The Pure Land Tradition – Faith, Vows and Practice

These three factors are the cornerstones of Pure Land Buddhism. If they are present, rebirth in the Pure Land is achieved. Faith means faith in Amitabha Buddha’s Vow to rescue all who recite His name, as we as faith in one’s own Self-Nature, which is intrinsically the same as His (to recite the Buddha’s name is to recite the Mind). Vows are the determination to be reborn in the Pure Land — in one’s pure Mind — so as to be in the position to save oneself and others. Practice generally means reciting the Buddha’s name to the point where one’s Mind and that of Amitabha Buddha are on unison — i.e., to the point of single-mindedness. Samadhi and wisdom are then achieved.

Please note that all Buddhist teachings are expedients, dividing the one and indivisible Truth into many parts. Faith, Vows and Practice, although three, are really one. Thus, it can be said that rebirth in the Pure Land depends on three conditions or two conditions (Faith and Vows) or even one condition (Faith), as one contains all and all is contained in the one. The formula to be used depends on the audience and the times. The aim is to enable sentient beings to achieve rebirth in the Pure Land as a steppingstone towards Buddhahood.