The Pure Land Tradition’s
13th Patriarch Great Master Yìnguāng
Of humans born in this world, all are not able to avoid the suffering of sickness and death.
When these and other such situations of suffering are experienced, the only thing to do is to let go of the ten thousand conditions [all worldly distractions, such as love, wealth and status], to wholeheartedly [single-mindedly] recite ‘Námó Āmítuófó’ [Homage to (and refuge for life) in Amitā(bha) Buddha].
If out of breath, thus should you only recite the four words ‘Āmítuófó’. Wholeheartedly seek the Buddha’s loving-kindness and compassion, to receive and guide you to be reborn in his Western Pure Land.
Other than this one thought, in your mind, you must not again give rise to a bit of other kinds of thoughts [or yearnings].
Also, you must neither hope the sickness will swiftly heal, nor give rise to other thoughts of seeking godly and heavenly blessings. Having these kinds of thoughts, thus from Āmítuófó’s mind will you be separated, and due to this, not be able to attain the Buddha’s kind power of protection and blessings.
You must know, that all fathers and mothers between the heavens and earth, are all not able to enable you to depart from the cycle of birth and death. Only Āmítuófó is able to enable you to depart from the cycle of birth and death.
If you are willing to let go of attachment to everything [worldly], and wholeheartedly [single-mindedly] recite the name of Buddha [Āmítuófó], if your worldly lifespan is yet to exhaust, you will be swiftly healed.
If your worldly lifespan is already exhausting, you will immediately be reborn in his Western Pure Land.
However, you must not seek swift healing from sickness, and should only seek swift rebirth in Pure Land. Seeking healing from sickness, if your lifespan is exhausting, you thus cannot attain rebirth in Pure Land.
Seeking rebirth in Pure Land, if your lifespan is yet to exhaust, you can thus swiftly attain full healing.
Of rebirth in the Western Pure Land, its benefits cannot be spoken exhaustibly. Compared with others born in the heavens above, to become heavenly emperors and heavenly kings, this still highly surpasses by innumerably immeasurable tens of thousands of tens of thousands of tens of thousands of tens of thousands of times.
You must not deludedly indulge your mind in wishful thinking and fear of death. As with your mind fearful of death, you cannot attain rebirth in Pure Land.
We, in this world, are just like maggots in a manure pit, prisoners in jail, with suffering that is terrible.
As to be reborn in the Western Pure Land, is like departure from this manure pit and jail, to reach our homeland with purity, peace, bliss, unfettered freedom and ease, why fear death?
If you once have your mind fearful of death, thus will you forever, within the cycle of birth and death, receive suffering, forever without the time or day of departure from suffering.
If you are able to recite aloud, thus at a low volume recite [for yourself to hear].
If not able to recite aloud, thus in your mind recite silently. Your ears hearing others reciting, in your mind too thus recite.
Also, with your eyes looking at Āmítuófó[’s image], in your mind, think of Āmítuófó.
If there are other kinds of thoughts arising, you should reprove yourself, saying [or thinking], ‘As I want to rely on the Buddha’s power to be born in his Western Pure Land, how can I give rise to these kinds of thoughts, to ruin this great matter of mine?’
If you are willing to rely on what I have said for recitation, you will definitely be reborn in the Western Pure Land, to be liberated from birth and death, to transcend the ordinary and enter the realm of sages.
For inexhaustible kalpas [world cycles] always receiving blissfulness, entirely without the smallest bit of situations with suffering known, again how can there be this kind of suffering from sickness?
If in your mind arises afflictions, you must know that, ‘This is caused by past lives’ evil karma, to ruin my path of rebirth in the Western Pure Land, about to cause me to forever receive suffering in the cycle of birth and death. Now that I know they are to harm me, I am determined to not follow them to be reborn.’
Except reciting the name of Buddha [Āmítuófó], of any one other matter, do not be mindful of it. That will enable the Buddha’s mind and your mind to correspond, to attain the Buddha’s receiving and guiding, to straightaway be reborn in his Pure Land.
Remember my words well, and you can naturally and swiftly attain the greatest of benefits.