Jodo Shinshu and the non-believer's "outcome"

Re: Jodo Shinshu and the non-believer's "outcome"

Postby santa100 » Tue Apr 22, 2014 4:58 am

Son of Buddha wrote:As far as the exclusions in the 18th vow,those who fall under that will end up in the (boarderland)
For 500 yrs.....

I have no problem with that. No one said they're doomed forever. I simply pointed out that the 18th Vow itself does have exceptions and conditions to stick to.
Son of Buddha wrote:The lowest class
The Buddha said to Ananda,”Thoseof thelowest class are the gods and humans from theworlds in theten directions who sincerely wish to be reborn into his land, and although they are unable to do many meritorious actions, they still aspire to attain unsurpassed Enlightenment, and single mindedly concentrate on Buddha Amitabha, even if it is for only ten brief moments of thought, with the desire to be born into his land. When they hear the profound Dharma, they joyously accept it with faith without entertaining any doubts, even if they only remember the Buddha just once,
sincerely resolving to be reborn into his land, when they are about to die, they will see this Buddha in a dream, and upon dying they will be reborn into his pure land. Their merits and wisdom being below those of the middle class.”

Key conditions highlighted. Notice it says "many" merits, not: "no merit at all". And the single-mindedness again.. My point all along, not denying this lowest class, just that there're conditions to be met.
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Re: Jodo Shinshu and the non-believer's "outcome"

Postby PorkChop » Tue Apr 22, 2014 1:29 pm

santa100 wrote:Well, you're just as ignorant as I am so no need to play this game. But anyway, go ahead and specify exactly what they said that contradict what's in the sutras. Go ahead.


You've contradicted yourself.
You asked me to provide you teachings, while calling me just as ignorant as yourself.
That's clearly not the case.
I've provided links & references.
As I've already pointed out the sutras contradict themselves (this is not my speculation or something I made up).
If you're too lazy to read and too stubborn to accept a different interpretation than your own, then it's totally a waste of time.
Needless to say, the question was about JODO SHINSHU DOCTRINE.
I provided info on JODO SHINSHU DOCTRINE.
It's one thing to say that your own interpretation of the sutras is superior to that of Jodo Shinshu, but on a thread specifically asking questions about the doctrine of Jodo Shinshu, it is inappropriate to respond with a teaching that is not of that school.

santa100 wrote:
PorkChop wrote:Amida's vow is considered the most authoritative...

And so was Sakya Buddha's teaching in the Amitabha sutra:


That's actually incorrect.
A summary of Amida's vow is in no way considered more authoritative than Amida's vow itself.

santa100 wrote:
(18) If, when I attain Buddhahood, sentient beings in the lands of the ten quarters who sincerely and joyfully entrust themselves to me, desire to be born in my land, and call my Name, even ten times, should not be born there, may I not attain perfect Enlightenment. Excluded, however, are those who commit the five gravest offences and abuse the right Dharmapp.

Ah hah, you cited this yourself, the highlighted part!!


Do you realize what those five gravest offences are? These are not something minor like violating the 5 precepts. They include:
1. killing one’s father,
2. killing one’s mother,
3. killing an arhat,
4. creating disharmony in the Samgha,
5. causing blood to flow from the body of a Buddha.

The last one is currently not possible, the possibility of the second to last one is debatable given the fact that Jodo Shinshu has no ordained bhikkhu samgha, the possibility of the third one is questionable as it depends on whether any arhats currently exist, and either of the first two would land one in jail. Now maybe you could make a case that there could be someone out there who had the karma to hear about the Pure Land teachings even though having committed the first two acts, but the idea that they would feel no remorse and yet still sincerely wish for a Pure Land birth to help alleviate the suffering of other sentient beings is highly unlikely. Furthermore, if someone slandered the right Dharma, then how could they possibly have the sincere wish to be born in the Pure Land (which is a 24/7 Dharma school)?

Here's Shinran's take on this passage and how he resolves it; which is appropriate for a thread on Jodo Shinshu as he is the founder of the tradition.

Seriously, if you want to start a thread on why Jodo Shinshu misunderstands the sutras, then that's your prerogative. This thread has veered so far off topic with your attempts at telling people how they should interpret the texts, when the doctrines of the Jodo Shinshu school are very clear and spelled out. I'm done with this thread as the OP's questions have been answered in kind and this is no longer productive. You'll get a lot more response to your views if you make your own thread with an appropriate title.
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Re: Jodo Shinshu and the non-believer's "outcome"

Postby santa100 » Tue Apr 22, 2014 2:30 pm

PorkChop wrote:You've contradicted yourself.
You asked me to provide you teachings, while calling me just as ignorant as yourself.
That's clearly not the case.
I've provided links & references.
As I've already pointed out the sutras contradict themselves (this is not my speculation or something I made up).
If you're too lazy to read and too stubborn to accept a different interpretation than your own, then it's totally a waste of time.
Needless to say, the question was about JODO SHINSHU DOCTRINE.
I provided info on JODO SHINSHU DOCTRINE.
It's one thing to say that your own interpretation of the sutras is superior to that of Jodo Shinshu, but on a thread specifically asking questions about the doctrine of Jodo Shinshu, it is inappropriate to respond with a teaching that is not of that school.

No I have not. All you provided were claims in your own words. Where are the links to the commentaries that you cited? Especially where exactly do they say things that you claimed to contradict the sutras? And I ask a very specific question here: Does the Jodo Shinshu doctrine accept the authority of the Three Pure Land Sutras, including the Amitabha Sutra, yes or no?
PorkChop wrote:Seriously, if you want to start a thread on why Jodo Shinshu misunderstands the sutras, then that's your prerogative. This thread has veered so far off topic with your attempts at telling people how they should interpret the texts, when the doctrines of the Jodo Shinshu school are very clear and spelled out. I'm done with this thread as the OP's questions have been answered in kind and this is no longer productive. You'll get a lot more response to your views if you make your own thread with an appropriate title.

You're gonna have to do a lot more to prove what you said really represent Jodo Shinshu doctrine. So far I only challenge the baseless claim of your own, not the doctrine of Jodo Shinshu. You mentioned your aim is to help sentient beings but providing misinformation and giving false hope will do far more harm than help. However, I do agree that both you and I have provided enought info. for this thread for the OP and for people to make a decision for themselves.
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Re: Jodo Shinshu and the non-believer's "outcome"

Postby Tara » Tue Apr 22, 2014 2:54 pm

Temporarily locked for review.
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Re: Jodo Shinshu and the non-believer's "outcome"

Postby Johnny Dangerous » Tue Apr 22, 2014 6:16 pm

Thread unlocked, let's try to avoid condescension and personal attacks, and stick to the arguments.
"Just as a lotus does not grow out of a well-levelled soil but from the mire, in the same way the awakening mind
is not born in the hearts of disciples in whom the moisture of attachment has dried up. It grows instead in the hearts of ordinary sentient beings who possess in full the fetters of bondage." -Se Chilbu Choki Gyaltsen
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Re: Jodo Shinshu and the non-believer's "outcome"

Postby Son of Buddha » Tue Apr 22, 2014 10:07 pm

santa100 wrote:
Son of Buddha wrote:As far as the exclusions in the 18th vow,those who fall under that will end up in the (boarderland)
For 500 yrs.....

I have no problem with that. No one said they're doomed forever. I simply pointed out that the 18th Vow itself does have exceptions and conditions to stick to.
Son of Buddha wrote:The lowest class
The Buddha said to Ananda,”Those of the lowest class are the gods and humans from the worlds in the ten directions who sincerely wish to be reborn into his land, and although they are unable to do many meritorious actions, they still aspire to attain unsurpassed Enlightenment, and single mindedly concentrate on Buddha Amitabha, even if it is for only ten brief moments of thought, with the desire to be born into his land. When they hear the profound Dharma, they joyously accept it with faith without entertaining any doubts, even if they only remember the Buddha just once,
sincerely resolving to be reborn into his land, when they are about to die, they will see this Buddha in a dream, and upon dying they will be reborn into his pure land. Their merits and wisdom being below those of the middle class.”

Key conditions highlighted. Notice it says "many" merits, not: "no merit at all". And the single-mindedness again.. My point all along, not denying this lowest class, just that there're conditions to be met.


yes there are the conditions which are:
sincerely wish to be reborn into his land,
they still aspire to attain unsurpassed Enlightenment
and
single mindedly concentrate on Buddha Amitabha: now out of this condition the basic requirements are:
even if it is for only ten brief moments of thought,
and
even if they only remember the Buddha just once,

so the bare requirements for most living beings is sincere faith, and 1 to 10 moments of singled minded thought on Buddha Amitabha.

now i'm not saying its okay to "praise the Lord and pass the ammunition"
but you have to take into account that this thread is based on Shin so you have to look at it from the perspective of Amitabha's Bodhisattva Shinran, who's goal was to save as much people as was possible.

I myself am not a Jodo ShinShu Pure Lander I practice both self power and other power and would be considered a Chinese PureLand Buddhist.
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Re: Jodo Shinshu and the non-believer's "outcome"

Postby Son of Buddha » Tue Apr 22, 2014 10:14 pm

steveb1 wrote:I would like to ask people here who are conversant in Shin:

What is the fate, destiny, final disposition of the "good person" who cannot say the Nembutsu out of lack of belief, or because s/he never learned about Amida in the first place?


they go through the 6 transmigations of rebirth based around their karma, if the person was good then he will end up in heaven or humanoid realm
if his karma neutrals out or if he is very very attached to this life he may end up a preta(Ghost)

for instance Theravadans have a similar view to Pure Land, they seek to accumulate good karmas and be reborn into Tusita heaven to practice under Maitreya, or they shoot for the Pure Abodes.
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Re: Jodo Shinshu and the non-believer's "outcome"

Postby PorkChop » Wed Apr 23, 2014 11:35 am

Son of Buddha wrote:but you have to take into account that this thread is based on Shin so you have to look at it from the perspective of Amitabha's Bodhisattva Shinran, who's goal was to save as much people as was possible.


Thought I'd follow up on this after what we were talking about earlier, because I know at least one of my posts of links was lost.

Shinran wrote:"Do not take a liking to poison just because there is an antidote."


Shinran on reconciling conflicting statements in the sutras wrote:In the Mahayana sutras, the master of the being difficult to save is expounded. The Larger Sutra states:

Excluded are those who commit the five grave offenses and those who slander the right dharma.

And [the Sutra of the Tathagata of Immeasurable Life states]:

Excluded are those who commit evil acts that condemn them to Avici hell and those who slander the right dharma or the sages.

The Contemplation Sutra teaches the attainment of birth of those who commit the five grave offenses, but not of those who slander the dharma, and in the Nirvana Sutra, the beings and the sicknesses difficult to cure are taught. How are these true teachings to be understood?

Answer: The Sutra of Immeasurable Life states,

Those who aspire for birth are all brought to attainment. Excluded are those who commit the five grave offenses and those who slander the right dharma.

The Sutra of Contemplation on the Buddha of Immeasurable Life states,

Those who have committed the five grave offenses and the ten transgressions, and who are possessed of various evils also attain birth.

How are these two sutra passages to be reconciled?

Answer: The first sutra speaks of committing two kinds of serious evil act: the five grave offenses and the slander of the right dharma. Because of committing both these two kinds of evil act, a person is unable to attain birth. The other sutra speaks only of committing the evil of the ten transgressions and five grave offenses; nothing is said of slandering the right dharma. Because a person has not slandered the right dharma, he attains birth.

Question: Suppose a person has committed the five grave offenses but has not slandered the right dharma. In the sutra, it is granted that such a person can attain birth. Further, suppose there is a person who has only slandered the right dharma but is free of the five grave offenses and other evil acts; if he aspires for birth, will he attain it or not?

Answer: Although he has only slandered the right dharma and has not committed other evil acts, he will definitely be unable to attain birth. How is this known? A sutra states that the person who has committed the five grave offenses falls into great Avici hell and fully undergoes their recompense for one kalpa. The person who slanders the right dharma falls into great Avici hell, and when that kalpa has run out, he passes on into the great Avici hell of another quarter. In this way he passes through a hundred thousand great Avici hells one after another. The Buddha does not indicate any time when it is possible for him to emerge. This is because slandering the right dharma is an evil act of extreme gravity.

Further, the right dharma is the Buddha-dharma. Such a foolish person has already slandered it; how can it be reasonable to think that he would aspire to be born in the Buddha-land? Suppose the person aspires for birth merely because he craves to be born into happiness; this is like seeking ice that is not water or fire without smoke. How can it be deemed reasonable that he attain it?

Question: What are the characteristics of slandering the right dharma?

Answer: Saying there is no Buddha, no Buddha-dharma, no bodhisattva, no bodhisattva-dharma. Deciding on such views, whether through understanding thus in one's own mind or receiving the ideas from others, is called slandering the right dharma.

Question: Taking such views only concerns the person himself. What pain and suffering does his act inflict on other sentient beings, that it should exceed the evil of the five grave offenses in seriousness?

Answer: If there were no Buddhas and bodhisattvas to expound the mundane and supramundane good paths and to teach and guide sentient beings, how could we know of the existence of benevolence, righteousness, propriety, wisdom, and sincerity? Such mundane good would all be cut off, and the sages of the supramundane would all perish. You know only the gravity of the five grave offenses, and not that they arise from the absence of the right dharma. Thus, the person who slanders the right dharma is involved in the gravest karmic evil.

Continued at link...


Shinran on Practice wrote:Reverently contemplating Amida's directing of virtue for our going forth to the Pure Land, I find that there is great practice, there is great shinjin.

The great practice is to say the Name of the Tathagata of unhindered light. This practice, embodying all good acts and possessing all roots of virtue, is perfect and most rapid in bringing about birth. It is the treasure ocean of virtues that is suchness or true reality. For this reason, it is called great practice.

This practice arises from the Vow of great compassion, which is known as "the Vow that all Buddhas extol the Name," "the Vow that all Buddhas say the Name," and "the Vow that all Buddhas praise the Name." It might also be called "the Vow of directing virtue for our going forth" and "the Vow in which the saying of the Name is selected."


Shinran on cause of Pure Land birth wrote:Truly we know that without the virtuous Name, our compassionate father, we would lack the direct cause for birth. Without the light, our compassionate mother, we would stand apart from the indirect cause of birth. Although direct and indirect causes may come together, if the karmic-consciousness of shinjin is lacking, one will not reach the land of light. The karmic-consciousness of true and real shinjin is the inner cause. The Name and light - our father and mother - are the outer cause. When the inner and outer causes merge, one realizes the true body in the fulfilled land.


Shinran on one-utterance wrote:Concerning the practice and shinjin that Amida directs to us for our going forth: in practice there is "one utterance" (ichinen), and in shinjin there is "one thought-moment" (ichinen). The one utterance of practice reveals, in terms of the number of voicings, the consummation of the easy practice selected in the Primal Vow.

Thus, the Larger Sutra states:

The Buddha said to Maitreya, "If there are persons who, having heard the Name of that Buddha, leap and dance with joy and say it even once, know that they receive the great benefit; that is, they acquire the unexcelled virtues."

Master [Shan-tao] of Kuang-ming temple uses the phrase, "Down to one utterance." Further he states, "One voicing, one utterance." Further he states, "Wholehearted thought, exclusive utterance."

In the second fascicle of the Liturgy of the Collected Sutra Passages of Master Chih-sheng, [Shan-tao] states:

Deep mind is true and real shinjin. One truly knows oneself to be a foolish being full of blind passions, with scant roots of good, transmigrating in the three realms and unable to emerge from this burning house. And further, one truly knows now, without so much as a single thought of doubt, that Amida's universal Primal Vow decisively enables all to attain birth, including those who say the Name even down to ten times, or even but hear it. Hence it is called "deep mind"...

In the [Larger] Sutra, the term "even" (naishi) is used, while [Shan-tao's] commentary uses "down to" (geshi). Although the words "even" and "down to" differ, their significance is the same.
Even is used to indicate all-inclusiveness, embracing both once and many. Great benefit is used in contrast to small benefit. Unexcelled is used in contrast to excelled. Truly we know that the unexcelled great benefit is the true and real benefit of the One Vehicle. Excelled, small benefit refers to the eighty-four thousand provisional gates. Wholehearted thought in [Shan-tao's] commentary is single-heartedness, and indicates being free of double-mindedness. Exclusive utterance is the single practice, and indicates not engaging in dual practice.

The saying of the Name once (ichinen) entrusted to Maitreya is one voicing. One voicing is one utterance. One utterance is single practice. Single practice is right practice. Right practice is the right act. The right act is right-mindedness. Right-mindedness is nembutsu: this is Namu-amida-butsu.

Thus, when one has boarded the ship of the Vow of great compassion and sailed out on the vast ocean of light, the winds of perfect virtue blow softly and the waves of evil are transformed. The darkness of ignorance is immediately broken through, and quickly reaching the land of immeasurable light, one realizes great nirvana and acts in accord with the virtue of Samantabhadra. Let this be known.

Passages on the Land of Happiness states:

"Continuing for ten utterances" is simply the Sage's expression for a number. Thus, when persons accumulate practice of the nembutsu, concentrate their thoughts, and do not think of other matters, their causal act [for attainment of birth] is brought to fulfillment, leaving nothing more to be done. We are not to take the trouble of keeping count of our utterances. It is said that the nembutsu of those of long practice may often be done in accordance with the above. In the nembutsu practice of beginners, it is permissible to keep count of the number of utterances. This conforms with the sacred scriptures.


Shinran in the Shozo Matsu Wasan wrote:The power of the Vow is without limit;
Thus, even our karmic evil, deep and heavy, is not oppressive.
The Buddha's wisdom is without bounds;
Thus, even those of distracted minds and self-indulgence are not abandoned.


Shinran on the mind that is single mentioned in the sutras wrote: further question: Are the threefold mind taught in the Larger Sutra and the Contemplation Sutra and the mind that is single taught in the Smaller Sutra the same or different?

Answer: Concerning the Vow of the "true" gate, which is a provisional means, there is practice and there is trust. Further, there is the true and real, and there is provisional means.

The Vow is the Vow of cultivating the root of virtue. The practice is of two kinds: the root of good and the root of virtue.

The trust is the mind of sincerely directing merit and aspiring for birth.

Concerning practicers, there are the meditative and the nonmeditative.

The birth is birth that is Noncomprehensible.
The Buddha is the transformed body.
The land is the city of doubt and the womb-palace.

By taking the Contemplation Sutra as a model, we know that the [Smaller] Sutra also possesses an explicit meaning and an implicit, hidden, inner meaning.

Concerning its "explicit" meaning, the sutra-teacher Sakyamuni reveals the "true" gate, which consists of the root of good or of virtue, urges beings to have the single-mindedness of self-benefit, and encourages them to attain the noncomprehensible birth, rejecting all other practices of small good. Thus, the sutra teaches, "[Saying the Name is] the act of many roots of good, many virtues, and many merits," and a commentary states, "The nine grades of beings should all direct [the merit of the nembutsu] and attain the stage of nonretrogression." Further:

None [of the other dharma-gates] surpasses birth in the West through the nembutsu;
[With but] three or five utterances, the Buddha will come to welcome us.

This is the explicit meaning of the sutra; it is the provisional means within the "true" gate.

In its implicit meaning, the sutra discloses the true and real dharma that is difficult to accept. It reveals the inconceivable ocean of the Vow, seeking to bring beings to take refuge in the ocean of unhindered great shinjin. Indeed, because this encouragement is encouragement already given by Buddhas countless as the sands of the Ganges, this shinjin is also shinjin witnessed and praised by Buddhas countless as the Ganges' sands. Hence, the sutra terms it "extremely difficult." The commentary states:

Solely through the greatness of Amida's universal Vow,
Foolish beings, when they become mindful of it, are immediately brought to attain birth.

I have set forth here the implicit, disclosed meaning.

The [Smaller] Sutra speaks of "holding steadfast." Further, it uses the term, "the mind that is single."

"Steadfast" reveals that the mind is firm and unchanging. "Holding" means not being distracted and not letting go.

"Single" means nondual. "Mind" is a term for the true and real.

Among the Mahayana sutras, this sutra is the one that was delivered spontaneously, not in response to a question. Thus, the reason Sakyamuni Tathagata appeared in the world, and the true intent of the witness and protection of Buddhas countless as the sands of the Ganges, lies solely in teaching this [sutra]. Accordingly, the mahasattvas who belonged among the four kinds of dependable people who spread the sutras, as well as the teachers of the Pure Land way in the three countries, guide people immersed in the wrong and falsity of the defiled world by revealing the nembutsu that is the true essence of the way.

Although in their general import the three sutras have explicit meanings and an implicit, hidden, inner meaning, they each reveal shinjin to be the basis for entry [into dharma]. Hence, each sutra opens with the words, "Thus [have I heard]..."

"Thus" (nyoze) signifies the aspect of genuine entrusting. Reflecting on the three sutras, I find that they all teach the true, diamond-like mind to be what is most essential. The true mind is great shinjin. Great shinjin is rare, most excellent, true and wondrous, and pure. Why? Because the ocean of great shinjin is extremely difficult to enter, for it arises through the power of the Buddha; because the true land of bliss is extremely easy to go to, for one is born there immediately through the power of the Vow. Here I have sought to discuss the sameness and differences of the "mind that is single" [in relation to the threefold mind of the Larger and Contemplation Sutras]; the import is as I have clarified above.

Continued at link...


Shinran on the Twentieth Vow wrote:"Meditative or nonmeditative single mind" refers to seeking the power of the Primal Vow with a mind that believes in [the recompense of] evil and good. This is termed the single mind of self-power.

"Root of good" refers to the Tathagata's auspicious Name. This auspicious Name is perfectly possessed of the myriad goods; it is the root of all goods. Hence the term "root of good."

"Root of virtue" refers to the Tathagata's virtuous Name. This virtuous Name, with but a single utterance, fulfills the supreme virtues [in practicers], transforming all their evil. It is the source of the virtuous names [of the Buddhas] throughout the ten quarters in the past, present, and future. Hence it is termed the "root of virtue."

Sakyamuni Buddha revealed this store of virtue to encourage and guide beings of the defiled worlds of the ten quarters. Amida Tathagata, in the beginning, established the Vow that beings ultimately attain birth in order to compassionately lead the multitudinous ocean of all beings.

The compassionate Vow already exists. It is the "Vow of cultivating the root of virtue," also known as the "Vow of settlement of birth through placing thoughts [on the Pure Land]," the "Vow stating 'If they do not ultimately attain birth,'" and the "Vow of sincere mind and directing merit."

In the Larger Sutra, the Vow is stated:

If, when I attain Buddhahood, the sentient beings of the ten quarters, on hearing my Name, should place their thoughts on my land, cultivate the root of all virtues, and direct their merits with sincere mind desiring to be born in my land, and yet not ultimately attain it, may I not attain the supreme enlightenment.

Further, [the Larger Sutra] states:

They doubt these wisdoms and do not entrust themselves. And yet, believing in [the recompense of] evil and good, they aspire to be born in that land through cultivating the root of good. Such sentient beings will be born in the [womb] palace.

Further, it states:

People who lack the root of good
Are not able to hear this sutra,
But those who observe the precepts without fault
Are able to hear the right dharma.

The Sutra of the Tathagata of Immeasurable Life states:

If, when I become Buddha, all the sentient beings of the countless lands should hear my Name being expounded and, taking it as their own root of good, direct their merits toward the land of bliss, and yet not attain birth, may I not attain enlightenment.

The Sutra of the Enlightenment of Ultimate Equality states:

People not possessed of this virtue
Are unable to hear the name of this sutra;
Only those who have observed the precepts without fault
Have now come to hear the right dharma.

Those of evil, arrogance, the hindrance of passions, and indolence
Will have difficulty entrusting themselves to this dharma;
But those who have encountered Buddhas in previous lives
Will listen joyfully to the teaching of the World-honored one.

Rare is it to obtain human life,
And difficult to encounter a Buddha's appearance in the world;
Hard is it to attain the wisdom of entrusting:
Should you meet with and hear this teaching, pursue it with diligence.

The Contemplation Sutra states:

The Buddha said to Ananda, "You must hold firmly to these words. To hold to these words is to hold to the Name of the Buddha of immeasurable life."

The Amida Sutra states:

You cannot be born in that land through the cause of small roots of good and small virtues. Hearing Amida Buddha's Name being expounded, hold steadfast to it.

The Master of Kuang-ming temple states:

Although the many other practices are termed "good acts," when viewed in relation to the nembutsu, one finds them altogether beneath comparison. For this reason, many passages in the sutras extensively praise the efficacy of the nembutsu. For example, in such passages as the Forty-eight Vows in the Sutra of the Buddha of Immeasurable Life, it is clear that by singly practicing the saying of the Name alone, one attains birth.

Further, as taught in the Amida Sutra, by singly practicing the saying of Amida's Name for one to seven days, one attains birth.

Further, the witness of the Buddhas throughout the ten quarters, countless as the sands of the Ganges, is not hollow.

Again, the passages of this [Contemplation] Sutra presenting meditative and nonmeditative good acts show that by singly practicing the saying of the Name alone, one attains birth.

Such examples are not few. This completes the general exposition of nembutsu-samadhi.


Honen's 1 Sheet Document wrote:"In China and Japan, many Buddhist masters and scholars understand that the nembutsu is to meditate deeply on Amida Buddha and the Pure Land. However, I do not understand the nembutsu in this way. Reciting the nembutsu does not come from studying and understanding its meaning. There is no other reason or cause by which we can utterly believe in attaining birth in the Pure Land than the nembutsu itself. Reciting the nembutsu and believing in birth in the Pure Land naturally gives rise to the three minds (sanjin) and the four modes of practice (shishu). If I am witholding any deeper knowledge beyond simple recitation of the nembutsu, then may I lose sight of the compassion of Shakyamuni and Amida Buddha and slip through the embrace of Amida's original vow. Even if those who believe in the nembutsu deeply study all the teachings which Shakyamuni taught during his life, they should not put on any airs and should practice the nembutsu with the sincerity of those untrained followers ignorant of Buddhist doctrines.

I hereby authorize this document with my hand print. The Jodo Shu way of the settled mind (anjin) is completely imparted here. I, Genku, have no other teaching than this. In order to prevent misinterpretation after my passing away, I make this final testament."

January 23, the Second Year of Kenryaku (1212)


Honen quoted by Disciple Bencho in the Tetsu Senchakushu on Nembutsu Samadhi wrote:Question: If the Meditation Samadhi is to be called samadhi, it is samadhi. Recitation by an unfocused mind is not samadhi. Why the name, Recitation Samadhi?

Answer: There are two meanings in the recitation of Nembutsu. Even if it were mere recitation, to enter a meditation hall of practice, to hope to visualize Amida Buddha, to rid oneself of illusory thoughts, and to practice the recitation of Nembutsu with heroic effort -- all have the significance of samadhi. There is justice for samadhi in the recitation of Nembutsu. There is also justice in not entering a meditation hall of practice; if recitation is practiced with concentration, one naturally attains non-thought samadhi. With the accumulation of merit and virtue, one will attain the visualization of Amida Buddha naturally. At this moment one's samadhi is awakened, and this state is called the Nembutsu Samadhi.


Honen on a distracted mind wrote:Later on when Honen was actually staying at Tenno-ji Temple, Myohen paid him a visit. No sooner had Myohen taken his seat than he asked Honen how one may in this life get free from the pain of samsara. To this Honen at once replied, "In order to accomplish one's Birth (ojo) in the Pure Land, there is no way comparable to calling upon Amida's sacred name." Whereupon Myohen said, "Yes, of course everyone recognizes this; but when we are calling upon Amida Buddha, what are we to do when our minds are all in confusion, and evil thoughts arise within us?" Honen said in reply, "Is there anyone born into this troubled world of desire who can keep his mind free from distractions? How can the common person, burdened with internal afflictions and delusions, shake himself free from impure thoughts? I myself am powerless to suppress them. When one's mind is so distracted and such random thoughts come rushing in, if one takes the sacred name onto one’s lips, then by virtue of the Original Vow (hongan) of Amida, Birth in the Pure Land is certain." Myohen responded,"It was just to hear this that I came to see you." - and then he left. As Honen went back into his room, he remarked, "It’s so hard to silence the mind, to prevent random thoughts from arising, and to put oneself fully into calling upon the sacred name. It is like taking out one's eyes or cutting off one's nose."


Description of 4 modes of practice wrote:This term refers to the four modes of religious practice advocated by Shan-tao in his Hymns in Praise of Birth (Wang-sheng-li-tsan ). The first is reverence shown to Amida Buddha and bodhisattvas in the Pure Land in the form of prostrations before their images and other similar acts of honor. The second is exclusive practice, which means wholehearted and exclusive recitations and meditation on Amida Buddha alone. The third is uninterrupted practice, especially as regards the recitation of the Nembutsu. The fourth is the long-term practice. That is, that one pursue this kind of practice throughout the whole of one's life. These four modes of practice are discussed by Honen in Chapter Nine of the Senchakushu.


ShanTao on Nembutsu in the Meditation Sutra wrote:Although this sutra has carefully expounded the thirteen visualizations of the Pure Land and the nine levels of practice proper for the nine levels of beings, its most important explanation is reserved for the last lines of this sutra. It concerns the very heart of Amida Buddha's vow; that one must recite the name, the nembutsu.(T. 365, 12:346b)


Honen on the practice of Nembutsu wrote:"It’s important that you should never forget the repetition of the nembutsu. Keep it in mind continually. Even though you do impure things or speak impure words, it is a fine thing to keep your heart pure and to say the nembutsu over and over again without stopping it even for a moment. If you go on repeating it at all times and under all circumstances, it will finally bring you to ojo - no doubt about it. Surely don’t imagine that it would be all right to put off the practice of the nembutsu on the grounds that it can be done at any time. On the contrary, don’t let a single moment pass in which you are not practicing it.”

"Concerning the million repetitions, this is not mentioned in the Original Vow. But it is said in the Amida Sutra that a person who repeats the nembutsu for one, two, or seven days will be Born in the Pure Land, and so we should repeat it continually for seven days. Now many scholars think that the seven days mean a period in which the nembutsu should be repeated a million times and that this should be done within seven days. But even if a person can’t complete the number in seven days, they may take eight or nine days for it. And yet, if there are those who can’t do it a million times, that doesn’t mean that such people can’t be Born in the Pure Land. By ten repetitions or even one a person can be Born. The joy of the thought that one can be Born in the Pure Land by ten repetitions or even one stimulates us to pile up the merit of a million repetitions....”

"......If a person says he or she can be Born in the Pure Land by ten repetitions of the nembutsu, or even one, and then begins to get careless about practice, their faith will hinder their practice. On the other hand, if a person says, as Shan-tao did, that he or she unceasingly repeats the nembutsu, but in their heart has doubts about the certainty of ojo, then their practice will hinder his faith. So then, believe that you can attain ojo by one repetition, and yet go on practicing it your whole life long. If you think there is uncertainty as to the power of calling upon the nembutsu once, then it means that there is doubt about it every time you call upon the sacred name. Amida Buddha's Vow was to give Birth in the Pure Land to those who call upon his name even once, and so there is power in every repetition of the sacred name."
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Re: Jodo Shinshu and the non-believer's "outcome"

Postby Arjan Dirkse » Wed Apr 23, 2014 12:21 pm

That "five great offenses" thing is quite vague, I believe the Larger sutra on Infinite Life and the Meditation sutra contradict each other. Also Shinran considered himself to be guilty of (some of) the five offenses, yet believed the Primal Vow was made for him, as well.
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Re: Jodo Shinshu and the non-believer's "outcome"

Postby plwk » Wed Apr 23, 2014 4:43 pm

Thanks PC for those links. Lots of food for thought
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Re: Jodo Shinshu and the non-believer's "outcome"

Postby PorkChop » Sun Apr 27, 2014 4:42 am

plwk wrote:Thanks PC for those links. Lots of food for thought


My thought is that Shinran did not seek to contradict the teachings of Honen, who was trying to present the teachings of ShanTao. My hope is to convey the idea that while certain things may seem to be a departure from doctrine in some aspects, they are more accurately portrayed as a method to bring those to practice who think that the more stringent aspects of discipline and practice are beyond them and to slowly bring such people around to Right View, Right Effort, and establish themselves in a lifestyle that brings about a major shift in perception. Honen's simple teachings were able to turn around the lives of many who would've been otherwise destined for lower paths and I can't help but feel the same for the followers of Shinran.
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Re: Jodo Shinshu and the non-believer's "outcome"

Postby duckfiasco » Sun Apr 27, 2014 6:16 am

PorkChop wrote:
plwk wrote:Thanks PC for those links. Lots of food for thought


My thought is that Shinran did not seek to contradict the teachings of Honen, who was trying to present the teachings of ShanTao. My hope is to convey the idea that while certain things may seem to be a departure from doctrine in some aspects, they are more accurately portrayed as a method to bring those to practice who think that the more stringent aspects of discipline and practice are beyond them and to slowly bring such people around to Right View, Right Effort, and establish themselves in a lifestyle that brings about a major shift in perception. Honen's simple teachings were able to turn around the lives of many who would've been otherwise destined for lower paths and I can't help but feel the same for the followers of Shinran.

Beautifully said.
It's because of the goodness of these men that I am still a Buddhist.
Namu Amida Butsu
The Perfect Way knows no difficulties
Except that it refuses to make preferences;
Only when freed from hate and love,
It reveals itself fully and without disguise.
- Sengcan (tr. Suzuki)
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