‘Those with Nianfo [practice of mindfulness of the name of Amitabha Buddha – “Amituofo”] must give rise to Faith and give rise to Aspiration, to uphold the name of Buddha, aspiring to be born in his Western [Pure Land]. For those who depart from these Three [Provisions of] Faith, Aspiration and Practice [of Nianfo], thus [is reaching of Pure Land] not possible. As long as there is profound [i.e. deep] Faith and sincere Aspiration, not needing to be single-minded without being scattered [as a must], all can rely on the Buddha’s mighty power to be received and guided. If for those with great realisation, with additional Nianfo, they definitely will be able to receive the Buddha’s reception and guidance, with grades of birth that are higher.’
– Pure Land Tradition’s 13th Patriarch Great Master Yinguang
(Dharma Talk For Guidance At World Buddhist Lay Association On Sakyamuni Buddha’s Sacred Birthday)
何以得知 ‘不必一心不乱，都可仗佛威力接引’？《阿弥陀经》虽提‘一心不乱’，以下《无量寿经》之阿弥陀佛‘第十八十念皆生我国愿’只提至心信愿行：‘设我得佛，十方众生，至心信乐，欲生我国，乃至十念，若不生者，不取正觉…’ 因此，得一心不乱者虽得高品位，未得者也得生。
How do we know that ‘not needing to be single-minded without being scattered [as a must], all can rely on the Buddha’s mighty power to be received and guided’? Although the Amitabha Sutra mentions ‘to be single-minded without being scattered’, as below in the Immeasurable Life Sutra’s Amituofo’s ’18th Vow Of All Born In My Land With Ten Thoughts’, it only mentions sincere Faith, Aspiration and Practice [of Nianfo] – ‘If I attain Buddhahood, if the ten directions’ sentient beings, with utmost sincere minds (hearts) of joyful faith, desire birth in my land, even with ten thoughts, should not be born there, I shall not attain right awakening…’ As such, although those who attained the state of single-mindedness without being scattered attain higher grades of birth, those yet to attain it can also attain birth.
Another explanation on the two sutras’ consistency is that ‘single-minded (一心)’ in the Amitabha Sutra is not the ‘concentrated mind’, but being ‘wholehearted’, which is the same as having ‘utmost sincere mind (至心)’ in the 18th Vow. When the mind gives rise to sincerity, it will naturally become single-minded.
How Do Nianfo Practitioners Reach Amituofo’s Pure Land?