In the worlds of the western direction there are countless other Buddhas, like the Buddha “Infinite Life”, and the Buddha “Innumerable Characteristics”, and the Buddha “Innumerable Banners”, and the Buddha “Great Light”, and the Buddha “Great Illumination”, and the Buddha “Mark of Reality”, and the Buddha “Light of Purity”. 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
Directions are important in Buddhism insofar as they are important to mankind. This can be attested by how Buddha utilised the directional points as a starting conversation to preach to Sigalovada (who was worshipping Gods residing in each of the directions).
Directions are important because they fix a location to a destination. They help us navigate and find our way. Just as we expect to find a specific place in a specific direction, many ancient religions prescribe a specific deity to reside in the various cardinal points.
This also means that their importance is only relevant to those who are searching for something or trying to determine their own bearings. A happy kid playing in his home has no inclination to find out about directions.
Imagine ourselves traveling to a foreign city for sightseeing but deciding to go with the flow instead of reading a travel guide or map. Having arrived at the city center, we would wonder which direction offers us the most fun. That sense of bewilderment, being lost, excitement, and adventure. We ask ourselves, “Which way should I go?”
Our spiritual journey is likewise. For those of us who believe there is something more to explore in life, we feel like we are at a spiritual crossroads. Which spiritual path should I take? It is said that Buddhism offers us 84,000 paths towards enlightenment. That is mind-boggling, huh? Should I meditate and if I meditate, should I practice Zen? Or Theravada? or Annapanasathi? or Dhammakaya? or Vippassana? or Visualization? Then, there are chanting and the thousands and one mantras to choose from. Which path is right for me?
In this part of the sutra, we recite the names of various Buddhas residing in various directions and discover that these Buddhas also advocate pureland method. That gives us a sense of assurance and confidence in our practice.
In this manner, this protection verse also protects our minds from doubt. Doubt prevents us from success in our mission. I have shared the noble deeds of some great masters who practiced Pureland. They weren’t scholars and were very simple men. Without overthinking it, they practiced with earnest determination and managed to still their minds. Resulting in enlightening activities throughout their lifetimes.
Buddhism is that simple. We just need to do it.
Once we decided on a path, we need to stick it out. The 1st objective is to still our minds and quiet the noisy thoughts.
May all be well and happy.
May the pandemic end.