舍利弗！其佛国土成就如是功德庄严。[This Buddha-land is complete with all these merits and adornments]
Sukhavati (Amitabha’s Pureland) is complete in merits. That means the pureland is a perfected place. There are no sufferings and in addition to that, beings reborn there are destined to become enlightened. This is very important because it makes Sukhavati special and different from the heavens in Samsara.
In the previous verses, we read about the various wonderful qualities of Sukhavati. We also appreciate how descriptions of Sukhavati has multiple layers of meanings. To a beginner, it can be inerpreted as a kind of paradise. For serious practitioners it incorporated deeper meanings about the correct way of mind-training. Even the truth of enlightenment can be found therein.
In this sense, Sukhavati becomes a complete and perfect “ground” for enlightenment.
舍利弗！于汝意云何？彼佛何故号阿弥陀. 舍利弗！彼佛光明无量，照十方国，无所障碍，是故号为阿弥陀。[The light of this Buddha is infinite, and shines on all lands throughout the universe without obstruction. Thus this Buddha is called Amitabha. ]
In Kevatta Sutta, we read about Jhana being associated with brightness. We also learn that our mind-training should lead to a state of wakefulness that is free from stupor and lull. Here, we read about Amitabha ‘s light shinning without obstruction. In one of the Buddhist story, a recent monk recounted how he “witnessed” an explosion of spiritual light tearing through existence when his meditation teacher attained enlightenment.
From all the above, we can safely appreciate that Buddhist mind training should lead us towards a bright mind. Having said that, my Buddhist teachers had also warned us not to crave for light. When we meditate, we still our busy mind and that leads to calmness and brightness. The brightness are just quality of an undefiled mind. It is a description. A signpost for us to practice correctly.
Therefore, we should not miss the point about developing concentration and be distracted by its description instead. We should not spend our time craving to see light or experience light during our practice. This is because any craving leads to suffering. To put it bluntly; a moth or a squid is also attracted to lights but with bad consequences. We definitely do not want to train our mind to be similar to them?
又舍利弗！彼佛寿命及其人民，无量无边阿僧祇劫，故名阿弥陀。[Also, the life span of this Buddha and his people is an infinite number of immeasurable eons, and so he is called Amitabha.]
The lifespan of Amitabha and the inhabitants of Sukhavati is limitless. This is another difference from the heavens in Samsara. Although heavenly beings have a very long life, they ultimately still expire and will be reborn again.
However, the lifespan of beings in Sukhavati is limitless. According to Pureland beliefs, beings in Sukhavati will definitely achieve enlightenment under the personal tutelage of Buddha(s) and Bodhisattvas.
The state of enlightenment is also known as the state of deathlessness.
May all be well and happy.
Categories: Articles, Scriptural
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