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Volume 8 Issue No. 4
From the Editor
A Pure Land in this World


We often hear of people seeking to be reborn in the Western Pure Land after they die. But, why wait until we die? Isn't it better that we also live in a Pure Land in this world today while we are still alive? I think if we cannot find that Pure Land whilst we are alive, it would be quite difficult to find it when we are dead! It seems to me a Pure Land is in everybody, but it lies buried by our own ego, attachments, prejudice, ignorance, greed, illusions and so on. If we examine these we will find that they all originate from our mind. Thus, the sutra states that,

"All the Dharma expounded by the Buddha is directed at treating the mind. If the mind does not exist, why is there a need for Dharma?"

Here is a story that demonstrates how the mind can play on us:

Once, a man lost his axe and he suspected the boy who lives next door had stolen it. Of course, he didn't have proof. But, he was so convinced the boy stole it because whenever he sees him he "behaves suspiciously and has guilt written over his face." Some days went by, and one day he stumbled over his lost axe. He had actually misplaced it in a woodpile. Suddenly, the boy's behaviour was no longer suspicious and there wasn't a trace of guilt on his face! Of course, the boy's behaviour hadn't changed but the man's mind had.

Therefore, as Venerable Shen-Kai says, "When the mind is pure, the land of the country is pure." When our mind calms down and becomes pure, our friends and close ones become pure, the society becomes pure and ultimately the world becomes pure. It is not that suddenly the world becomes a heaven paved with gold and surrounded by gardens, flowers, birds and all, but it is that a person who has calmed his mind transforms that exactly same world that he is in now into a Pure Land.

If people can understand this principle, then all their problems and sufferings will go away and they can live a carefree life. They will eat well and sleep well, and greet each new day with optimism and enthusiasm.

A good life is what we all wish for. But, the human mind is overcrowded with endless trains of thoughts - arising and ceasing endlessly. It is good that we calm it down, sweep out all the rubbish and purify it, for we all can find this Pure Land - this Paradise, while we are here - while we are alive. What can be better than Pure Land?

However, people have a tendency to turn to folk religions which are handed down by the past generations. I asked a friend who is a pious advocate to such beliefs, who he thought is the greatest teacher. He too thought that the Buddha is an enlightened teacher and therefore the greatest. The irony is that many people know who the greatest teacher is and yet they turn to superstitious practices, and in many cases rely on those who in reality are not in any position to help anybody, including themselves. It is time for an awakening.

Be with Buddha.


Copyright 2002.Jen Chen Buddhism Centre