The Importance of Being Kind-hearted
A gentle and yielding heart is the foundation of all good deeds and kind words. It is also the beginning of a person’s spiritual and emotional progress. To become more yielding and gentle is the fundamental change in the disposition of Amitabha-reciters, and the most natural benefits experienced by Amitabha-reciters.
The 33rd vow of Amitabha Buddha in the “Infinite Life Sutra" is the Vow of the Tenderness Light. It says: “When I attain Buddhahood, the sentient beings throughout the countless and inconceivable Buddha‐worlds in the ten quarters, having received my light and having been touched by it, will become soft and gentle in body and mind, surpassing humans and devas in those qualities. Should it not be so, may I not attain perfect enlightenment”.
In describing Dharmakara Bodhisattva’s achievement of his 33rd vow, the Sutra further states that, “If sentient beings encounter his light, their three defilements are removed, and they feel tenderness, joy, and pleasure, and good thoughts arise”.
This means that a person who recites Amitabha's name is illuminated by the Buddha's light, and he will become kind-hearted and gentle. An unyielding and demanding person will begin to be gentle and amenable. If he once lacked loving kindness, now he has compassion. He will reflect on adversities and setbacks and come to realize that they were all due to his own wrongdoings, or a result of past evil karma. He will learn not to blame others. There is peace and joy in his heart, and also gratitude and remorse. For the rest of his life he has faith in Amitabha, is contrite, and is kind to others. When he dies and is reborn in the Land of Ultimate Bliss, the three poisons of greed, anger, and ignorance will be eliminated. This is the merit and concrete manifestation of the way Buddha softens Amitabha-reciters with his light.
(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