If it’s so easy, why am I still here?

(Part Two) 

While buddha-name chanting is indeed straightforward and the easiest of all the methods the Buddha taught, it’s not all that we do. Chanting needs to go hand in hand with cultivation. Why?

To attain birth in the Pure Land, we need an absolutely focused mind in our last moments. For this, we need the right conditions. What conditions? We need to be awake and coherent. If not chanting peacefully on our own, we need companions who chant to remind us that we have to chant.

How do we ensure we’ll have such rare conditions? We cultivate ourselves through moral, compassionate living. We live simply, using just what we need. We give our energy, time, and resources to those who have less good fortune than we. We strive to alleviate the fears and worries of others. We view the needs and concerns of others as seriously as we view our own.

Doing these, we will create the necessary good fortune to be able to chant “Amituofo” in those crucial last moments.



Why seek transitory happiness in phenomena... (Click image for video)


If it’s so easy, why am I still here?

(Part One) 

Of all the methods the Buddha taught, Pure Land Buddhism is said to be the “easiest to practice.” Those unfamiliar with the practice may get excited on hearing this. At last! An easy method! Not so fast there. Yes, compared to other Dharma doors, Pure Land is indeed the simplest and easiest.

But not easy! “Easiest” refers to buddha-name chanting. From the moment we begin our practice to the moment Amitabha Buddha comes to escort us to the Western Pure Land, we chant his name. There is no need for a teacher to monitor our progress step by step, assessing us to guide us to the next level. We just chant Amitabha’s name. So the practice is truly the easiest.

But! We need to chant single-mindedly, with no other thoughts arising. This is the “not easy” part. Anyone who has tried to hold just one thought in their mind knows how slippery thoughts are.

So, while the method is the easiest, the practice takes dedication.