Thursday, June 28, 2007

Lesson 6 - Pureland Amituofo

Today's lesson is on the Pure Land school of Mahayana. The Pure Land school of Mahayana Buddhism is widely practiced in Asia. It is starting to form in the west, it's roots extend all the way to ancient India.

We generally think in terms of only one Buddha: Sakyamuni, who lived about 2500 years ago. But, since any sentient being can become enlightened and innumerable numers have, there are innumerable Buddhas. Sakyamuni Buddha, after his enlightenment, explained that he saw not only his past lifetimes but that he also saw how the future would unfold.

Sakyamuni saw people in our time having more afflictionns, worries and wandering thoughts. He knew that to end one's problems and attain lasting happiness many people would need the help of another Buddha: Amitabha, the Buddha of Infinite Light and Infinite Life.

Sakyamuni told us that Amitabha Buddha has created an ideal enviroment in which we can learn from and practice with the wisest of beings. It is a land of peace, equality, and joy where we can listen to the teachings of Bodhisattvas and Amitabha himself. Knowing how suitable this land would be for us, Sakyamuni taught and explained the Pure Land Practice.

The simplest way to practice Pure Land is by chanting "Amituofo." When we chant, the sound of Amituofo arises in our minds. As one keeps chanting and the mind focuses and embraces the sound of "Amituofo", errant thoughts are replaced with pure thoughts. After Amitfuofo has been in our mind continuosly for a long time and we improve on our thoughts and actions, our true nature, which is the same as that of the Buddhas, will gradually be uncovered.

If we vow to be reborn in the Pure Land and believe in the teachings of the Buddhas, we will progress on our path to forever have a Buddha's mind and heart of wisdom and compassion. Doing so we will be able to wisely be of benefit to all beings who wish our help. Ultimately, our belief, vow, and practice of chanting and leading a moral life will enable us to reach the perfect enlightenment of Buddhahood. And daily, we will continue to benefit as our minds become calmer, and our practice helps us to become more sincere and kind.

What about those who have not made such a vow or do not wish to make one? For those who simply wish to find some peace and serenity amid life's everday concerns, chanting along with or just listening to the chanting can help one to become calmer and more peacfeul. For every moment of peace is a moment of contentment and happiness.

If you would like to chant "Amituofo" please see the link below for downloadable audio from the Amitabha Society

No comments: