Question: It is said that we should have ‘healthy aversion’ towards life in Samsara. What does this mean?
Answer: This means to see the spiritually limiting conditions of life in Samsara, so that we will renounce them by aspiring to advance towards liberation from the cycle of birth and death, and help others do the same. ‘Healthy aversion’ also helps us to better joyfully aspire to reach Pure Land, which offers the most spiritually conducive conditions for progress towards Buddhahood.
Q: If I am tired of politics in work life, or find this life very tedious because of sickness and ageing, and wish to go Pure Land now to ‘escape’ from all these, is this irresponsible?
A: Healthy aversion of Samsara is especially crucial to help us joyfully aspire to reach Pure Land when this life is ending. It should not become ‘unhealthy aversion’ now in terms of neglecting present responsibilities, which would create negative karma and make it difficult to have peace of mind to reach Pure Land anyway. We should do our best to fulfil our responsibilities now, as guided by the Dharma. This application of the Dharma in everyday life is all part of our practice too.
The moment there is thought of escaping from personal responsibilities, it is not ‘healthy aversion’. This also inversely means that if conditions are such that there is no escapism from responsibilities, it is alright to depart for Pure Land – at any time – even before old age, sickness or death, through proper and adequate practice. The aspiration to reach Pure Land is ideally a noble calling – to aspire to go there to train to be a good Bodhisattva swiftly, so as to be fully capable of helping one and all reach Buddhahood.