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When the Mind is Pure, the Land is Pure

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  • NamoAmituofo
    ... For www.TheDailyEnlightenment.com ... When the Mind is Pure, the Land is Pure Pure Land Buddhism is a famous tradition of Buddhist practice, whose
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 18, 2007
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      When the Mind is Pure, the Land is Pure


      Pure Land Buddhism is a famous tradition of Buddhist practice, whose practitioners aspire to be reborn in a Pure Land , the most famous of which was created by the great compassion and wisdom of Amitabha Buddha. It is a wonderful skilful means to lead those who are apprehensive of the cycle of birth and death (Samsara) towards an ideal "school" to master the transcending of Samsara, while not relinquishing the aspiration to help all other beings. Among the many advantages of being born in Pure Land , here are some -

      1. One will be able to learn the Dharma directly from enlightened beings.
      2. One will be in an environment which facilitates mastery of the Dharma.
      3. One will not retrogress in Dharma practice.
      4. One will be able to leave Pure Land any time.
      5. One will never be reborn in a lower realm.
      6. One will have immeasurable life.
      7. One will attain enlightenment.
      8. One will be able to return to Samsara to guide others to enlightenment.

      It is often mistaken that the Pure Land practice is selfish or escapist, because its practitioners wish to leave this world for a better place, where many others are still suffering here. However, Pure Land Buddhism is essentially a practice that emphasises on great compassion. The truest Pure Land practitioner seeks birth in Pure Land because one sees it as the safest refuge in the dangerous rounds of rebirth and as the best sanctuary to steadily master the Dharma - for the purpose of becoming enlightened, so as to better aid those still suffering. In fact, the greater one’s compassion is, the easier it is to be born in Pure Land .

      The best Pure Land practitioners do their best to make this world a Pure Land , even though it is heavily "defiled", even as they aspire to be born in a purer place – an "actual" Pure Land . This is encouraged because by the nature of karmic cause and effect, of good begetting good and evil begetting evil, it is simply impossible to be reborn in a better world if one continually destroys or neglects the welfare of this world.

      Faith, aspiration and practice are necessary provisions for birth in Pure Land . Other than mindfulness of Amitabha Buddha, "practice" would include cultivating our compassion and wisdom in this world here and now. As such, Pure Land Buddhism need not merely be an otherworldly practice for the afterlife; it is also a down-to-earth humanistic practice for this very life and world. The Buddha also taught that when the mind is pure, the land is pure. As such, it is possible to increasingly experience " Pure Land" in our world when our mind is increasingly purified.

      The most common core Pure Land practice is mindfulness of Amitabha Buddha’s name. This can be done verbally or silently through chanting "(Namo) Amituofo",
      which means "(Homage to) Amitabha Buddha" in Mandarin. Mindfulness of this name should be practised in daily life, working towards meditative single-mindedness of it
      . If this can be steadily sustained for up to ten thought moments upon expiry of this life, successful rebirth in Pure Land is guaranteed.

      When we are mindful of Amitabha Buddha, even without deliberately, we are being mindful of many aspects of the Dharma - such as the aspiration to learn from him, and to emulate his perfect compassion and wisdom. Mindfulness of Amitabha Buddha can be seen as a simple practice, but it is also profound. Just as not keeping a goal in mind makes one forget the goal, without being mindful of Buddhahood as an ideal, as represented in Pure Land Buddhism by Amitabha Buddha, one can ultimately never become a Buddha. Namo Amituofo.

      - Shen Shi'an

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