Sukhāvatīvyūha / Pure Land
Pure land refers to a buddha’s field free of contamination and suffering. The idea derives from the notion of buddhakṣetra (literally buddha-field), which is the dwelling place of an Enlightened One. That the multiple worlds each shelters a buddha is a key doctrine in Mahayana Buddhism. Such a pure and welldecorated field is guaranteed by the pure mind of the buddha therein – pure as opposed to the mundane world of the contaminated sentient beings. The Pure Land School focuses on the way to achieve liberation through chanting a buddha’s name, for example, Amitabha (literally unmeasured splendour), and taking rebirth in his pure land with the help of the buddha’s gracious vows.
When I have become Buddha, the bodhisattvas in my land will see immeasurable Buddha lands in the ten directions, adorned and pure, as far as they wish. When all my vows were fulfilled, the bejeweled trees would reflect this auspicious place, like a bright mirror reflecting one’s face. If it is otherwise, it will prove my failure to realize the Buddhahood. (The Larger Sukhāvatīvyūha Sutra)
If a bodhisattva succeeds in purifying his own mind, his land becomes a pure one. Then why was the world still full of foulness, before Shakyamuni (once a bodhisattva) attained the Buddhahood? Could it be that his mind was impure?… Sariputra! It is all due to the evil deeds of sentient beings that they fail to witness the splendor of the Buddha’s field. It is not Tathāgata’s (an epithet of the Buddha) fault. Sariputra! My land is pure, yet you fail to see it. (The Teaching of Vimalakīrti)