As long as there is attachment to ego,
there are demons.
When there is no more attachment to ego,
there are no more demons either!
– Machig Labdron
For those who wish to become Buddhas swiftly, it is necessary to pray for rebirth in a pure buddha-field [buddha-land]. There are differing fields beyond number, and it has been declared that they are difficult to delimit in speech. Among them, in order to be born in the other superior fields excepting Sukhavati [the Western Pure Land of Ultimate Bliss of Amitabha Buddha (Amituofo)], you must attain at least the eight bhumi [ground of Bodhisattva practice], having entirely cut off the two [emotional and cognitive] obscurations.
Even to be born in the middling fields, you must entirely cut off even the most subtle aspects of the obscuration of the afflictions and attain at least the first moment on the path of contemplative cultivation. And for even the least of the fields, you must cut off attachment to self from the roots, and attain the path of seeing, that is, selflessness, the real truth. Until you’ve attained the path of seeing, though you pray for rebirth in a buddha-field, you’ll not achieve it.
But even without attaining the path of seeing, should you strive at prayer, while not engaging even in the most subtle disciplinary faults with respect to your commitments and moral training, and purifying sins [moral misgivings] and gathering the profits of virtue, you may just be born in some of the trifling fields such as Tusita [heaven], and even that will be difficult. Because in those fields there is no room for the births of common, ordinary persons (prthagjana), who wallow in the afflictions, from now on you must pray at length! Therefore, it would seem that afflicted, common persons will not be born in the field of a buddha.
Nevertheless, through the power of Buddha Amitabha’s prayers [practices and vows], birth in the Sukhavati field has been vouchsafed by lord Amitabha himself, for which reason you must by all means strive at prayer for rebirth in Sukhavati [via generating the Three Provisions of Faith, Aspiration and Practice]! Without doubt, suspicion, laziness, or irresolution, and by means of certainty and with ardent exertion you must pray, while recollecting the array of the Sukhavati field and its qualities. Because even common, ordinary persons, who are burdened with the afflictions, may be born in Sukhavati, it is exceptional.
And having been born there, all of your wishes will be realized just a soon as you conceive them, and you will not be tainted by the merest obscuration of affliction. Moreover, because you are permitted to journey to whichever among the buddha-fields you wish, it is exceptional; and it is exceptional because buddhahood is swifter than in the other fields. Because there is nowhere another field that is closer to being attained than Sukhavati, which is endowed with the aforementioned and other qualities beyond all conception, it is exceeding important that you strive in prayer for birth in Sukhavati.
[Similarly, the sutra of the sublime Buddha Amitabha says through hearing Amitabha’s name and dedicating your roots of virtue to be born in this land, you will be born there. Even if there are obscurations in your mind, they will not hinder from going there, except if you have committed one of the five deeds without interval or abandoned the Dharma. According to Amitabha Buddha’s aspirations, it is extremely easy to be born there. Once born there, you will not return to Samsara.
In this land, not even the sound of suffering is heard. In this land, you will attain enlightenment within a state of perfect happiness. Since there are no obstacles to attaining complete enlightenment, this practice is referred to as the closed path. However, if you are a good practitioner, but fail to pray, it is uncertain whether or not you will be born there…
The Bhagavan (i.e. Sakyamuni Buddha) said, it is a greater merit to join one’s palms with faith in the Buddha Amitabha and Sukhavati for just an instant, than it is to offer billions of universes filled with the seven royal treasures. Hearing the name of Amitabha (Buddha) said, if one gives rise to faith with a sincere intention for only a moment, one will attain the state of no return, the state of unsurpassed awakening.]
– Machig Labdron, manifestation of Yeshe Tsogyal
(11th-century Tibetan Buddhist tantric practitioner and founder of several Chod lineages)
Approaching the Land of Bliss
Edited By Richard Payne & Kenneth Kazuo Tanaka
[Square bracketed extension from ‘Amitabha Retreat: Amitabha Empowerment: Aug 28, 2020: H.E. Garchen Rinpoche & GBI Lamas]
Guru Rinpoche & Lama Tsongkhapa’s Exhortation To Reach Amituofo’s Pure Land
Does Amituofo’s Pure Land Offer The Fastest Way To Buddhahood?
Understanding Amituofo Via The Amitābha Sūtra (22nd Run)