DHARMA IN EVERYDAY LIFE
- AWAKEN YOUR MIND
By Nhat Quan
After attaining enlightenment under the Bodhi tree, the Buddha
hesitated in teaching the Dharma to sentient beings. Because
of the ignorant nature, because of sentient beings' great
greed, anger, and attachment to self, he was worried that the
Buddha Dharma would not have a chance to penetrate the
too-thick minds of superstition, of attachment, of theocracy,
of people in the caste system a class that dominates Indian
society. After days of meditation to find salvation, along
with the requests of the gods, one morning he sat in
contemplation by the lake, looking at the lotus flowers:
- There are flowers that have bloomed,
- There are buds about to bloom,
- Some buds are still submerged under the water.
Then, he contemplated the minds of sentient beings to see
- There are sentient beings who have developed Buddha nature,
- There are sentient beings who are about to develop Buddha
- There are sentient beings who will develop Buddha nature.
No matter how dark the minds of sentient beings are, they all
have Buddha nature and one day Buddha nature will manifest
like lotus flowers that will gradually rise from the mud to
bloom beautiful and flowers fragrant. So he left the Bodhi
tree to begin his work of education. This is seen clearly in
the Buddhist scriptures. The Tripitaka collects all the
Buddha's teachings with a single content:
- Teach sentient beings the path to liberation.
Depending on your background and circumstances, He taught
Among those countless methods, there is a method hidden in
folklore that has brought Vietnamese, Chinese, Japanese, and
Korean Buddhism through cruel tribulation. There is a method
that is flexible, timely, and appropriate to the situation,
simplifying the practice to the maximum to bring you into
direct daily contact with your Buddha nature. There is a
dharma that has brought Buddhism into the people, into
people's hearts, and has coexisted with the nation throughout
history, typically Vietnamese Buddhism. Through many dangers,
this method has ups and downs with the Vietnamese people to
bring the nation to a happy shore. This method is the Pure
The Pure Land is not only present in the Western Pure Land, or
the Eastern Pure Land of Medicine Master, but is also present
here, in this world at this moment right in your own mind.
When your mind is peaceful, the world you are living in is
Nirvana, Ultimate Bliss. When the mind is disturbed, the realm
of hell appears. In The Tale of Kieu by Nguyen Du, he
expressed this philosophy through verses:
- When people are happy, the scene is also happy
When people are sad, the situation is never happy.
From this tendency, Pure Land practitioners can also
experience the realm of Ultimate Bliss right in this world.
That is also the meaning of what is taught in the Amitabha
- If someone makes a vow to be born in the Pure Land, then
that person, while making the vow, has achieved the highest,
irreversible enlightenment and is present in the Pure Land,
although his body is still in the Saha world.
This you can understand. If on a beautiful day, you go to the
park to meditate and chant Buddha's name until your mind is
calm and your afflictions have subsided. At that time, your
senses will be more sensitive to see the clearer sky, the
greener trees, the brighter flowers, the more fragrant scent,
the birds singing better... the scene around you is naturally
brilliant and clearly brightened up. All colors are as
beautiful as the colors of jewels and gems. At that time, you
feel like you are in a fairyland, that realm is similar to the
realm described in the Amitabha Sutra with golden land, a
seven-jeweled pond, jade trees... and the sound of pine trees
and birds singing sounds as elegant as the wonderful sounds of
Dharma. This experience was also described by Nguyen Du in The
Tale of Kieu when Ms. Kieu saw Kim Trong appear:
- An area like a Quynh tree, Giao branch.
This sentence describes the area where Kim Trong appeared, the
trees suddenly transformed into unusually beautiful, all
clear, sparkling, and brilliant as if made of Quynh jade and
Thus, Pure Land practitioners can experience the world of
ultimate bliss immediately, while still alive, rather than
waiting until death to be reborn in ultimate bliss. As quoted
in the above sutra passage, you are already present in the
Eastern Pure Land when you vow to be reborn. In other words,
at that time your mind was already in the Pure Land realm.
When the mind is calm, the afflictions have subsided, and the
world around is also pure. At that time you were truly living
in the pure world. In the Sutras, it is said that the Eastern
Pure Land is tens of millions of Buddha lands away, but to
those with profound insight into the Medicine Buddha, the
Eastern Pure Land appears in an instant.
The highest ideal of Pure Land practitioners is
- Awaken your mind, transform Saha into Pure Land, transform
afflictions into Bodhi.
The Pure Land realm can be realized right in this life and can
be experienced in daily life. When afflictions have been
transformed and the mind is pure, it is Eastern Pure Land or
Western Pure Land. However, the efforts of those who practice
do not stop here, with Bodhisattva vows, the transformation is
not only for the individual but also brings benefits to all
sentient beings. Therefore, the mission of awakening the mind
and transforming the world of suffering into a world of peace
is the path of practice. In that ideal, people who practice
Eastern Pure Land or Western Pure Land want to express the
blissful world of Medicine Buddha or Amitabha Buddha right in
the heart of a suffering world. Since then, forms of
commitment to salvation have been born in charitable
activities such as nursing homes, hospices, orphanages,
The practice method of Eastern Pure Land or Western Pure Land
is very simple. Just focus on reciting the name of the
Medicine Buddha or Amitabha Buddha:
- Namo Tieu Tai Dien Tho Medicine Master Luu Ly Quang Vuong
- Namo welcoming Master Amitabha Buddha
This practice is based on the following foundations:
Faith: Deep belief in the salvation of the Medicine Buddha or
Amitabha Buddha. That is also a deep belief in your own pure
mind. Only the effort to fully develop the Medicine Buddha or
Amitabha Buddha in your own mind will bring you out of
suffering. Faith also means confidence in your own ability to
become enlightened. The element of altruism is also emphasized
in practice. However, the power of others here is the skillful
means to develop self-reliance. When you have faith, you will
make efforts easily, thereby easily succeeding.
Vow: Vow to be reborn in the Eastern Pure Land world or the
Western Pure Land world. Making a vow to be reborn is the
transformation of your inner afflictions into enlightenment,
the transformation of your greedy and angry self into a pure
lotus flower in the pure land. This vow is a voluntary
transformation, towards the bright path, the path of
enlightenment and liberation.
- Practicing: Reciting the name of Medicine Buddha or Amitabha
Buddha. This recitation has the purpose of transforming three
karmas: Body means action, mouth means language and mind means
thoughts. Therefore, during recitation, all three aspects
above are practiced at the same time:
- Body: sit still, recite the rosary, or walk in meditation...
monitor the movements of walking, standing, lying, and sitting
for strict mindfulness. With such a clear awareness of body
movements, negative actions will be eliminated.
- Mouth: Mouth chanting Buddha's name continuously. Recite out
loud or silently. Recite with your breath. When language is
focused on reciting Buddha's name, evil words have no chance
- Idea: visualize the solemn appearance of the Medicine Buddha
or Amitabha Buddha and the purity of the world of the Eastern
Pure Land or the Western Pure Land. When thoughts are focused
on the positive, negative things will be transformed and the
mind will be pure and clear.
Practicing like this until one's mind is undisturbed, meaning
body and mind are united in reciting the Buddha's name. At
that time, you yourself are the Medicine Buddha or Amitabha
Buddha, the world you are living in is the Eastern Pure Land
or the Western Pure Land.
Reciting the Buddha's name means reciting the mind: Reciting
the Buddha's name means awakening your own mind, reciting the
Buddha's name in your own mind. Through the above information,
you can see that the method of reciting Buddha's name has the
- Be aware that each person has a Medicine Buddha or Amitabha
Buddha in their mind.
- Awakens the Buddha nature latent in each person's heart.
- Develop the ability to transform enlightenment in each
- Experience the pure land now and here.
- Realize a world of bliss right in the heart of a world of
From practical intentions, you see:
- Eastern Pure Land Dharma or Western Pure Land Dharma is a
strong vitality that has existed with steadfast faith and
simple practice that has brought Buddhism into the hearts of
every person in this world
The Pure Land Dharma is flexible and adaptable to each local
situation. Since then, the sound of chanting Buddha's name has
also changed according to each country. Pure Land Buddhism has
gone beyond the monastery fence to enter the village. From
there, everyone can guide practice together in daily life.
The Eastern Pure Land or Western Pure Land Dharma is a path of
direct practice to awaken and contact your own Buddha nature
every day, in an effort to develop boundless wisdom in your
own mind, a simple path that leads to You face your true mind,
directly realizing the truth through experience. It is
confidence in the enlightenment ability of one's own mind; is
the determination to move towards the path of liberation.
Eastern Pure Land or Western Pure Land Dharma is the path to
transform inner greed and anger into enlightenment. Transform
afflicted people into the pure lotus flowers of liberation; is
the perfect means to develop Buddha nature.
The Eastern Pure Land or Western Pure Land Dharma is the
expression of immeasurable compassion in relief activities.
Bringing Buddhism to suffering people; is the ideal of social
reform in the wish to manifest worldly bliss in the heart of a
The Eastern Pure Land or Western Pure Land Dharma is the hope
of the suffering people; is a light in the terrifying darkness
of turbulent times. In that miserable situation, Pure Land
Buddhism is like a torch that lights the way to help people
overcome dangers, and the practice has given people the
strength to strive and improve their living conditions to
overcome misfortune, transforming the world of suffering into
the Pure Land.
In that ideal, today Buddhism has made positive contributions
to solving suffering in Western society. A society with
excessive material consumption, mental stress, and spiritual
deprivation. Faced with that multi-faceted suffering, Buddhism
with its practical methods of practice has helped people
escape suffering. With practice methods that help people
reduce mental stress, and develop a peaceful spiritual life.
That is why Buddhism is growing stronger and stronger in the
West. Pure Land Buddhism with its simple, practical, and
direct practice method will be a great contribution to the
work of propagating the Dharma in the West.
In short, in the process of practicing to awaken one's own
mind, it is important to recognize the Buddha nature present
in each person, as well as in others. It can be said that the
pure land method is a simple path of practice, easily
popularized among the masses. Everyone, old or young, male or
female, rich or poor, intellectual or ordinary, can practice
anywhere and at any time. Thanks to this simplicity, Buddhism
has become a popular method of practice for the masses, not
just for monks, aristocrats, or the intellectual elite, but
for everyone, for those who have a noble and good heart.
If you have any recommendations,
please e-mail to: