Can We Nianfo For Happiness?

Question: Is it so that we should not do Nianfo (practice of mindfulness of the name of Amitabha Buddha – ‘Amituofo’) to depart from suffering, so as to attain happiness?

Answer: The ultimate purpose of Nianfo is to reach Amituofo’s Pure Land, so as to most efficiently purify ourselves completely there. However, in the mean time, as Nianfo does help to eradicate our negative karma that causes suffering, such suffering will naturally be departed from, while naturally giving rise to happiness. Happiness, however, if worldly in nature, is transient and unsubstantial.

We should thus not Nianfo deliberately only for worldly happiness, but aspire for lasting spiritual happiness. Thus, it is important to dedicate meritorious virtues from Nianfo and all other good done for the aspiration to reach Pure Land. Doing so, blessings supportive of this, that arise naturally in life will not jeopardise reaching of Pure Land, such as by manifesting in distracting worldly forms.

For those who Nianfo to attain happiness in Pure Land, some might do it for worldly happiness, some for spiritual happiness, and some for both. Being ultimately skilful, the Pure Land is of Ultimate Bliss, without all suffering and with all kinds of bliss. However, as the physical bliss there is spiritual in nature, there is no way to be spiritually corrupted by happiness. Even if some are motivated by some craving for worldly happiness now, when they learn to practise Nianfo well, this craving will be eradicated. When Pure Land is reached, such craving will be fully eradicated.

Please be mindful of your speech, Amituofo!

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