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How should a Pure Land follower Practice Amitabha Buddha Recitation?

In Mahayana Pure Land Buddhism, Buddha Recitation is the most important thing. Keeping your mind sticking to the Name of Amitabha Buddha is really needed. When you are not reciting the Amitabha Buddha's Name, your mind is probably thinking other things. And thus, this mind focus on Buddha has become the determination of being reborn in the Pureland.

Think this seriously. If you don't take recitation seriously as a part of your life, how can you be able to recite Amitabha Buddha's name near your death moment? This is similar to the situation when a student is facing an examination. If the student doesn't study hard during the normal school days, how can he face the examination and hopes to pass the exam? That's what we call the Practice of Pure Land Buddhism.

Besides, the FAITH and VOW to be reborn in the Western Pure Land are also the most important factors. How do you call yourself to have faith if you can't even recite up to a certain number or even increment in number after a certain time. For example, somebody may say I believe in Amitabha Buddha, but if he can't even spend his time in recitation for at least ten thousand times a day, how can you redeem your FAITH?

In fact, which from what I have learnt, people of the past could recite up to one hundred thousand of "Amitabha" every day. The number is an important factor during your early stage of practice. The more you recite, the more you have confidence. Some people would say that it's the focused mind that counts. Indeed, that really matters. But, I would say that continuously practice of large number of recitation will ensure more to change the scattered mind to a focused mind. How to do you expect to get focused, if you don't even want to focus with that early scattered mind? Remember that nobody is perfect. Only people who strive hard on practice will reach perfection in a skill.

Another thing is the VOW. Every Pure Land Practitioner should vow to be reborn in Amitabha Buddha's Western Pure Land. And this vow is the main factor that keeps you to keep on recite Amitabha Buddha's Name. The Vow also shows you how much Faith you have in Buddha, the Pure Land, and the Buddha's Vow on Welcoming you to His Pure Land on your death crucial moment. Practitioners also should set the Vow to be reborn in Western Pure Land in the form of Buddha Recitation number daily. How many times of Amitabha Buddha recitation do you recite in a day? Is it 10,000 times? Or more than that number? Many Pure Land Masters have suggested that the recitation should reach the number up to 100,000 times a day. At least, start with 10,000 times every day without any absence. Some even stressed that if you have set your recitation target to 10,000 times a day, you must finish it before you go to bed, even if you are tired or sleepy. To reach this target daily and to keep it going on and on for years (up to 20 years above until the end of your life), recitation should be starts from the morning. This is because your mind will be in the best condition after a night rest.

Although number of recitation is stressed repeatedly, also try to focus the mind on recitation. After a long period of recitation (take 20 years as example), the scattered and vexed mind will set down to a calmer mind which mean you have the ability to control your anger, greed, worry and other mind disturbance. Gradually, you will also recite Amitabha Buddha's Name in your heart even if you don't realize it at all. At that stage, you are reciting Amitabha Buddha's Name all the time. Then, you'll of course have the real confidence to be reborn in the Western Pure Land of Amitabha Buddha.