Essentials for Reading the Sutras
What is explained in the sutras of the great canon is no more than discipline, concentration, and wisdom.
In reading the scriptures, there are two kinds of mistakes.
One mistake is to cling to the literal text and miss the inner principles.
The second mistake is to recognize the principles but not apply them to your own mind, so that you waste time and just make them into causes of entanglement.
If you can fully comprehend the practice of discipline, concentration, and wisdom, this in itself is what is called constantly abiding from moment to moment in the scriptural teachings of the great canon, and being mindful of thousands and millions of volumes of sutras.
We must also recognize that this discipline, concentration, and wisdom are equivalent to the method of buddha-remembrance. How so?
Discipline means preventing wrongdoing. If you can wholeheartedly practice buddha-remembrance, evil will not dare to enter — this is discipline.
Concentration means eliminating the scattering [characteristic of ordinary mind]. If you wholeheartedly practice buddha-remembrance, mind does have any other object — this is concentration.
Wisdom means clear perception. If you contemplate the sound of the buddha-name with each syllable distinct, and also contemplate that the one who is mindful and the one who is the object of this mindfulness are both unattainable — this is wisdom.
Thus buddha-remembrance is discipline, concentration, is and wisdom. What need is there to follow texts literally when reading the scriptures?
Time passes quickly, life does not remain solid forever. I hope all of you will make the work of Pure Land practice your urgent task. Do not think that what I say is false and fail to heed it.