[4] Why Particularly Seek One Pure Land? 为何偏求一净土?

The Treatise On Ten Doubts About Pure Land

Written by Sui Dynasty’s Tiantai Tradition’s Great Master Zhizhe (538–597 CE)
Translated to English by Upāsaka Shen Shi’an (2014 CE)
[This improved version replaces previous versions]

疑: 偏求一土疑
The Fourth Doubt: Doubt Of Particular Seeking Of One Land


Question: Equal to mindfully seeking birth in one Buddha’s Pure Land, why not, within the ten directions’ Buddha lands, as wished, be mindful of any one Buddha’s Pure Land, to accordingly attain rebirth there? Why is there need to be particularly mindful of the Western [Pure Land’s] Amitā[bha] Buddha [Amituofo]?


Answer: Ordinary beings without wisdom should not dare to act arbitrarily on their own. Focusing on following the Buddha’s words, thus should there be particular mindfulness of Amitā[bha] Buddha [Amituofo].


How should we follow the Buddha’s words? Our Great Teacher Śākyamuni Buddha, for all his life, spoke the Dharma, giving sagely teachings everywhere, only encouraging sentient beings to focus their minds on particular mindfulness of Amitā[bha] Buddha [Amituofo], to seek birth in his Western [Pure] Land Of Ultimate Bliss.65


As the Immeasurable Life Sūtra,66 Contemplation Sūtra,67 Rebirth Treatise68 et cetera, numbering more than ten sūtras,69 treatises,70 essays et cetera enthusiastically and thoughtfully guide and teach, encouraging birth in the West[ern Pure Land], thus is there this particular mindfulness.


Moreover, Amitā[bha] Buddha [Amituofo] specially has forty-eight great compassionate vows, to receive and guide sentient beings.

又《观经》云:『阿弥陀佛有八万四千相。一一相有八万四千好。一一好放八万四千光明,遍照法界。念佛众生,摄取不舍。若有念者,机感相应,决定得生。 』

Moreover, the Contemplation Sūtra says, ‘Amitā[bha] Buddha [Amituofo] has eighty-four thousand forms. Each form has eighty-four thousand excellences. Each excellence radiates eighty-four thousand bright lights, which universally illuminate the Dharma realm.71 Sentient beings mindful of [Amitā(bha)] Buddha [Amituofo] will thus be gathered and not be forsaken. If there are those mindful, there will be correspondence of potential and response,72 and they will definitely attain birth [there].’73


Moreover, the Amitā[bha] Sūtra,74 Great Immeasurable Life Sūtra,75 King Of The Sound Of Drum Dhāraṇī Sūtra76 et cetera say, that when Śākya[muni] Buddha spoke these sūtras, there were all Buddhas of the ten directions, numerous as grains of sand in the Ganges River, who extended their forms of tongues, that covered the three-thousand-great-thousand worlds77 everywhere, bearing testimony that all sentient beings who are mindful of Amitā[bha] Buddha [Amituofo], thus riding on the Buddha’s great compassionate power of his fundamental vows, will definitely attain birth in his [Pure] Land Of Ultimate Bliss.


It should be known that Amitā[bha] Buddha [Amituofo] and this world have particular[ly great connections of] causes and conditions.78 How is this known?


The Immeasurable Life Sūtra says, ‘When it is the last period of the Dharma-Ending Age,79 [I80 will] specially retain this sūtra, for one hundred [more] years in this world, to receive and guide sentient beings, for rebirth in that [Pure] Land [of Amitā(bha) Buddha (Amituofo)].’ Thus is it known that Amitā[bha] Buddha [Amituofo] and this world’s extremely evil sentient beings have particular[ly great connections of] causes and conditions.


On the rest of all other Buddhas, and all their Pure Lands, although one sūtra or two sūtras briefly encourage rebirth in them, this is not equal to Amitā[bha] Buddha’s [(Amituofo) Pure] Land, that sūtras and treatises everywhere, enthusiastically and thoughtfully instruct, carefully and repeatedly, encouraging rebirth there.


65 Sukhāvatī: Amitā(bha) Buddha’s (Amituofo) Pure Land
66 Amitāyus Sūtra: Discourse On Immeasurable (Infinite) Life
67 Amitāyur Dhyāna Sūtra 观无量寿佛经: Discourse On Contemplation Of Amitāyus (Buddha)
68 Amitāyus Sūtra Upadeśa (Instructions) 无量寿经优波提舍
69 About 290 sūtras currently archived in the Tripiṭaka mention Amitā(bha) Buddha (Amituofo)
70 Śāstras or commentaries
71 Universe
72 Alignment of our Buddha-Nature (potential for Buddhahood) with Buddha’s compassionate protection and wise guidance
73 … in his Pure Land
74 Discourse On Immeasurable (Light); On Amitā(bha) Buddha (Amituofo)
75 Amitāyus Sūtra: Discourse On Immeasurable (Infinite) Life
76 Amitā Dundubhi Svara Rāja Dhāraṇī Sūtra 阿弥陀鼓音声王陀罗尼经: Discourse On The King Of The Sound Of Amitā’s Drum Dhāraṇī
77 Great trichiliocosm with 1,000,000,000 world-systems
78 Karmic affinity
79 This period of 1,500 to 11,500 years after Śākyamuni Buddha’s Parinirvāṇa, when the quality of the Dharma taught, learnt, practised and realised generally declines due to increasing defilements of sentient beings.
80 Śākyamuni Buddha

For The Other Nine Doubts, get the book @ thedailyenlightenment.com/store


  • Amituofo,
    Am a full vegetarian but used to buy fish for dogs n cats. Feed them not in quantity half a fish for each . Bought them n chant Wang sheng mantra. Can it be done in this way.

    Kindly feed back
    Thank you. Gan En Amituofo

  • Is It Alright To Feed Deceased Animals To Living Animals?

    Question: What do you think of feeding fish (and ‘standard’ canned pet food) to cats and dogs, while being vegetarian personally, with chanting of the Rebirth Mantra (往生咒) for the fish, in hope that they reach Amitābha Buddha’s (阿弥陀佛) Pure Land (净土)? Is this alright?

    Answer: You have to decide who to have compassion for – the fishes, cats and/or dogs. If there is continual purchasing of fish, even if pre-killed, you will still play a part in the cycle of supply and demand cycle for further killing. As part of the Bodhisattva path of expanding compassion for more and more beings, why not practise compassion for all involved, by choosing vegan food (i.e. that without any meat and other animal by-products, such as milk, eggs, and honey… as they all come from animal exploitation ending in killing)?

    As taught by the Buddha in the ‘Thirty-Second (Secondary) Bodhisattva Precept Against Harm Of Sentient Beings’ (第三十二损害众生戒) in the Brahmā Net Sūtra’s Bodhisattva Precepts’ Text《梵网经菩萨戒本》, ‘If as the Buddha’s [Bodhisattva] disciples, they should not… nurture cats, raccoons, pigs and dogs. If there are those intentionally raising them, they commit a light defiled transgression.’ (若佛子,不得… 长养猫、狸、猪、狗。若故养者,犯轻垢罪。)

    What the Buddha meant is not to forgo compassion for animals, but that they should not be purposely caught, imprisoned and reared for selfish reasons, (what more with feeding of other animals to them). As the exception, taking care of sick and injured animals before freeing them to their natural environments is alright. Of course, if there are pets already domesticated, who are not used to the wild, there should be continual care of them. As an example of a vegan food alternative for cats and dogs, be they domesticated or strays, there is https://www.kohepets.com.sg/products/wysong-vegan-formula-dry-cat-dog-food More kinds can be found online and offline.

    On whether simply chanting will definitely help deceased animals reach Pure Land, do see https://thedailyenlightenment.com/2011/07/quickly-kill-to-deliver-me-please (In short, if it works so easily, we ‘might as well’ kill each other while chanting for each other immediately. Of course, as it does not work so easily, we should not do this.) These considerations on feeding stray animals might be of interest too: https://thedailyenlightenment.com/2018/01/are-stray-feeders-bodhisattvas Thank you for your kindness to all sentient beings. Namo Amituofo

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

error: Alert: Content is protected !!