Spiny Norman wrote:
It is not the case that Pure Land is describing jhana realms, or anything like them, nor is it describing destinations for non-returners; this is a false equivalency between the descriptors employed in either case (Nikaya v Pure Land), and is misleading.
The Pure Abodes do seem to crop up in a number of suttas - here's another:
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .nymo.html
Pure Abodes are for non-returners.
Please find any Pure Land Sutra, and show us what the requirements are for entry. We can then compare that to the qualities of a non-returner.
Shorter Sukhāvatīvyūha Sūtra wrote:
Pure Land Rebirth Mantra:
namo amitābhāya tathāgatāya tadyathā
amṛtod bhave amṛta siddhaṃ bhave
amṛta vikrānte amṛta vikrānta gāmini
gagana kīrta-kāre svāhā
For one who recites this mantra, Amitābha Buddha will constantly abide at the crown of the head, and after dying, he or she will be assigned this rebirth.
e.g. SN 22.89
I fail to see any similarity.
If you want to try another method, you can try to find a place where recollection of the Buddha is stated to lead to non-return. Then all you have to do is set up the equivalency Buddha = Amitabha...
Now, perhaps, in a spirit of ecumenism and interfaith cooperation, we might play around with the idea that recollection of, say, Jesus is okay, because reason X (blah blah New Age syncretism or whatever). After all, if we're going to fit Amitabha in there, Jesus can come too, Laozi can tag along, it's all good.
I simply draw a line before letting such figures count as one-third of the Triple Gem.
Teachings leading to dispassion are all possibly lump-able under 'Dhamma', but this is precisely because
of the Buddha Teaching His Sangha such Dhammic criteria as these.
I don't decry others their manipulations of the Dhamma in service of making them locally relevant; I do mind rebranding, misunderstanding aspects, ignoring aspects, making up aspects that do not have provenance with the historical Buddha upon whom we rely for all this... and so on.