To take birth in the most sublime pure realms, one must have reached the eighth Bodhisattva Ground. For the middling pure realms, one must have already eliminated the coarse and subtle afflictive obscurations. To be born in the pristine abodes, one must have stopped grasping onto a personal identity and the identity of phenomena. If one has not committed any infractions of one's vows and one makes pure prayers, it is just possible that one may take birth in Tusita. As Atiyoga practitioners, you must keep your samayas and continue practicing until you attain the point of the extinction into reality-itself, which is the ultimate realization of the Great Perfection. Until then, you must continue practicing hearing and thinking about the Dharma, maintain your meditation practice, and attend to the nature of actions and their consequences. You must also continue to cultivate mindfulness, introspection, and conscientiousness.
However, the Protector Amitabha himself has promised that one may take birth in his pure realm due to the power of his prayers. Thus, you should strive with your body, speech, and mind in prayer to be born in the realm of Sukhavati. Ridding yourself of doubt, uncertainty, and spiritual sloth, with great and swift certainty and enthusiasm bring to mind the splendor and benefits of the realm of Sukhavati, and pray. Sukhavati is superior to the realms of other Buddhas in these ways: it is greater because it is possible for ordinary individuals with mental afflictions to be born there. And if you take birth there, all that you wish for is accomplished as soon as you think of it; you are not tainted by even subtle mental afflictions; and you may go from there to the realms of other Buddhas. Thus, it is superior. Sukhavati is endowed with inconceivable benefits, including the swifter attainment of Buddhahood there than in other pure realms. There is no other pure realm within closer reach than Sukhavati, so it is extremely important to strive in prayer to be reborn there.
For individuals with mental afflictions, there is a loophole that can enable them to take birth in a Buddha realm. The Protector Amitabha promised that one may take birth in his pure realm due to the power of his prayers. Thus with your body, speech, and mind focus on this goal; it is good to offer prayers from the sutras and hidden treasure teachings to be reborn in Sukhavati. Many such prayers are found in each of the four orders of Tibetan Buddhism, as well as in the Chinese Buddhist tradition. Like prepared food and drink, they are ready to be eaten and drunk.
With complete certainty and enthusiasm, bring to mind the benefits of the realm of Sukhavati and pray to be reborn there. While you may find that you have a lot of energy for mundane things, you may still be totally overcome by spiritual sloth, which comes from grasping onto a personal identity. We think that we are important. We consider everything we do to be important. We may even say that our activities are for the sake of sentient beings, while they are truly for our own gratification. Then we cover up this self-centeredness by glossing it with the phrase, "This is altruistic; it's for the sake of the teachings and for sentient beings." This is like dumplings stuffed with rotten meat.
If we look to the Buddhas, pandits, siddhas, and yogis of India, China, and Tibet, we find that they all have engaged in a gradual practice of Dharma, by finding and maintaining their own appropriate level of practice. The Buddha taught 84,000 collections of teachings, but he did not say that we should each try to practice them all. Rather, in this vast ocean of teaching, we need to determine what is appropriate for ourselves. We need to seek out which aspect, when put into practice, really alleviates our mental afflictions. There is a Tibetan aphorism that it is very hard to sew with a doublepointed needle. Similarly, it is hard to get anything done if your mind is two-pointed. Therefore, as long as you have not committed any of the five deeds of immediate retribution or abandoned the Dharma, if you pray with the total focus of your prayer to be reborn in Sukhavati, you will be. Although it says that this will happen after praying earnestly ten times, do not let this be an excuse for succumbing to fickleness in your prayers or your Dharma practice in general. Continue to pray not just once, or ten times, but rather pray at all times.
The moment you take birth in the pure realm of Sukhavati, you can instantaneously visit any other Buddha realm. Once there, you can listen to Dharma as well as engage in the practice of Dharma in other pure realms. Then you can travel back home to Sukhavati and resume your practice there. Thus, The Splendor of Sukhavati Sutra, The Great Mound of Jewels Sutra, The Splendor of Amitabha Sutra, The [Holy Dharma of the] White Lotus Sutra, The Spell of the Sound of the Drum, and the teachings of Orgyen Rinpoche are all in agreement that unless you have committed any of the five acts of immediate retribution or abandoned the Dharma, if you single-pointedly pray to be reborn in that pure realm, you can take birth in the realm of Sukhavati. Moreover, it is said that you will be born there after earnestly praying ten times. That is due to the power of prayer of Buddha Amitabha, so it is crucial to make prayers for that pure realm.
Our faith must be unwavering. Together with this firm conviction and the power of the prayer of Amitabha, Sukhavati is exactly where we will be born. In fact, there have been many people in Tibet who have had this type of faith, and they indeed took rebirth there. However, bear in mind that this type of certainty is not enough. It must be coupled with the cultivation of virtue. If you devote yourself to the cultivation of virtue, pray to Amitabha, and do not commit any of the five deeds of immediate retribution, you may have total confidence in taking rebirth in Sukhavati. If you do have doubt, even if you are born in that pure realm, the lotus flower in which you are born will not open for a long time. In that case, your meeting with the Buddha will be postponed. For that reason alone, cast aside all doubt.
What good is it to be born there? There is no suffering in taking birth in that realm, for your body is instantly brought forth in miraculous birth in the midst of a flower. Everyone without exception who is born there has a golden-colored body adorned with the signs and symbols of enlightenment and possesses incalculable extrasensory perception and paranormal abilities. In that realm you never even hear of the sufferings of illness, harmful spirits, enemies, famine, and so on. Whoever is born there is free of the five poisons of attachment, hatred, delusion, pride, and jealousy. The duration of one eon in our world is the equivalent of one day in the realm of Sukhavati, and even in a quadrillion of its years there is no death, no illness, and no aging.
Whatever you desire in terms of food, clothing, enjoyments, and things to offer to the Buddha comes spontaneously with the mere thought of such things. There is no need to acquire them with effort, to preserve them, or make a living. Without needing to experience the suffering of the ripening of all your present sins and obscurations, they are purified by encountering Amitabha, making prostrations, circumambulations, and offerings, and by listening to the Dharma. Due to your unimpeded paranormal abilities and extrasensory perception, you may go to all the Buddha realms, meet the Buddhas, listen to Dharma, and with these connections serve as a guide to sentient beings. In the evening there is nothing to obstruct your paranormal ability to return to Sukhavati.
Through the great kindness of Karma Chagme and Amitabha, we are given a very viable possibility of taking birth in Sukhavati. If you apply yourself to virtue, avoid nonvirtue, and pray to Amitabha and Karma Chagme, this is accessible to you. Conversely, if you ignore the cultivation of virtue, you will have no spiritual practice and certainly no growth or realization.
Due to the roots of virtue from writing this, may I and all those who have gained a connection with me and all those who have gained a connection with this manual of instruction experience in this life longevity, freedom from illness, and the growth of experiential realization. As soon as we pass away from this life, may we miraculously be reborn in the realm of Sukhavati, and never be separated from Amitabha.
~ Karma Chagme - A Spacious Path to Freedom: Practical Instructions on the Union of Mahamudra and Atiyoga