Pure Land descriptions

Pure Land descriptions

Postby zamotcr » Sat Jul 21, 2012 10:00 pm

Amituofo,

I was thinking in the Pure Land descriptions made by the Sutras and I think they are somewhat metaphorical. I'm not denying the Pure Land as a real place nor denying Amitabha, but I think that we don't have enough word to describe Amitabha's Pure Land.

What do you think? How do you take these descriptions like Pure Land is full of gold, crystals, and a lot of human physical materials?

Is this Pure Land made of human physical materials or is made of, I don't know, the same nature of Amitabha (Sambogakaya) so, not physical?

Sorry my english :(
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Re: Pure Land descriptions

Postby Nighthawk » Sun Jul 22, 2012 2:22 am

I don't know what it is but my guess would be that it is neither an actual physical location somewhere in space nor is it some purely metaphorical description of the nature of enlightenment.
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Re: Pure Land descriptions

Postby plwk » Sun Jul 22, 2012 3:38 am

Here's a sample...from a commentary on The Buddha Speaks on Amitabha Sutra

Sutra:
“Moreover, Shariputra, this Land of Ultimate Bliss is everywhere surrounded by seven tiers of railings, seven layers of netting, and seven rows of trees, all formed from the four treasures and for this reason named ‘Ultimate Bliss.’
Commentary:
After explaining why this land is called Ultimate Bliss, Shakyamuni Buddha waited for Shariputra to ask about the limitless principles which remained but, as intelligent as he was, Shariputra simply didn’t know enough to ask. Why? It was because the Pure Land Dharma Door is simply too wonderful.

Unable to wait any longer, the Buddha said, “Shariputra, I will tell you something else. In the most happy land there are seven railings which run horizontally like fences and are arranged vertically in seven tiers.” The railings represent the precepts, the netting represents concentration, and the trees represent wisdom. The number seven is used for the “Seven Classes,” the classification of the Thirty-Seven Wings of Enlightenment into seven groups:

◦ The Four Applications of Mindfulness
◦ The Four Right Efforts
◦ The Four Bases of Supernatural Power
◦ The Five Roots
◦ The Five Powers
◦ The Seven Limbs of Enlightenment
◦ The Proper Eight-fold Path

How do the tiers of railings represent the precepts? Precepts prohibit evil and prevent error. Morality is simply
All evil not done and
All good conduct respectfully practised.

Once you have taken the precepts, you cannot entertain confused false thinking. You must purify your mind and will. If you find yourself caught up in false thinking, rub your head and say, “I have left the home-life, I am hairless. I am no longer a layman and so I can’t be casual and think unclean thoughts. I must stop.” In this way the precepts are like a fence. It is illegal to jump it, you have to go through the gate. Thus, the seven tiers of railings represent the precepts.
How do the seven layers of netting represent concentration? One does not enter or emerge from true concentration. With “naga concentration” you don’t need to meditate because no external state will move your heart. You are always concentrated.
The seven layers of netting represent concentration. Now do you understand the Amitabha Sutra ? If you don’t understand it completely, perhaps you understand a little. That’s why I am explaining it.
And seven rows of very tall trees. The trees represent wisdom. If you have wisdom, you are tall, without it, you are short. It’s not a question of how tall or short your body is. With wisdom you are like seven rows of tall trees; without wisdom you are like seven rows of grass! The grass has smothered your heart and you grow more and more stupid.

All formed from the four treasures and for this reason called ‘Ultimate Bliss.’ The four treasures are gold, silver, lapis lazuli and crystal.
“Is the Land of Ultimate Bliss made out of only four treasures?” You may wonder.
The treasures in the Land of Ultimate Bliss are limitless and measureless, nothing in this world compares with them. We of this world have never seen anything like the treasures which fill that land.
“Then why do you only mention four?” You ask.
The four treasures represent the Four Virtues of Nirvana: permanence, bliss, true self, and purity....
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Re: Pure Land descriptions

Postby sinweiy » Mon Jul 23, 2012 7:03 am

that say:-
All beings do not see mountains and waters in the same way. Some beings see water as a jeweled ornament, but they do not regard jeweled ornaments as water. What in the human realm corresponds to their water? We only see their jeweled ornaments as water. Some beings see water as wondrous blossoms, but they do not use blossoms as water. Hungry ghosts see water as raging fire or pus and blood. Dragons see water as a palace or a pavilion. Some beings see water as the seven treasures or a wish-granting jewel. Some beings see water as a forest or a wall. Some see it as the Dharma nature of pure liberation, the true human body, or as the form of body and essence of mind. Human beings see water as water. Water is seen as dead or alive depending on causes and conditions. Thus the views of all beings are not the same.

i say if you are sitting next to a Buddha, be it Shakyamuni or Amitabha, what we, ordinary people see is samsaric environment. while what the Buddha see is pure land as described in Amitabha pureland sutra. a defiled mind see a defiled land. a pure mind see a pure land.
it is not wrong to say that "Pureland is as real as this defiled world". :smile:
_/\_
Amituofo!

"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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Re: Pure Land descriptions

Postby Nosta » Sun Jul 29, 2012 12:43 pm

"The railings represent the precepts, the netting represents concentration [...]."

Reading this it seems that Pure Land is just a mere metaphor to explain Dharma concepts, such as precepts, concentration, and so on.
I think - and i would like to know your opinion on this - that although Buddha said that this represents that, etc, the Pure Land still exist as a real thing (by real, i mean, real like your home, real like a stone, etc). I think that Amitabha created a real Pure Land, but He wanted to build something with meaning, so when He created, for instance, the railings, He tought "Hmmm, these railings will represent the precepts, so when a monk see it, he will remember the precepts.".

In resume, Pure Land has 2 sides: a real side, the phenomenoun world; the meaning/representative side or noumenon world. The only problem here is that in the sutra (the one plwk posted) it seems that Pure Land is only a metaphor.

Just my opinion on this.

What do you think?
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Re: Pure Land descriptions

Postby sinweiy » Mon Jul 30, 2012 7:45 am

"beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder".
_/\_
Amituofo!

"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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Re: Pure Land descriptions

Postby Son » Tue Aug 28, 2012 6:23 pm

sinweiy wrote:that say:-
All beings do not see mountains and waters in the same way. Some beings see water as a jeweled ornament, but they do not regard jeweled ornaments as water. What in the human realm corresponds to their water? We only see their jeweled ornaments as water. Some beings see water as wondrous blossoms, but they do not use blossoms as water. Hungry ghosts see water as raging fire or pus and blood. Dragons see water as a palace or a pavilion. Some beings see water as the seven treasures or a wish-granting jewel. Some beings see water as a forest or a wall. Some see it as the Dharma nature of pure liberation, the true human body, or as the form of body and essence of mind. Human beings see water as water. Water is seen as dead or alive depending on causes and conditions. Thus the views of all beings are not the same.

i say if you are sitting next to a Buddha, be it Shakyamuni or Amitabha, what we, ordinary people see is samsaric environment. while what the Buddha see is pure land as described in Amitabha pureland sutra. a defiled mind see a defiled land. a pure mind see a pure land.
it is not wrong to say that "Pureland is as real as this defiled world". :smile:


So are you saying that there's a world, a planet that is a pure field and people that are born there experience this and have conditions perfect for enlightenment?
Or, are you saying that the Pure Lands are literally manifested all around us now, and you are "reborn" in the Pure Land here but with the pure mind, and with a Pure Land perspective, so that the world seems like a Pure Land...?

One of them must be your conclusion.
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Re: Pure Land descriptions

Postby sinweiy » Wed Aug 29, 2012 2:26 am

Son wrote:So are you saying that there's a world, a planet that is a pure field and people that are born there experience this and have conditions perfect for enlightenment?
Or, are you saying that the Pure Lands are literally manifested all around us now, and you are "reborn" in the Pure Land here but with the pure mind, and with a Pure Land perspective, so that the world seems like a Pure Land...?

One of them must be your conclusion.


sort of incline to the latter. but if you can blend the two in a non-dualistic view, your realisaton will be up another level.
to someone less realise, we can use the former view.

One of them? (Skillful mean)
Both of them? (Dependent origination View)
None of them. (Emptiness view)
_/\_
Amituofo!

"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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Re: Pure Land descriptions

Postby Kaji » Wed Aug 29, 2012 3:12 am

I have heard many stories and recollections about people having been to or seen the Western Pure Land giving its descriptions. However, this one is of particular affinity as it happened to someone very close to my good friend Kitty.

Kitty's grandfather (mother's side) passed away a couple of years ago. Her grandmother (the grandpa's wife) is still alive. After the grandpa's death, the grandma noticed a butterfly that came to her house every single day. It was always the same butterfly, she said. The funny thing is that if grandma is not in the house that day, the other people in the house would not see this butterfly. The hypothesis is that the butterfly is a manifestation of grandpa visiting his wife, which he could not let go of.

Fast forward a little... Kitty's father for a number of years suffered from cancer. He passed away last year. Weeks before his death his family and Buddhist friends, including Kitty, recited the Amitabha Sutra and Amitabha's name many times. Near the time of Kitty's father's death, they did this as a deathbed service with even greater intensity. Kitty's family has a Buddhist friend who can see what normal humans cannot. Just at the time of his death, this friend said the bardo of Kitty's dad was "on the way" to the Pure Land, but not exactly getting there yet as he still had not fully committed to go. Then Kitty's older brother spoke softly next to the ears of his father's corpse, something along the line of "Your body is now dead. You have to let go and move to the Pure Land. You do not have to worry about us. We will be fine and happy to see you go there." Soon after the seeing friend confirmed that Kitty's dad was successfully reborn to the Pure Land.

At around the time of this event, Kitty's family also recited the sutra to help grandpa go to the Western Pure Land too. After some time he did made it, as confirmed by the seeing friend.

What's so special about this story, other than it being told by a personal friend?

Some time after the passing away of Kitty's father, Kitty's grandma had a dream where she saw her husband (grandpa), her son-in-law (Kitty's dad) and a third person not familiar to her. The next morning grandma told the family about the dream and descriptions of the place the dream took place. Note that Kitty's grandma was not a Buddhist and almost illiterate - she could not have read Buddhist sutra. However, her description of the place was the same as that of the Western Pure Land according to the Amitabha Sutra.

I found this story to be inspiring.

And oh, the third person in the dream was probably one of the many Bodhisattva there, helping the two of them get in touch with close ones still stuck in our world, possibly with the purpose of bringing us confidence that the Pure Land is real and Amitabha's vows are valid.
Namas triya-dhvikānāṃ sarva tathāgatānām!
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Re: Pure Land descriptions

Postby Son » Wed Aug 29, 2012 4:13 am

:namaste:
Thank you, both of you. You uplift my thoughts and support faith in my views. I appreciate you both. :anjali: :anjali:

It is clear that you delight in unity and togetherness, and are not evil dividers.
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