[2] Amituofo’s Wake-Up Call (2)

Inspired to share after reading sister Keira’s experience, here is an account of my encounter “with” Amitabha Buddha…

On one Sunday morning many years ago, when I first encountered Buddhism, while semi-dozing in a dreamy state, I heard loud chants of “Amituofo”. At that very instant, I became mindful of the chant and sat up in my bed and concentrated on it. The chant seemed to be coming from the living room’s chanting device, But at that hour, most of us were either asleep or out at the market. I couldn’t think of anyone who would turn up the volume of the device. It didn’t urge me to go and check – I just immersed in the chant, until it slowly faded off. I fell back to bed, unable to sleep, wondering if it was from my imagination, the chanting device or real chanting from elsewhere (Amitabha’s Pure Land?). Such questions flooded my mind endlessly.

A while later, Mum returned from the market, and I decided to check the device instead of letting doubts cloud my mind. I walked to the living room, held up the chanting device and inspected it. The first thing that came to my mind was that it felt light. Not thinking too much, I turned on the switch. It was silent. Puzzled, I checked the switch several times but it still didn’t work. Then it struck me to check the batteries. With my heart pounding heavily, I opened the case where the batteries were supposed to be… and to my shock, there were none in there.

Mom saw me toying with the device and asked what’s up? Still stunned, I turned to her and asked who removed the batteries? She said Dad took them a few days ago. My mind went blank. We were still playing it 24/7 a few days ago, it was never turned on loud but occasionally I could still hear it when I was near. I wanted the device to be on so that it could act as a reminder of Amitabha Buddha for my family. Did it just play without batteries?

I didn’t think much about the incident after that, though it was constantly at the back of my mind. After reading up and learning more about Pure Land Buddhism, I realised that while the device was used to remind me of Amitabha Buddha, I was not adequately mindful of Him. But as all Buddhas are always mindful of us with their great compassion in one way of another, He will always remind us to be mindful of Him. Now I don’t really use the chanting device, as I want to train myself to be constantly mindful of Amitabha Buddha – to keep Him on my mind 24/7 – as much as possible. From the Surangama Sutra…

‘The ten directions’ Thus Come Ones, are sympathetically mindful of sentient beings, like a mother recollecting her child. If the child runs away, although there is recollection, what would it be for? The child, if recollecting the mother, like when the mother recollects, the mother and child, passing through life, will not be far apart from each other. If sentient beings’ minds, recollect [Amitābha] Buddha, or are mindful of the Buddha[‘s name: “Āmítuófó” (阿弥陀佛)], manifesting in the present or in the future, they will definitely see the Buddha, with the Buddha not far away. Not needing skilful means, by themselves attaining awakening of their minds.’

Please be mindful of your speech, Amituofo!

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