Verses [On] Right Mindfulness [For] Eradication [Of] Obstacles
[With] Faith [and] Aspiration mindful [of] Āmítuófó, is [the] most right [of] mindfulness. [All] other thoughts, are inverted thoughts [for Pure Land practitioners. With the] Buddha’s Other-power [being] great, without fear [of] obstacles [being] many. [With] mindfulness [of] Buddha eradicating [negative] karma, like snowflakes nearing [a] furnace. [With] wholehearted mindfulness [of] Āmítuófó, quickly connect [to the] Buddha’s power. [With the] inverted becoming [the] right, [with] karmic obstacles becoming empty.
Question : What is Right Mindfulness?
Answer: For Pure Land practitioners, being ‘with Faith and Aspiration mindful of the Buddha’s name (i.e. Āmítuófó)’ is Right Mindfulness, and is the most right of mindfulnesses. All other thoughts are considered inverted or stray thoughts, as they cannot lead to Pure Land.
Question : What if, when approaching the end of life, yet to give rise to the above Right Mindfulness?
Answer: Those aware of being without Right Mindfulness should immediately be ‘with Faith and Aspiration mindful of the Buddha’s name’.
Question : What if, when approaching the end of life, yet to have the above awareness?
Answer: Therefore, the Pure Land Patriarchs urge that there should be Pure Land practitioner friends, with their offering of guidance and support-chanting to remind of this.
Question : What if, when approaching the end of life, karmic obstacles and inverted thoughts first arise?
Answer: Therefore, in ordinary times, there should be, ‘with Faith and Aspiration mindful of the Buddha’s name’, with giving rise to Right Mindfulness’ meritorious virtues, having many karmic obstacles eradicated. With this familiar practice, give rise to skilfulness. To ensure being able to do so when approaching the end of life, have sincere and diligent practice now. With this utmost sincere mind connecting to the Buddha’s Other-power’s blessings, inverted thoughts will become Right Mindfulness, and karmic obstacles will be eradicated. When approaching the end of life also as such practising, until seeing the Buddha, to be reborn in his Pure Land.
Question : Does rebirth in Pure Land all depend on the last thought before death?
Answer: Rebirth in Pure Land all depends on the last thought before rebirth. As many common people are not reborn once dead, there should be continuation of offering of guidance and support-chanting for some hours. This should also be continued during the wake and 49 days.
Question : After death, is it more difficult to be ‘with Faith and Aspiration mindful of the Buddha’s name’?
Answer: There can also be Right Mindfulness after death. As there are already no more inverted thoughts that arise from karmic obstacles from sickness and pain of the body, with a clearer mind, if there are Pure Land practitioner friends’ continuation of offering of guidance and support-chanting, one can instead be more capable then.
Question : When approaching the end of life, how should one note the sixth, seventh and eighth consciousnesses?
Answer: When approaching the end of life, there should be the gathered mind. There must not be the splitting of wholeheartedness (i.e. the singular mind) into two or three minds. There should only be wholehearted mindfulness of the Buddha’s name. Being able to be ‘with Faith and Aspiration mindful of the Buddha’s name’ is to have wholehearted mindfulness of the Buddha’s name, which is definitely able to connect to the Buddha, to see the Buddha, to follow the Buddha, to be born in his Buddha Land.
To ensure there will be successful wholehearted mindfulness of Buddha when approaching the end of life, with the normal sixth consciousness, with mental awareness we are using now, sincerely, diligently and regularly plant, grow and perfume pure seeds of the Buddha’s name in the field (or storehouse) of the eighth consciousness (through the seventh consciousness, which acts as a buffer between the sixth and eighth).
Without need to talk much complex theory, simply have more direct proper practice. Instead of entertaining more stray thoughts arising from the Three Poisons (of attachment, aversion and delusion) in everyday life, keep conditioning the mind to readily be mindful of the Buddha’s name. This will overwhelm, subdue and rid the stray thoughts over time. Only planting such pure thoughts, impure thoughts will naturally be ‘weeded’ out.
With the eighth consciousness functioning like a huge mental receptacle, that is constantly fully filled with the Buddha’s name habitually to the brim, when approaching the end of life, it will be easy for it to naturally ‘spill over’, to influence the mind on the whole to be mindful of the Buddha’s name again. To practise accordingly as above is to apply the truth of cause and effect skilfully. Instead of fretting endlessly about the possible state of the mind arising when approaching the end of life, there should simply be more down-to-earth practice now. (For more details on the workings of the first to eighth consciousnesses, do read the last set of Q&A at https://purelanders.com/2019/03/18/can-the-consciousness-suffer-after-death.)
Question : What if, when approaching the end of life, ‘unable’ to wholeheartedly be mindful of the Buddha’s name?
Answer: As the Pure Land Tradition’s 13th Patriarch Great Master Yìnguāng taught, ‘If wishing your mind to not crave after external matters, focus only upon [utmost sincere] mindfulness of Āmítuófó. If not able to focus, you must will it, [i.e. your mind] to focus. If not able to be mindful, you must will it to be mindful. If not able to be wholehearted, will it to be wholehearted.’ (Second Reply Letter To Layperson Dèng Bóchéng) Therefore, as long as having the intention (or will) and determination, it is not possible to be unable to be wholeheartedly mindful of the Buddha’s name, be it verbally or only in the mind. There should not be wilful belief or insistence that it is not possible for oneself to be wholeheartedly mindful, as this does not require high concentration; just utmost sincerity of the mind. Of course, having greater concentration is good, but if it really requires much concentration skills to reach Pure Land, the Dharma Door Of Mindfulness Of Buddha would not be the Easy Practice Path.
Verse [On] Only [That] Lacking
[As the] Buddha’s power [and the] Dharma’s power [are] already complete, only lacking [is your] mind’s power [to, with] Faith [and] Aspiration, [have] Practice. [With] utmost sincerity wholeheartedly mindful [of] Āmítuófó [until he] comes [to guide to his Pure Land], this already is [the] most Easy Practice Path.
How To Be Without Right Mindfulness Yet Attaining Right Mindfulness
Why Is Niànfó The Best Practice For Right Mindfulness?
When Can There Be Rebirth In Pure Land?
How Long Should Post-Wake Support-Chanting For The Deceased Be?
How To Wholeheartedly Focus On Mindfulness Of Buddha?
The Three Great Essentials When Approaching Death: The First Great Essential
The Three Great Essentials When Approaching Death: The Second Great Essential
The Three Great Essentials When Approaching Death: The Third Great Essential