Sunday, July 22, 2012

The Fastest Way to Buddhahood is Via Birth in Pure Land

If you are unable to view the Chinese text, please click > View > Encoding > Chinese simplified / Unicode UTF-8

One of the most outstanding characteristics of the practice of Buddha mindfulness is that it enables one to be swiftly born in Pure Land within this life (if one truly aspires and practises accordingly with the right faith). And upon reaching Pure Land, one is able to swiftly attain Buddhahood, without backsliding or obstacles. It is truly the expressway to Buddhahood.

Usually, for ordinary beings to become Buddhas, we need to go through 52 stages of attainments (菩萨五十二位) - namely, the 10 Faiths (十信), 10 Abodes (十住), 10 Practices (十行), 10 Transferences (十回向), 10 Grounds (十地) and Universal Enlightenment (等觉; highest Bodhisattvahood), before reaching Supreme Enlightenment (妙觉; Buddhahood). In terms of time, this requires 3 great Asankya-Kalpas (阿僧祗劫). [1 Asankya-Kalpa is 1000, 0000, 0000, 0000, 0000, 0000, 0000, 0000, 0000, 0000, 0000, 0000 Maha-Kalpas (or 1048 Maha-Kalpas) while 1 Maha-Kalpa (大劫) is 13, 4384, 0000 years. 3 great Asankya-Kalpas is thus 13, 4384, 0000 x 1048 years.] As this calculation is from the first stage of the 10th Abode onwards, the time spent in prior unsubstantial or trial-and-error practice is not added yet! As such, the time needed for ordinary beings to practise to become a Buddha is more than 3 great Asankya-Kalpas. 

However, in the Amitabha Sutra (佛说阿弥陀经), we know that Amitabha Buddha attained Buddhahood (and created his Pure Land) only 10 Maha-Kalpas (130, 4384, 0000 years) ago. This is tremendously shorter than 3 great Asankya-Kalpas. Yet, according to the sutra, despite this short period of time, 'In the Land of Ultimate Bliss, among the beings born there, all are Avaivartikas, many of whom are in the Stage of Becoming a Buddha after One More Life (Stage of Universal Enlightenment). Their numbers are great and cannot be known by calculation, but can be spoken of with [the time of] immeasurable and boundless Asankya-Kalpas.' (极乐国土,众生生者,皆是阿鞞跋致,其中多有一生补处,其数甚多,非是算数所能知之,但可以无量无边阿僧祇说。) What is inconceivable is that within just 10 Maha-Kalpas, there are already countless beings in Pure Land who are on the brink of Buddhahood. This bears testimony to the efficiency of Pure Land in training beings for Buddhahood.

Though the stages attainable in Pure Land are in greater detail below, they should not be a key concern, as whatever stage one first realises there will be non-retrogressible and only  lead towards steady progression in spiritual practice. Due to the supremely blessed environment of Pure Land, it is not necessary to ascend all the 52 stages to Buddhahood one by one. Pure Land is as such, the most accelerated and thus swiftest path towards Buddhahood. 

The Contemplation Sutra (佛说观无量寿佛经) states that beings of the lower level of the lower grade of birth (下品下生) [who have done the 5 heinous misdeeds (五逆罪) and the 10 unwholesome deeds (十恶业), who repent and practise (行) sincerely with faith (信) and aspiration (愿) for birth in Pure Land) will be reborn there from lotuses after 12 Maha-kalpas, and give rise to irreversible Bodhicitta (菩提心; aspiration for Buddhahood). This is in sharp contrast with being reborn in Avici hell (阿鼻地狱) to suffer relentlessly for an unimaginably long duration of no certain limit, thereafter being reborn gradually in better lives to 'restart' spiritual cultivation. Due to the bountiful merits of Amitabha Buddha which he is ready to share, mindfulness of Buddha is the only way to escape from otherwise certain rebirth into the hells, including the worst, as above. The middle level of the lower grade of birth (下品中生) requires 6 Maha-Kalpas to give rise to Bodhicitta, while the higher level of the lower grade of birth (下品上生) requires only 10 Small Kalpas (160,798,000 years) to realise the First Ground (初地) of Bodhisattvahood. If we are sincere and proficient Dharma practitioners, we are likely to be born in higher levels and grades, thus taking even less time to realise Buddhahood.

For the lower level of the middle grade of birth (中品下生), one realises the Stage of Stream-Winner (入流) after 7 days of birth and the Stage of Arhathood (阿罗汉) after 1 Small Kalpa (小劫; 16,798,000 years). For the middle level of the middle grade of birth (中品生), one realises the Stage of Stream-Winner after 7 days of birth and the Stage of Arhathood after half of 1 Small Kalpa. For the higher level of the middle grade of birth (中品生), one realises the Stage of Arhathood almost immediately when born.

For the lower level of the higher grade of birth (下生), one is born from a lotus after 1 day and 1 night, and able to realise the Stage of the First Ground (地) of Rejoice (喜地) after 3 Small Kalpas. For the middle level of the higher grade of birth (中生), one realises the Stage of the Eighth Ground (八地) of Unshakability (不动) after 7 days and realises the Patience of the Non-birth of Dharmas (无生法忍) after 1 Small Kalpa. For the higher level of the higher grade of birth (生), one will realise the Patience of Non-birth of Dharmas (which is equivalent to the Eighth Ground) upon birth, immediately becoming a Dharmakaya Bodhisattva (法身大士). Even great Bodhisattvas who have realised Universal Enlightenment like Samantabhadra (普贤) and Manjusri (文殊) need to practise mindfulness of Buddha, to aspire to be born in Amitabha Buddha’s Pure Land – because the path to Buddhahood there is very swift and cannot be compared with other worlds.

All beings who reach Pure Land are Avaivartika (阿鞞跋致) because they are non-retrogressible (不退转) in three ways (三不退) – in terms of attainment (位不退: one will never backslide to rebirths in the lower realms and is bound for at least Arhathood), practice (行不退: one will never backslide to goals lesser than Buddhahood), and mindfulness (念不退: one will never backslide from moment-to-moment mindfulness of awakening, and is aligned in every thought with the vast and deep ocean of the wisdom of Buddhas. A remarkable aspect of being born in Pure Land is that though one might not have technically realised non-retrogression in all three ways immediately when it is reached, one is nevertheless on the non-retrogressible path of realising them fully. 

From the above, we can note that beings who can be born in Pure Land are unlimited in nature. They range from those who have done great evil, to those who are average, to those who are not even Stream-winners yet, to those who are good Dharma practitioners, to those on the brink of Buddhahood (Bodhisattvas who have realised Universal Enlightenment - who can reach there instantly via mindfulness; not via lotus births). As indicated in the Contemplation Sutra, the first attainment one realises in Pure Land depends on one's prior diligence in Dharma practice. They range from Stream-entry to Arhathood, from giving rise to irreversible Bodhicitta to realising the First Ground (up to the Eighth Ground). All these will lead up to Universal Enlightenment, and Supreme Enlightenment upon 'graduation' from Pure Land. With the practice of Buddha mindfulness, the aspiration for Buddhahood will no longer be a distant dream for anyone!

Related Articles:

Can Samsara Lead to Buddhahood More Efficiently than Pure Land?

Are Purelanders Truly One Life from Buddhahood?

- Namo Amituofo, Shen Shi’an

Course: The Faith Factor: Treatise on Ten Doubts About Pure Land (2nd Run)

Course: The 48 Great Vows Of Amituofo: Boundless Blessings For This Life & The Next (2nd Run)

Knowing Contentment


Those who do not know contentment,
although rich, they are poor.
Those who know contentment,
although poor, they are rich.
Those who do not know contentment,
are constantly led by their five desires,
pitied by those who know contentment.
- The Buddha (Sutra Of Bequeathed Teachings)
[Five desires: wealth, sex, fame, food and sleep]
不知足者  虽富而贫
知足之人  虽贫而富
不知足者  常为五欲所牵
为知足者  之所怜悯
- 佛陀 (遗教经)
[五欲: 财色名食睡]

Understanding Amituofo Via the Amitabha Sutra

Venue: Venerable Hong Choon Memorial Hall, Level 1, Room 9
01 Sep – 03 Nov 12
Sat 06:30 PM – 08:30 PM
Come Join us ans discover more about the precious Pure Land teaching , on how they might just be what busy urbanites like us need.

  • Fee: $40.00
  • Kong Meng San Phor Kark See Monastery, Reception
    23 Jun – 03 Sep 12
    09:00 AM – 04:30 PM
  • Registration and payment at Reception

Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva prayer ceremony

值此七月盛夏,本寺将启建九天《地藏追思报恩法会》,届时将由法师带领大众念诵《地藏菩萨本愿功德经》, 以祈世界和平,人民安乐,先亡得度,现眷吉祥。On  the 1st to 9th of  the Seventh Lunar month, our monastery would conduct a nine  day “Ksitigarbha’s Rememberance and Repaying of Kindness Puja”. Venerable Sirs  would lead in the recitation of “The Sutra of Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha’s  Fundamental Vows” and dedicate it to world peace, well-being of citizens,  deliverance of the deceased, and the auspiciousness of those living.

正所谓:地藏法会    因缘难遇    悲心宏愿  至诚感通
诸佛加被    龙天齐护    悉令众生  愿满离苦
闻法修行     福慧增长    消宿现业  同登极乐

日期/Date: 2012年8月17日至8月25日(农历七月初一至初九日)17/8-25/8/2012
时间/Time:晚上8点正至9点30分  8pm -9.30pm
地点/Venue: 光明山普觉禅寺Kong Meng San Phor Kark See Monastery。 大悲殿 The Great Compassion Hall
88 Bright Hill Road, Singapore 574117

欢迎公众踊跃参加 Come Join Us!
The monastery had catered bus to ferry participants to Ang Mo Kio bus interchange after the puja.
· 8月17日及24日 (星期五)《普门品》念诵暂停
· 8月18日及25日(星期六)《药师经》念诵暂停

Relaxation & Mindfulness Meditation

Feeling the struggle to achieve work-life balance? Finding it hard to put on a happy face every day?
Come hear Venerable Kwang Sheng on how to lead a busy life but yet full of joy and purpose through relaxation meditation and applying simple Buddhist teachings in our daily living.

Conducted by: Venerable Kwang Sheng
Venerable Kwang Sheng was ordained by Venerable Hong Choon in 1980, after which, he spent many years studying and practising in different countries such as Myanmar and Korea. He spent a total of three years in Songgwangsa, Korea practising Zen meditation.
Date: 20/7– 21/9/2012 ( Every Fri ) (No class on 31/8, 14/9)
Time: 7.30pm – 9.00pm
Venue:  Kong Meng San Phor Kark See Monastery,Ven Hong Choon Memorial Hall Level 4 Hall of No Form,
88 Bright Hill Road Singapore 574117
Offering: $30 [Form]
Enquiries: 6849 5300,


Venue: KMSPKS, VHCMH.4th Floor. Hall Of No Form
20 Jul – 21 Sep 12
Fri 07:30 PM – 09:00 PM
Our Abbot, Ven Kwang Sheng will share the method of incorporating Buddha Dharma and meditation into our daily life, thus creating a healthy balance lifestyle.
  • Fee: $30.00
  • Kong Meng San Phor Kark See Monastery, Reception
    21 Jun – 15 Jul 12
    09:00 AM – 04:00 PM

Medicine Buddha Retreat



日 期 : 2012年8月10日~12日(星期五-星期日)
时 间: 上午9时至下午5时
地 点:  宏船老和尚纪念堂 | 四楼 | 无相殿
法会赞助: 每人S$30
报名资格: 年龄16岁以上、正信佛教徒、身心健康、无不良嗜好
穿 着: 有袖上衣、长裤(素色)及海清。
报 名: 即日起至8月3日或额满为止 [表格]
报名地点: 光明山普觉禅寺 | 接待处(每日上午9时至下午4时)
询问电话:  6849 5300 |