I'm really really sorry about that. peace..
Thanks for the consideration. This forum deals with such posts on a weekly (daily) basis, so apologies for any curtness.
mystique wrote:But I want to know the truth backed with evedence. Because Gautama Buddha taught us not to blindly believe what he tells us, he wants us to try the teachings and prove them for ourselves. The Buddha wants us to know, not merely believe.
Of course, but having Right View, includes the 4th Noble Truth, which means that there is a path away from the realm of birth and death. Otherwise, unless you take subjective first-person evidence as true, you're not going to get any objective evidence revealing the truth of an after-death experience, regardless of what path you chose. In the meantime, your only measuring stick is whether or not the teachings are beneficial to you in your day-to-day life. My own experience is that these teachings hold up
mystique wrote:Unlike Gautama buddha, Its really hard to find any relic or historical evidence of Amithaba Buddha and the data such as who is Amitabha Buddha
First off, I think the idea that Gautama Buddha (as popular culture currently understands him) is historically true is a bit of a stretch - even his name is a bit of a contention (not a Sakyan name, but a Brahman). The idea that Amitabha Buddha is a historical truth, versus a timeless truth is the source of your problems. A belief in Amitabha is only requiring you to believe in the idea that there is an answer beyond the idea of cyclical suffering. The idea of Amitabha is not to get you to believe in an individual who is permanent and immortal, but to believe that there is a way out of your own idea of cyclical suffering.
"Not much data i can find."
You're not going to find any data on Bodhisattva Dhamakara (Amida before enlightenment) because it exists before this current instantiation of the known universe. The idea of Amitabha/Amida is that it points to a reference that is beyond known time. The story says X number of kalpas ago, meaning there would be nothing recorded of such an event. You can stick to the idea that such events must be recorded, or you can accept the idea that it is a timeless truth.
mystique wrote:The first known sutra mentioning Amitabha is the Pratyutpanna Sutra by the Kushan dynasty monk named Lokaksema around 180 180 CE which then became a foundation for Pure Land Buddhism founder "Hui Yuan" for his teachings.
Definitely don't get hung up on the date of the teachings. The point of the teachings is that it points to a timeless truth, as verified by the Pali Canon even if there is no mention of the name "Amitabha". The figure mentioned in the truth has no effect on the veracity of the truth. If you read the Pratyutpanna you'll realize that the identity of Amitabha is an illusion, just as is the illusion of your own identity
mystique wrote:Then how come only Lokaksema know about Pure Land and Amitabha Buddha in that era?
Certainly Lokaksema did not have any effect on the truth, he merely translated what was taught to him based on the earlier teachings.
mystique wrote:Its impossible that Pure Land is popped up out of nowhere. There must be some history about it.
Of course, the Pure Lands derive from the teachings of the Pure Abodes as descried by the historical Buddha (which themselves probably derive from an earlier era). Certainly that was not the beginning, as Brahma Sahampati, the one who counseled the historical Buddha, was a resident of the Pure Abodes (an antecedent to the Pure Lands); which still does not point at the exact truth of the Pure Lands.
This still does not point to the truth of Nibbana/Nirvana or the true lifespan of the Pure Lands.
This still does not point to the lifespan of the Pure Abodes and the Pure Lands (which are only reachable by followers of the Buddha), nor does it point to the Nibbana/parinibbana/Nirvana/pariNirvana of the historical Buddha.
mystique wrote:The reason I bring older religion than buddhism such as jainism to the table, because most of the jainism and buddhism teaching is almost exactly the same
Maybe you should look for the source of this in corruptions of the earlier teachings of Buddhism, which are not Jainism, and certainly not the Mahayana teachings of the Pure Land.
Even if the Pure Land should have a lifespan, it would not exist in the period of the expansion and contraction of the universe (same for the Pure Abodes).
Mahavira and Gautama Buddha have similar life stories, but both were written down in the time of and at the location of the kingdom of Ajatasatru, son of King Bimbisara, a major fixture of the earliest forms of Buddhism.
The way to look at the Pure Land teachings is not the way of looking at a historical person at a historical place, at a historical time. The way to look at them is in the context of eternal truths. Eternal truths include such things as being compassionate towards other human beings. The way to look at Amitabha is to look at the gratitude you should feel towards all of the sentient (and non sentient) beings who have enabled you to enjoy what comforts you've enjoyed in your life. The way you should look at the Pure Land of Amitabha is not as a historical place, subject to impermanence, but at the virtues you've been able to cultivate in your life, such as any of the 37 factors of enlightenment that appear in the Pali canon.
I'm not saying it is bad to question Amitabha or the Pure Land, you should do that in every moment of your life. What I'm saying is to identify the truth(s) of Amitabha and the Pure Land and see if they make sense to your view of life.
Nobody in Mahayana Buddhism is saying you HAVE to believe in Amitabha or the Pure Land, but what is being advised is to take a look a whether to see entrusting in such teachings have a positive or negative effect in your life. If you feel such teachings are negative, then find other teachings - there are 84,000. If you feel such teachings are positive, then you will not be let down by them, instead you will find such glories you cannot imagine (this is a reference to the analogy of the burning house in the Lotus Sutra).
The idea of Mahayana teachings is not like you would find in a newspaper, where person A did something B in location C at time D to person E. The point is to find the timeless truth that you can apply to your own life. If you cannot find any timeless truth in these teachings, then it is okay to move on. There is nothing that says that you must follow the Pure Land teachings to escape the endless cycle of samsara. What is said is that if you can believe such teachings, then you don't have to worry so much about an endless existence in samsara, in fact you no longer need to worry about rebirth in the 3 lower realms (if you believe such a thing).
I hope you see where I'm getting at. This is not a statement that says you have to follow this path or that path. All I'm saying is that if this is the path you like, then there is no point in having doubts - because it is the doubts themselves that will hold you back. Just don't worry about going to hell by following this path – regardless of which canon you follow, because it won't send you there, it will encourage wholesome behaviors and eventually lead you to a good destination. If you want proofs of "no hell" then you would have to accept any of the countless stories of people before and after their death (and birth in the Pure Land).
I guess my main point is that: if you don't believe in any of this stuff, that's okay; just don't come here and assert ideas of a truth that you don't (to be honest) have any idea about. If the ideas of these teachings are too ignorant for you, nobody will blame you for moving on, but please don't levy criticism on us. We haven't done anything to deserve it and (to be completely honest) you cannot do anything to prove without a doubt that these teachings are "wrong." To our defense, Shan Tao said (paraphrasing) "even if a Buddha comes down and tells you that this is not a correct teaching, you must not believe it; so much less so for all of the normal sentient beings." Given that Shan Tao took Bodhisattva vows, his commitment to alleviate the suffering of all sentient beings, and knowing his own actions in life (helping out children) I tend to give the guy some credit (Japanese Pure Land school founder Honen believed ShanTao to be a manifestation of Amitabha himself). Nevertheless, my own encounters with Pure Land practitioners has led me to believe they are not destined for hell.
Whatever you end up believing, I wish you the best in whatever path you choose.