Q&A

Are There Other Requisites Beyond Utmost Sincere Mindfulness Of Buddha, For Reaching Pure Land? 除了至诚恳切念佛,还须要其他条件往生净土吗?

Question: Other than Utmost Sincere (至诚恳切) Niànfó (念佛: mindfulness of Āmítuófó’s name: 阿弥陀佛), are there other requisites for reaching Pure Land?

Answer: If the Niànfó is already utmost sincere, all the requisites will be included within already, due to the 16 reasons below. (In short, SINCERITY binds all the requisites needed together.)

[1] Sincere Niànfó will connect to the Buddha’s immeasurable Other-power (他力) to eradicate evil karma (消业). There is no more powerful way to do so, especially with only limited Self-power (自力). To assume or insist there is much Self-power needed to eradicate evil karma and to reach Pure Land, while largely overlooking the importance of cultivating Utmost Sincerity for connecting to the Buddha, is to overestimate one’s limited power, and to underestimate the Buddha’s immense Other-power, with which he is even capable of rescuing hell-beings in great suffering.

[2] Sincere Niànfó is the best and direct way to overcome stray thoughts (妄想). Thinking there is another better way or another preliminary way needed, which were not what the Buddha taught, is to create more stray thoughts.

[3] Sincere Niànfó with profound Faith (深信) and sincere Aspiration (切愿) is already Right Mindfulness (正念). There is no other mindfulness more (up)right as the subject of mindfulness is with supreme immeasurable meritorious virtues (功德) – a Buddha, who also represents all Buddhas’ meritorious virtues collectively.

[4] Sincere Niànfó with firm (坚固) Aspiration to reach Pure Land will overcome greedy attachment (贪恋), anger, fear, pain, with all other defilements and distractions.

[5] Sincere Niànfó is the most (up)right mindfulness possible, which will avoid all that which is inverted (颠倒) in thought, word and deed.

[6] Sincere Niànfó will be adequate to accomplish the above and below, with no Buddhas’ words and Pure Land Patriarchs’ teachings (佛言祖语) saying it is inadequate.

[7] Sincere Niànfó will naturally include the already understood Three Provisions (三资粮) of Faith, Aspiration and Practice (信愿行), for reaching Pure Land, even if there are no sūtras deeply studied for more practices (although further right learning with right practices are generally beneficial when possible [for attaining a higher grade of birth] – provided that they do not distract from the core Pure Land practice of Sincere Niànfó for reaching Pure Land, or somehow wrongly make one lose confidence of reaching it). There are many cases exemplifying how ‘merely’ having Sincere Niànfó will be able to reach Pure Land, such as this famous case in the Pure Land Sages’ Records《净土圣贤录》: https://purelanders.com/2022/01/21-tang-dynastys-zhang-shanhe.

[8] Sincere Niànfó will transform ordinary beings’ understanding (凡夫知见), to align with the Buddha’s wisdom (佛智) as ‘Niànfó opens wisdom’ (念佛开智慧).

[9] Sincere Niànfó with this one thought in the present moment (一念现前) is to align our pure (清净) mind-nature (心性), self-nature (自性) or Buddha-nature (佛性) to the Buddha’s blessings, to further awaken its inherent meritorious virtues (功德).

[10] Sincere Niànfó is the expression of right faith and understanding (信解) of the Pure Land teachings, and will increase these qualities, for practice and ‘realisation’ (行证) of birth in Pure Land.

[11] Sincere Niànfó is already the simultaneous expression of meditative cessation and contemplation (止观/观照): https://purelanders.com/2020/07/01/mindfulness-of-buddha-is-unsurpassable-samatha-vipasyana-meditation-practice.

[12] Sincere Niànfó is to align to our Buddha-nature (称性), and to give rise to cultivation (起修) at the same time, while also aligning to the Buddha’s already fully awakened Buddha-nature, for his blessings to help us further awaken our Buddha-nature.

[13] Sincere Niànfó is to be distinct and clear (分明), with sincere reciting and sincere listening (念听) of the Buddha’s name, word by word, and line by line, not being mindful of anything else – thus being Right Mindfulness (正念).

[14] Sincere Niànfó is also a way to recollect the Buddha via mindfulness of the Buddha (亿佛念佛).

[15] Sincere Niànfó is to connect to the Buddha for response (感应道交), with blessings received both knowingly and unknowingly, now and in the future.

[16] Sincere Niànfó is to connect to the Buddha. As an analogy, this is like an estranged and poor wandering son finding his (spiritually) rich father, who will bequeath his wealth of blessings directly – in part first, to ensure there is reaching of Pure Land, and in full there, for facilitating progress towards Buddhahood.

In the Pure Land Tradition’s 13th Patriarch Great Master Yìnguāng’s (净土宗十三祖印光大师) teachings, when approaching the end of life, only the Three Great Essentials (三大要) are needed – for Sincere Niànfó, (which will give rise to the Three Provisions), to connect to the Buddha, for reaching his Pure Land: https://purelanders.com/now.

Therefore, all who are serious about reaching Pure Land should nurture Utmost Sincerity, without straying away from it with the extraneous. There is only one thought in each moment, and only one last thought right before rebirth, which can transpire at any time. If it is filled with Utmost Sincerity, which contains the Three Provisions, instead of anything else, such as doubt (which will destroy the first provision of Faith), the Pure Land will surely be reached. Námó Āmítuófó (南无阿弥陀佛).

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