Mindfulness [of] Buddha[‘s name is] also [a] method of conserving energy [and] harmonising [the] spirit, also [a] method of investigating [our] original face.
[Note 1: With it primarily being a mental practice, at most also verbal, mindfulness of Buddha conserves much physical energy. With connection to the Buddha’s blessings, there is recharging of energy too, to be energised to continue diligent practice. Thus, with fruitful practice, one does not become tired, and can even become more energetic than usual. As with wholehearted mindfulness is falling away of stray thoughts, it harmonises the mind too. As it aligns to our Buddha-nature, it also helps us to see our original face.]
Why [is] it said [so]? Our minds [are] often ‘numerous’ [and] scattered.
[Note 2: This is the opposite of the singular and focused mind.]
If [with] utmost sincerity mindful [of] Buddha, then [are] all mixed [and] deluded thoughts, all gradually seen [to be] eliminated.
[Note 3: The more sincerely mindful one is, the more swiftly will stray thoughts fall away.]
Eliminated then, [with the] mind returning to [be] unified [in oneness], returning [to be] unified then, [is the] spirit [and] energy naturally abundant [and] smooth.
[Note 4: This is the scattered mind being gathered to become focused, thus with the excess physical and mental energy otherwise dissipated by restless activities conserved and topped up.]
[If] you [do] not know [that] mindfulness [of] Buddha[‘s name] ceases deluded [thoughts, you should] also try [to be] mindful of [it, to] then feel [that from the] mind within, all kinds [of] deluded thoughts all appear.
[Note 5: This is an invitation to attempt mindfulness of Buddha, to see it that taught here is true.]
If mindful of [Buddha] for a very long time, [you will] naturally [be] without these kinds [of] deluded thoughts.
[Note 6: Practice makes perfect. Again, the more sincere mindfulness of Buddha there is, the less will stray thoughts arise. This is so as the mind can only have one thought in each thought moment. When the thought is the Buddha’s name only, there cannot be another thought in its place. When there is the Buddha’s name from thought to thought, there will be no other thoughts in between. This is how the mind becomes one with the Buddha.]
Those [who] first feel [that they] have deluded thoughts, [might think that it is] due to mindfulness [of] Buddha thus, [with it] then, [seemingly] appearing [to have] deluded thoughts within [the] mind, [and when] not mindful [of] Buddha, [with them] then not appearing.
[Note 7: Habitual rising and falling of many stray thoughts that go undetected due to lack of mindfulness in everyday life is thus wrongly blamed upon mindfulness of Buddha, when it is the practice that reveals and eliminates them.]
For example, like [a] house within, [seemingly] pure [and] without dust, [when from a] window opening, one ray of sunlight penetrates [to] enter within, it [is] not known how much dust [will be seen].
[Note 8: Our minds are like the house with usually unseen dust, mistaken to be clean, while the ray of light is like the name of the Buddha, that reveals and eliminates the actual dust present.]
[The] dust of [the] house within, [is] due [to] sunlight [that] appears, [while the] deluded [thoughts in the] mind within, [are] due [to] mindfulness [of] Buddha [that] appear.
[Note 9: It is better to practise eliminating of the dust of stray thoughts now, than to possibly be overwhelmed by them later.]
If often mindful [of] Buddha, [the] mind [will] naturally [become] pure.
[Note 10: The more mindfulness of Buddha there is, the more mindful will one be generally, leading to less arising of stray thoughts, even when not mindful of Buddha.]
Pure Land Tradition’s 13th Patriarch Great Master Yìnguāng
(Reply Letter [To] Layperson Féng Bùjiù)
Namo Amituofo : Translation and notes by Shen Shi’an
How To Cut Stray Thoughts During Niànfó?