Master Jingzong (English translation by Foyi, edited by Fojin)
A good friend is always nearby in spirit even though far away in distance.
Loneliness is part of the human experience. Hence the saying, “How hard it is to find a true friend!” Once two people become true friends, they will feel close to each other even if separated by thousands of miles because their spirits are together. They will seem to be living just next door to each other.
No mountains or rivers can separate two people. They are only truly separated when they are not like-minded. No physical distance is too great when the minds of two people resonate together. How true is the Buddha’s saying, “All things are created by the mind.”
There are numerous examples of people finding it hard to connect with others these days. Even couples living under the same roof or families staying close to each other sometimes act like strangers. In modern residential buildings, next-door neighbors might as well be living in different countries.
However, we Amitabha-reciters have a true friend in the universe who knows us well and never abandons us. That friend is Amitabha Buddha!
Amitabha is living in the Land of Bliss a hundred million Buddha-lands to the west, which is even further away than the ends of the world. But the Contemplation of Infinite Life Sutra says that “Amitabha is not far from here.” Master Shandao, the founder of the Pure Land School, also has this to say, “When sentient beings recite the name of Amitabha often, the Buddha knows it; when sentient beings think of Amitabha, the Buddha also embraces them with his mind. Such is our karmic intimacy with Amitabha Buddha. When sentient beings aspire to see the Amitabha, he appears immediately in front of them. This is our karmic closeness with Amitabha Buddha.
Within the nine Dharma realms, Amitabha-reciters are all siblings because we practice only Amitabha-recitation and nothing else.
How happy I am to be a reciter of Amitabha Buddha! Amitabha understands me, and mutual understandings also exist between me and all my fellow Amitabha-reciters. My true friends are countless.