Pure lands....why?

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Pure lands....why?

Postby ronnewmexico » Sun Aug 01, 2010 8:24 pm

No offense to those who hold such views and seek such places......but why?

If one can be "born" into such a place....that infers it is nor a final place. As birth is infereing a thing to be birthed it cannot be a enlightenment.

As such why seek a pleasent place of much joy even for a instant?
If this human realm is called by most the most fortituous place for spiritual advancement(and reference to this are many).....why seek this other place?.

I personally seek it not, and counsciously at least, advert from such a birth if such is possible. It seems if I should birth, if birth I must.... I should do it in a place where spiritual advancement is most possible not a place of most joy or happiness. Or perhaps if my inclination is such where most pain and suffering do exist, so I may remedy it. What concern my personal joy or happiness? Of what personal difference is joy and happiness to sadness and regret. It seems I must, if I so believe in such things, start believing in such things as my thoughts, which are so multiple and varied seems not possible...and if possible they are but circumstances construct and thusly of no substance and I would be thwarthing myself and deceiving myself with each one thought. So would I not be deceiving myself in belief in these things called happiness joy and likewise their inverse? Even if a Buddha be in this great place and I could do great deeds in this place like makeing myself into a dream to give thoughts of inspiration to all who birth anywhere....it seems such great things would not approximate what a Buddha or one enlightened may. And no Buddha would I be by being in a place with a Buddha. And most of my companions in this place it seems they would most probably need not my help at all. And if birthed it would.....end at some time. All birthed dies.

So why....why at all?

It makes no sense to me. Perhaps you may explain why?
What I seek has no birth nor death nor can a place described it be. I have not a shred of understanding nor know any number of things, am not really most probably, not even Buddhist.... but do know I must be clear to what I seek and to what aim. I would not deny others to aim at this thing, but aim for me consdiering such things stated..... is impossible.
"This order considers that progress can be achieved more rapidly during a single month of self-transformation through terrifying conditions in rough terrain and in "the abode of harmful forces" than through meditating for a period of three years in towns and monasteries"....Takpo Tashi Namgyal.
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Re: Pure lands....why?

Postby kirtu » Mon Aug 02, 2010 12:27 am

Pure Lands are taught in several sutras. And they are taught as places one can go to attain enlightenment. As such they are kind of like perfect schools because Pure Lands are places where beings can manifest perfect practice. In the Tibetan tradition after attaining enlightenment in a Pure Land one will then send out many emanations to benefit beings. So they are a perfect place in the sense of definitely being able to benefit beings later.

Kirt
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“All beings are Buddhas, but obscured by incidental stains. When those have been removed, there is Buddhahood.”
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Re: Pure lands....why?

Postby Bodhi » Mon Aug 02, 2010 2:19 am

Sorry I will be honest, I did have some problem understanding what you said :\

I think many of your questions will be answered by reading the Buddha Speaks of Amitabha Sutra. It is a place where sentient beings can go to take rebirth and continue their cultivation, attaining Bodhisattvahood and then saving vast amount of sentient beings and finally Buddhahood.

It is a place that guaranteed a quicker enlightenment without having to fall back into samsara or the 3 evil path. There is not much distractions but more means and opportunities that promote enlightenment.

Because we are living in the Dharma-Ending Age, it is extremely difficult to attain enlightenment, and with the fact that people are extremely busy, they do not have time for cultivation, so they only wish to be able to take rebirth in the Pure Land where it is more possible.

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Re: Pure lands....why?

Postby ronnewmexico » Mon Aug 02, 2010 2:28 am

Oh....so the thought that life in the human realm is most conducive to the advancement spiritually
is then just...rumor?

And unfounded?

It seems shakumuni Buddha was teaching or setting the example of attaining enlightenment in this realm not other. Though I don't doubt there is sutra referencing pure lands and such. Is that enlightenment then better than this example. Or was Shakumuni Buddha then showing a false example for some such reason...is that the thinking? It seems one option perhaps but not mandatory for obtaining enlightenment. Why choose that option then if a more conducive path is available as human? Times have now changed so Buddhism is no longer as it is....the message is now a different one....is that the thinking? Then the original message then is no longer valid due to circumstance would seem to imply it then was a imperfect message.

But if one states it is as it is now... then characteristic of differing nature is then implied, as what could be possible in one place but not another, as all is composite of origin, that would seem to conradict how things are, as all appears of similiar nature circumstantially created. How bad can be these times that the circumstantial nature of things then changes?

It would seem to closely approximate the theists heaven if it held property or circumstance, isolate. Are the theists then holding the true path to this view?
"This order considers that progress can be achieved more rapidly during a single month of self-transformation through terrifying conditions in rough terrain and in "the abode of harmful forces" than through meditating for a period of three years in towns and monasteries"....Takpo Tashi Namgyal.
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Re: Pure lands....why?

Postby kirtu » Mon Aug 02, 2010 3:29 am

ronnewmexico wrote:Oh....so the thought that life in the human realm is most conducive to the advancement spiritually
is then just...rumor?

And unfounded?


No - in the six realms of samsara the human realm is the best realm in which to advance spiritually.

It seems shakumuni Buddha was teaching or setting the example of attaining enlightenment in this realm not other.


That's correct - Shakyamuni Buddha manifested the long sutric path to enlightenment taking 3 uncountable eons.

As the Mahayana developed, "short cuts" to enlightenment began to be taught. Pure Land practice is one of these "short cuts". In the Mahayana sutras Shakyamuni Buddha either taught or inspired these sutras and the teaching found in them.

Is that enlightenment then better than this example.


No - the enlightenment of a Buddha is the same no matter how the bodhisattva attained it.

Or was Shakumuni Buddha then showing a false example for some such reason...


Nope, he just took the long path. And underwent all kinds of terrible difficulties. In one life as a prince he was working on patience and his father killed him by chopping off his arms and legs. In another he was tiger food (and the tigers became his first five disciples). It was a lot of blood and trouble. But times are difficult for realization and Shakyamuni also gave short-cuts to enlightenment - Pure Land and Vajrayana practice.

Times have now changed so Buddhism is no longer as it is....the message is now a different one....is that the thinking? Then the original message then is no longer valid due to circumstance would seem to imply it then was a imperfect message.


Not at all. People can take any of the paths of the Buddha that they wish including just practicing for a better rebirth. The Buddha gave a wide variety of teaching for many different kinds of people.

How bad can be these times that the circumstantial nature of things then changes?


Have you been reading history? Humans are turning this planet into a hell realm.

It would seem to closely approximate the theists heaven if it held property or circumstance, isolate. Are the theists then holding the true path to this view?


Theists do go to a heaven realm (if their karma throws them there at death). However a Pure Land is a place perfectly conducive to attaining enlightenment. It's not a heaven realm. It's sort of a womb for birthing Buddhas and Buddha activity.

Bodhi had a good suggestion - read the Amitabha Sutra.

Kirt
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“All beings are Buddhas, but obscured by incidental stains. When those have been removed, there is Buddhahood.”
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Re: Pure lands....why?

Postby ronnewmexico » Mon Aug 02, 2010 5:32 am

Well I find generally in text I may be somewhat familiar with, no mention is made of Buddhahood not being accessible in this day and age. In fact I find practices mentioning the greatest stage of nonmeditation being in fact just that..Buddhahood, enlightenment.

To quote Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche, one of the main tutors to the 17th Karmapa, from page 161 of his book "Crystal Clear" which is a expostion of a much earlier work by Dakpo Tashi Namgyal "Clarifying the Natural State":...."As previously mentioned the Sutra system notes that Buddha Shakyamuni attained true and complete enlightenment after accumulating merit over three incalculable eons. Meanwhile Vajrayana tells us that it is possible to attain buddhahood in one body and one lifetime, as did Tilopa and Milarepa". On page 161 he states.." Whose example are we going to follow---that of the Buddha or that of Milarepa? It seems that we have to take Milarepa as our example. We must be diligent and exert ourselves in the training of Mahamudra, and if we do, we will reach the fruition of the Mahamudra path just as he did." But we wil lnot have the same manifest qualities as the Buddha because we have not spent life times perfecting the accumulation of merit. Our enlightenment, however,will essentially be identical to the Buddha's as the wisdom endowed with the perfect qualities of abandonment and realiization is always the same." .

I also have on page 96 of the core text which Thrangu is referencing "Clarifying the Natural State" Dakpo Tashi Namgyal stateing "You have accomplished the activites of the form-bodies if you have reached perfection as the dharmakaya in which basic space and original wakefulness are indivisible, so that your inexhaustible adornment-wheel of Body,Speech and Mind spontaneously and ceaselessly fulfills the needs of sentient beings. You have not accomplished these activities if this has not happened and you still need to depend upon pure realms.

On page 155 of "Crystal Clear" Thrangu states...." In Mahamudra, as one takes the path of direct perception, a person can obtain true and complete enlightenment within the same body and lifetime."
Needless to say perhaps after that but other text from differing time and era's but still in degenerate times as mentioned, such as Liberation through Hearing and current publications of that and related materials also have people attaining liberation if not during a human lifetime, during the death process of that lifetime.

So it seems full liberation, Buddhahood, appears possible right here and now as Thrangu is a living teacher right now. And Namgyal, Millarepa Tilopa and Padmesambhava and Padmesambhava's texts on dying attests to obtaining full liberation from rebirth while in human form and with the dying process. All significantly after the teacher Buddha and in what many consider degenerate times. Padmesambhava's text relevation in fact references to being revealed in degenerate times.

So I personally am no advocate of one over another....if one wants to obtain a pure realm status and learn things in that fashion I have no problem with that, if that is what one believes. To state however that is the only path to full enlightenment and such is not available to us as humans right here and now....seems not true.
So I again ask why? If other means is available right here and now why that pure land path. it makes no sense to me. Why wait, and in a secondary fashion why wish that other follow this particular path, as in praying that they attain a pure land status. Would not praying(if one does such things) for full enlightenment of others be preferable. One particular path seems chosen above others...why that thing as well? If other means are available, why, if people have differing dispostions and such, why choose one path for them over others?

Nnw if one wants to say...I don't have time right now or some circumstance prevents me doing that thing, that seems fine as well, I must do this this way. To deny others that or deny even the possibility of that....seems irresponsible.

As to anyone's suggestion on what I should read or not read contemplate or any other thing, lets be clear right here and now...I don't give a flying Capital F what anyone here thinks I should do. That is simply irrelevent.

So I say again....pure lands ...why? No statements so far have dissuaded my opinion nor negated my arguments.
"This order considers that progress can be achieved more rapidly during a single month of self-transformation through terrifying conditions in rough terrain and in "the abode of harmful forces" than through meditating for a period of three years in towns and monasteries"....Takpo Tashi Namgyal.
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Re: Pure lands....why?

Postby kirtu » Mon Aug 02, 2010 10:03 am

Pure Land teaching is a sutric Mahayana practice that almost certainly originated in India since it is also incorporated in Tibetan Buddhism and is presumably also found in Shingon and Tendai Buddhism. Pure Land teaching has different expressions but in East Asia it is taught as an easy and direct path to enlightenment.

Specifically within Tibetan Buddhism Pure Land teaching is presented also as an easy path to a realm where enlightenment will be much easier and is accessible to people who do not have a great deal of time for retreat (in general accomplishment in Vajrayana takes a great deal of retreat time to accomplish a practice). Tibetan Buddhist Pure Land teaching and practice is a kind of insurance policy in case one hasn't been able to devote a lot of time to practice. In fact, while people will aspire to rebirth in the Pure Lands on a daily basis, the actual practice of transference of the consciousness to Amitabha's Pure Land will only be done once a year, or once a month depending on the instructions from a lama (although in some Kagyu traditions it will be done daily)/. Since you have quoted Thrangu Rinpoche then it might be useful to see what he has to say about the Pure Lands and the transference of consciousness (phowa). Thrangu Rinpoche teaches about the Pure Lands quite a bit and he teaches about phowa in this edition of Shenpen Osel: http://www.shenpen-osel.org/issue5.pdf .

Note that in that article Thrangu Rinpoche mentions that the Vajrayana (uncommon Mahayana) has a large variety of practices to suit any individual. Pure Land practice is one of them. In general common Mahayana doesn't have as many practices and Pure Land teaching is the pinnacle of the teaching in most of East Asia.

Kirt
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“All beings are Buddhas, but obscured by incidental stains. When those have been removed, there is Buddhahood.”
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Re: Pure lands....why?

Postby Astus » Mon Aug 02, 2010 12:38 pm

There are many buddha-lands around but I guess this is about Sukhavati as it is the most popular. So why go to there instead of, well, what? If you are enlightened on the level of a non-regressing bodhisattva and above it is of course not an issue where you are going to be born. Otherwise this life can be the last in the next 100 asankhyeya kalpas that you spend above the three lower realms. And this is just one reason. Another is to ponder for a bit on the fact that you've spent uncountable lives in samsara already and couldn't get free.

The Pure Land teachings don't deny the validity of other teachings. What they say is that while other methods are difficult this is easy. Other teachings need people of high abilities while the Pure Land path works for everyone. The Pure Land teaching is a skilful means of the compassionate buddhas because there is nobody excluded while other ways usually are for monks. Also with the Pure Land method one is assured of perfect enlightenment while on other paths it is easy to go astray. In Sukhavati it is easy to practice, one has buddhas and bodhisattvas as his teacher and there is no suffering at all. Compare that to this place where it is hard to find a teacher and almost impossible to tell who is enlightened and who is not.

These are some of the reasons that so many aspire for birth in the Pure Land of Amita Buddha in many Mahayana schools from Tibet to Japan.
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(Sheng-yen: Getting the Buddha Mind, p 73)

“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; T51n2076, p461b24-26)
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Re: Pure lands....why?

Postby ronnewmexico » Mon Aug 02, 2010 6:23 pm

This all is very good but really nothing new to me, and thank you for your varying replies. It does in fact reinforce my inquiry. To quote Thrangu....."First, with regard to whether the deity
you visualize above your head will affect where
you actually go after effecting phowa, it depends
in part upon how good your phowa is."


The key point reinforced by Thrangu repeatedly, is that the key to such success is our lack of attachment. Summarily how advanced spiritually we may be; as these are spiritually attainable qualities of attachment command of mind/.visualization and such, depends on how successful we may be with these practices.

It is not as has been stated....we are to busy and then we will still be OK because we have Powah. It is that we must have a degree of perhaps quite advanced spiritualism to attain any pure lands at all. As Thrangu explains in fact in that quoted text...we may rebirth in many places as result that do not have the characteristics of pure lands in their purity. I have heard it described by one Lama verbally....as most may attain a brief respite from the continual cycle of rebirth but then after time since they have not the cause for enlightenment....they will eventually rebirth. And as Thrangu mentions some may even as result birth as human, abeit a fortituous state of human.

So we are left with the same., While I respect those that assume I am completely unfamiliar with such things due to my questioning of such things....it is simply not true.

So why choose such a attempt at rebirth when it may very well fail is dependant upon our degree of realization as are all rebirths and if we have rebirth successfully does leave us in a realm which is not the most conducive to spiritual advancement? This human birth to paraphrase Gampopa is simply precious and very rare, better than god deva and basically all other births. If we can birth in a realm birth it is and consequence of birth is death. So if we may birth it seems for spiritual advancement human is best. I see that not contrindicated. Some I would not deny may perhaps go to such places be enlightened and not birth in such places...I do not deny that possibility. But us....I have no time so I will just do powah or have lama do powah and then rebirth in pure lands take instruction and become enlightened....no I don't think so.
So I remain with question..why?

It seems it adds but a space or comma to this thing of spiritual advancement. If we are not advanced to some degree we will still have no success at it. So why bother with it at all? Why not just advance ourselves spiritually right here and now...it appears necessary for this thing anyway.

REad what Thrangu states; the text quoted... see if he says such thing is guaranteed or if our spiritual advancement our lack of attachment is not the critical factor....he does states exactly that.
Have you read what he states? Or do you read what you care to read in what he states?

So I remain with question...why?
"This order considers that progress can be achieved more rapidly during a single month of self-transformation through terrifying conditions in rough terrain and in "the abode of harmful forces" than through meditating for a period of three years in towns and monasteries"....Takpo Tashi Namgyal.
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Re: Pure lands....why?

Postby Astus » Mon Aug 02, 2010 7:08 pm

Ron,

Consider the followings:

1. After birth in Sukhavati enlightenment is 100% sure.
2. Birth there depends only on buddha-remembrance, with that as a condition birth is assured.
3. This human world is full of distractions and false teachings, in Sukhavati there's none of that.
4. In this world it is very difficult to find even a good teacher, in Sukhavati there is a living buddha and access to innumerable others.
"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)

“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; T51n2076, p461b24-26)
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Re: Pure lands....why?

Postby ronnewmexico » Mon Aug 02, 2010 7:18 pm

A

consider reading Thrangu's comments on pure lands and Powah linked in KIrts's last post.

There is simply no guarantee of such thing with no prior spiritual attainment such as lack of attachment to things....It seems simply not possible.

Sure if one has such advanced spiritual attainment already....as in to birth in such a land with purity in every aspect and all become enlightened....sure. But if one had such a advancement would not one be able to becomeing enlightened upon death anyway as is described in many fashions?

But how many do?
Is it realistic to assume one does? Should we then base our spiritual practice on such occuring?

To clarify a bit....if someone wants to believe pure lands in the fashion implied...just the thought of the Buddha will gain us thusly enlightenment...that's fine, nothing wrong with that. I would consider that just the thought, as mentioned, may cover a lot of interpretable ground but that is as I see it.
Thrangu's comments in fact support my view quite conclusively...by his statements such a thing is not guaranted in any fashion that we know it....lack of attachment is critical. That is a well honed spiritual value or attribute. The idea we may rebirth in pure lands and become enlightened there with no support of spiritual advancement to cause in fashion, strikes me of theism more than Buddhism, but that is perhaps not so important. It would allow however for the notion that is such...I have no time but can practice powah or have lama practice powah, thusly enter pure lands and become summarily enlightened.

Simply remembering the Buddha or upon deaths rememberence could, as I say, cover a lot of ground to include.....remembering/ meaning habit so formed/ meaning inclination/ meaning.....I must have buddha like habitual inclination. WE will not really be remembering anything in the fashion we know rememberence to be upon death. We no longer exist. Combined with Thrangu's comments is how I would interpret those four things. They both would then make sense, while now it appears one contradicts another.
"This order considers that progress can be achieved more rapidly during a single month of self-transformation through terrifying conditions in rough terrain and in "the abode of harmful forces" than through meditating for a period of three years in towns and monasteries"....Takpo Tashi Namgyal.
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Re: Pure lands....why?

Postby Astus » Mon Aug 02, 2010 8:14 pm

Ron,

I haven't studied what Tibetan teachers say of the Pure Land path but I did some learning on the East Asian part where this is a central form of practice and masters throughout more than a thousand years have engaged in interpreting the relevant sutras and treatises. What I told you about it reflects the Pure Land School's teaching of East Asia and all can be backed up by the appropriate sutras and commentaries. But if you doubt the words of the Buddha it's your own business.

"Again, Shariputra, all sentient beings born in the Land of Utmost Bliss dwell in the Stage of Non-retrogression. Many of them are in the Stage of Becoming a Buddha after One More Life. Their number is so great that it is beyond reckoning; it can only be described as innumerable, unlimited and incalculable.
"Shariputra, those sentient beings who hear of that land should aspire to be born there. Why? Because they will be able to meet such sages of supreme virtue. Shariputra, one cannot attain birth in that land with few roots of goodness or a small stock of merit. Shariputra, if a good man or woman who hears of Amida Buddha holds fast to his Name even for one day, two days, three, four, five, six or seven days with a concentrated and undistracted mind, then, at the hour of death, Amida Buddha will appear before them with a host of holy ones. Consequently, when their life comes to an end, the aspirants' minds will not fall into confusion and so they will be born immediately in the Land of Utmost Bliss of Amida Buddha. Shariputra, perceiving these benefits, I say: All sentient beings who hear this teaching should aspire to birth in that land."
(Amida Sutra)

"You say that the Stage of Non-retrogression is extremely difficult to enter, requiring a long period of practice, and ask me if there is a path of easy practice whereby you can attain this stage quickly. These are words of a cowardly and contemptible man, and not those of a brave man with a strong aspiration. If, however, you insist on hearing from me about this method of practice, I will explain it to you.
There are innumerable modes of entry into the Buddha's teaching. Just as there are in the world difficult and easy paths - travelling on foot by land is full of hardship and travelling in a boat by sea is pleasant - so it is among the paths of the bodhisattvas. Some exert themselves diligently, while others quickly enter Non-retrogression by the easy practice based on faith."
(Nagarjuna)
"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)

“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; T51n2076, p461b24-26)
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Re: Pure lands....why?

Postby ronnewmexico » Tue Aug 03, 2010 2:23 am

Now this...."But if you doubt the words of the Buddha it's your own business."
is utter nonsense. So..... since I am discussing this topic and subject it to different opinion am.... doubting the words of the Buddha. Well I am not necessarily a Buddhist anyway, but that knock....is absurd.

If you read carefully what you have quoted it does not simply state, say the name of Amitaba Buddha or some such but to hold fast...."if a good man or woman who hears of Amida Buddha holds fast to his Name even for one day, two days, three, four, five, six or seven days with a concentrated and undistracted mind,"...with a concentrated and undistracted mind.

Which also reinforces my point.....this is only capeable with spiritual prerequisits, attainments...a undistracted and concentrated miind for long periods of time which is in meditative concentration.

And...
"Many of them are in the Stage of Becoming a Buddha after One More Life." it doesn't state all of them and it references one more life.
And furthur down it references this is a inferior path..... "These are words of a cowardly and contemptible man, and not those of a brave man with a strong aspiration."

So enough with the nonsense of doubting the Buddha's words(not that that matters to me)....your own quote conflicts with your opinion. It's fine if one wants to do that, nothing wrong with that, and certainly nothing wrong with a school of Buddhism that focuses in this area which one does.....but the notion of the absolute ease of completion by my guess is a Westernization of Buddhism. It is considered a easy path compared to other paths but that is only in reference to other paths which are very very difficult requireing either many lifetimes to complete or at least one lifetime coupled with past lifetimes of practice entirely focusing on the spiritual. So in that sense it is easy compared to that.

I say again.... why pure lands? What you have provided, as what Kirt has provided, in fact bolsters my position. The idea one can have no time for practice be too busy to practice, say the name of amita or amitaba Buddha or perform powah is not seemingly possible without spiritual prerequisits. To Thrangu Rinpoche those are nonattachments and others, as stated here it is the ability to maintain focus and concentration at a period of minimally, apparently, one day....which is very difficult for even the most advanced meditators.

So you unwittingly advance my point. You disagree with my point and claim I am ignoring the Buddhas words.....no you are ignoring his words as you have copied them.

I assume the making these things even more easy then they are by comparison is a westernization that appeals to the western minds continual necessity for immediate gratification. Immediate enlightenment with no prerequisits. I do not think this school of focus states that. Not a bit.
"This order considers that progress can be achieved more rapidly during a single month of self-transformation through terrifying conditions in rough terrain and in "the abode of harmful forces" than through meditating for a period of three years in towns and monasteries"....Takpo Tashi Namgyal.
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Re: Pure lands....why?

Postby Astus » Tue Aug 03, 2010 10:28 am

Ron,

Yes, that sutra says one day, the Larger Amita Sutra says 10 times reciting the name is enough, and the Contemplation Sutra says that even if one has committed the five grave sins but recites only 10 times that person will be born in Sukhavati.

Your question is about the reason for choosing the Pure Land path above all. The reasons for that are what I've given already. Here are some quotes for you from two important masters.

Honen, founder of the Japanese Pure Land School wrote,

"Reciting the nembutsu does not come from studying and understanding its meaning. There is no other reason or cause by which we can utterly believe in attaining birth in the Pure Land than the nembutsu itself. Reciting the nembutsu and believing in birth in the Pure Land naturally gives rise to the three minds (sanjin) and the four modes of practice (shishu). If I am withholding any deeper knowledge beyond simple recitation of the nembutsu, then may I lose sight of the compassion of Shakyamuni and Amida Buddha and slip through the embrace of Amida's original vow. Even if those who believe in the nembutsu study the teaching which Shakyamuni taught his whole life, they should not put on any airs and should sincerely practice the nembutsu, just as an illiterate fool, a nun or one who is ignorant of Buddhism." (One Sheet Document)

Ven. Yin Kuang, considered to be the 13th Chinese patriarch of the Pure Land School wrote,

"Rebirth in the Western Land thus requires, first of all, deep Faith and fervent Vows. Without these conditions, even if you were to cultivate, you could not obtain a response from Amitabha Buddha. You would merely reap the blessings of the human and celestial realms and sow the seeds of liberation in the future. Anyone who fulfills the conditions of Faith and Vows is assured of rebirth in the Pure Land. When Elder Master Yung Ming stated that “out of ten thousand who cultivate Pure Land, ten thousand will achieve rebirth,” he was referring to those with full Faith and Vows." (Pure Land Zen, p. 37)

"It does not matter that you have not read the sutras widely. Without fully understanding Pure Land teachings, even if you deeply understand the entire Buddhist canon and have awakened completely to Self-Mind, it will take you untold eons to fulfill your original Vow to escape the cycle of Birth and Death. Buddha Recitation is the panacea for all diseases." (Pure Land Zen, p. 43)

"You should know that even the Dharma Body Bodhisattvas [i.e., the higher level Bodhisattvas] must rely on the power of the Buddhas – not to mention ordinary beings such as ourselves, who are full of karmic obstructions. Who are we to keep weighing the pros and cons of our own strength, while failing to seek the Buddhas’ help? Our words may be lofty, but upon reflection, the accompanying actions are low and wanting! The difference between other-power and self-power is as great as the heavens and the abyss!" (Pure Land Zen, p. 61)
"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)

“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; T51n2076, p461b24-26)
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Re: Pure lands....why?

Postby kirtu » Tue Aug 03, 2010 2:00 pm

ronnewmexico wrote:If you read carefully what you have quoted it does not simply state, say the name of Amitaba Buddha or some such but to hold fast...."if a good man or woman who hears of Amida Buddha holds fast to his Name even for one day, two days, three, four, five, six or seven days with a concentrated and undistracted mind,"...with a concentrated and undistracted mind.

Which also reinforces my point.....this is only capeable with spiritual prerequisits, attainments...a undistracted and concentrated miind for long periods of time which is in meditative concentration.


No. The sutra (I think it is the Contemplation Sutra) explains different levels of birth in the Pure Lands. People with faith in Amitabha Buddha and who have formed an intention to be reborn in his Pure Land can actually be reborn there even if their concentration is weak.

As for phowa, it's actually pretty easy to accomplish phowa in a retreat for oneself. I've never come across someone who did a phowa retreat at least twice who didn't show signs of personal accomplishment and many people show the signs of accomplishment on their first phowa retreat. There is an external sign that people focus on (and there are other external signs as well during the retreat itself) but the internal signs are what really counts (do people become more compassionate, etc.).

So Pure Land practice is considered the easy path to enlightenment in this sense (in the sense that accomplishment is fairly easy). It is a faith path but actually all of Tibetan Buddhism is a faith path actually.

As for Buddha remembrance itself, this has a very potent karmic result and this is the basis for the result.

Kirt
Kirt's Tibetan Translation Notes

“All beings are Buddhas, but obscured by incidental stains. When those have been removed, there is Buddhahood.”
Hevajra Tantra
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Re: Pure lands....why?

Postby ronnewmexico » Tue Aug 03, 2010 4:28 pm

So...

Both of you are picking and choosing what one wants to see in what one wants to find.

Thrangu upon exposition in his interview states quite unequivocally lack of attachment and other things are necessart to sucessfully perform Powah....but no, we will disregard that and state powah is easily performed. And one sutra states this path is not a superior path and requires concentration and focus for long periods of time.....so we will choose to see and follow another sutra or sutta not quite so involved.

Well As...... Posting the first sutra, apparently you missed those important points I have brought up.... or you would not have posted it. So you make statements upon another but do not include it nor to who or what context it is spoken which I can only assume means you have misinterpreted one, you most probably misinterpret another.

And you quote another master, but my experience of masters is that a line or two, since they are not Buddha's of teaching they do not have that particular quality, usually does not qualify content. Excerpted..... I may find many things, all sorts of things, stated, in a more complete fashion I may find quite another. I may find one master stateing dharma is god, does that excerpted quote than state Buddhism is theism. Of course not..... no school claims theism, if we care to excerpt and provide self interested meaning sure it means Buddhism is theism.

How then does one measure faith and devotion? Do not the theists base all their religion on this quality,and are not theists full of those two things completely and entirely....I have many who most certainly are....and then by this particulare interpretation, disregarding the Buddha's other statement, and in partial context and mentions of concentration and focus we declare those two will singularly provide a enlightened state..

WEll then.... we should all abandon Buddhism and become theists. Certainly Christ was as Buddha was full of compassion would not then the Buddha seeing our faith and devotion to one such as Christ equilivent it to one as himself or Amita Buddha and then provide us enlightenment? Does the object of such if we are truly truly faithful and devoted does it matter at all? Are not all such objects then to us Buddhas....and then how could one Buddha deny that, and refuse us enlightenment if they could posess such a thing?

No...As...your interpretations are quite amiss. Theists do not accomplish enlightenment nor Buddahhood they accomplish heavenly states which eventually erode, nothing more. Fine to go there fine also that it brings them to compassion but faith devotion and compassion do not singularly suffice to understand all that is and accomplish this thing.

I am not stateing in any fashion this is not a acceptable path. I would state now it appears a path misunderstood and vastly oversimplified. I hear people stateing things like....since we are so busy we cannot do those things and we do this other it will provide cause for enlightenment....I know that is not so. Eventually it very well may, coupled with other things. Or if performed as Thrangu state and as the Buddha state in sutra....then it will provide enlightenment.

ARe these simplifications for the western auidence, of a valid true path able to provide full enlightenemnt, to this thing....a I am to busy thiing....I think so.
No where I have seen is stated anything about being to busy for the spiritual in sutra and being able to attain enlightenment. Not able to perform the other paths, due to characteristics such as a slothful temperment a deficient physical or mental or some sort, sure....to busy... not once ever.

So pick and choose...what do I care? A valid path as described in sutra...certainly.As described here in this thread, the varying responses....not a whit, not a bit.

I am going to the wilderness today and will probably return in several days.. Don't think for a minute your replies if you care to reply have me confounded or such such...it is just I am not here. The replies so far....completely lacking.

I remain with poiint....why pure lands?

As a aside yes..Thrangu states quite unequivocally there are differing lands we may birth into as result of powah and many are not completely pure and we may just provide a fortuitious rebirth...those are good things. That we are necessarily being put at the foot of the Buddha and are assured right then and there to obtain enlightenment.....no. We may find some that do that, but they have provided cause to do that thing. We most of us do not have such cause and may birth in a pure land or other place but birth in remains and thusly contains all that birth infers.

So Powah may not be enough for this thing to be accomplished. And if two contradictory statements are made by the teacher Buddha on one subject.... I find always there are two answers given to two differing of characteristic auidences. So we cannot pick or choose but must take what is applicable to the circumstance that presents to us at this time.....Yes, I state that circumstance is that to obtain enlightenment this thing to accomplish pure land must be performed with concentration and focus as the Buddha(I am not making that us as one provides quote)....quite clearly states.

So we cannot pick and choose...certainly devotion and faith are two necessary things to have to accomplish enlightenment...this cannot be performed without that. But that statement is inclusive not exclusive. That I state that, does not infer one may pick and choose and say I state those are the only two things that are necessary to accomplish enlightenment.

With my way of looking at this thing there are no contradictions nor is this path a invalid path. The way others here are interpreting it certainly there are contradictions and the validity of the path is uncertain. Thrangu's statements would certainly conflict with the pure land masters statements, as both are masters this should seemingly not be so. And the Buddha could not be saying two entirely differing things to the same exact subject and context it displays... If one is...interpreteing what they say correctly that is.....

SO I remain with question....so far something is provided not clarity to this thing. Not a whit.
"This order considers that progress can be achieved more rapidly during a single month of self-transformation through terrifying conditions in rough terrain and in "the abode of harmful forces" than through meditating for a period of three years in towns and monasteries"....Takpo Tashi Namgyal.
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Re: Pure lands....why?

Postby Astus » Tue Aug 03, 2010 7:09 pm

I don't see how it is possible to investigate something when there's already a prejudice against it. The attractiveness of the Pure Land path has always been in its easiness compared to other methods. Notable teachers in China, like Huiyuan (6th c.) and Shandao (7th c.), argued that even a prthagjana can attain birth in the Pure Land. It is understandable that Westerners confuse this long standing and orthodox Buddhist tradition with theism, but actually it tells more about their cultural background rather than the understanding of this teaching. No wonder that while it is the most popular in East Asia those of the Western cultures show little interest in it.
"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)

“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; T51n2076, p461b24-26)
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Re: Pure lands....why?

Postby Chaz » Tue Aug 03, 2010 10:12 pm

ronnewmexico wrote:So...
I remain with poiint....why pure lands?


Well, let see.......

How about "Why Not?".

Some people are drawn to Pure Land practices and some are not. Some people are drawn to Vajrayana and others are not. Some people are drawn to Buddhism and some are not. It's a question of capacity for the practice, an affinity towards what the practice represents. There's nothing wrong with not being drawn to Pure Land. There are plenty of other practices that assure enlightenment.

You don't have to make such a big deal out of it. In your case I'd suggest that your effort to "discuss" it is ultimately futile. You're being more argumentative than inquisitive and it would seem your question of "why" is more pretense that anything else. The practices of others is nothing to get so worked up about. If you don't get the whole Pure Land thing, then move on to something you do get and leave others to theirs.

You've been bringing up Thrangu Rinpoche. If you're actually in New Mexico, you missed a golden opportunity - Rinpoche teaches each summer in Crestone, CO - only a few hours from Albequerque. This year's retreat was just a few weeks ago. A shame to be sure. Getting close with the possibility of an interview with a teacher of Rinpoche's stature is rare and you missed it. You may have been able to actually question Rinpoche directly on the subject of Pure Land. Oh well, there's always next year.
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Re: Pure lands....why?

Postby ronnewmexico » Sat Aug 07, 2010 7:55 pm

I have reviewed the situation of this initial posting and found this is in the appropraite place and fashion for discussion and debate of such issues. I have not posted this in a place not subject to debate nor discussion on this board as that may impinge upon others beliefs in the particulars of that faith, and would be noncompassionate to boot.

Yes...this is the proper place for such discussion.

Now to the other issues...so far has been stated, we may selectively pick and choose what we desire from sutra and sutta as regards a issue and on that selective basis determine as the basis of comparison.... not the specific context but what best suits our ease of practice.

This is easiest so this is what the Buddha said.....

Secondarily any discussion of the merits of such approaches are strictly....off limits, as to imply any discussion on such issue means we just don't....get it.

For those that may not care to only read their own conclusions on what has been written but actually read the replies of discussion.....I do not in any manner shape nor form state this is a invalid means in total. Why may not mean why at all why may also mean why choose this. To determine that the responders must be considered.

I state and do again..... that what constitute the means, the vehicle of this particular, may be overly simplified and westernized. That I have stated in response to discussion.

The initial post did indeed state.... Pure lands why.. and base several hypotheseis on the rational for inception of this vehicle as all faulted. NO respose to that initial has been offered. The issues initiallly contained were not addressed in any fashion as if to engage in such were to admit default. But instead we are asked to accept that like the three year old may state in a theistic country.... I believe in Jesus yes I do....because the bible told me so. We may change Bible to Buddha but otherwise be left with the same.

So to that extent theism is inferred.

I can only assume with such so far provided......no logical basis exists with the rationals posed.
I do not doubt the vehicle myself personally....I do doubt how it is applied in this western context.
And await again a explaination ....pure lands why?

To restate...I have not replied as I have not been here to reply, not that the replies constituted effective ones...

Chaz...It is KIrt not I, that introduced Thrangu interview link to this thread.
As to the specifics of Thrangus visit to Crestone I was in wilderness of New Mexico at that particular time performing my practice of sorts(which is where I have just briefly returned)....what of it, and to add the obvious.....judgement? HOw can we judge the necessity of others to need specific teachers or teachings of others.....exactly how? Do you then know of me and the particulars of my circumstance, my past and present, to thusly judge many other things as well?

That would be quite fine if that were true I could then ask you many many questions about things...but unfortunately I doubt that is true.
"This order considers that progress can be achieved more rapidly during a single month of self-transformation through terrifying conditions in rough terrain and in "the abode of harmful forces" than through meditating for a period of three years in towns and monasteries"....Takpo Tashi Namgyal.
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Re: Pure lands....why?

Postby Mr. G » Tue Aug 10, 2010 12:10 am

I was doing some light re-reading through Payne and Tanaka's book "Approaching the Land of Bliss" and came across this quote by the founder of Chod, Machig Labdron:

For those who wish to become buddhas swiftly, it is necessary to pray for rebirth in a pure buddha-field. There are differing fields beyond number, and it has been declared that they are difficult to delimit in speech. Among them, in order to be born in the other superior fields excepting Sukhavati, you must attain at least the eight bhumi, having entirely cut off the two obscurations. Even to be born in the middling fields, you must entirely cut off even the most subtle aspects of the obscuration of the afflictions and attain at least the first moment on the path of contemplative cultivation. And for even the least of the fields, you must cut off attachment to self from the roots, and attain the path of seeing, that is, selflessness, the real truth. Until you've attained the path of seeing, though you pray for re-birth in a buddha-field, you'll not achieve it. But even without attaining the path of seeing, should you strive at prayer, while not engaging even in the most subtle disciplinary faults with respect to your commitments and moral training, and purifying sins and gathering the profits of virtue, you may just be born in some of the trifling fields such as Tusita, and even that will be difficult. Because in those fields there is no room for the births of common, ordinary persons (prthagjana), who wallow in the afflictions, from now on you must pray at length! Therefore, it would seem that afflicted, common persons will not be born in the field of a buddha. Nevertheless, through the power of Buddha Amitabha's prayers, birth in the Sukhavati field has been vouchsafed by lord Amitabha himself, for which reason you must by all means strive at prayer for rebirth in Sukhavati! Without doubt, suspicion, laziness, or irresolution, and by means of certainty and with ardent exertion you must pray, while recollecting the array of the Sukhavati field and its qualities. Because even common, ordinary persons, who are burdened with the afflictions, may be born in Sukhavati, it is exceptional. And having been born there, all of your wishes will be realized just a soon as you conceive them, and you will not be tainted by the merest obscuration of affliction. Moreover, because you are permitted to journey to whichever among the buddha-fields you wish, it is exceptional; and it is exceptional because buddhahood is swifter that in the other fields. Because there is nowhere another field that is closer to being attained than Sukhavati, which is endowed with the aforementioned and other qualities beyond all conception, it is exceeding important that your strive in prayer for birth in Sukhavati.


I thought you would all enjoy it. :smile:
    How foolish you are,
    grasping the letter of the text and ignoring its intention!
    - Vasubandhu
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