The meditation method taught by Sunim is simple, direct and profound. It is the same method used by Sakyamuni over 2,500 years ago, when he attained enlightenment.
The sutra in which Sakyamuni taught this method was the only one he offered ‘voluntarily’ – as compared to all the other sutras, which consisted of his answers to questions originating from his disciples. It would seem that Sakyamuni deemed this meditation teaching of greatest importance, to give it without being asked.
Furthermore, we trust the experience of Sunim; very few meditation teachers have actually reached his level of consciousness. Since we, ourselves, have not yet experienced the most advanced meditation states, we are grateful to have a teacher whose unique experience can directly guide us. Sunim’s experience is that there are many different ways one can meditate, but the method taught by Sakyamuni is the most direct, most efficient way to reach enlightenment.
Sincere practitioners notice significant changes in their lives within the first weeks and months of meditating. As with all worthwhile endeavors, the longer one practices the greater are the benefits.
Na-mu A-mi-ta-bul is the mantra taught for chanting and meditation. It represents and invokes the purest, most powerful energy in the universe. Chanting “Namu Amitabul” enables us to gradually awaken, and to identify with whom we really are.
Many cultures recognize Namu Amitabul. Namu (or Namo) translates as honor and respect. Korean Amitabul can be substituted by Chinese Amituofo, Japanese Amida Butsu, Vietnamese Adida Phat, or the original Sanskrit, Amitabha.
Amitabul is both personal and impersonal. While it has been ascribed as the name of an embodied being who became a Buddha, it is not he per se that we focus on when we chant and meditate. While as a name, Amitabul represents the original Buddha, i.e. the source of all creation (the energy with which Sakyamuni was seeking to identify when he meditated to attain enlightenment), Amitabul is also pure energy. Sakyamuni also chanted Na-mu A-mi-ta-bul because the sound of Na-mu A-mi-ta-bul is one with the energy that is the original source, the Buddha of Buddhas.
A-mi-ta (Sanskrit “without bound, infinite”) combines the meaning of the three syllables:
“a”: all matter in the universe
“mi”: the characteristic or personality of each individual particle or being
“ta”: emptiness – the pure golden energy that is all (of Buddha’s) creative power
Bha comes from the Sanskrit Abha (light, splendor), and commonly means ‘awakening’ or ‘Buddha’. Hence, Buddha is the Awakened One.