Amitabha Buddha, also called Amitayus Buddha is not the Buddha of our Earth. He is the Buddha of his own world – Sukhavati, the Land of Utmost Happiness also called the Land of Ultimate Bliss. An absolutely stunning world that’s an accelerated training ground to become Buddhas. People who are reborn there progress extremely fast.
Amitayus means infinite life – so one of his Sutras is the Infinite Life Sutra. Amitabha means infinite light – because the light of this Buddha can reach anywhere in the universe – if you recite his name with utmost sincerity.
So you hear stories of when people are calling on Amitabha for help and a light appears.
So why recite the name of Amitabha Buddha? Amitabha Buddha is the teacher of Gwan Yin Bodhisattva. And has made 48 great vows to help people who recite his name.
When reciting his name – Namo Amitofo, it’s best if you can enter the samadhi of recitation, where you become one with the recitation and there is only the recitation of Namo Amitofo or simply Amitofo over and over again – using the chanting of his name to enter into a meditative state where there are no extraneous thoughts. You and the recitation are two, yet not two. So be focused when reciting his name and let go of all your other scattered thoughts.
The repeated chanting of a holy name is a vehicle to calm the mind down – like how an anchor works, to prevent boats from drifting away and taken away by the winds.
In the same way, chanting and repeated recitation of a mantra or a holy name anchors the mind, preventing your mind from drifting away into scattered thoughts. It anchors your attention down into the here and now, rather than drifting away into the past or the future – being one with the recitation.
How should you recite? Not too fast, not to slow. Your mind should be not too tense, not too dull. You’ve got to find your own rhythm.
Anyway, this Amitabha Buddha at Nanjing is one of the most beautiful that I have ever seen. So enjoy. Namo Amitofo!