Unless mindful of the need
to transform mindlessness to mindfulness,
mindlessness leads to more mindlessness.
A teenage girl goes googoo gaga over a superstar. She pastes his posters all over her room’s walls. She goes to all his concerts, where she raves wildly and feverishly shouts words of adoration. She is so crazy over him, that she can’t seem to focus much on anything else. She loses concentration in school, loses her appetite, loses sleep… In short, she has lost herself in mindlessness. In her frenzy, she is not mindful enough to realise that one or both of these desires are involved – (1) She wants to be with him. (2) She wants to be him (or like him).
Interestingly, mindfulness of (e.g. Amitabha) Buddha (Amituofo) has similar parallels.The simplest way to practise mindfulness of the Buddha is by devoted continuous recitation of his name, be it verbally or mentally. This is so as the name of the Buddha is the most basic representation of his completedness in all virtues, chiefly compassion and wisdom. We get this picture of understanding about the Buddha through study of the sutras, where we learn about his character through accounts of how he exemplifies his perfect qualities. Incidentally, the Buddha’s name encompasses the Triple Gem – the Buddha, the Dharma (that he practises, perfected and preaches) and the Sangha (which he is the leading member of).
Unlike the fan, a practitioner of Buddha mindfulness is mindful why he bears his spiritual ‘superstar’ (the Buddha) in mind. He might have just one picture of him in mind, to inspire and remind him to practise, unlike pictures of many worldly idols. He does not go crazy by idolising, but calmly recites his name as single-mindedly as possible. This helps to guard his moral conduct and cultivate concentration, which develops wisdom towards enlightenment. Besides being more focused on daily responsibilities, he is mindful of his spiritual aspirations too – (1) He wishes to be with the Buddha in his Pure Land, to learn from him, (2) so as to be a Buddha (like the Buddha).
Without mindfulness of a Buddha,
how can anyone be with any Buddha,
or become like the Buddha?