Even Great Bodhisattvas And Patriarchs Seek Birth In Pure Land

[I]f you wish to rescue deluded, suffering sentient beings, you should first seek rebirth in the Western Pure Land. Only after you have achieved Tolerance of Non-Birth should you return to the sea of birth and death to fulfill your original vows.

— Treatise On Rebirth
(Vasubandu Bodhisattva)

[E]ven those of the highest capacity, endowed with wisdom, must seek rebirth [in Amitabha Buddha’s Pure Land], not to mention people like you who are of only moderate or low capacities, and are barely awakened!

Do you not know that in the Sutra on the Buddha Visualisation Samadhi, the Bodhisattva Manjusri himself recalled his cultivation in past lifetimes and revealed that he had attained the Buddha Remembrance Samadhi and usually dwelled in the Pure Lands?…

Do you not also know that in the Avatamsaka Sutra, the Bodhisattva Samantabhadra urged Sudhana and the Ocean-wide Assembly to dedicate the virtues of the Ten Great Vows toward rebirth in the Western Pure Land? The Sutra contains the following passage:

‘I vow that when my life approaches its end,
All obscurations will be swept away;
I will see Amita[bha] Buddha.
And be born in his Land of Ultimate Bliss and peace.’

Do you not also know that, in the Lankavatara Sutra, Buddha Sakyamuni predicted:

‘In the future, in southern India, there will be an Elder Master of high repute and virtue named Nagarjuna… He will attain the first Bodhisattva stage of Extreme Joy and be reborn in the Western Pure Land.’

Do you not also realise that in the Treatise on the Awakening of Faith [in the Great Vehicle], the Patriarch Asvaghosa also extolled rebirth [in the Pure Land]?

In the Maharatnakuta Sutra, Buddha Sakyamuni predicted that his father, King Suddhodana, along with seventy thousand relatives, would be reborn in the Pure Land. In the Meditation Sutra, Buddha Sakyamuni taught Queen Vaidehi and her five hundred attendants how to pay homage to Amitabha Buddha…

[Let us be impartial and ask ourselves this question: If even great Bodhisattvas such as Manjusri and Samantabhadra, and towering Patriarchs such as Asvaghosa and Nagarjuna sought rebirth (in Pure Land), vowing to see Amitabha Buddha, who are today’s barely awakened practitioners to reject rebirth (in Pure Land)? Indeed, to do so is tantamount to considering their own achievements to be higher than those of the Bodhisattvas and Patriarchs! That is inconceivable!

Doubts And Questions About Pure Land
Elder Zen Master T’ien Ju
Translated by Master Thich Thien Tam

Related Texts:

Rebirth Treatise

That Practised By All Buddhas & Bodhisattvas

How Did Śākyamuni Buddha Attain Buddhahood?

Universal Virtue’s Practices’ And Vows’ Chapter’s Verses

Nāgārjuna Bodhisattva And Amitābha Buddha’s Connection

How The Buddha Taught His Father To Niànfó

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