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Shakyamuni Buddha’s Benefits of Being Reborn in the Land of Bliss


In the Infinite Life Sutra, Shakyamuni Buddha twice mentions the benefits of attaining rebirth in the Pure Land. Firstly, in the passage of “original intent of his appearance in the world,” Shakyamuni Buddha said he would bestow “real benefits” on all ordinary beings in the Three Domains of the Land of Saha.

Secondly, in the passage of “Shakyamuni’s encouragement to accept this sutra”, he tells Maitreya Bodhisattva:

If there are people who hear the Name of that Buddha, rejoice so greatly as to dance, and remember him even once, then you should know that they have gained “great benefit” by receiving the unsurpassed virtue.

“Real benefits” are attained from real merit and virtues through the real practice of the real teaching. Shakyamuni Buddha told the sravakas, prateyabuddhas, and bodhisattvas that the teachings of the Three Vehicles are “expedient,” “provisional,” which is not “real,” and only the One Vehicle of Buddha teaching is “real.”

“Real benefits” refer to the benefit of attaining rebirth (with real merit and virtues) in the Land of Bliss through the (real) practice of Amitabha-recitation in the (real) Pure Land teaching. All phenomena are “unreal,” impermanent, and characterized by birth-and-death in the Land of Saha—our world.

“Great benefits” refers to the final cessation of reincarnating within the Six Realms, and becoming a great bodhisattva in the state of non-retrogression in the Land of Bliss. We will meet sacred beings of supreme virtue in one place together in the Land of Bliss. Thus, we will not hear evil words or see wicked people anymore.

Reciting Amitabha’s Name with two-fold exclusivity is the only way out

Master Shandao explained the passage of “Main Cause of Rebirth” in the Amitabha Sutra with a verse, as follows:

The Land of Bliss is a Realm of Unconditioned Nirvana; it’s hard to be reborn there by practicing assorted virtues according to circumstances. The Tathagata selects the key method—He teaches us to recite Amitabha’s name with two-fold exclusivity.

The phrase “Realm of Unconditioned Nirvana” describes the Land of Bliss, Amitabha’s buddha-land, which was perfectly fulfilled on attainment of buddhahood. It is adorned with splendid, real, and unsurpassed merit and virtues, so it is Amitabha’s Reward Land. Thus, whomever is reborn there possesses these intrinsic, buddha-like qualities.

All the virtues attained through self-powered meditative practices and non-meditative practices, such as the Three Meritorious Deeds, are regarded as “few in virtuous root and meritorious blessings.” Thus, it is difficult to attain rebirth in Amitabha’s buddha-land, the Reward Land, through such practices.

Shakyamuni Buddha selected the key method for attaining assured rebirth, which is to exclusively recite Amitabha’s Name with singleness of mind without confusion. The three Pure Land sutras have the same objective: to attain assured rebirth through exclusive name-recitation.

Amitabha’s Name is the essence of the three Pure Land sutras. Amitabha’s full Name is “Namo Amitabha Buddha.” In Chinese pronunciation, it sounds like “Na-Mo-A-Mi-Tuo-Fo,” so it is also called the Great Six-Syllable Name. As it contains a myriad of virtues, it is also known as “The Great Name of a Myriad Virtues.”

We should all earnestly strive to receive the real and great benefits: attaining rebirth in Amitabha’s Pure Land through the recitation of Amitabha’s Name, bestowed on us through the teaching of Shakyamuni Buddha.

The greatest benefit of Amitabha-recitation is rebirth. For a Pure Land practitioner, rebirth is the purpose of Amitabha-recitation. Rebirth is also the purpose of learning and practicing Buddhist teachings for a Buddhist.

Rebirth in Amitabha’s Land of Bliss is also the purpose of our life, because rebirth implies to attain the assurance to become a buddha, the ultimate emancipation with absolute happiness, freedom and joy.

How do we attain assured rebirth in Amitabha’s Land of Bliss? The answer is very simple and easy. The exclusive recitation of Amitabha’s Name: Namo Amituofo for the rest of our life on hearing this statement.

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