Right now I am extolling the benefits of the inconceivable merits of Amitabha Buddha. But in the eastern direction there are also countless other Buddhas, like Akshobhya Buddha, and the Buddha “Marks of the Polar Mountain”, and the Buddha “Great Polar Mountain”, and the Buddha “Light of the Polar Mountain”, and the Buddha “Wondrous Voice”. Each of them preaches in his own land with the eloquence of a Buddha, and covers a whole cosmos, speaking the truth. All of you sentient beings should believe this scripture extolling their inconceivable merits, and which all Buddhas protect and keep in mind.http://www.buddhasutra.com/files/amidasutra.htm
The verses that follow hereon relate how other Buddha(s) residing in the various directions also praise and protect this scripture. 一切诸佛所护念经。
If you practice mysticism, you will probably sense a familiarity of these verses with invocations spells too (I enjoyed reading about Wicca when I was 12 years old) I didn’t share my feelings with my Buddhist elders but I receive a wonderful vibe every time I recite this part of the sutra.
As stated, Buddha said there are other Buddha(s) residing in the various directional points. They also extol the virtues and merits of Amitabha Buddha. They too encourage this practice and more importantly (for me), they protect! In that sense, we feel safe because there are limitless Buddha watching over us. Such verses are not unique to Mahayana Buddhism and can be found in Theravada Buddhism too. Known as protection verse, it invokes a sense of spiritual security in a practitioner.
How does it work?
If we recite this scripture, we are upholding it. We become part of the unbroken chain of continuity. Buddhist scriptures were passed down, through the generations by oral recitation and memory. If we promote and share this scripture with others, we become its upholder too. In another word, we become a part of this greater scheme of enlightenment! Thus, we enjoy the protection of these Buddha(s) too.
Another verse of importance is the invocation of infinity in numbers. 如是等恒河沙数诸佛. this verse translates to ” Buddhas as numerous as the number of sands in the Ganges River.” It gives us a sense of grandeur and also a tool to position our mind into non-conceptualization. We just feel it and know it. (A kind of grand faith that is reassuring) In this manner, we settle our mind into a state of peacefulness, contentment, and confidence. A very important positioning that benefit our practice.
Last but not least, this verse invoke the spatial elemental of protection spells (pardon this mystic explaination). 遍覆三千大千世界 This verse translate into “Covering the three thousand great world system”In short, that means pervading the entire cosmo. Not limited to the world systems that is within Human perception through a giant telescope, but also including spiritual worlds that are beyond Human perceptions. Again, this verse helps to settle our mind into peacefulness that is beyond thoughts.
If we summarise the above, we receive a feeling of security, peace and grandeur that is pervading towards the Eastern direction. Subsequent verses will cover the other directional points on the compass; including the nadir and zenith. Thus, it is expansive (not limited to “I”) and embracing (including our sense of being). We just let our minds settle with confidence.
May all be well and happy.
May the pandemic end.