池底纯以金沙布地，四边阶道，金、银、琉璃、玻璃合成，上有楼阁亦以金、银、琉璃、玻璃、砗磲、赤珠、玛瑙，而严饰之。池中莲华，大如车轮，青色青光，黄色黄光，赤色赤光，白色白光，微妙香洁。舍利弗，极乐国土，成就如是功德庄严。[The bottom of each of the ponds is laid with pure golden sand, and the stepped walkways that lead up from all four sides of each of the ponds are made of gold, silver, lapis lazuli and crystal. Above the ponds there are towers which are adorned with silver and gold and lapis lazuli and crystal and mother of pearl and red agate. In the ponds there are lotus flowers as big as cart wheels: blue ones shining with blue light, yellow ones shining with yellow light, red ones shining with red light, and white ones shining with white light, each emitting a subtle pure fragrance. The Land of Ultimate Bliss is complete with all these merits and adornments.]
From the above verse, we should comprehend that Pureland is free from dirt and dust. Everything is made of precious substances. It indirectly informs the reader that Pureland is not Samsara, nor is it another planet in a far flung universe. Even the water is special because it doesn’t drown or flood things.
In a way, it is a magical paradise where the lotus flowers are the size of a cart wheel. In ancient times, cart wheel is made of wood and quite large. In addition to that, they have a fragrance that is wonderful and pure.
又舍利弗！彼佛国土，常作天乐，黄金为地，昼夜六时，雨天曼陀罗华。[Shariputra there is more — celestial music is constantly playing in this Buddha-land, and the ground is made of gold. In the six periods of the day and night a heavenly rain of mandArava flowers falls,]
In addition to the physical beauty, celestial music fills the air and coral flowers appear in the air to gently fall from the sky.
其土众生，常以清旦，各以衣祴，盛众妙华。供养他方十万亿佛，即以食时，还到本国，饭食经行。舍利弗，极乐国土，成就如是功德庄严。[Every morning the sentient beings of this land dress appropriately and with multitudes of wondrous flowers, make offerings to hundreds of billions of Buddhas in other worlds. When it is meal time, they return to their own lands, to eat and practice walking meditation thereafter]
I interpret this verse to mean that beings reborn here are contented and happy with Dharma activities. While the previous verses talk about the general environment, this verse describe beings of Pureland engaging their time with Dharma activities. According to Mahayana Scriptures, each Buddha has their own Pureland. In this manner, this verse sound just like vacation to me. We get to visit other wonderful pureland, meet different Buddha and then return home for our daily activities thereafter. Wonderful isn’t it?
May all be well and happy.
Categories: Articles, Scriptural
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