Why Not Stay In Samsara?

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

Related Course:
Understanding Amituofo Via The Amitabha Sutra (11th Run)


  • From the 13th Pure Land Patriarch:

    Question: Are the Mind-only Pure Land and the Self-nature Amitabha the same as or different from the Western Pure Land and Amitabha in the Pure Land?

    Answer: It is because the Mind-only Pure Land exists that we are reborn in the Pure Land of the West. If the mind is not pure, it is impossible to achieve rebirth in the Pure Land. Even when those who have committed cardinal transgressions achieve rebirth through ten recitations, such rebirth is due to their reciting the Buddha’s name with a pure mind, thus eliciting a response from Amitabha Buddha. Ordinary people generally think that if the Pure Land is Mind-Only, then it does not exist. This is the understanding of demons and externalists. Such a deluded view, which appears correct but is in reality wrong, affects more than half of all people and causes practitioners to forfeit true benefits.

    It is precisely because of the Self-Nature Amitabha that the practitioner must recite the name of Buddha Amitabha of the West seeking rebirth in the Pure Land – so as to achieve the Self-Nature Amitabha through gradual cultivation. If he merely grasps at the Self-Nature Amitabha but does not recite the name of Buddha Amitabha of the West, he cannot achieve immediate escape from birth and death – not even if he is truly awakened, much less if (like most people who ask this question) he is pretentious and just indulges in empty talk without engaging in practice.

    Thus the answer to your question [are the mind-Only Pure Land and the Self-Nature Amitabha the same as or different from the Western Pure Land and Amitabha in the Pure Land?] is that they are one yet two before Buddhahood is attained, two yet one after Buddhahood is attained.

    – Pure-Land Zen, Zen Pure-Land: Letters from Patriarch Yin Kuang: http://buddhanet.net/pdf_file/yin_kuang.pdf

  • The Pure Land is a paradise where sentient beings can learn and practise the Dharma without karmic obstructions. In Samsara, the presence of various mental and physical illnesses, plus hostile and unfavourable living conditions, makes it near impossible to be a good person even.

Please Be Mindful Of Your Speech, Namo Amituofo!

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