Ten Doubts about Pure Land
Treatise on Ten Doubts about Pure Land
As Taught by Great Master Zhi Zhe of Sui Dynasty (581-618)
(Translated to English by Shen Shi'an 沈时安)
The First Doubt: Doubt of Abandoning Sentient Beings
Question: All Buddhas and Bodhisattvas have Great Compassion as their action. If we aspire to save and deliver sentient beings, we should only aspire to be born in the Three Spheres, within the Five Corruptions and Three (Lower) Paths, to save suffering sentient beings. For what reason should we aspire to be born in Pure Land? To personally abide in tranquility, to forsake sentient beings, is thus lacking in great loving-kindness and compassion. To focus on self-benefit obstructs the Path to Bodhi.
答曰。 菩萨有二种。 一者久修行菩萨道。 得无生忍者。 实当所责。 二者未得已还及初发心凡夫。 凡夫菩萨者。 要须常不离佛。 忍力成就。 方堪处三界内。 于恶世中。 救苦众生。
Answer: There are two types of Bodhisattvas. The first have cultivated the Bodhisattva path for a long time, and attained the Tolerance (Patience) of Non-Birth (insight into the non-origination of dharmas). This reproach really applies to them. The second are those who have not attained it, and ordinary beings who have just developed the Bodhi Mind (Bodhicitta). Ordinary Bodhisattvas need to always never be away from Buddha[s] to perfect this power of Tolerance. Then can they enter the Three Spheres within this evil world [age], to save suffering sentient beings.
故智度论云。 具缚(fù)凡夫。 有大悲心愿生恶世。 救苦众生者。 无有是处。
As the Perfection of Wisdom Treatise (Mahaprajnaparamita Sastra) states: 'For ordinary beings bound by afflictions [to the cycle of life and death by the Three Poisons), who have the mind of Great Compassion to aspire to be born in this evil world [age], to save suffering sentient beings, there is no appropriate place [within].
何以故。 恶世界烦恼强。 自无忍力。 心随境转。 声色所缚。 自堕三途。 焉(yān)能救众生。
Why is this so? Afflictions of this evil age and world are powerful. One who lacks the power of Tolerance [of Non-Birth) will have one’s mind swayed by [changing] conditions, enslaved by sounds and forms. With oneself falling into the Three Paths, how can one save sentient beings?
或因施戒修福。 得生人中。 得作国王大臣富贵自在。
Or if one practised generosity, morality and cultivated blessings, and is born in the human realm, becoming a country’s king, great official, attaining wealth, honour and comfort [non-restraint].
纵(zòng)遇善知识。 不肯信用。 贪迷放逸。 广造众罪。 乘此恶业。 一入三途。 经无量劫。
Even if one meets good knowing advisors, one refuses to have faith and follow their advice. Greedily obsessed and lax, one creates great and many kinds of misgivings. Through such evil karma, once one enters the Three Paths, immeasurable kalpas are experienced.
从地狱出。 受贫贱身。 若不逢善知识。 还堕地狱。 如此轮回。 至于今日。 人人皆如是。 此名难行道也。
After leaving the hells, one is reborn as a poor and lowly human. If one does not come across good knowing advisors, one will still fall into the hells. Being reborn as such, to as far as this present day. Everyone is like so. This is called the “Path of Difficult Practice.”’
故维摩经云。 自疾(jí)不能救。 而能救诸疾人。
As the Vimalakirti Sutra states, 'If your own disease cannot be cured, how can you cure all who are diseased?'
又智度论云。 譬如二人各有亲眷。 为水所溺。 人情急。 直入水救。 为无方便力故。 彼此俱没。
The Perfection of Wisdom Treatise further states: 'For example, like two persons, each has relatives who are being drowned by water. One person is anxious, and directly enters the water to save [another]. Due to lack in skilful strength, they sink with each other together.
一人有方便。 往取船筏。 乘之救接。 悉皆得脱水溺之难。
One person has skilful means, and goes to get a boat. Relying on it to save and receive, all attain liberation from the disaster of drowning.
新发意菩萨。 亦复如是。 未得忍力。 不能救众生。 为此常须近佛。 得无生忍已。 方能救众生。 如得船者。
Newly aspiring Bodhisattvas are also like so [i.e. the first person), not having attained the power of Tolerance yet, and cannot save sentient beings. Due to this, they often need to be near Buddha(s). After attaining the Tolerance of Non-Birth, then can they save sentient beings, like the person who has the boat.'
又论云。 譬如婴儿不得离母。 若也离母。 或堕坑井。 渴乳而死。
The Treatise further states: 'For example, this is like a baby who should not leave the mother. If the mother is also left [behind], the baby might fall into a well, or die from thirst for milk.
又如鸟子翅羽未成。 秖(zhǐ: only)得依树傅枝。 不能远去。 翅翮(hé)成就。 方能飞空。 自在无碍。
Also like a baby bird, whose wings and feathers are not yet fully developed, who only relies on trees, sticking to branches, and cannot go far. When the wings are developed, then can it fly to the sky, with ease and no obstacles.
Ordinary beings lack the power of Tolerance. The only way is to focus on mindfulness of Amituofo, to develop Samadhi.
以业成故。 临终敛(liǎn:gather)念得生。 决定不疑。 见弥陀佛。
As this action is accomplished, before dying, their mindfulness is gathered. Resolute and without doubt, they will see [meet] Amituofo [Amita(bha) Buddha).
证无生忍已。 还来三界。 乘无生忍船。 救苦众生。 广施佛事。 任意自在。
Having attained the Tolerance of Non-Birth, they return to the Three Spheres. Relying on the boat of Tolerance of Non-Birth, saving suffering sentient beings, widely practising generosity, and accomplishing deeds of the Buddha at will and with ease.’
故论云。 游戏地狱。 行者生彼国。 得无生忍已。 还入生死国。 教化地狱。 救苦众生。
Thus the Treatise states: 'Able to course freely in the hells, the practitioner who is born in that land, having attained the Tolerance of Non-Birth, returns into the lands of life and death, to teach and transform hell beings, to save suffering sentient beings.
以是因缘。 求生净土。 愿识其教。 故十住婆沙论。 名易行道也。
With these as the causes and conditions, one should aspire to be born in Pure Land, and aspire to know this teaching. As such, in the Treatise on the Ten Abodes of Bodhisattvas (Dasa Bhumika Vibhasa Sastra), this is called the "Easy Path of Practice".'
ya, it's 一心系念. the two key word is 一 focus and 系continuous, don't stop (too long). like boiling water, if u stopped too long, water will cool down and u have to start boiling again. MCK got a method called ten recitation method which is through out the day. but it's break into parts. yet this is still continuous in a sense. as u never change faith in Amituofo. even for one year, two year, ten years, if the faith never change, it's still 一心 系 念.
those people who change to believe in other method, and totally stopped nian fo, then there's no more 一心系念.
all and all , what ever we do in life, often remember to bring the thought back to Amituofo. got thoughts, one fall into samsaric. no thoughts, one fall into nothingness. but Amituofo is the One Right thought. 不二法门.
he Second Doubt: Doubt of Forsaking Here & Aspiring There
Question: All dharmas are by essence emptiness, originally without birth, equal and still [at peace).
Therefore, to now forsake this (world), and to aspire to be born in that Western Pure Land of Amituofo - how does this follow reason?
Furthermore, the (Vimalakirti) Sutra states: 'If one aspires to be born in Pure Land, first purify this mind. As when the mind is pure, Buddha Lands are pure.' Stating so, how does this connect [to aspiring to be born in Pure Land)?
Answer: The explanation has two principles. The first is the general answer. The second is the distinct answer.
For the general answer, if you speak of aspiring to be born in the Western Pure Land of Amituofo, that this is to forsake this world and to aspire for the other world, that this does not follow reason, you are attached to this world, by not aspiring to be born in the West, which is to forsake the other world and to be attached to this world. This still develops into [a spiritual) sickness, and does not follow reason.
If, after reconsideration, you state, 'I neither aspire to be born there, nor aspire to be born here', you fall into the view of nihilism.
Thus, the Diamond (Prajna) Sutra states: ‘Subhuti, if you have this thought, that "one who aspires for Anuttara Samyak Sambodhi (Buddhahood) says that all dharmas should annihilate their forms", do not have this thought. Why is this so? As one who cultivates Bodhicitta, is within [or goes to] dharmas and does not speak of the annihilation of forms.’
The second is the distinct answer. Those attached to ‘Non-Birth and Non-Death’ are within the rise [rising and falling] of conditions. All dharmas exist in harmony, without abiding in [any] self-nature.
Searching for the essence of birth, also ungraspable is this birth. When born, as it does not arise from anywhere, therefore it is called ‘Non-Birth’.
For those attached to ‘Non-Death’, when all dharmas disperse, this is without abiding in [any] self-nature. When saying ‘I’ disperse, when this dispersing occurs, there is no place to return to, therefore it is called ‘Non-Death’.
This does not mean that beyond the rise [rising and falling] of causes and conditions, there is something else that is of Non-Birth and Non-Death, and that there should be no aspiring to be born in Pure Land. This is called Non-Birth within [it].
A Verse in The Treatise [on the Middle Way) states: ‘All dharmas that are born of causes and conditions, I say they are of emptiness. They are also called the “falsely named”. This is also called the meaning of the Middle Way.’
It further states: ‘All dharmas are neither born spontaneously born from themselves. Nor are they born from others. As they are neither together with nor apart from causes [and conditions), they are therefore known to be unborn [of Non-Birth).’
Furthermore, the Vimalakirti Sutra states: 'Although knowing that all Buddha Lands and all sentient beings are of emptiness, constantly practise the Pure Land path to teach and transform the masses.'
It further states: 'For example, one builds a mansion. If relying on the empty ground, one can build at will and without obstruction. If relying on empty space, nothing can be accomplished in the end.'
When all Buddhas preach the Dharma, they often rely on the Two Truths (Conventional and Ultimate Truth). Not destroying the falsely named, but to preach the true characteristics of all dharmas.
Wise ones, who earnestly aspire to be born in Pure Land, understand that the essence of birth is ungraspable, that it is truly Non-Birth. This is the meaning of ‘As when the mind is pure, Buddha Lands are pure.’
Deluded ones, are bound by the concept of birth when they hear of birth, thus [mis]understanding it as [actual] birth. When they hear of Non-Birth, they [mis]understand it as ‘no birth’, not knowing that birth is Non-Birth, that Non-Birth is birth.
Not understanding this principle, they provoke much argument, deprecating others who seek birth in Pure Land. What a great mistake! They are thus slanderers of the Dharma, with misgivings and evil [mis]understanding like those of external paths.
there used to be a monk (Yun-ke) who broke the precepts very badly, and he was afraid to reborn in hell realm. so he practice nianfo so diligently for 3 days, 3 night, and Amituofo came to him and told him that He will come and fetch him after 10 years when his life-span is up. but Yun-ke said he do not want the 10 years, as he might commit more evil karma. so Amituofo agreed to fetch him on the next 3 days.
so Yun-ke's nianfo didn't really achieved 功夫成片, as if so, he would be able to withstand for 10 years. 功夫成片is part of 念佛三昧. so his kind of temp 功夫成片is something we all can achieve. why cannot achieve is because we cannot let go and still have some love issues. letting go is also very important.
Doubt of Particular Mindfulness of One Buddha
Question 3: All the Buddhas of ten directions, and all their Pure Lands have Dharma-nature [qualities] that is equal, with their merits likewise equal. Practitioners should be universally mindful of all their merits, to be born in all Pure Lands.
今乃偏求一佛净土。 与平等性乖。 云何生净土。
Now then, to particularly aspire for birth in one Buddha’s Pure Land, this contradicts with the nature of equality (equanimity). Why speak of birth in [that] Pure Land?
答曰。 一切诸佛土。 实皆平等。 但众生根钝。 浊乱者多。 若不专系一心一境。 三昧难成。 专念阿弥陀佛。 即是一相三昧。 以心专至。 得生彼国。
Answer: All Buddhas’ Pure Lands are in reality all equal. But sentient beings' [good] roots are dull, and those confused [polluted and scattered] by [the Five] Corruptions are many.
If one does not focus on fastening one’s mind to one subject [to develop single-pointedness), Samadhi is difficult to accomplish.
专念阿弥陀佛。 即是一相三昧。 以心专至。 得生彼国。
Focus on mindfulness of Amituofo is Single Mark (Form) Samadhi. With the mind focused sincerely, birth in Pure Land is attained.
As the 'Sutra of Rebirth According to One's Vows' states, Universal Greatness Bodhisattva asked the Buddha, 'The ten directions all have Pure Lands. Why does the World-honoured One particularly praise the Western Pure Land of Amituofo, focusing on urging to be reborn there?'
The Buddha answered Universal Greatness, 'Sentient beings of Jambudvipa have minds much [polluted and scattered] confused by the [Five] Corruptions.
To hereby particularly praise the Western Pure Land of one Buddha will enable all sentient beings to focus their minds on one subject [for single-pointedness), and to easily attain rebirth.
If collectively mindful of all Buddhas, as the scope of mindfulness of Buddhas is broad, the mind is thus scattered [undisciplined], and Samadhi is difficult to be accomplished. Therefore, one is not able to attain rebirth.'
又求一佛功德。与一切佛功德无异。 以同一佛法性故。为此念阿弥陀佛。即念一 切佛。
Furthermore, to seek one Buddha’s merits and all Buddhas’ merits has no difference. As all Buddhas have one common Dharma-nature, to thus be mindful of Amituofo is to be mindful of all Buddhas.
To be born in one Pure Land is to be born in all Pure Lands.’
Thus, the Avatamsaka Sutra states: ‘All Buddhas’ bodies are one Buddha’s body. They are of one mind and one wisdom. Their [ten] powers and fearlessness is likewise so.’
‘For example, like a pure full moon, which reflects universally in all waters, though its reflections are immeasurable, the original moon has never become two. As such is the unobstructable wisdom attained in [Unsurpassable; Supreme Equal] Right Awakening: 无上正等正觉: 阿耨多罗三藐三菩提: Anuttara Samyak Sambodhi: Buddhahood). Responding and manifesting in all worlds, the Buddha body has no second.’
The wise attain understanding via this metaphor. If the wise can reach the understanding that all the moon reflections are one moon's reflection, that one moon's reflection is all the moon reflections, that the moon and the reflections are not two, this is how [one understands) that one Buddha is all Buddhas, and all Buddhas are one Buddha, as the Dharmakaya is not two. Therefore, being earnestly mindful of one Buddha, is to be mindful of all Buddhas.
The Fourth Doubt: Doubt of Particular Aspiration for One Pure Land
Question: Similar to being mindful of the aspiration to be born in one Buddha’s Pure Land, why not, within the ten directions’ Buddha Lands, be mindful of any one Buddha’s Pure Land as one wishes, to be reborn [there]? Why is there the need to be particularly mindful of the Western Amituofo?
答曰。 凡夫无智。不敢自专。 专用佛语。 故能偏念阿弥陀佛。
Answer: As ordinary beings are without wisdom they should not boldly choose by themselves. Focusing on relying upon the Buddha’s words, this is why we are particularly mindful of Amituofo.
云何用佛语。 释迦[牟尼佛]大师一代说法。 处处圣教。 唯劝众生。 专心偏念阿弥陀佛。 求生西方极乐世界。 如无量寿经观经往生论等。 数十余部经论文等。 殷勤指授。 劝生西方。 故偏念也。
How to speak of relying upon the Buddha’s words? Our great teacher Shakyamuni Buddha preached the Dharma all his life, giving noble (sacred) teachings everywhere, only to encourage sentient beings to focus their minds on being particularly mindful of Amituofo, to aspire to be born in the Western Land of Ultimate Bliss. Such as the ‘Immeasurable (Infinite) Life Sutra’, ‘Contemplation Sutra’, ‘Rebirth Treatise’ et cetera, numbering more than ten sutras, commentaries, essays et cetera, which instruct and guide so with deep sincerity, encouraging birth in the West. Therefore, there is this particular mindfulness.
Furthermore, Amituofo exclusively has forty-eight greatly compassionate vows to receive and guide sentient beings.
又观经云。 阿弥陀佛有八万四千相。 一一相有八万四千好。 一一好放八万四千光明。 遍照法界。 念佛众生。 摄取不舍。 若有念者。 机感相应。 决定得生。
Furthermore, the ‘Contemplation Sutra’ states: ‘Amituofo has 84,000 (physical) characteristics. Each characteristic has 84,000 [secondary] marks (forms) of excellence. Each mark of excellence emits 84,000 [rays of] lights, pervading and illuminating the Dharma realm. Sentient beings who are mindful of the Buddha will be embraced and not forsaken. If there are those mindful, there will be opportunities for correspondence and response, and they will definitely attain birth [in his Pure Land).’
又阿弥陀经。 大无量寿经。 鼓音王陀罗尼经等云。 释迦佛说经时。 皆有十方恒沙诸佛。 舒其舌相。 遍覆三千大千世界。 证成一切众生念阿弥陀佛。 乘佛大悲本愿力故。 决定得生极乐世界。
Furthermore, the ‘Amitabha Sutra’, the ‘Greater Immeasurable Life Sutra’, ‘King of the Sound of Drum Dharani Sutra’ et cetera state so, that when Shakyamuni Buddha preached these sutras, all the Buddhas of the ten directions, as numerous as the grains of sand in the Ganges River, spread and stretched their tongues to pervade and cover the three thousand great thousand world system, bearing testimony that all sentient beings who are mindful of Amituofo, as they rely on the power of the Buddha’s great compassionate original [fundamental; root) vows, will definitely attain birth in the Land of Ultimate Bliss.
当知阿弥陀佛与此世界。 偏有因缘。 何以得知。 无量寿经云。末世法灭之时。 特驻此经。 百年在世。 接引众生。 往生彼国。 故知阿弥陀佛与此世界极恶众生。 偏有因缘。 其余诸佛。 一切净土。 虽一经两经。 略劝往生。 不如弥陀佛国。 处处经论。 殷勤叮咛。 劝往生也。
We should know that Amituofo and this world has particular[ly great] affinity (karmic causes and conditions). How is this known? The Immeasurable Life Sutra states: ‘In the latter days of the Dharma-Ending Age, this sutra will be specially upheld [defended], for a hundred [more] years in this world, to receive and guide sentient beings for rebirth in that land.’ This is how we know that Amituofo and this world’s extremely evil sentient beings have particular[ly great] affinity. The rest of all other Buddhas and their Pure Lands, though a sutra or two sutras generally encourage rebirth in them, are not comparable to Amituofo’s Buddha Land, which sutras and commentaries everywhere, with deep sincerity, repeatedly urge for rebirth within.
The Fifth Doubt: Doubt of Attaining Birth Though Being Bound
Question: Ordinary beings bound by afflictions have negative karma that is thick and heavy, with all afflictions not in the least severed yet.
The Western Pure Land is outside of and beyond the Three Spheres. How can ordinary beings bound by afflictions attain birth there?
Answer: There are two kinds of conditions. The first is Self-power. The second is Other-power. Practitioners of Self-power, who in this world cultivate the path, have in reality yet to attain birth in Pure Land.
As thus, the Garland Sutra states: From the beginning, ordinary beings bound by afflictions have yet to know the Triple Gem,
They should first cultivate Bodhicitta, with (cultivating) faith as their main practice, stay in the family of the Buddha, with upholding the precepts as their main practice, receiving the Bodhisattva precepts life after life successively and continually.
If the practice of precepts is not transgressed for one kalpa, two kalpas, three kalpas, only then will they attain the First Abode of the Aspiration of Bodhicitta. Thereafter cultivating the Ten Faiths, Ten Paramitas, other countless practices and vows, continually and without interruption, filling ten thousand kalpas, only then will they attain till the Sixth Abode of Right Mind.
If they are more continually diligent , they will attain the Seventh Abode of Non-Retrogression, which is the stage of the seed of Buddhahood [assured of eventual Buddhahood). If relying so, [only] on Self-power, even to the end, they will yet to attain birth in Pure Land.
For those who rely on Other-power [too], if they have faith that the power of Amituofo’s great compassionate vows can receive sentient beings who are mindful of him, and are able to cultivate Bodhicitta, practise the Samadhi of Buddha Mindfulness, become weary of and wish to leave the Three Spheres, practise generosity, morality and cultivated blessings, and in the midst of each practice, dedicate them for the vow to be born in that Pure Land of Amituofo while relying on the Buddha’s power of vows, there will be divine response in accordance, and they will attain birth there.
As thus, the Treatise on the Ten Abodes of Bodhisattvas states: In this world, there are two ways of cultivating the path. The first is the Path of Difficult Practice. The second is the Path of Easy Practice. Practitioners of the Path of Difficult Practice, in this Evil Age of Five Corruptions and in the ages of countless Buddhas, aspire to become Avaivartikas, which is very difficult to attain. The difficulties are as innumerable as specks of dust and grains of sand, which cannot be fully spoken of. To briefly describe from many are five examples:
The first, is that external paths are befriended, confusing the Bodhisattva Dharma [practices]. The second, is that shameless evil persons destroy their excellent virtues. The third, is that inverted fruits of goodness can spoil pure practices. The fourth, is that [they might become] Shravakas [who only] benefit themselves, which obstructs great loving-kindness. The fifth, is that they only have Self-power, without Other-power for support. For example, a lame person walking in a day cannot go beyond a number of miles. Such is the extreme great hardship. This is called Self-power.
Practitioners of the Path of Easy Practice, because of faith in the Buddha's words and teachings on the Samadhi of Buddha Mindfulness, and aspiration to be born in Pure Land, they ride on the protection from power of Amituofo’s vows, and will definitely be reborn [there], without doubt. Like a person travelling by water, because of relying on the power of the boat, requires only a little while to travel to a thousand miles, this is called Other-power. For example, an inferior being who follows a Wheel-turning King can, within one day and one night, traverse around the four continents. This is not through Self-power, but the Wheel-turning King’s power.
If one says ordinary beings with (spiritual) leakages cannot attain birth in Pure Land, does this also mean ordinary beings with leakages should not be able to perceive the Buddha’s body? However, with the Samadhi of Buddha Mindfulness, good roots without leakages arise. Ordinary beings with leakages, with corresponding degrees, attain perception of the coarse form of the Buddha’s body, while Bodhisattvas perceive the refined and subtle form.
Likewise is this for (birth in] Pure Land. Although it arises from good roots without leakages, ordinary beings with leakages who cultivate the unsurpassable Bodhicitta, aspire to be born in Pure Land, and are constantly mindful of Buddha. Because of [being able to] subdue and eradicate afflictions, they attain birth in Pure Land. With corresponding degrees, they attain perception of the coarse forms [of Pure Land), while Bodhisattvas perceive the refined and wondrous forms. What is there to doubt here?
Thus, the Avatamsaka Sutra thus states: All Buddha lands are equal and universally majestic and pure. As sentient beings’ karma and actions differ, what they each perceive is not the same. This is the meaning [of that said earlier].
The Sixth Doubt: Doubt of Non-Retrogression Upon Birth [There]
Question: If ordinary beings bound by afflictions are able to attain birth in that land, with evil views and Three Poisons et cetera frequently arising, how can they attain birth in that land, which is to attain Non-Retrogression and transcendence of the Three Spheres?
答。得生彼国。有五因缘不退。云何为五。一者阿弥陀佛大悲 愿力 。摄持故得不退。
Answer: Those who attain birth in that land have five causes and conditions [factors] for Non-Retrogression. What are stated to be the five? First, as Amituofo’s power of his great compassionate vows embrace and protect them, this is how Non-Retrogression is attained.
Second, as the Buddha’s light always shines [upon them], their Bodhicitta constantly progresses [enhances] and never retrogresses.
Third, as sounds of the ponds, birds, forests, winds and [[[Wikipedia:vocal|vocal]]] music all preach the Dharma of suffering (dissatisfaction) and emptiness, the listeners constantly give rise to mindfulness of the Buddha(s), mindfulness of the Dharma, and mindfulness of the Sangha, this is how there is Non-Retrogression.
Fourth, as being with all pure Bodhisattvas of that land as virtuous (spiritual) friends, without the environment of evil conditions, without evil gods, ghosts and demons outside, and without the Three Poisons et cetera within, afflictions do not arise at all, this is how there is Non-Retrogression.
Fifth, as those born in that land immediately have life spans of eternal (unlimited) kalpas, together equally similar to that of the Bodhisattvas and Buddhas, this is how there is Non-Retrogression.
In this evil world [age], the days and months are brief and pressing. Having passed through asamkheya kalpas [in Pure Land), continually not giving rise to afflictions, and with [such] a long time for cultivating the path, how can it be stated that the Tolerance of Non-Birth cannot be attained? As this principle is evident [obvious], there is no need for doubt!
The Seventh Doubt: Doubt of Easiness of Birth in Tushita
Question: Maitreya Bodhisattva is an Ekajati-pratibuddha [one lifetime away from Buddhahood), and will soon attain Buddhahood. Practising the highest quality of the Ten Wholesome Deeds, one will attain birth in that place (Tushita Heaven’s Inner Court], to perceive Maitreya Bodhisattva, and be able to follow his descent [to this world), to be within his three teaching assemblies, and naturally attain the fruits of sainthood. Why is there the need to aspire for birth in the Western Pure Land then?
Answer: Aspiring to be born in Pure Land and in Tushita, one can listen to and see the [[[Wikipedia:future|future]]] Buddhas within one day. By appearance, these aspirations are similar, but if we scrutinise more closely to compare, there are great advantages and disadvantages. We shall just discuss two kinds.
First, even if the Ten Wholesome Deeds are upheld, this, as feared, cannot lead to attainment of birth [there]. How is this known?
The ‘Sutra of Maitreya’s Ascension’ states: Various forms of Samadhi should be practised, to deeply enter Right Concentration .Only then, can one attain birth [there].’
Other than this, there is no skilful means of receiving and guiding meant, which is not equal to Amituofo’s power of his original vows and the power of his [bright] light [of blessings). So long as there are sentient beings who are mindful of (Amitabha) Buddha, they will be embraced and not forsaken.
Furthermore, Shakyamuni Buddha preached about the nine grades of methods for teaching, as skilful means for receiving and guiding, instructed and guided with deep sincerity, to send and urge beings to [reach] that Pure Land. So long as sentient beings can be mindful of Amituofo, there will be opportunities for correspondence and response, and they will definitely attain birth [in his Pure Land). Similar to how an admirer in this world can receive the admired when an opportunity agrees with each other, this matter [of attaining birth) will definitely be accomplished.
Second, the Palace of Tushita Heaven is within the Sphere of Desire, where those who retrogress are many, where there are no sounds of ponds, birds, forests, winds and [[[Wikipedia:vocal|vocal]]] music, with which sentient beings who hear them, are all mindful of (Amitabha) Buddha, cultivate Bodhicitta, subdue and rid afflictions.
Furthermore, there are wo(men) [there], who all are able to increase all heavenly attachments, tainting the mind with the five desires. Furthermore, the devis (goddesses) are refined and wondrous, and all the gods (devas and devis) are indulgent in pleasure, not able to exert themselves (spiritually).
This is not equal to Amituofo’s Pure Land, where there are sounds of ponds, birds, forests, winds and [[[Wikipedia:vocal|vocal]]] music, with which sentient beings who hear them, are all mindful of (Amitabha) Buddha, cultivate Bodhicitta, subdue and rid afflictions.
Furthermore, there are no women or beings with aspirations of the two vehicles. There are beings only of the great vehicle, who are peaceful and pure companions with the same goal. Due to this, afflictions and evil karma cannot arise at all, until the Stage of Non-Birth is attained.
Comparing thus, the advantages and disadvantages are evident [obvious]. Why is there need or cause for doubt?
Similar to when Shakyamuni Buddha was in this world, the great number of sentient beings who saw [met] the Buddha but did not attain the fruits of sainthood is similar to [the number of the grains of] the Ganges River’s sand. When Maitreya (Bodhisattva) comes into this world [and becomes a Buddha), it is likewise. A great number will not attain the fruits of sainthood. [This is so as this world will] yet to be similar to Amituofo’s Pure Land.
So long as there is birth in that land, all will attain the Tolerance (Patience) of Non-Birth. There is yet to be one person [there] who retrogresses to the Three Spheres, to be bound by the karma of birth and death.
Furthermore, this is learnt from the Records of the Western Land (India), which states that there were three Bodhisattvas. The first is called Asanga. The second is called Vasubandhu. The third is called Simhabodhi.
These three persons agreed on the goal together, to be born in Tushita out of the aspiration to see [meet] Maitreya. The first to die and attain sight of Maitreya, is to vow to return, to inform the others.
Simhabodhi died first. A number of years passed but there was no return. Later, when Vasubandhu was approaching death due to impermanence, Asanga said to him, ‘After you see Maitreya, immediately return to inform me.’ Only then, after having left for three years, did Vasubandhu return to inform him.
Asanga asked, ‘Why did you take so much time to return?’ Vasubandhu replied, ‘Having arrived within that heaven, after listening to Maitreya Bodhisattva preach the Dharma in one seating and circumambulating [him], I immediately returned to inform you. As that heaven’s days are long, it is already three years for this world.’
(Asanga) further asked, ‘Where is Simhabodhi now?’ Vasubandhu replied, ‘For receiving heavenly pleasures, Simhabodhi is amusing oneself with the five desires, like an external relative [of Maitreya). From his departure till now, he has not seen [met] Maitreya after all.
All minor Bodhisattvas who are born there are still tainted by the five desires, furthermore ordinary beings. Due to this, aspire to be born in the West[ern Pure Land) to be assured of attaining Non-Retrogression, and not aspire to be born in Tushita.
The Eighth Doubt: Doubt of Attaining Birth Via Ten Thoughts of Mindfulness
Question: Sentient beings have, since beginningless time, created immeasurable (evil) karma. Receiving (karmic) punishment in this life, and not coming across good knowing advisers, [they] once more create all kinds of karmic misgivings, with no evils not created. How can it be stated, that when approaching death, with accomplishment of ten thoughts of mindfulness, one is able to attain rebirth [in Pure Land), to transcend the Three Spheres, to end all [negative] karmic matters. How is saying this to be understood?
Answer: It is explained thus. Sentient beings have, since beginningless time, planted good and evil karma. Whether it is much or little, strong or weak, is however not known. So long as [they are] able to, when approaching death, come across good knowing advisers, and accomplish ten thoughts of mindfulness, this is all due to past good karma being strong. Only then, is one able to meet a good knowing adviser, to accomplish ten thoughts of mindfulness. If one has much evil karma, a good knowing adviser will not be come across, much less to say of ten thoughts of mindfulness being accomplished.
Furthermore, you assume that since beginningless time, evil karma [created] is heavy, that when approaching death, ten thoughts of mindfulness is light [in comparison]. Now, using reasoning, of three kinds of measures, [we will know why] lightness and heaviness are not fixed, not dependent on the duration of time being long or short, or evil karma being much or little. Of which are the three? First, is of mind. Second, is of condition. Third, is of certainty.
For those of mind, when creating misgivings, this arises from false, deluded and inverted thoughts. For those who are mindful of Buddha, from good knowing advisers, they hear speak of Amituofo’s truly meritorious name. As one is false and one is true, how can they compare?
For example, a room with ten thousand years of darkness [can have] sunlight of extremely short duration suddenly [enter to] destroy it. How can a long period of darkness refuse to be destroyed?
在缘者。 造罪之时。 从虚妄痴闇心。 缘虚妄境界颠倒生。念佛之心。 从闻佛清净真实功德名号。 缘无上菩提心生。 一真一伪岂得相比。
For those of condition, when creating misgivings, this arises from false, deluded, ignorant and dark thoughts, conditioned by deluded states [circumstances] and inversion. For mindfulness of Buddha, from hearing Buddha’s pure and truly meritorious name, conditions the arising of unsurpassable Bodhicitta. As one is true and one is false, how can they compare?
For example, there is a person deeply shot by a poisonous arrow, with poison that penetrates and injures the muscles and breaks bones. In the one moment of hearing the medicinal drum that rids poison, the arrow will be removed and the poison rid of. How can, the arrow being deep, and poison being penetrated, refuse to be purged?
For those of certainty, when creating misgivings, it is with intermittent thoughts and afterthoughts of creating them again. When mindful of Buddha, with non-intermittent [uninterrupted] thoughts and no afterthoughts, they immediately give up [this] life. With minds of goodness that are powerful, this is how they are born [in Pure Land).
For example, a rope that needs ten persons to embrace cannot be snapped by a thousand persons. [However,] a child who brandishes a sword can, in an instant, cut it into two parts. As a further example, firewood accumulated for a thousand years can be burnt with a fire as small as a bean. In a little time, it can be burnt completely.
As a further example, if a person, since birth, practises the ten good karmas (wholesome deeds), one should attain birth in a heaven. [But] when approaching death, [if one] gives rise to a certain thought that is an evil view, [one can] be immediately born in Avici hell. Negative karma, although false and deluded, because of its power, is till able to ‘rid’ one lifetime’s good karma, causing fall to an evil realm. Furthermore, when approaching death with powerful mindfulness of Buddha that is true, how can non-intermittent [uninterrupted] good karma [created] not be able to ‘rid’ beginningless negative karma, to attain birth in Pure Land? There is no other destination.
It (Contemplation Sutra) further states, ‘One thought of mindfulness of Buddha is able to rid eighty billion kalpas of misgivings of birth and death.’ This is so as when mindful of Buddha, this mind that is powerful subdues and ‘rids’ evil karma. Attainment of birth is certain. There is no need to doubt this.
[Some] ancients traditionally pass down the ‘conclusion’ that ten thoughts of mindfulness [of Amituofo when dying] can [only] be accomplished with past (lives’] good karma. This cannot be certain. How is this known? The (Mahayana) Samgraha Sastra [摄大乘论] states, ‘As with only giving rise to aspiration [with faith for birth in Pure Land), [this is] completely without practice’ [as it is already accomplished in the past].
The Commentary of Mixed Collections [from the Mahayana Abhidharma) [大乘阿毗达磨杂集论] states, ‘If one aspires to be born in the Land of Peace and Bliss, one will attain birth there. If one is mindful of Stainless [faultless] Buddha's name, one will [thereafter] attain Anuttara Samayak Sambodhi.' Also, this is [due to] the cause of past (lives’] good karma, completely without practice [in this life). If one sees the powerful and good practice of ten non-intermittent [uninterrupted] thoughts of mindfulness when approaching death to rely only on past (lives’] good karma, how much of a mistake this is!
The Ninth Doubt: Doubt of the Path Being Far and Those Lacking Roots Being Unable to be Born
Question: The West[ern Pure Land) is ten billion Buddhalands away from here. Ordinary beings are (spiritually) weak. How can they reach there? Furthermore, the Rebirth Treatise states, that ‘women and those who lack (sense) roots, and those of seeds of the two vehicles are not born [there].' Since there is this teaching, it is known that women and those who lack roots will surely not attain rebirth.
答: 为对凡夫肉眼生死心量说。 西方去此十万亿佛刹。 但使众生净土业成者。 临终在定之心即是净土受生之心。 动念即是生净土时。 为此观经云。 弥陀佛国去此不远。 又业力不可思议。 一念即得生。 彼不须愁远。
Answer: For ordinary beings who measure with eyes of flesh and minds of birth and death, it is said that the West[ern Pure Land) is ten billion Buddhalands away from here. However, if sentient beings attain the karma to be born in Pure Land, when approaching death with a mind in concentration, this is the mind that receives birth in Pure Land. When the mind moves, it is the moment of birth in Pure Land. Due to this, the Contemplation Sutra states, ‘Amituofo’s Buddha Land is not far from here.’ Furthermore, the power of karma is inconceivable. Within one thought, birth can be attained. There is no need to worry that it is far away.
又如人梦。 身虽在床。 而心意识。 遍至他方。 一切世界如平生不异也。 生净土于尔。 动念即至。 不须疑也。
Furthermore, like a person dreaming, though the body is on the bed, the consciousness (mind) pervades and reaches elsewhere. All worlds are as always [when awake], not different. Birth in Pure Land is like so. When the mind moves, it is reached. There is no need to doubt this.
女人及根缺。 二乘种不生者。 但论生彼国。 无女人及无盲聋喑(yīn)哑人。 不道此间女人。 根缺人不得生。 彼若如此说者。 愚痴全不识经意。 即如韦提夫人。 是请生净土主。 及五百侍女。 佛授记悉得往生彼国。
That ‘women and those who lack roots, and those of seeds of the two vehicles are not born [there]’, however, is in terms of those already born in that land, where there are no women, and no blind, deaf or mute persons. This is not saying that women and those who lack roots here cannot attain birth [there]. If there is one who says as such, this person is foolish and deluded, fully not understanding the sutras’ meanings. This is similar to Lady (Queen) Vaidehi, who requested to be born in Pure Land. With five hundred maids, the Buddha conferred confirmations that they will all attain birth in that land.
但此处女人。 及盲聋喑哑人。 心念弥陀佛。 悉生彼国已。 更不受女身。 亦不受根缺身二乘人。 但回心愿生净土。 至彼更无二乘执心。 为此故云。 女人及根缺二乘种不生。 非谓此处女人及根缺人不得生也。
As such, if women, and blind, deaf or mute persons here are mindful of Amituofo, all will be born in that land afterwards, where they will not again receive female bodies, and not receive bodies that lack roots, or become those of the two vehicles. If they [of the two vehicles) change their minds and aspire to be born in Pure Land, upon reaching there, they will not again have minds attached to the two vehicles. Due to this, it is stated that ‘women and those who lack roots, and those of seeds of the two vehicles are not born [there].’ It does not mean that women and those who lack roots here cannot attain birth [there].
故无量寿经四十八愿云。 设我得佛。十方世界一切女人。 称我名号。 厌恶女身。 舍命之后。 更受女身者。 不取正觉。 况生彼国。 更受女身。根缺者亦尔。
Thus, [one of ] the forty-eight vows [of Amituofo] in the Sutra of Immeasurable Life states, ‘If, when I (Dharmakara Bodhisattva) attain Buddhahood, all women of the worlds of the ten directions, who recite my name, who are disgusted with their female bodies, after they give up this life, will not again receive female bodies. [If this is not so,] I will not attain perfect awakening (Buddhahood).’ Furthermore, born in that land, how can one again receive female bodies? It is likewise for those who lack roots.
The Tenth Doubt: Doubt of How to Practise
Question: Now that there is desire and determination to aspire to be born in the West[ern Pure Land), yet to be known is what practice and [good] karma should be done, with what (karmic) seed [to be planted], to attain birth in that land. Furthermore, ordinary beings and laypersons all have wives [and husbands], [it is] yet to know if not cutting sexual desire (lust) will they attain birth there.
答: 欲决定生西方者。具有二种行。 定得生彼。 一者厌离行。 二者欣愿行。
Answer: Those who have desire and determination to be born in the West[ern Pure Land) have two kinds of practices, that guarantee attaining of birth there. First, is the practice of disgusted renunciation. Second, is the practice of joyful aspiration.
言厌离行者。 凡夫无始已来。 为五欲缠缚。 轮回五道。 备受众苦。 不起心厌离五欲。 未有出期。 为此常观此身脓血屎尿。 一切恶露(lù)不净臭秽。 故涅槃经云。 如是身城。 愚痴罗刹止住其中。 谁有智者当乐此身。
Speaking of the practice of disgusted renunciation, as ordinary beings have, since beginningless time, been entangled and bound by the five desires, they are reborn in the five realms, experiencing all kinds of suffering. Not giving rise to the thought of disgusted renunciation of the five desires, there is no date of departure [from the suffering of rebirth). Due to this, constantly contemplate that this body’s pus, blood, feces, urine, and all body fluids as not pure, smelly and dirty. Thus, the [Mahapari]Nirvana Sutra states, ‘ This body is like a castle, that [only] foolish and deluded rakshasas stop to live in. Who with wisdom would accept joy with this body?’
又经云。 此身众苦所集。 一切皆不净。 扼(è)缚痈(yōng)疮等根本无义利。 上至诸天身皆亦如是。 行者若行若坐。 若睡若觉。 常观此身唯苦无乐深生厌离。 纵(zòng)使妻房不能顿断。 渐渐生厌作七种不净观。
Furthermore, the sutra states, ‘This body is where all suffering accumulates, with all that is not pure, grasping and binding carbuncles et cetera, with no benefits at all. Up to all heavens, gods’ bodies are all likewise.’ Practitioners, if they are walking, if they are sitting, if they are sleeping, if they are awake, constantly contemplate this body to only be of suffering and no joy, to deeply give rise to disgusted renunciation, even though sexual intercourse cannot be immediately ended, they can, little by little [gradually] give rise to disgust, by practice of seven kinds of contemplations on impurity [of the body).
First, contemplate this lustful body to arise from greedy attachment and afflictions. This is the seed of what is not pure.
Second, when your father and mother had intercourse, the red [egg] and the white [sperm] mix. This is how receiving [re]birth is not pure.
三者母胎中在生藏下。 居熟藏上。 即是住处不净。
Third, within your mother’s womb, [you are] below the stomach, and reside above the big intestines. This dwelling place is not pure.
Fourth, when in your mother’s womb, you only feed on your mother’s blood. This eating is not pure.
五者日月满足头向产门。 脓血俱出臭秽狼藉。 即是初生不净。
Fifth, when the days and months are full and sufficient, the head goes towards the birth canal. Pus and blood that accompanies [on the way] out is entirely smelly, dirty and messy [disorderly]. This newborn (body) is not pure.
六者薄皮覆上。 其内脓血遍一切处。 即是举体不净。
Sixth, with thin skin covering above, the rest within is pus and blood pervading everything everywhere. This body raised is not pure.
Seventh, until after death, it swells, decays and spoils. The bones and flesh in length and breath are eaten by foxes and wolves. This outcome [after all] is not pure.
自身既尔他身亦然。 所爱境界男女身等。 深生厌离常观不净。 若能如此观身不净之者。 淫欲烦恼渐渐减少。
Your body being thus, those of others’ bodies are likewise so. [As] the attached, being male or female bodies are equal, [we should] deeply give rise to disgusted renunciation by contemplating [that they are] not pure. If one is able to contemplate as such, of one’s body being not pure, lust and afflictions will little by little lessen.
又作十想等观。 广如经说。 又发愿。 愿我永离三界。 杂食臭秽。 脓血不净。 耽荒五欲男女等身。 愿得净土法性生身。 此谓厌离行。
Furthermore, practise the ten thoughts and other contemplations, as the sutras widely preach. Furthermore, give rise to the aspiration, that I will forever renounce [this body of] the Three Spheres, of mixed food [of vegetables, grain and meat], that is smelly and dirty, with pus and blood that is not pure, of indulgence and confusion in the five desires of male, female and other bodies, and aspire to attain Pure Land’s body of Dharma-nature. This is called the practice of disgusted renunciation.
二明欣愿行者。 复有二种。 一者先明求往生之意。 二者观彼净土庄严等事欣心愿求。
Next to understand is the practice of joyful aspiration. Again, there are two kinds [steps]. First, understand the meaning of aspiring for rebirth [in Pure Land). Second, contemplate that Pure Land’s magnificence and other matters for joyful aspiration.
明往生意者。 所以求生净土。 为欲救拔一切众生苦故。 即自思忖(cǔn)。 我今无力。 若在恶世。 烦恼境强。 自为业缚。 沦溺三途动经劫数。 如此轮转。 无始已来未曾休息。 何时能得救苦众生。 为此求生净土亲近诸佛。 若证无生忍。 方能于恶世中救苦众生。
To understand the meaning of rebirth [in Pure Land), the reason to aspire to be born in Pure Land, is to desire to save all sentient beings from suffering. This should be self-reflected. ‘Now that I am without [sufficient spiritual) power, if I remain in this evil world, where conditions for afflictions are powerful, with oneself being bound by [negative] karma, [I might] drown in the three [lower] paths for numerous kalpas. Being reborn as such, since beginning time, and yet to rest, when will I be able to save suffering sentient beings?’ For this, aspire to be born in Pure Land, to be close to all Buddhas. If the Tolerance of Non-Birth is attained, then will one be able to, be within this evil world, to save suffering sentient beings.
故往生论云。 言发菩提心者。 正是愿作佛心。 愿作佛心者。 则是度众生心。 度众生心者。 则是摄众生生佛国心。 又愿生净土须具二行。 一者必须远离三种障菩提门法。 二者须得三种顺菩提门法。 何者为三种障菩提法。
Thus, the Rebirth Treatise states, ‘Speaking of the cultivation of Bodhicitta is precisely the aspiration to become a Buddha. The aspiration to become a Buddha thus is [the aspiration) to deliver sentient beings. [The aspiration) to deliver sentient beings thus is to gather (guide) sentient beings to be born in [the] Buddha Land [of Amituofo].’ Furthermore, to aspire to be born in Pure Land needs the completion of two practices. First, one must be far away from three kinds of dharmas that obstruct the door to Bodhi (Buddhahood). Second, one must attain three kinds of dharmas that go along with the door to Bodhi. What are the three kinds of dharmas that obstruct the door to Bodhi?
First, is to rely on the door of wisdom, thus not going for self-happiness, being far away from self-greed and attachment for oneself.
二者依慈悲门。 拔一切众生苦。 远离无安众生心故。
Second, is to rely on the door of loving-kindness and compassion, thus to uproot all sentient beings’ suffering, to be far away from the mind of not bringing peace to sentient beings.
Third, is to rely on the door of skilful means, thus to empathise with all sentient beings’ desires and their happiness, to be far away from the mind of [seeking] respect and offerings for oneself.
If able to distance oneself from the three kinds of Bodhi obstacles, is thus to attain the three kinds of dharmas that go along with Bodhi.
一者无染清净心。 不为自身求诸乐故。 菩提是无染清净处。 若为自身求乐。 即染身心障菩提门。 是故无染清净心。 是顺菩提门。
First, is the undefiled pure mind, as it does not seek all kinds of happiness for oneself. [As] Bodhi is the abode of undefiled purity, if one seeks happiness for oneself, this defiles the body and mind, and obstructs the door to Bodhi. Thus, the undefiled pure mind is a door that goes along with Bodhi.
二者安清净心。 为拔众生苦故。 菩提心是安隐一切众生清净处。 若不作心拔一切众生。 令离生死苦。 即违菩提门。 是故安清净心。 是顺菩提门。
Second, is the peaceful pure mind, as it uproots sentient beings’ suffering, Bodhicitta is the abode for peacefully securing all sentient beings’ purity. If not aspiring to save all sentient beings, to enable departure from the suffering of birth and death, this goes against the door to Bodhi. Thus, the peaceful pure mind is a door that goes along with Bodhi.
三者乐清净心。 欲令一切众生得大菩提涅槃故。 菩提涅槃是毕竟常乐处。 若不作心令一切众生得毕竟常乐。 即遮菩提门。
Third, is the blissful pure mind, as it desires all sentient beings to attain the Nirvana of great Bodhi (Buddhahood). The Nirvana of great Bodhi is the abode of ultimate and eternal bliss. If one does not aspire to enable all beings to attain ultimate and eternal happiness, this obstructs the door to Bodhi.
此菩提因何而得。 要因生净土常不离佛。 得无生忍已。于生死国中救苦众生。 悲智内融定而常用自在无碍。 即菩提心。 此是愿生之意。
How is this cause of Bodhi to be attained? By the cause of being born in Pure Land, by constantly not being away from the Buddha(s), till attainment of the Tolerance of Non-Birth, after which being within lands of birth and death to save suffering sentient beings. With compassion and wisdom fused harmoniously within Samadhi, they are always utilised with ease and without obstruction. This is Bodhicitta. This is the meaning of aspiration for birth.
二明欣心愿求者。 希心起想缘弥陀佛。 若法身。 若报身等。 金色光明八万四千相。 一一 相中八万四千好。 一一好放八万四千光明。 常照法界摄取念佛众生。
Next to understand is the practice of joyful aspiration. With [sincere] devotion, contemplate the characteristics of Amituofo. Be it the Dharma body, or the reward body et cetera (manifestation bodies), the bright golden light ‘has 84,000 (physical) characteristics. Each characteristic has 84,000 [secondary] marks (forms) of excellence. Each mark of excellence emits 84,000 [rays of] lights.’ They always illuminate the Dharma realm, embracing and receiving sentient beings who are mindful of the Buddha.
Furthermore, contemplate that Pure Land’s seven-jewelled adornments and wondrous music et cetera. Perfect practices such as the sixteen contemplations et cetera in the Immeasurable Life Sutra and the Contemplation Sutra.
常行念佛三昧。 及施戒修等一切善行。 悉已回施一切众生。 同生彼国。 决定得生。 此谓欣愿门也。
[One should also] often practising the Samadhi of Buddha Mindfulness, with generosity and morality, cultivating all various good practices, and afterwards, repay the kindness of all sentient beings, by dedicating all merits to be born together in that land. Attainment of birth [in Pure Land) is certain [if this is accomplished]. This is the meaning of the door of joyful aspiration.
There is a passage from the Avatamsaka Sutra (Book5,9.Gatha)
Some lands have a Buddha
And some land do not.
Some have just one Buddha
And some have countless Buddhas.
If a land has no Buddha,
Then a Buddha from another world
Will mistically appear there
To manifest the works of Buddhas-
Our world, the Southern Jambudvipa was without a Buddha,so Shakyamuni mistically appeared here, to teach us the activity of Amida Buddha. He Did not intended to teach a supramundane doctrine,only wanted to reveal the 48 vows of Amitabha, especially of his 18.th vow. In this vow Amida promised us, that whoever think of Him, or utter His Name, with faith that person in the end of the life will enter in His Paradise, moreover He will appear at his deathbed,and personally escort him to the Pure Land.
Amitabha is the primordial Buddha,and His Land is out of the Samsara.
Shakyamuni many times called the Nirvana as Amita. This Land is an environmental appearence of Nirvana. As Vasubandhu wrote in the Jodoron:
"The adornaments of the Land of Amitayus Buddha are phenomenal
aspects of a wondreous realm wich has arisen from the utmost reality."
Amida Buddha incarnated Himself as Dharmakara Bodhisattva in order to
create the Pure Land. His Name has three meaning:
1."The letter "A" of the Dharma" (The A is the symbol of the Pure Land and Amitabha)
2."The essential mode of Dharma activity.
Amitabha, the Dharma Treasury (That is, Dharmakara) with essential
mode of Dharma-activity, created the Pure Land.
The Dharma Tresure has four parts: Nitya (permanence)
Sukha (blessing) Atman (true self) Subha (purity)
They are called the Four Gunaparamita, and are in contrast to the Trilakshana, wich is: Anitya (Impermanence), Dukha(suffering),Anatman (no-self),
as well as to Asubha(impurity).
So Dharmakara Bodhisattva inkarnated from Dharmakaya Amitabha, (Lokanatha Amitabha, or Lokesvararaja,also known in His secret Name as HRIH) created the Pure Land and become Samboghakaya Amitabha. His emanation (Nirmanakaya Amitabha) appeared in our world as Shakyamuni Buddha.NAMUAMIDABUTSU