Understanding Amituofo Via The Amitabha Sutra (12th Run)

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Scenes Of 10th Run At Kong Meng San:

Practice of guided mindfulness of Buddha

Practice of recitation of sutra once before detailed learning with bilingual text

Practice of guided mindfulness of Buddha

Testimonial-sharing on benefits of Pure Land practice by past participant

Some Feedback From 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th Runs:

The ‘Understanding Amituofo’ course has been immensely interesting. Shi’an has a knack of breaking down difficult concepts into accessible information, which we can easily relate to in our everyday lives. This course will be useful even for Pure Land practitioners who already know something about the teachings. Shi’an always explores new perspectives that surprises us. His humorous approach to teaching and the use of clear, simple language is a major plus. There was never a dull moment. I enjoyed the classes tremendously! Amituofo, Wei Peng

Thank you for teaching us about Amituofo in such a simple way yet with so much for us to take away. I really appreciate your kindness and sincerity in conducting this course. I am inspired… I am already looking forward to your next courses, ‘The Faith Factor’ and ‘The Heart Of The Heart Sutra’.  I must say that I always just feel happy going for the Saturday classes. Thank you for your time sharing your knowledge with us. Amituofo, Weena

Dear Shi’an teacher, thank you very much for sharing so much about Amitabha Buddha. Appreciate very much for spending your precious time to try to share as much as you can. – Rebecca

阿弥陀佛. Great talk this morning. – Shirley

Dear Shi’an, I am glad we did not missed last Saturday’s class. The lessons are getting interesting and inspiring… Thank for sharing the wonderful Living Dharma… Thank you very much for illustrating your lessons for us with your real life experience on death. We truly enjoyed your last Saturday session… Thank you & best regards. Amituofo, Susan, Linda & Ricky

Bro. Shen Shi’an shares his personal experiences and anecdotes in his lessons which make the class interesting. I look forward to his class every week… Many thanks for replying and clearing my doubts regards to Buddhism. It being a pleasure attending your lessons. Amituofo, Ricky

I’m very encouraged by your knowledge and your enthusiasm. Despite overrun of time, you still pursued to complete the last lesson with passion… Thank again for dedicating your life for teaching Buddhism. We need more people like you… I’m looking forward to your (future) talks… You do a great job in influencing another person with Buddhism. Thanks, and have a great day! – Amituofo, Doreen

I attended your Amituofo class and found it to be informative and encouraging. Indeed I’m impressed by your relentless efforts and your meticulous attitude in explaining the sutra. Thanks. – Mdm Shen 

Dear Bro. Shi’an, thank you to you, who made this course possible for the benefit of English educated brothers and sisters. A round of applause to you!! Sadhu 3x. – Susan

Dear Bro Shi’an, thank you for conducting this course, without which I wouldn’t have the privilege of learning about Amituofo and the Pureland practice. Also, your ‘unconventional’ way of teaching enables us to just relax and listen in class knowing that the notes (with lots of helpful links) will be sent to us via email later. Thanks to your good effort, I had definitely learnt and gained a lot. May you be well and happy! With Metta, Audrey

As my exposure was more to Theravada teachings, I did not know much about Pure Land but intrinsically I know that Amituofo and Pure Land exist and rebirth in Pure Land is achievable. I am glad I made the effort to attend this class because the knowledge that I gained strengthened my faith in Amituofo and dispels the doubt and misinformation that I was exposed to. I urge everyone to come with an open heart and mind to learn about Amituofo. It is the best gift for yourself! With deep appreciation, Amituofo, Karuna

“Dharma Teacher Shi’an is very sincere and earnest in delivery of his courses. Always filled with many interesting and creative analogies or metaphors to let us have a better idea and understanding. The various creative media used and implementation of the element of humour brings the Dharma classes alive without boredom, very often allowing me to feel inspired and invigorated with renewed energy after the lessons. Really appreciate the amount of effort Teacher Shi’an put into preparing his classes. Hope that the work of Teacher Shi’an will continue and benefit more of us!” – Ricky

‘Enjoying the course very much. Hope to have the chance to attend the same course again infuture. It brings a lot of joy and peace. Wonderful!’ – Amituofo, Huimin

‘It was a very rewarding 10-lesson course. It enriches me even more in understanding Buddhism and Amituofo.’ – Rosie

‘Hi Teacher Shi’an, I really enjoyed this course, there are so much things to learnand I have gained a lot of knowledge from you. I will definitely attend more of your courses in future.’ – Best Regards, Amituofo, Pu-ling

‘Dear Dharma Teacher Shen, thank you for conducting the Understanding Amitabha Buddha Course. You earnestly put in good and detailed research into the preparation for conducting such a course, the result of which the audience appreciated. This is the hallmark of a good teacher. Moreover, you patiently use current examples of existing situations in daily lives to make the topic as real and penetrating as possible for the minds of the listeners. Good work.’ – Andrew

“The course was taught in a manner which could be easily comprehended by someone with minimal knowledge of Buddhism. Thank you for your efforts in motivating all participants by making the lessons interesting through sharing of real stories, and for relentless encouragement of us to nianfo. 功德无量! Amituofo.” – Jos

“I enjoyed all the 10 lessons. They were all excellent and I have gain much knowledge.” – Gerald

“Thank you very much for your class. I have learned very much from youand it inspires me to want to practise more. Thank you.” Fucai

“I feel that your frequent use of examples to illustrate your points is very useful to me, especially as a beginner who find some topics rather abstract. It is also these examples used that makes the lessons interesting…” – Danny

“Thank you very much for having these sessions. Hope to see you again.” – Amituofo, Alex

“Hi Shi’an, appreciate very much for your teaching. The lessons are really valuable. The materials are well prepared and carefully written. They are very useful for recap. Initially I was quite hesitant to register for the course. I thought I would probably drop out mid way because it was on Saturday – a day when my work schedules are tight, and the location [Kong Meng San for 10th Run] is quite inconvenient for me.. but your lessons were really so knowledgeable and interesting, that I wouldn’t want to miss them. In fact, I had been looking forward to them. Among all, I found that the topic about the interruption between each life [due to death]… to somewhat have an awakening effect on me. Since then, I have started to nianfo everyday, and it has been consistently carried out for 3 weeks! I hope I have all the time to continue the practice and be mindful of Buddha every moment. I will recommend your teachings to my friends and family members.” – Thanks & Regards, Mee Nah

“Thank you very much for your sharing of Pure Land practice. I have enjoyed every session of the course. I had supposed it to be a serious and dull subject. However, you had made it interesting and fun through your jokes and excellent illustrations. Unfortunately, I missed the last session due to a family commitment. The course structure flowed very well and is very suitable for a layperson to understand Pure Land Buddhism in a progressive manner. Your constant encouragement to get us to clarify our doubts through email [and in person] was very useful. Now, I have a much better understanding of Pure Land practice. I look forward to furthering my understanding and practice on Pure Land Buddhism. Thank you once again.” – Amituofo, Lar Kee

“Thank you for the teaching and sharing of experiences. I also like to thank Brother Steven for sharing his experience with all of us. It showed us how someone practised what was learnt.” – Amituofo, Lisa

“Dear Bro. Shi’an, ‘The Gift of Truth Excels All Other Gifts.’ Thank you for sharing the Pure Land Teachings with us. You have delivered the teachings in a very concise, interesting and creative manner. We enjoyed the lessons very much and have benefitted a lot from them. We are glad to have an excellent Dharma teacher like you in the Buddhist world. Sadhu! Sadhu! Sadhu! Amituofo!” – With appreciation, Tuck Khuen, Amy, Ivy, Doris & Joey

‘Very informative and lively lessons. Lecturer Shen makes the wonder.’ – Huan Xi

‘My wife and I were there. I must say that you are extremely engaging; there was never a dull moment in the 2 hours (of each lesson)… It has been really enriching and enlightening…’ – Teng Leng

‘I enjoy your teaching and your jokes to keep us awake… haha.’ – Regards, Tracy

‘Dear Teacher Shen, thank you for your teachings… Thank you for all the knowledge put in simple, digestable words in a light-hearted mood. The lessons are well pacedand after each lesson, the faith in me grows a little bit more. I’m glad my hubby signed me up for the course as I didn’t see the need to attend since I could access to the sutra and notes of the previous round he attended. After the end of last week’s 8th class and Bro. Steven’s sharing, I walked out of… feeling very happy despite the drizzle… Once on the bus, [using another way to practise mindfulness of Amituofo], I quickly whipped out my handphone to text ‘Amituofo, Amituofo… [in Chinese]’ and almost filled the length of 12 messages during the 17-minute ride. Once home, our 89 cm tall son fell down from a dining chair, where he was standing to drinkcereal. He landed sideways, unhurt and with no crying or words of discomfort. He had spilt half of his drink, and was still holding the cup. Both hubby and myself were 2-3 arm lengths away. We witnessed this and was speechless. It was as if our son was ‘lifted’ and merely placed on the floor [to break his fall]. We’re not sure if this is the blessing of Amituofo’s protection, but we are sure that nianfo [being mindful of Amitabha Buddha] is wonderful and great! May you have a great Amituofo day!’ – Emily

‘拨歪导正,引领群迷’ – Zhi Hai

‘I have enjoyed every session of your interesting teaching so far. And I am sure I will continue to enjoy the rest too.’ – Lar Kee

‘I must say I have been enjoying your classes very much and I find the stories inspiring.’ – Yin Fong

‘I would like to take this opportunity to let you know that I enjoy attending your Saturday evening classes…’ Yalin

‘Thank you for the series of good and beneficial courses. Really enjoyed them and now have a better understanding of Amituofo… The pace and the build-up of the sessions is good, and you have made it very easy to follow and understand. Thank you for making them so lively and wonderful!’ Camilly

‘It is great that you are committed to the propagation of the Dharma (and I must say that you do have a ‘gift’ for making it accessible)… I hope you will continue the good work in propagating the Dharma in the simple and interesting way that is characteristic of your style. With the Greatest Bodhicitta, William

‘Your teachings thus far has raised my faith factor and I am grateful to you for your sharing… I appreciate your generous sharing of the Dharma Teachings. It is indeed a very admirable deed. May the merits of the Triple Gem continue to bless you. I found your teachings educational, and to have enhanced my spiritual life.’ – Jenny

‘Thanks for sharing about Amituofo… Your lessons keep people coming back. Congrats for your great job!’ – Jina

“I am in your class. I like the way you teach – very funny and not boring. Otherwise, I can fall asleep quite fast!” – Diana

“Dear Teacher Shi’an, I would like to thank you for sharing your [email] write-up… I truly enjoy reading it and understand Buddhism better. Appreciate your constant sharing with us.” – Eliza

“Thank you so much for teaching us about Amituofo and Pure land. Truthfully speaking, I was amazed and didn’t expect that there’s so many teachings for the above.” – Silvi

“8 lessons had attended (so far), I had turn with conviction. Thanks.” – Andrew

“This is rare opportunity hearing a good Dharma session about the Pure Land of Amitabha Buddha. Please accept my deepest bow and true appreciation of what you have organized.” – Hardy

Enjoyable class and topic. Always looked forward to Saturdays because of the class. Thank you! – KM Teo

“I would like to thank you very much for your tireless teaching during your stay in Jakarta. The seminar really gave me a whole new perspective on Buddhism… I couldn’t have made a better decision than registering. A lot of the teachings were affirmative and complementing of what I’ve understood about Buddhism so far.” – William

“I had the impression that it would be a ‘dry’ and boring class initially. Thank Buddha you have the ability to make us giggle or laugh during class. It is a ‘good investment’ to sign up for your class.” – Irene

“Thanks for the very interesting sessions. It has been an enjoyable experience attending your class… Thanks for the very inspiring 10 sessions.” – Bee Lay

“Dear Brother Shi’an, We would like to express our heartfelt appreciation to you for conducting the Amitabha Sutra class. You are able to explain the sutra clearly and have provided excellent examples and illustrations. My husband, Lawrence, and I, together with our friends truly enjoy your class and we have gained a better understanding Amitabha Sutra. We also want to thank the volunteers for manning the registration booth every Saturday and the ushers… Once again, thank you for your excellent teaching. Rejoice. Namo Amituofo!” – Lay Ling & Lawrence

“The Amitabha Sutra class that you are conducting is really Great, Informative, Enlightening and Beneficial. We start to appreciate the Sutra and Buddha’s Teaching more… Amituofo.” – Choon Fah

“Thanks very much for weeks of enlightening and insightful edutainment. The ‘before/after effect’ (like Marie France) of Pureland teachings is indeed profound. I must say I’ve progressed rapidly in ‘faith, vows and practice’, thanks to your passionate and generous sharing.” – Han

“Thank you for the insightful answers! I look forward to Lesson 2 this Saturday.” – Amituofo, Yong Guan

“I should also thank you because you have inspired me to spread these wonderful Dharma especially about the Pureland to more people.” – Amituofo, Huan Ghee

“Ha ha ha u are a funny guy. Every time during the class, we look at your action and the way u give usexample really make me laugh. Tks and keep up the good job.” Sherlis

“U r one of the best teachers I ever seen.” – Maggie

“Creative presentation… Very motivated and knowledgeable.” – Brenda

“Very relevant, very well-researched, very informative, knowledgeable and inspiring.” – AL Lim

“Instructor is very very very good.” – KH Lee

“Very applicable [lessons]… He [teacher] knows how to relate to people and make suitable analogies.” – Lay Eng

“Teaching is very lively, interesting, [and teacher is] knowledgeable.” – Irene Ng

“[Teacher is] very skilful and very knowledgeable.” – Lay Keow

“[Teacher is] approachable, knowledgeable and helpful.” – CC Lim

“[Teacher] interacts with the audience well.” – Melvin

“[Teacher is] very resourceful and speaks clearly. [Course is] very informative. I am glad I attended this course. I found my spiritual goal.” – Meow Lin

“Interesting mix of visuals, videos, testimonials, slides and co-relation between the different [Buddhist] practices.” – Suzanne

“Use of analogies and examples help for understanding concepts. Testimonials help to to strengthen faith. Use of graphics and videos make the contents more interesting.” – Rebecca

“Good introduction, especially to the curious.” – HH Lau

“Very informative… It’s interesting to listen again [by attending again in future].” – Nicole

“[Teacher is] very skilful, informative and interesting… Very good, should make it more lessons.” – CF Lim

“The course has let me know more about Amitabha Buddha and his Pure Land and increased by faith more and more.” – Ruth

“Great. Thank you.” – Cathy

“[Teacher is] relatable, able to explain concepts well. [Course is] informative, entertaining and interesting.” – Wei Ting

“Good knowledge and enthusiasm demonstrated. Good research and presentation…” “Thank you for your kind effort in promoting Pure Land practice. Amituofo!” – Anon8

“Keep up the good work – sure go Pure Land.” – FS Lam

“[Teacher is] very good, experienced, able to explain things in simple concise manner, and is friendly and approachable…” “Look forward to more of such courses in English. Well done!” – LK Loh

“[Teacher is] well versed in Buddhism and able to explain clearly.” – SH Voon

“His passion and compassion for the Pure Land teaching is very evident!” – LH Heng

“[Lessons] flow smoothly with ample examples… [Teacher is] knowledgeable and proficient.” – CH Kok

“Well presented. [Teacher] has passion for whatever he is teaching.” Siying

“Very comprehensive notes complemented by informative emails. Excellent teacher. Teacher Shi’an is a very dedicated teacher. He is able to relate the sutra to us in an easy-to-understand manner. The lessons flow very well and are well paced.” – Lay Ling & Lawrence

“[Teacher is] very skilful, passionate and knowledgeable. This is a very good course. It helped to clarify a lot of my doubts and strengthened my faith.” – VM Ho

“[Teacher is] humorous and adorable.” – WK Koh

“Just want to let you know that I have enjoyed your 10 lessons on Understanding Amituofo. I now have a better understanding about Buddhism. I am looking forward to your new classes, please let me know the dates and place when available.” – Josephine Yap

“The instructor is very motivational and impactful.” Meilin

“I think your lessons are very much well prepared. You have done much research. I can understand that it is difficult to do that. Well done! What matters most to me is the content. And you are humourous and friendly as well. Excellent!” – PS Chan

“Thank you for an educational and interactive first lesson. Fresh perspective and insight gained. My hubby and I enjoyed it thoroughly. Look forward to the next class. We enjoy every lesson. The path to Pure Land is simple and fuss free. Coming from the past 15 years of Theravada Buddhist teachings’ background, this is refreshing and would certainly add depth on our Dharma pursuits. We have never had a structured and systematic education on Buddhism of any branch although all our lives we are connected to it from birth. The laoshi (teacher) Shen Shi’an is engaging, witty and knowledgeable. Teacher is very well prepared, eloquent, knowledgeable and systematic. – Lye Wai Fun

“I really enjoy the class. Thanks for making the class interesting and engaging.” – Hazel

“Thank you for conducting the class on Pureland Buddhism. It was funny yet insightful.” – Louisa

“Information is well put across in a congruent and easy to absorb and systematic manner.”Tingji

“Thanks for delivering such an interesting presentation that is beneficial for us to have a better fundamental understanding of Buddhism. The organising committee is very committed to make this class a success, and tried their best to provide a conducive environment for the participants.” – Yong Leow

“[The teacher is] very knowledgeable.” – Candy

“Many thanks for your interesting lesson at the Amitabha Sutra class yesterday. I enjoyed it thoroughly.”– Kok Leong

“The trainer has done an excellent job in bringing Mahayana teachings to English-speaking Buddhists. He is able to dispel the myth that Chinese Buddhism is suitable only to illiterate old men and women. May the trainer be able to help more sentient beings to contact the teachings. May Buddhas and Bodhisattvas support him in his endeavor.” – Anon3

“It was an enlightening session for the lesson that you have conducted today. Thank you for imparting the knowledge on the ‘crash course’ (on Buddhism for the first lesson). Things I learn in your lesson today: To re-ignite my compassion to all beings, including those that I previously do not like due to heavy office politics. Your passion in Buddhism that energised my learnings. It was another informative session yesterday and I can understand the concept well, through your interesting presentation.” – Jeffrey

“[The teacher] is lively and can sustain attention.” – Anon4

“There are many comparisons to our daily lives to reinforce learning.” – Anon1

“This is a great course. I am thankful for this affinity that led me to this course and enable me to start walking the spiritual path.” – Anon2

“[The teacher] can explain very well!” – Bee Ting

“[The teacher is] well researched and well prepared.”– Jono

“Instructor allows us to email him questions in doubt which benefits beginners.”– Anon5

“Yes, very good and very relevant. You have also made it very interesting.” – Pearly

“[The teacher is] knowledgeable and humorous. The course is very informative and interesting.”– Anon6

“[The teacher is] a well learned practitioner.”– Richard

“Very engaging style of presentation.”– Anon7

“Straight to the point with good illustrations.”– Lam

“I enjoyed the first lesson yesterday night as you were an engaging and humourous teacher. Thanks.”Yingying

“Many thanks for the inspiring sharing on 10 July.”– Hui Ping

“I find the course informative and delivered in an interesting manner.”– CH

“Many thanks, Shi’an! It was a very fruitful learning experience! Amitoufo!” – Jennifer

“Must tell you that we enjoy your class. It is very comprehensive, with easy to understand and lively presentation.”– Rita

“Your clarion call on high importance and high urgency of learning the route to Pureland was depicted with a ‘think out of the box’ (manner) effectively. Witty dialogue on the multi-purpose use of Amituofo’s name remains vividly in my mind. Leaves us much to practice. Thank you for being a wonderful teacher by bringing the Dharma to us in a simple, interesting and fun way. In all the classes, we had been educated and entertained! It was the very first time that we ever attended a structured course, though we are ‘Buddhists” all our lives. Lessons were joyfully taught by a highly knowledgeable and energetic instructor who engaged your attention and captivated your imagination by the power of interesting visuals and sometimes comical parables.” – Lye Wai Fun

“Dear Bro Shi’an, I really enjoy your class on Amituofo. Learn many things everytime I go for the class. Today’s testimonial is also really inspiring! Amituofo” – Tiong Han

“Brother Shi’an, You are a great teacher; your teachings alone are a tremendous inspiration to those like me who have good karmic affinity to listen to you. You soldand I bought the ticket to Pureland on the very first lesson in March last year. That’s how inspiring you are! Thank you. 阿弥陀佛 _()_ ” – Steven

“Thanks for the guidance. I have re-evaluated your advice and implemented it. The outcome is encouraging. Thank you for your statement that kept me motivated and not giving up. Thanks for making a difference in our lives.” – Jeffrey

“Hi Shi’an, I want to thank you for giving me better insights of the sutra, as well as instilling in me more faith. I am very thankful that I have the opportunity to attend your class. It is very difficult to find good English Buddhist classes and interesting teachers. I hope you can conduct more classes so we English educated ones would not miss the opportunity to understand and appreciate the Buddhist teaching and to reach Pure Land. Your class is super, never one moment boring and time just flies. I wish it never ends. Every moment is motivating, interesting, soft-selling but never forcing, well presented and delivered. Very good visual and presentation material. I believe that only those with faith and passion like you could conduct such classes. Academics would present and speak without conviction, but your easy style and passion makes the class alive, interesting and motivating. Shi’an good job!! Please don’t stop, we need your guidance. Thank you again.” – Amituofo, Pauline

About Shen Shi’an 沈时安: An independent Buddhist teacher, author, translator and editor, he was one of the founding members of the Dharma Propagation Division of Kong Meng San Phor Kark See Monastery (Bright Hill Temple in Singapore) in 1997.

Holding an MA in Buddhist Studies, which covered the major Buddhist traditions, he served as a Dharma Trainer and Project Coordinator in its Community Development & Training Department until 2011, focusing on Buddhist research, writing, teaching and answering of Buddhist queries for the press.

He was the founder of the temple’s Youth Mission (now ‘KMS Youth’), a book purchaser for its Awareness Place project, and the Chief Editor of the Web (and Library) Department, which co-supported, a popular Buddhist education website.

He is the founder and editor of since 1997, one of the world’s largest independent Buddhist inspirational e-newsletters with over 29,900 members, the editor of ‘Be a Lamp Upon Yourself’, ‘The Stonepeace Book (Volume 1-2)’, ‘Awaken: Gateway to Buddhism (CD-ROM)’ and the writer-editor of ‘The Daily Enlightenment: Reflections for Practising Buddhists (Book 1-6)’ and ‘The Amazing & Amusing Adventures of Sam & Sara: The Zen of All Kinds of Stuff! (which became #1 Buddhist bestseller at Singapore’s largest bookshop).’ Along with translated sutras, he has to date, 11 published works.

He also translates sutras and commentaries, and contributes occasionally to magazines such as ‘Nanyang Buddhist’, ‘Awaken’ (for which he was a Contributing Editor), ‘For You (Information)’, and ‘Eastern Horizon’. He served with the film selection team of a Buddhist film festival, writes movie reviews for, the world’s leading Buddhist news network, and popularised Dharma@Cinema, an innovative way of sharing the Dharma through detailed reviews and discussions of both popular and offbeat films.

Specialising in the Pure Land teachings, he has taught the subject at Singapore Buddhist Federation, Kong Meng San, Pu Ji Si Buddhist Research Centre and Poh Ming Tse, while leading an ongoing weekly Pureland Practice Fellowship.

He is also frequently invited to conduct Dharma discussions for youths of tertiary institutions’ Buddhist societies (NUSBS, NTUBS, SIMBB, NYPBS, NPBS) on various subjects, and to introduce Buddhist life perspectives at Secondary Schools (St. Patrick’s School, Manjusri School), Junior Colleges (Catholic Junior College) and International Schools (UWCSEA, SJII).

He was also invited to share on Buddhism by Dharma Drum Mountain (Singapore), Fo Guang Shan (Singapore), Tai Pei Buddhist Centre, Singapore Buddhist Mission Youth, Singapore Buddhist Youth Mission, Wat Ananda Youth, Buddha of Medicine Welfare Society, The Buddhist Union, Buddhist Fellowship (Singapore) and Kampung Senang. He has also been invited to Indonesia and Malaysia to teach.

He was a committee member of the Inter-Religious Organisation, through which he served in interfaith harmony projects by writing and giving of public talks. He has represented Buddhist points of view at governmental events conducted by NACLI, NHB, NHG, SAF, SPF, MHA, ACM, SPM, STB,, IRCC and MCYS.

He also co-runs, a community blog that promotes creative sharing of Buddhism via thousands of articles. He can be reached at tde [@] for invitations to share the Dharma.

Interview In Buddhist Magazine:

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