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念佛四十八法 9) 调息持名 Regulating the Breath
 
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9) 调息持名

Regulating the Breath

When the m ind is at peace and the breath is regular, you should first visualize yourself seated in a circular zone of light, then visualize the breath going in and out of your nose as you silently recite the Buddha’s name once with each breath. You should regulate the breath so that it is neither slow nor hurried, the m ind and the breath reinforcing each other, fo lowing each other in and out. Whether walking or standing, reclining or sitting, proceed in this manner without interruption.

If you always “secretly recite” in the above manner, focusing the m ind over a long period of time, there will no longer be a distinction between the breath and the recitation – your body and m ind merging with empty space. When recitation is perfected, the mind-eye will open up and samadhi is suddenly realized. This is the state of Mind-Only Pure Land.(8)

或于气静心平时,先想己身,在圆光中,默观鼻端,想出入息,每一息默念阿弥陀佛 一声,方便调息不缓不急,心息相依,随其出入,行住坐卧,皆可行之,勿令间断, 常自密持,摄心既久,息念两忘,即此身心与虚空等,持至纯熟,心眼开通,三昧忽 尔现前即是唯心净土矣!

Commentary

This method is similar to Counting the Breath Meditation, which is one of the Six Profound Dharma Doors [leading to Nirvana]. It utilizes the counting of each breath to regularize inhaling and exhaling. Each breath, whether in or out, is accompanied by a silent recitation of the Buddha’s name, in an even manner, neither too slow nor too fast. Otherwise, the recitation could become an obstacle to achieving one- pointedness of mind. Through this kind of uninterrupted recitation, the mind becomes pure, free of distractions, and merges with the unimpeded immensity of empty space – everything is Mind-Only. And, if the mind is pure, the environment is also entirely pure – as far as we are concerned.


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