Daily Practice

Daily Practice

Postby gingercatni » Sat Oct 13, 2012 3:41 pm

Hi everyone,

I was just wondering whether anyone could advise me on a few things. Firstly, daily practice. I often wonder whether there are things I'm missing out of my daily morning service, I have a few little verses that I recite as part of my service but I'm wondering if there is a formal pureland recitation book I should use? I do have one already but I recently seen another online and it was far more in depth than the one I have.

Also, I perform one service a day, though always keep the Buddha in mind but I'm led to believe I should be doing this more than once a day. Is this correct?

When it comes to chanting and visualising the Buddha, does it matter that I recollect him in his popular Chinese form? I know all of this sounds rather silly, but with the absence of any local assistance in these matters, it often causes me to think I'm doing something wrong in my practice.

Thanks in advance for any help, have a lovely weekend everyone. :smile:
gingercatni
 
Posts: 98
Joined: Fri Feb 11, 2011 5:09 pm
Location: Belfast Northern Ireland

Re: Daily Practice

Postby Son of Buddha » Sun Oct 14, 2012 12:22 am

Practice is different for everyone.

Our sangha takes 3 refuge,prostrates
uses mala beads and takes the 10 Bodhisattva vows(found in queen srimala sutra)And uses the mala to memorize teachings.

We make aspiration prayers for everyones well being,and give heartfelt praise to amitabha Buddha,and ask to be reborn into his Pureland.

(I tend to chant his name throught the day,try to be mindfull)
You can chant in groups to music and tune.

If you are looking for a community then be pro-active,put up signs for a group meeting at your house you will be surprised how many Buddhists are around you,or are looking to learn about Buddhism.
User avatar
Son of Buddha
 
Posts: 888
Joined: Wed Dec 21, 2011 6:48 pm

Re: Daily Practice

Postby Mother's Lap » Sat Sep 06, 2014 1:43 am

Constant recitation of Amitabha/mantra/nianfo
Recitation of the Aspiration Prayer to Sukhavati
108 recitations of Bhaishajyaguru's dharani
Sukhavati visualisation
Hua tou of "Who is reciting the Buddha's name?"
Three Faiths

Vajrayana specific:
Amitabha sadhana
Pure Vision
Phowa
Mandala offerings for accumulation of merit
Rigpa'i Tsal Wang > Rushans
Mother's Lap
 
Posts: 110
Joined: Mon Mar 24, 2014 4:05 pm

Re: Daily Practice

Postby lazy » Mon Sep 08, 2014 4:49 pm

Amithaba :bow:

Before I say anything, note that I am seriously unskilled, and that all I can offer is meager opinions and hearsay.

I have been instructed by Bhikshunis that the proper way to recite is to be mindful of each syllable, and that's it. You 'just recite'. No false thoughts, no conceptualizations or contemplations. The only thing you should be doing is reciting. I have almost no experience doing this, but from what I have observed within myself, if I am able to totally commit to reciting, the effect is quite amazing.

As I understand, the practice is very simple. When you recite, you just recite. When you walk, you just walk. When you sit, you just sit.

The result will be proportional to the amount of effort applied.

This is the daily handbook we use where I'm at http://www.buddhisttexts.org/ebook---da ... dbook.html
I have been told that it is basically the same book as has been used for centuries all over china. The preface to the book was written in the 17th century. I think you'll really like this book, it has lots of Pure Land stuff in it. (or stuff that I think is Pure Land, perhaps it's not really, I'm not good with the hierarchical stuff)

But, generally, I don't think that it's too important what exactly you are reciting, it's just how you're reciting.


Seriously though, I'm very bad at holding mantras and reciting the buddha's name, I'm not just being humble, so take what I say with a cup of salt.
lazy
 
Posts: 28
Joined: Sat Sep 06, 2014 11:42 pm

Re: Daily Practice

Postby PorkChop » Tue Sep 09, 2014 5:48 pm

lazy,
Like what you have to say in your post. :)

Saw your other post on the other subforum that was related to some of the things you mention in this post, so I thought I'd provide some input, if you're interested. I keep my comments here, because they are specifically in relation to Buddha Name recitation and not necessarily applicable to mantras, which is the main subject of your other thread.

lazy wrote:I have been instructed by Bhikshunis that the proper way to recite is to be mindful of each syllable, and that's it. You 'just recite'. No false thoughts, no conceptualizations or contemplations. The only thing you should be doing is reciting. I have almost no experience doing this, but from what I have observed within myself, if I am able to totally commit to reciting, the effect is quite amazing.

This is a very Ch'an way of looking at Buddha Name recitation. Given that it's Ch'an, their goal is to reveal to you the true nature of your mind and this type of non-conceptual mindfulness is the way to go about this. That's not to say it's wrong from a Pure Land stance; however. It's just that since you are practicing at a Ch'an temple with Ch'an Bhikshunis (Hsuan Hua was himself a Ch'an monk) - and so this is precisely the way that you should be doing it. The Ch'an-based recitation method and the other Pure Land methods eventually meet up.

There are a few different methods for performing Buddha Name recitation, the method you're being taught just happens to be one of them, and none should really be better than any other. At its heart, Buddha Name recitation is a mindfulness practice. Such practices either take the form that you mention of pure, non-discriminative awareness; or they take something as object. In the sutras it's typically referred to as Buddhanusmrti - buddhanussati - nianfo - nembutsu; which can be translated as "mindfulness of Buddha" or "Buddha remembrance". In some sutras this means thinking on the qualities of the Buddha. In the prajna-paramita sutras, they define it as precisely the type of bare awareness practice you are doing. In the Amitayus Visualization sutra, they teach progressive stages of visualizations one can use while reciting the Buddha's Name (starting with the setting sun). In Shin the practice typically involves remembering to be grateful for the work of the Buddhas to help us escape cyclic suffering and the Great Compassion that supports us always. Ultimately, all the different methods lead to Enlightenment.

Hopefully that clears things up a bit?
User avatar
PorkChop
 
Posts: 868
Joined: Wed Sep 19, 2012 11:17 pm

Re: Daily Practice

Postby lazy » Tue Sep 09, 2014 6:08 pm

PorkChop wrote:At its heart, Buddha Name recitation is a mindfulness practice. Such practices either take the form that you mention of pure, non-discriminative awareness; or they take something as object. In the sutras it's typically referred to as Buddhanusmrti - buddhanussati - nianfo - nembutsu; which can be translated as "mindfulness of Buddha" or "Buddha remembrance". In some sutras this means thinking on the qualities of the Buddha. In the prajna-paramita sutras, they define it as precisely the type of bare awareness practice you are doing. In the Amitayus Visualization sutra, they teach progressive stages of visualizations one can use while reciting the Buddha's Name (starting with the setting sun). In Shin the practice typically involves remembering to be grateful for the work of the Buddhas to help us escape cyclic suffering and the Great Compassion that supports us always. Ultimately, all the different methods lead to Enlightenment.


Could you talk in more detail about being "mindful of the Buddha", and the different things one can be doing internally in this regard?

What qualities of the Buddha are reflected on, and how do you reflect? i.e. bringing forth a sense of awe/thankfulness/etc.

As a humorous aside, I never understood Hua T'ous (meditation topics) for the longest time, because the question I was given was "Who is mindful of the Buddha?" and my thought was "I dunno", I didn't realize that the question was supposed to point to me, because I didn't consider myself to be mindful of the Buddha.

Could you talk a little more about visualizations too? For the last few says I've been spending at least a couple hours reciting the Buddhas name, so it might be good to get some more depth in this area, I'm a total noob here.
lazy
 
Posts: 28
Joined: Sat Sep 06, 2014 11:42 pm

Re: Daily Practice

Postby PorkChop » Tue Sep 09, 2014 6:44 pm

lazy wrote:Could you talk in more detail about being "mindful of the Buddha", and the different things one can be doing internally in this regard?
I'll do my best.

lazy wrote:What qualities of the Buddha are reflected on, and how do you reflect? i.e. bringing forth a sense of awe/thankfulness/etc.

In the Agamas/Nikayas this meant the 9 qualities of the Buddha, which are described here. In the Amitabha Sutra, it starts talking about the qualities of the Pure Land, which correspond to the 37 limbs of enlightenment, and we should be mindful of these. In the Amitayus Sutra, it's all about the 48 vows of Amitabha. In the Visualization Sutra, they give various qualities of the Buddha to be reflected on (just scroll down to the numbered section in that link).

Hsuan Hua's directions on how to be mindful of the Buddha can be found here. Looking through that, at least at the beginning Hsuan Hua focuses more on the qualities of Amitabha and less on pure, non-discriminative awareness.

Traditionally, the Buddha's represented (especially in statuary) with the 32 marks of a great man, each of these marks has meaning and isn't just a physical phenomena. There are various different meanings given for the marks in the different schools; but Alex Berzin gives a nice accounting of them here. In the Visualization sutra linked above, they say that Amitabha has limitless excellent marks, so that's meant to say that Amitabha has limitless (84,000) excellent marks, each excellent mark has limitless (84,000) characteristics, and they each emit limitless (84,000 beams of) light - meaning they each lead countless others to wisdom.

lazy wrote:As a humorous aside, I never understood Hua T'ous (meditation topics) for the longest time, because the question I was given was "Who is mindful of the Buddha?" and my thought was "I dunno", I didn't realize that the question was supposed to point to me, because I didn't consider myself to be mindful of the Buddha.

I think the original intention is pretty similar to another Hua T'ou “Who is dragging this corpse around?” that Ven Xu Yun liked to use; but your take on it is really interesting with the stress on the mindfulness of the Buddha rather than the actor of the action.
lazy wrote:Could you talk a little more about visualizations too? For the last few says I've been spending at least a couple hours reciting the Buddhas name, so it might be good to get some more depth in this area, I'm a total noob here.

Check out that link I gave above to the Visualization Sutra and step through the numbered section, which lists 16 total visualizations to use (the last 3 are about the ranks of rebirth in Sukhavati). The first one is the setting sun in the west, and from there they get a lot more complicated. I don't have too much trouble generating a picture of a setting sun in my imagination, but bringing it forth is hard - I never know if I'm doing it right. I mean I can see a setting sun and the orange sky in my imagination with my eyes open, but I kind of have to turn off my eyesight to do it (if that makes sense). I can kind of day dream it, but I get the vibe that the practice is calling for something more than that.
User avatar
PorkChop
 
Posts: 868
Joined: Wed Sep 19, 2012 11:17 pm

Re: Daily Practice

Postby lazy » Tue Sep 09, 2014 10:55 pm

Word.

That's a lot to work with, I'll blend this into my practice.

I haven't done much visualization, but perhaps hearing the way I do it can give you some ideas. I read between the lines and come to a conclusion about the intended effect of the visualization and then just use the imagery instructions as sort of a rough guide or inspiration. I find that if I'm visualizing with intention, the imagery manifests on its own.

For example, there was one I was reading about that involved taking the suffering of all living beings, adding it to your own suffering, and then realizing that the suffering has no inherent substance, at which point it all disappears. The guide said to imagine it collecting in a ball above your head or something, but when I actually practiced it I ended up imagining suffering as barbed wire that had a pulsing red aura. I was wrapped in this wire and so was every other living being. So when I took on their suffering the wire came off of them and wrapped around me, resulting in me being in the middle of an immeasurably massive ball of barbed wire. Then, I would identify it as illusory and it would disappear. Rinse and repeat.

Basically, I get a rough idea of the practice (instructions + intent) then freestyle it.
lazy
 
Posts: 28
Joined: Sat Sep 06, 2014 11:42 pm

Re: Daily Practice

Postby PorkChop » Tue Sep 09, 2014 11:26 pm

lazy wrote:That's a lot to work with, I'll blend this into my practice.

Hope it didn't come off as if I was saying do all of them at once. It's fine to pick one and work with it. Even what you've been instructed to do is more than adequate. The other options are if you find that way difficult and would like to try something else.

lazy wrote:I find that if I'm visualizing with intention, the imagery manifests on its own.

My biggest issue is the strength/intensity of the imagery. I can picture the setting sun with my mind's eye, but if I grasp onto it or if I try to see it with my eyes, it disappears. This is why I've never had much confidence with visualizations and a big reason why I never really felt comfortable in Vajrayana (visualizing the nectar and all that). I never know if I'm doing it right. I guess if I treat it like trying to remember the image of my wife's face or my son's face, then I'm probably not too far off. Unlike you, I don't really have a teacher close by, so it ends up being easy to get lost in the woods. Something more abstract like gratitude or certain qualities are much easier.

lazy wrote:Basically, I get a rough idea of the practice (instructions + intent) then freestyle it.

Yes, but having a teacher around to guide you can be extremely beneficial, which is why I would recommend what you've been instructed to do. Of course the instructions from Hsuan Hua shouldn't cause any conflict here (I would imagine) and the Bhikshunis may help you with his instructions if you ask them about it directly.
User avatar
PorkChop
 
Posts: 868
Joined: Wed Sep 19, 2012 11:17 pm

Re: Daily Practice

Postby Mother's Lap » Tue Sep 09, 2014 11:32 pm

PorkChop wrote:My biggest issue is the strength/intensity of the imagery. I can picture the setting sun with my mind's eye, but if I grasp onto it or if I try to see it with my eyes, it disappears. This is why I've never had much confidence with visualizations and a big reason why I never really felt comfortable in Vajrayana (visualizing the nectar and all that). I never know if I'm doing it right. I guess if I treat it like trying to remember the image of my wife's face or my son's face, then I'm probably not too far off. Unlike you, I don't really have a teacher close by, so it ends up being easy to get lost in the woods. Something more abstract like gratitude or certain qualities are much easier.

Look into shamatha meditation, Kamalashila's Bhavanakrama and Alan Wallace's The Attention Revolution and Stilling the Mind should help.

http://www.abuddhistlibrary.com/Buddhis ... npoche.htm
http://www.abuddhistlibrary.com/Buddhis ... tation.htm
Mother's Lap
 
Posts: 110
Joined: Mon Mar 24, 2014 4:05 pm

Re: Daily Practice

Postby PorkChop » Wed Sep 10, 2014 3:20 am

Mother's Lap wrote:Look into shamatha meditation, Kamalashila's Bhavanakrama and Alan Wallace's The Attention Revolution and Stilling the Mind should help.

http://www.abuddhistlibrary.com/Buddhis ... npoche.htm" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
http://www.abuddhistlibrary.com/Buddhis ... tation.htm" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;


Cool, thanx.
The second link is the exact link they gave us as recommended reading during the Meditation class through FPMT.
User avatar
PorkChop
 
Posts: 868
Joined: Wed Sep 19, 2012 11:17 pm


Return to Pure Land

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 5 guests

>