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Thirteen Types of Visualization


Question

Write out the thirteen visualizations of the settled mind.


Answer

1. Visualization of the setting sun (Nissō-kan) 2. Visualization of water (Suisō-kan) 3. Visualization of the ground (Chisō-kan) 4. Visualization of jeweled trees (Hōju-kan) 5. Visualization of jeweled ponds (Hōchi-kan) 6. Visualization of jeweled buildings (Hōrō-kan) 7. Visualization of the lotus seat (Keza-kan) 8. Visualization of the image (Zō-kan) 9. Visualization of the true body (Shinshin-kan) 10. Visualization of Avalokiteśvara (Kannon-kan) 11. Visualization of Mahāsthāmaprāpta (Seishi-kan) 12. Visualization of the vastness (Fu-kan) 13. Visualization of miscellaneous images (Zassō-kan)

Explanation

These “virtues of the settled mind” are taught in the Sūtra of Contemplation on the Buddha of Infinite Life. “Virtue of the settled mind” means concentrating on Amida Buddha and his Pure Land. There are thirteen ways of practicing it, called the “thirteen visualizations.” 1. Visualization of the setting sun (Nissō-kan): The practice of visualizing the sun setting in the West and contemplating the westward Pure Land, visualising black clouds covering the sky and noticing one’s own evil, and visualising the light of the sun and contemplating the light of the Pure Land. 2. Visualization of water (Suisō-kan): Visualizing the purity of water and contemplating the Pure Land. 3. Visualization of the ground (Chisō-kan): Visualizing the earth and contemplating the Pure Land. 4. Visualization of jeweled trees (Hōju-kan): Contemplating the jeweled trees in the Pure Land. 5. Visualization of jeweled ponds (Hōchi-kan): Contemplating the jeweled ponds in the Pure Land. 6. Visualization of jeweled buildings (Hōrō-kan): Contemplating the jeweled buildings in the Pure Land. 7. Visualization of the lotus seat (Keza-kan): Contemplating the lotus flower where Buddha is seated. When Śākyamuni taught this seventh visualization, he left his seat and conveyed the Vow of Amida to Queen Vaidehī. 8. Visualization of the image (Zō-kan): Contemplating the expedient image of Amida Buddha. 9. Visualization of the true body (Shinshin-kan): Contemplating the true image of Amida Buddha, which cannot be seen with the naked eye. Through teaching this ninth visualization, Śākyamuni taught the nembutsu for the first time. 10. Visualization of Avalokiteśvara (Kannon-kan): Contemplating Amida Buddha through Avalokiteśvara. 11. Visualization of Mahāsthāmaprāpta (Seishi-kan): Contemplating Amida Buddha through Mahāsthāmaprāpta. 12. Visualization of the vastness (Fu-kan): Contemplating the vastness of the Pure Land. 13. Visualization of miscellaneous images (Zassō-kan): Contemplating a mixture of different things.

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