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 INFINITE LIFE SUTRA COMMENTARY


EXCERPT THIRTY

They are good, pure, and gentle. They abide in quiescent concentration and are wise in perception.



“Good” refers to honesty and simplicity. Good and “pure” describe mindset. Good refers to good fortune; pure, to wisdom. When one has both good fortune and wisdom, one has true merit. “Gentle” describes attitude: gentle, kind, respectful, thrifty, and humble.

This sentence tells us what attitude we should have when interacting with people and engaging in tasks. It also shows the true benefit of the Buddha’s teaching.

“Quiescent concentration” refers to a pure mind; externally, behavior is composed. As stated in the sutras: “Naga[30] is constantly in meditative concentration. There is not a time when it is not.” Every movement and every action is composed and dignified, just like in meditative concentration.

“Wise in perception” is a pure mind in function. It is also wisdom coming forth—the mind is bright, and one is clear about everything in the external environment. Therefore, “abide in quiescent concentration and are wise in perception” means the mutual cultivation of meditative concentration and wisdom. One has meditative concentration and wisdom.

Letting go of all worldly concerns and single-mindedly chanting the Buddha-name—this is cultivating meditative concentration. In addition, this is also cultivating good fortune and wisdom. As Great Master Ouyi said, single-mindedly chanting the Buddha-name will “bring ample good roots and good fortune.” “Ample good roots” is wisdom. “Ample good fortune” is good fortune. Therefore, mindfully chanting “Amituofo” is cultivating both good fortune and wisdom.

Sakyamuni Buddha praised Amitabha Buddha’s light as “the most exalted of all lights and the most supreme of all Buddhas’ [lights].” Light signifies wisdom. “The most exalted of all lights” means the most exalted wisdom. “The most supreme of all Buddhas’ [lights]” signifies that of all Buddhas, Amitabha Buddha’s wisdom and good fortune are the greatest.

Therefore, if Buddha-name chanting practitioners sincerely chant “Amituofo,” they will receive a response from Amitabha Buddha. As it is said, “When one accords with Amitabha Buddha in a single thought, one is Amitabha Buddha in that thought.” “When one accords with Amitabha Buddha in a single thought” means Amitabha Buddha’s wisdom and good fortune become one’s own wisdom and good fortune.

When one mindfully chants “Amituofo” for a long enough time, one will merge with Amitabha Buddha and become one. This is why Buddha-name chanting practitioners attain inconceivable achievements in a short time. “Abide in quiescent concentration and are wise in perception”—these are achieved through Buddha-name chanting.










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30 A class of serpent-like beings in Hindu and Buddhist mythology. They are said to live in the underworld and inhabit a watery environment. Frequently considered to be benevolent, they also believed to act as guardians of hidden Mahayana texts. The philosopher Nagarjuna is said to have been given

many scriptures by them, such as the Prajna-paramita Sutras.—Damien Keown, Oxford Dictionary of Buddhism (Oxford,Oxford University Press, 2003) 185.

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