Question: What did the Buddha teach about the idea of Pure Land being in the here and now?
Answer: The answer can be seen below (parts in blue).
Śūraṅgama Sūtra’s Chapter On Fifty Aggregates’ Demon[ic States]: Fourth Perception Aggregate’s Demonic State: Greedy Seeking [To] Differentiate [And] Analyse
[Śākyamuni Buddha]: ‘Moreover, [when a] good man [or woman, with] feeling’s aggregate’s false wonders, not encountering evil thoughts, [in] perfect concentration, [he will] radiate brightness. [In] samādhi within, [with his] mind’s attachment’s root, [he wants to] completely observe [the] ending [and] beginning of [the] nature [of] objects’ transformation, essentially [and] clearly, [with] his mind, greedily seeking [to] differentiate [and] analyse.
[Note 1: This is subtle but sure arising of greed, in wanting to clearly see the workings of the rising and falling of matter. Once there is any of the Three Poisons (三毒) of attachment (贪), aversion (嗔) and delusion (痴) at work, there will be obstacles that obstruct spiritual advancement towards perfect wisdom (慧), even if there was already great concentration (定).]
At that time, [a] heavenly demon waiting [to attain] this advantage, [as a] flying spirit possesses [a] person, [with the] mouth speaking [the] “sūtras’ Dharma”. This person first not aware [of being by a] demon possessed, also says [one]self [to have] attained unsurpassable “Nirvāṇa”. Coming [to] that seeking [of] origins’ good man’s place, installing [a] seat [to] speak [the] “Dharma”. [The] body has [an] imposing influence, [which] subdues that seeker. Enabling him, [at his or her] seat below, although yet [to] hear [the] “Dharma”, [to] naturally [have his] mind subdued.
[Note 2: The first person will be indirectly harmed by this second person, who is also with the Three Poisons, but more, thus easier possessed by a demonic disciple (魔子) of the Māra King (魔王). The possessed will attract with wrong ‘Dharma’ teachings portrayed enticingly, usually packaged with some right teachings to create a sense of authenticity, while claiming to have attained Buddhahood. This is common as the demonic are highly egoistic and will want to attract more, by claiming to have a very high spiritual status, while offering ‘exclusive’ and ‘special’ teachings.]
[Note 3: The possessed will seek out disciples, appearing confident and ‘magnificent’ to win their trust. As the unguarded can be won over ‘naturally’, it is important that the spiritually new and weak should stay away from dubious ‘teachers’, who might be the above.]
These many people [and] others, will [say, “the] ‘Buddha’s Nirvāṇa’s Dharma Body’, is the same [as] my presently manifested flesh body within. [From] fathers [to] sons, passed [from] one generation [to] another born, [this] is the same [as the] ‘Dharma Body’ [that] constantly abides without end. [With] all pointing [to that] present [and] immediate as [a] ‘Buddha land’. Without other purified abodes and golden forms.”
[Note 4: Such an evil teacher (邪师) might wrongly teach their disciples that the actually boundless and formless Dharmakāya (Dharma Body: 法身) is the same as the bound form of this gross human body, and that being trapped in the cycle of rebirth can pass it down eternally. This is a severe misconception as it will further worldly attachment to our impermanent and impure bodies, thinking it is a ‘lasting’ and ‘perfect’ form. Such attachment also leads to continual rebirth, so as to retain this ‘wonderful’ form. Thus will there be no progress to liberation.]
[Note 5: There is also the serious misconception that the here and now is a Pure Land, with no actual Pure Lands and Buddhas elsewhere worthy for going to. If this Defiled Land (秽土) is already a perfect Pure Land, the Buddhas would not repeatedly urge the seeking of rebirth in Pure Lands beyond, such as Amitābha Buddha’s (Āmítuófó: 阿弥陀佛) Pure Land in the western direction, where his golden body can be seen and learnt from. We only need to look more closely at increasing man-made disasters, that manifest many natural disasters, to know that this world, which is full of sickness, suffering and death is nowhere near being a Pure Land.]
[Note 6: As we have already entered the Dharma-Ending Age (末法时期), being attached to this land while not seeking birth in a Pure Land will lead to rebirth back here, in an increasingly defiled land. The teaching in this section should not be confused with the concept of ‘When the mind is pure, then is the land is pure’ (心净则国土净), as further explained in the Related Article below.]
Those persons [who] faithfully accept [this, will] lose [their] former intentions. [With] body [and] life taking refuge, [to] attain [that] “not previously had”. These [and] others foolish [and] obsessed, [are] confused [with him or her] as [a] “Bodhisattva”. Examining [his or her] mind, [complying by] breaking [the] Buddha’s discipline [and] rules [i.e. precepts], [to] secretly practise greedy desires. [With the] mouth within fond [of] saying [the] eyes, ears, nose [and] tongue, all as “Pure Land”, [that] males’ [and] females’ two [sexual] roots, are the same as “Bodhi Nirvāṇa’s true places”. Those ignorant [ones, will] believe these defiled words.
[Note 7: The duped ones will forgo or forget their initial motivations to learn and practise the Dharma purely. They will deviate from their Threefold Refuge (三皈依) in the true Triple Gem (三宝) of the Buddhas (佛), Dharma (法) and Saṃgha (僧), to instead take false refuge in a ‘teacher’ mistaken as a Buddha or Bodhisattva, with his or her corresponding wrong ‘teachings’ and ‘community’.]
[Note 8: They will become blindly eager to please the ‘teacher’, even by going against the basic (and advanced) precepts. They will discreetly have sex with one another, with the major misconception that indulgence in sensual desires is the ‘experience’ of ‘Pure Land’, also saying the sexual organs are where ‘Buddhahood’ can be attained. As Buddhahood is realised with the transcendence of both subtle and such gross greed, (hatred and delusion), with lust being one of the key causes of being trapped in rebirth, they will not progress towards Buddhahood.]
[Note 9: Even in traditional advanced tantric practices, there is never actual sex involved. This is while fake gurus often secretly deceive close disciples to be their sex partners, claiming that sex with them can lead to swift Buddhahood in this lifetime. They also trick these disciples into thinking it is their great privilege to be specially chosen, to have a literally close relationship.]
This [is] named [as “one by] witchcraft’s poisons [and] spells subdued, [by an] evil ghost, [whom in his or her] old years, [has] become [a] demon”, [who] disturbs [and] confuses this person. [When] tired, [and with] satisfaction’s mind arising, leaving that person’s body. [The] disciples and teacher, [will] together fall [into] difficulties [with the] king. You should first [be] aware [of this, to] not enter rebirth [again. If] confused [and] not knowing [this, there might be] fall [into the] Uninterrupted Hell.’
[Note 10: When the demonic ghost departs after much disruption and destruction, the ‘teacher’ and disciples will karmically get into trouble with the law with their various backlogged and current misdeeds. The ‘teacher’ will also lose popularity with his or her disciples, as he or she will have no more impressive ‘powers’, as previously enabled by the possessing ghost.]
Namo Amituofo : Translation and notes by Shen Shi’an
Does Sight Or Enabling Sight Of Pure Land Means One Is Enlightened?