Of course our goal is to attain liberation and enlightenment in this lifetime. But that goal seems so far off and so unattainable (this I need to work on), that sometimes it is not a very motivating goal because it seems undoable. In contrast, getting to the pure land when I die (or before) definitely seems something that is doable, and VGL has said that it is possible for me (and I have received other signs). So for me, this seems quite doable, and as such it drives me. Reaching the pure land itself has almost the same effect as liberation and enlightenment, because once we reach it, we are free from uncontrolled rebirth, our enlightenment is guarranteed, and all of our experiences are pure.
In reality, reaching the pure land is not as hard as it seems. We do not have to die to reach the pure land, rather it is just an issue of completely changing our conceptions of what appears with unshakable and self-reproducing convictions. If I have complete, 100% conviction that I am in the pure land, I actually am in the pure land. A pure land is, in essence, a tantric bodhisattva training ground. In a pure land everything teaches us the truth of Dharma and everything functions to bring us closer to enlightenment. This is what makes a pure land a pure land.
So how can we abide in the pure land now. It is an issue of firmly believing in a few key views. First, if I believe that everything that arises is emanated by Dorje Shugden and in fact the entire universe has forever and always been emanated by him, then he enters into everything. I see everything as emanated by him. This means I strongly believe that everything that arises is a perfect condition for the enlightenment of myself and others. With this conviction, I will then be blessed with the wisdom blessings to understand how this is the case. I will know not only that it is perfect for the enlightenment of myself and others, I will know how and why. I will know what I need to practice and I will see the conditions I have as perfect for practicing exactly what it is that I need to practice. Experientially, I will be in the pure land.
Additionally, the world I normally inhabit is a question of view – nothing more. Viewed from an ordinary point of view, it is samsara. When I maintain this view, I suffer from what appears. If, instead, I view what normally appears as the charnel grounds, strongly believing everything to be part of Keajra, then for me, that is what it will be. Ordinary beings view this as samsara, I choose to view it as the charnel grounds. If I maintain absolute conviction in that conception of things, again, Heruka will enter into everything. I will then receive his blessings through everything. I will see how everything either teaches me some aspect of Dharma or gives me an opportunity to practice something I need to practice. From the point of view of my experience, I will be in the pure land.
Finally, the key to building and maintaining this experience is to be able to transform whatever I experience into the path. There are two things I normally experience: suffering and pleasure. Normally, when I experience suffering I generate aversion and anger and when I experience pleasure I generate attacment. Instead, when I experience suffering, I use all of the practices for transforming adverse conditions into the path (we do this most of the time since most of our experiences in samsara are of suffering). And when I experience pleasure, I need to transform this with the practices of tantra. I need to spend some time contemplating the different ways in which I can transform pleasant experiences into the path. I have less expereince of that, even at the conceptual level. So I need to do some work here. But the point is there are many ways of doing so, most notably in the tantras. If I can master both of these – transforming unpleasant experiences with lojong and transforming pleasant experiences with tantra, then I will be able to transform whatever I experience into the path. Everything I experience will push me closer to enlightenment. Again, I will make it to the pure land.
I, of course, need to practice all three of these methods simultaneously, but I also think there is a certain sequence to them. First, that it is all emanated by Dorje Shugden or taking place within his protection circle. Then I see things as the charnel grounds. Then, within this conception of my reality, I will experience things. As I experience these things, I transform them with lojong and tantra. If I do all three of these things, for all practical purposes, I will experience my reality as being the pure land. Just as the pure land is not technically liberation and enlightenment, but practically has the same function; so too, with these convictions I may not technically be n the pure land, but practically it will have the same function. By gaining more and more experience with these three, I will always be happy (since I will feel as if I am already in the pure land) and I will very quickly transport myself to the actual pure land.
In short, the pure land is not another place, it is rather another point of view.