Mantra: Namo Amitabha
The logic of name chanting is similar to chanting mantra, which is to practise concentration and to minimize random thoughts until one discovers the inner wisdom and truth. Chanting Buddha's name or Bodhisattva's name is a common practice in Asian Buddhism, and reciting Amitabha's name is particular popular in the name chanting Dharma.
Amitabha is the principal Buddha in Pure Land. Amitabha means "Infinite Light" in Sanskrit, hence Amitabha is also called "The Buddha of Immeasurable Life and Light".
The eighteenth vow of Dharmakara(while Amitabha was still a monk in ancient time) is that any being desiring to be born into Amitabha's Pure Land can call upon his name, even as few as ten times, and will be guaranteed a rebirth over there. His nineteenth vow promises that he, along with other Bodhisattvas, will appear before those who call upon him at the moment of death. This openness and acceptance of all kinds of people has made the Pure Land belief popular in Central Asia and China.
Through his efforts, Amitabha created Pure Land, Sukhavati, at the uttermost west, and is accessible to all who call upon him. Unlike the earth, where cultivation is not always easy, practitioners at Pure Land will receive teaching by Aimtabha Buddha and ultimately become Bodhisattvas and Buddhas. From there, these same Bodhisattvas and Buddhas return to our world to help yet more people.
The logic of reciting Amitabha is similar to chanting Mantra, as it requires practitioners to be highly concentrated and with minimum alternative thoughts. Therefore, this method is listed under the Mantra section. Same logic also applies to recitation on other Buddha's names and Bodhisattva's names.
Buddhism says that "everything arises from the mind". Environment, is actually a reflection of people’s thoughts. All sentient beings have thoughts of afflictions, attachments, greed, anger, ignorance and arrogance. Increasingly, these thoughts not only affect a person life, but also shape the world, from disagreements in a family to disasters in the country.
For example, thoughts of ignorance cause disasters from wind such as tornadoes and typhoons. Thoughts of agitation cause earthquakes. Thoughts of greed cause floods. Thoughts of anger cause fires. These disasters will continue to increase in frequency and severity if nothing is done to neutralize them.
By chanting the Buddha name, Amitabha, it helps the practitioners to restore their mind to purity, equality and peace. Thoughts create waves, and positive thoughts create wave that can neutralize turbulent thought waves such as greed, anger, and ignorance. Therefore, a country with many Buddha Name Chanters will actually bring peace, stability, prosperity and happiness to that area.
Buddha Name Recitation is a practice that helps practitioner to reborn in the Pure Land. This simple and direct practice is helpful for people who have trouble with meditation. Practitioners use Buddha Name Recitation to control and diminish negative thoughts from arising. Rather than daydreaming or singing a pop tune in the mind, practitioners switch to reciting Namo Amitabha whenever one remembers. Namo means “praise”, and it gives respect to the enlightened one.
In Buddhism, it says that worlds are actually created by thoughts. Sentient beings take themselves to the hell worlds, the heavenly realms, the human dharma realm, the animal realm, and so on.
Amitabha Buddha vowed to help all sentient beings to awaken if they would but call upon his name.
In Japan, the Buddha Name Recitation is “Namu Amida Butsu.” Chinese uses “Amituo Fo”, and it is a habit to recite “Amituo Fo” during greeting and farewelling one another with hands palm-to-palm.
A Pure Land practitioner is not really calling upon an “other” for help. Amitabha Buddha is the true Buddha nature of all sentient beings. Reciting Buddha Name is to remember one’s beginningless beginning. There is no “other” and there is no “out there.”
In some countries, the practitioners of Buddha Name Recitation have degenerated to ask for help on passing exams, being pregant, or favor-seeking. In Chan, which is Chinese meditation, there is no entity out there who would listen to the recitations. No one will grant favors to the reciter. Reciting Amitabha without thoughts of personal gain is actually reciting one’s original Buddha nature. It helps practitioners to remember who they actually are. The formless and immaterial world lies beyond the world of form, and it can’t be experienced until practitioners experience the immaterial attainments.