Q&A

Is My Pure Land ‘Karma’ Not Ready?

Question: Some only learn and practise the Pure Land teachings for a short while. Is this because their karma is not yet ready, and will they be more diligent when their karma ripen? 

Answer: The only skilfully productive way to look at this is that they either lack motivation in learning or lack instruction by a good teacher. Motivation should be increased by seeking instruction via a good teacher. Often, it is simply laziness at play. We should not excuse ourselves vaguely with karma, by thinking, ‘Well, my karma is not ready for this.’ Karma is what we actively create in the present too; not just what happens to us according to what done in the past. Challenges that obstruct Dharma learning and practice should be overcome, by reflecting, ‘I will create pure karma by diligent learning and practice!’

Life is short and unpredictable. Without learning and practising to reach Pure Land, one will be stuck in Samsara for indefinite time to suffer due to the repetitive problem of three lifetimes: http://thedailyenlightenment.com/2010/08/are-you-recycling-yourself-every-three-lifetimes The article in the link, and the quote below from the ‘Immeasurable Life Sutra’ (无量寿经) on the importance and preciousness of the Pure Land teachings should also be shared with those who are becoming, or have become less diligent in their learning and practice. This will offer motivation to be more diligent.

佛告弥勒:「其有得闻彼佛名号,欢喜踊跃,乃至一念,当知此人,为得大利,则是具足无上功德。

[Sakyamuni] Buddha told Maitreya [Bodhisattva], ‘[If] those who attain hearing of that [Amitabha] Buddha’s name [“Amituofo”], with joyful enthusiasm, even if for one [mindful] thought, it should be known that these persons, will attain great benefits, which thus are complete with unsurpassable meritorious virtues [as they will progress to Buddhahood].  

是故,弥勒!设有大火,充满三千大千世界,要当过此,闻是经法,欢喜信乐,受持读诵,如说修行。

Therefore, Maitreya! If there is a great fire, that fully fills the three-thousand great-thousand world, [one should and] must cross it, to hear this sutra’s Dharma, and with joyful faith and understanding, receive, uphold, read and recite it, to cultivate the practices as said.

所以者何?多有菩萨,欲闻此经,而不能得。若有众生,闻此经者,於无上道,终不退转。是故,应当专心信受,持诵说行。吾今为诸众生,说此经法,令见无量寿佛,及其国土一切所有。所当为者,皆可求之,无得以我灭度之后,复生疑惑。

Why is this so? There are many Bodhisattvas, who desire to hear this sutra, yet not able to attain it. If there are sentient beings, who hear this sutra, of the unsurpassable path [to Buddhahood], they will to the end never retrogress. Therefore, [all] should, with focused minds, faithfully receive it, upholding and reciting the said practices. I now for many sentient beings, speak this sutra’s Dharma, to enable seeing of Immeasurable Life Buddha [Amituofo], and all in his land. For that which should be done, all should seek [birth there], and not after I enter parinirvana, again give rise to doubts and confusions [on this].

当来之世,经道灭尽,我以慈悲哀愍,特留此经,止住百岁。其有众生,值斯经者,随意所愿,皆可得度。」

In the world of the future, when the paths of the sutras [to enlightenment] are destroyed and ended, I, with loving-kindness, compassion and empathy, will specially retain this sutra, to dwell for one hundred years [longer]. If there are such beings, who encounter this sutra, they can, as they wish, according to their aspirations, all attain deliverance.

佛语弥勒:「如来兴世,难值难见;诸佛经道,难得难闻;菩萨胜法,诸波罗蜜,得闻亦难;遇善知识,闻法能行,此亦为难。若闻斯经,信乐受持,难中之难,无过此难。是故我法,如是作,如是说,如是教。应当信顺,如法修行。」

The Buddha told Maitreya, ‘Tathagatas’ arising in the world are difficult to meet and difficult to see; all Buddhas’ paths of sutras, are difficult to attain and difficult to hear; of Bodhisattvas’ supreme Dharma, all Paramitas, to attain hearing of them is also difficult; meeting good-knowing friends, to hear the Dharma, to be able to practise it, this is also a difficulty. If having heard this sutra, with joyful faith receiving and upholding it, this is the difficulty within difficulties, [with none] surpassing this difficulty. Therefore, my Dharma is thus accomplished, thus said, thus taught. [All] should faithfully accord with them, and according to the Dharma cultivate practices.’

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Please be mindful of your speech, Amituofo!