[99] How Āmítuófó Saved Me From An Unknown Force 阿弥陀佛如何从未知力量中救了我

[99] How Āmítuófó Saved Me From An Unknown Force

As I decided to attend the recent Pureland Practice Fellowship’s session at the last minute, I was not aware that the topic was on dreams. When I heard the sharing, I recalled my nightmarish experience. I brought it up to teacher after class, and was invited to share about it. Although I cannot remember the full details, the experience as below is still very real to me.

A few months ago, while sleeping, probably between 2 to 3 am, I suddenly felt myself struggling against some force (which should be a karmic creditor [冤亲债主]). As I was being pulled, I tried very hard to resist, trying to get ‘it’ to go away with ‘automatic’ silent (i.e. mental) chanting (默念) of Āmítuófó’s (阿弥陀佛) name.

As the force did not seem to go away, I wanted to chant his name aloud, which is my usual practice too, but just could not, no matter how hard I tried. I could not open my eyes too. I heard myself making some noise, but was unable to call out the full name of Āmítuófó. Thus, silently, in my heart, I kept chanting his name continuously.

As I continued to struggle, I finally heard myself calling out Āmítuófó’s name loudly and clearly. The moment I did that, everything calmed down very quickly and I could open my eyes. Without any fear, I was very calm in my heart. I knew at that moment that Āmítuófó was there to help me. Although I did not see his light or smell fragrance, I was deeply grateful for his presence.

I continued to recite Āmítuófó’s name for a while and returned to sleep, waking up feeling calm and fresh. Although I have not been practising much mindfully, I never doubted Āmítuófó the day I learned about him through teacher, who is very dedicated, always guiding us, to whom I am grateful. Of course, I am most thankful to Āmítuófó!

I don’t usually chant out very loudly, but with some sound. Am not sure why I struggled to call out Āmítuófó’s name ‘aloud’. Perhaps, subconsciously, I felt that just chanting silently is not ‘good enough’, and/or that my silent chanting skill is not ‘good enough’. However, be it verbal or silent, having Faith and Aspiration (信愿) is the most important. I will do my best to practise mindfulness of Āmítuófó’s name more often.

Námó Āmítuófó : D. Leong
24 April 2023


[1] Dream Or Reality: While the dreamlike (如梦) is (real)-lifelike (如生), the (real)-lifelike is also dreamlike, with both difficult to differentiate from each other, with no true differences in essence (of impermanence [无常] and unsubstantiality [无我]). The challenges faced in both states (and in between) feel equally real in the moment though, while mindfulness of Buddha (念佛) is equally helpful in all these conditions.

[2] Silent Recitation: It is not that silent chanting is not efficacious or less efficacious, or that verbal chanting is a must. We know this is so because many still managed to connect to Āmítuófó, to be received by him on the deathbed with silent chanting, when too sick and weak to recite aloud.

This reminds us that we should also practise silent chanting well in our everyday life for our last moments, when we might be likewise too sick and weak. The body might be incapacitated, but the mind will not be. This applies to nightmares that physically inhibit us too.

Perhaps there was some subtle habitual attachment to chanting aloud, that made silent chanting seemingly less quickly efficacious. It is however natural that we try to express verbally what is on our minds too, especially during urgent moments.

Perhaps some ‘warming up’ with silent chanting was needed at first, to express Faith and Aspiration (信愿), more and more firmly.

Whatever the reason is, the struggle to continue chanting, to not give up was clearly worth it, as it led to a breakthrough chant aloud, which surely expressed Faith and Aspiration very firmly, thus having connection to Āmítuófó’s blessings, for instant rescue and protection.

[3] One Or More Recitations: In some cases, there seems to be connection only after more recitations. This could be due to (partially) interrupted or incomplete expression of Faith and Aspiration (信愿) at first. As taught in the Immeasurable Life Sūtra《无量寿经》, it is possible to connect to Āmítuófó even with one to ten thoughts (or recitations, be they expressed verbally or mentally).


All sentient beings, who hear his name [Āmítuófó], with the faithful mind joyful, and even with one thought, with the sincere mind dedicate, aspire to be born in that land, will immediately attain rebirth there, and abide in non-retrogression. Only excluded are those with the Five Heinous Transgressions, who slander the right Dharma.


[Āmítuófó’s Eighteenth Vow Of Those With Ten Thoughts All Born In My Land]: If I attain Buddhahood, should the ten directions’ sentient beings, with the sincere mind of joyful Faith, desiring birth in my land, and even with ten thoughts, if there are those not born there, I shall not obtain right awakening. Only excluded are those with the Five Heinous Transgressions, who slandered the right Dharma.

Related Testimony:

[98] How I Became Confident Of Niànfó During My Last Moments

Please be mindful of your speech, Amituofo!

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