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PostPosted: Sat Oct 19, 2013 2:40 am 
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Jikan; as a Tendai doshu you owe Ven. Indrajala an apology, first, accusing him of slander (bad enough!) and then secondly, in your last post you cut his full comment. which was:

Ven Indrajala:

"Sure, but some teachings take it to an extreme and assume if you just change your diet and recite a mistranslated Sanskrit phrase you'll somehow get an entry ticket into heaven, and maybe get your less than virtuous relatives in as well provided you get the good graces of a certain buddha or two."


Finally more scholarship not personal opinion. From J.Ford's "Jokei and Buddhist Devotion in Early Feudal Japan"

"In concludsion, Jokei's emphasis on a variety of devotional practices is rooted in the larger Buddhist tradition. HIs efforts and specific adoption of rhetorical categories such as "other-power" were aimed not so much as competing with exclusive nenbutsu but in correcting what he saw as a one-sided understanding of them. Again, eclecticism in practice and devotion was the norm both for the tradition and the age. Exclusivity -....was a minority position. Indeed, in this respect, Jokei was far more representitive of his age than Honen" p. 138

gassho
Rory

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PostPosted: Sat Oct 19, 2013 3:00 am 
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Rory,
If you go back to Jikan's first post he already put down the full statement.
Jokei had a different understanding but it is a different topic from this thread.

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PostPosted: Sat Oct 19, 2013 3:22 am 
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Lotus415 wrote:
I do not understand why people like you feel obsessed to prove how you are "right" and thousands of years of Buddha practice and accomplished masters are somehow "wrong".


It is perfectly acceptable to have an opinion on what constitutes the right path, and also stick by it despite what others feel or say.

I find Pure Land philosophy inconsistent and simply unappealing. It moreover seems contrary to a lot of what I would think constitutes Buddhadharma. The idea of attempting to escape the world and achieve eventual liberation by hoping for rebirth in a celestial paradise at death based on the purported vows of a buddha is hardly in line with early Buddhism or even more mainstream Indian Mahāyāna.

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PostPosted: Sat Oct 19, 2013 3:34 am 
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Jikan wrote:
I'm interested to find out if you stand by your earlier characterization of Pure Land practice (quoted in my earlier post, to which you replied here).


My experience with Chinese Pure Land as it is practiced and understood by common folk is effectively summed up by what I said. They believe strongly in the virtues of vegetarianism and often demand it as a requisite factor before identifying as a "Buddhist". They are quick to condemn others who eat meat and call themselves Buddhist. They often believe vegetarianism is a prerequisite for any kind of spiritual attainment. The idea of a monk eating meat, which is his right, is unimaginable.

Also, their recitation of an archaic Chinese transliteration of Sanskrit Namo Amitābha Buddha is in fact mistransliterated, just as all their mantras and dhāraṇīs are.

Their tradition(s) insist on recitation of the primary incantation, vegetarianism and upholding the basic precepts as requisites for achieving rebirth in a celestial paradise where everything will be pleasant and agreeable as promised in the sacred scriptures. If your relatives die, it is widely believed you can generate merit on their behalf through various ritual means and offerings to clergy, thereby ensuring their rebirth in said celestial paradise.

So my characterization is justified.

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PostPosted: Sat Oct 19, 2013 3:38 am 
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Nighthawk wrote:
So you're incapable of slander because of your status as a monk?


I might slander other things, but never the Dharma.

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PostPosted: Sat Oct 19, 2013 3:39 am 
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The idea of birth in the Pure Land is not escapism, although I admit that some Pure Land Buddhists may have that idea. The idea in general Pure Land Buddhism is that is a more conductive place for practice towards Enlightenment; in Shin Buddhism, it is where we attain the same buddhahood as the Buddhas, and then return to samsara or other lands to help liberate other beings. It is not some "celestial heaven" like some deva land to enjoy pleasures (but admittedly some Pure Land Buddhists may have this idea) but a realm of Enlightenment.
Great Masters such as Nagarjuna and Vasubhandhu also aspired for birth in Amitabha's Pure Land, and exhorted others to do so. Are they escapists? I don't think so, since they were bodhisattvas who founded the foundation of Mahayana.

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Contemplating the power of Tathagata's Primal Vow,
One sees that no foolish being who encounters it passes by in vain.
When a person single-heartedly practices the saying of the Name alone,
It brings quickly to fullness and perfection [in that person] the great treasure ocean of true and real virtues.
- Shinran Shonin


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 19, 2013 3:43 am 
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Dodatsu wrote:
The idea in general Pure Land Buddhism is that is a more conductive place for practice towards Enlightenment; in Shin Buddhism, it is where we attain the same buddhahood as the Buddhas, and then return to samsara or other lands to help liberate other beings.


In which case, why not hasten one's postmortem entry into the Pure Land? The sooner you get there, the sooner your attainment of buddhahood with which to benefit many more beings than you could as a mundane bodhisattva on earth.

Quote:
Great Masters such as Nagarjuna and Vasubhandhu also aspired for birth in Amitabha's Pure Land, and exhorted others to do so.


Where exactly does Nāgārjuna suggest this?

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PostPosted: Sat Oct 19, 2013 4:18 am 
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Indrajala wrote:
Dodatsu wrote:
The idea in general Pure Land Buddhism is that is a more conductive place for practice towards Enlightenment; in Shin Buddhism, it is where we attain the same buddhahood as the Buddhas, and then return to samsara or other lands to help liberate other beings.


In which case, why not hasten one's postmortem entry into the Pure Land? The sooner you get there, the sooner your attainment of buddhahood with which to benefit many more beings than you could as a mundane bodhisattva on earth.

Quote:
Great Masters such as Nagarjuna and Vasubhandhu also aspired for birth in Amitabha's Pure Land, and exhorted others to do so.


Where exactly does Nāgārjuna suggest this?


There were cases of people who hastened their birth in the PL by committing suicide, but as Buddhists we are not allowed to take the lives of others, what more ourselves?
As for Nagarjuna, it can be found here:
http://www12.canvas.ne.jp/horai/igyohon.htm

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Contemplating the power of Tathagata's Primal Vow,
One sees that no foolish being who encounters it passes by in vain.
When a person single-heartedly practices the saying of the Name alone,
It brings quickly to fullness and perfection [in that person] the great treasure ocean of true and real virtues.
- Shinran Shonin


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 19, 2013 4:42 am 
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Dodatsu wrote:
There were cases of people who hastened their birth in the PL by committing suicide, but as Buddhists we are not allowed to take the lives of others, what more ourselves?
As for Nagarjuna, it can be found here:
http://www12.canvas.ne.jp/horai/igyohon.htm


Ah yes. I remember this.

Like most Indian Buddhist literature, you need to take such ideas as figurative ideals. A lot of dhāraṇī literature expressly states a dhāraṇī when uttered eliminates ALL past unwholesome karma, nevertheless you still experience the ripening of it. So, perhaps being in the Pure Land can convey a lot of benefits, though the noted features are figurative ideals, not literally true.

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PostPosted: Sat Oct 19, 2013 4:57 am 
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The Pure Land is the idea of Nirvana being expressed through form (ie. Form is Emptiness; Emptiness is Form in the Heart Sutra). Without Form sentient beings cannot fathom or understand Nirvana, that's why the Pure Land is expressed as such in the Sutras. That's how Shinran Shonin views the Pure Land as expressed here:
http://www.shinranworks.com/commentarie ... notes3.htm

Busy with Hoonko Thanksgiving Service so can't copy and paste the whole article, those interested can have a look at it themselves.

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Contemplating the power of Tathagata's Primal Vow,
One sees that no foolish being who encounters it passes by in vain.
When a person single-heartedly practices the saying of the Name alone,
It brings quickly to fullness and perfection [in that person] the great treasure ocean of true and real virtues.
- Shinran Shonin


Last edited by Dodatsu on Sat Oct 19, 2013 5:21 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sat Oct 19, 2013 5:01 am 
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Indrajala wrote:
Dodatsu wrote:
There were cases of people who hastened their birth in the PL by committing suicide, but as Buddhists we are not allowed to take the lives of others, what more ourselves?
As for Nagarjuna, it can be found here:
http://www12.canvas.ne.jp/horai/igyohon.htm


Ah yes. I remember this.

Like most Indian Buddhist literature, you need to take such ideas as figurative ideals. A lot of dhāraṇī literature expressly states a dhāraṇī when uttered eliminates ALL past unwholesome karma, nevertheless you still experience the ripening of it. So, perhaps being in the Pure Land can convey a lot of benefits, though the noted features are figurative ideals, not literally true.


From what I learn, in Shin Buddhism we don't say that ALL karma is eliminated, but it can be lightened through "turning 転", there's a stanza which expresses this idea:
http://www.shinranworks.com/commentarie ... notes2.htm

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Contemplating the power of Tathagata's Primal Vow,
One sees that no foolish being who encounters it passes by in vain.
When a person single-heartedly practices the saying of the Name alone,
It brings quickly to fullness and perfection [in that person] the great treasure ocean of true and real virtues.
- Shinran Shonin


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 19, 2013 5:28 am 
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Indrajala wrote:
Also, their recitation of an archaic Chinese transliteration of Sanskrit Namo Amitābha Buddha is in fact mistransliterated, just as all their mantras and dhāraṇīs are.


One minute syllables are not sacred, the next minute they apparently are.
Could you at least make up your mind on this issue?
BTW- you never answered me what Pure Land practitioners are vocalizing nembutsu/nianfo who don't know that it refers to the Buddha of Infinite Light/Life?

Most traditions believe in merit transference.

Celestial paradise (as a staging ground for Enlightenment) not in early Buddhism?
Haven't read much of the Anguttara Nikaya have you?


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 19, 2013 8:12 am 
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PorkChop wrote:
One minute syllables are not sacred, the next minute they apparently are.


You misunderstand.

Whether something is sacred is entirely subjective and up to the individual. That being said, you might as well pronounce the Sanskrit properly rather than archaic transliterated Chinese renditions.


Quote:
BTW- you never answered me what Pure Land practitioners are vocalizing nembutsu/nianfo who don't know that it refers to the Buddha of Infinite Light/Life?


I'm sure they all know what it means. I just think focusing exclusively on it is at odds with what the Buddha himself apparently taught as essential to liberation.

Whatever people do is up to them. I'm not the Dharma police. However, I would encourage people into what I feel are far more productive and essential practices and mindsets.


Quote:
Celestial paradise (as a staging ground for Enlightenment) not in early Buddhism?
Haven't read much of the Anguttara Nikaya have you?


This is not the same as trying to escape the world by getting into the Pure Land, placing your bets on a hope, so to speak, based on statements in scripture which are clearly idealistic and figurative.

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PostPosted: Sat Oct 19, 2013 10:31 am 
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Quote:
I'm sure they all know what it means. I just think focusing exclusively on it is at odds with what the Buddha himself apparently taught as essential to liberation.

Whatever people do is up to them. I'm not the Dharma police. However, I would encourage people into what I feel are far more productive and essential practices and mindsets.


Then for those who practice the Pure Land Path it is the practice of the Nembutsu that yields productive effects. You can disagree with the practice, even the Buddha said it is the most difficult to fathom, but it is the easiest Path for those who wish to attain liberation if they find themselves incapable to practice other paths.

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Contemplating the power of Tathagata's Primal Vow,
One sees that no foolish being who encounters it passes by in vain.
When a person single-heartedly practices the saying of the Name alone,
It brings quickly to fullness and perfection [in that person] the great treasure ocean of true and real virtues.
- Shinran Shonin


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 19, 2013 10:40 am 
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Quote:
Whether something is sacred is entirely subjective and up to the individual. That being said, you might as well pronounce the Sanskrit properly rather than archaic transliterated Chinese renditions.


Quote:
This is not the same as trying to escape the world by getting into the Pure Land, placing your bets on a hope, so to speak, based on statements in scripture which are clearly idealistic and figurative.


Since it's subjective and personal, then for Pure Land Buddhists the Three Pure Land Sutras are sacred, so in this case we hold it as the Buddha's exhortation.

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Contemplating the power of Tathagata's Primal Vow,
One sees that no foolish being who encounters it passes by in vain.
When a person single-heartedly practices the saying of the Name alone,
It brings quickly to fullness and perfection [in that person] the great treasure ocean of true and real virtues.
- Shinran Shonin


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 19, 2013 10:42 am 
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Quote:
Whether something is sacred is entirely subjective and up to the individual. That being said, you might as well pronounce the Sanskrit properly rather than archaic transliterated Chinese renditions.


Quote:
This is not the same as trying to escape the world by getting into the Pure Land, placing your bets on a hope, so to speak, based on statements in scripture which are clearly idealistic and figurative.


Since it's subjective and personal, then for Pure Land Buddhists the Three Pure Land Sutras are sacred, so in this case we hold it as the Buddha's exhortation. You may find it idealistic and figurative, but for us we hold it as "authoritative" ( for lack of a better word) and sacred. So in this context we have different understanding.

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Contemplating the power of Tathagata's Primal Vow,
One sees that no foolish being who encounters it passes by in vain.
When a person single-heartedly practices the saying of the Name alone,
It brings quickly to fullness and perfection [in that person] the great treasure ocean of true and real virtues.
- Shinran Shonin


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 19, 2013 10:56 am 
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I am really beginning to wonder why it seems to be Pure Land that "Indrajala" is very against. Since he seems intent on protecting/promoting supposed "pure" Buddhism, according to his personal qualifications, I wonder why he doesn't spend time talking against Tibetan Buddhism or post things on those subforums ?

I find his comment in regards to his supposed speaking engagement at a Theravadin temple in Singapore, where he mentions he spoke against Pure Land practice, rather telling - what is this axe he has to grind with Pure Land, and why even mention, almost gloatingly, that he succeeded at upsetting a man at that Therevadin temple who happened to be a Pure Land practitioner?


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 19, 2013 11:28 am 
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Lotus415 wrote:
... I wonder why he doesn't spend time talking against Tibetan Buddhism or post things on those subforums ?


Not so long ago some people were complaining I had a severe bias against Tibetan Buddhism.



Quote:
I find his comment in regards to his supposed speaking engagement at a Theravadin temple in Singapore, where he mentions he spoke against Pure Land practice, rather telling - what is this axe he has to grind with Pure Land, and why even mention, almost gloatingly, that he succeeded at upsetting a man at that Therevadin temple who happened to be a Pure Land practitioner?


I basically told him that Śākyamuni never taught Pure Land sūtras. He was rather upset by this remark and insisted otherwise. I told him this is the opinion of scholars.

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PostPosted: Sat Oct 19, 2013 11:56 am 
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I basically told him that Śākyamuni never taught Pure Land sūtras. He was rather upset by this remark and insisted otherwise. I told him this is the opinion of scholars.


Then according to these same scholars, neither were the other Mahayana sutras, because the earlier Mahayana Sutras were all composed at least five centuries after the Buddha's Parinirvana. Even the Pali Canon was not composed during the Buddha's time but much later.
However, many scholars also agree that the Pure Land Sutras were composed during early Mahayana, together with the Prajnaparamita, Lotus and Flower Adornment Sutras.
And as I have remarked earlier, we can quote all the different scholars and their writings, but ultimately those writings will not lead us to liberation from samsara.

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It has been said that those who do not know [the importance of] the afterlife are foolish, even though they may understand eighty thousand sutras and teachings; those who know about the afterlife are wise, even though they may be unlettered men and women who have renounced the world while remaining in lay life. The import of our tradition is, therefore, that for those who do not realize the significance of the one thought-moment of faith— even though they may diligently read the various scriptures and be widely informed—all is in vain. This you should know.

Therefore, as the Master [Shinran] has said, no men or women will ever be saved without entrusting themselves to Amida’s Primal Vow. Hence there should be no doubt at all that those who abandon the sundry practices and, with [the awakening of] the one thought-moment, deeply entrust themselves to Amida Tathagata to save them in [regard to] the afterlife will all be born in Amida’s fulfilled land, whether ten people or one hundred—whatever sort of [men or] women they may be.

Respectfully.
(Epistles of Rennyo, Fascicle Five, Letter Two)

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Contemplating the power of Tathagata's Primal Vow,
One sees that no foolish being who encounters it passes by in vain.
When a person single-heartedly practices the saying of the Name alone,
It brings quickly to fullness and perfection [in that person] the great treasure ocean of true and real virtues.
- Shinran Shonin


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 19, 2013 12:43 pm 
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Indrajala wrote:
I basically told him that Śākyamuni never taught Pure Land sūtras. He was rather upset by this remark and insisted otherwise. I told him this is the opinion of scholars.


This is why I was earlier reminded of Mormons. Connecting their Jesus with the historical Jesus (1) isn't important because the Mormon Jesus taught different things to different folk and these are valued on their own by Mormons as a new/supportive revelation, and also (2) it's very important because it's the same God and the same Jesus and the same goal.

Here, connecting Pure Land Buddhas with the historical Buddha (1) isn't important because these Buddhas teach with skillful means to widely varied folk and these teachings are valued on their own by Pure Land Buddhists as a new/supportive revelation, and also (2) it's very important because... well I'm still not very clear about this. It shouldn't matter, per (1), and yet it seems to matter a very great deal.

---

I'm not saying the Nikayas/Agamas are right or perfect at all, by the by. They are simply the results of certain recitation lineages that survived the various Turkish and Afghani invasions. Their similarities allow at the very least some strong conclusions about basic outlines of what the historical Buddha taught, i.e. the 37 Limbs.

Earlier, it was shown to me how these Limbs were present in some core Pure Land texts, connecting these texts to the Buddhadhamma, but I'm left wondering if these Limbs are practiced or are simply otherwise held in mind while other Pure Land practices occur. Those Pure Land practices may be skillful means for engaging with the Limbs, or they may be the poetic words of disciples which are preferred over the Limbs. This is a significant difference, because this last option isn't distinguishable from e.g. New Age approaches, while the first is.

The provenance of Pure Land simply does not go back as far as the Nikaya/Agama formulation period, which post-dates the teaching period of the historical Buddha. It's a simple conclusion, and according to (1) above it shouldn't matter because Pure Land is simply one teaching approach to this core Buddhadhamma material.

It's not even possible to slander the Dhamma by slandering Pure Land texts unless one slandered, say, the 37 Limbs within them. The Dhamma was taught by the historical Buddha to the Sangha He formed, and it is within this Sangha that Mahayana arose, roughly two to three hundred years later, with proto-Mahayana sentiment likely preceding this by some time; we can think about the Apadana from earlier in this connection. The provenance of Pure Land goes back to this period, along with some other Mahayana threads, and that's just fine.

Just simple statements. This intense, vituperative defensiveness is surprising to me, and must relate to previous history, such as at E-Sangha or elsewhere. I am simply trying to get accurate descriptions of what's on the ground, so I apologize for bumpkin-ing around in this minefield.

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