightened body of Buddha Amitabha. The ground is not hard. It is soft and if you fall on it, you would bounce. You would not stub your toe. Everything is very soft in Dewachen. As for the flora of Dewachen, trees, which are abundant, are wish fulfilling jewel trees, trees that grant you whatever you need. The branches are filled with birds of various kinds. They are all emanations of Amitabha Buddha. They have beautiful melodious voices. Rather than ordinary bird song, they sing Dharma teachings in such a way as to delight and pacify the mind. Everyone there who hears the melodious sound of the Dharma become peaceful, happy, and content. There are many rivers and streams, brooks and rivulets. The water is not ordinary water. It is perfume. There are pools where you can rest and have a dip in perfumed waters. The land is filled with gloriously scented lotus blossoms, which open and emanate, from the pollen heart of each lotus, an abundance of light rays. On the tip of each light ray, is a Buddha. The Buddhas all teach the Dharma. They teach the Dharma in such a way that the mind is completely stripped of any negative emotions. In the Land of Dewachen, there is no sickness, no poverty, no old age, and no death. There is no distinction between one being and another. All are equally beautiful. All are equally replete with all positive qualities. There are no faults, no lacks, no stains, no suffering of any kind, not even the word ‘suffering’ can be heard in the Pureland of Great Bliss.

  The way to take birth in Dewachen is to formulate a great faith and aspiration concerning the Pureland, and have a desire to be born there. When you give birth there, you are not born through any ordinary process. In our world, we all arrive in pain and travail in sorrow. Birth is a painful process here. In Dewachen, you are not born through a womb, but rather you are magically born in the pollen heart of a lotus blossom. If you pray with single-pointed concentration and great fervent faith to be born there, you will be born there. If you harbor any doubt, you will still be born there, but you will be born inside a closed lotus blossom. You are bathed in the effulgent light of the Buddha but you cannot see all the qualities of the pureland and you cannot wander about at will. You are in the closed lotus blossom until the last vestiges of doubt and negativity are eliminated. Then the lotus blossom will open. If you have no doubt whatsoever you are born in an open lotus. This pertains to the type of aspiration you make to be reborn in the Pureland that you make at the moment of death. Keep in mind this very important distinction between the two different births in the Pureland. It is very important to formulate the proper aspiration of rebirth at the moment of death. Do this powerfully without any doubt. If you allow doubt to enter your mind, you will be born in the closed lotus blossom. If you formulate this powerful aspiration at the moment of death then, without any intervening experience, take birth in the pollen heart of an open lotus blossom in the presence of the Buddha of Boundless Light, Amitabha. One of the marvelous qualities of being reborn in the Pureland of Great Bliss is this: if you had read the ‘travel brochures’ for other purelands, you could go there immediately just wishing it. You can magically transport to any of the other purelands by simply formulating the wish to go there. From this world, you cannot immediately go to any other pureland, but from the Pureland of Great Bliss, you can. You have passport, visas, and all tickets necessary to go to any pureland of any Buddha, in any direction any time you wish.

  When you take birth in the open lotus blossom, you are not perfect yet. You have eliminated all negativities from your mindstream, but you take birth in a form that possesses many positive qualities that are like those of a Buddha though you are not yet a Buddha. You are born with a resplendent golden body. You have telepathic and extrasensory powers. There are five types of extrasensory powers you enjoy. Another quality you possess as a neonate is all the things that you need to offer to the Buddhas you now perceive with your physical eyes are automatically manifested from your hands. Thereby you can easily accumulate merit and perfect it to accumulate wisdom. Furthermore, the accumulation of merit and wisdom results, ultimately in Buddhahood takes place very quickly in the Pureland of Great Bliss. As opposed to other purelands, the process of accumulating merit and wisdom is very rapid in Dewachen. Buddha Shakyamuni himself said: “Therefore to pray to be reborn in Dewachen accumulates as much merit as if you were to offer the seven types of jewels and other precious substances filling the three thousand fold world systems (mentioned earlier).” In general, we can say that any sentient being that hears the name of Amitabha Buddha (in accordance with Amitabha Buddha’s Great Vows) formulates the aspiration to be reborn in Dewachen and engages in that practice can be reborn in Dewachen. It is more difficult for those who have accumulated the negativity of the five inexpiable sins . Still, even for such great sinners, if they practice strongly, it is possible for them even to attain rebirth in Dewachen. In brief, concerning the teachings of the Buddha Amitabha and the Pureland of Great Bliss, in all Mahayana countries this practice is very prevalent. Why is this so? It is because of the nature of the vows of Amitabha Buddha. The practice of Amitabha Buddha and the Pureland is geared to ordinary people. Anyone can engage in the practice. You do not have to be a great exalted being who has abandoned all non-virtue. You do not have to be a superb practitioner. Depending upon the power of the vows of Amitabha Buddha, you can engage in this practice. This is a Sutrayana practice. Therefore, it is something that can work for anyone. It is very democratic and it is available to all.

Questions and Answers
  Q... “Are there opportunities, once you have obtained birth in the Pureland, to return to this world to help sentient beings attain enlightenment?”

  A... “The purpose of attaining rebirth in the Pureland of Great Bliss is to attain Buddhahood. Therefore, the meaning of the Pureland of Great Bliss is that you have attained all the conditions that are auspicious and are militate towards the gaining of complete and perfect enlightenment. When you become completely enlightened, it is not one-sided enlightenment that rests in Nirvana. It is the Mahayana enlightenment which, grounded in emptiness, realizes that nirvana and samsara are something not to attach to. The keynote of all Mahayana practice is Great Compassion. The Pureland, itself, was established through the power of the Great Compassion of Amitabha Buddha. If you realize emptiness, then, compassion automatically manifests. That emptiness and compassion, together, which constitute Buddhahood, also constitute complete and perfect freedom. That is, finally, the meaning of freedom. When you become that free, you are not restricted to the Pureland of Great Bliss. You can to any pureland you want. You can enact any other mode of manifestation you desire. You manifest ceaselessly in an infinite variety of ways for the welfare of all living beings.”

  Q... “On the one hand it sounds very simple to achieve rebirth in Dewachen. On the other hand, in order to have that true bliss at that moment one would have to have to establish oneself, truly wishing to achieve bodhicitta in one’s being. So that it seems to be the great challenge of being here is to establish the wish to help other beings and not just oneself. So perhaps it is not so easy.”

  A... “The taking of rebirth in Dewachen is only difficult if you committed one of the Five Inexpiable Sins of Great Retribution. If you have not committed one of them, then is quite easy, because all you need to do is to depend upon the power of the forming of powerful aspirations to have rebirth in Dewachen. What that does is to unite you with the antidote to all your other obscurations and non-virtue. That is the power of the vow of Amitabha Buddha. The other element kicks in when you formulate the aspiration to connect with this practice and to be reborn the Pureland. Another reason why it is quite easy to attain rebirth is that the moment of death is every moment. The Dharma teaches that all things are in a state of flux. All things are impermanent and tending towards death all the time, therefore in every moment, something dies and something takes rebirth. How your mind is directed is how your experience will be. Your present thought will lead to your subsequent experience. If you establish a continuity of aspiration from moment to moment, understanding that any moment could be the moment of death, at every moment you yearn to be reborn in Dewachen, you establish that continuity of aspiration. That will be your experience. The cause in that moment will create the effect in the next moment. Everything is mental transformation (His Holiness speaking in English).”

  Q... “Rinpoche, can you tell us more about the light in closed lotus? How does that light them?”

  A... “The light bathes all and everything in the Land of Great Bliss. Like everything else, in and about the Land of Great Bliss, it is an emanation of Amitabha Buddha. It is all part of Amitabha Buddha. Everything that is perceivable in Dewachen is an extension of Amitabha Buddha. The light is the Light of Compassion. It is Light of Compassion that ripens sentient beings.”

  Q... Unintelligible.

  A... “The formulation of the prayer to take rebirth in Dewachen is an individual matter. You cannot develop an aspiration on someone else’s behalf. However, you can help someone else by repeating to them the name of Amitabha and acquainting them with the existence of Amitabha in the Pureland. It is said that even hearing the name Amitabha is very beneficial. Another thing you can do to help others is at the moment of another’s death that you can do Amitabha practice of various kinds. For example, at the moment of death you can do Ph’owa, and that is a practice of transferring that person’s consciousness from their dying body. Other rituals and pujas are done at that time. There is one called Shitje. It is ritual done at the moment of death. Many things can be done even if the person has already died. Their consciousness principle is addressed and instructed in various ways.”

  Q... Unintelligible question from the audience.

  A... “We have to talk a little about emptiness. The teachings of emptiness in no way claim that what we perceive does not exist absolutely. We are not saying that things made of atoms and molecules and have material reality literally do not exist, and in that sense, illusory. We are saying that they have no self-nature. They have no inherent existence. They have no solid, substantial, reality that corresponds to their mode of appearance. They seem to be inherently existent, yet they are not. This is the teaching of the great Middle Way School, Madhyamika. There a couple of different schools of thought here, the Mind-Only School (Cittimatra) says that everything is mind. The only thing that truly exists is the mind itself and everything else is a projection of the mind. Mahamudra teachings say that the actual nature of reality is such that it transcends postulation of either existence or non-existence, or both, or neither. This is called the ‘Four Extremes’. The Mahamudra view transcends them. From our relative level of truth in Tibetan they say ‘Kun-Zop Dempa’ which is a fascinating phrase . ‘Dempa’ means truth. ‘Kun-Zop’ means completely false. Therefore the ‘completely false truth’, the relative truth is a result of our mistaken perception. We perceive things to have inherent existence when they really do not. Our minds grasp at what we perceive as solid and real. Because of that mental grasping, we reify that which is in fact empty. That is a mistake. That is an error. All appearances are our experience. They are experienced by and in our own minds. Other than that, there is no possibility of experience. All external appearance is a mental projection in the sense that it is experienced by the mind. It has no solid inherent existence from its own side. That is a mistake in perception.”

  Q... “Is there any way in which one can be in the Pureland, aside from literally at the end of existence. On the other hand, is this something that can be reached in this present existence? Can the Pureland be accessed in this life?”

  A... “Yes, when the last breath has been exhaled, before the next breath is inhaled. At that moment, there is a death and a rebirth. You can experience the Pureland there in the interval between breaths.”

  Q... “Rinpoche, you say that you can experience the Pureland in that interval, in that case, what is the Pureland?”

  A... “What is the Pureland really? The Pureland is one’s own stainless primordial awareness. If, from moment to moment, you regain and retain your own primordial enlightened nature: that is the Pureland. Everything comes from your own mind. Understand that, remain there: that is the Pureland.”

  Q... “If interdependent origination arises in emptiness. Then, how can this be if there is no elaboration in emptiness?”

  A. “Emptiness and interdependent origination are non-dual. They are one. Even to say non-dual is to miss the mark, because that implies that there might have been a duality that was overcome. From the beginningless beginning, they have always been one. There is no difference between them. It is not like there are two divisions. When you see emptiness and interdependent origination dualistically, it is the extrapolation of samsara, cyclic existence. Overcome duality and you see cause and effect at the same time. Then everything arises together. That is complete, non-dual emptiness and interdependent origination. In the text, many examples are used to illustrate this truth of the non-dual union of emptiness and interdependent origination. Nevertheless, let us take, for example, this cup. As a relative manifestation or appearance that be experienced by our perceptual mechanisms, the cup is something that is composite. It is made of smaller particles. Is it not? It is made of atoms and molecules that become particular substances: earth, air, fire, and water. All of those things are combined in such a way as to produce what we call a cup. Then it is decorated, painted, and carved. That is something that is made in Tibetan we say ‘Dütshe’: composite, something that has been created. Causes and conditions have been brought together in such a way to create a relatively existent manifestation that we can use and interact with and perceive as what we call a cup. However, from its own side, independent of causes and conditions, there is no ‘cupness’. There is nothing arising as the ‘cup’ in and of itself apart from that entire process of causes and conditions coming together. It has no essence. Its essence is empty. In the ‘Prajña Paramita Hydraya’ Sutra, the ‘Heart Sutra’, it says “Form is emptiness, and emptiness is form. Other than emptiness there is no form, other than form there is no emptiness.” All phenomena have that exact same nature. Whatever is experienced within either cyclic existence, or its transcendence, has that exact same nature. Its essence is empty and it is experienced as a result of interdependent origination. To perceive things as alternate visions of emptiness and interdependent origination is to remain an ordinary sentient being. To overcome the dualistic vision, to perceive things simultaneously as emptiness and interdependent origination, is to be Buddha. The great Arya Nagarjuna said: “Cyclic existence and its transcendence (samsara and nirvana) are not two. Understanding the nature of cyclic existence in itself is transcendence.”

|Purify Mind| |Glossary A-| |Glossary N-| |Pure Land| |Outlook| |Power Of Mind| |Emptiness| |Hua Yen| |No Ego| |RealMeaning| |Chanting| |Heart Sutra| |FortyEightVows| |Sutras| |HuaYen Sutra| |Bequeathed| |Amitabha| |Wisdom| |Giving| |HELP| |Refuge| |Education| |Practice| |Buddhism| |Treatise| |Philosophy| |Vimalakirti| |Teaching| |Tibetan| |Karma| |HEALTH| |Hinayana| |Study| |Ideas| |Meditation| |Dharma| |Diamond| |Scriptures| |Intro| |DalaiLama| |Rinpoche| |Science| |Teaching I| |Teaching II| |Lama| |Zen| |Buddha| |Hinayana I| |Study I| |Guide| |Practice I | |How To| |Rinpoche I| |Teaching III|