New Translation: A Flavour of the Mindfulness of Buddha Samadhi – Essential Understanding & Dharma Practice by Great Master Yin Guang

This text is about HOW TO recite the Buddha’s name to get enlightened – the name of Amitabha Buddha (Amitofo). So it’s not just your ordinary perfunctory Buddha recitation – just repeating the Buddha’s name like a parrot.

It was shared with me by a fellow cultivator, Shi Jue Wu, who translated this from “Letters from Patriarch Yin Kuang”. In English, we only have 1 volume of this text – but apparently, in Chinese, there are 4 volumes!

So the story goes that a man has been reciting the Buddha’s name for 20 years – but realizes that he will only be reborn in Amitabha’s land of ultimate bliss when he dies (by the Buddha’s power) – but won’t be able to get enlightened – because he doesn’t know how to get enlightened using Buddha recitation – he only knows how to recite. So he asks the Master – what is the method to use Buddha recitation to open up his own inherent enlightenment?

The Master initially, is humble, and pretends not to know how to do it – saying, “Only those who are at that high level will know how to teach it – I’m not at that level, so how can I talk about it?”

But the man is insistent – so finally, the Master relents – and tells him the method – but still, at the end, the Master says that he has not reached that level but offers his words for future practitioners who have reached that level, to evaluate:

A Flavour of the Mindfulness of Buddha Samadhi

Essential Understanding and Dharma Practice by Great Master Yin Guang

(Original article by Venerable Liao Yu, edited by Great Master Yin Guang)


In 1906, I retreated to Bao Qing Monastery at Ci Yu, and having renounced worldly affinities, cultivated pure karma. When the abbot invited Dharma Master Di Xian to give a Dharma talk on the commentary on Amitabha Sutra by Great Master Lian Chi in the adjacent room, I took a leaf out of Kuang Heng’s book, and following his example, made a small hole
in the wall and without leaving my room, often partook of the Dharma feast.

From then on, practising mindfulness of the Buddha felt more intimate. When the Buddha’s name was upheld, all false thoughts vanished, the whole body felt drenched in coolness, and joy overflowed. It was as if dew anointed my crown, and sarpir-manda nourished my mind. That
joy was indescribable.

One day, a visitor called on me and said, “I have cultivated and upheld this one dharma of mindfulness of the Buddha for more than twenty years now. My faith, vows and cultivation are not insincere. However, my karmic obstacles are heavy, and I have yet to achieve the state of an unconfused one-pointed mind.

Appraising the nature of my roots, I fall in the category of those who bring their karma along in rebirth. Although I dare not aspire to attain
the mindfulness of Buddha samadhi in this life, I should at least know how to attain this dharma and the marks of this state. May the Dharma master please advise me.”

I said, “One understands the marks of the state of this samadhi only if one has certified to it. It is like a person who drinks water, only he alone knows if the water is cold or warm. I have yet to certify to this state, how then can I speak of it?”

The visitor was adamant and begged persistently, so I said, “Regarding this dharma, when one is being mindful of the Buddha, one must turn the contemplation inwards to be mindful, and focus solely on one state, and do not let it gallop externally.

“In every thought, take care of mind-source; every mind merges with the Buddha-substance:

  • Turn inwardly to be mindful of one’s own thoughts,
  • Turn inwardly to contemplate one’s own contemplations.
  • One is mindful AND also contemplates;
  • One contemplates AND is also mindful.

“One must:

  • Use all the mindfulness to contemplate, such that apart from the mindfulness, there is no other contemplation; and
  • Use all the contemplation to be mindful, such that apart from the contemplation, there is no other mindfulness.

“Although the contemplation and the mindfulness are like water and milk, one has yet to pursue to reach the root-source.

“One must repeatedly experience and investigate upon this one thought of “Namo Amitabha” and elevate it thought after thought.

“As one investigates and elevates, it becomes increasingly intimate. When one’s efforts is at the ultimatum and one’s skill is most refined, suddenly one disengages from the mindfulness, and certifies and
enters into the state of non-mindfulness and non-no-mindfulness

“This is what is meant by ‘The light solely shines forth; one disengages from faculty and dust. The substance is revealed, true and everlasting, unobstructed by language or words. The mind-nature is
without defilements, originally perfect. Leaving behind false thinking is the Thusness of the Buddha.”

“When one’s skill has reached this level, one attains the Dharma of being mindful of the Buddha, and a mutual response with the Way. Now is the right and excellent time to put in effort.”

“The marks are like clouds dispersing in the boundless emptiness to reveal the azure sky completely.

“One personally sees the origin; originally there is nothing to be seen.

“Not seeing is true seeing; to see is to accord with the dust.

“At this point,

  • The forms of the mountain and the sounds of the brook are all the truth of the foremost meaning.
  • The cries of the crows and the squawking of the magpies are but the supreme true vehicle.

It responds to all dharmas in a lively manner without dwelling in any dharma.

It illuminates all states brilliantly and immaculately, and yet there is not a thing at all.”

“Regarding its function: It is like the morning sun rising in the east, shining perfectly, brilliantly and crystal-clear.”

“Regarding its substance: It is like the luminous moon setting in the west, pure, immaculate and beyond stillness. It is both illuminating and quiescent, quiescent and illuminating, existing and evanescent, perfectly integrating the relative and absolute.

“It is like:

  • Snow capping the thousand mountains,
  • The ocean swallowing all the myriad things.

It has only one form, and no other flavor. It is unfettered, unhindered, at ease and is thus.”

“Regarding its benefits: Now, although one has yet to leave the Saha world, one is constantly among the oceanic assembly. At the end of one’s life, one immediately ascends the highest grade and in an instant, certifies to the Buddha vehicle.

“Only a family member understands the family affairs. If one were to speak to an outsider, this dharma is undoubtedly bound to be slandered.”

The visitor asked, “In our daily life, one has to respond to all the various conditions. How can one experience Bodhi, and the pervasive nature of Dharma?

I replied,

  • “When the mind moves, all the myriad dharmas arise.
  • When the mind is extinguished, all the myriad dharmas are extinguished.
  • “The ten thousand states are not apart from the one mind;
  • the one mind encompasses the ten thousand states.

“If one understands that the substance of the mind is originally empty, how can one be obstructed by the myriad objects?

“One should know that the myriad objects are like an illusion; what arises and ceases is solely the one mind. The myriad states are no fetter; one has always been originally liberated.

“The six dusts are not evil; without defilements or fetters, the mind is identical to the proper enlightenment of the Buddhas. Unmoving with regard to mind or state, how then can one be fettered?”

“Does one not see the plenary non-obstructing Dharma realm of the Avatamsaka Sutra?

“As the saying goes,

  • “Within each dust mote is all the realms;
  • “Within every mind is all the minds.

“Each and every dust mote and mind is mutually pervasive; multifoldedly boundless and unobstructing. Hence the trichilicosm of dust motes, heavenly thrones and jeweled nets all proclaim the oceanic nature and enact the true vehicle, exhaustively through the three periods
of time, and ultimately in the ten directions.

“It is impossible to seek the finest speck which is not dharma. Each dharma is pervasive and is none other than the way-place of the great Nirvana. Every mind and thought accords with the sarvajna ocean.

  • Only the mind is wondrous states,
  • Only states are the wondrous mind. Leaving duality and non-duality,

Absolute and relative is perfectly integrated, there is no conceptualization or formations to be found!”

“The above description is like a blind man feeling an elephant. Although what he has felt is a part of the elephant, he cannot be said to have a complete understanding. The author has penned his experience for the verification of future practitioners who has personally experienced it.”