Something strange happened last morning. I was suddenly awoken by what I first thought was someone’s alarm clock. I soon realised it was the chant of “Namo Amituofo” (Homage to Amitabha Buddha), played by the ‘Buddha-name recitation device’ in the dining area. I could hear it loud and clear from upstairs even with my room door was shut. It was 6am! I tried to ignore it, hoping that someone would switch it off soon. After a few minutes, it showed no sign of stopping. Not yet my wake-up time and wanting more sleep, I reluctantly dragged myself out of bed and proceeded downstairs to do the job myself. It was still too early for any activity in the house, but I later found out that the others had also been awaken by the same sound, save for one family member, who was snoring loudly away when I checked on her after I had switched the device off. Returning to my room, I lazed in bed for another half an hour.
Before leaving for work, I asked whether anyone had turned on the device. Everyone said no. I even woke the snoring family member up to check, just to make sure. She said she had not heard anything. Unconvinced, my mum went to check the device and found the on-off turning switch to be tight, so it was unlikely to be a case of loose parts. Thinking back, I did not feel fear when I ventured alone downstairs to turn the device off. In fact, I somehow felt it to be an auspicious occurrence! The chant continued to linger in my mind even after the audible chanting had stopped.
Had the device been activated when an insect or ‘creature’ brushed its body against it? Is the device faulty and acting cranky? Or is Amitabha Buddha reminding me about the Pure Land class that I am to attend this very same evening? Interestingly, ‘Namo Amituofo’ is not the only tune stored in the device, but it was ‘Amitabha Buddha’ who gave us the wake-up call this ‘fateful’ morning =)
The incident also made me think about each family member’s different response to the sudden morning call. It is analogous to people’s different attitudes towards the Buddha Dharma; some will act upon hearing the teachings, some will ignore the teachings after hearing it, and some, in their state of stupor, can’t even hear it!