Manjushri, the wisest of all the Bodhisattvas, advocated practicing the Pure Land Dharma and vowed to be reborn to the Western Bliss Pure Land: “I vow at the end of my life, to extinguish all my afflictions, see Amitabha [come greet me], and be reborn to the Pure Land.”
Great Strength Bodhisattva was quoted in the Shurangama Sutra’s Great Strength’s perfect penetration chapter: “On my causal ground, I originally used the reciting the Buddha’s name mind to enter the Patience of Non-Production [become enlightened]; now in this world, I gather in those who recite the Buddha’s name and bring them back to the Pure Land.”
Universal Worthy Bodhisattva, according to the Avatamsaka Sutra, is one of the Good Knowing Advisers that the Good Wealth Bodhisattva visited to request the Dharma for enlightenment. He told Good Wealth: “The Ten Great King Vows guide living beings to return to the Pure Land,” to accomplish the Buddha fruition.
Vasubandhu Bodhisattva, in the Rebirth Shastra, taught the five Dharma Doors of bowing, praising, making vows, contemplating, and making transference. When they are cultivated to accomplishment, one will obtain rebirth in the Pure Land and see Amitabha Buddha.
Dragon Tree Bodhisattva was quoted in a Shastra as saying: “The BuddhaDharma has countless Dharma Doors. Like worldly paths, some are difficult to cultivate and others are easy. To quickly attain the non-retreating ground, one should use the reverent mind to uphold and recite the Buddha’s name.”
Ma Ming (Horse’s Cry) Bodhisattva, said in the Shastra of Bringing Forth the Faith: “The most expedient Dharma Door is to single-mindedly recite the Buddha’s name. It enables one to immediately obtain rebirth and non-retreat.”
Clearly, they know something that we don’t. Shouldn’t we follow their lead?
When I was a novice monk, one of my elder Dharma brothers proudly proclaimed that he did not wish to be reborn to the Pure Land! Why not? – because he intends to be reborn as a human and continue to cross over living beings.
I was impressed by his magnanimous vow.
However, I now realize that it was a marketing ploy. How can he be assured that he will return as a human being? At this point, he has not put an end to birth and death. In fact, he’s very far away from it! I doubt very much that he could become enlightened this lifetime! Until you become enlightened, you have no control over your revolution in the Wheel.
I would rather aim for rebirth in the Pure Land, where the environment is ideal for cultivation. I vow not return to the Wheel and try to save others until after I become enlightened, so that I will know how to do it. I would rather not teach others when I’m confused because they will fare as well without me. Until I do become enlightened, it would be better (and safer) to teach and transmit the Patriarch’s teachings. I also advise my fellow left-home colleagues to seek out an enlightened teacher and cultivate under before venturing out on their own (like having their own temple or disciples); let’s not perpetuate our ignorance!