It is well known that Sengzhao’s (374–414) prajñā thought greatly influenced Tanluan’s (476–542) Pure Land teaching. Particularly representative is Tanluan’s reinterpretation of “prajñā” as “wisdom.”
In this paper, I examine Tanluan’s understanding of the practices for birth in Amida’s Pure Land developed based on Sengzhao’s prajñā thought. First, in the Commentary on Birth in Amida’s Pure Land, Tanluan introduces two methods of practice for attaining birth in Amida’s Pure Land: the practice of the five gates of mindfulness (五念門), and the ten recitations of Amida’s Name (十念). I particularly focus on Tanluan’s theory of Pure Land practice linking the five gates of mindfulness to the recitation of Amida’s Name ten times in a seamless process. In his “Supplementary Discussion,” Tanluan says, “the recitation of Amida’s Name ten times when one hears the teaching of the ultimate reality (実相) from a good friend who consoles him by various skillful means.” The “reality” here is the very foundation of Amida Buddha and his Pure Land. According to Tanluan, Amida Buddha and the adornments of his Pure Land are to be revealed by the bodhisattva’s “wisdom.” Tanluan understands that “wisdom” cultivated by the bodhisattva’s practice of the five gates of mindfulness enables people to practice the ten recitations of Amida’s Name, even those who are in the lowest level of the lowest grade.