Question: Why should I aspire to be born in Amituofo’s (Amitabha Buddha) Pure Land? After all, I am already comfortable learning and practising in the Buddhist centre I am with in this world.
Answer: Even the best Buddhist centre in this world pales immeasurably in comparison to the best Buddhist school – which is Amituofo’s blissful Pure Land. Centres in this world are not run by the fully enlightened, while the Pure Land was created by and is sustained by the perfect compassion, wisdom and skilful means of a fully enlightened Buddha (Amituofo), as praised unanimously and without fail by every single other Buddha in the universe, including Sakyamuni Buddha.
Q: This sounds good, but I am, honestly, emotionally attached to the centre I am with, and to this world too.
A: You should reflect upon this mindfully… It makes sense to choose where you want to go, but only with compassion and wisdom, and not based on attachment. The centre you are attached to, no matter how wonderful it is now, being in Samsara and run by samsaric beings, is subject to retrogression (backsliding) in spiritual quality. There is no guarantee that it will be equally excellent later. If you do encounter it in your next life, and if its quality drops, you might suffer retrogression in practice too. And if you do not encounter it, there is no telling what will happen. In contrast, the magnificence and efficiency of Pure Land in guiding its beings without retrogression towards Buddhahood will never compromise.
Q: Thank you, but I am really already comfortable with what I am doing now, and plan to continue doing so.
A: Of course, it is always up to you to choose. Seems that you like the Buddhist centre you are with so much, that you probably hope to stay there as long as possible, and not just visit it once or twice weekly – right?
Q: Yes, and after leaving each time, I like to apply the teachings learnt in everyday life too.
A: If you like the centre with yet-to-be enlightened human teachers so much, imagine a school immeasurably better, with an actual Buddha and many great Bodhisattvas teaching you there. They are who all true Buddhists look forward to meeting – the most inspiring leaders and embodiments of the Triple Gem. It is where you can stay in for as long as required, for full-time Dharma learning and practice, while being able to leave whenever you wish, to help other beings, and return to at will for further training. All past lives can be recalled for lessons of hindsight too, unlike being reborn in our world without the ability to recall even the Dharma learnt in an immediate past life. Sounds wonderful?
Q: Yes indeed! Where is this place?
A: It is Amituofo’s Pure Land – as mentioned before!
Q: Wow! I did not know that Amituofo’s Pure Land functions in this way! I had thought that it is where one would be stuck in for a long time, that it would be uncompassionate to go to, as this forsakes the beings in our world. I could not be further from the truth!
A: Yes, most who do not aspire to reach Pure Land have much misunderstanding about it – which is why it is crucial to learn the Pure Land teachings systematically – lest we shortchange the Buddhas’ great Pure Land teachings, ourselves and our ability to more quickly and thoroughly guide all other beings towards Buddhahood. It is important not to forget our original motivations for being Buddhists, which is to learn, practise, realise and share the Dharma with all beings. It is such that the absolute swiftest way to do this is via training in Amituofo’s Pure Land.
This is why all Buddhas recommend seeking birth there. It is essentially the best place to train well to best help all other beings. Just as it makes sense in our world to go to an ever better Buddhist centre to train well regularly, so as to better help one and all, it makes perfect sense go to the best Buddhist school, that is Pure Land, to train to be the best Bodhisattvas, who will become Buddhas, without the obstacles, distractions and interruptions that our world is filled with – that prevent us from becoming Buddhas now!
Do Pure Land Aspirants Forsake Other Beings?
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