Samsara is more conducive
for more defilements.
This is what makes it Samsara.
Pure Land is more conducive
for more purification.
This is what makes it Pure Land.
Question: Our fundamental teacher Sakyamuni Buddha himself attained enlightenment in Samsara; not in a Pure Land. However, he also greatly encouraged aspiration for birth in Amituofo’s Pure Land. How can we reconcile this?
Answer: Indeed, the Buddha walked the Difficult Path in Samsara towards Buddhahood, and having been there and done that, he realised that many beings will find it too difficult in terms of much time and effort needed, with many occasions and lifetimes of spiritual backsliding, which is why, out of great skilful means motivated by perfect compassion and wisdom, he actively advocated the Easy Path to enlightenment via Amituofo’s Pure Land in close to 300 sutras, which is about 13% of the Tripitaka.
If it is instead easy to attain Buddhahood by staying in Samsara throughout, the Buddha would not had taught about Amituofo’s Pure Land in even a single sutra, and we should all be Buddhas already… yet we are still being stuck here in the increasingly Dharma-Ending Age that he warned about, when it will be harder and harder to practise and realise Buddhahood due to more anti-Dharma distractions. In this age especially, for the average person, Samsara is clearly the place with the most obstacles against progress towards Buddhahood.
In these days, some self-proclaimed Buddhists even do not wish to commit to the basic five precepts well, at times also giving obstacles and suffering to other Buddhists who sincerely wish to better observe the precepts. Not only is there no clear path to Buddhahood for the first, there is no clear path to a decent human rebirth, much more Pure Land, if there is no sincere repentance followed by appropriate corrective practice. Such are some of the evil ways of the world today, that are truly horrifying, to be avoided. The Buddha sincerely admonished to this effect in the Immeasurable Life Sutra too, the most major Pure Land sutra, which he also taught to be the absolute last sutra that will exist for 100 years, with his blessings, after the end of the Dharma-Ending Age – because of its great practical relevance (now and) then.
Pure Land, being created by a Buddha’s perfect compassion and wisdom, can only most efficiently facilitate non-retrogressible progress towards Buddhahood. If it sabotages the process instead, no Buddha would even create a Pure Land, much less encourage anyone to attain birth there. As in the Amitabha Sutra, all Buddhas of all world systems urge beings of their worlds to seek birth in Amituofo’s Pure Land – simply because it is so excellent. Such universal praise by all Buddhas is rare in the sutras. His Pure Land is so excellent that beings there can swiftly train to be accomplished Bodhisattvas, to return to truly efficiently help all other beings still in Samsara, thereby manifesting Buddhahood without fail.
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