The following happened in 2013, after my ‘O’ Levels examinations. There was a relatively long holiday of about three months before I enrolled into a JC (Junior College). I remember sitting at my desk on a routine weekday night, with eyes glued to my phone. It was by accident when cleaning my desk that I almost killed an ant crawling across it. Mindful of Buddhist practices, I would usually chant a few repetitions of Amitabha Buddha’s name (Amituofo) to aid suffering beings in such situations. However, as I was free from any obligations during the holiday, I decided to continue chanting more sincerely.
I kept prompting the ant in his last moments to focus on my chanting, and to seek rebirth in Amituofo’s Pure Land. Frankly speaking, I was somewhat skeptical even while chanting, but I rejected these doubts and persisted chanting for 15 to 30 minutes. I ceased when I noticed that the ant’s antennae (his most sensitive parts) stopped moving.
I honestly did not give it much thought after, as I quickly returned to using my phone. However, I picked up a fragrant scent in my room. As I thought it smelled similar to the cleansing formula that my family used to clean our altar’s Buddha images, I did not think much about it. It was at this moment, that my Mother entered my room and questioned me about the fragrance. It was then that I realised that the fragrance was originating from my room. Unconvinced, I went out to check the area outside my room and the altar. I even opened my windows to check if there was any scent from outside. The scent was indeed from my room. We both agreed that it was the presence of a Buddha and/or Bodhisattva(s).
My experience was not given any particular attention to until recently, when I stumbled across this website (purelanders.com) when I was trying to understand more about Pure Land Buddhism. As I was never exposed even to the idea of auspicious signs previously, this removed the possibility of having preconceived perceptions, which made my experience truly authentic. What more, my Mother witnessed it too, and there was thorough checking. Through this website, I learnt that having an ‘extraordinary fragrance filling the room’ (异香满堂) is one of the classic auspicious signs of connection to Amituofo, and this must be the case then, as I was doing nothing other than mindfulness of his name then.
I found great faith through recollection of my experience, which affirmed the Pure Land practice of Nianfo (which is sincere mindfulness of Amituofo with the right Faith and Aspiration). I understand why Nianfo is the easiest and most realistic way for most to attain realisation in this life. I am 20 this year. I hope that my understanding of Buddhism will gradually be clearer and more sincere. I hope that I can learn more from this site as well. Thank you. Amituofo.
– Hao L.