Mindfulness [of Amitā(bha)] Buddha [i.e. 阿弥陀佛: Āmítuófó] [and] mindfulness [of] Guān[shì]yīn [Bodhisattva, are] equally able [to] eradicate disasters [and] avoid difficulties.
[In] ordinary times, [it is] suitable [to have] more mindfulness [of] Buddha, [and] less mindfulness [of] Guānyīn [Bodhisattva].
[Note 1: This is so for those with mindfulness of Buddha as their Main Practice (正行) for reaching his Pure Land, which they should thus spend more time and effort upon, for practice with focused mindfulness (专念).
[Note 2: As the Bodhisattva is an assistant Bodhisattva of Āmítuófó, there can also be mindfulness of the Bodhisattva as the Main Practice to reach Āmítuófó’s Pure Land too. However, it is technically easier to focus upon mindfulness of the Buddha’s name due to its brevity, with only four words. It is also easier to gather those already used to using his name for the important practice of support-chanting.]
[Note 3: Mindfulness of Guānyīn Bodhisattva’s name can be as long as ‘Námó Guānshìyīn Púsà’ (南无观世音菩萨) or as short as just ‘Guānyīn Púsà’ (观音菩萨), although the latter is less commonly practised. Similar to ‘Námó Āmítuófó’, ‘Námó’ can be omitted if there already is a deep sense of sincerity and refuge.]
‘[When] encountering dangers [and] difficulties, [it is] suitable [to] focus [upon] mindfulness [of] Guānyīn [Bodhisattva].
With Guānyīn [Bodhisattva’s] compassionate heart extremely sincere, [and] with this place’s sentient beings’ past affinity profound thus.’
[There] must not, seeing [those] having this said, then saying [the] loving-kindness [and] compassion of Buddha, [is] not as good [as] Guānyīn [Bodhisattva’s].
[It] must [be] known [that] Guānyīn [Bodhisattva] thus on [the] behalf [of] Buddha[s] approaches [with] loving-kindness [to] save those suffering.
[Note 4: This is so as Guānyīn Bodhisattva personifies and expresses the perfect compassion of all Buddhas collectively.]
Even when Śākya[muni] Buddha [was] in [this] world, [he] likewise tried [to] enable sentient beings [with] suffering [and] difficulties [to be] mindful [of] Guānyīn [Bodhisattva]. Moreover, [of] our generation’s ordinary beings [when he is no longer in this world]?
[Note 5: Thus, when encountering dangers and difficulties, there can be only focused mindfulness of Amitā(bha) Buddha too, whose name ‘Immeasurable (Light) Buddha already represents all Buddhas, with all their perfected Bodhisattva virtues and practices (德行). Mindfulness of Buddha thus also lessens and eradicates negative karma that cause suffering.
[Note 6: If the Buddha is able to, protect, guide and receive when departing, during life’s most potentially dangerous moments, of course he is also able to help during all less dangerous moments in everyday life.]
[Note 7: If there is the misconception that mindfulness of Buddha is less efficacious than mindfulness of Bodhisattva, there will be less faith in Buddha, leading to less sincerity in mindfulness, resulting in less efficacy, as wrongly believed and ‘expected’. This becomes a negative self-fulfilling prophecy harmful to oneself.]
Pure Land Tradition’s 13th Patriarch Great Master Yìnguāng
Fifteenth Reply Letter To Layperson Níng Déjìn
Namo Amituofo : Translation and notes by Shen Shi’an
The Name Of Āmítuófó Is A Supreme Mantra