Due to the ease, mindfulness of the name of Amitabha Buddha (Amituofo) can be practised by many indeed. Take for instance, the case of a schizophrenic friend, who occasionally hears a voice hurling abuse at him. Obstructed by unpredictable hallucinations, it is difficult for him to engage in basic mind-training practices such as Anapanasati meditation of mindfulness of breathing. The worst-case scenario would be to hear the disturbing voices amplified while he attempts to ‘silent’ his mind to meditate.
Although the mind can entertain many successive thoughts within a very short span of time, it can only entertain one thought in any one thought moment. As such, mindfulness of the name is a skilful means for him to train his mind – for when his mind is fully occupied by chanting and listening sincerely to the sound of the name, his mind in that moment cannot simultaneously generate an imaginary voice to distract him.
While sutra or mantra-chanting might have the same effect, Buddha mindfulness secures rebirth in Pure Land too, where his ailment will be fully cured. In the mean time, the practice might can lessen the voices in everyday life, if he switches to mindfulness of Amituofo the very instance he hears voices. It is difficult to imagine any other means just as effective in helping him or those with similar mental illnesses to train the mind, which also connect to the mindful protection of all Buddhas for much blessings.
Mindfulness of Buddha is also widely taught as a simple but efficient way of resolving general supernatural disturbances due to its protective qualities. The chanting of Amituofo’s name when fear of the supernatural arises is common practice among many Chinese Buddhists. In fact, it has become part and parcel of popular Chinese culture. This is helpful for faithful schizophrenics too, should they suspect the voices they hear, be it during spiritual practice or not, to be of supernatural origin.