[A] place [where there are] drowned people, [that] often have people drowning, is [due to wandering] spirits so-called seeking [others to] die on [their] behalves.
Note : There is such action due to the unfortunate misconception when alive, that spirits of victims of drowning must drown someone else in order to be reborn. Attachment to this misconception makes them angry or ‘vengeful’ wandering spirits, who try to kill others in the water or nearby, though never with the intended effect of getting a better rebirth; only worse – due to the great negative karma created. Even when reborn elsewhere, in a vicious cycle, the new victim of drowning might seek the next victim. What every victim should do is be mindful of Āmítuófó (Amitā[bha] Buddha) sincerely, to be guided by him to reach his Pure Land, which is the best rebirth possible.
[You] should, at that place, erect a wooden sign, above using very thick steel plates galvanised with zinc [to prevent rust], carved [with the] six words ‘Námó Āmítuófó’.
Note : The intention is to create clearly visible and durable signs, for reminding all around, including human and unseen beings, to be mindful of Āmítuófó sincerely. As above, if spirit beings do so, they can let go of their delusional anger, to cease killing, and eventually have the best rebirth. If humans do so, they will be protected with the blessings of Āmítuófó, to be free from danger of being drowned.
[The] words must [be] big. [They] must [be] seen [from] far, [and] must [be] able [to be] long-lasting, [to be] able [to] cease this misfortune.
Note : The prominent words will also be an effective reminder from some distance away, to inform that the place is probably where there are frequent ‘accidents’, thus with the need to be more careful when passing by. This is how the sign can transform a danger zone to be a ‘protected area’.
With [the] heart [of] loving-kindness of the person [who] carves these words, [that] receives [the] Buddha’s blessings [for] protection [with his] light [of] loving-kindness, [this place in] future [will] definitely [be] without this misfortune.
Note : With the maker, sponsor and erector of the sign having compassionate motivations, there will surely be even more blessings from Āmítuófó. This method of preventing more so-called ‘accidents’ with usage of signages also applies to sites with frequent land-based ‘mishaps’, that might otherwise recur due to the same causes.
With this, [it] can [be] seen, [that the] Buddha’s power [of] loving-kindness [and] compassion [is] inconceivable.
Note : Even though Āmítuófó has immeasurable loving-kindness and compassion for all beings, we should all still do the best we can to connect to him, to increase our pure affinity with him, to be benefited more directly and fully. This can be done by regular, diligent and sincere mindfulness of his name, while encouraging others to do the same.
Pure Land Tradition’s 13th Patriarch Great Master Yìnguāng
Fifth reply letter to layperson Cuī Dézhèn
Namo Amituofo : Translation and notes by Shen Shi’an
Are There Water Ghosts?