Precepts and Shinran

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Re: Precepts and Shinran

Postby Dodatsu » Thu Apr 29, 2010 3:50 pm

That is Namo Amida Butsu or Namo Amituofo in Chinese script. :smile:
Contemplating the power of Tathagata's Primal Vow,
One sees that no foolish being who encounters it passes by in vain.
When a person single-heartedly practices the saying of the Name alone,
It brings quickly to fullness and perfection [in that person] the great treasure ocean of true and real virtues.
- Shinran Shonin
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Re: Precepts and Shinran

Postby Indrajala » Thu Apr 29, 2010 4:21 pm

Lazy_eye wrote:It would be inappropriate for a Theravadin to march over here and declare that the Mahayana sutras are "revisionist" and "not what the Buddha taught". If this is a Mahayana/Vajrayana board then we agree, as a point of etiquette, to accept the various schools (including Shin and Nichiren) as valid and refrain from attacking them in toto as you are doing. Shinran's POV regarding the precepts was stated at the beginning of the thread and no one has deputized you to "charge" him with anything. We are adults and can make our own decisions based on the information before us.


I'm willing and even happy to debate the legitimacy of the Mahayana with a proponent of Theravada. I actually wish we could have such a discussion where the gloves come off and we really get into the meat of scriptural authority and history as well as doctrine and theory. This is after all a "Dharma-free-for-all" forum where discussion should be free for all. If you don't want to participate, don't participate.

The more I debate and have to defend myself the more I learn about my own shortcomings which when revealed can be addressed and rectified. I've learned more in the past being told I'm wrong and having an explanation why than just having people accept my opinions as valid just because I'm entitled to one.

If I attempt to refute and attack Shinran then his followers should be willing and able to defend him even if no actual resolution between the parties is concluded. There is nothing personal in such a debate, so nobody should take it personally. If I say Shinran's model is invalid, then you should retort with a reply explaining the faults of my argument and addressing my points to refute me and reveal my errors. Such a process of discussion can lead to a lot of insight for both parties. If we can conduct ourselves as adults and refrain from taking things personally, then such a discussion will be beneficial.
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Re: Precepts and Shinran

Postby Lazy_eye » Thu Apr 29, 2010 5:46 pm

Huseng wrote: If I say Shinran's model is invalid, then you should retort with a reply explaining the faults of my argument and addressing my points to refute me and reveal my errors. Such a process of discussion can lead to a lot of insight for both parties. If we can conduct ourselves as adults and refrain from taking things personally, then such a discussion will be beneficial.


But the problem is that you and the Shin Buddhists are arguing from different, and irreconcilable, premises, so the discussion can't go anywhere. With the dialectical process stuck at the starting gate, the blocked energy gets channeled into invective and personal attacks. I've seen this happen so many times on discussion boards, e-sangha for instance.

Of course we can learn a lot from a debate, but when there is an unresolvable sticking point all we can do is to note this and agree to disagree. This is why the Dalai Lama, during those interfaith conferences that he participates in, makes a point to acknowledge that Buddhism and Christianity are ultimately divided over the question of God. He doesn't go around warning the Christians that they could end up in hell due to "wrong view" (even though he might actually believe that); he just states that the two sides have a fundamental disagreement, and that sets the parameters for discussion.

Even within Buddhism, there are several points where it's simply going to be impossible to resolve the basic differences. For example, you either accept the notion of buddha nature or not. You either accept tantra as valid or not (try floating this around on a Theravada forum). You either accept that the historical Buddha taught the Lotus Sutra or not. You either accept that the Lotus Sutra (or the Infinite Life Sutra or the Avatamsaka) supersedes all other sutras or not.

A discussion can only proceed to the extent that there are shared premises. And you can't really argue someone out of their fundamental premises, because your arguing will be based on your premises, etc...it's a closed circuit.

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Re: Precepts and Shinran

Postby Astus » Thu Apr 29, 2010 9:40 pm

Lazy_eye,

One of the good things in Buddhism that we all share some common basis. Here we share a lot if we say that we accept all Mahayana sutras as valid, accept the teachings of Nagarjuna, Aryadeva, Asanga, Vasubandhu, etc. And based on that each of us can describe one's position and the arguments for it.
"There is no such thing as the real mind. Ridding yourself of delusion: that's the real mind."
(Sheng-yen: Getting the Buddha Mind, p 73)

“Don’t rashly seek the true Buddha;
True Buddha can’t be found.
Does marvelous nature and spirit
Need tempering or refinement?
Mind is this mind carefree;
This face, the face at birth."

(Nanyue Mingzan: Enjoying the Way, tr. Jeff Shore; T51n2076, p461b24-26)
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Re: Precepts and Shinran

Postby Dodatsu » Fri Apr 30, 2010 1:59 am

Having debates and discussions are fine, but once statements like "Shinran had a big ego" or "Shinran slandered the Tathagata" are made, then there is no basis for any more discussion, because these are discourteous and hostile statements made against the founder of a major Buddhist tradition. One can find fault and point out those faults, but should not make statements like those.
In Shinshu we do admit that what Shinran taught was "radical" as compared to the other Pure Land traditions or Buddhism in general, but then again, this also applies to the founders of the other traditions, whether India, China, Korea or Japan. Even the various Hinayana factions (note: i'm not referring to Theravada here) also had different teachings, and most of the time they debated amongst themselves. But to make statements like those above, then that cuts off any basis for discussion.
Contemplating the power of Tathagata's Primal Vow,
One sees that no foolish being who encounters it passes by in vain.
When a person single-heartedly practices the saying of the Name alone,
It brings quickly to fullness and perfection [in that person] the great treasure ocean of true and real virtues.
- Shinran Shonin
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Re: Precepts and Shinran

Postby Ngawang Drolma » Fri Apr 30, 2010 5:46 am

Dodatsu wrote:That is Namo Amida Butsu or Namo Amituofo in Chinese script. :smile:


Thanks :)

Best,
Laura
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Re: Precepts and Shinran

Postby Ngawang Drolma » Fri Apr 30, 2010 7:07 am

Dodatsu wrote:Having debates and discussions are fine, but once statements like "Shinran had a big ego" or "Shinran slandered the Tathagata" are made, then there is no basis for any more discussion, because these are discourteous and hostile statements made against the founder of a major Buddhist tradition.


It's true that this is the dharma free for all section. In here, debates will get heated and it's an enter-at-your-own-risk area.

And I don't like seeing a site full of closed threads. However, I do feel that the claims of slandering the tathagata and so forth are causing this thread to degenerate beyond a point of even ordinary debate.

So I am sorry to do this, but I'm going to go ahead and close this. I do wish for people to be able to discuss and debate, and in this particular part of the forum people can take off their gloves and speak their minds.

But in this case, it is for the best if we take a break from it and perhaps restart these propositions in a more comfortable manner. Thanks all, for your patience and dedication to discussion.

I hope that everyone's points have been taken under consideration and I thank you for your participation. Please feel free to try this conversation again, hopefully in a manner in which people can comfortably participate, probe, and defend their positions.

Kindly,
Laura
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Re: Precepts and Shinran

Postby Ngawang Drolma » Sat May 01, 2010 2:59 pm

Hi all, this thread has been re-opened :)

Best,
Laura
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Re: Precepts and Shinran

Postby teebee » Sat May 01, 2010 7:49 pm

Very glad you have unlocked this
thread.

Would like to add what my Mother
used to say, "If you find it
necessary to resort to insults,"
"you have lost the argument."

Gassho,

Terry Beresford
Stepping Stones

Belief systems are like lovely stepping stones over the quicksand of ignorance and amnesia.
Each may be useful, but if you stand too long upon one, it will sink into the quicksand and
you may be trapped. So the wise course is to skip over each stone, appreciate its
usefulness and beauty, and find your way over the quicksand without getting mired in it.
(Anon)

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Re: Precepts and Shinran

Postby Astus » Thu May 20, 2010 6:54 pm

For the discussion that was started here see: Celibacy and Health
"There is no such thing as the real mind. Ridding yourself of delusion: that's the real mind."
(Sheng-yen: Getting the Buddha Mind, p 73)

“Don’t rashly seek the true Buddha;
True Buddha can’t be found.
Does marvelous nature and spirit
Need tempering or refinement?
Mind is this mind carefree;
This face, the face at birth."

(Nanyue Mingzan: Enjoying the Way, tr. Jeff Shore; T51n2076, p461b24-26)
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Re: Precepts and Shinran

Postby Namu Butsu » Tue Jun 08, 2010 1:53 pm

I think Shinran would defend the Nembutsu teachings, but I dont think he would care about the insults against him. Afterall he didnt care during his life time. Hes a model for me :)
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"Just say the nembutsu and be liberated" Shinran Shonin
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Re: Precepts and Shinran

Postby Dodatsu » Wed Jun 09, 2010 4:04 pm

A good article by Rev Adrian Josho Circlea, a Romanian Shin Buddhist priest

- fragment from a letter -

Question:
Why Jodo Shinshu denies and discourages the observance of Buddhist precepts? Can I observe precepts and be a Shinshu follower? Why it is said in Jodo Shinshu that “there are no precepts”?

Answer:
In Jodo Shinshu we do not deny nor discourage the observance of precepts. We are not against precepts; we do not say that followers of this school should not observe precepts. What we say is that we should not think that trying to observe precepts creates personal merits or that by observing precepts we can thus add something to the salvation of Amida.
We are born in the Pure Land and become Buddhas only due to Amida’s Power, not to our own efforts in observing precepts or in doing such and such practice.

My advice is this: try to observe precepts, try your best to have a moral life, not to hurt anybody directly or indirectly, don’t steal, don’t engage in sexual misconduct, don’t lie, don’t drink intoxicants, don’t eat meat, etc, but never relate this with your attainment of Buddhahood which comes only through Amida Buddha. Your success or lack of success in observing precepts has no connection with your Enlightenment, so be relaxed in this matter. This is the difference between Jodo Shinshu and other schools.
Delete once and for all the words “personal merit” or “personal virtue” from your Buddhist vocabulary. These may have some significance in other schools but in Jodo Shinshu it has zero significance.

Shinran Shonin or any patriarch of our school never said, “kill, steal, lie, cheat your wife, etc”, but rather they intended to say: “even if you don’t kill, don’t steal, don’t lie, don’t cheat your wife, etc, it doesn’t mean that you are a good person capable to attain Buddhahood by yourself.” This should be very well understood.

Also even if it is said in the sacred texts that in the last age of the Dharma precepts do no longer exist, this doesn’t mean that we should go on killing and stealing as we like. The expression, “there are no precepts” means that people living in the last age of the Dharma are no longer capable to use precepts in order to advance to Enlightenment. Thus, precepts are as good as non-existent for the last goal of Buddhist practice. I repeat, precepts are as good as non-existent for the last goal of Buddhist practice which means attainment of Buddhahood.

But still we can read in the sutras and other Buddhist books about the precepts so we can’t say they have been deleted from our written or collective memory. We can read them and see how the Buddhas wants us to behave, think and talk, so we should try to guide our lives after them as good as we can, but these trying no longer constitutes a merit or a mean to advance on the path to Enlightenment.
This is because our capacities to fully observe the precepts both in letter and spirit are so little as non-existent. Jodo Shinshu states that the minds and environment of beings living in this age distant to the physically presence of Shakyamuni is so much perverted that they cannot advance to Buddhahood by themselves using various methods of self improving until one day purity, perfect wisdom and perfect compassion is achieved.
So we can say that Jodo Shinshu doesn’t believe in the spiritual capacities of unenlightened beings. Everything these beings do in the three ways of action is poisoned by ignorance and egoism so they can’t be called pure good actions useful for attaining Buddhahood.
Attachment to our so called goodness is just another illusion among the many we inherit from the distant past.

These being said, I ask you again, please do not misunderstand the teaching of our school:

- Jodo Shinshu is not an encouragement to immorality, irresponsibility or laziness.
- Followers of this school should do all their best in leading a life based on non- harming Buddhists principles explained in the precepts.
- Jodo Shinshu only states that Enlightenment comes through Amida Buddha and is not gained by the actions of unenlightened beings
- Jodo Shinshu believes that only Buddhas have true merits that can be shared with others

In short, do your best in your everyday life to live accordingly with precepts but rely only on Amida for the attainment of Buddhahood.
Contemplating the power of Tathagata's Primal Vow,
One sees that no foolish being who encounters it passes by in vain.
When a person single-heartedly practices the saying of the Name alone,
It brings quickly to fullness and perfection [in that person] the great treasure ocean of true and real virtues.
- Shinran Shonin
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