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PostPosted: Thu Aug 09, 2012 3:38 pm 
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Here you have 2 questions:

1) Have you ever had any auspicious sign thast confirm your next rebirth in Pure Land?

2) If not, do you think that means you may not rebirth there and/or that you dont have affinity with Amitabha?

The reason for this last question is this sentence i found:
If you recite
Amitabha Buddha’s name in earnest, without interruption, it is very
easy to see Him. Otherwise, it is very difficult. If you do not see the
Buddha, you do not have affinities with Him. Without affinities, it is
certainly difficult to achieve rebirth in the Pure Land. If you are not
reborn in the Pure Land, sooner or later you will descend into the Evil
Realms. Thus, a single thought of interrupting recitation is precisely
the karma of rebirth on the Three Evil Paths. You should bear this in
mind and ponder it carefully! (Master Tien Ju).


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 10, 2012 12:09 am 
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The verse is unfamiliar to me and so is the theory. I'm Jodo Shinshu, where the idea is that Amida supplies one's own Shinjin without signs. Amida issues the Call, and provides its echo in us. Since we cannot conceive of the Call and/or provide its response through self-power, the Call and its reply are attributed to Amida's Other Power. So in a sense, the experienced Call and reply are in themselves "auspicious signs". I know it might sound circular, but I think this is how it works in Jodo Shinshu - Amida issues the Call, and replicates it in us. Seeing this Other Power operating in us without involvement of our self-power is a kind of "sign" that Another is operating in our lives, and which causes affinity with Amida, which we express by saying "Thank you" via the Nembutsu.


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 10, 2012 1:53 am 
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Quote:
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .wlsh.html
"For a long time, Lord, I have wanted to come and set eyes on the Blessed One, but I had not the strength in this body to come and see the Blessed One."

"Enough, Vakkali! What is there to see in this vile body?
He who sees Dhamma, Vakkali, sees Me; he who sees Me sees Dhamma.
Truly seeing Dhamma, one sees Me; seeing Me one sees Dhamma."

Quote:
http://www.drba.org/dharma/amitabhasutra.asp
Shariputra, those living beings who hear of this should vow: 'I wish to be born in that Country.'
And why? Because those who are born there assemble in one place with people whose goodness is unsurpassed.
Shariputra, if one has few good roots, blessings, and virtues, one cannot be born in that Land.

Shariputra, if there is a good man or good woman who hears of Amitabha and holds His Name whether for one day, two days, three, four, five days, six days, as long as seven days with one mind unconfused, when this person nears the end of life, before him will appear Amitabha and all the Assembly of Holy Ones.

When the end comes, his mind will not be utterly confused, and in Amitabha's Land of Utmost Happiness he will quickly be reborn. Shariputra, because I see this benefit, I speak these words; and, if living beings hear this teaching they should make the vow:
'I wish to born in that Land'.

Quote:
http://buddhistfaith.tripod.com/purelan ... s/id2.html
(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 Dharma.
(19) If, when I attain Buddhahood, sentient beings in the lands of the ten quarters, who awaken aspiration for Enlightenment, do various meritorious deeds and sincerely desire to be born in My Land, should not, at their death, see Me appear before them surrounded by a multitude of Sages, may I not attain Perfect Enlightenment.
(20) If, when I attain Buddhahood, sentient beings in the lands of the ten quarters who, having heard My Name, concentrate their thoughts on My Land, plant roots of virtue, and sincerely transfer their merits towards My Land with a desire to be born there, should not eventually fulfill their aspiration, may I not attain Perfect Enlightenment.

Quote:
http://www.ymba.org/BWF/bwf73.htm#realms
If we are not diligent and do not exert efforts along the path of cultivation, nothing usually happens; however, if we are diligent and exert a great deal of effort, we will definitely witness different realms. They either come from within the mind or are caused by outside sources. I will speak first about the realms originating from the mind, called internal realms.

Internal realms are also called "realms of the Self-Mind" because they do not come from outside, but develop from the mind. Those who do not clearly understand the truth that "the ten thousand dharmas are created by the mind," think that all realms come from the outside. This is wrong. When the practitioner reaches the stage of mutual interpenetration [of mind and realms], completely severing external conditions, the seeds of latent dharmas in the Alaya consciousness suddenly manifest themselves.

For the Buddha Recitation or mantra-chanting practitioner, the power of the Buddha's Name or the mantra penetrates deep into the mind, eliciting a reaction from the wholesome or evil seeds in the Alaya consciousness. The realms that result are very complex and usually appear in dreams, or even when the practitioner is awake and striving to recite the Buddha's Name. In Buddhism, this condition is called "changing manifestations of the Alaya consciousness.

External realms are realms which are not created by the mind, but come from the outside. For example, some practitioners might see Buddhas and Bodhisattvas appearing before them, preaching the Dharma, exhorting and praising them. Others, while reciting the Buddha's name, suddenly experience an awakening and immediately see the Land of Ultimate Bliss.

Some practitioners, in the midst of their pure recitation, see deities and Immortals arrive, join hands and circumambulate them respectfully, or invite them for a leisurely stroll. Still other practitioners see "wandering souls of the dead" arrive, seeking to "take refuge" with them. Yet others, having reached a high level in their practice, have to endure challenges and harassment from external demons.

Some might ask, "To see Buddhas and lotus blossoms -- is it not to see demonic apparitions?"
Answer: If cause and effect coincide, these are not "demonic realms."
This is because the Pure Land method belongs to the Dharma Door of Existence; when Pure Land practitioners first set out to cultivate, they enter the Way through forms and marks and seek to view the celestial scenes of the Western Pure Land. When they actually witness these auspicious scenes, it is only a matter of effects corresponding to causes.
If cause and effect are in accord, how can these be "demonic realms"?

In the Zen School, on the other hand, the practitioner enters the Way through the Dharma Door of Emptiness. Right from the beginning of his cultivation he wipes out all marks -- even the marks of the Buddhas or the Dharma are destroyed. The Zen practitioner does not seek to view the Buddhas or the lotus blossoms, yet the marks of the Buddhas or the lotus blossoms appear to him. Therefore, cause and effect do not correspond. For something to appear without a corresponding cause is indeed the realm of the demons. Thus, the Zen practitioner always holds the sword of wisdom aloft. If the demons come, he kills the demons, if the Buddha comes, he kills the Buddha -- to enter the realm of True Emptiness is not to tolerate a single mark.

A caveat: we are only talking here about novice cultivators. High-level Zen practitioners do sometimes see various marks which are not demonic realms. When their minds become enlightened, Zen Masters who have practiced meditation for many eons can see evil as well as transcendental realms, including the pure and defiled lands of the ten directions. This is because all worlds are within the light of the True Mind. On the other hand, despite what we have said earlier, Buddha Recitation practitioners sometimes see various marks which are "demonic realms," as will be explained later.

In short, when we refer to "internal" and "external" realms, we are speaking at the level of beginning cultivators. For those who have attained the Way, Mind is realm, realm is Mind, the ten thousand dharmas and ourselves have but one common Nature. There is no inside or outside at all.

Quote:

3. The Land of Ultimate Bliss is so extremely lofty and beautifully adorned that we cannot rely merely on "a few good roots, blessings, virtues, causes and conditions" to achieve rebirth in that Land. Reflecting upon ourselves, we see that our good roots, merits and virtues are indeed shallow, while our bad karma and obstructions are heavy; how can we expect to attain, in this very life, conditions favorable to rebirth in the Pure Land?
I respectfully beg of you, ten million times, not to have such doubts!
For, if you can finger a rosary and recite the Buddha's Name, you already have deep roots of merit and virtue. Do think again.
How many people are there on this very earth who lack the opportunity to hear the Buddha's Name?
How many, even after hearing Amitabha Buddha's Name, continue to seek fame and profit, chasing after mundane dusts and refusing to recite the Buddha's Name?
You have now heard the Dharma and recited the Buddha's name in all sincerity.
Is this not proof enough that you already have many good roots, merits and virtues?

In the Longer Amitabha Sutra, Buddha Sakyamuni said to the Bodhisattva Maitreya:
If any sentient being hears the name of Amitabha Buddha and is transported with delight even for a moment, you should know that he has received great benefit and has perfected supreme merit and virtue.

This quote should be proof enough: the very fact that a person practices Buddha Recitation shows that he already has many good roots, merits and virtues. The book, Biographies of Pure Land Sages and Saints, records the life histories of individuals who committed extremely heavy transgressions, yet achieved rebirth in the Pure Land through singleminded recitation of the Buddha's Name at the time of death. Your good roots, merits and virtues far surpass those of the evil beings cited in these biographies. Therefore, why should you have doubts about being reborn in the Pure Land in this very lifetime?

As we earnestly recite the Buddha's Name, our mind-power keeps developing. When one-pointedness of mind is achieved, the mind-power manifests itself perfectly. At that point the power of our karma is subdued and is no longer a hindrance. If we add to that Amitabha Buddha's power to "welcome and escort," we will achieve rebirth in the Pure Land in spite of the fact that not all of our bad karma is extinguished. Once reborn, our lifespan extends over innumerable eons. Non-retrogression until complete Enlightenment and Buddhahood are attained is therefore an easily understandable occurrence.

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 10, 2012 3:35 pm 
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Auspicious signs are predicated on jiriki. A self power. Unless I have seen signs then I will not succeed, so I must try harder.
Pure Land on the other hand is a simpler path for 'foolish beings of wayward passion' [bombu], self included.
Tariki is other power, naught of ourselves. No signs just trust.
And chant.
Namo Amida Bu
Try it.
What's to lose?

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PostPosted: Sat Aug 11, 2012 2:39 pm 
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I think it's unfortunate this was recorded by Tienju. I thought this over for a while. First, Amita has affinity with all sentient beings, as recorded in the sutras. The sutras obviously trump a human being's utterance, therefore give precedence to the sutras.

Second, much of these "writings" are dialogues remembered by disciples, written down much later. You cannot take a statement out of context and apply to everyone, all the time.

Finally, he may have been talking to a monk who's been doing nienfo dilligently for a long time. I doubt any of us have done this practice one-pointedly for a long time like a monk. We're not monastics living in rural China. This, again, relates to context.

The fact that you do have an interest in Amita means karmic affinity -- Amita has an interest in you -- and everyone, especially those who practice.
Amitoufu.

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PostPosted: Sun Aug 12, 2012 1:19 am 
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[quote="cheondo"]I think it's unfortunate this was recorded by Tienju. I thought this over for a while. First, Amita has affinity with all sentient beings, as recorded in the sutras. The sutras obviously trump a human being's utterance, therefore give precedence to the sutras.

Second, much of these "writings" are dialogues remembered by disciples, written down much later. You cannot take a statement out of context and apply to everyone, all the time.

Finally, he may have been talking to a monk who's been doing nienfo dilligently for a long time. I doubt any of us have done this practice one-pointedly for a long time like a monk. We're not monastics living in rural China. This, again, relates to context.

The fact that you do have an interest in Amita means karmic affinity -- Amita has an interest in you -- and everyone, especially those who practice.
Amitoufu.
............................

:good:

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 13, 2012 1:50 am 
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Nosta wrote:
If you do not see the Buddha, you do not have affinities with Him. Otherwise, it is very difficult. If you do not see the
Buddha, you do not have affinities with Him. Without affinities, it is certainly difficult to achieve rebirth in the Pure Land. If you are not reborn in the Pure Land, sooner or later you will descend into the Evil Realms. (Master Tien Ju).


i may interpret the seeing of Buddha Amitabha at the time of departure. as seeing the Buddha at the very time of departure is a sure sign of reborning in Pureland. On seeing Amitabha before the time of departure, That inform him/her the time of departure, it's quite rare and more for very well practiced and diligent practitioners.

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 13, 2012 12:19 pm 
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Thanks for the posts so far.

CHEONDO: In fact you pointed something important: the opinion of someone, even a monk, is not best than what is written in a Sutra.

SINWEY: So, not everybody will see Amitabha before death? But still, they will reborn on Pure Land correct? I mean, do we really need to have a rebirth sign in order to reborn on Pure Land, or even without any sign one may get a rebirth there?


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 13, 2012 3:39 pm 
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Chanting is sufficient.
Rebirth in Pure Land is not predicated on signs seen before or at the point of death.
Nor is it necessayy to be chanting at the point of death.
It is the Intention during or when not chanting that matters.
Hearts to Amida Buddha plus chanting with intention when possible assures our ultimate arrival in the Pure Land.
Namo Amida Bu

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 14, 2012 12:06 am 
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Nosta wrote:
Here you have 2 questions:

1) Have you ever had any auspicious sign thast confirm your next rebirth in Pure Land?


No

Quote:
2) If not, do you think that means you may not rebirth there and/or that you dont have affinity with Amitabha?


If you've heard of Amitabha, you have an affinity with Amitabha. I don't think it's necessary to put emphasis on "signs" - the 18th Vow covers it.

    People came to him reporting dreams in which he had appeared as a bodhisattva and miraculous signs of Amida Buddha's closeness, such as purple clouds in the sky. Since it was popularly believed that Amida came to receive the truly faithful, concrete signs at the time of death were considered auspicious, but Ippen rejected their significance.

    - No Abode: The Record of Ippen

    Shortly before his birth in the Pure Land, it was reported that purple clouds had gathered. He (Ippen) said: Then I need not expect my death today or tomorrow. At the very end there should be no trace of any signs.

    - Words, 109

Quote:
The reason for this last question is this sentence i found:
If you recite
Amitabha Buddha’s name in earnest, without interruption, it is very
easy to see Him. Otherwise, it is very difficult. If you do not see the
Buddha, you do not have affinities with Him. Without affinities, it is
certainly difficult to achieve rebirth in the Pure Land. If you are not
reborn in the Pure Land, sooner or later you will descend into the Evil
Realms. Thus, a single thought of interrupting recitation is precisely
the karma of rebirth on the Three Evil Paths. You should bear this in
mind and ponder it carefully! (Master Tien Ju).


The title of "Master" doesn't state where that person is on the path. As Jnana said in another post:

    a bodhisattva practicing on any of the first six or seven bhūmis isn't perfect, they still have cognitive and afflictive obscurations.

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    grasping the letter of the text and ignoring its intention!
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 14, 2012 10:35 am 
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Nosta wrote:
Thanks for the posts so far.

SINWEY: So, not everybody will see Amitabha during the time before death? But still, they will reborn on Pure Land correct? I mean, do we really need to have a rebirth sign in order to reborn on Pure Land, or even without any sign one may get a rebirth there?


yeah, not really need to have a rebirth sign before death. i have not heard MCK stressed on that before.

what i heard he mentioned is that beginners who started to practice PL method some what earnestly, are easier to produce signs, than people who had practiced for very long time. i have before, but later no more. Signs regarding experiencing fragrance smells while reading dharma books, and some dreams of Buddha/bodhisattva. The fragrance smells are said to be the smell of heavenly being(s) passing by, doing a hand together gesture. we can interprete these signs as Bodhisattvas giving beginners an encouragement.

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Last edited by sinweiy on Tue Aug 14, 2012 10:44 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 14, 2012 10:41 am 
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why i said seeing is at the time of death is exactly what Amitabha Sutra Stated:-

Shariputra, if there is a good man or good woman who hears of Amitabha and holds his name whether for one day, two days, three, four, five days, six days, as long as seven days with one mind unconfused, when this person nears the end of life, before him will appear Amitabha and all the Assembly of Holy Ones. When the end comes, his mind will not be utterly confused, and in Amitabha's Land of Utmost Happiness he will quickly be reborn.

there's nothing we can ask anyone to proof on the seeing, as it's right before the point of death. if one never see Amitabha at death point, then i am sorry, no rebirth yet. however, i believe in the bardo period, there can be another chance for one to recall back the practice. even in ghosts realm, there are still chance to be liberated, by recalling or by the help of others.
it is like the methods in the Tibetan Vajrayana that can help to influence one's future rebirth and block unfavorable rebirths but that require deep familiarisation prior to death. Also, if the family creates merits for the deceased and he is aided by realised masters, he can obtain a positive rebirth.
Deep familiarisation with PL practice is very good. create merits like taking the 8 precepts is very very good too, in the example of the Queen in Contemplation Sutra.

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 14, 2012 6:17 pm 
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So, from what I understand about your sayings, is that at least each one of us will see Amitabha before death. If not, Sukhavati will be achieved, at least in this life. Other auspicious signs besides that are like bonus: if you have them, thats ok, if not, thats ok too, regarding that you can see Amitabha in the very moment of death.

If i can take a lesson from here, is this: do not be to much crazy about signs, but make a strong effort (do recitations daily and firm your Faith) to have Amitabha escorting you to Pure Land.


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 15, 2012 2:29 am 
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"Amitabha escorting you to Pure Land" :twothumbsup:

ok, in Contemplation Sutra of Amitabha, other than the last lowest level of the lowest grade, which only see golden lotus-flower, the rest are seeing Amitabha, or Avalokiteshvara, Mahasthamaprapta, or Transformed Buddha, coming to escort.

Contemplation Sutra of Amitabha:-
http://www12.canvas.ne.jp/horai/contemplation-sutra.htm

Nine grades of birth:
1) the highest level of the highest grade
"When an aspirant is about to be born in that land through dedicated and undaunted practices, the Tathagata Amitayus arrives together with Avalokiteshvara, Mahasthamaprapta, innumerable transformed Buddhas, a great assembly of a hundred thousand monks and shravakas and innumerable devas in seven-jewelled palaces.

2) the middle level of the highest grade
"When such an aspirant is about to die, Amitayus appears before him, surrounded by Avalokiteshvara, Mahasthamaprapta and innumerable sages and attendants, carrying a purple-gold lotus-seat.

3) the lowest level of the highest grade
"When such an aspirant is about to die, Amitayus, together with Avalokiteshvara, Mahasthamaprapta and a host of attendants, come to welcome him, bringing a golden lotus-flower and manifesting five hundred transformed Buddhas.

4) the highest level of the middle grade
"When such a person is about to die, Amitayus appears before him, surrounded by a host of monks and radiating a golden light.

5) the middle level of the middle grade
"When such an aspirant, perfumed by the virtue of observing the precepts, is about to die, he sees Amitayus coming towards him with his attendants, radiating a golden light and carrying a seven-jewelled lotus-flower.


6) the lowest level of the middle grade
Seven days after his birth there, he meets Avalokiteshvara and Mahasthamaprapta, rejoices at hearing the Dharma from them and so reaches the Stage of a Stream-Winner.

7) the highest level of the lowest grade
Having seen this, he rejoices and dies. Seated on a jewelled lotus-flower, he follows the transformed Buddha and is born on a jewelled pond.

8) the middle level of the lowest grade
On each flower is a transformed Buddha accompanied by bodhisattvas welcoming him.

9) the lowest level of the lowest grade
When he comes to die, he sees before him a golden lotus-flower like the disk of the sun, and in an instant he is born within a lotus-bud in the Land of Utmost Bliss. After twelve great kalpas the lotus-bud opens. When the flower opens, Avalokiteshvara and Mahasthamaprapta teach him with voices of great compassion the method of extinguishing evil karma through the realization of Suchness of all dharmas.

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 15, 2012 12:20 pm 
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These are wise and auspicious postings indeed and it is joyous to see these interests aired here proving Amida affiliation.
The gracious attribute of Pure Land path is that of a road designed for simple men and women to travel on.
We can travel assured of the 18th Vow, chanting with intention and living each day in trust that we shall arrive in Pure Land.
Others may believe that they need to know how many Devas exactly can dance on the head of a pin. Some think that learning Tibetan language in order for textual analysis of Sutras will bring success but devotees of Pure Land path who chant with intention for others and self, just trusting... for them the way to Amitabha Rewarded Land is joyfully simple.
Chant is both pathway and signpost.
Namo Amida Bu.

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 15, 2012 3:08 pm 
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Osho, indeed it is a great thing sharing these ideas; auspicious signs for sure. Thats a good and very interesting observation you made :thumbsup:

Sinwey, thanks for the link and for the explanations :thanks:

From the link you gave, here are some observations, questions, commentaries, etc:
1) "After twelve great kalpas the lotus-bud opens." - this is regarding the birth in the lowest grade of all. My commentary here is that it must be someting very stressing to be inside a lotus flower (whatever that means) for 12 great kalpas (15 360 000 000 000 years! roughly 1000x times the ae of the universe!). Isnt that something bad too?

2) "the evil karma which he has committed during eighty kotis of kalpas of Samsara are extinguished"- this is regarding the lowest and middle levels of the lowest grade - it is hard to believe that one can extinguish the karma of such great lenght of time (its even bigger than the number i gave before if I am not wrong: 10 280 000 000 000 000 years!!). Even so i think thats very possible: we are talking about an action (recitation) made in the time of death, where things have more strenght than in life (Tibetan Book of Dead, for example, says that emotions, concentration, confusion, etc, whatever you find in the bardo, are MUCH more powerful). Doing recitations while dying means that you are opening the door to Sukhavati, so its natural that right in that moment you "explode" with you all that karma. Its like cleaning your shoes before entering in the beautiful house of a rich person. Just my opinion of course.

3) Nevertheless: "fifty kotis of kalpas " is the karma you extinguish while entering directly to the highest level of the lowest grade. Its an higher level than the others, so why do you extinguish less karma (or karma of less years)? My opinion is that the factors that make you enter in that higher level imply that you have already less bad karma, so when you recitate (and you are in the verge of reaching that level) you dont need to extinguish so much bad karma.

4) Its curious to see that, for example, people reaching the lowest level of the middle grade dont see anyone (Amitabha, Monks, Boddhistavas, etc) while dying.

5) We find often, in that sutra, this: "When such a person is about to die, he may meet a good teacher, who fully explains to him the bliss of the land of Amitayus...". I hope that this doesnt mean that we necessarily need to have a teacher, especially at the time of death. Being so, i wouldnt have any chance to reborn on Pure Land since i live in Portugal :D. I think that what the sentence means is that someone not knowing about Amitabha, even so can reach Pure Land if, at the time of his death, finds a teacher speaking about Amitabha.

6) Something i dont get: in the lowest level of the middle grade you need 1 small kalpa to become an Arhat. In the middle level of the middle grade (so, a better level) you need half a kalpa: "After half a kalpa, he becomes an Arhat.", and thats much bigger than a small kalpa. Could that be an error? Maybe the translation should be "After hald a small kalpa..."

7) In the same way, having rebirth in the highest level of the middle grade means seeing the lotus bud opening right away, but the rebirth in lowest level of the highest grade means seeing the lotus bud opening only after a day and a night.

8) Why in some levels your flower open early than others or why you see perfectly the body of Buddha while in some levels you cant do it? Is Buddha rewarding/punishing you? I dont think so. I think that altought Karma "stays at door" when you reach Pure Land, i think that there still exists a residue. I mean, reaching a lower level for example, means that you have more mental obstructions that stops you from seeing the Buddha right away.

9) Reading the levels and comparing then to my own life, i think that if i reacch Pure Land (i hope so!!!) my level may be, at the best, the highest level of the lowest grade or maybe the lowest level of the middle grade. What about you? :)


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 15, 2012 10:53 pm 
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If we were to discuss the defilements and hindrances of sentient beings, then it would certainly be difficult for them to aspire [to the Pure Land]. It is precisey because of the reliance upon the Buddha's vow as efficient cause that those of the five vehicles are all able to enter [the Pure Land].

Taisho shinshu daizokyo
1753.37
p.213a 8-9

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 16, 2012 6:06 am 
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Quote:
From the link you gave, here are some observations, questions, commentaries, etc:
1) "After twelve great kalpas the lotus-bud opens." - this is regarding the birth in the lowest grade of all. My commentary here is that it must be someting very stressing to be inside a lotus flower (whatever that means) for 12 great kalpas (15 360 000 000 000 years! roughly 1000x times the ae of the universe!). Isnt that something bad too?


SW: 12 great kalpas is the life-span of Earth x12 times. but if compare to our rebirth in Countless great kalpas in samsara, 12 is nothing. inside a lotus flower is not that bad actually. it's like a child in the womb of a mother. :smile:

Quote:
2) "the evil karma which he has committed during eighty kotis of kalpas of Samsara are extinguished"- this is regarding the lowest and middle levels of the lowest grade - it is hard to believe that one can extinguish the karma of such great lenght of time (its even bigger than the number i gave before if I am not wrong: 10 280 000 000 000 000 years!!). Even so i think thats very possible: we are talking about an action (recitation) made in the time of death, where things have more strenght than in life (Tibetan Book of Dead, for example, says that emotions, concentration, confusion, etc, whatever you find in the bardo, are MUCH more powerful). Doing recitations while dying means that you are opening the door to Sukhavati, so its natural that right in that moment you "explode" with you all that karma. Its like cleaning your shoes before entering in the beautiful house of a rich person. Just my opinion of course.


SW: yes, there's a saying that our previous karma in beginnless time are like the darkness in a room. if you open the windows/door, there's no way the darkness will not be eliminated. hence eighty kotis of kalpas is just a figure of speech, for us to gauge.

Quote:
4) Its curious to see that, for example, people reaching the lowest level of the middle grade dont see anyone (Amitabha, Monks, Boddhistavas, etc) while dying.


SW: i was informed that the middle grade are those sort of from from hinayana(Arahat level) turning into Mahayana. hence what they conceptualise are also of "transformation Buddha". what they think of is what they get. like what i visualise my Amitabha , might be different from yours, in term of dressing etc.

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5) We find often, in that sutra, this: "When such a person is about to die, he may meet a good teacher, who fully explains to him the bliss of the land of Amitayus...". I hope that this doesnt mean that we necessarily need to have a teacher, especially at the time of death. Being so, i wouldnt have any chance to reborn on Pure Land since i live in Portugal :D. I think that what the sentence means is that someone not knowing about Amitabha, even so can reach Pure Land if, at the time of his death, finds a teacher speaking about Amitabha.


SW: :D no, not necessarily. You had learn it and believed in it already. :namaste:

Quote:
6) Something i dont get: in the lowest level of the middle grade you need 1 small kalpa to become an Arhat. In the middle level of the middle grade (so, a better level) you need half a kalpa: "After half a kalpa, he becomes an Arhat.", and thats much bigger than a small kalpa. Could that be an error? Maybe the translation should be "After hald a small kalpa..."


SW: Should be error. or sometimes, people are lazy to put the "great or small or medium" word.

Quote:
7) In the same way, having rebirth in the highest level of the middle grade means seeing the lotus bud opening right away, but the rebirth in lowest level of the highest grade means seeing the lotus bud opening only after a day and a night.


SW: Is it? hmm, i think middle grade are of Arhat level, well practiced in samadhi already. highest grade are Mahayana level, greater in insight.

Quote:
8) Why in some levels your flower open early than others or why you see perfectly the body of Buddha while in some levels you cant do it? Is Buddha rewarding/punishing you? I dont think so. I think that altought Karma "stays at door" when you reach Pure Land, i think that there still exists a residue. I mean, reaching a lower level for example, means that you have more mental obstructions that stops you from seeing the Buddha right away.


SW: i think there are difference in samadhi and wisdom level.

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9) Reading the levels and comparing then to my own life, i think that if i reacch Pure Land (i hope so!!!) my level may be, at the best, the highest level of the lowest grade or maybe the lowest level of the middle grade. What about you?


SW: i don't mind the lowest level or at the outskirt of PL. to be able to born there is already a great blessing to me. :) Note that they are all the same in Amitabha PL. PL is a land of Equality.

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"Enlightenment is to turn around and see MY own mistake, Other's mistake is also my mistake. Others are right even if they are wrong. i'm wrong even if i'm right. " - Master Chin Kung


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 18, 2012 7:08 pm 
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I feel a little lost. What exactly is a pure land? And I didn't know Buddhism had gods people can pray to?


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 18, 2012 9:31 pm 
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Music wrote:
I feel a little lost. What exactly is a pure land? And I didn't know Buddhism had gods people can pray to?


A pure land is a transcendent realm created by a Buddha. According to Jodo Shinshu or Shin Buddhism, Amida, through many eons of meditation, created the greatest pure land.

Amida's pure land is not the Christian heaven. Christians go to heaven forever. Shin adherents, however, stay in the pure land only long enough to become Buddhas. As with other Mahayanist schools, in Shin too, the goal is to become a Buddha, and this happens when the adherent's mind is transformed to Buddha-mind by Amida's grace and "Other-Power".

We don't pray to Amida because Amida is not a god; is not a creator, not an intervener in the physical universe, not a king or a judge.

Instead we practice the Nembutsu, or "Namu Amida Butsu" which is not a prayer, but the practice of thanksgiving to Amida.

Amida's grace "saves" us, that is, it grants us both religious salvation/redemption and enlightenment. So Shin adherents do not practice meditation for the goal of enlightenment. Meditation does not enlighten. Amida alone enlightens. If Shin adherents meditate, they do not do so to obtain enlightenment, but for mindfulness, relaxation, or other non-religious reasons. Nothing but Amida's grace redeems and enlightens us.


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