Question: Is there a quick way to remember how to Nianfo well?
Answer: The key phrase from the verse below can be used as a reminder.
Verse For Attaining Peace And Bliss
With the Buddha as refuge,
peacefully abide upon Amituofo’s name.
In the moment (or each moment) with the mind at peace,
the Land Of Ultimate Bliss is eventually reached.
Commentary: ‘With the Buddha as refuge‘ means to muster strong Faith in Amituofo, with a deep sense of reverence and reliance for life. This is needed for connecting to Amituofo. To ‘peacefully abide upon Amituofo’s name‘ means to also muster strong Aspiration to reach his Pure Land, to thus do Nianfo Practice (of being mindful of Amituofo’s name) well, by being determined to be as sincerely, calmly and firmly anchored to Amituofo’s name as possible. This is done by reciting (verbally or silently) clearly and hearing the reciting clearly.
When disturbing stray thoughts arise, immediately return to abide peacefully upon Amituofo’s name. This is to ‘gather in [the] six [sense] roots [of the five senses and the mind], [with] pure mindfulness [of Amituofo in continuous] succession’ (都摄六根，净念相继). These are the key instructions on how to Nianfo well in ‘Mahasthamaprapta Bodhisattva’s Perfect Penetration With Mindfulness Of Buddha’ (大势至菩萨念佛圆通章). Thus are all Three Provisions of Faith, Aspiration and Practice present strengthened.
‘In the moment (or each moment) with the mind at peace‘ means if the above is practised in this moment (or from moment to moment), the mind will immediately (or ongoingly) experience even greater peace and bliss with deepened connection to Amituofo. As long as this is practised as sincerely and as much as possible in this life, and when approaching the end of this life, ‘the Land Of Ultimate Bliss is eventually reached.’ Upon reaching Pure Land, that there will be ultimate peace and bliss experienced. The reaching of Amituofo’s Pure Land is thus the bearing of fruit from sincere and diligent growing of the Three Provisions together.
How Do I Start Nianfo Practice?
The Three Provisions For Birth In Pure Land
How To Handle Stray Thoughts When Practising Nianfo
Mahasthamaprapta Bodhisattva’s Perfect Penetration With Mindfulness Of Buddha