Essence of the Infinite Life Sutra – Excerpt Thirty-One

Their bodies and minds are pure. They have no craving or greed.

“Their bodies and minds are pure.” The mind is the master. When the mind is pure, the body will be pure. But the body can also affect the mind. The Buddha taught us that our behavior should accord with the precepts and proper codes of behavior. The purpose is to help us nurture good habits in daily life—so that the mind will naturally be calm.

“They have no craving or greed.” Of the Twelve Links of Dependent Origination, craving, grasping, and becoming are the causes of one’s transmigration within the Six Paths. When one eradicates any one of the three, one will transcend the Six Paths. Craving is delusion, grasping is attachment, and becoming is karma. If one cannot eradicate craving or greed, one should eradicate grasping. If one cannot eradicate grasping either, then one can only try to eradicate becoming, but this requires advanced cultivation.

When Buddhas and bodhisattvas manifest in this world, they act the same way as we do. For example, Living Buddha Jigong, who was very well known to Chinese people, seemed to have craving and attachment. So how did he succeed in his cultivation? Because he did not have becoming. This was a very advanced achievement! We ordinary people cannot eradicate grasping or becoming, so we can only try to eradicate craving and greed.

When we have craving, we will have anger. When we have greed, we will be filled with greed, anger, ignorance, and arrogance. Greed is the root. When greed is uprooted, our afflictions will all disappear and the mind will become pure. When the mind is pure, the body will be pure. Ordinary beings can achieve this. No craving or greed; pure are the mind and body. With this foundation, and with belief, vow and the mindful chanting of the Buddha-name to seek rebirth in the Western Pure Land, we will definitely be reborn there.