The path of rebirth is dangerous,
and impermanence comes swift.
Earnestly recite ‘Amituofo’,
and do not change the subject.
– The Pure Land Tradition’s 13th Patriarch Great Master Yìnguāng
The approach of death is eventual for everyone, unless we attain enlightenment in this single lifetime, which is not easy at all. What makes it more troubling is that death can strike suddenly, at any moment. Thus, it is of utmost importance and urgency to prepare how to handle the dying moments – for ourselves, family members, friends, acquaintances and even strangers. ‘Death skills’ are just as, if not more indispensable, than many other life skills. It is especially crucial, right before and after death, to exert right efforts for facilitating smooth and blissful transitions to good rebirths – the best of which are in Āmítuófó’s [Amitā(bha) Buddha] Pure Land…
Who is Āmítuófó? He is a Buddha, whose name is recommended by every Buddha as the best subject for mindfulness, so as to reach his Pure Land. Who is a Buddha? A Buddha is a supremely enlightened being, who has awakened to perfect compassion and wisdom for alleviating the suffering of all beings and guiding them to blissful liberation similar to his. What is mindfulness? In its simplest form, it is to wholeheartedly (single-mindedly) focus on reciting a Buddha’s name, verbally or silently, to develop calm, clear and blissful connection. What is a Pure Land? It is a magnificent and blissful school created by a Buddha for guiding beings to the goal of True Happiness that all Buddhas attained…
In the third section [of this book of five sections] is a translation of the Pure Land Tradition’s 13th Patriarch Great Master Yìnguāng’s essay titled ‘The Three Great Essentials When Approaching Death [For Birth In Pure Land]’… [W]hat most remarkable about Great Master Yìnguāng’s advice is its concise yet clear nature. So essential are the streamlined essentials mentioned (with bold text for quick emergency reference) that any less would be in lack, and any more but a bonus. This is thus followed by the fourth section with additional ‘Important Guidelines: Before Dying, During Dying And After Dying’, which include the Three Provisions [of unshakeable Faith in Āmítuófó, unwavering Aspiration (Vow) to reach his Pure Land, and the utmost sincere Practice of mindfulness of Āmítuófó’s name] and Three Essentials in spirit…
Among other auspicious signs, the most powerful proof of being well-accomplished in the Three Provisions is, as in many wonderful real-life cases, to be able to know and tell in advance, the time of one’s departure for Pure Land. Such confidence is possible only when practitioners have already received ‘appointment bookings’ from Āmítuófó on when he will be arriving to guide them to his Pure Land. Historically, the number of such calm, clear and accurate announcements, which show total absence of attachment to this transient life, aversion to death, and delusion of where they are going to is amazingly and assuringly high.
Lest it be mistaken, the Pure Land Practice of being mindful of Āmítuófó is not only for our last moments, but for benefiting everyone in everyday life too. It is the fine-tuning of ourselves towards our Buddha-nature and the Buddha’s blessings, through which we naturally become attuned to the fuller avoidance of all evils, the greater doing of all good, and the more thorough purification of our minds. It is with ongoing regular Practice too, that we fortify our Three Provisions now, to be more skilled and prepared for the moment of departure… [Read Full Article: http://thedailyenlightenment.com/2015/12/how-to-use-the-pure-land-passport | Get Your Passport: http://thedailyenlightenment.com/2015/12/apply-for-the-pure-land-passport-here]
Due to mindfulness of death,
be mindful of Āmítuófó.
Due to mindfulness of Āmítuófó,
transcend birth and death.