Buddhism is not just a religion that guides us to the goodness of the world
Many people say, "All religions lead people to the goodness of the world, so they are fundamentally the same." » Generally speaking, this is true. All religions advise people to “be kind and refrain from hurting others.” Additionally, Buddhism also advises people to "purify the mind." but what does that mean?
“Purity” is a fundamental principle of Buddhism and refers to the attainment of perfect enlightenment and Buddhahood by leading sentient beings to ultimate emancipation. Thus, the ultimate goal of Buddhist teachings is to lead us to become a Buddha. Only a Buddha remains in the state of “purity”.
The original intention of Shakyamuni Buddha's appearance in the world is to "reveal the teachings of the Way and save multitudes of beings by endowing them with real benefits", as the Buddha puts it. Infinite Life Sutra. “Real benefits” also refer to achieving perfect enlightenment and becoming a Buddha.
Why is the true benefit of the Buddhist path “becoming a Buddha”? How can the Buddha enable us to remain in a state of “purity”? To understand these things, we must remember what Shakyamuni Buddha said when he achieved perfect enlightenment and became a Buddha in India 2 years ago.
Buddhism is the truth that guides us to become Buddhas
Shakyamuni Buddha said: “All sentient beings in the land possess the wisdom and virtues of the Tathagata (another name of the Buddha); however, they do not realize this because of their false thoughts and attachments. This statement reveals that a human being is, by nature, identical to a Buddha.
In other words, a Buddha is an enlightened human being and a human being is an unenlightened Buddha. “The wisdom and virtues of the Tathagata” refer to the purity of a Buddha, and “false thoughts and attachment” refer to the defilements of a human being.
Shakyamuni Buddha appeared in the world and taught us how to become Buddhas, in the hope that we would "return" to our original nature (the state of purity) by converting our false thoughts into wisdom and our attachments to the virtues (such as kindness).
As we have seen, all sentient beings have the same original nature, known as Buddha nature, which exists in a state of purity. If our mind is pure, so are our bodies and the earth around us. Likewise, if the body is pure, the mind and the earth are pure. If the earth is pure (called “pure land”), the mind and body are also pure.
The body and the earth are manifestations of the spirit. The three aspects of mind, body and earth are interdependent, like left, right and center. Without an arbitrary line defined as the center, left and right are effectively non-existent. If our mind is in a state of emptiness, the body and the earth are also indeterminate.
Dependent Origination is a unique and fundamental dogma in Buddhism
All of the points above follow from the law of dependent origination, which is a unique and fundamental dogma in Buddhism. It is totally different from all other “creator-based” or monotheistic religions. In order to correctly interpret Buddhist teaching, one must know and understand the law of dependent origination.
The law of dependent origination is defined in the Buddhist sutras as follows: it is produced because it is produced; it goes out because it goes out. It appears because it appears; it disappears because it disappears. This means that all phenomena are interrelated and interdependent on each other.
In this regard, a Buddha and a human being are mutually and existentially dependent on each other. If there is no human being, there is no Buddha, and vice versa. Buddhas exist because sentient beings exist. Like the “left” and the “right”, they must coexist. Without the arbitrary reference point defined as the center, there is in reality no left or right.
In Buddhism it is said: “Mind, Buddha and sentient beings are three without any difference. » Again, it's like center, left and right. This means that Buddhas and sentient beings are manifestations of mind. If the mind is "purified", or "disappears", or exists in a state of purity and emptiness, where are the Buddhas and sentient beings?
The spirit of Buddhas embraces sentient beings with unconditional kindness
A Buddha is perfectly empathetic and always puts himself in the place of sentient beings and can therefore fully understand their suffering. Shakyamuni Buddha said in the sutra of contemplation, “The minds of Buddhas are of great kindness and compassion. He embraces all sentient beings with unconditional kindness.
Unconditional kindness is the greatest kindness of all. Instead of requiring sentient beings to purify their minds and bodies to become a Buddha, Buddhas allow sentient beings to be reborn in their Buddha lands, where their minds and bodies will be naturally purified and become like Buddhas. Buddhas in their splendor and virtue.
This is in fact the "true benefit bestowed upon sentient beings", as stated by Shakyamuni Buddha in the "original intention" section of the Infinite Life Sutra (see above). How can a Buddha grant us this real benefit? Shakyamuni Buddha explains in the Sutra of Contemplation:
Amitayus Buddha possesses eighty-four thousand physical characteristics, each possessing eighty-four thousand secondary marks of excellence. Each secondary mark emits eighty-four thousand rays of light; every light shines universally on the lands of the ten directions, embracing and not abandoning those who think of the Buddha.
It is through the name of Buddha Amitabha, who manifests in the form of light, that sentient beings receive the true and real benefit. The light of Amitabha permeates all the worlds in the 10 directions, and his Name contains the merits and virtues which enable all reciters of Amitabha to be reborn in the Land of Bliss. This is the essence of the Pure Land teaching: Amitabha's wish to enable all sentient beings to achieve rebirth through his Name in the form of light.