With Going [To] Fall [Into An] Evil Path [As] Thought, Transform Mixed Thoughts To Right Mindfulness
When upholding [the] Buddha’s name (Āmítuófó: 阿弥陀佛), [with] mixed [i.e. distracting] thoughts fluttering about, this is [due to having] much ‘knowledge’ [and] many views, [as the] phenomenon of [the] mind [being] without Right Mindfulness.
[Note 1: To have Right Mindfulness (正念) is to only wholeheartedly (一心) (and thus single-mindedly) be mindful of the Buddha’s name (念佛) with profound Faith (深信) and sincere Aspiration (切愿). All other thoughts are considered as distractions then.]
[Note 2: Essential knowledge on mindfulness of Buddha once familiar with, need not be thought about during the practice. All other forms of knowledge and views are not needed then. If there are doubts about mindfulness of Buddha, they should be clarified before practice.]
Desiring this kind [of] phenomenon [to] not appear, only [with the] focused mind ‘painfully’ think [that] you [are] almost going [to have your] life end. Only fear immediate fall [into an] evil path [then. Thus] rouse [your] resolve [to be] mindful [of the] Buddha, [to] completely not give rise [to] other kinds [of] thoughts. Long [after] thus, naturally can [there be] pure clarity.
[Note 3: Thinking that death with fall into hell is about to occur is able to cut distractions as there is no more time to entertain other useless and even possibly dangerous thoughts. To be effective, this thinking should not just be mere imagining, as one might truly be in this situation now as life is short and unpredictable, able to end suddenly at any time.]
[Note 4: The above thinking will help to spur greater wholeheartedness. After having given rise to this motivation, simply focus on sincere reciting and sincere listening to the Buddha’s name, without thinking about anything else. If aware that sincerity (and thus Right Mindfulness) is lost, swiftly recollect the motivation again, before returning to mindfulness of Buddha.]
Pure Land Tradition’s 13th Patriarch Great Master Yìnguāng
Dharma Master Yìnguāng’s Collected Writings (Third Compilation): Reply Letter [To] Dīng Pǔjìng;
Record [Of] Great Master Yìnguāng’s Collected Writings’ Essence (98th Short Section): 3rd [Chapter]: Guidance [On] Practice Methods: Third, Clear Remedies [For] Habitual Tendencies (5th Short Section)
[Ref: #98 / 3.3.5]
Namo Amituofo : Translation and notes by Shen Shi’an
Record Of Great Master Yìnguāng’s Collected Writings’ Essence