Looking for a primary source (an actual historical text) or a secondary source (a formal study of a historical text or texts), on how it is that this world is or isn't a "pure land".

Presumably the Buddha Sakyamuni has or had a pure land? I've read a lot of Buddhist scholarship, so please don't be shy in recommending anything at all, in English or translatable somehow.

2 Answers 2


The bolded statements below show immediate birth into the Pure Land in this life itself.

The way I see this explanation is that the Pure Land is a "place of mind".

From Japanese Pure Land Philosophy on Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy:

Thinkers like Shinran and Shōkū, however, both understood the utterance of nembutsu to be fulfilled practice because it arises from the oneness of being and Buddha expressed as shinjin or taking refuge. Further, because of this oneness, a person’s attainment of birth in the Pure Land is completely settled in the immediate present.

The effects of the oneness are manifested not only in the occurrence of birth in the Pure Land at death, but also in various ways in present life. Shōkū speaks of a variety of benefits received in the present by the person of the nembutsu, including the elimination of the effects of past evil acts, extension of life, avoidance of various calamities, protection of buddhas, seeing of Amida, and so on. One should not pursue such benefits for their own sake, but they naturally come about for the person of the nembutsu whose birth in the Pure Land is settled. Thus, to express the condition of the nembutsu practitioner, Shōkū even distinguishes two types of Pure Land “birth,” “immediate birth” (sokuben ōjō) while remaining burdened with afflicting passions in present life and birth into the Pure Land at the time of death (tōtoku ōjō).

  • Yeah, that makes sense, and I already knew it. Maybe I'll just try some general pure land scholarship.
    – user23969
    Jul 26, 2022 at 7:51

The question "how it is that this world is or isn't a "pure land". Presumably the Buddha Sakyamuni has or had a pure land?" Thanks to your question and the fine answers I understood what "pure land" means. It is what some may call the mind of peace, or the mind that does not vacillate. Reading SA 557 helps. Do not rely on its Pali counterpart AN 9.37, which has been modified to suit the Pali tradition. The world according to Buddha is a person's individual experience. How is it brought about? It is done via data that enters through the six entry points, if any of those are touched, that leads to Impure lands. "Touch" has a specific meaning. If the data enters via these six places without being influenced by the signals the objects emit, then one has found the "Pure land"

An excerpt from SN 35.95 "Not impassioned with forms — seeing a form with mindfulness firm — dispassioned in mind, one knows and doesn't remain fastened there. While one is seeing a form — and even experiencing feeling — it falls away and doesn't accumulate. Thus one fares mindfully. Thus not amassing stress, one is said to be in the presence of Unbinding"

Right mindfulness most succinctly stated in SN 47. 42 Sutta on Origination or Samudaya, offers us clues as to how to dwell in the pure land.

Based on this discussion "unbinding" in the above verse sounds to me like "Pure Land". "Pure land" in other words would be a land without defilements, or a consciousness that is un-fastened. When we begin naming the forms that arise in our minds, that leads to "Impure Lands"?.

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