The Amitabha Sutra - Why Is This Buddha Called Amitabha?
Updated: Mar 1, 2022
What do you think:
why is this Buddha called Amitabha?
Why did Sakyamuni Buddha introduce Amitabha Buddha and the Pure Land? Because Amitabha is an excellent teacher for us. We can practice this Pure Land method and be confident that when we do it correctly we will be able to attain buddhahood in just one lifetime. Furthermore, people in our world have a strong affinity with Amitabha. Drawn to him by this affinity, we are happy to learn from him, glad to chant his name. And so Sakyamuni Buddha introduced this method to us.
As Great Master Ouyi wrote in his commentary on the Amitabha Sutra, “This sutra expressly teaches the wonderful practice of mindful buddha-name chanting, so it makes a special point of explaining this name. This is to enable people to deeply believe that this great name, which is endowed with myriad virtues, is inconceivable, so that they would single-mindedly chant the buddha-name with no more doubts.”
We must first understand that the most important teaching in this sutra is that we should mindfully chant Amitabha Buddha’s name. Chanting is the easiest and simplest, the most convenient, and the most wondrous of the four forms of the buddha-mindfulness practice. The four forms are buddha-mindfulness based on real mark, buddha-mindfulness by contemplation of an image, buddha-mindfulness by visualization, and buddha-mindfulness by buddha-name chanting.
The Amitabha Sutra advocates the fourth form— buddha-name chanting—as does the Infinite Life Sutra. These sutras attest to the profound significance of the name Amitabha Buddha. For these reasons, Sakyamuni emphasized the name by asking Sariputra why he thought this Buddha is called Amitabha.
— Chapter 24, "Pure Mind, Compassionate Heart: Lessons from the Amitabha Sutra", Venerable Wuling
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