Pure Land Is Pure Mind
Q: I would like to find out more about the Pure Land. Can we be reborn in the Pure Land only when we recite "Namo Amitabha" before we die? Also, what does it mean to have a pure mind before dying in order to get there? Is the Pure Land a real, physical place or simply a state of mind? How can it be both at once? I understand that it is a real faraway place yet am told that it is here and now. I can't reconcile both and am very confused.
A: Rebirth in the Pure Land is the result of what is known as Buddha-Remembrance Samadhi. Attaining this samadhi may be done by a variety of means, one of which is recitation of Amitabha's name. Meditation, visualization and studying the Sutras are other ways in which this may be accomplished.
Having a pure mind simply means realizing one's true nature. In our school of Pure Land, the purified mind is the Pure Land itself and Amitabha Buddha is our True Nature.
The reason the Pure Land and the purified mind can be the same thing is due to the interpenetration of Principle and Phenomena. The mind-ground is the basis of reality itself, and both the underlying principle of the universe as well as its manifestations are woven into the fabric of what we call reality. It isn't necessary to try and reconcile both, particularly through logic and reason. This dual nature must be directly realized and has little to do with the discursive mind. Simply practice whatever Pure Land practice you may decide to practice (assuming you want to to this) and all will be well. Amitabha!