By measuring the working of one sentient being’s nembutsu one knows that of all. How is it that the working of a single nembutsu can destroy all hindrances, just as a single fragrant tree can transform a forty-yojana eranda forest and make all within it fragrant?
Answer: The inconceivable working of nembutsu-samadhi may be clarified by quoting from various Mahayana scriptures. The Garland Sutra states:
Suppose a person strings a lute with the sinews of a lion. When he strikes but a single note, all other kinds of string rend. Likewise, when a person practices nembutsu-samadhi in the aspiration for enlightenment, all blind passions and hindrances are sundered and destroyed. Again, suppose a person takes milk from a cow, a ewe, and an ass, and places it all in a single vessel. If he casts in a single drop of milk from a lion, the lion’s milk will immediately pass unhindered through all the other milk, and the various kinds of milk will be broken down and transformed into pure water. Likewise, if a person simply practices nembutsu-samadhi in the aspiration for enlightenment, he or she immediately passes by all evil demons and obstructions without the least hindrance.
Further the sutra states:
Suppose there is a person who has a potion that renders him invisible. As he travels about from place to place, other travelers cannot see him. Likewise, when persons practice nembutsu-samadhi in the aspiration for enlightenment, they are not seen by any evil demons or obstructions, and wherever they go there is nothing that can impede them. This is because putting nembutsu-samadhi into practice is none other than the king of all samadhis.
A Mahayana work declares,
It is not that all other samadhis are not samadhis. For there is a samadhi that can eliminate only greed but is incapable of eliminating anger and folly; a samadhi that can eliminate only anger but is incapable of eliminating folly and greed; a samadhi that can eliminate only folly but cannot eliminate anger. There is a samadhi that can eliminate the obstructions of the present but not all the obstructions of the past and future. But if one constantly practices nembutsu-samadhi, one eliminates all the obstructions of past, present, and future without distinction.
A gatha on the Larger Sutra declares,
If persons hear the virtuous Name of Amida, Praise the Buddha with joy, and wholeheartedly take refuge Even but a single thought-moment, they gain the great benefit. That is, they come to possess the treasure of virtues.
Even though the great thousandfold world be filled with fire, Pass through immediately to hear the Buddha’s Name! If one hears “Amida,” on will never retrogress. For this reason I wholeheartedly bow my head in worship.
Further it states:
Again, as declared in the Sutra of the Questions of Maudgalyayana,
The Buddha said to Maudgalyayana, “In every stream and river there are grasses and trees, and regardless of which follows or which goes before, all are carried down to gather in the vast ocean. So it is with this world. Though one may freely enjoy power, station, riches, and pleasure, one cannot escape either birth, aging, sickness, or death. Simply because of failure to follow the Buddha’s teaching, one born as a human being in the next life will still suffer great hardship and be incapable of attaining birth in the lands of the thousand Buddhas. For this reason I teach thus: The land of the Buddha of Immeasurable Life is easy to go to, easy to attain; nevertheless, there are people incapable of practicing and being born there, for they devote themselves instead to the ninety-five false paths. I call such people ‘those without eyes’ and ‘those without ears’.”
Such is the teaching of the sutra. Why then do people not abandon the difficult and rely on the path of easy practice?
Enlightened Ones have thorough comprehension of it. The Mind, though pure in its self-nature from the beginning, is accompanied by ignorance. Being defiled by ignorance, a defiled state of Mind comes into being. But, though defiled, the Mind itself is eternal and immutable. Only the Enlightened Ones are able to understand what this means. What is called the essential nature of Mind is comprehension of the Buddha Mind. When the one Dharmdatu is yet to be realized, the Mind is mutable and is perfect unity with Dharmadhatu. Suddenly, a deluded thoughts arises and diminish.