I've recently read Dr. Jeffrey Long's book "Evidence of the Afterlife: The Science of Near Death Experiences." It's the most recent and successful book published on the topic.
It's convinced me that the Pure Land is either real or certainly could be.
He's collected over 2500 stories of folks who died and came back. Many of these, like 40%, have visited a place that appears to be similar to a Pure Land. There are sights, sounds, etc all which resemble the Amitabha Sutra. People speak of a light that's so bright like a "million suns" but doesn't blind your eyes. There's heavenly music so amazing that they can't put it into words. One even saw a being 30 ft tall, surrounded by a lake, who was emitting pure compassion and love. She said when she waded into the waters, she lost all sense of self.
Regarding being "far away", many near death experiencers go super fast through a tunnel. Some talk about going through space. Some talk of visiting different "lands".
Not only that, but they are greeted by a number of powerful, super-compassionate beings at the end of the tunnel. Sometimes these are relatives, other times they appear as highly developed spiritual beings.
See any similarities to Pure Land here? Personally, I'm blown away by all this. These are not old tales told by old monks. These are materialistic westerners who's lives were completely changed by their experiences.
The website is http://www.nderf.org/
In my mind, these powerful experiences represent a real bridge to doubters, myself included, to help people realize that there is or definitely could be a pure land.