There is also Mipham's general commentary on Pure Land practice, Sun-Like Instructions of a Sage, which is worth taking note of.
A translation of which is here:
https://www.academia.edu/35095965/JU_MI ... D_PRACTICE
With regard to your third question in the OP, Mipham on On Pure Land Practice Signs:
- In brief, after having understood the qualities associated with being born in the pure land and the way in which you are born there, you should strive to continuously generate as much faithful diligence as you can every day and night, and dedicate all roots of virtue towards being born in the pure land. If you practice in that way, there will be signs. Those of highest capacity will actually behold the guide Amitabha in this life, receive a prophecy, and gain assurance of being born in the pure land; those of middling capacity will receive blessings in the way of experience; and even those of lowest capacity will have dreams with the features of the pure land and the teacher.
Though you may lack clear signs—let alone repeatedly engendering faith and aspiration in this life—if someone makes you hear the name of the buddha on the verge of death and you generate the aspiration to be born in the pure land, you will be born there. This is so because, no matter how clear your perception may be at the time of death, they possess an incredible power because of the buddha’s extraordinary prayers. Even remembering the buddha’s name in the intermediate state (bar do) will cause you to be immediately born in the pure land since you are easily transformed in the intermediate state and the power of the buddha’s prayers is extremely great.
Needless to say, applying the key points of practice in this [life], at the moment of death, and in the intermediate state is crucial. It is thus only logical that anyone with intelligence and good fortune would take as a yogic practice this foremost method which conveniently draws the marvellous bodhisattva qualities into your mindstream with little difficulty based on the Bliss Gone One’s teachings.