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The Real Meaning of Pure Land

The Real Meaning of Pure Land:

THE SUBSTANCE OF PURE AND IMPURE LAND
All things in universe no matter worldly or non-worldly, in fine, there are two kinds, one is called material thing(material science, physical dharmas) and the other is called non-material thing(non-material science, mental dharmas). There are three kinds of kingdom in material thing, one is called animal kingdom, second one is called plant kingdom, and the last one is called mineral kingdom. And all these things make retribution for good or evil deeds, we call it “being the resultant person” and “being the dependent condition or environment” (The two forms of karma resulting from one’s past).

THE animal kingdom is the “being the resultant person” of the ten dharma-worlds, the plant kingdom and mineral kingdom are the “being the dependent condition or environment” of the ten dharma-worlds.

THERE are physical dharmas and mental dharmas(that which has substance and resistance is physical and that which is devoid of these is mental) in “being the resultant person”, there is only physical dharmas in “being the dependent condition or environment”. Only the “being the resultant person” is glorious and ornate, then the “being the dependent condition or environment” is glorious and ornate.

THE “being the resultant person” includes the ten-dharma-worlds, and the “being the dependent condition or environment” includes the “four Buddha-ksetra or realms” [Realms where all classes dwell-men, devas, Buddhas, disciples, non-disciples. Temporary realms, where the occupants have got rid of the evils of unenlightened views and thoughts. Realms of permanent reward and freedom. Realm of eternal rest and light and of eternal spirit, the abode of Buddhas; but in reality all the others are included in this, and are only separated for convenience’s sake.], “Trailokya or Triloka; the three realms”. [It is the Buddhist metaphysical equivalent for the Brahmanic cosmological bhuvanatraya, or triple world of bhur, bhuvah, and svar(hearth, atmosphere, and heaven). The Buddhist three are world of sensuous desire, form, and formless world of pure spirit.,] and “The nine lands” [The realm of desire or sensuous realm; the four realms of form or material forms; and the four formless realms, or realms beyond form.]

THE realm is land, and the land is mind. Our land will correspond with our mind. The retribution always goes by the mind. Therefore, the evil mind will lead us to the three evil gati or paths of transmigration(also the hells, hungry ghosts, and animals).

THE mind of angel will lead us to the "men and devas". And in the “men and devas”, when their karmas are heavy, they will correspond with the Saha world, when their mind are pure, they will correspond with pure lands. Therefore, the same world in the eyes of Sariputra is a place of thorns, waste, and wilderness, but in the eyes of those great bodhisattvas is a place of purity, adornment and glory. The point is here, that the mind is pure, then the land will be pure.

THE ELEVATION OF SPIRIT OF PURE LAND
The most important aim for the Buddhist doctrines is to purify the mind of all beings and lead them to the Pure Land. Because the Pure Land is the treasury of the profound wisdom of Three Virtues, and the place of real “body and mind at rest”. There are four kinds of pure land, but the utmost of them all is the Land of Spirit where all are in perpetual peace and glory. There are three virtues for the Land of Spirit, The virtue, or potency of the Buddha’s eternal, spiritual body, the virtue of his prajna or wisdom, (knowing all things in their reality), and virtue of his freedom from all bonds and his sovereign liberty.

WHEN reaching ONE(The Land of Spirit) means reaching the THREE Virtues, and reaching THREE Virtues means reaching ONE. The “being the resultant person” and the “being the dependent condition or environment” are the one, therefore, all “being the dependent condition or environment” are “being the resultant person”, is called Dharmakaya(embodiment of Truth and Law, the spiritual or true body, essential Buddhahood, the essence of being, the absolute, the norm of the universe), all “being the resultant person” are “being the dependent condition or environment”, is called Pure Land.

THE Pure Land is the original substance of Buddha-nature(self-existent pure mind) that is all Buddhas enter experientially, the “Pure” means “Mind”, and the “Land” means “Elevation of Spirit”, another name for “Mind and Elevation of Spirit” is PURE LAND.

PURE Land means No Land, and No Land means No Mind, No Mind means Pure Mind, when the mind is pure, the rebirth in pure land will be the next step.

THE DIRECTION OF PURE LAND
When we cultivate the Buddhist doctrines always the temporal(the conditional, functional, differential, or temporary) first, then go to the real(the fundamental, or absolute), from shallow or superficial to deep, profound, or abstruse, from “to have form”(whatever has form, whether ideal or real) to “without form”(without sign, no marks, or no characteristics, nothingness, absolute truth as having no differentiated ideas). The Western Utmostjoyworld is the temporal appearance of Amitabha Buddha, and The Eastern Crystal Light World is the temporal appearance of The Buddha of Medicine.

NO matter which direction, east or west, when reaching one Buddha means reaching Buddhas of ten directions. When rebirth in one pure land means rebirth in pure lands in ten directions.

WHEN cultivating the Buddhist doctrines from “to have form” to “without form”, then will reach no pure land, neither east nor west, but always in our own mind. But for the ordinary people of “to have form”, should always choose the pure land of “to have form” in order to rely on it, then Vaidehi’s(wife of Bimbisara, and mother of Ajatasatru) choice is also our choice, that is the West Utmostjoyworld.

THE point of all the teachings of Buddha Shykamuni is to destroy the “to cling to things as real” of all beings. When hearing of west and do not cling to the west as real is Bodhisattvas, when hearing of west and do cling to the west as real and hearing of pure land and do cling to pure land as real is Sravakas(a hearer, a term applied to the personal disciples of the Buddha).

WHEN all Buddhas and Bodhisattvas showing up in worlds are just like the Sun is arising from the east, and when they are reaching the nirvana(extinction of reincarnation and escape from suffering) are just like the Sun is going down in the west. Therefore when Buddha Shykamuni reaching the nirvana, he was facing the west, also the Buddhas in ten directions when reaching the nirvana, they all facing the west.

WHEN Buddhas and Bodhisattvas enter experientially the Buddha Nature(the absolute void), there is no space of east, south, west, and north, and no time of past, present, and future in the “absolute void”. Therefore, when hearing temporally “west”, and understanding that is all over the ten directions, this is the idea of Bodhisattva. And cling to one direction or on Buddha is the idea of Sravaka.

TODAY’s ordinary people, when chanting the name of Buddha are always with evil thought not with right thought, always with delusive mind or attached mind, and discriminate achievement or meritorious virtue, therefore, do not chant the name of Buddha honestly, and their only aim is to beseech for rebirth in West Pure Land in order to enjoy their next life, but without any result.

THE real way of chanting the name of Buddha is to destroy the attachment or delusion first, then reaching the realm of chanting the name of Buddha of “without form or sign”. In this realm of “without form or sign”, the result of chanting the name of one Buddha equals the result of chanting the name of all Buddhas in ten directions(space) and three times(past, present, and future).

CHANTING the name of Buddha with “without form or sign”, one means all and all means one, one chanting means all chanting, chanting means no chanting and no chanting means chanting, to awaken to the truth with seeing or touching anything, this is the elevation of spirit of Samadhi (putting together, composing the mind, intent contemplation, perfect absorption, union of the meditator with the object of meditation).

DIAMOND Sutra says: {If they want to see me with form, or talk to me with sound, they are going the wrong way, and cannot see me(get enlightened)}. Therefore, the difference between Mahayana and Hinayana is the attachment. The practitioners of Pure Land should understand that we have to purify our mind with our own effort, Buddhas cannot destroy the attachment or delusion for us. We have to get rid of all kinds of delusion and attachment our selves, then the mind is pure and the land is pure, the utmostjoy is here.

IS THERE WEST PURE LAND?
If there is Eastern Saha World, there is Western Utmostjoy World. For the beginners like us should start out vows to beech for rebirth in Western Pure Land, this is the way of starting from the temporal to the real, and if we cling to the Western Pure Land harder, then the mind of cultivating Buddhist Pure Land will be stronger.

THE CULTIVATION OF PURE LAND
The Pure Land is the very last final destination for all the practitioners of Buddhist doctrines, no matter Zen School, Vinaya School(emphasizing the monastic discipline, founded in China by Tao-hsuan of the Tang dynasty), Yoga School(esoteric), and Pure Land School. All the doctrines of twelve divisions of the Mahayana canon will lead us to the Pure Land. All the cultivation of practitioners is the funds for beseeching for rebirth in the Pure Land.

THE nature and character of beings are different, some of them get rebirth in Pure Land because of intoning sutras, some of them get rebirth in Pure Land because of chanting the name of Buddha, some of them get rebirth in Pure Land because of meditation, some of them get rebirth in Pure Land because of cultivating the three mystic things(the body, voice, and mind of the Tathagata), some of them get rebirth in Pure Land because of cultivating the six things that ferry them beyond the sea of mortality to nirvana or call it six paramitas, some of them get rebirth in Pure Land because of cultivating all schools or one specific school, these are all the causes of rebirth in Pure Land.

CHAN(ZEN) AND PURE LAND
According to the experienced people “When there is no mind, then the real wisdom will be revealed. When there is no thought, then the real resource will be discovered. When there is no body, then the body will be all over ten directions. When there is no land, then the land will be everywhere.” Therefore, pure land means no land, is just like the empty sky. When we are in the elevation of spirit of emptiness, then we get the chance to be leaded to the realm of spirit where all are in perpetual peace and glory.

ACCORDING to the experienced people “There is no pure land besides chan, and there is no chan besides pure land.” Therefore, the practitioners of chan also will get rebirth in pure land. The doctrines of chan do not mention the West means including ten directions, from this point of view we should understand that the BIRTH of existence will be in the realms where all classes dwell(men, devas, Buddhas, disciples, non-disciples), or the temporary realms, where the occupants have got rid of the evils of unenlightened views and thoughts, or the realms of permanent reward and freedom, the BIRTH of non-existence will be in the realm of eternal rest and light and of eternal spirit, the abode of Buddhas.

THE idea here is that the doctrine of pure land contains all, if we ignore or give it up, then we are going nowhere.

THE real practitioners of pure land should concentrate on the root of pure land that is to meet the spiritual or true body of Buddha(Amitabha Buddha), and surpass all nine classes or grades, reach directly the utmost.

BODHISATTVAS have the mind of merit always no matter walking, standing, sitting, lying in every state, therefore for them the hell also is pure land. There is no pure or impure in the absolute(nature, ore immutable reality), therefore when the mind is pure and all the lands are pure.

WHEN a monk asked master Da-Chu “I would like to get rebirth in pure land, but is there pure land?” the answer was: “The sutra says {If you want to get pure land, should purify the mind first, when the mind is pure, then the land is pure. When the mind is pure, wherever you are, the land is always pure. Just like you are born in the king’s family, you are going to be the king. When starting out vows of becoming Buddha, eventually you will get rebirth in pure land of Buddha. When the mind is impure, wherever you are, the land is always impure, the point for pure or impure is mind, not land, therefore the mind is pure, then all the lands are pure.} but for the ordinary people like us who have not entered experientially the Absolute Nature, do not understand that there is no difference between phenomenon and noumenon, there is no difference between pure and impure, when we hear of the holy name of Amitabha Buddha, we have to beseech for rebirth in Western Pure Land in order to avoid going to the three unhappy gati or ways.

THE FAST WAY OF BECOMING BUDDHA
According to Hutuktu(a chief Lama of Mongolian Buddhism who is repeatedly reincarnated): [The easiest, fast, and most stable way of becoming Buddha is to cultivate the doctrine of Amitabha. If cultivating it with single mind(whole-heartedly) solely and purely, the result will be seen in seven days. And the rebirth has to be in pure land when the present life reaches the end. Either beseeching for receiving and leading from Amitabha with whole-heartedly, or meditating and thinking the pure land of idealism(mind only), the Amitabha of original nature, I am the Amitabha and Amitabha is me. This mind is Buddha, Buddha is this mind. Doing this way, the result will be expected definitely. Besides this, only concentrate on cultivating meditation with undivided mind, beseeching to behold the Buddha-nature within oneself, the time I understand thoroughly the Buddha-nature(complete enlightenment) the time I become Buddha, if I don’t understand thoroughly the Buddha-nature, I am going to be one of the beings always. So called undivided mind, means do not control the mind, do not loose it also, do not cling to anything(no attachment), do not grasp it, do not abandon it, think of no mind(not abiding, without thought, will, or purpose), think of no object, without form or sign, without action, imperturbable, motionless, reaching the nirvana(free from temptation and distress) but do not cling the appearance of nirvana, this is called deliverance. IF doing lots of squatting in order to control the mind for entering into meditation, this is called the mind of having controlling, this is not the undivided mind. Therefore, the Diamond Sutra says:{He should produce that heart without dwelling in forms}. This is the result of individual work, cannot describe by regular words, that’s why we say “cannot tell, cannot tell”. The fast and easiest way of becoming Buddha is only cultivation of Chan or Pure Land. There is no other way besides this. More, I am Buddha, and Buddha is me, the mind is Buddha, and Buddha is mind, beings and all appearance are empty, subject and object are all vanished, the original nature is always pure and always like that(naturally). This is the supreme esoteric method.]

THE PRACTICE OF PURE LAND DOCTRINE

THE PRACTICE of NOUMENA(absolute, real, or fundamental essence)
The chanting Buddha’s name of noumena means chanting Buddha’s name of reality, do not beseech for the result from the outside, the mind is Buddha. The Own Nature is Amitabha Buddha, the pure land of idealism(mind only, the theory that the only reality is mental), when the mind is pure then the land is pure, therefore, when chanting Amitabha Buddha means thinking on the own nature, and there is no even single thought in the own nature originally. The philosophy says: [When no thought is in the mind means becoming enlightened], therefore, when thinking on the own nature should practice it in the place of no thought, so call “thinking on from the place of [having thought] to the place of [having no thought]”. When there is no active mind of thinking on, there is no passive Buddha of thinking on, the active and passive are all vanished, then we call it “the substance or essentials of enlightenment”.

THE Maha-prajna-paramita sutra says: {Thinking on no dharma(it is used in the sense of all things), we(Buddhas) dwell in the place of no thought, and get this golden body(that of Buddha), the thirty-two laksanas(physical marks of a cakravarti of the Buddha), the wisdom of the “Great Light Shining” that is beyond thought or description.} The reason for all Buddhas becoming Buddha is from no thought, and they all dwell in the place of no thought, so we should learn that too.

WE should try make no difference(that and this, internal and external, subjective and objective, right and wrong ... relative ideas) between our enlightened mind free from all illusion(the thought of manifest before one) and the original nature of all realm or surroundings, thinking on Buddha or chanting the name of Buddha without any thought, this is the real thinking on Buddha or chanting the name of Buddha. No thought means no views, opinions, or judgment (viewing the seeming as real and the ego as real), when seeing without views, opinions, or judgment means Embodiment of Truth and Law(the spiritual or true body, essential Buddhahood, the essence of being, the absolute, the norm of the universe), the embodiment of truth and law is reality(absolute fundamental reality).

WHEN chanting the name of Buddha, try to understand that there is no active human being who is chanting the name of Buddha, and also there is no appearance of mind(manifestation of mind in action) and self(the concept of the ego as real). And this will destroy or remove the Atma-graha(holding to the concept of the ego).

WHEN chanting the name of Buddha, try to understand that there is no passive sound(the name of Buddha) and all surroundings(realms). This will destroy and remove the “Holding to things as realities”(attachment).

WHEN chanting the name of Buddha, try to understand that there is no expedient method of active chanting, active observe, and active action. And if there are realms which are beyond thought or discussion, try to ignore them. This will destroy or remove the “Holding to things as realities” also.

IF we can chant the name of Buddha this way(mention above), this will correspond with Prajna Paramita. When we destroy the Atma-graha(holding to the concept of the ego) and “Holding to things as realities”, then we will enter experientially the theory of emptiness, this is called “The patient rest in belief in immortality, or no rebirth”. In this elevation of spirit, we are not leaving the Saha World but are already in Utmost Joy World, this is called “the Amitabha of Original Nature” or “Pure mind makes Pure Land”, these are all manifest in our mind.

The PRACTICE of phenomena(practice, relative, empirical, or external activity).
Sakyamuni Buddha and Amitabha Buddha are all the supreme Buddha(who has complete comprehension of truth, Buddha in his supreme reality) in the stage of attainment(reward as contrasted with the cause-stage), there is no words in the ocean of bodhi or enlightenment, therefore, there is no difference between first and second. But because of the different original vow or vows between Sakyamuni Buddha and Amitabha Buddha, there are pure and impure land, Utmost Joy Word and Saha World, as a matter of fact these worlds all are responded to the karma of each being. Most of the beings in the Saha World are greedy, hated, and ignorant, therefore they cannot surpass the three realms(world of sensuous desire, form, and formless world of pure spirit) even they practice the ten good characteristics in their daily life. But the beings in the pure land, even the very ordinary beings do not have any bad karma, because there is no opportunity for them to make any karma according to the Buddhist sutras. The Pure Land is real the best place for the beings like us to start vows for beseeching for rebirth.

WHEN our minds are chanting Buddha, then the mind is Buddha. There is no difference between the cause of mind and the effect of Buddha, this is the samadhi in which the individual whole-heartedly repeats the Buddha’s name(the one who merely repeats the name of Amitabha, however evil his life may have been, will acquire the merits of Amitabha and be received into the Pure Land – Utmost Joy World).

THEREFORE, we have to chant the name of Amithaba in reality in our daily life, and turn the merit(meritorious works, the reward of virtue, achievement) from us to Pure Land, and remember do not insist in keeping the wholly noumenal(all things as aspects of the absolute) and discard the phenomenal activities.

THERE are three ways of thinking on Amitabha Buddha, the first way is to chant the name of Amitabha Buddha, to hold the name firmly, with undivided mind to call on the name of Amitabha Buddha, the second way is to contemplate the image of Amitabha Buddha and repeat the name of Amitabha Buddha, the third way is to contemplate Amitabha Buddha in the mind and repeat the name of Amitabha Buddha. And the point for the second and third way of thinking on Amitabha Buddha is to contemplate or meditate upon the appearance of Amitabha Buddha, think on the merits of Amitabha Buddha, and act out Amitabha Buddha’s vows. When the threefold way of obtaining a pure karma are getting better and better, then the good karma will be the cause and correspond with the effect(fruit) of Pure Land(the good deeds which lead to birth in the Pure Land.

The PRACTICE of combination of NOUMENA and PHENOMENA.
When our mind cling to the phenomena and do not understand the noumena(deluded in regard to the fundamental principle or ignorant of reality), we call this IGNORANCE(it is darkness without illumination, the ignorance which mistakes seeming for being, or illusory phenomena for realities). When we apprehend or perceive and enter into the idea of reality, we call this the essential characteristic or mark of the BHUTATATHATA, we also call this the dharma realm of the ONE REALITY(complete in a speck of dust as in a universe, such is the dharmakaya, or spiritual body of all Buddhas, eternal, above terms of being, undefinable, neither immanent nor transcendent, yet the one reality, though beyond thought), we also call this the BODHI (the illuminated or enlightened mind) or NIRVANA(blown out, gone out, put out, extinguished, liberated from existence).

FOR those whose mind are deeply in desire, detestation, and delusion, will hold firmly that the body and mind are I or ME(the holding on to the reality of self and things), then they will be limited in the realm of the object or sensation of any organ of sense, therefore, cannot surpass the transmigration in the six ways.

AND the mind of “the dharma realm of the one reality” is our original nature, no matter in what space at what time in cosmoses, all sentient beings and Buddhas are equal(livings and Buddhas are one, all are the one undivided whole, they are all of the same substance), they neither increase nor decrease, being the absolute(neither adding nor subtracting, nothing can be added or taken away), this is really beyond thought and words. The mind of sentient beings are deluded, that’s why they are in transmigration in the six ways, and the mind of Buddhas are awakened, they understand the matter and mind(the material and immaterial) in the ten dharma-worlds(states of existence) are all as an illusion, therefore, they can attain the Way(become enlightened).

THERE is no dharma can say, describe, or teach, but in order to let all the sentient beings can attain the Way, Buddhas introduce the four dharma-realms(the four dharma-realms of the Hua-Yen School), first, the phenomenal realm, with differentiation, second, the noumenal, with unity, third, the noumenal and phenomenal are interdependent, fourth, the phenomena are also interdependent, in fine, all the dharma world can be blended(combined, mixed, united, or assembled), and this is so from the beginning(always like that). When talking about noumena, all the resultant people and their dependent condition or environment, all the material and immaterial of the ten dharma worlds are in the noumena. When talking about Phenomena, all the resultant people and their dependent condition or environment, all the material and immaterial of ten dharma worlds are in the phenomena. When we perceive and enter into the idea of reality, then one thing unhindered(without obstacle, resistless, permeating everywhere, all pervasive, dynamic omnipresence which enters everywhere without hindrance like the light of a candle), everything unhindered. When we are deluded, then one thing attached(to cling things as real), everything attached. Since we understand that the things make all Buddhas enlightened is originally or fundamentally existing(primal existence, the source and substance of all phenomena) in the sentient beings, meaning we all have the chance to become Buddha, then we should start vows for BUDHI MIND(the awakened mind, or enlightened mind, the mind that perceives the real behind the seeming, believes in moral consequences, and that all have the Buddha-nature, and aims at Buddhahood) as quickly as possible, do our best to chant the name of Amitabha with undivided mind.

FAITH VOW AND ACTION
Pure Land is the final destination for all the Buddhist practitioners, all the Buddhist practitioners of Pure Land school, The Vinaya school(emphasizing the monastic discipline, founded in China by Tao-hsuan of the Tang dynasty), Yoga school(the esoteric or mantra), and The Chan(Zen) school(established in China by Bodhidharma, the twenty-eighth patriarch, who brought the tradition of the Buddha-mind from India) do their very best to purify the three conditions, inheritances or karma(deed, word, thought) in order to get rebirth in the four Buddha-ksetra, or realms. The other lands are either pure or impure, only the Western Pure Land is the pure land and known by the beings in Saha World, therefore when we say Pure Land always means the Western.

If we want to beseech for rebirth in Pure Land, we have to complete the three supplies of FAITH, VOW, AND ACTION. The faith has to be very strong, firm, and solid, the vow has to be broad, extensive and vast, the action has to be very hard. Although the faith and vow are the guide(lead us to the Pure Land), but we have to concentrate on action, lazybones and slothful characters are the biggest taboo for practitioners(no matter what kind of practitioners). Therefore in the three supplies for beseeching for rebirth in Pure Land, we always emphasize the ACTION much more than the faith and vow.

WE are not saying that the vow is not important, remember if there is no vow, there is no action. All the Buddhas and budhisattvas have been trying to save(deliver) the sentient being ever since the time beginningless because of the mercy vows, again if there is no vow, there is no action.

THE best way for us to reach Buddhas is to start out vows, think this way that I have been already gotten rebirth in the lotus of mind of the mercy Father(Amitabha Buddha), and this is all because of the forty-eight vows of the Father, therefore the forty-eight vows also can be my vows. (the idea is from the Lotus Sutra)

The Omnipresence Chapter of Surangama-sutra says: {The practitioners of Chanting the name of Amitabha Buddha should be like son missing[keeping in mind all the time] his mother}, this is to tell the practitioners of Pure Land should start out the mind of beseeching for rebirth in Pure Land with deep faith. When cultivating the Pure Land Buddhist should contemplate the merciful compassion and pity of mother, mother loves me with all her mind, mother will never give me up, I am lucky to become a human being in present life, everything I have is from mother. When cultivating, first I should contemplate the bright and shining nature of mother, the fearless and dauntless of mother, and all kind of glory. And all of these are not from outside, but from the deep thought of mine, mother is the model which will lead me to the accomplishment.

When going further the contemplating, I will be just like the bright and shining nature of mother, I will also get the fearless and dauntless of mother, I am the mother and the mother is also me, the original Buddha’s nature always meet together. This idea is from the Omnipresence Chapter of Surangama-sutra, meaning the one whose mind meditates on Buddha becomes interpenetrated and glorified by Buddha-fragrance and light, the point is that son and mother are one.

The son inherits father’s business, means the thought collects the vows, and this belongs to cultivation of exoteric schools. The son and mother are one, means the contemplation collects the actions, and this belongs to cultivation of esoteric schools.

The thought collects the vows, means all the thoughts or every thought got into the ocean of vows with wisdom. And the contemplation collects the actions, means all the minds or every mind concentrates on the Utmost Joy World (Amitabha’s World).

The Buddha Sikyamoni once said "The repetition of the name Amitabha Buddha is meritorious only if thou speak it with such a devout attitude of mind as will cleanse thy heart and attune thy will to do works of righteousness."

Over the centuries in the Far East, many people have used the chanting AMITABHA or NAMO AMITABHA for meditation purpose and have recovered from their illnesses (Both mind and body), and the problems never come back. If the way we chant "AMITABHA" like the Buddha Sikyamoni said, the result of our work should be expected.

Hank Fu