by Venerable Master Chin Kung
Pure Land Buddhism regards Buddha Amitabha as the original nature with Guan Yin Bodhisattva representing compassion and practice, and Great Strength Bodhisattva representing wisdom and understanding. Due to these profound meanings, there cannot be two or more Buddhas and three or more Bodhisattvas.
Amituofo is a Sanskrit transliteration. “Amituo” means infinite. “Fo” means Buddha. What is infinite? Everything, infinite wisdom, ability, long life, etc. But of all infinities, infinite life is the most important for without it all other infinities are useless. With it, we can enjoy all other infinities.
How can we gain these infinities? Infinity is none other than our self-nature, our original true nature. The Sixth Patriarch of Zen, Master Hui-Neng said, “Self-nature is innate; from self-nature arises all phenomena in the universe”. In other words, it means infinity. What method do we use to obtain this infinity? We practice the teachings of Guan Yin Bodhisattva and Great Strength Bodhisattva. The former teaches us to be compassionate; the latter teaches us the single-minded concentration of Buddha Amitabha. Great Strength Bodhisattva taught us “Concentrate solely on Buddha Amitabha, without ceasing, without intermingling with other methods, and in this way we will surely attain wisdom and enlightenment”.
Adding to this is the compassionate way of Guan Yin Bodhisattva. Behaving towards others with compassion and chanting only “Namo Amituofo” will enable us to enjoy infinite life. In this way we will develop our virtuous nature and uncover our infinite merits and virtues. Thus, when we pay respect to the images of Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, we need to understand that each is representative of a way of cultivation and of the truth of the universe.