longjie wrote:I just want to point out that if it were really this simple, the rest of Buddhism would be essentially redundant or unimportant. If someone wants to base their practice of Buddhism on one tiny passage in one sutra, then that's fine, but it is still a rather idiosyncratic form of Buddhism that has little precedent in its homeland of India. Remember that there was no such "Pure Land sect" originally, and pure land teachings of various buddhas were just part of the Mahayana as a whole.
False, it was householder Buddhism to begin with, with very similar practices & goals (Pure Abodes), more formally systemized to fall within the newly developing Mahayana guidelines. In other words, a Mahayana take on a preexisting practice, not some insignificant subsect of a greater movement. I've already posted source material for these practices throughout this thread.
longjie wrote:If the adornments of Sukhavati are representative of the features of an enlightened mind, then do they also exist in the actual physical buddha-land in a similar form? If they are representative of the features of an enlightened mind, then is that true of all buddha-lands for all buddhas, despite their varying descriptions?
I'm going with what the sutra says, pointed out earlier in this thread, along with commentary that further elaborates.
Tons of references in Mahayana sutras of buddha-lands having the same qualities.
You mention Medicine Buddha in your post, which a good example of that.
longjie wrote:If your method of discourse is to accuse others of being polemical, arrogant, and ignorant, then how are the adornments of your own mind? Maybe you should be discussing the topic rather than engaging in name-calling.
And accusing every modern school of Pure Land Buddhism of over simplistic explanations and not understanding the course of study that they've devoted their lives to ISN'T engaging in name-calling (or polemics)? Maybe you should be a little less disrespectful of people with differing opinions. Engaging in such rhetoric and then crying "name-calling" is just too hypocritical for my tastes.
longjie wrote:Some practitioners have had explanations that are based on experience, no doubt, but if you have dozens of different explanations and theories, can they all be true? People should be able to discuss these things and question them without being accused of heresy. For my own purposes, I prefer to examine the way they were originally used, and the way the practices developed in India.
Who's to say who's true or not? I never said heretical, I said it was polemical to disregard, dismiss, and disrespect entire groups of schools based on the rather limited nature of academic study. What do we know of what was practiced in India? What still survives? I would argue not all that much... Even Nattier's paper is based off some pretty limited source material.
Whether or not it has been gleamed from my earlier posts, I'll make it clear. I have very little interest in trying to reconstruct supposed practices of people I'll never meet, based upon what little remains of rather sparse documentation, much of which was destroyed long ago. This becomes a pointless exercise when there are living traditions still active all over East Asia, producing followers who have displayed some rather impressive traits (praised by the wise) that I would be proud to emulate. Assuming only one group of privileged (and now extinct) people ever had it right is rather short-sighted. Attempting to somehow reconstruct a living tradition from scattered fossil remains is a fool's errand (more like larping than serious spiritual practice).
longjie wrote:If the sutra were a Chinese invention -- and there is no clear evidence for this theory -- then its contents would have no bearing on the contents of the other sutras, or how they were used hundreds of years before. As for the vows, just because the sutra contains visualization imagery doesn't mean that this is the only feature of the sutra.
Really? Because there are plenty of books that go into great detail the evidence for the Chinese creation of the Visualization Sutra:
"The Pure Land Tradition: History and Development" edited by James Harlan Foard, Michael Solomon, Richard Karl Payne
"Land of Bliss: The Paradise of the Buddha of Measureless Light : Sanskrit and Chinese Versions of the Sukhāvatīvyūha Sutras" Motilal Banarsidass Publishe, Jan 1, 2002
Just for starters...
I can only assume Nattier is not a fan of Kotatsu to make the case that the evidence is weak, I don't tend to share that opinion. In fact, the evidence that it was produced in China is absolute. It is whether or not the sutra was actually produced in India that is in question. Burden of proof and all that...