I am writing to testify how Amituofo uses his skilful means to get me to meet people, events and things, that all truly aided me to connect to my Buddha-nature. I would also like to give my sincere thanks to teacher Brother Shi’an, as I am so impressed by, and grateful for his compassion and courage to share about the amazing path to Pure Land in a very clear and summarised manner, and on how Buddhas and Bodhisattvas will try every possible means to help all beings. With Brother Shi’an’s valuable teachings, I am more determined to make it my destiny to reach Pure Land!
I was born in a family where we worship Bodhisattvas and gods. I was diagnosed with a long-term illness in 2009. After two months of recuperating, I decided to make my way to the Buddhist centre which I frequently went to pray after heeding my Mum’s advice. When I reached the centre, I prayed to the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas as usual. After which, I followed my Mum to to make some donations.
Upon seeing the library there, I became interested to read about Buddhism. While browsing through the books, I stumbled upon a lady outside. She started to talk to my Mum. After hearing that I was sick, she told me about how the Pure Land teachings helped her a lot. Hearing this, I felt hopeful and was very eager to read more. For some time, I have been going to various temples and centres to hear about the Pure Land teachings.
It was only few years later that I stumbled upon a great teacher (Brother Shi’an) when surfing Facebook. After attending a few of his courses and going for his Pureland Practice Fellowship (PPF) sessions, my wisdom has since grown, and I have become more conscious in my life. During my Nianfo practice (of mindfulness of the name of Amitabha Buddha – ‘Amituofo’), I could sense that I was lacking in sincerity at times.
However, there was also occasional experiencing of auspicious signs. Examples include from feeling ‘depressed’ and anxious to experiencing calm and joy, seeing golden-yellow light with my eyes closed in a white lit room during morning and night, waking up in the morning having an answer to a thought that had been troubling me for a long time, with the answer clearly remembered, as if someone had just told it to me a minute ago.
I became even more convinced of Buddha’s unconditional compassion recently. I had bought a bracelet but had difficulty wearing it myself as the clip could not close well. I had asked my Mum to go to the shop to get it altered but the salesgirl told me to come personally as she was not sure what I wanted. It dragged on for two weeks due to my appointments and health issues.
Last Saturday, I decided to go to the shop after collecting the Pure Land Pass Card during a PPF session. At first, I did not know if I could go as I could not find the bracelet at home, but everything fell into place later. During the PPF session, Brother Shi’an shared his story of how sincere Nianfo helped him to grow in wisdom. He also encouraged all to bathe the baby Buddha image in the hall downstairs as it was already set up for Vesak celebrations. (The significance of bathing the baby Buddha can be seen at http://thedailyenlightenment.com/2014/05/how-do-i-bathe-baby-buddha-properly)
I went to bathe the baby Buddha, and prayed for happiness and health. After which, I finally managed to get my bracelet fixed. I felt a tremendous sense of well-being… I could think clearer and faster. I regained my confidence, and felt motivated to think of solutions for letting go the self-doubts that had been troubling me for more than 10 years. There were no more negative thoughts and emotions, and I was only with positive thoughts. From experiencing weak breathing for several years, I am also now able to take deep breaths.
I felt that Amituofo was hinting to me, of the truth of what Brother Shi’an shared earlier… that Amituofo has unconditional compassion towards all sentient beings, as he patiently awaits us to connect with him, to help us grow in all virtues, including wisdom and well-being. I became clear, that all these recent experiences are interrelated, that every event had the power to strengthen my faith and wisdom on the Pure Land path. I was able to see what were the wrong paths that I had taken, and that my obstacles came from bad habits, hectic work, eating habits and such.
Most of all, I realised why we need to be sincere during Nianfo to connect with Amituofo. With deep sincerity in practice, everything else in life will naturally and easily fall into place with blessings bearing fruit, as all is interconnected. This discovery of the value of sincere Nianfo contrasted with my past half-hearted prayers, which I went through just to follow my Mum’s suggestions for speedy recovery. With sincere Nianfo practice, we really do not have to wait so long to solve our problems!
May all be sincere in Nianfo
Namo Amituofo, Jessica (name changed for privacy)