When Facing Death, Remorse and Fear are Felt in Succession
The Fifth of the Five Evil passages in The Sutra of the Infinite Life says,
When facing death, remorse and fear are felt in succession. Wicked people do evil, suffer pain after pain, and wander from darkness to deeper darkness. The cycles of birth-and-death never cease, and the evil paths continue, life after life, with no end in sight. It is indeed difficult for them to gain release, and the pain they must endure is indescribable.
If you have no faith in the Buddha and do not recite his name to seek his deliverance ordinarily, then, when facing death, you will feel remorse and break into tears, repent for past wrong-doings, and fear the afterlife. These two kinds of sufferings are intertwined.
What is this "remorse"?
“For whom have we been working so hard?” When facing death, you are about to lose everything: your life, your wife, your children, your career, and your wealth that your whole life has depended on; you will realize that nothing belongs to you, for they are like bubbles upon which we cannot rely. We have never thought about cultivating merit or preparing for our death. If we die now, all the feelings of fear and remorse will surge into our minds, and it will be too late to even regret the lost opportunity to cultivate merits..
What is this fear?
Suddenly, you alone have to face the consequences of our past transgressions of killing, stealing, lust, deceit, which will decide your next life, the unknown destiny, so you now feel helpless, fearful and remorseful.
We have gone through this fear and remorse countless times in past lives and could never escape before even once.
O, sentient beings! Now is the time to face reality: the terror of inevitable death. Let us recite Amitabha’s name, seeking rebirth to the Buddha’s Land of Ultimate Bliss, and free ourselves from the karmic bondage of the six-realm samsara.
In life, we are mere travelers.
Even a hundred-year love and companionship is nothing but a dream.
Upon death, none of our mundane possessions can be kept;
We face King Yama empty-handed.
(Translated and edited by the Pure Land School Translation Team)
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