楞嚴經勢至念佛圓通章=Annotated Commentary on Mahāsthāmaprāpta’s Perfect Understanding through Mindfulness of the Buddha; 續法=Xufa; 是心作佛=the mind attains the Buddha; 阿彌陀佛=Amitābha Buddha; 念佛法門=mindfulness of the Buddha
As a teacher who revived the Huayan school during the Qing dynasty, Xufa wrote numerous treatises on mindfulness of the Buddha. One of these is the Annotated Commentary on Mahāsthāmaprāpta’s Perfect Understanding through Mindfulness of the Buddha, which is the longest commentary on the Surangama Sutra’s Chapter on Mahāsthāmaprāpta’s Perfect Understanding through Mindfulness of the Buddha. The main point explains the mindfulness of Amitābha Buddha from a perspective of Huayan thought. Xufa explained the method of Amitābha’s Pure Land through Huayan philosophy, focusing on the core meaning of mindfulness of the Buddha through reciting his name, and using Huayan’s fivefold categorization of teachings to show that mindfulness of the buddha encompassed the Three Teachings (gradual, sudden, and complete). This essay primarily discusses Xufa’s opening commentary in the Annotated Commentary on Mahāsthāmaprāpta’s Perfect Understanding through Mindfulness of the Buddha, which states “The mind attains the Buddha; if the mind is not mindful, then the Buddha is not attained. The Buddha reveals the mind; if the Buddha is not invoked, then the mind is not revealed.” The annotation on this commentary explains it further. Research has revealed that in his explanation of “the mind attains the Buddha,” Xufa saw mindfulness of the buddha through reciting his name as an entry through which one could attain Buddha Mindfulness Samadhi. Huayan thought is a part of the Tathagatagarbha system, so Xufa also emphasized that “if one seeks to become a buddha, one must be mindful of one’s own mind” and that “if one wishes to reveal the mind, then one must be mindful of the buddha.” He emphasized this as a method, encouraging sentient beings to be mindful of the buddha and continuously practice. Thus, Xufa used Huayan’s understanding of the inseparability of ultimate essence and provisional cultivation to explain Amitābha’s Dharma method.