Immeasurable Life Sūtra’s Ninth Chapter’s Summary & Explanation《无量寿经》第九品:小结与解释

The below is with reference to: Ninth Chapter On Land’s Treasures’ Adornments (Of Immeasurable Life Sūtra)《无量寿经》国土宝严第九 at

Immeasurable Life Sūtra’s Ninth Chapter’s Summary & Explanation

[1] Āmítuófó’s Pure Land is karmically composed with various splendid, precious and refined materials, which reflect his vows to share his great meritorious virtues with all its inhabitants. Although these materials are named as listed, the actual materials there greatly surpass their impure equivalents in our world.

[2] His Pure Land’s expanse is as immeasurable as his meritorious virtues. It cannot be limited in size as his meritorious virtues continue to ‘expand’ and multiply as we speak, from and for continual benefiting of immeasurable sentient beings. The size of the Pure Land is as immeasurable as Āmítuófó’s immeasurable heart of compassion, which embraces all beings. As such, overcrowding from over-population despite it being a popular destination is impossible.

[3] All his Pure Land’s forms are interconnected in perfect harmony, with each capable of inspiring and instructing with the Dharma. Although physically like the Sixth Heaven’s treasures in our world system (i.e. Sahā World: 娑婆世界), which are the finest in the Desire Realm (欲界) which we are in, they surpass them spiritually, as they radiate the Dharma for all the senses too. They likewise surpass the treasures in our world system’s Ultimate Form Heaven, which are the finest in the Form Realm (色界).

[4] A world system can be thought of as a galaxy (i.e. galactic world), thus with the Sahā World being the Milky Way, and its central galactic bulge being its Mount Sumeru. Āmítuófó’s Pure Land, unlike a common world system such as that we are in, is without a Mount Sumeru as its central axis. Without it for spatial reference, it is also without a Vajra Wall and other mountains, also without valleys, which together represent inequality in physicality, and non-equanimity in spirituality, with their ups and downs. Its lack of water bodies (other than lotus ponds for manifesting birth and bathing) also represent the lack of obstacles that need to be crossed, thus maximising accessibility. However, those who prefer seeing the above for inspiration will be empowered to see them.

[5] Also unlike many world systems, it is without the Three Evil Paths (三恶道: of the Desire Realm) and their associated hardships to see. Although the Three Evil Paths are not there, all from the Three Evil Paths can reach it with the Three Provisions (三资粮).

[6] As empowered by Āmítuófó’s ‘Twenty-First Vow Of Each Complete With Thirty-Two Forms’ (第二十一:各具三十二相愿), all beings in his Pure Land will be accomplished fully with the thirty-two great human’s forms (三十二大人相) – which transcend the appearances of both human and heavenly beings, by resembling the Buddha. Thus, when hell-beings (地狱众生), hungry ghosts (饿鬼) and animals (畜生) are born in the Pure Land, they will also have the same magnificent forms, no longer having their previous inferior forms. Due to this vow, these Three Evil Paths do not appear there.

[7] Based on the principle of ‘When the mind is pure, then is the land pure’ (心净则国土净), according to the level of the beings in Pure Land on the spectrum of purity, they will perceive it accordingly, either as with some, or without any worldly paths. Thus, the Flower Adornment Sūtra《华严净》says, ‘All Buddha Lands are equally and universally magnificent and pure. As sentient beings’ karmic actions differ, that seen by each is not the same.’ (一切诸佛刹,平等普严净。众生业行异,所见各不同。)

[8] Of the Five Paths (五道), only the two good paths – the human and heavenly paths (人天道) can be seen there directly. However, that perceived in Pure Land is not the worldly version that might give rise to the Three Poisons (三毒), but a further purified version. For example, a worldly tree is not the same as a Pure Land’s tree – same in ‘name’, yet different in quality. The gap between lack of purity and total purity perceived will be most swiftly closed in Pure Land.

[9] The Nine Grades (九品) apply to all the ‘Pure Land’s heavenly and human beings’ (国中天人) in terms of spirituality, other than those in lotus flowers, yet to manifest birth. Previous worldly statuses in terms of power do not apply in Pure Land. For more on this, see the Related Article below.

[10] Also unlike our world, its weather is always pleasant, while able to be changed as wished for individual beings. It is thus free from all natural disasters from the Four Great Elements (四大) of earth (e.g. earthquakes, sinkholes), water (e.g. floods, tsunamis), fire (e.g. forest fires, volcano eruptions, droughts) and wind (e.g. hurricanes, tornadoes). Note that these are manifestations of the fruition of strong negative karma, resulting from the Three Poisons of greed, hatred and delusion, as associated with strong waters, fires and winds respectively. Thus, all natural disasters that harm humans are essentially ‘man-made’ disasters.

[11] Although the Pure Land’s world system is without a Mount Sumeru for reference of the locations of heavenly planes, its inhabitants who are still with the heavenly mind state of the Desire Realm where they are from can naturally (i.e. habitually) see Desire Realm’s heavens (欲界天) there, such as that of Four Heavenly Kings and Trayastriṁśa. Likewise, those who are still with the form heavenly mind state of the Form Realm can naturally see Form Realm’s Heavens (色界天) there. This is in spite the Pure Land essentially and actually transcending all Three Realms (三界), of the Desire, Form and Formless Realms.

[12] In the same sūtra, Śākyamuni Buddha (释迦牟尼佛) taught that the beings in the Pure Land are actually ‘neither heavenly nor human beings’ (非天非人) physically, [and thus spiritually too]. Thus, what they perceive in the Pure Land are actually neither heavenly nor human paths (非天道非人道) too.

[13] As empowered by Āmítuófó’s ‘Sixth Vow Of All Attaining Heavenly Eye With Penetrative Sight’ (第六:皆得天眼彻视愿), all beings in his Pure Land will attain the heavenly eye, to see innumerable Buddha lands. This is the ability to also see all other world systems’ Three Realms.

[14] Just as the Third Yāma Heaven upwards to the Ultimate Form Heaven, are all above Mount Sumeru, thus not relying on it for abiding in our world system, the Four Heavenly Kings’ and Trayastriṁśa Heavens perceived in the Pure Land also do not rely on a Mount Sumeru, although they usually do elsewhere. What they solely rely on are conduct’s inconceivable meritorious karmic results – from both Āmítuófó and the beings there.

[15] The Formless Realm’s Heavens (无色界天) cannot be perceived in the Pure Land as they are without forms to see, while the Pure Land is only with pure forms.









Related Article:

Why Are Heavenly And Human Beings Stated In Āmítuófó’s Vows?

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