Sutra: Evening Recitation
When evening comes, we should gather in the myriad virtues and dedicate them to the Pure Land. This is known as "creating merit at the beginning and returning the virtue at the end." And so one begins the recitation with the Amitabha Sutra. This Sutra causes us to awaken to the sublime primary and dependent rewards of the Land of Ultimate Bliss. We are exhorted to practice the Dharma of reciting the Buddha’s name, as it is the proper cause for living beings to beget loathing for the extreme filth of the Saha world and aspire toward the utter purity of the Pure Land. With the Rebirth Mantra we beseech Amita Buddha to anoint the crowns of our heads, to pull out the fundamental cause of our karmic obstacles, and to guarantee that we will certainly be reborn in his land.
If the practitioner’s mind is admixed with defilement, his obstacles are not easily eradicated, and so we rely on the Eighty-eight Buddhas Repentance Ceremony, with its verses of Universal Worthy Bodhisattva, to expand upon the Ten Kings of Vows recited earlier in the day. With those recitations, both relative truths and Absolute Truth are perfectly fused and the Sea-seal Samadhi is realized.
Both the Amitabha Sutra and the Eighty-eight Buddhas Repentance Ceremony are followed with the Meng Mountain Offering, bringing vast benefit to beings of the lower realms, and the Prajna Paramita Heart Sutra is recited to affect their understanding that both offenses and blessings have no host and that people and dharmas are empty, so that they may come to realize the True Reality of all dharmas. Once again, the Rebirth Mantra is recited, as we rely upon Amita Buddha to release light to anoint the crowns of our heads and protect us. We pray that the six paths transform into the Pure Land, and that all sentient creatures immediately be certified to the Ten Grounds.
Next, we recite the Buddha’s name as we transfer merit and seek actual certification. we conclude with the Three Refuges. All goodness gained throughout the day, from beginning to end, is returned to the Triple Jewel of our own natures, and we vow that the living beings throughout the Dharma Realm will all bring forth the unsurpassed resolve and together perfect the Wisdom of all Modes.