Question: I have the impression that Nianfo (practice of mindfulness of the name of Amitabha Buddha – ‘Amituofo’) is more of a self-benefitting practice, other than during Zhunian (practice of support-chanting to guide the dying and deceased). If this is so, to generally benefit others, is it better to chant the mani mantra (Om Mani Padme Hum), which is the mantra of compassion?
Answer: This is not so, for Nianfo practice is for benefitting all beings all the time. Remember – ‘Amituofo’ is the name that represents all Buddhas’ compassion, wisdom, meritorious virtues and skilful means. ‘Amituofo’ literally means ‘Immeasurable Buddha(s)’ or ‘Buddha(s) Of Immeasurablity (In All Virtues)’ (Amita/bha/yus Buddha: 无量佛). If so, how can all Buddhas shortchange all?
Every moment of Nianfo IS potentially Zhunian, setting an example of practice to guide all beings unseen and seen, thus leading all to the swiftest path to Buddhahood (via reaching Amituofo’s Pure Land, for non-backsliding progress). If you Nianfo with this compassionate motivation, it becomes this powerful. If the mani mantra is chanted without this sincerity, it cannot really help others. Amituofo’s name is also an equally unsurpassable mantra, loaded with Buddhas’ blessings when dedicated to all beings.
The Name Of Amituofo Is A Supreme Mantra
How To Share The Power Of Merits & Guidance