Q: Dear Master Lu, from your radio programs, it seems that the highest realm that a deceased person can reach as a result of performing recitations would be heaven.
However, as Buddhist practitioners, we hope that we will be able to be reborn into the Western Pure Land of Ultimate Bliss. We would like to ask, will practising Guan Yin Citta Dharma Door conflict with our goal of being reborn into the Western Pure Land of Ultimate Bliss?
First of all, regarding your question about helping the deceased to ascend to a higher spiritual realm:
- Some Buddhist practitioners following Guan Yin Citta Dharma Door have successfully helped their deceased family members ascend to the Western Pure Land of Ultimate Bliss. However, these are very rare cases. To achieve this goal, it not only requires a large quantity of Little Houses, but it also depends on the quantity of karmic obstacles this person has, as well as the spiritual level they have achieved in this lifetime.
- Firstly, they must be very kind and benevolent, and had not committed wrongdoings in their lives. In other words, they must have a good foundation for attaining Buddhahood.
Secondly, their thoughts are also very important. For example, while they are still alive, or just before they pass away, if they are determined and say, “I want to be reborn into the Western Pure Land of Ultimate Bliss,” then it would be possible for them to get there.
- You can recite Little Houses for this person to increase their spiritual power. Together with the compassion of Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, even if this person has already passed away, you can still help them to be reborn into the Western Pure Land of Ultimate Bliss.
- However, many deceased people have a great deal of karmic obstacles because they did not know how to perform recitations and cultivate their minds in the past. Even if you recite a large quantity of Little Houses for them, the best you could do is to help them to ascend to heaven. This is the highest realm that they can go.
If you would like to be reborn into the Western Pure Land of Ultimate Bliss:
- In fact, all Dharma Doors (approaches) are the same, as they all teach us to cultivate our minds and to eliminate karmic obstacles so that we would be able to ascend to heaven.
- However, one should note that the foundation for cultivating our minds is very important. We are just ordinary human beings, and we carry with us many karmic obstacles, as well as ignorance and bad habits accumulated from numerous past lives. Hence, if we would like to be reborn into the Western Pure Land of Ultimate Bliss, we must first cultivate and purify our bodies and minds. This can be achieved by cultivating our minds, changing our behaviours, reciting Buddhist scriptures, and performing meritorious deeds.
It is said that we can carry along our karma and be reborn into the Western Pure Land of Ultimate Bliss. However, this karma must be insignificant. It does not mean that we can carry all our negative karma along with us. The karma here refers to the minor karmic obstacles that still remain after we have cultivated our minds and practised Buddhism. In other words, they refer to the old karmic obstacles that were generated in the past, not the new ones generated recently. It is the stain that is left behind during the process of eliminating our past karma. This stain results from previous karmic obstacles that have not been completely eliminated.
As an analogy, you wrote something on a piece of paper, and then you erase what you had written. The remaining karma that we are able to carry along with us when we are reborn into the Western Pure Land of Ultimate Bliss can be likened to the remaining stain on this piece of paper. It does not mean that we can continuously generate new negative karma until the day we pass away or after we have become spiritually awakened and started learning Buddhism. Only when we stop generating new karma, and have eliminated past karma, and by continuously reciting the name of Amitabha Buddha in our minds, or by reciting the Amitabha Sutra during the period before we pass away, can we be reborn into the Western Pure Land of Ultimate Bliss.
- Master Lu has been teaching us that, when our foundation is not yet strong, our karmic obstacles are still high in quantity, and there are still many karmic creditors, we need to first eliminate our own afflictions and karmic obstacles through cultivation. Only then can we pray to be reborn into the Western Pure Land of Ultimate Bliss.
Imagine a person suffering from dementia or Ménière’s disease, falling into a coma from a stroke and lying in a hospital bed with tubes attached to their bodies; they only have limited consciousness. How can they recite the name of Amitabha Buddha before their passing and expect to be reborn into the Western Pure Land of Ultimate Bliss? It would be impossible.
- This is why Master Lu always teaches us to eradicate our worldly afflictions:
If we can eliminate our karmic obstacles, perform recitations to help karmic creditors ascend to a higher spiritual realm, improve our spiritual level, and purify our body and mind, then we can be reborn in the Western Pure Land of Ultimate Bliss by reciting the name of Amitabha Buddha when we reach the end of life. This is the fundamental foundation for our true nature.
Therefore, the practice of Guan Yin Citta Dharma Door has no conflict with the aspiration of being reborn in the Western Pure Land of Ultimate Bliss. It only emphases the need for us to rid our bodies and minds of karmic obstacles before we can be reborn in the Western Pure Land of Ultimate Bliss.
- In fact, the ultimate goal for Master Lu is to help everyone to transcend the cycle of rebirth within the six realms of existence. Therefore, the Western Pure Land of Ultimate Bliss is also one of the destinations that Master Lu hopes that all of us can reach through cultivation.
- Guan Yin Bodhisattva is one of the Three Saints of the Western Pure Land. We can cultivate our minds and practise Buddhism under Guan Yin Citta Dharma Door. When we have attained the perfect state of spiritual awakening, and wish to be reborn into the Western Pure Land of Ultimate Bliss, not only Guan Yin Bodhisattva but also Amitabha Buddha will come and lead us.