Kanji for Muryoko

'Infinite Light'

Journal of Shin Buddhism


Chapter 10

Continuous Mindfulness

Amida's Light shines without ceasing.
Hence, he is called the 'Buddha of Unceasing Light'.
By relying on the Power of his Light,
We attain birth with uninterrupted mindfulness. (Jodo Wasan 10)

In the Buddhist practice for attaining Enlightenment, mindfulness is one of the most important factors. Without the correct mindfulness, one cannot successfully follow the prescribed methods. In the Eightfold Noble Path (i.e., right views, right thoughts, right speech, right acts, right living, right effort, right mindfulness and right meditation), as well as in other systems of practice, mindfulness is mentioned as an indispensable factor of Enlightenment.

Mindfulness draws one's attention to focus on a Buddha or a principle of reality, inducing a state of deep concentration through which a higher level of spirituality can be achieved.

From the beginning of Buddhism in India, mindfulness of the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha has been particularly emphasised for all Buddhists. One becomes a Buddhist by taking refuge in these Three Treasures and then continually remembers them all through life. Similarly, one becomes a Shin Buddhist by taking refuge in Amida Buddha, in the Dharma that he represents, and in the Bodhisattvas and other sages who follow his Dharma and help him with the rescue of suffering beings like ourselves.

Our taking refuge in Amida Buddha is accompanied by an act of worship with palms joined together and the calling of his Name, and, more importantly, by continual mindfulness of him with sincere hearts. These constitute an inseparable whole, providing the way of devotion in Shin Buddhism, through which we can receive Amida's saving power and be sure of attaining birth in the Pure Land.

In his commentary on the Discourse on the Pure Land, T'an--luan - the Third Master - stresses the importance of the mental state of devotion. He distinguishes three aspects of faith: sincere heart, singleness of heart, and continual mindfulness. He further clarifies how these three are related to each other; if one of them is lacking, the other two cannot exist. If one's devotion is sincere and single-hearted, it is bound to continue without interruption.

Continual mindfulness of the Buddha, which is not liable to be distracted by other thoughts or defiled by blind passions, can only be attained through the Buddha's Power. As Amida's Power is manifested as his Light, those who perceive the Light, whether directly through visualisation or through hearing of it, feel Amida's irresistible saving power and spontaneously give themselves up to it with whole-hearted devotion.

The sincere and unceasing mindfulness of Amida is not a one-way act directed to him from us but a two-way channel through which Amida's heart and our hearts respond to each other.

Amida's heart and my heart made into one heart - Namu Amida Butsu.

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