Pure land or Human Rebirth?

#1

There is a common debate among students.
Since we are living in the age of degeneration, the chance of a happy rebirth seems like a huge risk. If so, should we not make aspirations to be pursuing our dharma learnings in pure land?

Venerable Ru De gave a great analogy in this discourse, providing the analogy of how we view financial investments.

While one can view it as a “safer” choice to seek a rebirth in pure land, the fastest path to Buddhahood will still be in the human realms for us to practice our Spirit of Enlightenment. The trick is, as long as we maintain a good faith and follow the teachings of our teacher, the path of progressive higher rebirth is almost certain.

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What and Where are the Pure Lands?
#2

hi @Jereme, thank you for the timely video.
We just had that discussion in my Lamrim class 2 weeks ago with some students asking the same question: “wouldn’t working towards going to the pure land be better than rebirth as a human?”

Our 班长 reminded the class of the teachings of our Master Ri-Chang and Master Zhen-Ru on the benefits of practising in the human realm and bettering our subsequent rebirths. She also highlighted that going for the pure land may not be as easy and trivial as most of us think.

Definitely, food for thought.

#3

Master Sheng Yen talks about “How to attain rebirth in the Pure Land”

A pure land means there is no evil, no suffering, no worry, sorrow, or affliction. From a Buddha’s perspective, no matter where he goes he is in a pure land because a Buddha’s karmic blessings and wisdom is the same wherever he goes. If we can eliminate our anger, hatred, greed, discontent, and jealousy, and cultivate a state of mind that is pure, serene, content, and carefree, then we will see a pure land everywhere.

My own takeaway is that whether I want a rebirth in the Pure Land or in the Human Realm, I will still have to work on my practice - battle my afflictions and accumulate merits (净罪集资).

#4

Master Sheng Yen’s discourse here can help us assess ourselves whether it is easy to get rebirth in the Pure Lands.

Rebirth in the Buddha’s Pure Land mainly relies on two powers. One is the power of Amitabha Buddha’s vows, which is the major power. Another is the power of our own vows to be reborn in the western Pure Land. The meaning of rebirth in the Pure Land is that when we get there we won’t commit bad karma again, where we focus on the practice of mindfulness of the Three Jewels, and continue to cultivate ourselves until we are transformed from ordinary people into sages. After that we vow to return to this Saha world and follow the example of Buddhas and bodhisattvas to save the world and deliver other sentient beings.