12 Dec Prajna Paramita Heart Sutra, Part 17
[Series of Master Shen-Long expounding on the Prajna Paramita (Perfection of Transcendent Wisdom) Heart Sutra]
I talked about “chanting Amitabha” just a moment ago, what is the meaning of it?
Let us examine the word “chanting 念”; the Chinese word combines the two characters of “今” which means “now, at this very moment”, and “心” which means “mind (heart)”.
This is what situation? “At the moment”, it is precisely in this instant your mind is not confused.
Why do we speak of “chanting Amitabha”? Chanting Amitabha is exactly in this instant your mind is crystal clear and fully understanding.
“Buddha” represents absolutely and abundantly clear. Everyone, do not misunderstand, this is not merely to imply a line of verse – Amitabha; it is not. The original meaning precisely wants you to be without delusion every second – this is called chanting Amitabha. Over time, due to the fundamental ability of all living beings becoming worse and worse.
What is the fundamental ability? It is the ability of implementing and comprehension.
Therefore, chanting Amitabha can be divided into three kinds： the most simple and common being to rely on the name of chanting (mindfulness) Amitabha.
What is relying on the name of Amitabha? Chanting the name of Amitabha, originates from the Infinite Life Sutra; the Buddha speaks Amitabha Sutra. Amitabha made 48 universal vows, in his 18th vow refers to chanting ten times will certainly have born to his realm. It means if one chants his name 10 times truthfully, one can go and be born to the Bliss World of Amitabha Pure Land.
Returning to the topic, if we apply Prajna (wisdom) to look at chanting ten times will certainly have born to his realm. How to look at it? It is very simple: when your mind has been purified of defiling illusion up to having ten purified thoughts entirely; through the great vow’s energy of Amitabha, you will see that type of energy of your original living which is purified without defilement.
Therefore, there is a very important issue, this precisely is not superstition; it is after your mind has been purified of defiling illusion and you truly see it. Just like many people who practice Samadhi cultivation (the highest level of the unmoved mind and undisturbed) and can see that the six realms of reincarnation truly exist, Heavens and Hells truly exist, but they would not tell people about it.
Why? Other people would not believe it.
Then who explains the Buddha speaks Amitabha Sutra, the Infinite Life Sutra? It was explained by Shakyamuni Buddha.
Therefore, in this kind of sphere, you can only rely on yourself to implement.
How to implement? Chanting Amitabha.
Why do I promote chanting Amitabha? Because it is convenient, you can put effort at any time and any place, and it unlikely to be cut off.
What effort? The effort of reminding your head to maintain clarity which will not be cut off. This is the same as the way of Dhyana (Zen), but it’s meditative way relies on the self-strength.
If you chant Amitabha for 24 hours without a delusional thought, then you are into the “stillness of mind control”. But your delusional thought has not ended, this state is “united with Amitabha in your mind”. To progress to the next level, end your delusional thought, and then you will enter the state of “chanting wholeheartedly without scattering”.
What is the state of “chanting wholeheartedly without scattering”? You have verified into the state of Arhat, as selflessness, and put an end to all illusions and temptations from things seen and thought.
The next level is called “wholeheartedly concentrating the mind without scattering, being absolutely apart from phenomena and obtaining the underlying truth of all things within Buddha-nature”. It is like what I have just mentioned, where thoughts after thoughts are without delusional thought, and you are also chanting Amitabha but completely without attachment.
What does this mean? It means you do not have attachment; you have eradicated the “unenlightened condition” which is equivalent to the sphere of the Sixth Patriarch of Dhyana (Zen) Buddhism.