Question: How can a Pure Land be created as swiftly as possible?
Answer: The answer is in the following verses of the Immeasurable Life Sūtra《无量寿经》. As Śākyamuni Buddha (释迦牟尼佛) taught, when Bodhisattvas arrive at Amitābha Buddha’s (阿弥陀佛) Pure Land,
Seeing that majestic Pure Land,
with subtle wonders difficult to conceive,
thus giving rise to the immeasurable mind,
aspiring my land to be likewise thus…
Bodhisattvas will give rise to the sincere aspiration,
aspiring that their lands be without difference,
universally mindful of delivering all,
with their names prominently filling the ten directions…
Note 1: This means that upon sight of the Pure Land, they will all give rise to the Bodhi Mind (i.e. Bodhicitta: 菩提心) fully, to attain immeasurable wisdom, and to deliver immeasurable beings fully.
Note 2: Seeing how wonderful the Pure Land is, they will be most naturally and definitely inspired to give rise to vows to create similar Pure Lands. This also means it is impossible to outdo the Pure Land, with it being the foremost. This was declared so earlier by Dharma Treasury (Dharmākara) Bodhisattva (法藏菩萨), who became Amitābha Buddha,
If I become [Amitābha] Buddha,
my land will be the foremost.
Its assembly will be outstanding and wonderful,
as the place for practising the path that is superb.
The land will be like Nirvāṇa,
and without an equal or two.
I will, with sympathy,
deliver and liberate all.
Note 3: Bearing in mind that Amitābha Buddha’s Pure Land resulted from meticulous survey of ‘two hundred and ten koṭīs of all Buddha lands’ (二百一十亿诸佛刹土), survey of his Pure Land is equivalent to survey of all these lands and more, as the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. With such a significant ‘sampling size’ of ‘samples’ guided by a Buddha, Amitābha Buddha’s Pure Land is as if the Pure Land of all Pure Lands. While it is challenging to quickly and completely survey two hundred and ten koṭīs of all Buddha lands, we can much more easily survey all of Amitābha Buddha’s Pure Land, which transcends them. (With 1 koṭī being about 10 million, 210 koṭīs is 2,100 million.)
Note 4: As the subtle wonders of his majestic Pure Land are difficult to conceive, they have to be experienced in person. The fastest to create a Pure Land is to see a perfectly working model first – by reaching a Pure Land personally. This is just as the fastest way to learn how to create an ideal school is to attend an ideal school, to fully experience and understand its forms and functions.
Thus, it does not make sense to want to create a Pure Land without even wanting to reach and learn from any Pure Land. This would be like trying to school oneself ‘randomly’ on how to create a perfect school without going to a proper school to learn systematically and comprehensively. If we all encourage proper worldly schooling, all the more should we encourage proper spiritual schooling. To assume it is not needed is to be delusional and arrogant, both being fundamental obstacles of spiritual progress.
Note 5: Amitābha Buddha will even know the vows of all Bodhisattvas in his Pure Land, who wish to create their own Pure Lands while attaining Buddhahood, and assures that they will be able to do so.
Of the ten directions’ coming Bodhisattvas,
I know all their aspirations,
with aspiring to seek adorning of their Pure Lands,
and to receive [predictions of] definitely becoming Buddhas.
Awakening to understand all dharmas,
to be similar to dreams, illusions and echoes,
fulfilling all wonderful aspirations,
definitely accomplishing such a land…
Note 6: As all Buddhas hope that all beings will be Bodhisattvas, this verse below addresses not only Bodhisattvas, but all other beings too. Not only does Śākyamuni Buddha encourage us to reach Āmítuófó’s Pure Land, for blissful learning and practice, to swiftly attain enlightenment (and creation of Pure Lands), out of their perfect compassion, wisdom and skilful means, all other Buddhas encourage all others to do so too. (‘Purity’s position’ [清净处] refers to realisation of Nirvāṇa’s [寂灭] equanimous Dharma [平等法], [i.e. the truth that all can become Buddhas], of the Eight Ground [八地] and above, which guarantee non-retrogressive progress towards Buddhahood.)
All Buddhas tell Bodhisattvas,
to enable them to meet the Land Of Peaceful Nurturing’s Buddha,
to hear the Dharma and joyfully receive practices,
to swiftly attain purity’s position.
To conclude, with the great and clear advantages listed in the 6 notes above, the swiftest way to create a Pure Land is by reaching Amitābha Buddha’s Pure Land first.
How Long Does It Take To Create A Pure Land?