To gain a deeper understanding of the mantra Namo Amitābhaya, we look at two ancient sutras, which mention the mantra. The Amitayus Sutra explains the great importance of the mantra and its all-encompassing effect. Whereas the Surangama Sutra describes the inner attitude we need to have to be able to experience the light of Amitābha, so that we can enter into and awake in the never-ending, tremendous, infinite light of reality.
In the Surangama Sutra twenty-five Bodhisattvas’ describe the way through which they awakened. The Bodhisattva Mahàsthàma (大勢至 Dàshìzhì) describes his method as follows: ‘I entered the Amitābha Samadhi and that is why I was enlightened.’ In the following paragraph he describes it in more detail using an example: ‘If a person longingly misses another who has entirely forgotten this person, when they both meet, there is no true encounter. However, if two people constantly miss each other and always think of each other, it does not matter where or when they will meet again, they are already bound to each other – inseparable like a body and its shadow.’
All Buddhas constantly think of all living beings, they care about us and look after us like a mother after her child. However, when the child runs away and forgets the mother, she cannot do anything. Only when the child remembers the mother and both miss each other, they will never be separated.
If any living being devotes itself to Buddha Amitābha and from the deepest part of their heart thinks of Amitābha, this living being will meet Buddha – now or in the future. This being will always be close to Buddha. There is no need for another complicated method. This being will awaken naturally. Buddha Amitābha is like a fascinating scent that will spread over you and fill you with magnificent fragrance and wonderful light.
I thought of Buddha and devoted myself to him – with all my heart and all my body. For this reason, I have awakened. Now, I can help all the people, who choose to go the same way. With my strength, I can draw in people who think of Amitābha, and let them enter into the Pure Land. Buddha asked me, how I have awakened. My answer is: I did not apply any complicated method. I did only one thing: I purely and constantly thought of Buddha. That way I entered Amitābha Samadhi.´
Through the Surangama Sutra the importance of our inner attitude when we chant mantra becomes clear: We open ourselves with complete trust that there is the eternal light. We do not allow ourselves to become distracted or interrupted. We entirely and continuously orient ourselves to the eternal light. We chant the mantra with absolute openness and devotion. We preserve the pure light forever in our hearts.