In the beginning of the twentieth century, the well-known Master Dixian, was visited by a childhood friend who wished to become a monk. The master initially denied the request because of the rigorous training and study at the temple. But as his friend persisted, the master agreed saying, “I will find you a deserted temple in the countryside.”
The Master then arranged for some practitioners to provide meals for the new monk and then taught his old friend to chant “Amituofo.” The master said, “When tired, rest; when rested, resume chanting. I am sure that you will greatly benefit from this.” And so, the new monk isolated himself in the small temple and as instructed, concentrated solely on his chanting.
Three years later, he told the woman who had been doing his cooking that there was no need to prepare the next day’s food. The following day, she went to the temple and found him standing in the temple with his recitation beads in his hand. She called out his name but received no response. Upon moving closer to him, she realized that he was dead!
Not knowing what to do, she rushed off to tell the others, and they sent the master a message. Due to difficulties in traveling, it took Master Dixian three days to arrive at the temple. He immediately understood that his old friend had been reborn into the Pure Land.
He said admiringly, “You have proved that your decision three years ago to become a monk was a fruitful one. Not one of the Dharma masters or abbots at all the famous temples can match your achievement.” For three years, the uneducated monk had done nothing but recite “Amituofo.” His singleminded, ceaseless recitation had resulted in his being freed from the cycle of birth and death and of being reborn into the Pure Land.