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念佛四十八法 12) 有定无定持名 Fixed Periods of Buddha Recitation
 
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12) 有定无定持名

Fixed Periods of Buddha Recitation

With the previous method, you are enjoined to practice Buddha Recitation at all times without interruption. However, because there are no definite periods for Buddha Recitation [the method demands a good deal of self-discipline]. Few people can therefore practice it.

With this method, the expedient of fixed periods of recitation is introduced. There should usua ly be two periods per day, in the morning and in the evening, and these periods should be strictly observed every day, without fail, throughout life.

Furthermore, if during the twenty-four hour period, you can recite the Buddha’s name one additional time, do it once; if you can recite it many times, do so many times. It does not matter whether the recitation is audible or not. The ancients had a saying:

Utter one fewer idle phrase;

Recite the Buddha’s name one more time; How wonderful it is!

有定者,早晚二时,划定常课,从今至死,不增不减,其余十二时中,能念一句则念一句,不论高声低声,古人云:少说一句话,多念一声佛。然哉!然哉!

Commentary

There are people who cannot recite the Buddha’s name at all times, because of work or family obligations. Thus, we have the expedient of fixed periods of Buddha Recitation. In this way, everyone can practice the Pure Land method. One crucial point to remember: once the fixed periods are established, they should be adhered to without deviation, even during sickness or other suffering. The above notwithstanding, whenever we have a free moment, we should immediately think of the Buddha’s name.

To replace sentient beings’ thoughts with Buddha-thoughts, while not necessarily a sublime method, is still a rare expedient which can turn delusion into enlightenment.


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