[2] Top Ten Obstacles When Guiding The Dying To Reach Pure Land 引导临终者往生净土之十大障碍

[2] Top Ten Obstacles When Guiding The Dying To Reach Pure Land

The following is not in order of occurrence, frequency or severity.

[01] Lack Of Faith: Quickly ask for doubts and resolve them directly and concisely. If uncertain on how to resolve them, immediately ask Buddhist teachers with relevant knowledge for advice. If there seems to be doubts that are difficult to articulate, take the initiative to make calculated guesses on what they might be and offer clarifications.

Share inspiring recent and near examples of those who have reached Pure Land (净土) too, to dispel those doubts: These cases should be learnt about and shared in everyday life, in anticipation of this possible obstacle, to overcome it as much as possible in advance.

[02] Lack Of Aspiration: There should be reminders that with utmost sincerity mindful of Buddha’s name (Āmítuófó: 阿弥陀佛), he will definitely come to receive one to his Pure Land, where there is no more suffering from sickness and death; with bliss and immeasurable life instead.

[03] Attachment: If there is attachment to people, remind that once in the Pure Land, one will become a Bodhisattva who can look out for loved ones left behind, and even look for loved ones already deceased reborn elsewhere, to guide them to the Pure Land too. Remind too, that everyone else will be going to the Pure Land later. Thus, to meet everyone, he or she should reach it first, so that all can be met in good time. If reborn elsewhere, and with past memories forgotten, there will be no way to meet one another.

If there is attachment to wealth, remind that once in the Pure Land, one will have no more need for money, while having the most wonderful clothing, food, housing and travel (衣食住行), as wished.

If there is attachment to past happiness in this life, remind that once in the Pure Land, everything will be remembered, while having ultimate happiness and bliss of body and mind.

[04] Anger: There should be reminders that departing in anger will lead to rebirth in a lower realm with more suffering, and that being angry is only to punish oneself. Also, because of the law of karma, any injustice will be ironed out naturally. There might as well be letting go of anger, with sincere mindfulness of Buddha’s name, for peace of mind and the best rebirth.

[05] Confusion: There should be reminders on what to focus on by repeating the guidance text (开示文), with more focus on the relevant parts needed.

[06] Tiredness: If too tired or weak to chant aloud, remind that it is alright to listen sincerely, to follow the chanting in the mind sincerely. This should especially be mentioned if the patient is habitually attached to chanting verbally, which might lead to frustration when unable to do so later, when the dying phase advances with further weakness. This also applies to those drowsy, perhaps due to medication. Natural sleep should be allowed.

[07] Pain: If there is exasperation due to pain or discomfort, there should be reminders to be even more sincerely mindful of Buddha, without bothering about the pain at all, with which the pain will disappear. In fact, there will be peace and bliss with connection to Āmítuófó’s blessings.

[08] Interruptions: If there are others touching or moving the dying person, lamenting or crying before him or her, these persons should be asked to refrain from doing so, or to leave the room first, as these acts will aggravate physical and emotional pain. They should only offer the prescribed guidance text and join in support-chanting sincerely, so as to create blessings for the dying person, to encourage him or her to also be mindful of Buddha sincerely.

There should be uninterrupted and repeated hourly shifts offering guidance and support-chanting, with at least two support-chanters in each of at least three shifts. All other forms of communication should be discouraged, such as other practice methods, so as to focus on mindfulness of Buddha, which is already the easiest and most beneficial of all possible practices.

[09] Disturbance: 
If the dying person seems incoherent or disturbed, perhaps by hallucinations or unseen beings, ask the person to close his or her eyes, and to only focus on listening to and reciting Āmítuófó’s name sincerely. With this done, the disturbances will cease, as the mind will clear up and unseen beings will stay away. If there are more disturbances, step [10] at can be followed.

[10] Unconsciousness: Referring to those in coma or sedated, not naturally asleep, there should be reminders on what to focus on, by repeating the guidance text, followed by support-chanting. This is in case the dying person is still partially awake.

Solution: After noting the above, so as to know remedies to such problems, it is advised to conduct support-chanting according to that listed at

‘Top Ten’ Series:

[1] Top Ten Personal Niànfó Practice Obstacles

[2] Top Ten Obstacles When Guiding The Dying To Reach Pure Land

[3] Top Ten Wake Support-Chanting Challenges 

[4] Top Ten Niànfó Group Cultivation Challenges 

[5] Top Ten Buddhist Class Challenges

[6] Top Ten Reasons For Using Āmítuófó’s Name When Support-Chanting

[7] Top Ten Misconceptions About The Pure Land Teachings

[8] Top Ten Benefits Of Practising Support-Chanting

[9A] Top Ten Benefits From Mindfulness Of Buddha

[9B] Top Ten Benefits From Mindfulness Of Buddha For This Life

[10A] Top Ten Difficulties In This Defiled Land Vs Ease In That Pure Land (1)

[10B] Top Ten Difficulties In This Defiled Land Vs Ease In That Pure Land (2)
Sahā World’s Ten Difficulties And Pure Land’s Ten Easinesses

[11] Top Ten Great Causes And Conditions Giving Rise To The Pure Land Dharma Door

[12] Top Ten Obstacles Of Mindfulness Of Buddha When Approaching Death

[13] The Pure Land Tradition’s Ten Essentials

[14] The Treatise On Ten Doubts About Pure Land

[15] ‘Verses On Mindfulness Of Buddha With The Sincere Mind’ As Inspired By ‘Universal Virtue Bodhisattva’s Ten Great Vows’

[16] (Afterword On) ‘Practices With Ten Great Obstacles’ Or ‘Ten Kinds Of Non-Seeking’

[17] The Method Of Ten Recitations With Counting & The Method Of Early Morning’s Ten Recitations

[18] The Ten Faiths

[19] Top Ten Reasons Why Āmítuófó is So Popular
Significance Of Āmítuófó’s 17th Vow

[20] Top Ten Facts To Know About The Dhāraṇī (Rebirth) Blanket

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