Who is Reciting the Buddha-Name?
To Yu Ta-yen, Layman Yao-sun from Master Chu-hung
To create faith in the Pure Land, you should concentrate on the basic [Amitabha] Sutra and its commentaries when you read the scriptures, and save the other sutras for afterwards. When you read the commentaries, do not read them through at one stint. It is better to read a little at a time and take many days to finish them. Savor them in detail, and you will deepen your faith in the Pure Land. The ancients said:
Among the most essential methods of cultivating practice in the sea of birth and death, buddha-remembrance by reciting the buddha-name is number one.
These were not empty words.
Also: Since you have not benefited by recitation aloud, silent recitation, or diamond recitation, but on the contrary, have been injured by them, now you must lightly bring to mind the buddha-name, right when your false thoughts are flying around in confusion.
Once you can stay with this, then observe who it is who is reciting the buddha-name. Do this for a long time. As thoughts arise, observe: who is reciting the buddha-name? If thoughts do not arise, just go on observing [who is reciting the buddha-name?]. [As you continue observing], the work of keeping your attention on this, and the words themselves, will both cease, but this cessation will not hinder the work of keeping your attention on [who is reciting the buddha-name?].