How To Connect Family Members To Amituofo? 如何让家人与阿弥陀佛结缘?

[i] How To Guide Our Parents To Nianfo?


‘Nevertheless, in recent years, and the [1937] Battle of Shanghai, achievements [of those who], due to [Nianfo Practice of] mindfulness of [Amitabha] Buddha [i.e. Amituofo], who obtained all kinds of inconceivable responses are extremely many. Why not [skilfully] adapt to relate them, so that they can be causes to now give rise to their Faith [in Nianfo]?

Notes: [1]
There will always be contemporary cases of connection to Amituofo, just as there were many in ancient times – as long as there are sincere Nianfo practitioners.

Although especially inspiring past classic cases should be shared, modern cases should be shared too, to remind others that many continue to benefit tremendously in various amazing ways from Nianfo practice, which is why they too should learn and practise it.

Benefits from Nianfo range from attaining peace of mind, lessening of obstacles, rescue from danger, healing, blissful departure and more.

As the proof of the pudding is in the eating, sharing of successful Nianfo testimonials with the beneficial fruits of sincere Practice is able to swiftly interest and inspire more to also learn and practise Nianfo. Of course, the ones sharing should know how to explain the Dharma theory of how Nianfo Practice is able to give rise to these benefits, in case there is skepticism. Many recent testimonials with explanations can be seen at, which should be shared with simplified words to suit the listeners if needed. 

若明知此事,犹不生信,则只可向佛代彼忏悔宿业,而以己念佛功德,皆为回向,则或可有生信发愿之日矣。果能生信,修持净业,俾得往生净土,可谓大孝尊亲矣。’ – 净土宗十三祖印光大师《复慧龙居士书》

If [they already] ‘clearly’ know these matters, yet not giving rise to Faith, thus can you only, to the Buddha, on their behalf, practise repentance [for their] past negative karma, and with your own meritorious virtues [created] from [Nianfo Practice of] mindfulness of [Amitabha] Buddha [i.e. Amituofo], dedicate all to them. Thus can there be the day, that they give rise to Faith and Aspiration [to practise Nianfo]. If they are able to [be guided to] give rise to Faith, to cultivate and uphold pure karma [by sincere Nianfo and/or other supportive practices], so as to attain rebirth in [Amituofo’s] Pure Land, [accomplishing this] can be called great filial piety, that honours your parents [for their kindness].’ – The Pure Land Tradition’s 13th Patriarch Great Master Yinguang (Reply letter to Layman Huilong)

Notes: [5]
Those who already know ‘much’ about Nianfo and its benefits, yet remain skeptical or stubborn are those lacking in meritorious virtues and wisdom. Wisdom can only be shared by proper instruction to those who learn and reflect well. While wisdom cannot be dedicated, meritorious virtues (i.e. merits) can be dedicated.

[6] Much meritorious virtues can be created by sincere repentance and Nianfo Practice, thereafter dedicated to the concerned – if they are unwilling to practise personally. Although true repentance and Nianfo Practice must be practised personally for direct personal benefits, karmic causes and effects can be intertwined in a collective way, especially when it comes to family members, with whom there is strong karmic affinity.

Our personal suffering is often linked to the wilful ways of family members. As such, when we practise repentance to decrease our negative karma, and to increase our blessings, this can reduce our suffering, including that experienced through these family members. For family members to be less wilful, they must increase their meritorious virtues and wisdom. Also, if they have more meritorious virtues and wisdom, they will be less wilful.

As mentioned in Note [5], only meritorious virtues can be dedicated. For example, you cannot transfer your wisdom to another to make the person just as wise. Meritorious virtues and wisdom are however interconnected. The meritorious good (positive; wholesome) karma from your cultivated virtues can be shared with others to relieve their experience and creation of suffering (for themselves and others). This will offer them more peace of mind, to easier give rise to personal wisdom, and to cultivate more meritorious virtues. Personal and collective negative karma are thus cleared together, with the suffering of family members reducing collectively when there is creation and dedication of meritorious virtues to one another.

Although there was mention of dedicating all meritorious virtues to express utmost sincerity, it is a natural law that only one-seventh of self-created meritorious virtues can be dedicated, with six-sevenths retained for oneself. As all other sentient beings are also our parents in our many past lives, it is usual practice to dedicate to all beings first, which includes all past and present parents, before focusing on present parents if wished. Since all beings are past and present parents, the principles for transforming parents here apply to any other being too. As being able to guide our parents to Amituofo’s Pure Land is to connect them to the swiftest path to Buddhahood, this is the greatest expression of filial piety.

[ii] How To Guide Our Children To Be Worthy Persons?


‘Your nephew’s not knowing of [the need for] great effort to be [a good] person, is due to, from young, lacking education. When young lacking education, growing up afterwards, it is then difficult [to become a] worthy person. You, having encountered thus, should only regard, see and think [of him as your] father or mother, your brother or sister, thus not giving rise to afflictions. Earnestly mindful of Buddha [i.e. Nianfo], seek the Buddha’s blessings for him, so as to give rise to understanding, to personally be able to become a good person. If personally giving rise to afflictions, thus for him, this is without benefits, and for yourself, while simultaneous educating and nurturing of your nephew’s virtues, will all be damaged.

Notes: [10] 
The lack of education was due to lack of meritorious virtues, which led to lack of wisdom. See Note [8] for details for how meritorious virtues and wisdom are interconnected.

To nurture the greatest compassion for other beings equanimously, all should be regarded as past loving parents or other close family members, whom we deeply care for, and are heavily indebted to.

The principles of dedicating meritorious virtues after sincere Nianfo Practice in Notes [7], [8] and [9] are also applicable here.

Sincere practice should not give rise to afflictions, condemnation and grudges, especially expression of them with anger towards concerned ones, as this destroys meritorious virtues, while creating negative karma and straining relationships. This thus damages the efforts to benefit others and oneself. Sincere practice improves the dynamics of personal attitude and interaction, which eventually touches and transforms the concerned.

汝果志诚念佛兼念观音,一心恳求加被于彼,诚之所至,金石为开,彼当渐渐转变为好人,不至长作浪子及废人耳。宜勿分别,作己子不才想,但求佛菩萨怜悯加被。此是唯一不二之转变妙法。’ – 净土宗十三祖印光大师《复崔益荣居士书二》

If you are sincerely mindful of Buddha [i.e. Nianfo], and mindful of Guanyin Bodhisattva, wholeheartedly seeking blessings for him, with sincerity that is utmost, even metal and rock [can be cracked] open, and he will gradually transform to be a good person, not going so far as to become a wastrel and a useless person. You should not differentiate, by giving rise to the thought that ‘your’ own child is good for nothing; only seek the Buddha’s and Bodhisattva’s sympathetic[ally compassionate] blessings. This is the only one wonderful Dharma [method], with no second way for his transformation.’ – The Pure Land Tradition’s 13th Patriarch Great Master Yinguang (Second reply letter to Layman Cui Yirong)

Notes: [14] 
Mindfulness of Guanyin Bodhisattva here is not a must as mindfulness of Amituofo already connects to all enlightened beings, including all Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. Guanyin Bodhisattva was probably mentioned to remind the layman to have compassion for his young nephew, as she represents compassion, though Amituofo has perfect compassion too. Guanyin Bodhisattva’s name is also often associated more with living well, while Amituofo’s name more with dying well. That said, having a single lifelong Main Practice will do as life and death are connected, while death can arrive at any time.

When we practise Nianfo and dedicate the meritorious virtues created sincerely, the first to transform for the better are ourselves, which in turn transforms how we relate to others for the better, which also in turn transforms how others relate to us for the better. With relationships transformed for the better, this is how both children and parents can be guided to give rise to wisdom, to wish to sincerely learn and practise Nianfo, so as to all reach Amituofo’s Pure Land.

Related Article:
How Nianfo Improved Relationships With Our Children

Namo Amituofo : Translation with notes by Shen Shi’an

Please be mindful of your speech, Amituofo!

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