Extracts from a talk by Master Hui Re given during the Pure Land retreat of July 2007
I would like to share with you some of my experiences and accomplishments on my Pure Land Buddhist path. They are not something that I have striven for. They are just things that come without you even knowing it.
Let me tell you what I have attained from these six characters: "Na Mo A Mi To Fo." My Pure Land practice has allowed an internal eye to open. I now see how precious the Pure Land is. I understand its treasures. This genuine Dharma eye is nothing other than the 48 great vows of Amitabha Buddha. These are the 48 basic, essential vows. The essence of the Pure Land path, its Dharma, relies totally on these 48 Great Vows. If you can deeply understand and see these 48 vows very clearly your true Dharma eye will open.
The eighteenth vow is the most important of all the vows. This is the eye within the eye. It states that those who want to come to Amitabha's Pure Land, whether they are good or bad, regardless of their ordinariness, need only want to come to His Pure Land and recite His name ten times, to attain rebirth in His Pure Land. He will accept all such beings to his Pure Land. He promises that if he does not accomplish this he will not attain realisation, great enlightenment.
In the Pure Land all you do is spiritual cultivation and practice. Everyday you think only about the Buddha, the Dharma and the Sangha. You purify all 6 roots. You work constantly, purely toward attaining Buddhahood at an extremely fast rate. So every time Amitabha Buddha accepts someone to His Pure Land, he is making him or her a Buddha. Can you think of anything more beautiful?
Thus the proper understanding with which to recite the Buddha's name is an understanding of these 48 great vows. If you do not think about the vows, if you do not believe them or understand them as you recite, your recitation will be flavourless, lifeless. But if you recite with an accurate, genuine understanding and belief in the vows then your recitations will be full of life and joy
These 48 great vows are the fountain of the pure Land. The Dharma springs from these 48 great vows like a warm water fountain. When you discover the truth about these 48 great vows, it's like discovering a fountain in your heart. All your faith, understanding and experiences will flow from this fountain in your heart. It will never stop from that moment onwards. If you have deep faith in this path, in Amitabha Buddha, you will know the method to follow to achieve your result. You will recite continuously. Thus you will gain liberation. As you recite the Buddha's name, if you have that great faith, Amitabha Buddha's vows are there, at that moment. If you achieve real faith in the Pure Land you will chant joyously all the time. You will never stop chanting because you know, you have that guarantee in your mind.
My unwavering faith and my proper practice have arisen from my understanding of these 48 great vows. Because of my faith and my practice I have achieved the benefits I was seeking. I have attained assurance on this path. Although I am still a normal sentient being, I know I will be reborn in the Pure Land. The most important practice is to rely on the original vows and to chant the Buddha's name. Rely on the vows. Keep the Buddha's name on your lips and in your heart all the time. Since I have entered these vows deeply, so that they are with me all the time, it is as if those 48 vows are my 48 vows. I am swimming in the ocean of the Buddha's vows. Even though my body is sitting here in this world, my mind swims in the ocean of vows. What are the 48 great vows? They are Amitabha's mind and heart. My mind swims in his mind, my heart in his heart.
The second thing I want to tell you is that I have accomplished the karma that will force me to be reborn in the Pure Land. I will go to the Pure Land when I die. In Buddhism it is said, "as is the cause, so is the effect". Because I have planted the karma that will send me to the Pure Land, the effect must be that I go to the Pure Land. I am guaranteed of this. I know I will go to the Pure Land. There is no obstacle, no obstruction, there is nothing that could happen that will prevent me going to the Pure Land
When you enter deeply into the 48 great vows you uncover a fountain in your heart that never stops pumping. You will never ever be able to stop it. It will never be cut off. Your heart will just open up. Your Pure Land mind will just open up. When Amitabha Buddha opens up in your heart, it is as if you have a permanent connection to the internet. You can go anywhere on the net. It's all just Amitabha Buddha wherever you go Amitabha Buddha is right there with you.
If you are connected with Amitabha Buddha you have the entire Pure Land resources at your disposal. If you have a problem, just send a thought and help will come. You will get instructions on what you must do.
You used always to be alone, even in a crowd. Now, even when you are alone, you have an infinite host of Bodhisattvas around you all the time. You have a great and powerful host always surrounding you. Always helping you. You will never be alone again.
Why is this body still sitting here? My job is not yet finished. My mission is not yet accomplished.
Translated by Ben Le, abridged and edited by Maxine