What do you think: why is this Buddha called Amitabha?
Why did the Buddha introduce Amitabha and the Pure Land? Because Amitabha is an excellent teacher for us. We can practice this Pure Land method confident in the knowledge that, in doing so correctly, we can attain Buddhahood in just one lifetime. Furthermore, people in our world have a strong affinity with Amitabha. Due to this affinity, we feel drawn to him. We are happy to learn from him, glad to chant his name. And so the Buddha introduced this method to us.
As Great Master Ouyi wrote, “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 the Buddha’s name. Chanting is the easiest, 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, as does the Infinite Life Sutra. These sutras attest to the profound significance of the name Amitabha Buddha. For these reasons, Sakyamuni Buddha made a point of emphasizing the name by asking Sariputra why he thought this Buddha is called Amitabha.