How NOT To Teach & Learn About Pure Land

Having completed a few Pure Land courses by Teacher 1, I was inspired to learn more about the Pure Land teachings. So, when I heard Teacher 2 will be teaching it, I was very keen. As Teacher 2’s class proceeded, there were some similar facts pointed out, but with a lot of differences, while some facts were misinterpreted. The most obvious difference was the absence of explanations on the immeasurable benefits of Pure Land practice, on how it can help oneself and all sentient beings in this present life and after.

To add to the confusion, Teacher 2 said that it is not a must to go to Pure Land. To say so without reminding all that it is where we can progress most swiftly on the Bodhisattva path towards enlightenment, and to liberate all sentient beings was a grave misgiving. Why was this not mentioned at all?

The lesson ended with jokes about Pure Land practice. I could not see humor in this. True sincere Pure Land practice is not trivial. It continues to touch and benefit the lives of so many, including myself. It is a practice for the living, dying and deceased, to offer great courage and hope to face life and death peacefully. I was saddened by how the class went.

The next lessons were similar, with Teacher 2 saying once more, ‘I don’t see that anyone has to practise this [Pure Land practice]’. Why must this be reiterated? What seen is that Teacher 2 does not see why SO MANY in history practise the precious Pure Land practice! We all know all Buddhist practices are non-obligatory, even when some are highly encouraged, but why this emphasis, that seems to put Pure Land practice down?

More contradictory teachings were taught, such that the class was not teaching about Pure Land but more of debunking its worth. Everyone seemed to be ignorant of, or had forgotten that ALL Buddhas will teach about Amituofo’s Pure Land practice, even if without being asked, as stated in the Immeasurable Life Sutra and Amitabha Sutra – precisely because of its immeasurable worth!

This served to gravely remind me of the importance of learning from specialised instead of speculative teachers. I am very glad that I learnt the TRUE Pure Land teachings via a proper channel first, through a teacher who focuses on continually learning and practising them personally and sincerely. Sadly, I am worried that some others might have already lost interest in the Pure Land path, this most efficient path to Buddhahood for all.

Rationale, analysis, practice and such must be taught with accuracy and equanimity. To just focus on personal speculations without actual understanding, proper and detailed teachings according to the Pure Land sutras and the Pure Land Patriarchs’ words is to let the Buddha and these great masters down, while setting ourselves up for failure without even trying.

‘If human beings, they accept many conceptual doctrines but lack the knowledge how to practise, they make all the doctrines meaningless.’ Thus taught Lord Jigten Sumgon of the Tibetan Buddhist tradition. As such, I wrote this with hope that all Buddhist practices are taught, learnt and cultivated mindfully and meaningfully, with both hearts and minds, to make the best of all teachings, to best benefit one and all.

Namo Amituofo: Seng Keat

Related Articles:
Some Reflections On Teaching The Precious Pure Land Teachings
Does Amituofo’s Pure Land Offer The Fastest Way To Buddhahood?
The Fastest Way To Buddhahood Is Via Birth In Pure Land (With Time Calculation)
Enquire On Possibly Wrong Pure Land Teachings

Related Course:
Understanding Amituofo Via The Amitabha Sutra

Please be mindful of your speech, Amituofo!

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