impure land ［穢土］ ( edo): Any land inhabited by those who are afflicted with earthly desires. The term is contrasted with “pure land,” meaning a tranquil and blissful realm where a Buddha lives. Many Buddhist scriptures describe the present world as an impure land and speak of distant pure lands inhabited by Buddhas and bodhisattvas. From this developed the idea that the present world, an impure realm of suffering and desire, is a place to be abhorred, and that one should seek rebirth in a pure land. Among others, the three sutras that form the doctrinal basis of the Pure Land school—the Buddha Infinite Life, Meditation on the Buddha Infinite Life, and Amida sutras—encourage people to aspire for rebirth in Amida Buddha’s Pure Land, the Western Paradise. In contrast, such scriptures as the Vimalakīrti Sutra teach that the purity or impurity of a land depends on the enlightenment or delusion of those who inhabit it. The “Life Span” (sixteenth) chapter of the Lotus Sutra says that the Buddha has always dwelt in the sahā world (this world, where one must endure suffering), which is, from the Buddha’s perspective, a pure land. See also pure land.