They will be going onward, forward to enlightenment. And they will not retreat, ever. They will have no chance to fall back, but will go forward. If you hear this sutra and respect it, then all the Buddhas protect you as well on your enlightenment path.
"In the worlds of the southern direction, in the worlds, different planets, of the southern direction, there are countless other Buddhas." Wow! Thank God. "Like the Buddha Lamp of the Sun and Moon, and the Buddha Light of Renown, and the Buddha Great Flaming Shoulders, and the Buddha Lamp of the Polar Mountain." Some names are quite cute.
I have to tell you honestly, when I rediscovered the name "Tim Qo Tu" I was a little disappointed. I was thinking, a great being should have a more glorious name, sound more glorious. "Tim Qo Tu" doesn't sound like anything on this planet. People have names like "Gloria," and "Thus come one," "Buddha," whatever. "Tim Qo Tu," it sounds very like a farmer. I was kind of disappointed. What a name! I would've loved to have a more glamorous, clinging-like sound. If it were up to me to make up the name, I would've found something more, more glorious, more beautiful, and more glamorous. Or even more mystical or more mysterious. Tim Qo Tu, it sounds like the boy next door. Like the man next door. Hey, Tim! Like, how are you, Tim?
I was kind of disappointed. I have to tell you the truth. I'm just too honest for my own good. If I didn't tell you this, you'd never have thought. But I was the one who thought like that. And if I want to hide and to make you feel that I'm more powerful, I wouldn't have told you that I have fear, that my mind had fear. Like anxious, worry, but it's not like fearful, not really strong fear or anything. But for lack of a word, I just say "fear." Many things I wouldn't have told you if I wanted to protect my glamorous image. "Nothing, I fear nothing! I'm Tim!"
What to do, you know it's… (Original Universe) Pusu language is like that, it's really "pusu"! In Chinese, "pusu" means "simple." Like, if you wear "pusu" clothes, it means very simple, plain clothes, nothing glamorous, nothing very colorful. That is "pusu." In Chinese "pusu" is like that. But Pusu (Original Universe language) in there, it doesn't mean "simple." It's just a language. And then, funny you know, like Great Flaming Shoulders, this reminded me of Tim, that's why I was thinking I have to tell you that.
"And the Buddha Lamp of the Polar Mountain, and the Buddha Infinite Progress. Each of them preaches in his own land with the eloquence of Buddha, and covers a whole cosmos." Yeah, it's similar. Cosmos is a smaller cosmos, not like the (Original Universe) Pusu language. When they speak, if they choose to speak, it's like singing, like music. And it reverberates in the whole real cosmos, but nobody hears it. People in the shadow land cannot hear them. But it comes down, now it comes down. We bored a hole, attached a tube, and now everybody can listen to the radio. But you can't hear, it comes down, but you can't hear it. If you heard it, you'd probably become deaf. Or your head would be broken into pieces; too strong, too powerful. The description in this Buddha scripture is similar to the Ihôs Kư land, just over there it's more refined, more beautiful. People don't eat. You don't see them wearing clothes even, just Light surrounds them. They've no need to adorn their body with flowers raining from Heaven. They just have them, if they want to.
"Speaking the Truth here. In the worlds of western direction there are countless other Buddhas," it means in all directions we have a lot of Buddhas, "like the Buddha Infinite Life, and the Buddha Innumerable Characteristics." What a name! "And the Buddha Innumerable Banners, and the Buddha Great Light, and the Buddha Great Illumination, and the Buddha Mark of Reality, and the Buddha Light of Purity. Each of them preaches in His own land with the eloquence of a Buddha, and covers the whole cosmos, speaking the Truth. All of you sentient beings should believe this scripture, extolling their inconceivable merits, and which all Buddhas protect and keep in mind. In the worlds of the northern direction, there are countless other Buddhas, like the Buddha Flaming Shoulders, and the Buddha Supreme Voice, and the Buddha Unstoppable, and the Buddha Born of the Sun, and the Buddha Netted Light. Each of them preaches in his own land with the eloquence of a Buddha, and covers the whole cosmos, speaking the Truth. All of you sentient beings should believe this scripture, extolling their inconceivable merits, and which all Buddhas protect and keep in mind. In the worlds of the Nadir, there are countless other Buddhas, like the Buddha Lion, and the Buddha Repute, and the Buddha Light, and the Buddha Dharma Banner, and the Buddha Upholding the Dharma. Each of them preaches in his own land with the eloquence of a Buddha, and covers a whole cosmos, speaking the Truth. All of you sentient beings should believe this scripture, extolling their inconceivable merits, and which all Buddhas protect and keep in mind. In the worlds of the Zenith, there are countless other Buddhas, like the Buddha Pure Voice, and the Buddha Sojourner King, and the Buddha Incense Fragrance, and the Buddha Fragrant Light, and the Buddha Great Blazing Shoulders, and the Buddha Body of Multicolored Jewel Flower Garlands." It's a longer name. Better than Tim Qo Tu. So short!
Even some dogs, they have long names, these show dogs. Pedigree! They have long, long names. Very, very long. Sometimes I couldn't even read half of the names they give to the dogs. Fancy names, even humans don't have. The pedigreed dogs, many names, I don't know why. Probably all the ancestors' names. Just like in America or England, you have the name of your grandfather, or your great-grandfather. They probably put all the names of the many generations of the dogs together. The long, long names, sometimes 12 or 15, 20 names together.
"And the Buddha 'Body of Multicolored Jewel Flower Garlands,' and the Buddha 'Sala Tree King,' and the Buddha 'Precious Flower Virtue,' and the Buddha 'Sees All Truths,' and the Buddha 'Like the Polar Mountain.' Each of them preaches in His own land with the eloquence of the Buddha, and covers the whole cosmos, speaking the Truth. All of you sentient beings should believe this scripture, extolling their inconceivable merits, which all Buddhas protect and keep in mind. Why do you think this is called the sutra that is protected and kept in mind by all the Buddhas?"
The Buddha asked, and then He answered Himself. "If there are good men and good women who hear this scripture, accept it, and uphold it, and they hear the names of all these Buddhas, all these good men and good women will be protected and kept in mind by all these Buddhas." So you are in the minds of all these Buddhas already, they protect you. Wonderful. And all people who hear this, and believe in it, and respect it, will have the same protection and blessing.
You see, that's why in China or Taiwan (Formosa), they have retreats and always recite the name Amitabha Buddha; one name is actually enough, so it's quicker than reciting all these little bit difficult names. In Taiwan (Formosa) when I first came, I went to a temple, I saw people, elderly women circumambulate in the hall. After meditation, they stand and do walking meditation and they recite the name of Amitabha Buddha. But in Taiwan (Formosa), they said Amitabha, Amitabha, right? Taiwan (Formosa)? They say Amitabha, right? (Amitabha.) Amitabha is not... They call it in Taiwanese (Formosan). In Fuchien dialect, Amitabha, right? (Yes.) So they walk around and "Amitabha, namo Amitabha, Amitabha, Amitabha."
And when I first saw, I said why do they keep saying "tofu-tofu"? I was naive. How come always "tofu, tofu?" First they said, "Namo Amitabha," and then later, it's just "to-hut," very fast, I just hear "tofu, tofu…" I was thinking, "Wow, Taiwanese (Formosan) people, they love tofu so much. They recite it all day." Taiwan (Formosan) language and Mandarin are sometimes a little different. Similar, it's just a dialect. So, when I first came they gave me things to eat, and then I was eating, and they said, "Delicious?" I said, "No, no, later. I'm eating now, I'll drink tea later." They asked me if it's good taste or not, but it sounded like "drink tea or not," so I said, "I'll drink tea later." "Delicious?"
"All these good men and good women who hear this sutra, uphold it and respect it, will be protected and kept in mind by all these Buddhas. And all of them will reach the level where they do not turn back from complete, unexcelled, correct enlightenment." Meaning they will be going onward, forward to enlightenment. And they will not retreat, ever. They will have no chance to fall back, but will go forward. If you hear this sutra and respect it, then all the Buddhas protect you as well on your enlightenment path. "Therefore, all of you should faithfully accept what I say and what all the Buddhas have said about this sutra." You see now why Amitabha Sutra is famous? And you see why Amitabha Buddha is famous in Buddhism? You see why many people believe in Buddhism? You know why now, many stories about it.
"All those people who have vowed, or are vowing, or will vow to be born in the land of Amitabha Buddha reach the level where they do not turn back from complete, unexcelled enlightenment, whether in their past lives, their present lives, or in their future lives. Therefore, all good men and good women, if they have faith, must make a vow to be born in that land. Just as I am now extolling the inconceivable merits of all the Buddhas, all those Buddhas are likewise extolling my inconceivable merits with these words: Shakyamuni Buddha is able to carry out a most difficult and rare task. In the world Endurance," meaning in this terrible world, suffering, and all we do is just enduring, enduring, patiently enduring. They call this world Endurance, Endurance or Patience because beings here have to be patient, that they really have patience in order to live here in such a difficult world. And Shakyamuni was able to come here and preach, so they all praised Him. He praised other Buddhas and He said other Buddhas also praise Him in the world such as, "Shakyamuni Buddha is able to carry out a most difficult and rare task in the world, in this world of Endurance. In an evil world of the five corruptions: the corruption of age, the corruption of views, the corruption of afflictions, the corruption of sentient beings, and the corruption of life."
This world, they said, is all corrupt. He, even in this kind of world, He is… At that time the Buddha Shakyamuni was still alive and on the planet, so they said, "He is able to achieve complete unexcelled enlightenment, and to expound the Truth which all beings in all worlds find hard to believe." In all worlds even, not just our world. "Know then that in the midst of this evil world of the five corruptions, I am able to carry out this difficult task, attain complete unexcelled enlightenment, and expound the Truth, which is so hard to believe for beings in all worlds. This is indeed most difficult! When Buddha had finished preaching this scripture, Sariputra and all the monks, and all the other gods and humans and asuras and all the rest who had been listening, having heard what the Buddha said, rejoiced and faithfully accepted it. They all bowed in homage and departed."
- There is another occasion that the Buddha talks about Amitabha Buddha land in, maybe, a little different way. I don't remember if He talks so long about other Buddhas as well, but He emphasized Amitabha Buddha land to another person. There was a queen at that time, she was being imprisoned by her son, yes. He was bad. He not only killed his father to take the throne early, but he also imprisoned his mother. If I am not wrong, I think this father wanted, the king wanted a son so much that he forced one of the sages, like Pratyekabuddha or something, or a sage who was practicing, and forced him to die, so that he'd become his son. So he said, "You'll have to wait; if you force me now, when I become your son, I might kill you." That's how it happened. So the queen, his mother, was imprisoned as well. And then the queen was imprisoned. And then, she couldn't come to see the Buddha, she was suffering so much. And then she prayed to the Buddha. She said, "Master, I cannot come to see You. I don't know how, I cannot." So the Buddha appeared in her cell and asked her, "Don't be sorry," and all that, "just concentrate on reciting the name of Amitabha Buddha. And then when you die, you will go there and finish all the suffering forever. Use the time in prison to practice." And then he preached to her the land of Amitabha Buddha, how beautiful it is, and He told her she has to imagine this land.
In that sutra, He taught how to practice as well. Here, He just described the land and the merits, but in that prison, He told her how to imagine. He described it all and then He said, "You have to imagine and fix your mind on that, with the name of Amitabha Buddha. Do it day and night as much as you can. Then when you die, you will be born in that land." That's another occasion of the Amitabha Sutra, a little different, with the advice of how to practice. Just concentrate, and imagine. Remember all those things that He describes and fix your mind on it, in detail, and remember the name of Buddha, then you'll be born there. Or you could even visit there, He said, while alive, something like that.