Paul Williams critique of Pure Land

Rakz
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Paul Williams critique of Pure Land

Postby Rakz » Thu Sep 20, 2012 12:03 am

Me:What is your opinion on Pure Land Buddhism? Do you also believe that to be a "hopeless" path? Didn't Amitabha Buddha vow that all sentient beings may take rebirth in his Pure Land regardless of their karma?

Paul: I have spoken about Pure Land in my ‘Unexpected Way’ book and of course I deal with it – I hope positively – in my ‘Mahayana Buddhism’. I greatly admire Pure Land, and I consider Shinran one of the greatest of all Buddhist thinkers who correctly saw the problems with ‘traditional own power’ Buddhism. But there are problems for me in Pure Land. The Buddhahood it offers is finally still our own Buddha Nature, which is something nonconceptual about me. In the last analysis it does not transcend Buddhist ‘subjectivism’, and hence does not reach the absolutely objective Other who is God, the Creator of all. The Buddha Nature in Pure Land, and/or Amitabha Buddha in Pure Land, are not the Creator God we as Christians depend on for our very being, and worship, and in fact are very far removed in doctrinal terms from God. But this is far too big a topic to deal with here. More importantly, I consider Pure Land is built on a myth (i.e. ‘myth’ in a sense including historical falsehood – some Pure Land followers argue the ahistorical nature of this is an advantage over Christianity), the myth of Dharmakara Bodhisattva and hence of Amitabha Buddha. I have no reason to accept the existence of Amitabha Buddha, whereas I do consider there are excellent reasons to accept the existence of God, and of course Our Lord was certainly a historical figure, as was the crucifixion and, for me, the resurrection. I deal with all of this in my ‘Unexpected Way’.

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Re: Paul Williams critique of Pure Land

Postby DGA » Thu Sep 20, 2012 1:55 am

It's not other-power enough to posit an other power distinct from one's own enlightened nature, such as the Christian God: which is to say, Williams doesn't like it because it doesn't coincide with his own beliefs.

Good for him...?

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Re: Paul Williams critique of Pure Land

Postby zamotcr » Thu Sep 20, 2012 2:01 am

LOL

He doesn't believe in Amitabha because he isn't buddhist. He is christian.
That's why he seen Jesus as historical figure, but the same Jesus lacks of a lot of evidence too.

It's a matter of faith, any of the two ways, Christians or Buddhists.

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Re: Paul Williams critique of Pure Land

Postby plwk » Thu Sep 20, 2012 2:08 am


steveb1
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Re: Paul Williams critique of Pure Land

Postby steveb1 » Thu Sep 20, 2012 6:07 am


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Nosta
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Re: Paul Williams critique of Pure Land

Postby Nosta » Fri Sep 21, 2012 4:29 pm

Honestly, the position of non-buddhists about Pure Land is completly useless for me. I really dont care about these guys.

Its like someone gay trying to convince a straight guy that kissing a man is much better than kissing a woman - or the opposite (the straight man convincing the gay guy about kissing a woman). Its useless. Even more: its dangerous because giving attention to such people will only dimnish your Faith and make you far away from Pure Land.

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Re: Paul Williams critique of Pure Land

Postby gingercatni » Fri Sep 21, 2012 9:24 pm


Rakz
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Re: Paul Williams critique of Pure Land

Postby Rakz » Sat Sep 22, 2012 1:02 am


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Re: Paul Williams critique of Pure Land

Postby steveb1 » Sat Sep 22, 2012 3:01 am


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Re: Paul Williams critique of Pure Land

Postby cheondo » Sat Sep 22, 2012 3:33 am

Steveb1 and nighthawk,
I totally agree with your observations. My main dharma friend is Yin-Kwang in "Pure Land Zen, Zen Pure Land." A book can only be so good a friend -- flesh and blood is needed. I contacted the Amitabha Buddhist Society in Dallas and only got a monk who's not interested in Pure Land but rather "esoteric Buddhism". I don't think this state of affairs has to do with Pure Land per se but rather the mundane conditions now present. IOW, if there were a Pure Land Thich Nhat Hanh, things would be much different. It's hard to imagine the thousands of people who are now excited about walking meditation without TNH's influence. (Speaking of TNH, his Pure Land commentary is brilliant but one of his most obscure and least-selling books!)

Getting back to Williams -- it's not that Christianity has a more compelling or empirically verifiable message -- it's that one can find plenty of community, which = verification, support, etc. These are all essential on the path and sorely missing in PL communities in the West. Maybe a modern day Honen will emerge -- who knows. Sayagi U Ba Kin was a layman who had enormous benefit on the world with respect to Vipassana. Perhaps a PL layman can emerge and be a compelling voice for PL Buddhism.

Namu Amitabul.


___________
purelandway.wordpress.com

Rakz
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Re: Paul Williams critique of Pure Land

Postby Rakz » Sat Sep 22, 2012 5:10 am

Steveb1, amen to that. I feel the same way. All of that just goes to show that the masters weren't joking around when they talked about this age being the age of dharma decline.

Cheondo, I doubt that pure land will ever gain a strong footing in the western world. Mainly due to the fact that both pure land and christianity have similarities when looked at on a superficial level. Most who come to Buddhism in the west have a strong christian background and they see pure land as a huge turn off.

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Re: Paul Williams critique of Pure Land

Postby gingercatni » Sat Sep 22, 2012 11:38 am


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Re: Paul Williams critique of Pure Land

Postby Son of Buddha » Sun Sep 23, 2012 8:34 am


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Re: Paul Williams critique of Pure Land

Postby Son of Buddha » Sun Sep 23, 2012 8:48 am


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Re: Paul Williams critique of Pure Land

Postby treehuggingoctopus » Sun Sep 23, 2012 8:53 am

. . . there they saw a rock! But it wasn't a rock . . .

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Re: Paul Williams critique of Pure Land

Postby plwk » Sun Sep 23, 2012 1:25 pm


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Re: Paul Williams critique of Pure Land

Postby Nosta » Sun Sep 23, 2012 7:57 pm

Gingercatni and others: at a few years ago i was frightened because i felt and knew that would be completly impossible to achieve Nirvana in this life. No matter what i do i am thousands of light-years from reaching the level of a well trained monk...so i am even further from Nirvana. If Buddha toke so many lives to reach buddhahood, why would a stupid portuguese like me reach Nirvana so fast? Even worst, i knew/felt that actually there are no people able to reach Nirvana right in this life.

All of that was making me to loose all my motivation and getting further from buddhism. Luckly i found Pure Land Buddhism and suddenly everything changed. Now i have something to believe: that there is indeed a real place [i always like to add: "real" as me, and you, and cars, rocks, etc] that i can reach right after the end of this life, where i can reach buddhahood smoothly and at my own pace. Thats great! So great and good thats impossible to believe. But i believe. Even Buddha advised that such teaching (Pure Land) is so great and "abnormal" that few people would believe on it.

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Re: Paul Williams critique of Pure Land

Postby DGA » Sun Sep 23, 2012 8:57 pm


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Re: Paul Williams critique of Pure Land

Postby sinweiy » Mon Sep 24, 2012 2:15 am

my one critique of X'tian is why are some people in some remote places (like China) "created" and died into hell forever not able to encount the knowing of god/jesus/bible. :shrug:
_/\_
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: Paul Williams critique of Pure Land

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