Question: Why do some of us automatically tear upon hearing Āmítuófó’s name (阿弥陀佛)?
Answer: The answer is in a related section of the ‘Sūtra In Which The Buddha Speaks Of Amitā Samyaksaṃbuddha Sarvalokadhātu Who Delivers Over The Human Path’《佛说阿弥陀三耶三佛萨楼佛檀过度人道经》, as taught by Śākyamuni Buddha (释迦牟尼佛). Here it is, in the summary [with notes] that follow, with the original text further below.
Summary: When those with much good fortune from past lives’ doing of good hear Āmítuófó’s name, they will very swiftly become good. [This is so as his meritorious name’s blessings help to unlock their past goodness, while further connecting them to their Buddha-nature (佛性), to be even better.] For this, the Buddha rejoices. Hearing Āmítuófó’s name, they thus give rise to loving-kindness, joy, [spiritual] enthusiasm and [greater] purity of mind.
With his name resonating spiritually, their tears will then flow, [due to mixed emotions such as repentance and gratitude naturally arising, as they have heard his name before, which reminds them that] they were walking the path to Buddhahood in their past lives, [with it yet to be completed].
[Due to emotions being mixed unmindfully, there might not be a clear sense of repentance, gratitude and remembrance, but there is at least an inexplicable sense of deep connection. Those who experience this should be more sincere and diligent in continual learning and practice, so as to reach his Pure Land, to quickly complete the Buddha path. If not, this life would be another lost opportunity.]
However, for those who do not experience the above when hearing his name, they lack inherent [interest and] faith in him, as taught in the sūtras. With doubts, they are from evil paths reborn here, thus ignorant, due to past negative karma and negative habitual tendencies yet to exhaust. [It might also be that they have little karmic affinity with Āmítuófó due to lack of meritorious virtues as humans or gods in their past lives.]
[Those who are so should also be all the more sincere and diligent in deepening learning and practice, so as to reach his Pure Land, to quickly complete the Buddha path. It is through sincere diligence, that they can clear their doubts and transform them to be faith, while concurrently increasing their meritorious virtues.]
[Sūtra]: [The] Buddha told Ānanda, Ajita Bodhisattva [and] others, ‘This world’s emperors [and] common people, good men [and] good women, [with] that caused by [their] past lives’ doing [of] good, [are] one another [with] good fortune imposing. Thus, when hearing that sound [of] Āmítuófó[‘s name, for those who become] extremely quickly very good, I represent them [in] joy.’
[The] Buddha said, ‘[There] are these good men [and] good women, [when] hearing [that] sound [of] Āmítuófó[‘s name, with] loving-kindness’ mind [and] joy, at once enthusiastic, [with] minds’ thoughts pure, skin hairs [made] to rise, those [with] tears immediately flowing, [who had] all [in their] previous generations’ past lives [walked the] path [to] become Buddhas.
If [from] other directions’ Buddha [lands], thus [as] Bodhisattvas, not ordinary humans.
[Note: Good men and good women from other worlds who choose to be born in this defiled world are Bodhisattvas who aspire to help beings here. Whether tearing or not, from here or elsewhere, those who cannot remember being from Pure Land are not from there, for if they are, they would be non-retrogressive Bodhisattvas, who are enlightened to some extent, who can remember their past lives in Pure Land. This is so, according to the Buddha’s teachings in the ‘Immeasurable Life Sūtra’《无量寿经》. (See the first ‘Related Article’ below for more details.)]
[In] this [world, there] are people, men [and] women, [when] hearing [that] sound [of] Āmítuófó[‘s name], those not [having] faith [that there] is [him], not [having] faith [in the] sūtras [that the] Buddha spoke, not [having] faith [that there] is [the] Bhikṣu Saṃgha, [having] minds within [with] doubts, all without that [with] faith [in]. All thus [are] from evil paths within, [who have] come [to be] born [here], ignorant [and] without understanding, [with] past lives’ misfortune [and] evil yet [to] exhaust, still yet [to] then [be] delivered [and] liberated [from], thus [with] minds within [having] doubts [and] not [having] faith’s direction.’
[The] Sūtra [In Which The] Buddha Speaks [Of] Amitā Samyaksaṃbuddha Sarvalokadhātu [Who] Delivers Over [The] Human Path: Lower Scroll (or ‘The Sūtra In Which The Buddha Speaks Of Amitā, The Perfectly Enlightened Buddha, Who For All Worlds, Deliver Over The Human Path: Lower Scroll’)
[By Eastern] Wú [Dynasty’s] Yuèzhī’s Upāsaka Zhī Qiān Translated
Namo Amituofo : Translation by Shen Shi’an
Will Those Back From Pure Land Remember Their Past Lives?
Why Do We Sometimes Cry During Chanting?
Who Has Been To Pure Land And Back?