A. Many people think that the Pure Land is a very special, heavenly place somewhere else other than the Earth where ardent believers will be reborn after death. In fact, the Pure Land is where you can go only when alive, not after death.
The Pure Land symbolises our mind, our true-self free from illusions. Now we can be said to be living in an impure land in that our mind, the Pure Land, seems to be an impure land covered with illusions because of our discrimination. To be reborn in the Pure Land doesn’t mean to be reborn somewhere else other than the Earth, but to realise your true-self or attain enlightenment. That is to realise the truth that we are already living in the Pure Land by removing illusions. Attaining enlightenment is compared to a rebirth since, after enlightenment, we start to live a different life from the life we have lived so far, free from birth and death.
Student: “Where is the Pure Land?”
Master: “You will be in an impure land the moment you seek it.”
All writing ©Boo Ahm. All images ©Simon Hathaway