Should I Return To This World To Find My Teacher?

Question: What considerations are there on vowing to be reborn back in this world, to meet one’s guru (spiritual teacher), to continue improving this world?

Answer: On looking for one’s guru, there are four considerations –

[a] If the guru is alive, how long more will s/he be alive? If about to pass away soon, how can the guru be met later? [b] If one dies and is reborn, will one remember the guru and be inclined to go towards him/her to learn? [c] Does one know for certain where the guru is, especially if s/he is deceased already, in which part of which realm? [d] If the guru is not a powerful spiritual practitioner, the guru might not personally be sure of where s/he will be.

On returning to our world immediately after this life, there are also four considerations –

[1] As prophesied by Sakyamuni Buddha, this world is currently more than 10% into the Dharma-Ending Age (末法时期), and will advance deeper for many thousands of years until it enters the ‘Dharma-Ended Age’ (无法时期). This present era is when the general quality of the Dharma being taught, learnt, practised and realised is in decline. There will be increasing distractions and obstacles to master the Dharma.

[2] Due to the above, it will be increasingly difficult to progress spiritually, and increasingly easy to backslide spiritually. Even some junior tulkus, or beginner recognised reborn Dharma masters are known to backslide in the present era due to forgetfulness of what learnt in past lives and what vowed earlier, as can be seen at http://thedailyenlightenment.com/2015/05/full-review-what-if-you-are-a-tulku-recognised-reborn-master We are not even junior tulkus, thus with no one to look out for nurturing us spiritually. In other words, we are even more likely to backslide than them.

[3] Merely having some meritorious virtues (merits) without having realised non-retrogression (spiritual non-backsliding) is still susceptible to the serious repetitive problem of three lifetimes (三世怨), as can be seen at http://thedailyenlightenment.com/2010/08/are-you-recycling-yourself-every-three-lifetimes This problem is in fact why we are still stuck here in the Dharma-Ending Age.

[4] The safest alternative is to aspire to meet a guaranteed perfect guru (e.g. Amituofo; Amitabha Buddha), a Buddha in a perfect Dharma school (e.g. Pure Land), where one will definitely progress to Buddhahood most swiftly without fail. Amituofo also vowed to receive and guide us to his Pure Land when we are mindful of his name wholeheartedly with the right Faith and Aspiration. This means we will not be lost on the way to meet him.As Sakyamuni Buddha clearly taught that the practice of reaching Pure Land will be the longest lasting feasible spiritual path in this Dharma-Ending Age, we should heed his teachings by urging one another to evacuate from this ‘sinking ship’. If returning to the sinking ship inadequately trained as passengers instead of qualified Bodhisattva ‘lifeguards’, we are likely to sink with it. Although we should do what we can to prevent the ship from sinking now, the Buddha did not teach that it can be indefinitely prevented from eventual sinking. The way to clearly save its passengers is to encourage them to ride the ‘lifeboat’ of Amituofo’s vows, to reach the safety of his Pure Land.

It is after training well in Pure Land, that we can safely and surely guide all other beings to liberation. This is not forsaking a single sentient being at all, as can be seen at http://thedailyenlightenment.com/2014/03/do-pure-land-aspirants-forsake-other-beings Ensuring Amituofo’s Pure Land is reached at the end of this life is thus the most responsible thing to do, so as to not be another passenger who needs saving by Bodhisattvas, but to be a Bodhisattva who swiftly saves passengers instead.

Related Article:
Is Our World Becoming A Pure Land Soon?

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Please be mindful of your speech, Amituofo!