Buddha Amitabha (Amita) and the Eight Great Bodhisattvas, hanging scroll, mid-late 14th century (Freer Gallery of Art)
Pure Land Buddhism, the most popular of the Buddhist traditions in the East, remains surprisingly unknown in the West. The practice’s core principles center on the belief that prayer and contemplation on the celestial Buddha Amitabha can lead to rebirth in a pure land—a realm free from suffering that is an ideal steppingstone on the path to Nirvana. What sets it apart from other forms of Buddhism is that ordinary people can achieve Buddhahood no matter how long it may take, without the danger of backsliding, which is what makes it so appealing to many.
However, a closer look at its thought and practice reveals that Pure Land Buddhism is much more challenging than it seems. Charles B. Jones, professor of religion at the Catholic University of America, traces the practice’s history and shares some of the features and goals of this prevalent form of Buddhism.
Jones’ book Pure Land: History, Tradition and Practice is available for sale.
Book Sale Information
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