The implementation of the Pure Land ideal in the direction of building the Pure Land of humanity brings many practical benefits to everyone and to society.
We know that the method of reciting Buddha’s name comes from the Amitabha Sutra, the Immeasurable Life Sutra, and the Contemplation of Infinite Life Sutra. These three sutras are called the Pure Land of the Three Sutras by Bodhisattva Bodhisattva. In the Pure Land Treatise, Vasubandhu proved that Amitabha Buddha’s world of Ultimate Bliss is real and that someone has been reborn in Ultimate Bliss. Of course, Bodhisattva Vasubandhu had passed through Amitabha Buddha’s Ultimate Bliss world and Shakyamuni Buddha’s Saha world.
Pure Land Dharma is thriving in China. The two patriarchs, Mr. Hue Vien and Thien Dao, founded the Pure Land School, also following the spirit of the three sutras mentioned above as a guideline for cultivation and further development.
From the past to the beginning of the twentieth century, Pure Land practitioners only used the Three Sutras Pure Land for their retreat and the goal was to recite the Buddha’s name in order to be reborn. But the practice of reciting the Buddha’s name for rebirth is not suitable for many societies, so it is not accepted by the majority of the masses.
Therefore, at the beginning of the twentieth century, Master An Quang advocated the Five Classics of the Pure Land, that is, in addition to the three sutras mentioned above, there are two more sutras, namely the Hua Nghiem Sutra, the entry of no thoughts to liberate the universal realm. The virtuous vows and the Tombstone Sutra, the Great World Chi Bodhisattva recitation of the Buddha’s enlightenment, are to supplement the shortcomings of the Pure Land practice.
Going back to the Pure Land method, we have long been influenced by the great mistakes of some of our predecessors. They advocate building a world of Ultimate Bliss in the West and illustrate that our present lives are boring, worth giving up in order to bring people to the West of Ultimate Bliss. Thus, they have inadvertently created people who are bored with life and give up on society.
The Japanese Pure Land School does not accept this policy, but they build the Pure Land according to the model of the Five Classics, which includes the Lotus Sutra. The Lotus Sutra mainly has only one sentence in the Universal Virtue of Virtue, which says: May I, when my life is about to die, meet Amitabha Buddha, be reborn in Ultimate Bliss, fulfill Samantabhadra’s conduct, and be transformed into nothingness. tens of thousands of billions of bodies going throughout the ten directions to teach sentient beings. And this person’s long life span is one in this world, not in the West of Ultimate Bliss. That is the spirit of the Pure Land, especially according to the Lotus Sutra.
Just one sentence of the Huayan Sutra talks about the Pure Land, people spread out the whole spirit of the Pure Land according to Hoa Nghiem, which is to build a society with intelligent, long-lived, healthy people. Monks and nuns should know that such positive thoughts of the Pure Land are contained in the sutras.
When the Pure Land method was introduced to Japan, Phap Nhien and Than Loan founded the Pure Land School and the True Land School. These two Pure Land sects of the Japanese give the theory of karma for rebirth, still taking faith, conduct, and vows as a guideline for spiritual practice; That is, the Pure Land cultivator must have a firm belief that there is a world of Ultimate Bliss, that there is Amitabha Buddha and that follow Amitabha Buddha to be reborn in this world. With such a firm belief, the new practitioner concentrates on reciting the Buddha’s name.
In Japan, in addition to the Pure Land School, there is also the Pure Land True School. The monks of the Pure Land Chan School are called neo-monks, they lead the sect but do not shave their hair, are not vegetarians, and are married. When we first heard it, we thought they weren’t monks.
However, in fact, the activities of this sect have developed since the 12th century, lasting until today, it has grown even more strongly.
This school believes that not everyone has the conditions to leave home, practice purity, be liberated, and reach Nirvana. According to them, everyone has a birth body, so they must follow the governing laws of society.
Initiating the Pure Land True School is Than Loan Thuong Nhan. He was the son of a prime minister from a noble family. With a bold policy, contrary to the policy at that time that monks had to be vegetarian and celibate, he was arrested and exiled.
He said that although he did not accept the practice he proposed, it was still a reality that existed and would develop. Indeed, today the Pure Land Zhen sect in Japan develops more favorably than other sects.
Cultivators of this sect have strong religious beliefs, but live ordinary lives. Thanks to that, they can do all occupations and live in all places. They relied on this advantage for easy evangelism. While monastic people have many things they can’t do, there are many places they can’t go to according to the law.
The monks of the Shinto Pure Land of Japanese Buddhism have activities similar to those of Protestantism in that they come into life and live close to people. And when living a normal life, so close to the world, he doesn’t have the advantages of a monk, so he has to develop real power. As for us, we wear religious robes and live differently from others, so it’s easy for people to believe us through the robes.
The monks of this sect must strive to develop more advantages, especially in order to develop their capacity at social level or higher, in order for them to survive; If they are worse than people, surely no one will follow them.
Wearing a monastic robe has the advantage that although we are inferior to other people, we can still live. For example, if people have a university degree, someone in their family has passed away, they have to receive a teacher to chant sutras, even if they don’t have a degree, it’s okay. But be aware that this advantage is unlikely to last long in civilized societies.
The monks of the Shinto Pure Land must develop the professional ability to live, not live off of offerings. In their locality and in the industry in which they work, they must be equal to others in terms of work and knowledge to be accepted as Buddhist spiritual leaders.
Although they have families, the knowledge of the Pure Land Chan sect monks is higher, because their understanding is not molded like that of a monastic. They live close to the world and at the same time, their main practice is prayer and rebirth. This is also close to other religions and is also popular with the majority of the population. Since everyone who lives in this world is self-enlightened and reaches Nirvana, there are few people who think they can do it by themselves; so they need forgiveness. And they themselves have faith, often pray, the immediate result is peace of mind.
With the policy of not leaving home, but diligently reciting the Buddha’s name and praying for rebirth, this practice is simple, and most people can practice it. Those are the reasons that make it easy to develop Shinto Pure Land in contemporary Japanese society.
In Theravada sutras, the Buddha talks about the world of Nirvana, but turning to the Mahayana sutras, the Nirvana realm is developed into Pure Land models such as the Western Pure Land of Amitabha Buddha, The Oriental Pure Land of Medicine Buddha, Vimalakirti’s Pure Land, Dharma Flower’s Pure Land, etc.
In the Dharma assembly of Infinite Life, Buddha Shakyamuni appeared very happy. When Ananda saw this, he asked why, for a long time, he did not see the Buddha happy, but today he has this auspicious sign.
Buddha said that he was always austere, because for 12 years, he thought about educating the masses and must show a model for the masses to follow. Today, the masses have penetrated the Buddha’s path and attained fruition, so the Buddha wants to point to higher things; that is the virtue of the Buddhas of the ten directions. And now, he is thinking about Amitabha Buddha, the leader of the world of Ultimate Bliss in the West, showing such a radiant face.
This idea shows that the Pure Land method represents a positive spirit, not sadness and boredom as many people mistakenly believe. This extremely happy world is the Pure Land, because the practitioner’s mind there is completely happy, the body is completely healthy, the environment is completely complete, clean, the society is perfectly fine.
The Japanese absorb the Pure Land spirit like that, so they built the Pure Land of the human world to increase their longevity, good health, wide knowledge, ability and higher morals than other people.
In summary, in addition to the reasons for the development of the True Land Pure Land that we mentioned above, the implementation of the Pure Land ideal in the direction of building the Pure Land of the human world brings many practical benefits to everyone and to the world. society. This certainly also contributed significantly to the development of Pure Land Chan Buddhism easily even in contemporary times in the most civilized country in the world.