From Vision to Realization: How to Cultivate the Mind Using Pure Land Techniques
Guest lecture by Dr. Jennifer Eichman. Open for all.
By Dr. Jennifer Eichman, SOAS University of London.
It is well known that the late sixteenth-century monk Zhuhong 袾宏 (1535-1615) promoted recitation of the name Amitābha Buddha.
Indeed, Zhuhong’s A Commentary and Its Subcommentary to the Amitābha Sūtra (Emituo jing shuchao 阿彌陀經疏鈔) not only lays out his vision of the efficacy of this practice, but further defends its use against the objections of certain Chan detractors.
My presentation will first briefly discuss relevant passages from this commentary and then turn to a discussion of how Zhuhong combined recitation with the Chan technique of cultivating critical phrases.
I will end with an examination of his lay disciple’s actual attempts at cultivation. Many of Zhuhong’s disciples wrote letters to him, seeking his counsel on how best to proceed when they were unable to calm their minds, eliminate distracting thoughts, or otherwise make progress toward liberation from saṃsāra Realization, it turns out, was far more difficult than a reading of prescriptive texts would suggest.