Pure Land in a Nutshell
Thus at the popular
level, the Pure Land of Amitabha Buddha is an ideal training ground,
an ideal environment where the practitioner is reborn thanks both
to his own efforts and the power of Amitabha Buddha's vows. No longer
subject to retrogression, having left Birth and Death behind forever,
the cultivator can now focus all his efforts towards the ultimate
aim of Buddhahood. This aspect of Pure Land is the form under which
the school is popularly known.
Land, like all Mahayana schools, requires first and foremost
the development of the Bodhi Mind, the aspiration to attain
Buddhahood for the benefit of all sentient beings.
starting point, the main tenets of the school can be understood
at the main levels, the transcendental and the popular - depending
on the background and capacities of the cultivator.
1. In its
popular form, i.e. for ordinary practitioners in this spiritually
Degenerate Age, some twenty-six centuries after the demise
of the historical Buddha, Pure Land involves seeking rebirth
in the Land of Amitabha Buddha. This is achieving within one
lifetime through the practice of Amitabha recitation with
sincere faith and vows, leading to one-pointedness of mind
At the advanced level, i.e. for cultivators of high spiritual capacity,
the Pure Land method, like other methods, reverts the ordinary,
deluded mind to the Self-nature True Mind. In the process wisdom
and Buddhahood are eventually attained.
The high-level form
of Pure Land is practiced by those of deep spiritual capacities:
"When the mind is pure, the Buddha land is pure ........to
recite the Buddha's name is to recite the Buddha of the self-mind."
In its totality,
Pure Land reflects the highest teaching of Buddhism as expressed
in the Avatamsaka Sutra: mutual identity and interpenetrating, the
simplest method contains the ultimate and the ultimate is found
in the simplest.