The simplest way to practice Pure Land is by chanting "Amituofo." Amituofo is the
name of Amitabha Buddha in Chinese. In Sanskrit it is Amitabha Buddhaya. It does
not matter whether we chant in Chinese, Sanskrit, or any other language as long as
we do it properly. When we chant, the sound of "Amituofo" arises in our minds. And
as we utter "Amituofo," our minds concentrate on and embrace that sound.
While chanting, do so sincerely and continuously. In our chanting, we pronounce each
syllable clearly and distinctly so that we hear the chant whether it is voiced or
silent. Regardless of whether we chant when walking, sitting, or bowing, our focusing
on the Buddha’s name will decrease our everyday worries. Eventually, they will be
As one keeps chanting and the mind focuses on the sound of "Amituofo," errant thoughts
are replaced with pure thoughts. In this way, we also create less negative karma.
After Amitabha has been in our mind continuously for a long time, our true nature—our
Buddha-nature—will gradually be uncovered.
Amitabha Buddha is the wise and compassionate teacher who understands everything,
and who is always thinking of us, lifetime after lifetime after lifetime.
We are the students who are trying to learn and practice. Just as a good teacher
listens to the calls for help from a student looking for the right answers, if we
have unwavering belief, vow to be reborn in the Pure Land, and behave morally and
sincerely practice, Amitabha will respond. He is like the mother who always thinks
of her child. If the child does not in turn think of his mother, her thoughts will
not help. But if he also thinks of her, they will eventually be reunited. In such
a way, Amitabha is always thinking of us, waiting for our thoughts to turn to him,
so that we may come together.
When we chant to the point of single-mindedness with the sole thought of Amituofo,
we successfully form a connection with him, in fact, we become one with him. In that
instant we are in the Pure Land—far to the west and deep within us. As we breathe
our last breath in this world, if we can form this connection—this oneness with Amituofo—we
will attain our next rebirth in the Western Pure Land and leave suffering behind.
And once there, we will have all the time we need to continue our practice and learning,
for we will be in the company of Amitabha Buddha and all the bodhisattvas. They will
help us learn all the ways to wisely and compassionately help other beings.