Letter 18 – Buddha Recitation and Mantras

The Pure Land practitioner may recite mantras as well as the Buddha’s name. However, he should make a clear distinction between the main and the subsidiary practice—in which case the subsidiary practice naturally points to the main practice. If, on the other hand, he is careless and considers the two practices to be equal, even the main practice is no longer the main practice!

The Ten-thousand-Arm Avalokitesvara Mantra (Cundi Dharani) is neither more nor less efficacious than the Great Compassion Mantra. If the mind is utterly sincere, each and every Dharma method elicits a wonderful response; if the mind is not utterly sincere, no method is effective.

A single recitation of the Buddha’s name encompasses all the teachings of the Tripitaka. It includes all methods in full without omitting a single method.

Only those who are well-versed in all Buddhist traditions and teachings can be true Buddha Recitation practitioners. On the other hand, the dull, who are ignorant of everything but how to follow instructions sincerely, can also become true practitioners. Outside of these two groups, the correctness of practice depends on the cultivator’s diligence and on whether or not he is practicing in accordance with the teachings.

Since you are already determined and have no further doubts about Pure Land practice, why inquire about the results that other practitioners obtain? Even if no one else in the whole world obtains results, you should not develop a single thought of doubt. This is because the true words of Buddha Sakyamuni and the Patriarchs should be proof enough.

If you continually inquire about the results other practitioners obtain, it means that you lack complete faith in the Buddha’s words—and thus your practice certainly cannot bring results. The wise must not abandon the words of the Buddhas to follow those of human beings. Those who have no firm position and are only guided by the results of others are greatly to be pitted!