Chapter 3: The Original Cause of the Great Teaching

"Witnessing Buddha Shakyamuni radiating light and showing wonderful signs, Venerable Ananda gave rise to a rare heart and requested an explanation…" (Infinite Life Sutra) In response, the Most Honored One spoke of this convenient, ultimate, straightforward and yet rare treasure of truth.

Convenient means the sutra is both easy to understand and to practice.

Mahayana sutras, such as The Lotus Flower Sutra and The Flower Adornment Sutra, explain the way of becoming enlightened. Nevertheless, both of them are difficult to comprehend and even more so to practice.

The Infinite Life Sutra provides a convenient method while it aims for the highest goal - to become a Buddha.

"At that time, the Buddha radiated a glorious and awe-inspiring light …like that of melting gold. As in a finely polished mirror, the reflection shone through the Buddha's translucent body." (Infinite Life Sutra) All these signs indicated the enlightened nature of his body and mind, like that of a perfectly clear crystal.

"He reflected great radiance and manifested myriad changes." (Infinite Life Sutra) All these were causes for giving this teaching of the sutra.

Why is the Buddha so supremely radiant? Because he is incomparably joyful. This is the happiest day for Buddha Shakyamuni. At last, the opportunity has arisen to give this ultimate and convenient teaching.

While Buddha Shakyamuni was contemplating on Buddha Amitabha, all other Buddhas in the ten directions were contemplating on Buddha Amitabha and propagating this sutra as well. Uniting with others, this brilliant power of concentration was focused through Buddha Shakyamuni, thus making him appear extraordinarily magnificent.

Our face is a reflection of our state of mind. If one harbors a kind heart, it is reflected in a compassionate appearance. If one has a corrupted mind, it is reflected in a cruel face.

The Buddha's appearance is a perfect one. As we are mindful of the Buddha, we will gradually acquire the body and mind of a Buddha; this in turn will be reflected in our bearing.

In all the years Venerable Ananda had been with Buddha Shakyamuni, he had never seen him so magnificent as he was at that time. On the behalf of all sentient beings, Venerable Ananda requested this teaching.

"Venerable Ananda rose from his seat, bared his right shoulder, knelt on one knee and placed his palms together in veneration and addressed the Buddha." (Infinite Life Sutra)

When requesting instructions from our teacher, it is appropriate to rise from our seat.

In India, when people wished to show the utmost respect for someone, they would bare their right shoulder and kneel on their right knee. Kneeling on the right knee enables one to rise at anytime to serve the teacher.

When palms are placed together as one, they represent concentration and respect. Separated fingers indicate a scattered mind.

With concentration, one is ready to accept the Buddha's instructions.

Venerable Ananda asked, "World Honored One, today you have entered the great Samadhi…could you explain to me its significance?" (Infinite Life Sutra)

The Buddha was in the Contemplating Buddha Amitabha Samadhi, a perfect

On this day, Buddha Shakyamuni was practicing a very special method. He was about to speak of a way that equally helps all beings to become enlightened.

In The Diamond Sutra, Venerable Sari-putra had raised two questions. First, where should our minds dwell? Second, how do we overcome our wandering minds? The answer is simple. In the Pure Land School, dwelling in mindfulness of Buddha Amitabha overcomes our wandering thoughts.

All the Buddhas contemplate Buddha Amitabha and the magnificence of the Western Pure Land. This is the way they guide all beings together on the path to enlightenment.

The greatest teacher is one who, without discrimination or bias, teaches all the ways to attain Buddhahood.

Contemplating Buddha Amitabha is contemplating his forty-eight vows, in which every vow is to equally help all sentient beings to become enlightened.

All the Buddhas of the past, present, and future are mindful of Amitabha. Likewise, Buddha Amitabha is mindful of them

Established date: 03/06/10