Sometimes, you will hear Buddhists saying that the Pure Land path takes longer time to Buddhahood. If Pure Land is an ideal school designed by Amitabha Buddha to facilitate progress towards Buddhahood, how is it possible that the perfect compassion and wisdom of a Buddha can slow down the path to Buddhahood?
As Buddhas have great skilful means, a theory is that they can safely simulate elements of Samsara in Pure Land – for those who need more samsaric elements to urge them to progress – without ever really leaving Pure Land. Just as a good school has good laboratories for experimentation and testing, Pure Land might have such facilities? (Think the “Danger Room” in the X-Men’s school!) Pure Land beings are also able to leave Pure Land as and when they like. If one dislikes (though impossible) Pure Land after reaching there, one can return to the school of Samsara instead. Amitabha Buddha also enables all to see all of Samsara clearly without needing to leave his Pure Land.
Pure Land beings are also able to meet many Buddhas in other lands to learn from them. With the availability of so many Buddhas as their perfect teachers with perfect skilful means, one’s path to Buddhahood can only speed up instead of slow down. However, even if the Pure Land path takes a longer time (which is not the case) than other methods of practice towards Buddhahood, it is very safe – which leads us to the golden question… Which is more important on the spiritual path? Assuming that one can compromise the other, is speed or safety more crucial? It is easy to backslide spiritually, while Pure Land does not allow this to happen.
The more beings we urge to be born in Pure Land, the more beings are there who are spiritually safe, as they are bound for definite Buddhahood. The Pure Land path is thus a method of great efficiency in guiding beings to Buddhahood – such that it should not just be seen as a last resort of practice; it should be seen as a method so valuable that it should be highlighted. The more beings we guide to Pure Land, the less suffering beings there are in Samsara, while more Bodhisattvas for Samsara are trained in Pure Land. If so, hurrying through the path to Buddhahood (while compromising safety and stability) to quickly help more beings becomes less of a concern. Most of all, if the Pure Land method is unreasonably slow, all Buddhas would not agree to teach it to all they can! Amituofo!
The Fastest Way to Buddhahood is Via Birth in Pure Land