On Reciting the Holy Name Clearly or Distractedly

honenThere is no difference between the Holy Name recited with clarity of mind or the Holy Name recited when one is wracked by illusive thoughts.

Some people say that reciting the Holy Name when one’s mind is serene, without any stray thoughts, is the recitation of definitive aspiration for birth in the Pure Land, and is in accord with the essential vow of Amideva Buddha. They say that reciting the Holy Name with distracting thoughts is an empty exercise of merely mouthing the name of Amideva. How, then could these two forms of recitation both lead to birth in the Pure Land?

These doubts come from improper understanding of the essential vow. Amideva launched the compassionate ship —the universal vow— on the great ocean of transmigration in order to save sentient beings with unwholesome karma. It is like a ship transporting weighty rocks along with pieces of linen to the other shore.  

The supremacy of the essential vow is that there is no need for interpretation: all sentient beings are able to attain birth in the Pure Land through the mere recitation of the Holy Name of Amideva, without regard for the gravity of their negative karma.  

—Honen Shonin 

om amideva hrih

namo amitabhaya buddhaya

namo amituo fo

namu amida butsu

About Tashi Nyima

I am a Dharma student, and aspire to be a companion on the path. I trust that these texts can offer a general approach and basic tools for practicing the Buddha's way to enlightenment. ||| Soy un estudiante del Dharma, y aspiro a ser un compañero en el sendero. Espero que estos textos ofrezcan a algunos un mapa general y herramientas básicas para la práctica del sendero a la iluminación que nos ofrece el Buda.
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3 Responses to On Reciting the Holy Name Clearly or Distractedly

  1. sv says:

    yes chanting any mantra / verse from any religion , regularly , with correct pronunciation / stress on the syllables can do wonders by stabilizing /calming a stressful mind .

  2. Dharma fool says:

    The Kingdom of the Tathagatagarbha is within.
    “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.”

    Why is it that secular Buddhists find the Pure Land practices so hard to swallow? Maybe it has something to do with the nature of our mundane, secular minds. If we measure the realm of the ultimate — the unconditioned reality of the Buddhas — against our own puny, deluded (resentful, unhappy, etc.) minds the result with always be a misreading.

    Why do we find it so hard to believe that there are enlightened beings who want us to be healed. whole, and free? Don’t we believe the Buddhas and Great Bodhisattvas wish for us to escape this realm of suffering? Why would they ever wish anything else — ever?

    All one has to do is ask Amitabha, sincerely, and help will be given — of this I have no doubt. I only doubt my own abilities to keep the truth before me.

    om amideva hrih

    Even so, Lord …


  3. So called secular Buddhism is great obstacle to Buddha Dharma.

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