By Nhat Quan
In society, you often encounter unsatisfactory things, so you tend to find an ideal world to reduce suffering. The ideal world that people often in society want to find can be through poems and sentences...
Unlike lay people, Buddhists have made their eternal vows to look forward to the pure lands of the Buddhas. The pure land of Buddhism is also the ideal realm, according to the identity and characteristics of each sentient being, there are different types of pure land. According to Mahayana Buddhism, the pure lands of the Buddhas are diverse, as the sutras say:
- Nine directions of heaven, and ten directions of Buddha all have Pure Land.
But, in Vietnam, Japan, Korea, and China, when talking about Pure Land, most of you immediately think of Amitabha's Pure Land in the West. Only a few of you know about Medicine Buddha's Pure Land in the East, and Maitreya Buddha's Pure Land in the world and in the future.
The pure land is uncontaminated. Thus the Pure Land is a very pure and silent realm.
In Buddhism, saying Pure means the opposite of impurity, which is also understood as uncontaminated. Without contamination, it is pure. Similar to having no defilements, that is, having wisdom. There is no anger, that is, there is compassion; there is no impure error, that is, there is pure merit. In other words, the pure land is the realm of pure and silent, the realm of adornment of the Pure Land.
It can be said that the essence of the Buddhadharma is contained in only one word Purity. But purity needs to be recognized and acted upon on both levels:
- Purify sentient beings and purify the world.
As Theravada Buddhism often says:
- Because the mind is pure, sentient beings are pure
And on the side of Mahayana Buddhism:
- If the mind is pure, the country is pure.
Both take a vital place as a practice point to eliminate defilements, to clarify the purity of the mind, but in practice, then:
- Theravada Buddhism is very focused on self-cultivation
- Mahayana Buddhism advocates that each person should both purify himself and purify the country in which you live.
Because every sentient being has a realm to live in. Indeed such as:
- Birds have the realm of birds;
- Bees have the life of bees.
- Fish have to live in the water
- Good people, bad people, greedy people, hateful people, ignorant people, etc.
Each species has a corresponding life realm. The appearance of beings is being the resultant person. The situation and country of the place where that being is living is the dependent condition. Like being the resultant person, so is being the dependent condition. Conversely, often a good being the dependent condition creates a good Being the resultant person. And an unwholesome life holds beings in an unwholesome way of life. As there are cases, some people live in one setting that can thrive, but in another, it can't. Being the resultant person and being the dependent condition are always compatible and interact with each other. Building on this point of view, the policy of learning the Bodhisattva vehicle is:
- Just towards the purity of life through the path of meritorious cultivation
- Just towards the purification of body and mind through the path of wisdom.
Different from studying the shravakayana, it mainly aims at eliminating defilements, purifying the nature of the mind, and leading to liberation. In other words, if you separate from merit to only cultivate wisdom, or separate from wisdom to cultivate only merit, neither is the ideal of the Bodhisattva vehicle. There are arahants who only cultivate wisdom for liberation, but never bodhisattvas who only cultivate merit, or only cultivate wisdom. But all Bodhisattva vehicle practitioners practice both sides called:
- Cultivate blessings and cultivate wisdom both.
And every bodhisattva, once he has accomplished the Acceptance of the no irrigation of all things, at the same time, also achieves the two duties to be done, namely:
- Accomplish sentient beings and dignify the pure land
It means:
- Just make sentient beings, residing in a certain life, have enough wholesome roots to accomplish kusala dharma, or achieve liberation. It also causes the worldly life, where you and those living beings reside, to be transformed into a pure realm. Only if both sides are available:
- The perfect dharmakaya means to talk about oneself, and the perfect Pure Land means to refer to the realm where the bodhisattva is living, then that bodhisattva will truly become a buddha
According to the Mahayana Buddhist point of view, the Buddhas, past, present, and future, while still, bodhisattvas do all the work of beautifying the pure land to capture sentient beings with predestined relationships with them for the benefit of others, so they have favorable conditions and circumstances to practice. So cultivating the pure land is an important part of the practice of merit, or virtue. And sentient beings who receive the gratitude of the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas will turn their minds to that and seek to be reborn there. It shows that learning the Bodhisattva vehicle, or Mahayana Buddhism, not only cannot be separated from the Pure Land thought but also especially promotes the thought of dignified pure land.
Indeed, in the Pure Land, there are pure and ideal circumstances, many conveniences, and few obstacles for cultivating and attaining the path and fruition. So it is understandable that sentient beings wish to be born there. However, most people who practice pure land, most of them only know how to make a wish to be reborn in the pure land, without paying attention to the decoration of the pure land, it is a mistake.
Because most people practice in the Pure Land, you often think that because there is Amitabha Buddha to receive them, it is just reciting Amitabha Buddha to pray for rebirth. But you do not know that Amitabha Buddha, there is no sentient being seeking rebirth, that there is a Pure Land. Some scriptures of Mahayana Buddhism refer to the dignified pure land. That is, on the Bodhisattva's path to Buddhahood, either done by the Buddhas or created by the Bodhisattva himself, in order to establish a favorable environment for the salvation and teaching of sentient beings who are predestined with them. When he becomes a Buddha, that land will also be fully accomplished. But through that, there is the Western realm of Amitabha Buddha's Pure Land, because when he was still a monk, he made 48 great vows, every vow can save sentient beings. So when he became a Buddha, he had a Western Pure Land scene. Yet today, many people encourage seeking rebirth in the Pure Land but never encourage the dignified Pure Land.
In the dignified spirit of the Pure Land, the Great Prajnaparamita Sutra writes that:
- Synthesize all kinds of worlds, pure types, to become the most perfect world. The Bodhisattva vows to practice to fulfill it.
Amitabha Buddha's Western pure land is a prime example. The Buddha's Infinite Life Sutra says:
- Amitabha Buddha, in the past, when he was a Jewel Treasury monk, there was Vikurvita-raja-buddha who told him about 210 million pure land signs. After hearing about these kinds of pure lands, the Bhikkhu Jewel Treasury made a vow to realize the purest and most complete Pure Land, thus becoming the Pure Land as you know it.
Therefore, in the direction of the Ideal Pure Land, all of you, when you practice the Bodhisattva path, you must:
- When developing the mind to study the Way, of course, you must also practice the Pure Land like that, not to give yourself a place to be happy, and to enjoy, but to help and teach sentient beings. Fulfilling the great vow, of saving sentient beings is also a solemn vow to the pure land.
This is the essential content of studying the Bodhisattva Mahayana Dharma, because once there is a Pure Land, then one can rely on the Pure Land to help sentient beings. Thus, it also means to join with the sentient beings affiliated with you to realize the Pure Land.
Therefore, the adornment of the pure land is the general basis of the bodhisattva's conduct. That is why Vimalakirtinirdesa-Sutra, Chapter of the Buddha Country, explains the meaning of the Bodhisattva who adorns the pure land like this:
- The type of sentient being is the bodhisattva pure land
Does that mean:
- The bodhisattva cultivates the pure land by all kinds of sentient beings. The Bodhisattva Pure Land does not leave sentient beings, on the contrary, takes living beings as the foundation, stays with them, and benefits sentient beings. Only in this way can the pure land be realized.
Thus, the ideal of the pure land is clearly not avoiding reality, shirking responsibility, relying on, or seeking help from others. Because the beautification of the pure land is not for your own benefit, but for the sake of the great multitude, it is necessary to adapt to the identity of each type of sentient being, in order to create the most outstanding pure land, where such beings are can learn the most benefit. Therefore, when discussing types of beings, Bodhisattvas often have to observe to answer the questions:
1- How can such beings subdue their afflictions, generate good, destroy evil, and arouse the mind to practice merit?
2- Under what conditions will such beings generate good roots in the bodhisattva vehicle?
3- It must be with what kind of pure land that one can make those sentient beings realize the Buddha's knowledge and understanding, and enter the wisdom of the Tathagata.
It is the theory that according to the conditions of sentient beings to realize the pure land, and so the Maitreya Pure Land is an increasingly obvious trend. Because this kind of Pure Land can be according to the mood of the people of the time. Because the human mind in this age is the age of machinery and technology, the spirit is tense, so the presence of Maitreya Bodhisattva is to bring faith, love, and joy to people, and relieve stress and insecurities. That is, on the path of cultivation and based on your practice, Bodhisattvas must, depending on the type of sentient beings, achieve virtuous results, receive sentient beings, and beautify the pure land.
Thus, realizing that pure land is the joint work of the host and the recipient. The Bodhisattva is the one who guides, suggests together with his companions, vows to be friends, harmonizes as a mass, cultivates blessings and wisdom together, and builds a pure land together. From there, together with other sentient beings develop and promote each other, opening a path with many means, or a favorable setting for the attainment of the path and fruition.
According to Buddhist theory, the Pure Land is The dependent condition or material environment of Buddha. According to the bodhisattva theory, it is the pure land that the Bodhisatta has, through his spiritual practice, inspired sentient beings with predestined relationships with him to create together. That is the true meaning of the bodhisattva vehicle. So if you don't know how to beautify the pure land, don't know where it comes from, but only know how to seek rebirth in the pure land, that's just treating the pure land as the heaven or the paradise of other religions, which is not intelligent you will fall into evil.
Talking about the Ornament of the Pure Land, the lower volume Vimalakirti Sutra writes:
- Bodhisattvas have accomplished the eight dharmas, if you don't do harm in this world, surely even if you don't ask for it, you will still be born in the pure land. Those eight dharmas are:
1- To benefit sentient beings without seeking gratitude, purely from the benefit of sentient beings, without calculating for themselves.
2- Instead of all sentient beings, take all suffering; All the merits that can be performed are given to all to pray for the happiness of all sentient beings.
3- Using an equal mind for all sentient beings, making all sentient beings equal.
4- For a practitioner who practices the bodhisattva method, you are considered a Buddha, with a mind of reverence.
5- As for the profound sutras that have never been heard, when you finish listening, there is no doubt, no mind of slander and disparagement.
6- Also, you should not think that the method you practice is the Mahayana method, which is more profound and wonderful than the Hinayana or Sravakayana, that is, you need to really understand the Buddhadharma, you must know the essence of it of each discipline.
7- Do not be envious of others when they are appreciated. When you benefit, do not appear arrogant and careless because of that.
8- Always cultivate one's own mistakes, do not speak of others' shortcomings, and seek all merit.
Those eight dharmas are the righteous path of permanence, for you it is self-benefit, and for that person, it benefits others. If you follow that practice, even if you don't seek rebirth in the pure land, you will definitely be reborn in the pure land.
And the sutras on eliminating obstacles bodhisattvas say, if a bodhisattva can cultivate the ten dharmas, he will be reborn in the pure land of the buddhas. Those ten dharmas are:
- The precepts of achievement,
- Practice equanimity mind,
- Achievements of generous virtues,
- Away from worldly fame and gain,
- Full faith,
- Diligence
- Meditation,
- Practice listening to a lot,
- Profit base,
- Practice loving-kindness.
As mentioned above, the ideal Pure Land is a pure, dignified, and wonderful land. Pure Land thought, which embraces the entire Buddhadharma, is the goal of all sects, and especially the bodhisattva vehicle only promotes it. However, it has many types, and many forms, depending on the point of view of each school. But in general, can be divided into three types:
- The common realm for both Thanh Van, Pratyekabuddha,
- Bodhisattva (three vehicles)
- And the private realm of the bodhisattva vehicle.
1- Common realm for the five vehicles - Shravaka, Pratyekabuddha, Bodhisattva, Human, Heaven:
The Buddha's teachings range from shallow to deep, divided into five levels. You just need to follow each practice, you can achieve good results. So say five chariots can bring people to Buddhahood. Everyone in the world can practice.
  2- The common realm for the three vehicles, shravakas, pratyekabuddhas, and bodhisattvas:
It is the pure land of Tusita, only of Buddhism, which the scriptures of Theravada Buddhism also mention. According to the Adbhutadharma-paryaya, the Pali Canon says:
- Before being born in the human world, he entered the womb to become Prince Siddhartha. The ultimate bodhisattva body of Shakyamuni is Hui Ming Bodhisattva who resided with the Devas in the Tusita heaven. Here he regularly preached the Dharma to the gods and saints. And Queen Maya, the birth mother of Prince Siddhartha, was also born in this realm after her death. In the Heavenly Palace, talking about this Heavenly Palace is described as an extremely dignified heaven, with the ultimate body of Bodhisattva preaching the Dharma, the best place among other heavens. The Maitreya Sutra clearly states the special solemnity of this Pure Land, to encourage people to cultivate and vow to be born there.
3- The Realm of the Bodhisattva Vehicle:
- Only found in the Canon of the Bodhisattva vehicle, which is the pure land of the Bodhisattva vehicle, this kind of Pure Land is innumerable. Here, I can present them into four categories:
a. The realm common to both the Holy and the mortal;
- Also common to the five vehicles. Also known as the mortal and holy realms living together.
b. The common realm for both sravakas and bodhisattvas;
- Also common to all three vehicles. Here, there are both the shravakas, the pratyekabuddhas, and the great bodhisattvas born of the mind, no ordinary people. T'ien-T'ai School calls it the Land of Remainder.
c. Realms of Buddhas and Bodhisattvas;
- That is, only for Bodhisattvas, no shravakas, and pratyekabuddhas. T'ien-T'ai School calls this The realm of Sambhogakaya.
d. The realm of the Buddhas has come and gone.
- T'ien-T'ai School calls it Buddha Parinirvana.
Here are the ideal pure lands
1- Maitreya Pure Land:
Returning to the issue of Tusita Pure Land, as mentioned above, before being born in the human world and entering the mother's womb to become Prince Siddhartha, the Bodhisatta body eventually resided and regularly preached the Dharma to the monks. gods and saints in the Tusita heaven. And Queen Maya, the birth mother of Prince Siddhartha, was also born in this realm after her death. This is the pure land common to the Buddhist three vehicles, which some Theravada and Mahayana sutras refer to, and describe as the heaven of extremely dignified and purity. The ultimate bodhisattva body of Maitreya Buddha is also residing and preaching in this Tusita Pure Land, and will also be born to realize the Pure Land of the human world.
2- Western Pure Land
Speaking of Amitabha Buddha means talking about Immeasurable merit, Infinite Light, and Infinite Life, you are talking about the image of the sun setting without loss, only disappearing in one direction and then shining in the other, referring to nature's timeless eternity, or permanence from this life to the next, from one realm to another, of infinite wisdom, of ultimate Buddhahood.
3- Eastern Pure Land
The East is the direction of the rising sun, the beginning of a new day, and all things inherit the overflowing vitality energy, .... Speaking of Medicine Buddha
Think of Maitreya Buddha, the Buddha of compassion. You think of the peaceful state of mind of the Holy One, symbolized by the image of the clear and pure night sky, where there is a full moon full of compassion. Radiating a deep and cool light to soothe sentient beings, bringing sentient beings out of the anxieties and fears that sentient beings face when they are still immersed in the dense darkness of ignorance of the human mind, now living in this filthy world.
Thinking of the vitality of the morning ..., dispelling the silent night, dispelling the dark night of ignorance. Ignorance is the root of all false knowledge or wrong views, leading to all kinds of attachments, cravings, attachments, hatreds..., and from there born so much suffering created by each person for yourself, for your fellow human beings, and for all other plants and animals. It is also leading to a situation where people no longer know themselves as human beings, corrupted in harmful thoughts and actions stemming from a state of insecurity full of anger. Destruction of the living environment of all species and worldly life into a field of selfish competition. Insecurity, fear, anger, and selfishness, are just different manifestations of the same disease of human corruption. To cure this disease, only loving-kindness can be used. Each person who practices loving kindness, develops loving-kindness, demonstrates loving-kindness, and propagates loving-kindness will create an ideal pure land as desired.
In short, according to Mahayana Buddhism, there are many ideal Pure Lands, but here are only three types of Pure Lands that are said to be known and mentioned by many people:
- Amitabha Buddha's Pure Land
- Pure Land Medicine Buddha
- Maitreya Buddha Pure Land
On the face of it, it can be summarized that:
1- People who practice in the Pure Land of Amitabha, because they only attach importance to the development of faith in the perfect virtue of the Buddha, it is easy to lead practitioners to passivity. Only knowing that reciting the Buddha's name is practicing, in order to seek rebirth, it is a vow, but forgetting the cultivation of wisdom and the adornment of the pure land.
2- The Western Pure Land takes the image of the setting sun to represent eternity, that is, setting without loss. Then it will grow again in the East, for the fullness and happiness of boundless light and limitless life. But due to being misunderstood, the Amitabha Pure Land method became a practice to wait for death.
3- Pure Land of Amitabha Buddha, is understood as the Pure Land in a faraway place to the West, so it is easy to be misunderstood as avoiding reality. While Maitreya Buddha Pure Land and Medicine Buddha Pure Land are Pure Land in this very impure world.
But in terms of logic:
The three types of pure land, Amitabha Buddha's Pure Land, Maitreya Buddha's Pure Land, and Medicine Buddha's Pure Land are closely related to each other: Amitabha's Pure Land, because it is representative of Buddhahood and Purity to the end is the destination of Buddhism, and is the ultimate ideal of all Dharma practice. The Medicine Buddha Pure Land is the way to develop and practice the righteous Dharma through charity, and medicine to help society, and Maitreya Buddha Pure Land is the continuation of the journey to realize that ideal, which is also the real way Dharma practice of the Bodhisattva path. And the Lotus Sutra says:
- When you are about to die, and see the thousand Buddhas of Bhadra-Kalpa, you will not fall into the evil path, so you will be reborn in the Tusita heaven.
Seeing Bhadra-kalpa's thousand Buddhas is also seeing Amitabha Buddha, Medicine Buddha because Amitabha Buddha and Medicine Buddha are particular incarnations of the buddhas of the ten directions of Bhadra-Kalpa.
Born in the East to cultivate the art of treating sentient beings. And, to be born in the Tusita heaven is to practice and study alongside the countless good intellectuals and gods there, under the leadership of Maitreya Bodhisattva, and then together with Maitreya Buddha's ultimate bodhisattva body. Maitreya returned to adorn this world. Transform the world into a Pure Land.
This is certainly the goal that all Buddhists are aiming for, the true content of all Bodhisattva vows, and also the direction for all wise deeds of people of the time.
If you have any recommendations, please e-mail to: