Must There Be A Specific Auspicious Sign To Know The Departed Is Born In Pure Land?
Question: Must there be a specific sign, such as seeing or dreaming of the departed in Pure Land, to know the person has reached it?
Answer: There are many kinds of auspicious signs (瑞相) too, such as the 15 listed at https://purelanders.com/2020/01/18/how-to-know-if-the-deceased-has-reached-pure-land-how-to-seek-advice-for-difficult-decisions? There might be one or more of them manifesting, in various combinations, with or without sign(s) involving any vision or dream. These non-visual signs can be adequately convincing too.
(The Buddha never taught that vision or dream of the deceased in Pure Land as the single sign to look out for.) Of course, the more clear signs there are, the more easy will it be to be assured. That said, for most, not all signs will be experienced, as dependent on nature of the departed and affinity of the survivors.
Avoid being attached to expecting specific or many auspicious signs, in case this distracts from sincere offering of guidance (开示) and support-chanting (助念). This will prevent overly enthusiastic misinterpreting of experiences too. With guidance and support-chanting offered sincerely without pining, signs are more likely to arise naturally, though not always in the way(s) expected.
There are many other kinds of auspicious dreams too, that need not be in terms of Pure Land directly. Again, that experienced depends on nature of the departed and affinity of survivors. Note that some unclear, seemingly ‘random’ dreams might be manifestations of survivors’ attachment to the departed. Guilt can be involved too. To know if such dreams are genuine, they will need to be analysed with the Dharma, background information and general knowledge.
If still uncertain of whether the departed has already reached Pure Land, there should be ongoing regular (offering of guidance, for those who departed within 49 days), sincere recitation of the Buddha’s name (阿弥陀佛) and dedication (回向) of meritorious virtues (功德). Of course, we should all dedicate merits to all beings in our everyday practice, to facilitate reaching of Pure Land, till we reach Pure Land, where we will continue doing so, for those yet to reach it.
How To Know If The Deceased Has Reached Pure Land
(How To Seek Advice For Difficult Decisions?)
15 Auspicious Signs
What Should We Do If Missing Departed Ones?
Please be mindful of your speech, Amituofo!