Pure Land in a Nutshell

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Pure Land in a Nutshell

Post by LauraJ on Sun Dec 28, 2008 4:16 am

Pure 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.

From this 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 or samadhi.

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.

2. 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.



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