In China and Japan many millions of Buddhists have been – and in Japan still are – devotees of the Pure Land doctrine.
According to this a bodhisattva made a great vow which in time fulfilled itself as the manifestation of the Buddha Amitabha (infinite light), who created a Pure Land paradise in the West for those who would take his name with faith.
From this Pure Land it was easy to attain final Nirvana.
An old lady of this faith was walking along the road when she met a Zen master, who said to her,
‘On your way to the Pure Land, eh, Granny?’
‘Holy Amitabha’s there, waiting for you, I expect.’
She shook her head.
‘Not there ? The Buddha’s not in his Pure Land ? Where is he then ?’ She tapped twice over her heart, and went on her way.
The Zen master opened his eyes wide in appreciation, and said, ‘You are a real Pure Lander.’
© Trevor Leggett – The Pure Land