The warning seems to be about misunderstanding the nature of the visualizations, which can lead to issues.Yin Kuang wrote:There are, in general, four methods of Pure Land practice: oral recitation (Holding the Name), contemplation of a Buddha image, Visualization (contemplation by thought) and True Mark Recitation.
Among the four methods, oral recitation has the broadest appeal. It is not only easy to practice, it does not lead to “demonic events.”
If you wish to practice the Visualization method, you should carefully read the Meditation Sutra and clearly understand such principles as “This Mind is the Buddha,” “If the mind is pure, the Buddha appears,” “All realms and states are Mind-Only, there should be no attachment to them.” Once you understand that realms and states do not come from the outside and avoid developing attachments to them, these states then become more sublime and the mind grows purer and more focussed. If you reach that point, the benefits of Visualization are significant.
On the other hand, if you are unfamiliar with the realms visualized and have not comprehended the essence of the Dharma, but are over-eager to see [auspicious] realms, everything is delusion. Not only are you not in communion with the Buddhas, you even begin to create the causes of demonic events (hallucinate). This is because the more eager you are to see realms, the more agitated and deluded your mind becomes.
You should, therefore, take your capacities and circumstances into consideration and not aim for what is too lofty and beyond your reach – seeking benefits only to receive harm.
Therefore, the Great Sage [Buddha Sakyamuni] took pity and specifically recommended oral recitation because He feared that those who were not skillful in using their minds would be lost in demonic realms.
Cultivation through oral recitation is very easy. To achieve rebirth in the Pure Land, you need only ensure that singleminded thought follows singleminded thought. Moreover, utmost sincerity and earnestness are also wonderful methods to treat the deluded mind and demonic realms.
You should think this over carefully and strive with all your mental strength to cultivate.
I don't want to discourage anybody from exploring ways to praise and contemplate Amitabha, but do be aware that visualization can present its own challenges. And that not all Pure Land schools recommend anything beyond the safest, most accessible method of reciting the name.