Living in the pure land now

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.

7 thoughts on “Living in the pure land now

  1. This is a wonderful explanation of reaching the pure land in this lifetime. Can you explain for me what is the ‘charnel ground’ that I’m to view this world as? I have HYT empowerment, but I don’t understand that point. Thank you.

    • The charnel grounds are eight different areas, like different countries, that surround the mandalas of Heruka and Vajrayogini. From the perspective of appearance, they are filled with some pretty scary looking things like corpses and flesh-eaters (think scary parts of Harry Potter movies), but from the perspective of conception everything is actually by nature Heruka and Vajrayogini and all of the elements of the charnel grounds reveal all of the stages of the path. I think they are most easily understood as training grounds at the pure land. Tantric bodhisattvas who have taken rebirth in the pure land can go to the charnel grounds and transform the conditions they find, so they get the benefits of still being in samsara while actually being in the pure land. At the ITTP several years ago, the teacher talked about how the world we inhabit is from one perspective samsara but from another perspective can be viewed as the charnel grounds – in reality it is neither, but depends upon our view. So what I try do is imagine that my normal reality is actually part of the charnel grounds so I feel like I am always in the pure land – during the meditation session I focus on being in the mandala, and in the meditation break I am training in the charnel grounds. I then think that the beings I see in my ordinary world do not realize they are in the pure land, they think they are in samsara. But I understand they are in the pure land so I can try help them see the spiritual lessons in all that appears. You can find detailed explanations of the charnel grounds, including the symbolism of all that appears, in Guide to Dakini Land and Essence of Vajrayana.

  2. Dear Vajrasattva,

    Today i dreamt that i was in an ordinary world experiencing 8 worldly concerns. I truly enjoyed them. I truly believed a variety of things. But i forget you are the 8 worldly concerns, so very kind. I accept your gifts. I keep forgetting who gives these gifts, where they come from, so i forget to thank you when they appear and disappear.

    I realise that you illuminate what is impure so that the pure can be seen. You are the light in a dark room, the day during the night. You are that angry mind. You are the sugar in my tea. You are my greatest delusion. You are my samsara. You are the vows i break, you are the laziness, you are always the silent watcher, aware, still, illuminating, radiating purity in the fog of ignorance.

    Speak through me, flow through me with force, clarity and wisdom. May it be you who is seen and experienced in all things. May those who have faith in you swiftly see the pure land.

  3. Kadam Ryan gives a great response of the charnel grounds.

    In essence the charnel grounds reflect the disgusting impurity of samsara as an appearance to mind. Since the charnel grounds are frightening, harsh and revolting, a practitioner can transform everyday ordinary frightening harsh appearances into a generated pure land. The feeling is that even in the pure land these appearances are nothing more than a show of bliss and emptiness, mere appearance, yet in samsara they feel very, very real. Next time you become scared, you are in the charnel grounds, your training arena. Bliss and emptiness. The more acquainted with generation stage one becomes the better. The harsher your samsara, the more you notice the charnel grounds. Then your mind transcends conception and ordinary appearance.

    Effectively, one learns to funnel the impure to the pure and realize it’s true nature. So every impure appearance can illuminate purity for us, if one trains in this fashion.

    Action Tantra, is so, so, so profound and beneficial to HYT practice. Generation stage gets easier with Action Tantra.

  4. Thanks so much … could you help me by expanding on …

    Action Tantra, is so, so, so profound and beneficial to HYT practice. Generation stage gets easier with Action Tantra.

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