Views With Reviews #1 (p.14)
View: Is it so that as Śākyamuni Buddha (释迦牟尼佛) had great compassion (大悲), he did not wish to be born in a Pure Land (净土), but became a Buddha in this defiled land (秽土) to help us instead?
Review: As all Buddhas have equally (平等) perfect (圆满) compassion (慈悲), immeasurable meritorious virtues (无量功德) and great supernormal powers (大神通力), they can manifest Pure Lands and be within defiled lands at the same time, to guide many more beings to Buddhahood (成佛).
According to the Brahma Net Sūtra《梵网经》, prior to Śākyamuni Buddha’s historically latest manifestation of Buddhahood in our world, he already remanifested it here many times –
‘I, now [have] come [to] this world [for] 8,000 returns [already], for this Sahā World, sitting [upon the] vajra flower light’s throne.’
According to the Mahāparinirvāṇa Sūtra《大般涅槃经》, prior to Śākyamuni Buddha’s remanifestations in our world, as above, he already attained Buddhahood elsewhere and established his Pure Land –
‘[To the] Western [direction] from this Sahā World, passing 32 Ganges Rivers’ sands’ [of] many other Buddha Lands, there is [a] world named “Unsurpassable”.’
‘I, from that land appeared in [this] life, for transforming sentient beings thus, in this world [of] Jambudvīpa within, appearing [to] turn [the] Dharma wheel.’
This means Śākyamuni Buddha actively teaches in his Pure Land now, while also manifesting elsewhere to teach, such as in this defiled land.
Likewise, Amitābha Buddha (阿弥陀佛) does the same – teaching in his Pure Land, while also manifesting in various worlds such as ours to teach.
We know this is true with historical examples, such as those of Great Master Shàndǎo (善导大师) and Great Master Yǒngmíng (永明大师), the Second and Sixth Patriarchs of the Pure Land tradition (净土宗二祖、六祖) respectively, who are both regarded as Amitābha Buddha’s manifestations (化身).
Just as there is no conflict between establishing a Pure Land (创立净土) to help many beings, and venturing beyond to help many others, there is no conflict between us being reborn in a Pure Land (往生净土) later to help ourselves, and doing what we can to help others now.
Reaching Pure Land is simply for the best training to become the best Bodhisattvas (菩萨) bound for Buddhahood, to most efficiently guide all other beings, to also most swiftly attain Buddhahood.
Common Wrong Pure Land Views With Right Reviews
Selected Pure Land Teachings From The Mahāparinirvāṇa Sūtra
Does Śākyamuni Buddha Have His Own Pure Land?
How The Buddha Is Gone Yet Not Gone For Good
Is Our World Śākyamuni Buddha’s Pure Land?