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Buddha Speaks of Amitabha Sutra – Part 21

舍利弗!于汝意云何?何故名为一切诸佛所护念经?舍利弗!若有善男子、善女人,闻是经受持者,及闻诸佛名者。是诸善男子、善女人,皆为一切诸佛之所护念,皆得不退转于阿耨多罗三藐三菩提

是故舍利弗!汝等皆当信受我语,及诸佛所说。

Why do you think this is called the sutra that is protected and kept in mind by all the Buddhas? 

If there are good men and good women who hear this scripture, accept it, and uphold it, and they hear the names of all these Buddhas, all these good men and good women will be protected and kept in mind by all these Buddhas, and all of them will reach the level where they do not turn back from complete, unexcelled, correct enlightenment. Therefore, all of you should faithfully accept what I say and what all the Buddhas have said. 

http://www.buddhasutra.com/files/amidasutra.htm

In this conclusion to the “protection verses”, Shakyamuni Buddha explained that practitioners will be protected and remembered by all those directional Buddhas! That is a very assuring statement for those of us who feel lost or threatened. At the beginning of this sutra, we discussed how the idea of a Pureland (Western Paradise) appeals to people experiencing hardships. The concept of protection resonates in the minds of many. We are all afflicted by fears in our minds.

We fear the unknown future. We fear the loss of life-sustaining resources (food, water, clean environment, safety, etc) If we read this sutra carefully, it addresses all these fears. Following that, the sutra assures that the mighty Buddhas are there to protect us and we will not be forgotten by them as long as we uphold the practice in this sutra.

Why is it important that the sutra provide us some assurance to remove fear in our mind?

When our mind is afflicted by fear, we lose our sanity. We may become depressed and helpless or become aggressive and commit the worst evil possible (as demonstrated by the recent war in Ukraine. the reasons provided by the aggressor are all rooted in fear and stoking fear).

Being a good Buddhist is being good people. We do not support violence and will not commit any act of violence. Such a peaceful way of livelihood can be frightening. I think many beginners have the following doubts. How can I excel in society if I do not lie or fight? How can I succeed in my career if I don’t drink at business dinners? And many similar doubts.

To some people, Buddhist practices seem to be the perfect recipe for making them a “failure” in life.

I had similar fear when I started my Buddhist practice too. I was brought up to believe in violence, that drinking is a manly thing to do. All shrewd businessmen lie. Embracing Buddhist practices requires a leap of faith to unwire my mind from such mundane views.

I am glad to say that acquiring Buddhist wisdom doesn’t make us idiots in the mundane world. It provides us valuable perspectives to weigh our options and make informed decisions in life. We become aware that our every decision in life affects our minds (our core). We learn to ask ourselves, “Is this worth it?”

By giving up the ugly mundane reactions to challenges, we win a beautiful nirvana in the end.

Therefore, at this point in the sutra, the reader is being assured of that beautiful nirvana. We are encouraged to uphold our practices because the ultimate prize awaits us. In the meantime, Buddhas everywhere are watching over us.

May all be well and happy.

May the pandemic end.

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