Question: On the ‘Touch & Go’ concept, of at least reaching Amituofo’s Pure Land before leaving it, which leads to no more falling into the 3 lower realms, and being able to return to Pure Land any time, how does it work? Do such beings return to the Saha World as Bodhisattvas already? Does it not take many kalpas for the lotus to bloom, before actual birth?
Answer: Once one reaches Pure Land, the pure influence of its environment and the connection to Amituofo’s blessings will be so strong that the seed of Bodhicitta (aspiration for Buddhahood) will be planted firmly – which is why one will never fall into the lower realms again, while this seed will only grow and grow until the fruit of Buddhahood is attained. Because this connection will thereafter be life after life, one can easily return to Pure Land any time to continue learning from Amituofo, and to access other (Pure) Lands through his blessings to learn from other Buddhas.
Any return to the Saha World from Pure Land is as Bodhisattvas to guide others to enlightenment (e.g. through Pure Land and other skilful means), as Bodhicitta would have been given rise to.
The range of time it takes for actual emergence from lotuses ranges from immediate for those with excellent Dharma practice, to 12 kalpas for those with the worst negative karma. ‘Touch & Go’ refers to birth from the lotus to benefit from Pure Land first, before departure. 12 kalpas seems long but it is very short in comparison to the alternative of birth and stay in the hells! More importantly, 1 kalpa in the Saha World here is equivalent to only 1 day in Amituofo’s Pure Land! This means the longest duration of 12 kalpas is just 12 days in Pure Land! The other durations in between are much less long, as you can see below. Only the last two births involve kalpas.
- High birth of high grade – immediate
- Middle birth of high grade – overnight
- Low birth of high grade – 1 day 1 night
- High birth of middle grade – soon (between 1 day 1 night to 7 days)
- Middle birth of middle grade – 7 days
- Low birth of middle grade – 7 days
High birth of low grade – 49 days
- Middle birth of low grade – 6 kalpas
- Low birth of low grade – 12 kalpas
As another example of how ‘Touch & Go’ works, if one is determined enough to scale the tallest mountain – Mount Everest, and makes it, even if this mountaineer only touches and goes, not staying at the summit for long, all lower mountains will he comes across later will pose as no obstacle for him, due to his mastery of the most challenging mountain.
Here, the tallest mountain represents Pure Land as an ideal destination and the lower mountains represent the lower realms. Touching and going in terms of the summit might seem trivial, but it is not, as the journey to it undertaken means such a person will naturally develop the qualities to overcome all lower mountains. And reaching the summit confirms this ‘prize’.
For those who wrongly understand that birth in Pure Land means being stuck there for a long time, mistaking that this makes it unproductive for the goal of Bodhisattva practice and Buddhahood, they should study Amituofo’s vows in detail to learn why birth in Pure Land is the swiftest path to Buddhahood. Even if one is not satisfied with Pure Land, which is impossible, one can leave it at will, while not ever backsliding again! Beings who leave Pure Land early are those already with special personal vows to fulfill; not because they find fault with Pure Land. And they can return to Pure Land any time too.
The Fastest Way To Buddhahood Is Via Birth In Pure Land (With Time Calculation)