Thursday, 22 March 2018

10 reasons to practise support-chanting (for the dying and deceased)

[1] FILIAL PIETY: Support-chanting (助念) helps us to express filial piety in the ultimate way we can in this lifetime, for all our present and past mother sentient beings (as all beings had been reborn as our loving parents before). As a practice of compassion and gratitude, it offers hope for those who might otherwise be lost during their most fearful and confused moments.

[2] SEEN BEINGS: Support-chanting helps to increase the affinity of family and friends of the dying with Amituofo and his Pure Land. (Relevant Dharma courses can be introduced to those interested too.)

[3] UNSEEN BEINGS: Support-chanting helps other unseen beings around with offering of guidance and merits too. (There will be direct mindful protection of all Buddhas during sincere support-chanting.)

[4] SINCERITY: Support-chanting helps our personal Nianfo practice to grow in sincerity as it is practised for others who genuinely need our help. As the Pure Land Tradition’s 13th Patriarch Great Master Yinguang (净土宗十三祖印光大师) taught, it ‘cultivates your field of blessings, and grows your good roots. In reality, this is the path for benefiting oneself, and not for others only.’ (培自己福田,长自己善根。实为自利之道,不徒为人而已。)  It is with sincere Nianfo (with the right Faith and Aspiration) too, that we will reach Amituofo’s Pure Land.

[5] BODHISATTVA PRACTICE: Support-chanting helps others and ourselves to reach Amituofo’s Pure Land, which is the expressway to Buddhahood.  As the Pure Land Tradition’s 13th Patriarch Great Master Yinguang taught, ‘Accomplishing one person’s rebirth in Pure Land is to accomplish one sentient being to become a Buddha.  Of this kind of meritorious virtues, how can they be conceivable?’ (成就一人往生净土,即是成就一众生作佛。此等功德,何可思议?)  Support-chanting creates great meritorious virtues (merits), one-seventh of which can be dedicated to others, while retaining six-sevenths personally.  With the power of synergy during group support-chanting, even more merits are created together for one another.

[6] IMPERMANENCE: Support-chanting helps to remind us of our own impending death, which we easily forget, so as to be more sincere and diligent in our daily personal practice. As we are also dying as we speak, though over a longer period of time, support-chanting for others is support-chanting for ourselves too. Support-chanting also reminds us to share Nianfo practice with family and friends, as they too will face death in time.

[7] CONFIDENCE: Support-chanting helps us to gain confidence in helping others and ourselves during life’s most crucial last moments, with or without others’ help.

[8] INSPIRATION: As the Pure Land Tradition’s 13th Patriarch Great Master Yinguang taught, support-chanting helps to ‘cultivate your own causes for birth in Pure Land, and inspire those of same conviction in Faith.’ (培自已之净因,启同人之信向。)

[9] RECIPROCATION: Support-chanting helps to create and increase direct karmic conditions for others to do support-chanting for us.  As the Pure Land Tradition’s 13th Patriarch Great Master Yinguang taught, ‘If you are willing to support others to have pure mindfulness for rebirth in Pure Contact About Land, you will also attain the reward of others’ support-chanting [for you].’ (肯助人净念往 生,亦得人助念之报。)

[10] POPULARISATION: Support-chanting ought to be continually popularised as it is one of the most important spiritual practices for offering the most precious help to one another. As the Pure Land tradition’s 13th Patriarch Great Master Yinguang taught, ‘With these [taught], gradually, with what difficulty, with one another familiar [with support-chanting], will it not become a common practice?’ (以此久而之之,何难相习成风乎哉。)

Source and shared from Purelanders (by Shen Shi'an)

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