[143] Mindfulness Of Buddha By Upholding His Name Gathers All Contemplations 持名念佛摄诸观

[143] Mindfulness [Of] Buddha [By] Upholding [His] Name Gathers All Contemplations


[When] doing contemplation, only obtaining that able [to be] done, why must [there be] from [the] beginning to [the] end, every day repeatedly practising [all]?

[Note 1: Ideally, one is able to practise all sixteen contemplations taught in the Contemplation Sūtra《观经》, which can be seen at However, as early back as in the Táng Dynasty (唐朝), the Pure Land Tradition’s Second Patriarch Great Master Shàndǎo (净土宗二祖善导大师) already taught that, ‘As the Dharma-Ending Age’s sentient beings, are with consciousnesses that “fly” all over, with minds that are coarse, while the realm to contemplate (i.e. visualise) is refined, visualisation is difficult to accomplish. It is with the Great Sage’s (i.e. Śākyamuni Buddha) compassionate empathy, that he especially encouraged focused upholding of the Buddha’s name. With reciting of the name easy thus, with it in continual succession is immediate birth in Pure Land.’ (末法众生,神识飞扬,心粗境细,观难成就。是以大圣悲怜,特劝专持名号。以称名易故,相续即生。)Thus, to be able to do and master one contemplation is already good enough, and there is one that encompasses all, that will lead to all, as below.]


The reason why [the] Buddha spoke of these sixteen kinds [of contemplations, are with those in the] beginning, [to] enable people [to] know [the] majesty of [the Pure Land Of] Ultimate Bliss, [and with] those [in the] end, [on the] nine grades [of] rebirth, [to] enable people [to] know [the] causes [and] effects of that [to] cultivate.

[Note 2: The first to thirteenth contemplations describe the Pure Land’s adornments, while the fourteenth to sixteenth contemplations describe the nine grades there, with what to practise to attain each grade of birth, and what occurs when each is attained. Even if not practising visualisation of the first thirteen contemplations, they serve to help us understand and appreciate the nature of the Pure Land, so as to increase our Aspiration (愿) for birth there. The last three contemplations serve to help us gauge which grade we (aspire to) qualify for.]


[With] each contemplation since known, then within contemplation [of the] Buddha[‘s name, this] one method, [it] then can [be] complete [with] contemplating [of] all contemplations.

[Note 3: The last contemplation emphasizes mindfulness of the Buddha’s name (Āmítuófó: 阿弥陀佛), which is that to contemplate upon, by sincere recitation and listening to it with Faith and Aspiration (信愿) – with no visualisation required, which makes it the easiest contemplation. This gathers all the above contemplations because with it accomplished well, with the Buddha’s blessings connected to, especially upon reaching Pure Land, all that to be visualised earlier can be seen in person.]

[Note 4: We know that the Dharma Door Of Mindfulness Of The Buddha’s name (念佛法门) is the practice to emphasize upon, even in the Buddha’s time, because he taught the following after the last contemplation, to sum up the sūtra’s Main Practice (正行) in the transmission section (流通分) – ‘You should well uphold this spoken. Those upholding this spoken, are thus those upholding Immeasurable Life Buddha’s name (i.e. Āmítuófó).’ (汝好持是语。持是语者,即是持无量寿佛名。)]

Related Teachings:

How To Be Mindful Of Buddha To Eradicate & Avoid The Demonic?

Pure Land Tradition’s 13th Patriarch Great Master Yìnguāng
Dharma Master Yìnguāng’s Collected Writings (Second Compilation): Reply [To] Qū Tiānxiáng’s Question;
Record [Of] Great Master Yìnguāng’s Collected Writings’ Essence (143rd Short Section): 3rd [Chapter]: Guidance [On] Practice Methods: Fifth, Reviews [On] Practices’ Each Method (6th Short Section)
[Ref: #143 / 3.5.6]

Namo Amituofo : Translation and notes by Shen Shi’an

Related Text:

Record Of Great Master Yìnguāng’s Collected Writings’ Essence

Please be mindful of your speech, Amituofo!

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