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Schools of Buddhism => Mahayana => Pure Land => Topic started by: Tirisilex on April 24, 2016, 03:21:19 pm

Title: Sukhāvatī to the west?
Post by: Tirisilex on April 24, 2016, 03:21:19 pm
I've been reading about Pure Land Buddhism.. And I'm having a difficult time understanding the idea that Sukhāvatī is to the west. To the west of what? If you get into an airplane and fly to the west trying to reach west you never will.. West will always go west. If you leave America and land in China there still will be a west. The World rotates and goes around the sun so West is like a spiraling tornado of direction. So when it says Sukhāvatī is to the west what does that mean?
Title: Re: Sukhāvatī to the west?
Post by: LetGo on April 26, 2016, 09:59:11 am
In Indian culture, the western direction was the "deathless oxcart" direction. It was the direction Shakyamuni faced when he died between the Sala trees. It refers to the future, the after life. Some took it to mean a cardinal direction satisfying the requirement of "place" for a sermon, but I think that's a bit of a stretch. Nowhere in the Pure Land sutras is it stated that one could get in a rocket ship and travel there. In English we often say "ride off into the sunset" instead of saying "to ​begin a new, ​happy ​life at the end of a ​story" - the Pure Land to the west is a little like this.
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