Question: Is going to Amituofo’s (Amitabha Buddha) Pure Land running away suffering in this human realm?
Answer: Reaching Pure Land is to learn how to best eradicate all suffering of all realms. We are likened to immature children now, who have yet to grow up spiritually, who are not sure how to eradicate suffering totally, even for ourselves, what more to say, to help others do the same. This is why we aspire and practise to reach Pure Land for the best training, directly via a Buddha (Amituofo), the best teacher possible. There, he is assisted by many great Bodhisattvas (like Guanyin Pusa), who will be our living model examples. It is the best training environment with the best training aids possible, such as being able to accurately recall all past lives and visit all other lands, as safely empowered by Amituofo’s vows.
Just as children should first attend good schools to master essential life skills before entering society to be more capable and useful citizens, going to Pure Land is for training to be the most effective Bodhisattvas possible for guiding all beings in Samsara to eradicate their suffering. The unschooled and unready who enter society too early might end up giving more trouble to themselves, society and its social workers, while training in Pure Land assures we will have the optimum spiritual training to be the best spiritual social workers for helping all. Great Master Zhizhe also explained in ‘The Treatise On Ten Doubts About Pure Land’, on why going to Pure Land does not forsake any being: http://thedailyenlightenment.com/2014/03/do-pure-land-aspirants-forsake-other-beings
Q: Is Pure Land like a heavenly realm, where all seems perfect and without suffering? Could it be so conducive for enjoying learning of the Dharma that suffering in other realms is forgotten?
A: Amituofo’s Pure Land, being a Buddha’s purified realm resulting from his full enlightenment, surpasses all heavenly planes as they are still part of Samsara (the cycle of birth and death, where there is suffering). It is called the Land Of Ultimate Bliss (or Land Of Peace And Bliss). Yet, all its joys are spiritually conducive for the growth and perfection of compassion and wisdom; never leading to indulgence and complacence in the least, as is the case for many heavens. If there are distractions of suffering in Pure Land, it would be no different from Samsara. However, in Pure Land, there is no retrogression (spiritual backsliding) towards suffering, or faults such as indulgence and complacence. We will only progress in the swiftest way possible towards Buddhahood as it is truly the most skilful school.
Being the perfect spiritual school, Pure Land does not desensitise us from others’ suffering. Instead, it makes us more sensitive, but in an equanimous and clear way, without being negatively emotionally carried away, which tends to be the case for us now. Here, we are either overwhelmed or underwhelmed by personal and others’ suffering, but in Pure Land, we will have objective view of all beings’ suffering. The vows of Amituofo will enable us to see the suffering of all realms of existence, including that of the three lower realms of hells, hungry ghosts and animals. This is how we will all give rise to Bodhicitta (the aspiration to guide one and all to Buddhahood) perfectly. We will all be perfectly motivated to train perfectly to help all beings perfectly! Here is a summary with more differences between heavens and Pure Land: http://purelanders.com/2011/12/15/the-differences-between-heavens-pure-lands