Vol XLX, No 11                       November, 2004
A Purfe Land free of Ego

The psychedelic description of the Pure Land
found in the Contemplation Sutra is fascinating.
A land of sparkling jewels – jeweled trees,
jeweled pavilions, towers, gold and silver
lined lakes and rivers, etc. A sample:

“Over these bannered pillars are jeweled curtains like
those in the palace of Yama, and these curtains
shine with five hundred kotis of rare and exquisite
jewels that serve as dazzling ornaments. Each jewel
shines with eighty-four thousand rays of light; each ray
of light glows with eighty-four thousand different shades
of gold; each golden ray of light illuminates the entire
jeweled ground and transforms itself into a different shape
in every place: here it becomes an adamantine pedestal, there it
forms pearl nets, and there clouds of various kinds of flowers. In all the
ten directions, it freely transforms itself and performs the works of the buddhas.
This is the perception of the flower throne which is called the seventh contemplation.”

This land is a land pure and free from ego, a pure land. Pure means
free from ego, as in pure and beautiful thoughts, pure and
beautiful wo rds, and pure and beautiful deeds. Free from ego
means pure and beautiful. The Pure Land thus is not
approachable by the ego since it is that reality which waxes as the ego
wanes. And since my ego says it is essential, my life is a constant
waxing and waning, with each pure and beautiful moment
assuring me of the jewel-like light  which is to come. Hence the
permanent condition of the Pure Land comes with death.
What does all this mean? That while dying is a matter of some
concern, with fear and trepidation;  death, as the end of the ego, is a
kind of commencement exercise with the assurance of entering the
jewel - like light. There is a Japanese saying:

If you do not see the gates to the Pure Land while alive, there is no Pure Land at death.
But having seen the gates while alive, do not assume you have passed through them.

Namo Makashimasu
Rev. Mas