Pure Land Contradicts Buddha Teachings....

Re: Pure Land Contradicts Buddha Teachings....

Postby PorkChop » Tue Apr 29, 2014 2:34 am

Nighthawk wrote:Rennyo was also quite clear that Amida Buddha is an actual sambhogakaya manifestation and that Sukhavati is an actual buddha land where common deluded beings can take birth. His teachings are very simple and straight forward and this is how Shinran also intended it to be.


I'm finding that both say both statements. The quotes in Rennyo's letter are explicitly the eternal Buddha from which all Buddhas manifest, which is a direct reference to the Dharmakaya (from the Visualization Sutra and the Lotus Sutra). I have absolutely no doubt he says the exact opposite of this assertion elsewhere, however. Shinran's the same- KGSS V 24-36 & Lamp for the Later Ages he's talking about fulfilled body (assuming samboghakaya), KGSS V 22 he's quoting Vasubandhu calling the Pure Land itself like boundless space, KGSS IV 10 is all about those in the Pure Land obtaining the body of emptiness (quote from T'an Luan), KGSS IV 14-18 (esp 17) is all about the Dharma-body of the Buddha, and there are other references too (like the whole Jodo Wasan).

Rennyo was known to incorporate elements from Jodo Shu schools like the Seizan branch, so probably no big surprise if people who like him feel drawn to Jodo Shu. I'm a big fan of Honen myself and I've been part of the "Promise of Amida" book study over on the Jodo Shu Google group; we're currently taking a break till summer, but you're more than welcome to jump in at any point.

Nighthawk wrote:I have no problem with symbolic interpretations as long as they are backed by the PL sutras, but it is an extreme to say that story of Dharmakara Bodhisattva making vows and manifesting a buddha land as an entirely made up fictional story which some people want to claim it be. You can't back that claim up with either the sutras nor the words of Shinran and Rennyo. If people want to believe otherwise then so be it but I don't really see the use of PL if it is not a place where one can go to fulfill bodhisattva vows more easily.


Well, the 2 assertions that were made are not false: (1) not a god (or a divine being) and (2) not a historical person. Because (1) Buddhas are above any deva or brahma and (2) being a historical person means verifiable things are written about them at the time they did something; the story showing up in writing 10+ kalpas after the fact wouldn't meet that definition as the only way to prove such an existence would be subjective proof and not objective proof - one can not see Buddhas unless one has undergone training and/or is karmically linked. Therefor this would not meet the rigor of "historical proof".

But just because something is considered "fiction" doesn't mean it can't represent some timeless truth. Just look at King Arthur - a "fictional" king that had more real effect on the succession of British kings than any verifiable historical king, he still has a huge effect on British politics. Spiritual truth very rarely coincides with historical truth and can have a much more profound effect on the subject than the later.

The rest of that article gives more context, agreeing with Rennyo and Shinran that Shakyamuni was a manifestation of Amida and that Amida represents universal Buddhahood (the Dharmakaya). It puts special attention on Dharmakara and how we can identify with his universal aspirations. So it's not as heretical as has been asserted. Maida & the Otani school are much more worried about the subjective reality of taking the teachings and applying them to one's life rather than trying to prove any objective reality. Shinran has a lot of passages like this in the Tannisho; the Institute of Buddhist Studies (IBS) has an entire podcast about Shinran's preference for subjective readings than objective readings.

Even if this approach were a drastic departure from the approach of the teachings of the Jodo Shinshu Patriarchs (and I'm not sure it is), it needs to be said that often they were talking to an audience that were in a culture that had already had Buddhism for almost 700 years by the time of Honen. The presentation is going to have to be different when presenting to a culture that's only been in touch with Buddhism for roughly 100 years (on a relatively small scale). I know for a fact that this approach can help one establish faith in the Buddha, so it gets folks in the door and doesn't have to stop there. Once one starts looking for the workings of infinite compassion in one's life and suddenly recognizes it, having faith in the rest becomes much easier. All I'm saying is don't shut the door (them, not you) on folks that found a way to approach the teachings & establish faith.
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Re: Pure Land Contradicts Buddha Teachings....

Postby Tenso » Tue Apr 29, 2014 8:44 pm

PorkChop wrote:
Nighthawk wrote:Rennyo was also quite clear that Amida Buddha is an actual sambhogakaya manifestation and that Sukhavati is an actual buddha land where common deluded beings can take birth. His teachings are very simple and straight forward and this is how Shinran also intended it to be.


I'm finding that both say both statements. The quotes in Rennyo's letter are explicitly the eternal Buddha from which all Buddhas manifest, which is a direct reference to the Dharmakaya (from the Visualization Sutra and the Lotus Sutra). I have absolutely no doubt he says the exact opposite of this assertion elsewhere, however. Shinran's the same- KGSS V 24-36 & Lamp for the Later Ages he's talking about fulfilled body (assuming samboghakaya), KGSS V 22 he's quoting Vasubandhu calling the Pure Land itself like boundless space, KGSS IV 10 is all about those in the Pure Land obtaining the body of emptiness (quote from T'an Luan), KGSS IV 14-18 (esp 17) is all about the Dharma-body of the Buddha, and there are other references too (like the whole Jodo Wasan).



So we agree on this part. That's good.
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Re: Pure Land Contradicts Buddha Teachings....

Postby PorkChop » Wed Apr 30, 2014 1:11 am

Nighthawk wrote:So we agree on this part. That's good.

Well I'm not sure I was so clear in my description, so let me restate that. Rennyo says repeatedly in his letters that Amida should be interpreted as the Dharmakaya. Shinran says multiple times in the KGSS that Amida should be interpreted as the Dharmakaya (manifesting as Compassionate Means rather than Suchness) - he quotes T'an Luan in doing so. Shinran says quite a few times that Amida is a "fulfilled" Buddha (Samboghakaya), but this is in contrast to a "transformed" Buddha (Nirmanakaya). I granted the possibility that Rennyo said that Amida could be interpreted as Samboghakaya as well. Regardless, Amida as Dharmakaya is stated multiple times by both men, and as Dharmakaya is formless, it allows for more symbolic interpretations.
Glad we see eye to eye on that. :)
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Re: Pure Land Contradicts Buddha Teachings....

Postby plwk » Wed Apr 30, 2014 7:31 am

Roasted honeyed lotus seeds, anyone? :popcorn:
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Re: Pure Land Contradicts Buddha Teachings....

Postby Tenso » Wed Apr 30, 2014 7:37 am

PorkChop wrote:
Nighthawk wrote:So we agree on this part. That's good.

Well I'm not sure I was so clear in my description, so let me restate that. Rennyo says repeatedly in his letters that Amida should be interpreted as the Dharmakaya. Shinran says multiple times in the KGSS that Amida should be interpreted as the Dharmakaya (manifesting as Compassionate Means rather than Suchness) - he quotes T'an Luan in doing so. Shinran says quite a few times that Amida is a "fulfilled" Buddha (Samboghakaya), but this is in contrast to a "transformed" Buddha (Nirmanakaya). I granted the possibility that Rennyo said that Amida could be interpreted as Samboghakaya as well. Regardless, Amida as Dharmakaya is stated multiple times by both men, and as Dharmakaya is formless, it allows for more symbolic interpretations.
Glad we see eye to eye on that. :)


I have no problem with that interpretation, whatever suits you best. :thumbsup:
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Re: Pure Land Contradicts Buddha Teachings....

Postby LastLegend » Tue Aug 19, 2014 10:28 am

"Eternal" is relative. Heavenly beings have longer life spans. Human beings have shorter life spans. Insects have shorter life spans. Pure Land has a countless life span. Therefore, it is "eternal."
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Re: Pure Land Contradicts Buddha Teachings....

Postby janpeterotto » Mon Dec 29, 2014 5:43 pm

"So it means sentient beings who live in sukhavati/pure land is eternal and will lasts forever, this theory contradicts gautama buddha teachings. As we all know Gautama is the founder of Buddhism that we now know. Please correct me if I'm wrong."

We are all foolish being with our theories and conceptions, aren't we? Trusting the Vow is not having adequate conceptions about anything, is it? As far as I am concerned the Pure Land is right here in my saying Amitabhas Name over and over. That is all I need to know, I feel. Happiness and peace comes in this saying of the Name and trusting the Vow.

If someone ask me about history of Buddhism, I try to answer. I will point out that that though many of the earlier Buddhist Scriptures have been translated by competent scholars, comparatively little attention has been paid to later Buddhist devotional writings, and this although the developments of Buddhism in China and Japan give them the deepest interest as reflecting the spiritual mind of those two great countries.

They cannot, however, be understood without some knowledge of the faith in Amitabha which passed so entirely into their life that in its growth it lost some of its own infant Theravada traits and took on others, rooted, no doubt, in the beginnings in India, but expanded and changed as time went by.

With the Buddhist faith there came the start a germ of the belief that the Gautama Buddha in his own grandeur bore witness to One Greater — Amitabha — that One who in boundless Compassion and Light abideth, life of the Universe, without colour, without form. Amitabha is the Lover of man, his Protector and Refuge. He may, He must be worshipped, for in Him are all the essential attributes of Deity, and He, the Saviour of mankind, has prepared a pure land of peace for his servants, beyond the storms of life and
death. This belief eventually crystallised and became a dogma in the faith of the Pure Land.
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Re: Pure Land Contradicts Buddha Teachings....

Postby Son of Buddha » Tue Dec 30, 2014 12:53 am

janpeterotto wrote:"So it means sentient beings who live in sukhavati/pure land is eternal and will lasts forever, this theory contradicts gautama buddha teachings. As we all know Gautama is the founder of Buddhism that we now know. Please correct me if I'm wrong."


Kyogyoshinsho
Chapter 5 Revealing the True Buddha and Land.

"although all sentient beings are impermanent, their Buddha Nature is eternal and is not subject to change"


The Pure Land is not an impermanent Samsaric place so it is not defined by the 3 marks of samsarc existence 'not self, suffering, impermanence....(impurity can also be added).

instead the unconditioned Dharmakaya from which the Pure Land is supported is the 4 virtues of Nirvana 'True Self, Bliss, Permanence, and purity.'
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Re: Pure Land Contradicts Buddha Teachings....

Postby Aemilius » Tue Dec 30, 2014 9:39 am

Son of Buddha wrote:
janpeterotto wrote:"So it means sentient beings who live in sukhavati/pure land is eternal and will lasts forever, this theory contradicts gautama buddha teachings. As we all know Gautama is the founder of Buddhism that we now know. Please correct me if I'm wrong."


Kyogyoshinsho
Chapter 5 Revealing the True Buddha and Land.

"although all sentient beings are impermanent, their Buddha Nature is eternal and is not subject to change"


The Pure Land is not an impermanent Samsaric place so it is not defined by the 3 marks of samsarc existence 'not self, suffering, impermanence....(impurity can also be added).

instead the unconditioned Dharmakaya from which the Pure Land is supported is the 4 virtues of Nirvana 'True Self, Bliss, Permanence, and purity.'
:namaste:


"Eternal" is a concept of mind. It exists in the mind.
It is how you perceive, and how you construct the idea of a world based on your perceptions.

If there is no change or impermanence, then nothing happens.
Time is change. Time is that events take place.
There are events in the Pureland, therefore there is change and impermanence in the Pureland.
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Re: Pure Land Contradicts Buddha Teachings....

Postby Son of Buddha » Wed Dec 31, 2014 4:18 am

Aemilius wrote:If there is no change or impermanence, then nothing happens.
Time is change. Time is that events take place.
There are events in the Pureland, therefore there is change and impermanence in the Pureland.


Good statement,
here check out this link
http://www.nembutsu.info/atpl.htm

Mahayana, too, speaks of Nirvana but it is a different concept from the Hinayanistic Nirvana. According to the Nirvana Sutra, Nirvana is possessed of four qualities: eternity, bliss, freedom(True Self) and purity. As synonyms of Nirvana, the Mahayana speaks of 'Thusness' (tathata or bhuta-tathata), 'Dharma-nature' (dharmata), 'Ultimate End' (bhuta-koti), 'Thus-Come or Gone' (tathagata), 'Enlightenment' (bodhi), 'Dharma-body' (dharmakaya), 'Unconditioned' (asamskrita), 'Buddhahood' (buddhata) etc. These terms are designed to describe the indescribable and transcendental reality or truth which can be grasped only by the undifferentiated and intuitive wisdom (prajna).


The descriptions of Enlightenment itself.

Now, how are the Buddha and the Pure Land related to the transcendental truth of the Mahayana ? Simply stated, the Buddha and the Pure Land are, in themselves, the Truth itself. The Buddha is the personal expression of the Truth and, the Pure Land, its impersonal or environmental expression. The personal aspect is again of two phases, negative and positive, or unmanifested and manifested. The unmanifested, formless and personal embodiment of the Truth is 'Dharma-body' (dharmakaya), and the manifested embodiment is the 'Recompensed or Reward Body' (sambhogakaya; also known as the 'Enjoyment Body') and the 'Transformed Body' (nirmanakaya). As the Buddha is thus distinguished, so is the Buddha's Pure Land. The essential characteristic of the Pure Land is Dharma-nature itself (the Land of Dharma-nature), but it is often described in the sutras as a land glorified with various meritorious adornments. This phenomenal aspect of the Pure Land is, in reality, the manifested emodiment of Dharma-nature. We call this aspect of the Pure Land the 'Rewarded or Recompensed Land'. Again, we have the secondary manifestation of the Land from Dharma-nature called the 'Transformed Land' corresponding to the Transformed Buddha.


Unmanifested the Pure Land is the Dharma Nature itself, manifested as a phenomenal aspect the Pure Land appears as a realm, the manifested aspect is itself still eternal just like the dharma nature.

Much like how the Buddha's Body is viewed in ultimate suchness it is unmanifested and defined as eternal. when the Buddha's suchness is manifested in Samsara we view his Dharma body as impermanent, breakable, no different than our yet in reality what we are experiencing is only a manifestation based upon our own limited compacities.

According to this exposition, the Dharma Body which the Buddhas and the enlightened Bodhisattvas attain has both manifested and unmanifested aspects. Similarly, Tao-cho (562-645), the Fourth Patriarch of Shin Buddhism, distinguished the Pure Land into two: Land with Phenomenal Aspect and Land without Phenomenal Aspect.

As shown above, the Buddha's Pure Land is the same as Thusness or Dharma-nature in essence. But the dynamic aspect of its existence as the sphere of the Buddha's activity is of greater significance for us. Because the Pure Land is a transcendental realm standing aloof from all relative, empirical limitations, and delusory discriminations, it is described as 'inconceivable'. It is beyond the reach of human conception and practice, and it almost appears as a 'utopia' far removed from our actual world of experience. From the Buddha's side, however, the Pure Land is the sphere of His pure activity - the natural and spontaneous activity flowing out from the Supreme Wisdom of Enlightenment. The Buddha's transcendental, pure activity is in harmony with Thusness.
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Re: Pure Land Contradicts Buddha Teachings....

Postby Aemilius » Wed Jan 07, 2015 9:29 am

I don't doubt that the pureland of Sukhavati exists. But in this World of Four continents, Jambudvipa etc, there are and have been Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. Why is this world then also a manifestation of enlightenment? I don't see a radical difference.
There are many good things in this world: health care, pensions, care of invalids, care of elderly people, buddhist retreat places, viharas, temples, stupas, etc...
Why would you now want to find some other, possibly even better place than this world?
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Re: Pure Land Contradicts Buddha Teachings....

Postby Ayu » Wed Jan 07, 2015 9:39 am

Why would you now want to find some other, possibly even better place than this world?

I understand sukavati as a kind of retreat place. You can concentrate on the dharma without any distraction or nasty hindrances. No fellows around who try to sell adharma for dharma. :crazy: :coffee:
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Re: Pure Land Contradicts Buddha Teachings....

Postby asunthatneversets » Wed Jan 07, 2015 10:06 am

Son of Buddha wrote:instead the unconditioned Dharmakaya from which the Pure Land is supported is the 4 virtues of Nirvana 'True Self, Bliss, Permanence, and purity.'

For thr record, the sūtras themselves never use the term "true self" in the context of the four virtues, you simply took the liberty of embellishing and adding that yourself in order to suit your ātmavādin agenda. The term 'self' is found in that context, but never "True Self" (with the unnecessary capitalizations and so on).
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Re: Pure Land Contradicts Buddha Teachings....

Postby PorkChop » Wed Jan 07, 2015 5:47 pm

Aemilius wrote:Why would you now want to find some other, possibly even better place than this world?


Not so much a better world, but better circumstances to study and access to better teachers. Besides, in most Pure Land traditions, there's the concept of going & coming back - referring to mention in the sutras of Bodhisattvas being able to travel to any other Buddha land and make offerings / practice dharma. If what defines Samsara is mental defilement anyway, then what's so wrong with wanting to transcend that?
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Re: Pure Land Contradicts Buddha Teachings....

Postby Aemilius » Thu Jan 08, 2015 10:27 am

PorkChop wrote:
Aemilius wrote:Why would you now want to find some other, possibly even better place than this world?


Not so much a better world, but better circumstances to study and access to better teachers. Besides, in most Pure Land traditions, there's the concept of going & coming back - referring to mention in the sutras of Bodhisattvas being able to travel to any other Buddha land and make offerings / practice dharma.


Making offering to other Buddhas doesn't imply coming back to samsara.
If you read carefully through the 48 vows (in the Sukhavati vyuha sutra), there is an option of coming back to samsara to save other beings, if you have made powerful vows to that effect. This is mentioned only in the longer Sukhavativyuha sutra.
Coming back doesn't seem to be necessary for all beings born there.
There is the stage of nonreturning, which is found both in the Sravakayana and the Bodhisattvayana, though with quite different meanings.

Nagarjuna's Discourse on the Ten Stages, Dasabhumika Vibhasa, translation and study by Hisao Inagaki, contains a discussion about the career of the Bodhisattva.
In this work Nagarjuna says that the manly, hard and heroic path doesn't seek to attain rebirth in the realms of other Buddhas.
Nagarjuna calls the path of faith an easy path and a cowardly path, before he finally teaches it.
It is a better and a heroic path to practice Bodhisattva deeds in the six realms, he says.
There is much valuable information about the path of the Bodhisattva in this work of Nagarjuna. It has been known and studied in the traditional Pureland schools.
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Re: Pure Land Contradicts Buddha Teachings....

Postby Ayu » Thu Jan 08, 2015 11:04 am

Aemilius wrote:Nagarjuna's Discourse on the Ten Stages, Dasabhumika Vibhasa, translation and study by Hisao Inagaki, contains a discussion about the career of the Bodhisattva.
In this work Nagarjuna says that the manly, hard and heroic path doesn't seek to attain rebirth in the realms of other Buddhas.
Nagarjuna calls the path of faith an easy path and a cowardly path, before he finally teaches it.
It is a better and a heroic path to practice Bodhisattva deeds in the six realms, he says.
There is much valuable information about the path of the Bodhisattva in this work of Nagarjuna. It has been known and studied in the traditional Pureland schools.


I don't think, there is a contradiction between the Pure Land system and the teachings of Nagarjuna. If we state that a bodhisattva must not stay forever in pure land, we can see that he will leave it again later.
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Re: Pure Land Contradicts Buddha Teachings....

Postby LastLegend » Thu Jan 08, 2015 11:33 am

Aemilius wrote: In this work Nagarjuna says that the manly, hard and heroic path doesn't seek to attain rebirth in the realms of other Buddhas.
Nagarjuna calls the path of faith an easy path and a cowardly path, before he finally teaches it.
It is a better and a heroic path to practice Bodhisattva deeds in the six realms, he says.
There is much valuable information about the path of the Bodhisattva in this work of Nagarjuna. It has been known and studied in the traditional Pureland schools.


Yes, it's a manly, hard, and heroic path if you can do it. It's also very uncertain when you will reach your enlightenment. You can be drifting in samsara for kalpas. Honestly, you must consider that while you are not enlightened in samsara, there are limits to what you can do to guide sentient beings because you are still deluded yourself, big chance that you don't know what you are doing. The path of Pure Land is the path of Buddhahood because Pure Land is not a final destination. Pure Land is a Mahayana teaching, you can't hide there forever. That's not what the teaching is about. Is it wiser to quickly become enlightened (as Bodhisatva/Buddha) in this lifetime in order help sentient beings or become lost in samsara endlessly without knowing when one will become released? If you have the means to do it in this lifetime, why wait? What kind of delusional fool would do that when he/she is not certain where his next rebirth is? He could be born as a wealthy man and forgetting all about the Dharma, and continues to create karma for his next rebirth in which who knows what form he will take.
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Re: Pure Land Contradicts Buddha Teachings....

Postby Aemilius » Thu Jan 08, 2015 12:23 pm

Ayu wrote:
Aemilius wrote:Nagarjuna's Discourse on the Ten Stages, Dasabhumika Vibhasa, translation and study by Hisao Inagaki, contains a discussion about the career of the Bodhisattva.
In this work Nagarjuna says that the manly, hard and heroic path doesn't seek to attain rebirth in the realms of other Buddhas.
Nagarjuna calls the path of faith an easy path and a cowardly path, before he finally teaches it.
It is a better and a heroic path to practice Bodhisattva deeds in the six realms, he says.
There is much valuable information about the path of the Bodhisattva in this work of Nagarjuna. It has been known and studied in the traditional Pureland schools.


I don't think, there is a contradiction between the Pure Land system and the teachings of Nagarjuna. If we state that a bodhisattva must not stay forever in pure land, we can see that he will leave it again later.


There naturally is no contradiction between Madhyamaka and the Pureland buddhism. The japanese pureland schools usually name two Indian teachers as belonging to the lineage of pureland teachings: Nagarjuna and Vasubandhu.

There is a stage of nonreturning. It is a stage of practice where you never come back. You never come back to samsara anymore. You really leave it for ever.
This means that you die for everything that is now or that was before. What possibly "comes back" is another being, it is not "you". It is an illusion that arises (for the benefit of others) from the ashes of spiritual death, from the final nirvana of your five skandhas.
Do you understand?
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Re: Pure Land Contradicts Buddha Teachings....

Postby Ayu » Thu Jan 08, 2015 12:43 pm

Do you understand?

Yes, I think so. This is how all the changes must be happening: things are not what they were before.
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Re: Pure Land Contradicts Buddha Teachings....

Postby PorkChop » Thu Jan 08, 2015 12:58 pm

Aemilius wrote:Coming back doesn't seem to be necessary for all beings born there.

Well, it's part of most Pure Land traditions.
Even bodhicitta is considered optional, but it's still part of at least the Shin path.

Aemilius wrote:Nagarjuna calls the path of faith an easy path and a cowardly path, before he finally teaches it.

I have no recollection of Nagarjuna mentioning it being "cowardly" in what I've read.
Perhaps what appears in the Taisho is different than what you've read.
[EDIT: Nevermind, found the passage. Yep, guilty as charged.]
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