As a way to show gratitude and repay kindness, the seven-day Amitabha Recitation Retreat is a popular event for many practitioners during the Tomb-Sweeping Festival. Of various Buddhist methods of practice, reciting Amitabha Buddha’s name is a most straightforward and effective way to help us gather our mind and live in the present. By reciting Amitabha Buddha’s name in one-minded concentration without confusion and distraction, we will be more able to calm and settle our mind.

Seven-Day Amitabha Recitation Retreat

There is a specific meaning regarding the “seven-day” Amitabha Chanting retreat. The reason for reciting the Buddha’s name for seven days as a practice has to do with the way the universe is in motion. Since ancient times, either in the west or the east, people have used seven days as a measuring unit for the operation of the universe. As our body and mind operate according to the law of the universe, it is perfect to use seven days as a period of time to engage in Dharma practice activities.

Mindfully Chanting Amitabha Buddha’s Name as an Ideal Way to Repay the Kindness of Their Ancestors

Therefore, the Amitabha Chanting retreat during the Tomb-Sweeping Festival lasts for seven days, where participants chant Amitabha Buddha’s name every day, as well as listen to Dharma talks, recite the Buddha’s name, prostrate to the Buddha, and circumambulate the Buddha as walking meditation, practice repentance prostration, and perform great merit-dedication. These activities help calm and purify our body and mind, and arouse in us the aspiration to benefit the self and others through praying and making good vows. As participants believe and have faith in the fact that by devotedly chanting Amitabha Buddha’s name one can attain rebirth in the Buddha’s Pure Land, this is considered an ideal way to repay the kindness of their ancestors.

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Video:Reciting the Buddha's Name Verbally or Mindfully

To derive true benefit from reciting the Buddha's name, we should do it mindfully rather than just pronouncing it absent-mindedly. Our concentration will increase with practice until we achieve samadhi.

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Video :What's the Meaning of Saying “Amituofo”?

Amituofo", the name of Amitabha Buddha in Chinese, is also a greeting word of Chinese Buddhists. The practice is attributable to Chan master Yongming Yanshou (904-975), who recited Amitabha Buddha's name all the time—even when talking to people, he still mentally recited the Buddha's name. "Amituofo" is a very useful Buddhist expression, good for all occasions. Constant recitation brings us inner peace and joy, keeps us mindful of our conduct, and benefits others in the same way.

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Translation: Frances Liu (劉珮如)
Editor: Chang Chiacheng (張家誠)
Photos: Nung Chan Monastery

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