Can I Aspire To Reach Pure Land And Not Aspire To Return To This Defiled Land? 我能愿生净土,不愿回入秽土吗?

Can I Aspire To Reach Pure Land And Not Aspire To Return To This Defiled Land?

Question: [i] If I feel not so capable of delivering sentient beings (度众生), only having the [1] Aspiration (愿) to reach Āmítuófó’s (阿弥陀佛) Pure Land (净土), but no [2] Aspiration to return to this (or other) defiled lands (秽土) to deliver sentient beings later, can his Pure Land still be reached for delivering myself? [ii] If it can still be reached, can I stay in it forever?

Answer: [i] It is possible to reach the Pure Land with the [1] Aspiration to be born there to deliver yourself. However, if there is also the [2] Aspiration to deliver all beings (which is to have the Bodhi Mind: 菩提心), your grade of birth will be higher. This means spiritual progress towards Buddhahood will be faster, as there was already a head start by having this [2] Aspiration. As Āmítuófó wishes the best for all beings, all will be blissfully guided towards Buddhahood there.

With perfect teachers and learning facilities, all born in the Pure Land will give rise to the [2] Aspiration with the Bodhi Mind, naturally and perfectly in good time, with great ease and total confidence. Deep down, as we all have Buddha-nature (佛性), we all wish to guide ourselves and others to Buddhahood. Exactly since we might not feel very capable now, we should ensure we have at least the [1] Aspiration to reach the Pure Land, (to perfect our training there).

[ii] Just as a perfect school ensures all its students will perfect their skills and graduate to be of service to others, no one stays in the Pure Land forever. All will eventually leave happily, but are able to return to it at any time. However, all can stay in it for as long as needed for training, with immeasurable life (无量寿). (Yet, the Pure Land also offers the swiftest spiritual progress possible for all.) It is also possible to ‘stay’ to guide others there, while manifesting elsewhere to help many others at the same time, just as Guānyīn Bodhisattva (观音菩萨) does.

Please be mindful of your speech, Amituofo!

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