The truth is usually harder to believe than the untrue –
which is why we are more deluded than wise.
In the Amitabha Sutra, the Buddha said that he, ‘for all in the world spoke this Dharma (Pure Land teachings), that is difficult to have faith in. This is extremely difficult!’ It is probably difficult to believe in – for the general person, and even for some Buddhists, because its promises seem too good to be true. The Pure Land teachings are surely among the most skilful means of the Buddhas, that safely and swiftly lead towards enlightenment. So beneficial is it that it is hard to believe in, especially when conditioned by much karmic obscurations and delusions.
The first doubt many have is the existence of Pure Lands. Here is a simple proof on why Pure Lands have to exist… The hells and the Pure Lands are the opposite ends of the spectrum of existence in terms of suffering and bliss. If the realm of ultimate suffering, which is Avici Hell (the worst hell), can be manifested from the minds of the most evil and deluded, it is infinitely much more possible that the ‘realm of ultimate bliss’ (Amitabha Buddha’s Pure Land) can be created from the mind of the most enlightened, the perfectly compassionate and wise.
Just as it is natural for the severely defiled (the thoroughly unenlightened) to create hells for themselves, it is perfectly natural for the immeasurably compassionate and wise (the Buddhas) to create Pure Lands for guiding beings to be free from all suffering, including the efficient redirection of them away from the hells. Ironically, some who sincerely believe they are bound for rebirth in the hells might be born in Pure Land easier – because out of desperate repentance, they fully entrust themselves to Amitabha Buddha (Amituofo) and practise mindfulness of him more diligently!
The hells and the Pure Lands should be seen respectively
as the most terrible and the most blissful schools
for motivating us towards liberation.