Having A Good Doctor is No Reason to Want to Be Sick! We Recite the Name of Amitabha to Appreciate the Buddha's Intent
Amitabha Buddha's "deliverance" is unconditional, benefitting all beings, good or evil, without discrimination. Will that make us slack off in our cultivation, and give us a license to do evil?
(Response from audience: No)
Therefore, we must avoid wanting to be sick just because we have a good doctor. We practice "Amitabha-recitation" because we deeply feel the compassion of the Buddha.
A good doctor should have both professional ethics and skills. "Medical ethics" means that doctors should treat all patients as their sons. So, they will try their best to help any patient who seeks treatment without reservation, and whether remunerated or not. They pay no regard to the patient's financial background or how sick he is. At the same time, a good doctor must be able to treat all diseases, be it cancer, AIDS or whatever. Only then does he deserve to be called a good doctor. A good doctor, to be worthy of his name, must also be sympathetic to his patients and hope for their swift recovery. This is the heart of a good doctor.
Do you think it is right if a person has a good doctor by his side and for that reason he just dreams up an illness or allows an existing health condition to get worse? Of course not, because being sick is suffering. A sick person needs a good doctor because he can’t heal himself. Therefore, he seeks a good doctor.
When we are sick, not only do we suffer, we make others suffer too. We must understand that and not look forward to falling ill. By the same token, we Amitabha-reciters do not just let ourselves do wrong simply because we have a distinguished doctor, Amitabha, who can deliver all reciters to his Land of Bliss. We recite Amitabha's name because we appreciate the Buddha's heart. What kind of heart does a Buddha have ?
The Contemplation of Infinite Life Sutra says:
The Buddha’s heart is none other than great compassion. It embraces sentient beings with unconditional kindness.
"Buddha's heart" is great mercy. With equal and unconditional compassion, it "saves" all "good and evil ordinary beings".
The Buddha-dhyana-samadhi Sutra also says:
The hearts of all Buddhas are of great compassion which is targeted towards afflicted sentient beings. When a Buddha sees sentient beings suffer, it is like having his heart pierced with an arrow, and he just wants to eliminate their sufferings.
From the Buddhist passages above, we know that Buddha has great compassion, especially towards afflicted sentient beings. It is Buddha's wish to rapidly free us from suffering and grant us peace and happiness.
Are we miserable sentient beings?
(Audience: Yes )
We are full of afflictions! Our sufferings are beyond words!
We should realize that we Amitabha-reciters are the target of Amitabha Buddha's deliverance. Take the spotlight on a theater stage as an example. Its bright light follows the main character around, not the audience. Amitabha's light permeates all worlds. Who is his light following? It's Amitabha-reciters! Hence [the light of Amitabha] embraces only those who recite his name. Thus, we should know that Amitabha Buddha pities and embraces us with compassion, and does not judge us, despite our sins.
If Amitabha Buddha really minds whether we are good or bad, he would be doing what
King Yama does: passing judgements on which of the wretched realms of hell, ghost and animal we should go to. However, Amitabha Buddha puts up with us and does not mind at all what kind of person we are. His deliverance is "proactive and non-discriminatory". He vowed to practice the Bodhisattva Way so as to accumulate merits on our behalf, repay our karmic debts, eliminate our karmic obstacles, and enhance our blessings and wisdom. He enables our rebirth in the Land of Ultimate Bliss smoothly and safely. Let us try to feel Amitabha's compassionate heart and the way he tolerates us. He is so understanding and open-minded about our iniquities. We should be really grateful for his generous and unconditional gift.
If we appreciate the Buddha's heart, we should treat all sentient beings with a heart like that. An Amitabha-reciter who appreciates the Buddha's heart will see his personality, temperament, appearance and fate change. If none of these changes, it just goes to show that the reciter has not fully felt the compassionate heart of Amitabha. He is not really an Amitabha-reciter who has faith in the deliverance of the Buddha. Therefore, we reciters must reflect on ourselves, asking if we have changed or not. Are we still letting our emotions control us, and being easily aggrieved and worked up? Are we still intolerant and uncompromising? People who have faith in the Buddha and practice Amitabha-recitation should adopt this approach in life: everything about yesterday is dead and gone, while today is a new day and everything starts afresh. Today we are born again and if we are still behaving just as we did yesterday, we need to take a good, close look at ourselves. That said, we are only iniquitous ordinary beings afflicted with heavy karmic obstacles. We simply cannot make a complete turnaround to get rid of all old bad habits as soon as we place our faith in the Buddha. It is just not possible. Nevertheless, our minds should be more acute in our introspection and reflection.
Namo Amitabha Buddha!
(Translated by the Pure Land School Translation Team;
edited by Householder Fojin)
Faith in, and acceptance of, Amitabha’s deliverance
Single-minded recitation of Amitabha’s name
Aspiration to rebirth in Amitabha’s Pure Land
Comprehensive deliverance of all sentient beings