Just as we strive to enter
good schools to study the worldly,
we should strive to enter
the best school [Pure Land] to master the Dharma.
Question: There are some who say that one vows to be reborn in this filthy land in order to convert the beings by one’s teaching, and that one does not vow to go to the Pure Land to be reborn. How is this so?
Answer: Of such persons also there is a certain group. Why? If the body resides in [an estate from which there is] no backsliding, or beyond, in order to convert the sundry evil beings it may dwell in contamination without becoming contaminated or encounter evil without being transformed, just as the swan and the duck may enter the water but the water cannot wet them. Such persons as these can dwell in filth and extricate the beings from their suffering. But if the person is in truth an ordinary man, I only fear that his own conduct is not yet established, and that if he encounters suffering he will immediately change. He who wishes to save him will perish together with him. For example, if one forces a chicken into the water, how can one not get wet?…
Question: There are some who say: “Within the Pure Land here are only enjoyable things. Much pleasure in clinging to enjoyment hinders and destroys the practice of the Way. Why should one vow to go thither and be reborn?”
Answer: Since it is called “Pure Land”, it means that there are no impurities in it. If one speaks of “clinging to enjoyment,” this refers to lust and the afflictions. If so,why call it pure?
Excerpt from ‘The Compendium On The Happy Land’ [An-lo Chi]
Ti’en-t’ai Master Tao-ch’o
The Buddhist Tradition In India, China And Japan
Edited By William Theodore de Bary
Understanding Amituofo Via The Amitabha Sutra (11th Run)