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 Plant a Sandalwood Tree in Our Hearts - Its Fragrance will Waft through the Trichiliocosm


       In the Buddha-dhyāna-samādhi-sāgara-sūtra, Shakyamuni Buddha explained to his father the blessings of reciting the name of Buddha, telling a parable which goes like this. In ancient India, there was a tree named Eranda that stank awfully and made people vomit. It was considered the foulest smelling tree in the world. Animals that accidentally ate the fruits or flowers of the Eranda tree would go mad and die at once. Now, there was a large forest of Eranda trees covering sixteen hundred square miles, spreading the malodorous odor inside and out of the forest. Then, one day the shoots of a different type of tree, a small sandalwood, began to sprout. This is the world’s most fragrant tree. When it had barely grown into a sapling, it already exuded a most wonderful aroma that was powerful enough to overwhelm the stench released by all of the Eranda trees in the entire forest. People who came near the forest could smell only its sweet aroma, and not a trace of the foul odor of the Eranda trees. Those who witnessed this were truly amazed.

       The Buddha said to his father: “All sentient beings [reek of the foul iniquities] in the cycle of birth and death; but if they set their minds to recite the name of the Buddha, they will smell like sandlawood too. If you persistently recite the name of the Buddha, you will be reborn in the Buddha’s land. Once there, you can turn all evils to great compassion, like the scent of that sandalwood tree overpowering the odor of the Eranda trees in the entire forest.

       Bound in samsara, the minds of sentient beings are filled with the three poisons of greed, anger, and ignorance; and the three obstacles, namely earthly desires, karma, and retribution. Our countless transgressions emit stench and poisonous gas all day long like the Eranda trees, polluting the entire universe. This harms both ourselves and others. However, if someone at this time recites “Namo Amituofo,” it will be like that little sandalwood tree. However feeble, its ‘extraordinary fragrance’ is so powerful that it can remove all the afflictions of sentient beings, and turn their foul smells into sweet fragrances. As a result, sentient beings can be reborn in the Buddha’s land with all evils transformed into great compassion.

       The Buddha used this metaphor to show us how inconceivable the merits and virtues of Amitabha-recitation is. Inside every sentient being’s heart is a vast Eranda forest, emitting a stench twenty-four hours a day. To change that, some may think of felling the trees one by one. But there are far too many trees in the forest, and before one can cut down a few of them, one’s life would end and fall back into samsara.

       A much better option is to plant a “sandalwood tree” in our heart — all we have to do is gently recite “Namo Amituofo ''. The fragrance of the name will waft all over the Saha World and drift towards the Land of Ultimate Bliss, transforming the evil world of five defilements into the pristine world of fragrant lotus flowers.


(Translated by the Pure Land School Translation Team;
edited by Householder Fojin)



Master Huijing

Master Huijing

Master Jingzong

Master Jingzong

Guiding Principles

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