Question: Is our world Sakyamuni Buddha’s Pure Land?
Answer: Anywhere that a Buddha goes to, including the realm of hell, can be perceived by THAT Buddha to be like a Pure Land, as THAT Buddha is fully purified in perception. This, however does NOT make it a Pure Land for anyone else unenlightened like us, or the people back then in Sakyamuni Buddha’s time, as they were all NOT Buddhas.
Although the Buddha could perceive this world in a pure mode, he also clearly saw how the rest in this world are yet to be pure. Greed, hatred and delusion thus continued to rage in the Buddha’s time in ancient India, while he did his best in sharing the cure for these Three Poisons.
As such, in Sakyamuni Buddha’s time, our world was already in a period called the Evil Age Of Five [spiritual and physical] Corruptions (五浊恶世), as mentioned in the Amitabha Sutra (阿弥陀经). We are now in a period of ‘double trouble’ as this is also the Dharma-Ending Age, when the quality of the Dharma being taught, learnt, practised and realised is in general decline.
Sakyamuni Buddha’s actual tangible and constant Pure Land, that is also simultaneously experienceable by its other inhabitants is elsewhere. According to the Mahaparinirvana Sutra (大般涅槃经), he established his Pure Land named ‘Unsurpassable’ (无胜国) to the West of our world system, as far as 32 Ganges’ rivers’ sand grains’ number of world systems away. While he teaches there, he also manifests elsewhere, such as in our defiled land to teach.
Even though Sakyamuni Buddha has his own Pure Land, in actualising Amituofo’s (阿弥陀佛: Amitabha Buddha) 17th vow, he greatly praises and proclaims the name of Amituofo, to encourage beings in our world to reach Amituofo’s Pure Land. This is done by all Buddhas too, to urge focus, in case we are uncertain of which Pure Land to reach, as there are many of them. Thus, little was taught by him about his own Pure Land.