I have heard many stories and recollections about people having been to or seen the Western Pure Land giving its descriptions. However, this one is of particular affinity as it happened to someone very close to my good friend Kitty.
Kitty's grandfather (mother's side) passed away a couple of years ago. Her grandmother (the grandpa's wife) is still alive. After the grandpa's death, the grandma noticed a butterfly that came to her house every single day. It was always the same butterfly, she said. The funny thing is that if grandma is not in the house that day, the other people in the house would not see this butterfly. The hypothesis is that the butterfly is a manifestation of grandpa visiting his wife, which he could not let go of.
Fast forward a little... Kitty's father for a number of years suffered from cancer. He passed away last year. Weeks before his death his family and Buddhist friends, including Kitty, recited the Amitabha Sutra and Amitabha's name many times. Near the time of Kitty's father's death, they did this as a deathbed service with even greater intensity. Kitty's family has a Buddhist friend who can see what normal humans cannot. Just at the time of his death, this friend said the bardo of Kitty's dad was "on the way" to the Pure Land, but not exactly getting there yet as he still had not fully committed to go. Then Kitty's older brother spoke softly next to the ears of his father's corpse, something along the line of "Your body is now dead. You have to let go and move to the Pure Land. You do not have to worry about us. We will be fine and happy to see you go there." Soon after the seeing friend confirmed that Kitty's dad was successfully reborn to the Pure Land.
At around the time of this event, Kitty's family also recited the sutra to help grandpa go to the Western Pure Land too. After some time he did made it, as confirmed by the seeing friend.
What's so special about this story, other than it being told by a personal friend?
Some time after the passing away of Kitty's father, Kitty's grandma had a dream where she saw her husband (grandpa), her son-in-law (Kitty's dad) and a third person not familiar to her. The next morning grandma told the family about the dream and descriptions of the place the dream took place. Note that Kitty's grandma was not a Buddhist and almost illiterate - she could not have read Buddhist sutra. However, her description of the place was the same as that of the Western Pure Land according to the Amitabha Sutra.
I found this story to be inspiring.
And oh, the third person in the dream was probably one of the many Bodhisattva there, helping the two of them get in touch with close ones still stuck in our world, possibly with the purpose of bringing us confidence that the Pure Land is real and Amitabha's vows are valid.
Namas triya-dhvikānāṃ sarva tathāgatānām!