Knocking on the Coffin Every Day: A Reminder to Return to the Land of Ultimate Bliss.
In the Song Dynasty there was a lay Buddhist named Wu Zicai, alias Wu Xin Sou. Wu was a scholar and a high official in the Imperial Court. Despite occupying a high official position, he was not greedy for fame and wealth.
He had a coffin made and slept in it every night after he became an official. He instructed his servant to knock on the coffin and call out:
"Wu Xin Sou, go home to the Land of Bliss! There is no peace in the three domains, and there is a lotus for our rebirth in the Pure Land. Go home to the Land of Bliss!”
Upon hearing this, Wu would get up, sit still and recite the name of Amitabha Buddha.
One day, while he was meditating and reciting the name of the Buddha, he asked his family members to listen quietly. They heard heavenly music coming from the sky. Wu was reborn in the Land of Ultimate Bliss then and there peacefully.
This is what it means by "there is no peace in the three domains, and there is a lotus for our rebirth in the Pure Land"
Therefore, we must know that the human and heavenly realms are full of anxiety and fear. They are not our ultimate destination. Only the Land of Ultimate Bliss is our final refuge.
The Sutra of Infinite Life says,
Even if a great fire were to fill the universe of a thousand million worlds, you should pass through it to hear this sutra, to arouse joyful faith, to uphold and chant it, and to practice in accordance with its teachings.
Even if the fire is burning the entire three thousand million worlds, we must overcome it and not be frightened. Why? Because only through overcoming it and hearing the deliverance by Amitabha, can one be liberated from samsara. Otherwise, one will be burned by the fire of the three thousand million worlds forever.
Therefore, we would rather work hard and suffer now than be subject to the endless fire in the Three Domains.
Master Shandao has alerted us with a verse in the Hymn of the Rebirth, which says:
As we lead a hectic life of mundane affairs, little do we realize that our time is running out by the day.
Just as we can’t predict when the candlelight will go out in the wind, we don’t know in which of the six realms we will end up.
How can we not be shocked and terrified when we haven’t been emancipated from the bitter ocean of samsara?We must strive to seek the ultimate liberation when we are still young and healthy.
This means that while we are so engrossed in the mundane affairs in our daily lives, our time in this world passes without us being aware of it. Then, one day, all of a sudden, our time is up, much like an oil lamp going out in the wind abruptly. However, we are in complete ignorance and unaware of our perilous situation. Now that we have acquired a physical human form and have heard of the Dharma, we must strive to seek the ultimate liberation Dharma when we are still of sound mind and body. Our aim is to pursue a Dharma Path that will free us from the bondage of samsara. No more births and deaths. Just eternal blissfulness.
(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