Comparative Studies General Articles

Pure Land Is For All Three Spiritual Capacities

If you are of Lower (Spiritual) Roots (下根; 钝根: dull roots),
frequently subject to dullness in realisation of wisdom and practice of compassion,
it is best to aspire to be born in Amituofo’s Pure Land,
where your roots can be swiftly sharpened, to advance towards enlightenment.
If otherwise, it is going to take an extremely long time to do so in Samsara,
for what if you backslide to become more dull for indefinite time, and do evil instead?
Why totally risk your spiritual life?

If you are of Medium (Average) Roots (中根),
half of the time subject to dullness in realisation of wisdom and practice of compassion,
it is safest to aspire to be born in Amituofo’s Pure Land,
where your roots can be swiftly further sharpened, to advance towards enlightenment.
If otherwise, it is going to take a very long time to do so in Samsara,
for what if you backslide to become more dull for indefinite time, and do evil instead?
Why half-risk your spiritual life?

If you are of Higher (Superior) Roots (上根; 利根: sharp roots),
seldom subject to dullness in realisation of wisdom and practice of compassion,
it is better to aspire to be born in Amituofo’s Pure Land,
where your roots can be swiftly perfectly sharpened, to advance towards enlightenment.
If otherwise, it is going to take a much longer time to do so in Samsara,
for what if you backslide to become more dull for indefinite time, and do evil instead?
Why not expedite your spiritual life?

Notes:

[1] Not only is it dangerous to assume one is definitely of Higher Roots, similar to those of Lower and Medium Roots, even those of Higher Roots can become spiritually duller in time when diligence slags. So long as one is not yet a Bodhisattva who has attain Non-retrogression, spiritual backsliding from the goal of Buddhahood is always possible, for indefinite time. As it is difficult to gauge if one is really of Higher Roots, it is always safer to assume one is of Medium Roots, or even more humbly, of Lower Roots.

[2] All great Bodhisattvas, who are definitely of extraordinary Higher Roots, with their great compassionate foresight universally recommend and guide beings in Samsara to be born in Amituofo’s Pure Land, as exemplified by Samantabhadra Bodhisattva’s Tenth Vow, which represents one of all great Bodhisattvas’ crucial vows. Even Samantabhadra Bodhisattva himself aspires to be born in Amituofo’s Pure Land. As in the Amitabha Sutra, all Buddhas encourage all beings of various worlds to be born in Amituofo’s Pure Land too. With such clear advice, it is unwise to assume any otherwise.

[3] As even great Bodhisattvas lead by example, by going to Amituofo’s Pure Land to expedite the perfection of their spiritual practice, it is a grave misconception that staying in Samsara will be faster instead. If it was so, they would not seek birth there. In Amituofo’s Pure Land, as empowered by Amituofo, all other Pure Lands can be accessed with ease to perfect wisdom by learning the Dharma from all Buddhas, and for creating immeasurable merits by making offerings to these Buddhas. With exponential increase in the accumulation of wisdom and merits, Buddhahood is much more swiftly attained.

[4] According to the Vow #22 of Amituofo (as below), even if one born in Pure Land departs before attaining enlightenment, and returns to Samsara, one will never backslide, and will only progress towards Buddhahood, as there will be continual connection to Amituofo’s protective blessings. It is therefore better to ‘touch-and-go’ Pure Land than to not do so at all, as the attainment of non-retrogression is very important for steady spiritual progress. Not that it is true, even if the path to enlightenment in Pure Land is really slower, one can leave Pure Land better equipped to continue practice in Samsara. Thereafter, one can also return to Pure Land at any time, and leave again later – in as many cycles as one wishes in a free and easy way.

第二十二愿: 设我得佛,他方佛土诸菩萨众,来生我国,究竟必至一生补处。除其本愿自在所化,为众生故,披弘誓铠,积累德本,度脱一切。游诸佛 国,修菩萨行,供养十方诸佛如来,开化恒沙无量众生,使立无上正真之道。超出常伦诸地之行,现前修习普贤之德。若不尔者,不取正觉。

Vow #22: If, when I attain Buddhahood, Bodhisattvas in the Buddha-lands of other directions who are born in my land should not ultimately and unfailingly reach the Stage of Becoming Buddhas after One More Life, may I not attain perfect awakening. Excepted are those who wish to manifest freely for [helping] beings according to their original vows. Wearing the armour of great vows, they accumulate roots of merits, deliver all, visit all Buddha-lands to cultivate the Bodhisattva practices, make offerings to all Buddhas Tathagatas throughout the ten directions, awaken and transform immeasurable beings as numerous as the sands of the River Ganges, and establish them on the unsurpassable, right and true path. They transcend the ordinary practices of Bodhisattvas of all grounds, manifest the practices of all the Bodhisattva stages, and cultivate the merits
of Samantabhadra [Bodhisattva].

[5] As above, Pure Land is not meant to be a place of confinement. The idea that those born in Pure Land will be ‘stuck’ there for a long time is thus not valid at all. For beings of the two lowest grades of birth, who had done great evil, the time they spend exhausting much negative karma in the lotuses is about 6 to 12 kalpas, which is much shorter than the immeasurably longer time they would otherwise spend in the lowest hells. The durations of stay for the nine grades of birth in lotuses before emergence are as follows. Note that only the two last grades of birth take contrasting longer time. If one has not done great evil, these would not apply at all.

( 1 )  None (as experience of Pure Land is as swift as a finger snap)
( 2 )  1 night
( 3 )  1 day and night
( 4 )  Between ‘1 day and night’ to 7 days (‘soon opens’)
( 5 )  7 days
( 6 )  7 days
( 7 )  7 weeks
( 8 )  6 kalpas
( 9 )  12 kalpas

Related Articles:
The Fastest Way to Buddhahood is Via Birth in Pure Land
http://purelanders.com/2011/12/10/the-fastest-way-to-buddhahood-is-via-birth-in-pure-land/
Can Samsara Lead to Buddhahood More Efficiently than Pure Land?
http://purelanders.com/2010/03/16/can-samsara-better-lead-to-buddhahood-than-pureland/
Speed of Safety?
http://purelanders.com/2009/09/14/speed-or-safety/
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