[If] wishing [your] mind [to] not crave [after] external matters, focus [only upon utmost sincere] mindfulness [of Amitā(bha)] Buddha[‘s name – Āmítuófó].
[If] not able [to] focus, [you must] will it, [i.e. your mind, to] focus.
[If] not able [to be] mindful, [you must] will it [to be] mindful.
[If] not able [to be] wholehearted, will it [to be] wholehearted.
[There is] also no special [or] mysterious Dharma [principle], only with [the] one word [of] ‘death’, ‘pasted’ up upon [your] forehead, hanging up upon [your] eyebrows.
[With the] mind constantly mindful, ‘I, so-and-so, from beginninglessness, up till this life, [of] those created evil karma, [it is] immeasurable [and] boundless.
If evil karma has physical form, [all of the] ten directions’ empty space, [is] not able [to] contain [or] receive [them].
[With] which past life’s [good] fortune, [have I] now attained [this] human body, also [able to] hear [the] Buddha’s teachings?
If not wholeheartedly mindful [of] Buddha [to] seek birth [in the] Western [Pure Land, with] one breath not coming, [I will] definitely towards hell’s cauldrons boiling [with] coal, sword forests [and] knife mountains within [go, to] receive suffering, not knowing passing [of] how many kalpas…’
Pure Land Tradition’s 13th Patriarch Great Master Yìnguāng
Second reply letter to layperson Dèng Bóchéng
Notes: With the truly urgent problem of impending death, that is ever more pressing as the days go by, with it able to happen at any time, there is no reason not to wholeheartedly focus upon mindfulness of Āmítuófó.
If you seem unable to do so, you must simply will yourself to do so, with even greater determination, having liberation from the cycle of birth and death as the sincere motivation.
As your chosen subject of mindfulness is the only thing you can truly control, there is no reason to falsely imagine that you cannot wholeheartedly focus upon mindfulness of Āmítuófó, due to distractions such as pain, fear and worry.
The next time you feel unable or unwilling to wholeheartedly focus upon mindfulness of Āmítuófó, remember the keywords above – ‘不能念，要他念’. As slightly rephrased, ‘As I am not mindful enough, I must be more mindful.’ According to the Buddha’s teachings, as this can be done, it should be done.
Namo Amituofo : Translation & notes by Shen Shi’an
Verse On Focused Mindfulness
Yet able to have focused mindfulness?
Have more focused mindfulness!
Still yet able to have focused mindfulness?
Have even more focused mindfulness!