How To Be Mindful Of Buddha To Eradicate & Avoid The Demonic? 如何念佛除魔不着魔?


[Of the] one Dharma [Door of] mindfulness [of] Buddha, [there] are about four kinds [of methods to practise it].


[They are] so-called [1] Upholding [the] name [of Āmítuófó], [2] Visualising [an] image [of Āmítuófó’s statue or picture], [3] Visualising [the image of Āmítuófó with the attributes in his Pure Land according to the Contemplation Sūtra exactly, and [4] Mindfulness of the] true form [of Āmítuófó].


Of [these] four methods within, only [the] one method [of] upholding [the] name, gathers [all spiritual] capacities most universally, [and is the] most easy to start [practising], not leading [to or] giving rise [to] demonic matters.


If desiring [to] do visualisation, [one] must [be] familiar [with] study [of the] Contemplation Sūtra.


[One must] deeply know [that, ‘It] is [the] mind [that] becomes Buddha, [it] is [the] mind [that] is Buddha’, and [that when the] mind [is] pure, Buddha appears, [with this] state not from [the] outside.


Only [with the] mind as appearing, not giving rise [to] attachment [to the appearance].


Since without attachment, thus [will the] state’s benefits [be] profound [and] wonderful, [with the] mind [becoming] all the more pure [and] wholehearted.


[If] able [to do as] such, thus [are the] benefits of visualisation, especially not very minor.


If [the] visualised state [is] not familiar [with, and the] path’s principles [are] not clear [of], with [the] agitated [and] false mind, anxiously desiring [the] state [to] appear, this thus is entirely false, with [the] Buddha and [the] mind, all not corresponding, immediately falling [as a] newborn demon.


Due to now [with] false desires [to] see [the] state, [and the] mind [becoming] all the more agitated [and] false, [this] definitely leads [to] stirring up [of] many [past] lives’ [karmic creditor] enemies, [who] appear [to] create [demonic] states.


Since [right from the] beginning, [one’s] causal ground [of motivation for practice is] not true, how [is one] able [to] know them [to be] demonic karma as appeared?


Thereupon giving rise [to] great joy, [are] emotions [that are] not naturally [at] peace.


Thus [will] demons immediately possess [the] body, [causing] loss [of the] mind, [with the] sickness [of] madness.


Even if [a] living Buddha appears [with his] body [to] save [and] deliver, [he] likewise [in the] end [will not know] how [to help one who has fallen very badly].


[There] must [be right] self-estimation [of one’s spiritual] root [and] nature, not only pursuing [to be spiritually] higher [and] superior, such that seeking benefits harms instead.


[The] most Venerable [Pure Land Tradition’s 2nd Patriarch Great Master] Shàndǎo said [that, ‘As the] Dharma-Ending [Age’s] sentient beings, [are with] consciousnesses [that] “fly” [all over, with] minds [that are] coarse, [while the] realm [to visualise is] refined, visualisation [is] difficult [to] accomplish.


[It] is with [the] Great Aage’s [i.e. Śākyamuni Buddha] compassionate empathy, [that he] especially encouraged focused upholding [of the Buddha’s] name. With reciting [of the] name easy thus, [with it in] continual succession [is] immediate birth [in Pure Land].’


[This is due to] fear that [there] are perhaps [those] not good [at being] attentive, [who are] led [to] enter demonic states. One should detailedly examine [oneself to prevent this].


Also [with] sincerity [and] wholeheartedness, [this is] likewise [the] one wonderful method [for] eradicating agitated [and] false demonic states.


[You] should [have] exhausting [of] utmost mental [and physical] efforts with practice of [this]. Then [is it] extremely fortunate.


Pure Land Tradition’s 13th Patriarch Great Master Yìnguāng
(First reply letter to layperson Wú Xīzhēn)


[Note: Therefore, with the utmost sincere mind, upholding recitation of the sacred name of Āmítuófó, and without greed to see the Buddha, this is the safest, able to directly receive the mindful protection of all Buddhas. Only the Buddha seen with such sincere mindfulness of Buddha is the true Buddha. If with greed to see the Buddha, the mind will not be sincere, and that seen might be due to hallucination, or even a demon in disguise, out to distract from sincere mindfulness of Buddha. To know if the ‘Buddha’ seen is demonic or hallucinated, true or false, one should continue being mindful of Āmítuófó’s name sincerely. False ‘Buddhas’ will thus disappear with the connected protection of Āmítuófó. It should be clearly known, that for demonic matters, mindfulness of Buddha by upholding his name is the ultimate preventive and corrective spiritual practice. Since this method is the easiest, if refusing to practise accordingly as taught, moreover practising what is against the path, one might become demonically influenced in the future, if not already in the present.]

Namo Amituofo : Translation and note by Shen Shi’an

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Please be mindful of your speech, Amituofo!

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