– 阿弥陀经 (释迦牟尼佛)
If there are [sentient] beings
who hear this [teaching],
they should vow [aspire]
to be born in that [Pure] Land.
– Amitā[bha] Sūtra (Śākyamuni Buddha)
In order to achieve enlightenment quickly for sentient beings—not [only] for yourself, [but] for [all] sentient beings—we need to make sure we go to a pure land after we die. Guru Rinpoche Padmasambhava mentions this. And in many of his teachings Lama Tsongkhapa [Author of the Lam Rim] says we should pray to be born especially in Amitābha’s pure land, The Blissful Realm, because it is easy for us ordinary people, those with delusions, to be born there… In his text, The Benefits of The Blissful Realm, for example, Lama Tsongkhapa says, “When reciting prayers to be reborn in the pure lands of the buddhas, one should mainly focus on being reborn in Sukhāvatī.”…
It is not easy to be reborn in most pure lands. There are numberless pure lands where you can practice tantra and achieve enlightenment. There are Vajrayoginī’s and Heruka’s pure lands, where you can definitely become enlightened. And Tuṣita, Maitreya Buddha’s pure land [in the inner court of Tusita heaven]. And, of course, you can pray to be born in Shambhala, which is a place related to Kālacakra. However, to be born in many of the [other] pure lands is very difficult. For some you need to have achieved the eighth [non-retrogressible] level of the Mahayana path.
To be reborn in the lowest pure lands you need to have cut the ego, the ignorance holding the I as truly existent: you need to have actualized the happiness, the bliss, of the ultimate reality of no self. And to be born in Tuṣita you need to have very pure morality. So it’s very difficult. If you don’t have these realizations, if you still have delusions, even if you pray to go to these pure lands you won’t succeed. Many of the pure lands, in other words, are not where ordinary beings can be reborn. Ordinary people can be reborn in the Blissful Realm [of Amitābha Buddha] and achieve enlightenment there…
According to my root guru Trijang Rinpoche you can practice tantra and become enlightened in The Blissful Realm. It’s also said that you can get enlightened more quickly there than in other pure lands. And once you are there whatever you wish will be achieved, and from there you can go to any other pure land. So it is much more special than other pure lands… There is no pure land easier for us ordinary beings to go to than Amitābha Buddha’s pure land, so we should make effort to be born there. Śākyamuni Buddha’s holy mouth mentioned that putting your palms together and generating devotion for Amitābha Buddha and The Blissful Realm for just one second creates much, much more merit than making charity to sentient beings of “a great thousand of three thousand world systems” filled with jewels.
Lama Zopa Rinpoche
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