The Sole Practice of Avalokitesvara For Liberation?

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The Sole Practice of Avalokitesvara For Liberation?

Postby Mr. G » Fri Jan 20, 2012 1:12 am

Are there Avalokitesvara practices in China or Japan that are solely practiced for liberation? Much like how in Pure Land practice Amitabha is practiced solely for liberation? This is excluding esoteric practices.
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Re: The Sole Practice of Avalokitesvara For Liberation?

Postby Mr. G » Fri Jan 20, 2012 2:52 pm

None? :shrug:
    How foolish you are,
    grasping the letter of the text and ignoring its intention!
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Re: The Sole Practice of Avalokitesvara For Liberation?

Postby Astus » Fri Jan 20, 2012 3:12 pm

The idea of "exclusive practice" occurred with Honen and only in Japan. As you may know, in other countries, Pure Land practice involves many different methods. Guanyin is indeed a popular bodhisattva and there are practices with her, but it'd be strange to find an exclusivist branch.
"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)

"Neither cultivation nor seated meditation — this is the pure Chan of Tathagata."
(Mazu Daoyi, X1321p3b23; tr. Jinhua Jia)

“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; T2076p461b24-26)
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Re: The Sole Practice of Avalokitesvara For Liberation?

Postby Mr. G » Fri Jan 20, 2012 3:16 pm

Astus wrote:The idea of "exclusive practice" occurred with Honen and only in Japan. As you may know, in other countries, Pure Land practice involves many different methods. Guanyin is indeed a popular bodhisattva and there are practices with her, but it'd be strange to find an exclusivist branch.


Thanks Astus. I had never heard of a tradition based solely on the practice of Avalokitesvara, but wanted to be certain on it.
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Re: The Sole Practice of Avalokitesvara For Liberation?

Postby Kaji » Sat Aug 25, 2012 11:46 am

I understand that there are Buddhists in China who focus on Avalokitesvara practices. There is at least one story about a monk who recites Avalokitesvara's name day and night and was reborn in the West Pure Land.

There are other kinds of Avalokitesvara practices. A fairly well-known one is the cultivation of perfect penetration of the ear, as taught in the Shurangama Sutra.
Namas triya-dhvikānāṃ sarva tathāgatānām!
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Re: The Sole Practice of Avalokitesvara For Liberation?

Postby Anders » Sat Aug 25, 2012 12:26 pm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cundi_(Buddhism)

It is esoteric, but not in the Tibetan sense of the word (ie, requiring abisheka).
"Even if my body should be burnt to death in the fires of hell
I would endure it for myriad lifetimes
As your companion in practice"

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Re: The Sole Practice of Avalokitesvara For Liberation?

Postby Jechan » Sat Aug 25, 2012 12:54 pm

Hi Mr. G,

The 25th Chapter of the Lotus Sutra might be worth reading if youre interested in Avalokitesvara :twothumbsup:

I'm not 100% on this, but Pure Land liturgies feature devotional practices and recitations for Guan-yin. The Great Compassion Mantra, for instance?

So far as I have read recitation of Her name is a secondary practice to the primary practice of Buddha Amitabha's name recitation.

:namaste:

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Re: The Sole Practice of Avalokitesvara For Liberation?

Postby Lobsang Damchoi » Sat Aug 25, 2012 4:08 pm

Mr. G wrote:Are there Avalokitesvara practices in China or Japan that are solely practiced for liberation? Much like how in Pure Land practice Amitabha is practiced solely for liberation? This is excluding esoteric practices.


Sorry but the question is a little vague...
Do you mean practiced for the purpose of gaining personal Liberation only? Or the only practice that is used by an individual to gain Liberation?

If you mean the former, then this doesn't belong in the Mahayana forum. I guess it's the use of the word "solely" that bothers me. Aren't all Pure Land practitioners followers of Mahayana Buddhism, which strives to help all sentient beings get out of samsara (the attainment of Pure Land is a desirable step towards the goal of liberating all beings)?

Or is there some kind of Hinayana tendency "lurking" in the main Chinese and Japanese traditions.

Lobsang

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Re: The Sole Practice of Avalokitesvara For Liberation?

Postby Kaji » Sat Aug 25, 2012 7:26 pm

From what I have learned in Chinese Buddhism, the following are all considered to be mainstream practices of the "Avalokitesvara Methodology":

1. Reciting Avalokitesvara's name, usually some form of "Nama Aarya Awaloki'te-swaraaya Bodhisattwaaya". Reference is the Universal Gate in the Lotus Sutra, as Jechan mentioned. This can be an alternative or supplement to chanting Amitaabha's name in the Pure Land practice.

2. Reciting the mantra "Om! Man!i Padme Huum!" from The Kāraṇḍavyūha Sūtra (Taishō Tripiṭaka 1050).

3. Reciting the Great Compassionate Dharani, from the Great Compassionate Dharani Sutra.

4. Reciting the Heart Sutra and practising the teaching therein.

5. Cultivation of perfect penetration of the ear, from the Shurangama Sutra.

The above are just the more popular ones in Chinese Buddhism. Obviously the list will be much longer if you include the many mantra of Avalokitesvara and his different forms, such as Cundi as Anders mentioned. I can list these mantra if requested.
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Re: The Sole Practice of Avalokitesvara For Liberation?

Postby Kaji » Sun Aug 26, 2012 11:44 am

Lobsang Damchoi wrote:(...)
Do you mean practiced for the purpose of gaining personal Liberation only? Or the only practice that is used by an individual to gain Liberation?

If you mean the former, then this doesn't belong in the Mahayana forum. I guess it's the use of the word "solely" that bothers me. Aren't all Pure Land practitioners followers of Mahayana Buddhism, which strives to help all sentient beings get out of samsara (the attainment of Pure Land is a desirable step towards the goal of liberating all beings)?

Or is there some kind of Hinayana tendency "lurking" in the main Chinese and Japanese traditions.
(...)

From what I understand about Chinese Mahayana Buddhism (or any Mahayana Buddhism in the human world), there is always some lurking Theravada tendency until we have reached a certain level. Like you said, a Pure Land practitioner may every now and then focusses only his/her/its own liberation from samsara. Similarly a Zen or Esoteric practitioner may have such moments until his/her/its Bodhicitta is firmly set.

In the Chinese Tiantai school there is a classification system of Buddhist teachings:
1) the Tripitaka Teaching (zangjiao 藏)
2) the Common Teaching (tongjiao 通)
3) the Separate Teaching (biejiao 別)
4) the Perfect/Complete Teaching (yuanjiao 圓)
(This is where I obtained the English translation http://www.fgu.edu.tw/~buddhist/chinese ... 20/015.pdf )

From what I have learned, the Complete Teaching is for becoming a Buddha pretty much instantaneously. Apparently this is beyond the reach of most human Buddhist practitioners nowadays. The Separate Teaching are for those beings who are already liberated from samsara; the Separate Teaching is purely Mahayana.

For most of us still in samsara, we have either the Tripitaka Teaching, which is purely Theravada, or the Common Teaching, which can be both Theravada and Mahayana. Most of us Mahayana practitioners belong to the Common Teaching category. Even if we have committed ourselves to Mahayana practices, most of us still have certain practices, beliefs and moments of thoughts that is Theravada in nature. A Theravada beginning to accept and take up the Mahayana way is also considered to be in the scope of the Common Teaching.

This is what I have learned from a Chinese Buddhist monk in his lectures. I could have misunderstood this and welcome any Tiantai practitioners (or any knowledgeable posters really) to correct or confirm the above.

In conclusion, while we consider ourselves to be Mahayana we might in reality not be as Mahayana as we want to be.

Having said that, I would like to add that Mr. G in his first post mentioned "for liberation" only. He did not specific whether the liberation was for only the self or all beings.
Namas triya-dhvikānāṃ sarva tathāgatānām!
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