Q&A

Can Pure Land Inhabitants Visit Elsewhere Freely?

Question: If reborn in Āmítuófó’s Pure Land, would I be able to visit my relatives here? And can ghosts go wherever they want?

Answer: All the lotus born in Āmítuófó’s Pure Land will be empowered to have the abilities to see and hear beings in all realms from where they are, without need to visit in person. Merits created can be dedicated to them for their well-being too. Those who feel they are ready to help can visit them, and return to Pure Land to continue Dharma learning and practice.

Note that upon recollecting all past lives in Pure Land, all other beings will be recognised as our past relatives. Thus, the priority of helping the relatives presently in mind might change then, as dependent on the urgency comparatively, their karmic affinities and spiritual capacities, as well as our skilful means learnt so far, which together will decide if they can be helped directly by inspiring wisdom to arise in them.

Hungry ghosts, wandering spirits and bardo beings who haunt, especially if lacking merits and wisdom, which is mostly the case, can hardly help humans well, while their constant presence will impair their physical and mental health, with opposite energy clashes and by unwittingly frightening them. Bodhisattvas from Pure Land will be skilful, in ensuring their help is discreet, not taken for granted, and not mistaken as that rendered by ghosts, whom they are of course not.

Not all ghosts can travel far and at will too, depending on their karma. They also cannot simply go to Pure Land, if they do not have the Three Provisions. The ghostly state is one of miserable attachment and can end suddenly too, forcing rebirth to elsewhere when karma ripens. Thus, all ghosts should practise mindfulness of Buddha sincerely to reach Pure Land immediately, before this happens, to accumulate merits and wisdom, to train to be truly helpful Bodhisattvas.

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Please be mindful of your speech, Amituofo!

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