I'd be grateful for references to some of the major Pure Land schools' versions of the Three (or Four) Marks (Seals) of Existence:

  • Impermanence (anicca)
  • Suffering (dukkha)
  • No-self (anattā)
  • Liberation (nirvāṇa)

Addendum -- pointers to the individual topics in any Pure Land tradition would be fine -- does not have to be all together.

Jan 6 -- beyond my own answer, with three references, I would still be grateful for further items, plus explanations of where the three marks (that is, the somewhat philosophical ideas so crucial to Theravada and Tibetan schools) fit into Pure Land in general, and on the specific texts I found.

1 Answer 1


Here is something on Shin, with a bit of discussion on the individual topics -- http://www.nembutsu.info/primshin.htm -- plus this at the very end (emphasis added):


We urge readers to examine the following essentials because, when viewed in isolation from them, a skewed view of Shin Buddhism will result: the Four Noble Truths; the Three Signata, namely, anatman or 'non-self', anitya or 'impermanence' and dukkha or 'suffering'; and, finally, Nirvana, which - as we have seen earlier - in Shin Buddhism is synonymous with Amida Buddha and the Pure Land. These are the teachings upon which Buddhism is grounded.

Also, from the book:
Pure Land Buddhism
Dialogs with Ancient Masters
by Patriach Chih I and Master T'ien Ju
translated by Master Thich Thien Tam
at http://www.buddhanet.net/pdf_file/pureland.pdf

Merely achieving rebirth in the Pure Land is attaining the stage of non-retrogression. As stated in the sutras:

“Those who achieve rebirth all dwell in correct samadhi.”

It is also stated in the Amitabha Sutra:

“Sentient beings who are reborn in the Western Pure Land are all at the stage of non-retrogession.”

The Treatise on the Ten Doubts [Question 6] states that there are five reasons why those who are reborn achieve non-retrogression:


c) In the Western Pure Land, the birds, water, forests, trees, wind and music all preach the Dharma of ‘suffering, emptiness, impermanence and no-self.’ Upon hearing this, practitioners begin to focus on the Buddha, the Dharma and the Sangha;


Does anyone know the significance of The Treatise on the Ten Doubts in Pure Land? I cannot find much online.

In -- The Sutra of Visualization of the Buddha of Infinite Life -- at http://www.fodian.net/world/365_sutra_1.htm III, VI, XVI -- here it is in III:

Pure breezes of the eight pleasing qualities are produced by these rays of light, causing the musical instruments to play in voices which proclaim the truths of ‘suffering, emptiness, impermanence and non-self.’

Interesting that in these last two, emptiness is added to make 4 marks.

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