Shakyamuni Buddha's advice to be reborn in the land of bliss

- through Francois Leclercq

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In the Amitabha SutraShakyamuni Buddha sincerely exhorts sentient beings three times to aspire to be born in the land of Amitabha bliss:

1. Shariputra, sentient beings who hear about this earth should aspire to be born there. For what? Because they will be able to meet such sacred beings of supreme virtue together in one place.

2. Shariputra, perceiving these benefits, I say: all sentient beings who hear this teaching should aspire to be born in this country.

3. Therefore, Shariputra, good men and women of faith should aspire to be born there.

Why does Shakyamuni Buddha urge us to aspire to be reborn in the Land of Bliss?

After presenting the splendors of circumstantial reward (the environment) and direct reward (living beings) in the Land of Bliss, Shakyamuni Buddha raised a question:

“Do you know why I urge you to aspire to be reborn in the Land of Happiness?

Shakyamuni Buddha answered his own question: “Because you will be able to meet such sacred beings of supreme virtue together in one place. » Is this a good reason that can motivate ordinary beings like us to aspire to be reborn in the Land of Bliss?

In the sutra of contemplationShakyamuni Buddha heard Queen Vaidehi's complaint:

“I do not wish to live in this filthy and evil world of Jambudvipa where there are hells, realms of hungry spirits, animals and many vile beings. I wish that in the future I will not hear hateful/evil speeches or see evil people.

The words unclean, hated, evil, and wicked are contrary to the word “virtuous.” Queen Vaidehi longed to be reborn in a pure and virtuous world, where she could see virtuous people and hear their kind speeches. She expressed our wish from the bottom of her heart.

She also begged Shakyamuni Buddha: “Please reveal to me a land without sorrow and affliction where I can be reborn. » She also implored the Buddha: “O Sun-like Buddha. . . teach me to visualize a land of pure karmic perfection.

The Land of Bliss is the pure land, without sorrow or affliction, where people “suffer no pain but only enjoy pleasures of all kinds.” In order to be reborn in such a land, Queen Vaidehi hoped to practice visualization of pure karmic perfection and become a sacred being blessed with supreme virtues!

Will we remain ordinary beings or will we become virtuous sages in the Land of Happiness?

Many people doubt. We are unjust beings in this world, without merit or virtues necessary to become a sage or a bodhisattva. When we are reborn in the Land of Bliss, will we remain ordinary beings surrounded by sacred beings of supreme virtue?

Cependant, le Amitabha Sutra explicitly states: “All living beings in the Land of Bliss can come together in un place. » They must possess the same merits and virtues to live in the same realm of Dharma.

For example, the Tiantai school of Buddhism says that the Pure Land is subdivided based on the spiritual achievements of the beings who dwell there. Ordinary beings live in the "Common Land of Ordinary and Wise Beings", while sravakas live in the “non-ultimate expedient land”. Bodhisattvas, on the other hand, live in the “Land adorned with true reward.”

However, Master Shandao says that Amitabha's Land of Bliss is a realm of Unconditioned Nirvana, which is Amitabha Buddha's Land of Reward. So, without the merits and virtues of Buddha, one cannot be reborn there.

In the Infinite Life SutraShakyamuni Buddha said:

“This land of Buddha, like the realm of unconditioned Nirvana, is pure and serene, resplendent and happy. Sravakas, bodhisattvas, celestial beings and humans possess high and brilliant wisdom and are masters of supernatural powers.

“They are all of one form, without any difference, but are called “celestial beings” and “humans” simply by analogy with states of existence in other worlds. They have a noble and majestic countenance, unmatched in all worlds, and their appearance is superb, unmatched by any being, celestial or human. They are all endowed with bodies of naturalness, emptiness and infinity.

Thus, according to the Sutra, we are all of the same form, without any difference, once we are reborn in the Land of Bliss. Why is this so? This is because we all achieve rebirth through the same cause: the recitation of Amitabha, with recourse to the same power: the power of Amitabha's wish!

Without the power of Amitabha's wish, how can we achieve the six paranormal powers in the Land of Happiness? Without Amitabha's unparalleled merit and the virtues contained in his name, how can we have 32 marks and 80 types of excellence when we are reborn in the Land of Bliss?

As noted above, Shakyamuni Buddha describes living beings in the Land of Bliss as being different in terms of “analogy with their states of existence in other worlds”. It is a clever means designed to help us more easily believe in and accept the splendors of the Land of Bliss.

The meaning of “meeting together in one place”

In the Amitabha Sutra, Shakyamuni tells us that we will be able to “encounter such sacred beings of supreme virtue together in one place.” Here he conveys two important messages to all Amitabha reciters who aspire to be reborn in the Land of Happiness.

First, all those who are reborn in the Land of Bliss will also become sacred beings with supreme virtues and Buddha-like qualities, such as paranormal powers, wisdom, etc. Second, the Land of Bliss is a land of Buddha – Amitabha's land of reward – adorned with his unparalleled merit and virtues.

The Land of Bliss is the only land of Buddha where ordinary beings can achieve assured rebirth simply by reciting Amitabha's name throughout their lives – or even by simply thinking of Amitabha's name at the moment of their last breath.

This is why Shakyamuni Buddha urges all ordinary beings to aspire to be reborn in the Land of Bliss, so that they can achieve ultimate liberation and emancipation, absolute freedom and ultimate bliss.

Namo Amituofo!

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Francois Leclercq

François Leclercq is the founder of Buddhist News, a website which aims to disseminate information and practical advice on Buddhism and spirituality. François Leclercq was born and raised in Paris. He studied Buddhism at the University of Paris-Sorbonne, where he graduated in social sciences and psychology. After graduating, he devoted himself to his passion for Buddhism and traveled the world to study and learn about different practices. He notably visited Tibet, Nepal, Thailand, Japan and China.

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