Question: How quickly can I return from Amituofo’s Pure Land if I wish to swiftly console or help loved ones?
Answer: If we study the Contemplation Sutra’s listing of the nine grades of birth, we will learn that only the last two lowest grades of birth (lower level of the lower grade of birth [下品下生] and middle level of the lower grade of birth [下品中生]) require substantially more time for birth from lotuses to truly enter Pure Land – 12 and 6 kalpas (world cycles) in terms of Samsara’s time. Note that due to relativity of time experienced in Pure Land, this is just 12 and 6 days respectively. (If not practising to reach Pure Land, such beings will be born in hell for a much longer time instead. Of course, once in a lotus, they will be born in Pure Land)
For these two grades of birth then, it would seem difficult to be able to very swiftly notify of having reached Pure Land, or return to help survivors in Samsara. However, being able to depart calmly, clearly and blissfully are also considerable auspicious signs for consolation, among others. (It might also be possible that Amituofo enables signs of assurance to manifest.) As these two grades of birth pertain to those who have done great evil, we should simply ensure we observe the precepts well to prevent being born in these grades, along with successful Nianfo of course.
It is noteworthy that the grade of birth immediately above the two require much shorter duration for birth. This higher level of the lower grade of birth (下品上生) requires only 49 days here (or 0.000003452464512 of a minute there) to be born. One born can thus manifest signs (e.g. through an auspicious dream) for the survivors to assure that one is well around the 49th day of passing. The remaining six grades of course require only from 7 days to less for birth.
As for how soon one who reached Pure Land can return to Samsara to offer more tangible help to survivors, there is no mention of any minimal time in the sutras. However, as there is no mention that it will take long, while Amituofo’s Pure Land is the most efficient Dharma school in the universe, it can be assumed that return can be just as swift.
Although there is, now, naturally attachment to wanting to help immediate loved ones, in Pure Land, as empowered by Amituofo’s blessings, one will be able to recall past relations to all beings. Seeing the interconnected big picture, one will thus know who, how and when best to help first. We will also know if we should train further to be substantially skilful in Pure Land before returning. Remember – not reaching Pure Land for training, we will forget the Dharma and relations to loved ones!
Pure Land’s Time Conversion Rates