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Ultimate Liberation

Because of Birth and Death,
Develop the Bodhi Mind;
With deep Faith and Vows,
Recite the Buddha's Name. — Elder Master Ch'e Wu

"Birth and Death" refers to samsara, the cycle of birth-life-death.

"Bodhi Mind" refers to the mind awakened to the spirit of Enlightenment. It consists of two aspects: the determination to achieve Buddhahood and the aspiration to rescue all sentient beings.

"Faith" refers to the faith in the Primal Vow and the belief in Amida's Pure Land.

"Vows" refers to the 48 Vows of Amida Buddha.

"Buddha's Name" refers to the name of Amida.

Reminded by suffering and death, the Buddhist's current practice is for the goal of ultimate liberation, to save himself and others.

At first glance, the previous statement seems depressing and sad. However, it is actually the affirmation of two facts of life: people do suffer and fear death.

Thus suffering and death motivate the practitioner to seek liberation from suffering and death.

Liberation is achieved through Buddha Recitation and meditation by freeing the mind from suffering and the fear of death.

Buddha Recitation helps free the practitioner from the fear of death by affirming the Primal Vow. With his rebirth in the Pure Land fully assured, the fear of death of removed.

Meditations helps free the mind from suffering by calming it. Once calm, the mind is able to clearly see hope where once suffering offered despair.

Through instruction and practice, one learns to let go of the thoughts in one's mind, clinging to neither positive nor negative thoughts.

Without clinging to thoughts, one is able to produce good thoughts which lead to good karma (actions).

For example, I am currently thinking of joy. The good action is viewing the world as a good place to live. This leads to a positive outlook on life. I am ready to greet the day. Nothing can change my mind about this.

Freed of suffering, I am able to choose to think good thoughts and remain focused on them.

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