The Pure Land Path is the Only Way to the Emancipation From Samsara
By Lineage Master Daochuo
Question: Since all sentient beings possess Buddha nature, they must have encountered many Buddhas since time immemorial, how come they are still transmigrating in the cycle of birth and death, being unable to escape from the burning house of the three domains?
Master Daochuo answers: According to the sacred teaching of Mahayana Buddhism, the reason why sentient beings are still trapped in samsara is that they have not encountered one of the two supreme Dharma paths that helps them attain emancipation from the cycle of birth and death, [even if they have encountered them, they either cannot practice it or do not believe in it.] What are the two Dharma paths? One is the path of Sages, and the other is the path of rebirth in the Pure Land. The Sages path is difficult to follow. For one reason, a long time has passed since the departure of Sakyamuni Buddha, and the other reason is that the Dharma principle is too profound for today’s ordinary people to understand. Accordingly, the Mahāvaipulya Mahāsamghāta Sūtra states:
During the Dharma-Ending age, billions of sentient beings set out to practice the path, but not even one succeeds.
We are now in the Dharma-Ending Age, and the world is riddled with the five abominable defilements. The Pure Land path is the only way to emancipation from samsara . The Infinite Life Sutra, in essence, says:
Sentient beings, even though they have committed evils throughout their lives, if they recite my name ten times continuously at their deathbed, will be reborn in my Land. Should they fail to do that, I shall not attain perfect enlightenment.
Furthermore, sentient beings tend not to know their limitations. They don’t have the capability to understand the profound Mahayana principles of true suchness and emptiness. When it comes to Hinayana practices, both monastics and lay practitioners find it impossible to attain the various stages of cultivation such as the Path of Insight or the Path of Meditation. In their efforts to attain Arhatship, they cannot remove the five passions that bind them to the three domains of desire, form and formlessness. Even though there are karmic rewards to be reborn in the human and deva realms for observing the five precepts and performing the ten good acts, very few succeed . If we speak of the evils and wrongdoings we ordinary beings commit, they are like storms and tempests. For this reason, all Buddhas, out of compassion, exhort us to take the path of the Pure Land. Even if you have been committing evils throughout your life, as long as you devote yourself completely to the practice of Amitabha-recitation, you will have all your karmic obstacles eliminated and definitely attain rebirth in the Buddha’s Land. So please take a minute to ponder: why do I not seek rebirth in the Pure Land?
From: The Collection on the Land of Peace and Joy by Master Daochuo
(Translated by the Pure Land School Translation Team;
edited by Householder Fojin)
- Recitation of Amitabha’s name, relying on his Fundamental Vow (the 18th)
- Rebirth of ordinary beings in the Pure Land’s Realm of Rewards
- Rebirth assured in the present lifetime
- Non-retrogression achieved in this lifetime
The 18th Vow of Amitabha Buddha
If, when I achieve Buddhahood, sentient beings of the ten directions who sincerely and joyfully entrust themselves to me, wish to be reborn in my land and recite my name, even ten times, should fail to be born there, may I not attain perfect enlightenment. Excepted are those who commit the five gravest transgressions or slander the correct Dharma.
Faith in, and acceptance of, Amitabha’s deliverance
Single-minded recitation of Amitabha’s name
Aspiration to rebirth in Amitabha’s Pure Land
Comprehensive deliverance of all sentient beings