Question: As there are many subjects as ways for cultivating Right Mindfulness, such as contemplation of impurities (repulsiveness) of the body, breathing, loving-kindness and even thoughts, in terms of Patikkulamanasikara, Anapanasati, Metta and Vipassana meditation respectively etc., is there one best way to cultivate Right Mindfulness? Or is there a need to cultivate each and every one of these methods separately until they are perfected?
Answer: Each method mentioned above has a focused purpose, offering a problem-specific remedy only. For instance, impurities of the body are focused upon to train to reduce attachment to the body (and others’ bodies; lust), breathing is focused upon to train single-pointed calmness to reduce mental scatteredness, loving-kindness is focused upon to nurture it to reduce hatred, and thoughts are focused upon to train for insights on the mind itself.
Nianfo practice (of being mindful of the name of Amitabha Buddha – ‘Amituofo’) is however able to train for all the above purposes at the same time, in an all-encompassing way. As Nianfo is to remember and (re)connect our Buddha-nature (potential for Buddhahood) with Amituofo’s blessings, this awakens and grows our innate virtues of non-attachment, calmness, concentration, compassion and wisdom for overcoming all defilements, including lust, scatteredness, hatred and delusion above respectively.
Nianfo is thus the panacea (medicine that cures all ailments) for purging all poisonous defilements in all situations, times and places. This is especially significant on the deathbed, when we run out of time to practise mixed practices for various benefits. Nianfo is the unified practice that does not compromise on any beneficial effects, while leading to the best results. Nianfo also connects to Amituofo and all other Buddhas for protection against supernatural disturbances, which is important when dying.
As we are likely to die unenlightened, Nianfo is crucial in leading to the best rebirth – in Amituofo’s Pure Land, where swiftest non-backsliding progress to Buddhahood is assured. There, all the above practices can be perfected separately or together with the greatest ease. This contrasts with much more difficult cultivation in this world full of distractions, when alive, and especially when dying, which is unrehearsed, and possibly with extremely troubling pains and afflictions. Nianfo however, connects to the perfect compassionate blessings of the Buddhas for overcoming all these obstacles. As such, concludes the following verse –
Verses On Right Mindfulness Of Buddha
Taking refuge in Buddha and mindful of Buddha [Amituofo],
we will definitely see the Buddha.
Relying on the Buddha to learn how to become a Buddha,
we will definitely accomplish Buddhahood.
How should we give rise to mindfulness,
to have true Right Mindfulness?
Mindfulness when mindful of Buddha [Amituofo]
is the most right of mindfulness!
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