Jodo Shinshu vs. Theravada

Re: Jodo Shinshu vs. Theravada

Postby steveb1 » Fri Jun 22, 2012 9:31 pm

GarcherLancelot wrote:Hi,does Pure Land have any evidence/miracle that proves that it is real?


For myself, I can't imagine in what such "proof" would consist. The Pure Land is a transcendant realm, "the other shore", so what manner of proof for its existence would be acceptable for dwellers on this shore?

Jodo Shinshu, the sect of Pure Land to which I suscribe, does not depend on miracles or providing proof. Rather, it offers an immediate experience of Amida Buddha, his grace and compassion. These are its "proofs".

I'd hazard the guess that most Jodo Shinshu practicers take the Pure Land on faith, but that faith is based on a present experience, in this life, of Amida Buddha's grace, infinite wisdom, infinite compassion, unimpeded light, and eternal life. Shin teaches that our very reciting, verbal or mental, of the nembutsu, is itself an act of Amida; that our faith itself is provided by Amida's sheer grace. Once these "Workings" of Amida are experienced in one's life, then one trusts in the Pure Land - both its existence and its function.

It is also very important to realize that the Pure Land - at least in in Jodo Shinshu - is not like the Christian heaven. It is not a goal one aspires to, and it is not resting forever in an eternal life in a celestial realm. Jodo Shinshu, like most Mahayana schools, holds that the spiritual/redemptive object is not "going to heaven/the Pure Land", but rather, becoming a fully enlightened being, a Buddha.

The Pure Land therefore is merely a way station in that process. Amida imbues us with Buddhahood "in" the Pure Land, and then we move on as newly-created Buddhas.

If you are interested in Pure Land - and I am only speaking here from a Jodo Shinshu point of view - then you will want to study it; read the works of true Dharma teachers ... and if you think there's something to it, simply accept Amida Buddha's "Other Power" ... and note what, if anything, starts happening in your soul.
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Re: Jodo Shinshu vs. Theravada

Postby Tenso » Sat Jun 23, 2012 4:07 am

GarcherLancelot wrote:Hi,does Pure Land have any evidence/miracle that proves that it is real?

Honen, the founder of the Jodo Shu school was said to have many visions of Amida Buddha and the Pure Land for many years in a meditative state called Nemutsu Samadhi.
http://jsri.jp/English/Honen/WRITINGS/sanmai.html
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Re: Jodo Shinshu vs. Theravada

Postby Methexis » Thu Oct 24, 2013 8:41 pm

Sorry to reawaken this old thread, just a footnote ...
the Chinese took some poetic license to translate it into "Pure Land". The original is buddha-kṣetra which means "Buddha field"
Since "buddha" means "awake" / "awakened one" - it is pretty clear what buddha-kṣetra points to
It is much better to say, like a Shin follower did in this thread: "I take refuge in perfectly awakened immeasurable light and life"
I think it's clear that Shinran later in life preferred this to "Namu Amida Butsu" - he used Japanese words instead, something like "I take refuge in the awakened one of unhindered light filling the ten quarters" - but this tendency of his was forgotten when later Rennyo started using "Namu Amida Butsu" once again. These words are a japanized reading of a sinicized reading of a dead Indo-European language.
Why not follow Shinran's approach and use English words as much as we can. When people recite sutras in Japanese/Chinese today, it reminds me of the times when the Catholic Church used latin. Christians no longer say "Holy Mary" in latin. Why would Shin followers use Japanese? Is it more spiritual than English? It is more "authentic"? It certainly isn't. All European languages (including English) are closer to Pali or Sanskrit than Chinese or Japanese are.
In any case, we should note that Shinran preferred "unhindered light" to "Amida" on his scrolls.

What Shinran revealed clearer than everyone else is "true and real mind" that come from the Vow; that it is not our own doing (not our own practice). The actual proof can never be historical. The actual proof is the "true and real mind" ("shinjin") that Shinran spoke of. That is the actual proof, self-validating and thus indestructible, diamondlike. It is the consummation of the Great Vehicle. Since it is not born out of our calculating mind and once we witness that it is not born out of our own calculation, we are given the actual proof, witnessing the true and real mind. It's not mere "belief". It doesn't depend on anything, not even on the historical existence of a "Gautama". Although there's no reason to doubt in his historicity.
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Re: Jodo Shinshu vs. Theravada

Postby shaunc » Fri Oct 25, 2013 1:14 am

I'd love to hear Buddhist chanting in English (my mother tongue) better yet, do some Buddhist chanting in English & I fully agree. Hearing it in other languages for me, while quite rhythmical & melodious is really not much different than what the Catholic Church used to do with Latin. Teaching people to recite things that a good many of them didn't understand. I dream of a truly western order of Buddhism although if it ever does happen it is almost assuredly not going to happen in my lifetime.
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Re: Jodo Shinshu vs. Theravada

Postby steveb1 » Fri Oct 25, 2013 5:10 am

shaunc wrote:I'd love to hear Buddhist chanting in English (my mother tongue) better yet, do some Buddhist chanting in English & I fully agree. Hearing it in other languages for me, while quite rhythmical & melodious is really not much different than what the Catholic Church used to do with Latin. Teaching people to recite things that a good many of them didn't understand. I dream of a truly western order of Buddhism although if it ever does happen it is almost assuredly not going to happen in my lifetime.


My sympathies are similar to yours. I've poked around on line, into different Shin urls and links to real-world Shin temples, and I find the extreme Japanese influence somewhat off-putting. This is not a racialist statement, it's a cultural one. If Amida is a universal Buddha working universal grace, then there is no reason why "His" forms should be dominated by, and mostly limited to, one culture.

I, too would love to see a Western Shin sect, or perhaps several of them, with chanting or perhaps even hymns, in Western idiom. Even Amida paintings and statuary could be made more Western, just as Jesus' imagery takes on the "color" and ambience of the cultures in which he is honored. I would also love to see less "edifying" sermonizing and a return to central issues of Buddhology, enlightenment, and salvation.

You speak of a truly Western order of (Shin?) Buddhism. You may have encountered Sensei Lewis' group, which is the most Western-type of Shin I've encountered, although there may be others. Here's a link to the group -

http://buddhistfaith.tripod.com/pureland_sangha/

... and a sample or two of Lewis' own "take" on Shin issues -

"Panentheism" as similar to "Panendharmism" -

http://buddhistfaith.tripod.com/beliefs/id7.html

http://buddhistfaith.tripod.com/beliefs/id19.html

... and a micro-sampler of the BFF's creedal thinking -

http://buddhistfaith.tripod.com/beliefs/index.html

The trouble for me is Lewis' group is in Connecticut and I'm in Western Oregon, so ne'er the twain shall meet. But if your idea of a Western Buddhism catches on, in future, there may be more options in terms of local/regional alternatives :)
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Re: Jodo Shinshu vs. Theravada

Postby janpeterotto » Tue Nov 05, 2013 9:09 pm

steveb1 wrote:Relative to differences between Shin and Theravada, it looks - in one sense, no flippancy meant - as if the right hand doesn't know what the left hand is doing. That is, from the Shin viewpoint, the historical Shakyamuni preached the great "Amida Sermon" on Vulture Peak, in which Shakyamuni explicated Amida's greatness and functions. In some Shin sources, it is claimed that the historical Buddha was virtually an incarnation of Amida. That's the "left hand".

The "right hand": In Theravada, however, Shakyamuni shows no awareness of a personal Other Power, whether or not named "Amida". If memory serves, Shakyamuni did attain enlightenment only after all his efforts ceased. So at the most, perhaps we can, at a stretch, say that Shakyamuni experienced the sheer force of enlightenment, Bodhi, Dharma, as manifestations of a cosmic Other Power.

Shin respects all schools of Buddhism. Included in that respect would be included the Theravadan scriptures and narratives. But the glaring dichotomy between the "Theravadan Buddha" and the "Jodo Shinsu Amida Buddha" seems that it might pose difficulties for Shin adherents.

In what way do Shin people respect and accept the Theravadan account of a historical Shakyamuni who did not teach Amida and Other Power, but rather Dharma and self-effort, while simultaneously claiming that the Shin historical Buddha made his entire mission a revelation of Amida and Other Power?

This seems almost like "a tale of two Buddhas". Yet Shin insists that the Shakyamuni of the Vulture Peak/Amida Sermon is identical to the Theravadan Shakyamuni.

I've been wrestling with this question for some time. A respected Dharma teacher theorized that the inner realization of Amida may have come to Shakyamuni during one of his many superlative meditative states. I suppose this could have happened, but on reflection, why did Shakyamuni not teach it - and why did he not teach it in such a way that it would be mentioned in the Theravadan scriptures? Did Shakyamuni, contrary to Theravadan statements, have an esoteric teaching that was revealed on Vulture Peak, to only a select "inner few"?

I would like to hear from Shin people on this issue. Perhaps you've thought about this, too. And maybe you could point me to an explanation of these (seemingly) two Buddhas from Shinran's or Rennyo's writings.

Thanks in advance for any information :)

Gassho,

Steve


This is interesting ! Being myself clearly "left-handed" I have alwas thought of Amitabha (I am not a japanese-jodoshin-follower) as the One that the Gautama Buddha was a witness to. How early i history this is documented in pali writing I don't know but Sadharmapundarika in the 380's B.C. is voicing this thought. Then as times goes on there much influence from monotheistic sources, coming from the West, which does not disturb me at all. Born a Christian in Sweden I was amazed when coming to India that Christ was actually more essentially Himself in Amitabha. Coming home to Europe I immediately told my Christian friends: I have found the Real Christ now!! Well, some of them did really listen in!

What is the most important thing is, imho, is the tariki vs jiriki or the Other Power vs own power. I just don't get the self-power movement within buddhism. I don't find the contrast "easy way" and "difficult way" at all enlightening : it seems to be rather "natural way" and "foolish way". But then again I am born in Christian country with Luther written on all Church doors. By the way, when I teach Luther in college (in Religious Studies) I always think Shinran, then all is smiles and sympathy. Very biased by me there !

I don't think wrestling with different Buddhas is good Steve ! Really - do you need it ? Rennyo says that the one who understands does not understand. Just rely on the Vow of Amitabha, and help other people. Anyway that is the way I chose some 35 years ago when meeting and hearing Amitabha ! Namo Amitabha !!!
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Re: Jodo Shinshu vs. Theravada

Postby steveb1 » Wed Nov 06, 2013 2:35 am

janpeterotto wrote

I don't think wrestling with different Buddhas is good Steve
===

I wasn't wrestling with different Buddhas. I was asking why, in terms of Shin teaching, if Shakkyamuni understood that he was witnessing to Amida, he never taught it and/or why the original Order never taught it.
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Re: Jodo Shinshu vs. Theravada

Postby Arjan Dirkse » Sun Nov 10, 2013 2:52 am

steveb1 wrote:janpeterotto wrote

I don't think wrestling with different Buddhas is good Steve
===

I wasn't wrestling with different Buddhas. I was asking why, in terms of Shin teaching, if Shakkyamuni understood that he was witnessing to Amida, he never taught it and/or why the original Order never taught it.


I think the "official" explanation from a Mahayana point of view is that there were different times and occcasions for different teachings, the Prajnaparamita sutra for example was supposedly hidden in a "naga realm" for hundreds of years so that it would be revealed only when humanity was ready for it.

i kinda take that type of explanation as a metaphor. I don't believe in a literal naga realm, instead I think these mahayana sutras are written by people hundreds of years later based on new insights. Does it really matter if these teachings were revealed by the historical Buddha or invented by people working to follow his example, and elaborating on the his original work, hundreds of years later? In the end, what matters to me is how true the teachings ring for me in the present moment.
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Re: Jodo Shinshu vs. Theravada

Postby steveb1 » Tue Nov 12, 2013 9:50 am

Arjan, thank you for your reply - it's given me something new to think about :)
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Re: Jodo Shinshu vs. Theravada

Postby thunderbumble » Sun Dec 08, 2013 6:40 am

Indrajala wrote:
Dodatsu wrote:Actually, i really do not know where you get the idea that we "forbid" the chanting of the Heart Sutra. Yes it's NOT chanted in our liturgy, but we don't forbid people from learning it, neither does it mean we do not respect it.Why don't you ask if the Nichiren Buddhists whether they recite it as part of their liturgy? Probably, the answer would be "no". Just because it's a popular chant in other schools does not mean Shin Buddhists have to chant it, since we have our own commonly used Sutras and chants.


Note how I said...
Historically in many Shin temples reciting the Heart Sutra was forbidden.


Perhaps time have changed.

I never said you had to recite or chant anything by the way.

If by the same reasoning you are putting, i should ask Zen Buddhists to recite the "Namu Myoho Renge Kyo", since the Daimoku is popular; and Nichiren Buddhists to recite "Namu Daishi Hensho Kongo" or "Namu Amida Butsu" in their services? :namaste:


That's not my reasoning at all.

I was saying that the ban on the Heart Sutra (perhaps you're officially okay with reciting it in Shin Temples nowadays) reflects a polemical issue, not a soteriological concern. There was a lack of respect amongst sects in Japanese Buddhism throughout the last one thousand years. Jodo Shinshu was no exception.

I don't know if the Heart Sutra read forbidden or not. I would find it odd though since Avalokiteshvara is on Amitabha's left. The Heart Sutra can say that we are all parts of a great one, like Avalokita.

Shin Buddhism ultimately teaches love. If our enlightenment in the Pureland is assured should we not
Like Avalokita make Amida Buddha our Guru too?
Are we not then walking the path of the bodhisattva?
The Buddha taught


So, bhikkhus, you should train in this way: The heart-deliverance of loving-kindness will be maintained in being and made much of by us, used as our vehicle, used as our foundation, established, consolidated, and properly managed. That is how you should train
Samyutta Nikaya 20:3
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Re: Jodo Shinshu vs. Theravada

Postby thunderbumble » Sun Dec 08, 2013 7:33 am

steveb1 wrote:Relative to differences between Shin and Theravada, it looks - in one sense, no flippancy meant - as if the right hand doesn't know what the left hand is doing. That is, from the Shin viewpoint, the historical Shakyamuni preached the great "Amida Sermon" on Vulture Peak, in which Shakyamuni explicated Amida's greatness and functions. In some Shin sources, it is claimed that the historical Buddha was virtually an incarnation of Amida. That's the "left hand".

The "right hand": In Theravada, however, Shakyamuni shows no awareness of a personal Other Power, whether or not named "Amida". If memory serves, Shakyamuni did attain enlightenment only after all his efforts ceased. So at the most, perhaps we can, at a stretch, say that Shakyamuni experienced the sheer force of enlightenment, Bodhi, Dharma, as manifestations of a cosmic Other Power.

Shin respects all schools of Buddhism. Included in that respect would be included the Theravadan scriptures and narratives. But the glaring dichotomy between the "Theravadan Buddha" and the "Jodo Shinsu Amida Buddha" seems that it might pose difficulties for Shin adherents.

In what way do Shin people respect and accept the Theravadan account of a historical Shakyamuni who did not teach Amida and Other Power, but rather Dharma and self-effort, while simultaneously claiming that the Shin historical Buddha made his entire mission a revelation of Amida and Other Power?

This seems almost like "a tale of two Buddhas". Yet Shin insists that the Shakyamuni of the Vulture Peak/Amida Sermon is identical to the Theravadan Shakyamuni.

I've been wrestling with this question for some time. A respected Dharma teacher theorized that the inner realization of Amida may have come to Shakyamuni during one of his many superlative meditative states. I suppose this could have happened, but on reflection, why did Shakyamuni not teach it - and why did he not teach it in such a way that it would be mentioned in the Theravadan scriptures? Did Shakyamuni, contrary to Theravadan statements, have an esoteric teaching that was revealed on Vulture Peak, to only a select "inner few"?

I would like to hear from Shin people on this issue. Perhaps you've thought about this, too. And maybe you could point me to an explanation of these (seemingly) two Buddhas from Shinran's or Rennyo's writings.

Thanks in advance for any information :)

Gassho,

Steve



The Buddha taught
“We will develop and cultivate the liberation of mind by lovingkindness, make it our vehicle, make it our basis, stabilize it, exercise ourselves in it, and fully perfect it.” The Buddha

Samyutta Nikaya
The 14th Dalai Llama
Said,

My true religion is Kindness.

Kindness, Clarity, and Insight (1984)

Religion does not mean just precepts, a temple, monastery, or other external signs, for these as well as hearing and thinking are subsidiary factors in taming the mind. When the mind becomes the practices, one is a practitioner of religion, and when the mind does not become the practices one is not.

Deity Yoga (1987) ISBN 0937938505

The Amida Buddha IS the expression of Wisdom (Understanding) and Compassion.
Amida Buddha IS The Empowerment of the Path of Love.

Love is Pure like the innocent smile of the Buddha with a Flower. Love is Kind like the myriad Arms of Compassion to Deliver it.

LOVE IS METTA TO ALL.
The Buddha taught


So, bhikkhus, you should train in this way: The heart-deliverance of loving-kindness will be maintained in being and made much of by us, used as our vehicle, used as our foundation, established, consolidated, and properly managed. That is how you should train
Samyutta Nikaya 20:3
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Re: Jodo Shinshu vs. Theravada

Postby Ratnachuda » Wed Jan 08, 2014 6:53 pm

coming very late in the day to this discussion and someone who has made the 'crosswise leap' into Other Power after years of Self Power practice, I'd like to add the 'non practice' to quote Shinran, of Jodo Shinshu, is one of constant gratitude to Amida or Amitabha. One can see that clearly at the end of the SN Parayana Thuti Gatha, "Pingiya's Praises of the Way to the Beyond'
Dh. Ratnachudahttp://www.dharmawheel.net/po ... 60&t=7722#
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Re: Jodo Shinshu vs. Theravada

Postby steveb1 » Thu Jan 09, 2014 3:17 am

Ratnachuda wrote:coming very late in the day to this discussion and someone who has made the 'crosswise leap' into Other Power after years of Self Power practice, I'd like to add the 'non practice' to quote Shinran, of Jodo Shinshu, is one of constant gratitude to Amida or Amitabha. One can see that clearly at the end of the SN Parayana Thuti Gatha, "Pingiya's Praises of the Way to the Beyond'
Dh. Ratnachudahttp://www.dharmawheel.net/po ... 60&t=7722#


Thanks for your reply. However, when clicking on the link, the following is displayed:

The address wasn't understood

Firefox doesn't know how to open this address, because the protocol (ratnachudahttp) isn't associated with any program.
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Re: Jodo Shinshu vs. Theravada

Postby Ratnachuda » Thu Jan 09, 2014 5:39 pm

My gratitude for drawing my attention to that. I was trying to be creatative and adding a Smilie!!
Gassho
Ratnachuda
namu amida butsu
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Re: Jodo Shinshu vs. Theravada

Postby steveb1 » Fri Jan 10, 2014 9:41 am

Ratnachuda wrote:My gratitude for drawing my attention to that. I was trying to be creatative and adding a Smilie!!
Gassho
Ratnachuda
namu amida butsu


Namu Amida Butsu to you, too :)

Gassho,

Steve
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Re: Jodo Shinshu vs. Theravada

Postby Jiko » Fri Jan 10, 2014 5:12 pm

As the great chan master Empty Cloud said, " to beginners there is a difference between pure land and chan, the advanced practitioner sees no difference"

Of course the topic is theravada but you get the point.


Gassho

Namu Amida Bu

Jiko
Where disputation takes place, blind passions arise. The wise keep their distance
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Re: Jodo Shinshu vs. Theravada

Postby Northern Light » Thu Jan 16, 2014 2:02 pm

shaunc wrote:I'd love to hear Buddhist chanting in English (my mother tongue) better yet, do some Buddhist chanting in English & I fully agree. Hearing it in other languages for me, while quite rhythmical & melodious is really not much different than what the Catholic Church used to do with Latin. Teaching people to recite things that a good many of them didn't understand. I dream of a truly western order of Buddhism although if it ever does happen it is almost assuredly not going to happen in my lifetime.


steveb1 wrote:My sympathies are similar to yours. I've poked around on line, into different Shin urls and links to real-world Shin temples, and I find the extreme Japanese influence somewhat off-putting. This is not a racialist statement, it's a cultural one. If Amida is a universal Buddha working universal grace, then there is no reason why "His" forms should be dominated by, and mostly limited to, one culture.


Hello guys,

You may be interested to take a look at The Amida Trust. It is a UK based sect of Pure Land Buddhism, with presences in the UK (4 centres), India, US, Hawaii and France, although to be honest it is very very closely based on Japanese Jodo Shu and does still advocate Nembutsu practice as "Namo Amida Bu" or "Namo Amida Butsu" or "Namo Amitabha". (So no chanting in English yet!). They offer a free on-line introductory course in Pure Land Buddhism that you study and submit answers to a *real* person. :) (An ordained priest within the Amida Order).

I'm not officially affiliated with them but they have a small but friendly Sangha in my neighbouring town, that I've been along to, and I've been nothing but impressed with them so far.

Here is their main site:-

http://www.amidatrust.com/

They also have a presence on the Ning social network:-

http://amidatrust.ning.com/

Namo Amida Bu! :thumbsup:
Nam Myoho Renge Kyo
Nichiren Buddhist.
My lifetime outlook: "...just take the good.... there is always bad..... but just take the good". :)
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Re: Jodo Shinshu vs. Theravada

Postby rory » Thu Jan 23, 2014 4:37 am

Northern Light and others:
I'd say be quite leery of Amida Trust. Why? They ordain themselves, they belong to no head temple nor existing Pure Land tradition. They're a newly self-invented sect, the founder Dharmavidya David Brazier was never a Jodo nor Shinshu priest, not even a Pure Land scholar nor monk. In this day and age it's pretty easy to study Pure Land with a proper teacher and get ordination, there is the wonderful Three Wheels Temple right in London. I'm all for Western sangha but I worry about those who feel no need for a proper teacher/sensei and training and annoint themselves....
with gassho
Rory
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Re: Jodo Shinshu vs. Theravada

Postby Son of Buddha » Thu Jan 23, 2014 5:15 am

rory wrote:Northern Light and others:
I'd say be quite leery of Amida Trust. Why? They ordain themselves, they belong to no head temple nor existing Pure Land tradition. They're a newly self-invented sect, the founder Dharmavidya David Brazier was never a Jodo nor Shinshu priest, not even a Pure Land scholar nor monk. In this day and age it's pretty easy to study Pure Land with a proper teacher and get ordination, there is the wonderful Three Wheels Temple right in London. I'm all for Western sangha but I worry about those who feel no need for a proper teacher/sensei and training and annoint themselves....
with gassho
Rory


I don't see to much of a problem with laity Pure Landers creating a group.

i'm pretty such many Tendia Said the same thing about Honen when he left them to create his own sect.im pretty sure they were not happy that an "ex" monk of their sangha was ordaining teachers and setting up Sanghas.

I'm pretty sure they said the same thing about Shinran Shonin,even when he was stripped of his monkhood and was still going around teaching Nembutsu.

I happen to disagree with many of Amida Trusts views but people have the free will to accept them and join their sangha or disagree with their views and not join them.

as long as they are not Jim Jones'in and rocken the kool-aid then they are fine by me.
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Re: Jodo Shinshu vs. Theravada

Postby rory » Thu Jan 23, 2014 10:24 am

Son of Buddha;
Are you unaware that Honen was ordained trained and educated in Tendai on Mt. Hiei for many years of his life, so too was Shinran, when they left they were still priests who had been properly trained, they had a full buddhist education and that was my point. Found a new group if you wish but get the proper training. Amida trust ordains priests and monks/nuns without any kind of lineage. That's not good.
gassho
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