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… 东[/南/西/北/下/上]方世界,有… 佛,
如是等恒河沙数诸佛… 说诚实言:
汝等众生,当信是称赞不可思议功德,
一切诸佛所护念经。

– 释迦牟尼佛
(阿弥陀经; 一切诸佛所护念经)

… [I]n the eastern [/ southern/ western/ northern/ below/ above] direction[s], there are… Buddha[s], and all other such Buddhas, as numerous as the Ganges river’s sands… speaking these truthful words, ‘You and other beings, should have faith in this “Sūtra With Praises Of Inconceivable Meritorious Virtues And All Buddhas’ Mindful Protection”.’

– Śākyamuni Buddha
(Amitābha Sūtra; Sūtra With All Buddhas’ Mindful Protection)

In almost 300 interconnected sūtras discovered to date, including the famous Amitābha Sūtra, Śākyamuni Buddha and 38 Buddhas of all directions, who represented every single other Buddha, strongly urged us to aspire for birth in Amitābha Buddha’s (Āmítuófó) Pure Land.

Just as unenlightened Buddhists with limited meritorious virtues and wisdom like us strive hard to create and maintain conducive, although still imperfect environments, such as temples and centres in our spiritually and physically defiled world to facilitate study, practice and propagation of Buddhist teachings, of course, all the more so, the Buddhas will do the same elsewhere for the same purpose – perfectly.

The splendid Dharma schools they have created are called Pure Lands, as adorned with their immeasurable meritorious virtues and wisdom, full of maximised skilful means to guide us as swiftly as possible, and without retrogression, to progress towards Buddhahood without fail.

Due to our lack of pure karmic qualifications, these Pure Lands cannot be supplanted upon our defiled worlds. Clearly knowing our current limitations, the Buddhas thus encourage us to be born in their Pure Lands, so as to be able to learn from them personally, and to utilise their bountiful blessings directly to better help other beings.

As there are immeasurable Pure Lands due to the existence of immeasurable Buddhas, it is perfectly natural that, out of great compassion and wisdom, so as to not confuse us with too many choices, and to best guide us, they will streamline their efforts in most readily and most often urging us to seek birth in what they agree to be the most universally praiseworthy Pure Land.

As we can see in the Amitābha Sūtra, this one Pure Land is Āmítuófó’s Pure Land. Yet, despite such obvious focused efforts to highlight his Pure Land to best help us focus our spiritual sense of direction, there are some with serious misunderstandings of the Buddhas’ intentions, who either claim that not a single Pure Land exists, or that Āmítuófó’s Pure Land is not worthy.

On this, the Eighth Patriarch Of The Pure Land Tradition Great Master Liánchí (净土宗八祖莲池大师) shared this serious admonition in his ‘Commentary On The Sūtra In Which The Buddha Speaks Of Amitā[bha] Buddha’ (阿佛说阿弥陀经疏钞) – ‘Now with an analogy for clarity, herein, is a person, whom in a day speaks ten thousand words, to slander ten thousand Buddhas, accumulating so fully for one thousand years. This person’s karmic misgivings are immeasurable and boundless. (今以喻明:于此有人,日出万言,以谤万佛,积满千岁,是人罪业,无量无边。)

Yet again, there is a person, who speaks one evil word, slandering that there is no Pure Land, which obstructs people from practising mindfulness of Buddha [i.e. Āmítuófó]. This person’s karmic misgivings surpasses the previous person’s by a hundred of a thousand of ten thousand times, even up to that which is incalculable. (而复有人出一恶言,拨无净土,阻人念佛,是人罪业,过于前人百千万倍,乃至无算。)

Why is this so? Numerous as motes of dust, all Buddhas praise the Western [Pure Land of Āmítuófó], only desiring everyone to accomplish Buddhahood [via it]; yet you [i.e. the second person] alone gives rise to slander, which is to slander [Buddha-]Tathāgatas everywhere, as numerous as motes of dust, trapping and harming sentient beings, who thus constantly sink in the sea of suffering, to not attain accomplishment of Buddhahood. Thus are the misgivings such, which you should be cautious of!’ (何以故?微尘诸佛,赞叹西方,惟欲人人成佛;汝独生谤,即是遍谤微尘如来,陷害众生,常沉苦海,不得成佛。故罪如是,其慎辞哉!)

As all Buddhas’ key concern is to most efficiently guide all to Buddhahood, and since there is no means more skilful than Āmítuófó‘s Pure Land, to slander or belittle the Pure Land teachings, out of lack of understanding, or due to misunderstanding is thus especially grave. If done with wilful malice and prideful reluctance to realise and repent for one’s mistakes, the potential deprivation of others from the safest and best rebirths in Pure Land can possibly lead to personal rebirth in a lower realm.

While it is natural to doubt and enquire of a teaching less familiar with, it is unwise to oneself, and unkind to others, to discount any precious teachings with one’s skewed perceptions, which are often gathered from others less proficient in those teachings, whose careless misrepresentative remarks on the most widely cherished and practised Mahāyāna tradition might spread like wildfire, wrecking damage that cannot be undone. It is difficult to imagine how easily such terrible negative karma can grow and spin out of control.

How can we help those who already, or are about to slander the Pure Land teachings and its genuine teachers? If encountering those who are ignorant or without actual intention, we can encourage them to sincerely learn the Pure Land teachings, such that they can understand them well. If a slanderer does not aspire to learn to understand the teachings, we can use the Eighth Patriarch Of The Pure Land Tradition Great Master Liánchí’s words above to inform and warn them. (若遇无知无心者,可劝用心学而知。若谤者不愿学知,可用莲祖语告知。)

Historically, there were some great masters from various Buddhist traditions, who had previously belittled the Pure Land teachings, imagining them to be simplistic, before realising their profundity later, thereafter expressing repentance for their mistakes, by committing to deeper study, practice and propagation of the Pure Land teachings as the direct remedial action. This is surely the best way to make up for one’s slander!

… 若有… 闻是经受持者…
皆为一切诸佛之所护念,
皆得不退转于阿耨多罗三藐三菩提。
… 汝等皆当信受我语,及诸佛所说。

– 释迦牟尼佛
(阿弥陀经; 一切诸佛所护念经)

… [I]f there are [those]… who hear this sūtra, accept and uphold it… all these good men and good women will, by all Buddhas, be mindfully protected, and all will attain non-retrogression for [attaining] Anuttara Samyak Saṃbodhi [i.e. Unsurpassable Equally Perfect Enlightenment; Buddhahood]. … [Y]ou and all others should faithfully accept my words, and what all Buddhas speak.

– Śākyamuni Buddha
(Amitābha Sūtra; Sūtra With All Buddhas’ Mindful Protection)

Related Articles:

Why Particularly Seek One Pure Land?
https://thedailyenlightenment.com/2014/04/why-particularly-seek-one-pure-land
Why Be Particularly Mindful Of One Buddha?
https://thedailyenlightenment.com/2014/03/why-be-particularly-mindful-of-one-buddha
Top Ten Reasons Why Amituofo Is So Popular: Significance Of His 17th Vow
http://purelanders.com/2011/12/10/top-ten-reasons-why-amituofo-is-so-popular-significance-of-the-17th-vow-of-amituofo
Why Is Amituofo’s Pure Land Supreme?
http://purelanders.com/2014/10/24/why-is-amituofos-pure-land-supreme
Where Is Amituofo’s Pure Land?
https://thedailyenlightenment.com/2014/11/is-amituofos-pure-land-physically-far-to-the-west
15-Point Proof For Authenticity Of The Pure Land Teachings
http://purelanders.com/2014/09/26/15-point-proof-for-authenticity-of-the-pure-land-teachings

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One Response to “Why Slander Of Pure Land Teachings Is Especially Grave”

  1. Len-1Answered October 22, 2016

    Re: I always harbored doubts about the Pure Land as a physical reality.

    Reply: Everything is mind-only, but Amituofo’s Pure Land is manifested form from his mind to be tangible pure form: https://thedailyenlightenment.com/2014/11/is-amituofos-pure-land-physically-far-to-the-west

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