One with true Faith in a goal
will have true Aspiration to advance
with true Practice to reach it.
During the Later Lê dynasty in Vietnam, there was a certain monk at the Temple of Light who diligently practiced Buddha Recitation, but had not vowed in earnest to achieve rebirth in the Pure Land. After his death, so the story goes, he was reborn as a prince in Ch’ing dynasty China. [The Three Provisions of Faith, Vows/ Aspiration and Practice are needed to be born in Pure Land.]
At his birth, he had certain red spots on his shoulders pointing to his previous incarnation. A hermit summoned to the palace prophesized that these spots would disappear only if they were washed away with water taken from a well at the Temple. Years later, while scrubbing the red spots with water taken from the well, the prince was moved to compose a poem with the following lines: ‘I was originally a disciple of Amitabha Buddha [Amituofo] in the West. Why have I now strayed into a royal household?’
Although the prince was aware of his previous life as a novice practicing Buddha Recitation at the Temple of Light, in his high royal position, enjoying countless blessings and pleasures, he could not, in the end, pursue his cultivation. Such are the unhappy results of reciting the Buddha’s name while lacking Faith [in Pure Land] and Vows [Aspiration to reach Pure Land]!” [‘West’ means Vietnam, which is Southwest of China. It also refers to Amitabha’s Pure Land].
Thus Have I Heard: Buddhist Parables & Stories
Understanding Amituofo Via The Amitabha Sutra
The Mindfulness Factor: How To Be Mindful Of Buddha Purely