You and all other beings, should have Faith
in this ‘Sutra Praised For Its Inconceivable Merits,
As Mindfully Protected By All Buddhas’.
– Amitabha Sutra (The Buddha)
In the Amita[bha] Sutra (阿弥陀经), the Buddha taught, ‘… In the Land of Ultimate Bliss [Amitabha Buddha; Amituofo’s Pure Land], beings who are born there are all Avaivartikas [who will no longer spiritually backslide (are non-retrogressible) on the path to Buddhahood]…’ (‘… 极乐国土，众生生者，皆是阿鞞跋致…’)
Upon reaching Amituofo’s Pure Land, we will become Avaivartikas, non-retrogressible Bodhisattvas. But do we have to wait until then to be ‘non-retrogressible’? What can we do now to ensure we will reach Pure Land?
The sutra also says, ‘… If there are those who already aspired [vowed], now aspire [vow], or will aspire [vow] to be born in Amita[bha] Buddha’s land, all of them will attain [the Stage of] Non-retrogression for realising Anuttara Samyak Sambodhi [Buddhahood]. In that land, they have already been born, are now being born, or will be born. This is why… all good men and good women, if they have Faith, should aspire [vow] to be born in that land…’ (‘…若有人已发愿、今发愿、当发愿，欲生阿弥陀佛国者，是诸人等，皆得不退转于阿耨多罗三藐三菩提，于彼国土，若已生、若今生、若当生。是故… 诸善男子善女人，若有信者，应当发愿，生彼国土…’)
This is not just an exhortation to be born in Pure Land due to the great advantage of being able to attain Non-retrogression there. It is also a direct instruction on the timeless importance of having strong Aspiration to be born there, as powered by strong Faith. The cultivation of non-retrogressible Faith and Aspiration is part of Practice too. Before reaching Pure Land, if we have determined and mindful Practice to stay connected to Amituofo(‘s blessings) via his name, that is powered by unshakable Faith and Aspiration, we too, in a way, are already ‘non-retrogressible’, for Pure Land will certainly be reached.
Before reaching Pure Land, to become truly non-retrogressible in Faith and Aspiration, the only way is by strengthening our Faith and Aspiration with continual Practice (and learning). Those who are already non-retrogressible, will express their Faith and Aspiration with continual Practice too. Why procrastinate or hesitate then? Why delay or wait? Why not embark on the path of becoming Avaivartikas now? The earlier we begin our sincere and diligent Practice, the sooner will we have non-retrogressible Faith and Aspiration. Only with non-retrogressible Faith and Aspiration, can we reach Pure Land to become non-retrogressible Bodhisattvas. As life is short and unpredictable, the path to Pure Land and thus eventual Buddhahood must begin with Practice now!
You and all others should faithfully accept my words,
and the teachings of all Buddhas [in this sutra].
– Amitabha Sutra (The Buddha)
Understanding Amituofo Vis the Amitabha Sutra (9th Run)
Does Hearing Amituofo’s Name Lead To Buddhahood?
The Three Provisions of Faith, Aspiration and Practice
Is Your Faith & Aspiration Strong Enough?
Who Has Been To Pure Land & Back?
Pureland Amitabha is so remarkable purely on unsurpassed compassion vow of Buddha Amitabha and in fact, vow of all Buddha to liberate sentient beings to attain buddha in the earliest and fastest as opposed to all practices and Buddha lands. To go pureland Amitabha, be patient as one has a lifespan to complete it first while vow to go Amitabha pureland. Then practice confession to become loving kindness and compassionate of mind. Subsequently, applying the loving kindness of mind, dwell on the loving kindness of all people as well. Maintain this understanding and practice, and constantly applying the signalling of Namo Amitabha chanting to be in contact with Pureland Amitabha.
Other method like Chan etc can’t save most of sentient beings to become Buddha in this short lifespan and not as easy as most perceive in view of the complexity of mind to achieve one singe-mindedness. More importantly is to treat others in daily encounter as you like yourself to be treated with loving kindness & generosity. Hope more can contribute to better appreciate Pureland Amitabha for all goodness. Namo Amitabha