A Pure Land on Earth 8

The notion of “a Pure Land on Earth" is particularly emphasized in the Mahayana tradition of Buddhism. The Hua-Yen Sutra (Avatamsaka Sutra) [Taisho.9, 449] states: "The moment you give rise to the sincere and earnest intention [to attain enlightenment], you have attained enlightenment." This means that, as soon as you give rise to the aspiration to attain the Buddha's mind of compassion and wisdom, you have become a Buddha. Although you are not yet a perfect and complete Buddha, your mind is in harmony with the enlightenment of all Buddhas. As long as you are a Buddha, the world you see is a Pure Land, for when seen through the Buddha's eye of wisdom and compassion, every place in the world is a Pure Land. In other words, peace is created in and with a mind at peace.

A similar idea can be found in the Mahaprajnaparamita Sutra, which teaches that in helping others accomplish their enlightenment you accomplish your own. Where do we find people to help? In this world, and in every world in the ten directions, but mostly right in your immediate surroundings--your family, friends, colleagues, and especially, your adversaries, whom you should regard as bodhisattvas. Thus may the Pure Land exist on earth.


We have talked about the concept of a Pure Land on Earth, but how shall we accomplish it? The method we use we call the Three Practices, which consist of precepts (morality), meditation (concentration), and wisdom. I will discuss them in turn.

The precepts are the vows you take to lead a peaceful way of life through regulating your own behavior of body, thought, and speech. In the passive sense, upholding the precepts means vowing not to commit any wrongful acts. In the active sense, it means vowing to engage in as many acts as possible that benefit yourself as well as others; it means taking responsibility.