Description of the Pure Land  


KUAN SHIH YIN P'USA


TA SHIH CHI P'USA

escription of the ure and
e full description of the Pure Land can be read from the
Sutras related to Amitabha Buddha e.g., Sukhavativyuha Sutra
or the Amitayus Sutra. Amitayus is the other name for Amita-
bha Buddha meaning Boundless or Infinite Life because his life-
span (ayuh) is infinite (amita).
Briefly it is a paradise in the West which is exquisitely adorned
with gold and silver and all kinds of precious gems. ere are in-
describably beautiful lakes with golden sand that are surrounded
by pleasant banks lined with jewel ed trees and covered with
heavenly lotus flowers which are grown in crystal pure water. It
is fil ed with wondrous sounds and sights and fragrant flowers
rain down three times a day. e flowing waters of the rivers
hum the sounds of the holy dharma; even the melodies from the
songs of plumed birds are fil ed with harmonious notes which
induce those who hear them to remember the precious Buddha,
Dharma and Sangha. Here too the words of Amitabha Buddha
teaching love, mercy, compassion, joy, sympathy, equanimity
and so forth can be heard. Everything in this paradise is radi-
ant, peaceful and beautiful. No defilement can be found as no
evil birth is possible, and even the very name hell is unheard of.
It is populated by Bodhisat vas, Deities and other heavenly be-
ings and the pious ones who being reborn there, are destined to
attain Nirvana.
In the Pure Land, Amitabha Buddha is assisted by two principal
at endants namely, Kuan Shih Yin P'usa and Ta Shih Chi P'usa,
who will descend to earth to lead the faithful and devoted to the


paradise at their hour of death. Buddhist temples dedicated to
Amitabha Buddha always have the images of these ree Great
Sages so that those who venerate Amitabha Buddha already hon-
our Kuan Shih Yin P'usa and Ta Shih Chi P'usa. In the same
way, Kuan Yin devotees are already the devotees of the Buddha
and therefore qualify to take rebirth in the Pure Land.
After taking rebirth in this paradise one must not forget his
other fel ow beings who are still deeply submerged in the mire
of painful existence. is thought will help to generate the de-
sire to take rebirth again on this earth so as to deliver them from
their great sufferings. is then, is the arising of the Bodhisat va
nature which is born out of compassion and loving-kindness,
and a new bodhisat va is born. Pure Land is therefore the land
where beings can develop their bodhisat va spirit and have the
opportunity to appear before the Buddha to declare their earnest
wish to strive for Buddhahood so that they are able to save sen-
tient beings. Here too the Bodhisat va Vows can be taken and
Amitabha Buddha can then give his blessings and prophesises
their future success in the career of a budding bodhisat va.
e worship of Amitabha Buddha originated in India but took
firm roots in China. Its teachings appealed especial y to those
who are not at racted by scriptural studies, ritualistic or medi-
tative practices but possessing great faith, energy and devotion,
prefer to rely on Amitabha Buddha to save them. Pure Land
Buddhism soon spread from China to its neighbouring countries
like Vietnam, Korea and Japan. Japan can be considered to be the
main area of Pure Land practice today as more than two-thirds
of its population are said to be Pure Land practitioners.


In the fourth century AD, a monk from Central Asia arrived at
Loyang, then the capital of China, and engaged in widespread
evangelism on this easy and convenient path of salvation which
stirred the interests of many. His work was later continued by
his famous disciple Tao-An (AD 314385) with just as much
vigour who then passed on the responsibility to his own disciple,
a former Taoist, Hui Yuan (AD 334416), who later found the
Pure Land School bet er known then as the Lotus School.
It must be stressed again that rebirth in the Pure Land does
not constitute the attainment of Nirvana, as it is but one of the
countless heavenly realms in the Buddhist Cosmology.
However there is a great difference between the Pure Land of
Amitabha and the various heavenly states in that beings born
there are free from the temptations of sensuous delights and that
they will be blessed with the most excel ent conditions to prac-
tise the Dharma, as have been described earlier, that will lead to
Nirvana.
With the practice of meditation on the evil consequences of
Samsara, one will put more effort in his practice of Nien-Fwo
and appreciate the great opportunity of being a human being
and having found the means of renouncing Samsara.
Pure Land Buddhism also has various meditational practices for
those who are well on the path. Here are the five popular prac-
tices which anyone may practise to achieve rebirth into the Pure
Land:

1. e meditation on Love which leads one to ponder and
yearn for the weal and welfare of all beings, including
the happiness and safety of one's own enemies.
2. e meditation on Pity which causes one to think of all
the sufferings of sentient beings so as to arouse a deep
compassion for them in one's own mind.
3. e meditation on Joy in which one dwel s on the
prosperity of others and rejoices in their happiness.
4. e meditation on Impurity in which one realises the
evil consequences of defiled thoughts and the effects of
unwholesome acts.
5. e meditation on Serenity which leads one to rise
above the grips of the mental poisons of greed, anger
and delusion, so that all unwholesome acts are
discarded and one is able to subdue desires thereby
attaining calmness and tranquil ity of mind.
ere are many other methods of meditating on Amitabha
Buddha which are more profound but may not be suitable for
beginners of the path. However, one should not be over anxious
to practise them all or wish to determine which is the most ef-
fective practice. All are in fact suitable and beneficial as long as
faith and devotion are present in the minds of the practitioners.
For the present, it is best that recitation on Amitabha's name be
vigorously practised until the deep and inexpressible inner ex-
perience has been felt.

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