The Pure Land Principle Of Aligning Mind With Buddha 净土心佛相应之原理


[Contemplation Sūtra]: All Buddha Thus Come Ones, are the Dharma Realm’s Body, who enter all sentient beings’ minds’ thoughts within. Therefore, when you and others have minds with thoughts of the Buddha, this mind is the same as his thirty-two forms, and eighty appearance-following excellences. It is the mind that becomes Buddha, and it is the mind that is Buddha. All Buddhas’ right all-knowing ocean, from the mind’s thought arises.


[1] Dharma Realm’s Body: All Buddhas share the Dharma Realm’s (法界: Dharmadhātu) one universal body, the Dharma Realm’s Body (法界身) that pervades all space and time, as the Dharma Realm’s Treasury Body (法界藏身) or Dharma Body (Dharmakāya: 法身). Although the passage seems to be speaking about many individual Buddhas or all Buddhas, as it mentions the Dharma Realm, it is more about all Buddhas as one. The one Buddha in focus is Āmítuófó as this contemplation and the whole sūtra centres around him. Also, he is already known as ‘Dharmadhātu Amitābha Buddha’ (法界藏身阿弥陀佛).

[2] Immeasurable Buddha(s): As it is impossible to have focused mindfulness on all Buddhas directly as ordinary beings, we should focus upon the one who clearly represents all, who will lead to connection with all. All Buddhas are represented here by Āmítuófó, who is interconnected to all other Buddhas, whose name ‘Amitā Buddha’ (阿弥陀佛) literally means ‘Immeasurable Buddhas’ (无量佛). He also pervades all space with his immeasurable light (无量光) as Amitābha Buddha (无量光佛) and pervades all time with his immeasurable life (无量寿) as Amitāyus Buddha (无量寿佛).

[3] Sincere Mindfulness: When we are sincerely mindful of Āmítuófó, he enters our minds. He is able to do so instantly as he already pervades all space all the time. Thus, sincere mindfulness of him, the easiest being through his name, is to align to him and his blessings. With his all-encompassing compassion, he is already perfectly and sincerely mindful of all beings at all places all the time. What left is for us to be as sincerely mindful of him as we can – to align to his great compassion. Although the passage seems to be about visualisation practice with formation of Āmítuófó’s forms in the mind, the principles apply to mindfulness of Āmítuófó’s name too, without need to visualise, which is very difficult for most.

[4] Perfect Alignment: The concept of having the mind becoming the Buddha, that is the Buddha per se is the very important principle of alignment, to practise mindfulness of Buddha so wholeheartedly, that the mind becomes one with the Buddha, to be part of the Dharmakāya. This alignment becomes perfected upon attainment of Buddhahood, the easiest via Āmítuófó’s Pure Land, to realise the all-knowing ocean, which is the deep and vast perfect wisdom of all Buddhas.

[5] Cause And Effect: The above is the most profound principle of ‘Mindfulness of Buddha is the cause, and accomplishment of Buddhahood is the effect’ (念佛是因,成佛是果), or in short, ‘Be mindful of Buddha to become Buddha’ (念佛成佛). While it is challenging to have perfect alignment straightaway, our practice is to do it best we can through utmost sincere mindfulness of Buddha, with every recitation, so as to reach his Pure Land to perfect it in good time. While ordinary beings practise mindfulness of Buddha to reach Pure Land, Great Bodhisattvas there perfect this practice to be ready to manifest Buddhahood. Mindfulness of Buddha is thus both a ‘basic’ yet essential practice for all.

Related Articles:

The Meaning Of ‘This Mind Becomes Buddha, And This Mind Is Buddha’

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