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Chanting Amita Budda All Day

Bits and Pieces, April 1990, p. 12

Madame Chiang Kai-shek once told the story of a young Buddhist monk who sat outside his temple two thousand years ago, hands clasped in prayer. He looked very pious and he chanted &ls;Amita Buddha' all day. Day after day he intoned these words, believing that he was acquiring grace. One day the head priest of the temple sat next to him and began rubbing a piece of brick against a stone. Day after day he rubbed one against the other. This went on week after week until the young monk could no longer contain his curiosity, and he finally blurted out, "Father, what are you doing?" "I'm trying to make a mirror," said the head priest. "But that's impossible!" said the young monk. "You can't make a mirror from brick." "True," replied the head priest. "And it is just as impossible for you to acquire grace by doing nothing except chant &ls;Amita Buddha' all day long."