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ANTHOLOGY OF THE TEACHINGS OF YUNQI (EXCERPT)

by Lianchi Zhuhong (1535 - 1615, Ming Dynasty)
English translation: Miao Guang and Zhi Yue

thus contrary to its nature. Yet from beginningless time, sentient beings have had the habit of thinking delusory thoughts which are difficult to dismiss. I now teach you to be mindful of the Buddha, for it is like an antidote for poisons, and like fighting soldiers with soldiers.

Nonetheless, the practice of being mindful of the Buddha involves a variety of ways. Now, to uphold the Buddha’s name is likened to a path within a path. Because Amitabha has immeasurable virtue, just four syllables of the Buddha’s name suffices to make the practice complete.

Amitabha Buddha is precisely the entire mind, the heart of numerous virtues, eternal bliss and purity of self, the original enlightenment and initial enlightenment, the true Buddha nature, bodhi and nirvana. It has a thousand million names, yet only one name at the same time. It is all-embracing without exception.

Instead of placing one’s hope in a future life,
one may as well accumulate merits now by being mindful of the Buddha.

Instead of praying for blessings,
one may as well repent now and start afresh by being mindful of the Buddha.
Instead of empty talks about the theory of Chan,
one may as well just observe precepts and be mindful of the Buddha.

If one is without sickness, taking advantage of being healthy,
it is the right time to be mindful of the Buddha.

If one is with sickness, nearing impermanence,
it is the right time to be mindful of the Buddha.

If one is bright and understands the Pure Land,
it is the right time to be mindful of the Buddha.

If one is dull-witted and lacks ability,
it is the right time to be mindful of the Buddha.

If one upholds the precepts established by the Buddha,
it is the right time to be mindful of the Buddha.

If one reads the sutras as taught by the Buddha,
it is the right time to be mindful of the Buddha.

If one practices Chan, which is the mind of the Buddha,
it is the right time to be mindful of the Buddha.

If one is enlightened, which requires Buddha’s authentication,
it is the right time to be mindful of the Buddha

── from Yunqi Fahui (Anthology of the Teachings of Yunqi)