How Dedicating Merits To Those In Pure Land Can Help Them To Progress Towards Buddhahood 为何回向功德于已生净土者能助他们迈向佛果

Question: It is said that when family members and friends of those already reborn in Pure Land (净土) practise mindfulness of Buddha (念佛) in this defiled land (秽土) ‘for them’, this can help the latter to have swifter spiritual progress towards Buddhahood (佛果). How is this so?

Answer: This is based on the universal law of dedication of meritorious virtues (回向功德). Anyone anywhere can dedicate merits (or meritorious virtues) to anyone anywhere. Just as we can dedicate merits to those in hell (地狱), we can dedicate to those in Pure Land too.

Due to their defiled environments, dedicating to hell-beings can at most alleviate suffering and lead to better rebirths more swifty. However, for those in Pure Land, since its environment is pure, the merits received will only expedite progress to the perfect purity of Buddhahood.

Thus, no matter where reborn, dedication will always be helpful; never in vain. (Six out of seven parts of meritorious virtues created will benefit oneself too, with only one part dedicatable.) Sincere mindfulness of Buddha is perhaps the easiest way to create great meritorious virtues.

While meritorious virtues dedicated can offer more supportive conditions (助缘) for spiritual progress, wisdom (智慧) that cannot be dedicated needs to be realised with personal learning and practice. The main conditions for growth of both in Pure Land are from Āmítuófó (阿弥陀佛).

However, it is also often explained that meritorious virtues dedicated can help elevate the grade (品位) of birth before being born there. With this ‘upgrading’ is accelerating of birth too, to sooner step out of a lotus flower, to quicker partake of the full beneifts of the Pure Land.

Please be mindful of your speech, Amituofo!

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