The Amitabha Sutra - Vowing to Be Born in the Western Pure Land
Amitabha Sutra Spoken by Buddha
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In the Amitabha Sutra, Sakyamuni Buddha urged us three times to seek birth in the Pure Land and one time to believe.
He first urged us to seek birth with “when sentient beings hear these teachings, they must take a vow to be born in this land.”
Then for a second time, he urged us with “I have seen this benefit, and so I speak these words. If sentient beings hear what I say, they must make a vow to be born in that land.”
And finally, for the third time, “all good men and women, if they have faith, must make a vow to be born in that land.”
Additionally, he also urged us to believe by saying, “all of you should faithfully accept what I say and what all the Buddhas have said.”
Why did he exhort us so many times?
Seeing the suffering that all beings in samsara are subject to, Sakyamuni Buddha compassionately strove to do everything possible to teach us how to end our suffering. And he encouraged us to do so as quickly as possible. How? Through the Pure Land Dharma door. Through the incredibly wondrous practice of buddha-name chanting. For when one chants the buddha-name, one accords with Amitabha Buddha. And as Great Master Ouyi said, “When one accords with Amitabha Buddha in a single thought, one is born in that thought. And when one accords with Amitabha Buddha in every thought, one is born in every thought.”
When we finally accomplish this, no obstruction will remain between us and the Land of Ultimate Bliss. Our mind will be in accord with Amitabha Buddha’s mind. Thus, our mind is the mind of Amitabha Buddha.
Our vows are the vows of Amitabha Buddha. Our practice is the practice of Amitabha Buddha. Our thoughts are the thoughts of Amitabha Buddha.
Think about this: Will you be able to be born in the Pure Land?
— Chapter 48, "Pure Mind, Compassionate Heart: Lessons from the Amitabha Sutra", Venerable Wuling