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 Post subject: Re: Pure lands....why?
PostPosted: Mon Aug 16, 2010 1:16 am 
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:oops: Sorry Ron, I seemed to have strong karma in misreading your posts. :mrgreen:

Here goes another attempt:
ronnewmexico wrote:
...my contention as elaborated is that simply prayer and devotion absent of the other qualities of a path to enlightenement which include focus concentration and other things(as mentioned in that particular sutra mentioned) are necessary.

I think it tended to be the other way round. One starts off with little or no "other qualities", but with faith/devotion to the Buddha/Buddha Dharma and slowly develop these "other qualities".

ronnewmexico wrote:
Very rare is the individual to my opinion who already has all the prerequisits composits and lacks only faith prayer and devotion to complete the path. I would not deny it can happen but is very rare. And through faith and devotion prayer and such one can develope the other qualities necessary on the path. However the necessity to develope these other qualities speaks of the lacking in themselves in isolation faith prayer and devotion of being able to provide those things automatically. They may lead to the other, not provide the other by themselves..... or else all faithful devoted theists who pray a lot would be on the road quite assuredly without any other notion to enlightenment...we know that is not the fact.The object of the veneration faith and devotion to the prayer of such would have no, absolutely no distinction, as in this consideration a buddha would equal a christ who would equal a Mohommad who would equal a sun god and on and on...the prayer devotion and faith being the key means nothing else of real importance....names to this way of thinking that could be readily equally exchanged.

That final notion, contradicts very many of buddhist core concepts of absolutism and nihilism being inadequate and faulted, referenced by many buddhist teachers in a historical context and the Buddha himself who firmly rejected the absolutist means of Brahamin fire ceremony as being a reasonable path.

I think the object that devotion is directed to is important. Through devotion, a spiritual/mental connection with the object of devotion is made this leads to the development of the Dharmic qualities and wisdom connected with the object of devotion. If the object connected with is still stuck in samsara, then whatever one receives or develop as a result would not free one from samsara.

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

To help those who have largely devotion and little else to speed along the path to enlightenment based on the reasons that I've proposed in this post and in my earlier posts.


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 Post subject: Re: Pure lands....why?
PostPosted: Mon Aug 16, 2010 1:48 am 
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Kalu Rinpoche, a leading Kagyu light of recent times had no trouble teaching and advocating Amitabha's Pure Land. Try dipping into some of his teachings; Gem Ornament has a little talk on four causes for rebirth there.

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 Post subject: Re: Pure lands....why?
PostPosted: Mon Aug 16, 2010 11:57 am 
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Great discussion everyone, but just a friendly reminder to keep this on topic, and non-sectarian regading other religions or lineages. :smile:

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 Post subject: Re: Pure lands....why?
PostPosted: Mon Aug 16, 2010 5:31 pm 
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Sh

Your points once again are valid..what you fail to see is that our points exactly agree. I would contend as you assume this cannot possibly be and thusly that draws your opposition but that is the opinion of one singular, me, and perhaps not important.

I agree for pure land as adjacent and necessarily the best path for particular peoples to follow. The idea one may be lazy or to busy for dharma and then use pure land to attain enlightenment in the next rebirth... I object to.

It may be used in such fashion for good benefit but in such fashion it may put one on the path to enlightenment but will not produce the complete causes for such to occur. All is composite in origin to include the path to enlightenment. The circumstance of enlightenment must be provided for enlightenment to occur as with any other thing. Pure land except very rarely does not provide the circumstantial production even with a pure land visit to produce enlightenment by itself. Other factors such as concentration focus and other spiritual qualities must be developed, and as the buddha himself states...... this realm is most conducive to such developements not other places.

Good to go there learn things sure....attain enlightenment in such fashion except very rarely...no.


If one has a particular circumstance in which only devotion and such things are missing and all other composite conditions are present for that individual then by such means one may be thought of as attaining enlightenment solely by such a approach. It is the final part of such a approach but it may be considered sole in the respect of final. But that is very very rare.

Most try the first...to my view with unreasonable expectations....we are to busy, do this thing, attain pure land, and can still without any other means become enlightened in the next lifetime by this thing solely....a american simple view of this thing which is not as it is. Prayer devotion certainly very important composite factors to enlightenment. If studied and completely immmersed in prayer and devotion other qualiteis such as understanding emptiness, focus concentration will arise. But that does not say prayer and devotion are it...all and only.
AS I state then.... absolutist/theists would be on the very same path to enlightenment as buddhists are which conflicts with the buddhas words themselve to the opposite. So that contention is absurd.

Americans tend to take the idea religion is a smorgasboard from which we may pick and choose with a perhaps unintended consequence as all things on a smorgasboard are simply not equal. In a religious sense buddhism only will allow one to attain enlightenment not any other religion. Pickles at a smorgasboard do not provide the same nourishment as a plate of rice and beans. They both are equal to a hungry person as food but have different quality to provide different things. So the theist prayer and devotion will lead pretty directly to enlightenment.....well sort of....but not really, nor entirely or solely.
Suchly they interpret pure lands to be what they say it is.....to busy do this thing next life you are enlightened......

That is my opinion.

As a aside Gordo's earlier quote of ML on the earlier page on this thread.... provides a excellent view on how this thing(though that particular is particular to Tibetan Buddhism)....can be interpreted in several ways. It could read the easy way or the hard way as I describe.

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 Post subject: Re: Pure lands....why?
PostPosted: Tue Aug 17, 2010 2:47 am 
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Ron

Quote:
The idea one may be lazy or to busy for dharma and then use pure land to attain enlightenment in the next rebirth... I object to.

My assumption is that whoever prays to go to Amitabha pureland, at the very least, should have a real wish to leave samsara. If one has a real wish, one would look for ways to fulfill that wish.

Perhaps present circumstances may not be conducive to the fulfillment of that wish, eg. too busy with samsaric matters like keeping a job and feeding the family, and too bushed at the end of the day to do any formal practice. So praying to go to Amitabha pureland would be a good way to go.

Would this be a satisfactory answer or have I misunderstood you again?


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 Post subject: Re: Pure lands....why?
PostPosted: Tue Aug 17, 2010 4:00 am 
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I agree with that...a good answer??

I am no qualifier as to what such things consist of as good answers.

As stated multiple times at this point....to busy to lazy whatever... expectation of enlightenment in the next life in such place based on only prayer and devotion is not providing the cause for enlightenement to occur, excepting very very rare circumstances. A fortituous place of rebirth for spiritual progression...sure. A good thing in those circumstances..... to busy whatever...certainly, I agree.

Powah instruction to my understanding was given to many many in Tibet during a particular spiritual event in Lasha each year for that very purpose, in years past. For normal folk who had regular jobs and such...in that context. Not to state that is a better view or application than any other but it has been brought up. Differing Powah for differing human circumstance it seems is also offered.

So we seem to agree. Others I don't know. It is not important who agrees and who does not really.

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 Post subject: Re: Pure lands....why?
PostPosted: Tue Aug 17, 2010 4:41 am 
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ronnewmexico wrote:
.. expectation of enlightenment in the next life in such place based on only prayer and devotion is not providing the cause for enlightenement to occur, excepting very very rare circumstances. A fortituous place of rebirth for spiritual progression...sure. A good thing in those circumstances..... to busy whatever...certainly, I agree.

Hi Ron,

"Prayer and devotion not providing the cause for enlightenment" is not an issue in my view because for me, enlightenment is not something that is caused. All the practices merely leads to the creation of conditions suitable for the "attaining" of enlightenment, but enlightenment per se is uncaused and unattained.

So going to Amitabha's pureland is an easy way (lazy man's way) to have conditions suitable for the "attaining" of enlightenment. That's how it seems to me.


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 Post subject: Re: Pure lands....why?
PostPosted: Tue Aug 17, 2010 7:46 am 
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Nenbutsu itself is not the cause of enlightenment per se but the cause of birth. These are two different things. It's like bodhicitta is not the cause of buddhahood but the cause to enter the path to buddhahood. Although in some sense, as you can find in the Avatamsaka Sutra, bodhicitta can be called even equal to enlightenment. Also, you may not accept that there is a Pure Land which is in fact a perfect place, a perfect environment conducive to enlightenment, but that is not so in the sutras.

Here you can find Honen's outline of the Pure Land path, where first one has to get a firm establishment in the nenbutsu and after that may take up auxiliary practices:

Image

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"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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 Post subject: Re: Pure lands....why?
PostPosted: Tue Aug 17, 2010 12:28 pm 
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Hi Astus. Long time no see. :smile:

Though your comments above are directed to Ron, let me respond.

Astus wrote:
Ron,

Consider the followings:

1. After birth in Sukhavati enlightenment is 100% sure.


I really dislike such prognostications as they seem to neglect the issue of one's karma.

I'm aware you might point to a scripture that makes such statements, but having studied any number of scriptures and seen how time and scribal errors among other things can heavily modify and corrupt texts I'm constantly aware of the fact that even sūtra can be easily corrupted.

At present I'm of the mind that many Pure Land scriptures are neyârtha-sūtra or scriptures that do not elucidate the entire truth.


Quote:
2. Birth there depends only on buddha-remembrance, with that as a condition birth is assured.


While recollecting the Buddha is indeed good and encouraged, I think one's karma can easily override such sentiments at death when all control is lost.

Quote:
3. This human world is full of distractions and false teachings, in Sukhavati there's none of that.


I hope so, but then in our wretched world we have something that Pure Lands do not: the appropriate conditions to cultivate compassion. The tranquil gilded lands of some distant Pure Land might be suitable for wisdom, but what of compassion?


Quote:
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.


This again strikes me as wishful thinking rather than the reality of cause and effect. It is ascribing power to individuals or practices that is probably not there to begin with. The reality is that we are the heirs of our karma whether we like it or not and we will be reborn accordingly to our actions.

I don't deny Pure Lands, but I think far too many people with wishful and unrealistic thoughts have envisioned an easy way out of samsara and dismissed much of the key teachings of the Buddha in the process.

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 Post subject: Re: Pure lands....why?
PostPosted: Tue Aug 17, 2010 2:53 pm 
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Hi Huseng,

1. It is not just the scriptures themselves but also the Pure Land tradition's many outstanding teachers that should be noted here. And while I may be inclined to agree that Shinran's is an extreme position (but not unorthodox), others (from Zhiyi to Honen) are unequivocal in viewing the Pure Land as a place where people can attain enlightenment certainly. The sutras discussing Sukhavati can be considered neyartha, which makes little difference nevertheless, as it is obviously another of the skilful means. Some call even the prajnaparamita sutras neyartha anyway.

2. It is not the person's karma that is important, that's what other-power is about, being escorted to the Pure Land by Amita Buddha, saved by the vow, even if one has hellish karma. It is self-power where the karma matters in getting to a buddha-land.

3. Guanyin resides in Sukhavati, isn't her the best master in compassion? Also, one can move freely to millions of other lands. Two other reasons can be how wisdom is inseparable from compassion and the way practices like the immeasurables and lojong work.

4. Power is ascribed only to Amita Buddha himself and his vows, and as far as I know, buddhas having powers is not against the law of causality. Also, the whole concept of being born through buddha-remembrance is affirming causality and not denying or contradicting 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)

"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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 Post subject: Re: Pure lands....why?
PostPosted: Tue Aug 17, 2010 3:52 pm 
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I think you must be aware that even according to the classical theravada there are three kinds of followers: doctrine follower, faith follower and one who witnesses with the body. A good explanation is in the Visuddhimagga of Buddhaghosha. This means that some people attain enlightenment through faith alone. We are not all similar. Others are different from you, their path is also different.
I find it utterly ridiculous to maintain that bodhicitta is somehow divorced from enlightenment and buddhahood, when we know that bodhicitta and the arousing of bodhicitta is praised above everything else in the mahayana sutras and commentaries.
It has been said that enlightenment is really a nonexperience, it is therefore difficult to perceive. We can perceive dramatic experiences. Maybe the difficulty is in that you expect enlightenment to be a great and shattering experience?? Which just may not be the case!!

best wishes!


Astus wrote:
Nenbutsu itself is not the cause of enlightenment per se but the cause of birth. These are two different things. It's like bodhicitta is not the cause of buddhahood but the cause to enter the path to buddhahood. Although in some sense, as you can find in the Avatamsaka Sutra, bodhicitta can be called even equal to enlightenment. Also, you may not accept that there is a Pure Land which is in fact a perfect place, a perfect environment conducive to enlightenment, but that is not so in the sutras.

Here you can find Honen's outline of the Pure Land path, where first one has to get a firm establishment in the nenbutsu and after that may take up auxiliary practices:

Image

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 Post subject: Re: Pure lands....why?
PostPosted: Tue Aug 17, 2010 4:38 pm 
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Sher...I think HUsang has adequately addressed the other issue I will address yours...

This..."enlightenment is not something that is caused. " to my view is a misconception and fundamental error in logic. All is caused, wether one wants to abscribe some subtle soul/awareness concept that is not really that important to this discussion, I do not, but realize many Buddhists do

That aside, the essential lesson is there exists nothing which is uncaused, that includes a enlightened state. Causes and conditions precipitate such, no other power exists which can grant such to occur. To produce conditions favorable for such to occur perhaps....that is so. Enlightenment itself as the buddhas life stories attest is certainly produced by compassionate aim and circumstance to produce understanding, some conventionally considered not self created, all ultimately considered self created. Regardless of the nature of such, no inherantly existant state exists seperate from the realities of this existence. While things may presever in a continuance such as our aware quality does and thusly a enlightened state may being causually related in that fashion and presevere, does in no manner infer such is inherantly existant. That a thing presevers does not infer inherant existance. That a being has buddha nature and is hence aware does not infer that a cause to precipitate a sentient beings existance never occurs as sentient beings are inherantly existant.
That conception infers a soul concept of unchanging nature which basically is theism.

If you have something that substantiates that claim I would like to see it, so I can devolve it logically..

Some may state Buddha nature equalizes with a theist soul, but that is a misconception. Water per example may be always considered wet as a sentient being is always considered to have buddha nature and be capeable of enlightenment but water when not present has not the quality of wetness.....it does not suchly exist. Likewise where the condiditons do not exist for a awareness to be precipitated as in a sentient being such does not exist. Suchly wetness will not exist without water being present a buddha nature will not exist without a sentient being existing which has that quality. Enlightenment thusly as related to a uncovering of that aware state or buddha nature does not exist seperate from the reality of a being to perceive it. So as such as a circumstance precipitating a sentient being is caused a state of uncovering/enlightenment is likewise caused to occur. Enlightenment can not exist seperate from something which uncovers or becomes that state, or else all things of all kind would be enlightened and there would be no reason for dharma or a dharmic state.....all would be enlightened.
So that obviously is absurd.

We find some sentient beings to become awake or enlightened but certainly all are not awake nor enlightened. All being sentient being have buddha nature, all by virtue of being such and having conditions which precipitate a sentient beings existance have that quality. But being awake is no guarantee by virtue of buddha nature as a sentient being may be asleep or awake in a conventional state.
That one may be awake at some time or be awakened does not infer one is thusly always awake nor that circumstance did not produce sleep and awake state as well....combined of course with capacity for such and aim or direction.

Enlightenment is caused.....show it not to be.

To add a bit but not to engage necessarily.... no one anywhere in this thread states bodhicitta quality is not necessary to attain enlightenment. I personally state some very rarely may lack only devotion or prayer in their path to enlightenment, having attained all other qualities, and that only be required to attain a enlightened state....but that is very very rare.
A to busy or lazy dharmic practitioner useing other power then to equalize his/her cause to one such as a Millarepa who devotes years upon years of meditation and consequent attainment of great capacity for concentration focus and devotion and bodhiccita equal to that of the shopkeeper described....thusly described their karmic effects are equal by other power.....no.
Millarepa would have been a fool then and should have devoted himself to running a shop instead and just go to pure land....but Millarepa was certainly no fool as such circumstance to produce equal effect from such differing cause can not exist ever.

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 Post subject: Re: Pure lands....why?
PostPosted: Wed Aug 18, 2010 1:04 am 
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Hi Ron,

On whether enlightenment is caused or uncaused, let us just agree to disagree because it has been a controversial topic for centuries. I think each of us are coloured by our past karma, past habitual patterns if you like, to accept certain views and not others, and to accept certain practices and not others. That is why there are so many different views within Buddhism and so many different approaches to Buddhist practice. I think each of us need to find something that suits us and stick with it. Milarepa's approach suited him. If I were in his shoes, I am certain I would have failed miserably.


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 Post subject: Re: Pure lands....why?
PostPosted: Wed Aug 18, 2010 5:51 am 
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S

You may care to agree to disagree I do not.

I state logical rational for such and you do not refute it. YOu of course may do that it is your wont. But I have versed it and we cannot pretend it has not been versed. If I just stated....well I say it is or some such that would be appropriate, but I have not and have provided logically based argument to support my postion.

So do what you want of course.... respond or don't respond it is not much important but lets not pretend I have not yet fielded argument. I have, it stands till refuted.

Your other contention that paths in buddhism are a smorgasboard for the picking and choosing what is best for one is true. HOwever smorgasboards may contain items which are filling, tasty and/or nutritionally sound. One cannot expect nutritional content in a religious smorgasboard of cotton candy chosen to equal in result one of rice and beans chosen.

I state again.....if enlightenment can be attained in the manner described by some here in this particular fashion(and not to discount pureland nor its validity as path which it certainly holds just the way these americans hold it)....Millarepa would have been quite stupid to spend years upon years in a meditational cave and should have been a shopkeeper all along, then perform pure land or powah practice and magically become enlightened in his next lifetime.

If cotton candy in this smorgasboard equaled rice and beans which they do not.....assuredly.

This americanization of pure land concept makes Millarepa or any other serious devotee of the dharma a fool who would be better off doing anything rather than meditating and developing spiritual qualities such as focus concentration understanding of emptiness and causual origination. Pure faith and devotion.....that is all needed, why bother with the rest.....

But then we are left equal to theism which buddhism refutes..... quite assuredly.

So the contention thusly..... this equality of religious smorgasboard of sorts with the only qualifier being the particular want of a particular devotee and his/her fitting into that choice with equal result regardless of choice chosen....is shown absurd.

quite assuredly.

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 Post subject: Re: Pure lands....why?
PostPosted: Wed Aug 18, 2010 6:37 am 
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Astus wrote:
Hi Huseng,

1. It is not just the scriptures themselves but also the Pure Land tradition's many outstanding teachers that should be noted here. And while I may be inclined to agree that Shinran's is an extreme position (but not unorthodox), others (from Zhiyi to Honen) are unequivocal in viewing the Pure Land as a place where people can attain enlightenment certainly. The sutras discussing Sukhavati can be considered neyartha, which makes little difference nevertheless, as it is obviously another of the skilful means. Some call even the prajnaparamita sutras neyartha anyway.


Buddhism has many masters on paper and I respect them, but I've yet to meet someone who could sufficiently explain the Pure Land path to my satisfaction without, in my opinion at least, violating some key principles of karma as far as I personally understand it.



Quote:
2. It is not the person's karma that is important, that's what other-power is about, being escorted to the Pure Land by Amita Buddha, saved by the vow, even if one has hellish karma. It is self-power where the karma matters in getting to a buddha-land.


I can't accept this, but to each their own. It is far too easy a way out of samsara. Not even Bodhisattvas until a high level of advancement can specifically decide where they will take rebirth. To say you will take rebirth in a Pure Land because you have the right mantra or utter the right Buddha's name is a gamble in my opinion.

I think it might have a palliative effect however in that it might put someone's mind at ease as death approaches and those last waking moments of consciousness potentially influence the route one takes postmortem.


Quote:
3. Guanyin resides in Sukhavati, isn't her the best master in compassion? Also, one can move freely to millions of other lands. Two other reasons can be how wisdom is inseparable from compassion and the way practices like the immeasurables and lojong work.


Wisdom generates compassion, yes, but not the other way around. There are plenty of Catholics with plenty of compassion, but they lack wisdom of karma, rebirth, causality and so on, so while they may attain rebirth in some grand celestial heaven they are still subject to samsara.

Quote:
4. Power is ascribed only to Amita Buddha himself and his vows, and as far as I know, buddhas having powers is not against the law of causality. Also, the whole concept of being born through buddha-remembrance is affirming causality and not denying or contradicting it.


There is a kind of theodicy in what you propose: if a Buddha has the ability to pluck someone out of our shitty world and transport them to a Pure Land, why wait until the death of the individual? Why does it not happen now?

Again, Pure Land Buddhism as it has been explained to me and from what I've read is too much of a gamble, at least for me. It also potentially eradicates the basis of morality because even if you're a horrible wretched person who has murdered and raped thousands you still get away from your karma by virtue of Amitabha's vow. I think it was Shinran who proposed that even evil wicked people get saved just by uttering Namu Amida Butsu.

This same line of thought is adopted by some Christians who believe that even if they are responsible for the murders of millions they still get into the country club in the sky just by having the a membership in the right church. Whether they are good or bad the result is the same: freedom from the consequences of one's actions because some other being out there will save them from it.

If you have the inclination and faith for it I cannot stop you from pursuing that path, but I think my criticism is still valid and has yet to be sufficiently answered, let alone refuted.

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 Post subject: Re: Pure lands....why?
PostPosted: Wed Aug 18, 2010 8:12 am 
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Ron,
Quote:
Your other contention that paths in buddhism are a smorgasboard for the picking and choosing what is best for one is true. HOwever smorgasboards may contain items which are filling, tasty and/or nutritionally sound. One cannot expect nutritional content in a religious smorgasboard of cotton candy chosen to equal in result one of rice and beans chosen.

I think of the Buddhist path as something akin to travelling from the pole to the equator. If one is still around the pole region, one would need highly insulative clothing, snow shoes and a diet of seal meat. But if one is around the temporate region, one's clothing, shoes and diet will be different. Now suppose everyone can see everyone else except their individual environment. Then someone at the temperate region will think that the one at the pole is weird, with his unnecessarily thick clothing and cumbersome shoes. Similarly, each of us, depending on the level of our spiritual maturity and store of merits will be inclined towards certain practices due to our own "environment", an environment which others cannot see.

Over the years, I have also seen proponents of various approaches claiming that their particular approach is best, and have quotes from the suttas/sutras/tantras to back them up. This I think is all part of the Buddha's skilfull mean to inspire confidence in the person to whom the particular approach is taught. Similarly, I don't think there are any real miracles, but "miracles" are use by the Buddha as part of his repertoire of skilfull means.


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 Post subject: Re: Pure lands....why?
PostPosted: Wed Aug 18, 2010 9:32 am 
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"There is a kind of theodicy in what you propose: if a Buddha has the ability to pluck someone out of our shitty world and transport them to a Pure Land, why wait until the death of the individual? Why does it not happen now?"

That problem would occur if (1) buddhas could save anyone only on their own and if (2) there were no conditions for attaining birth. But none of that is found here. Angulimala could attain enlightenment even though he was a serial killer - you have no objections here I guess. It could happen because of the Buddha's work and that Angulimala changed his mind. Attaining birth in the Pure Land is possible because of Amita Buddha's work and because one changes his mind. This turning from samsara toward the Pure Land is the essential component called faith. In concept it is no different from the story of the dog ascetic. It is not about being taken out of samsara, it is not a theistic salvation like what many mistakes it for, but it is about harmonising the mind with the conditions brought to reality by Amita Buddha. So the metaphor of meeting one's parent after many years.

"It also potentially eradicates the basis of morality because even if you're a horrible wretched person who has murdered and raped thousands you still get away from your karma by virtue of Amitabha's vow. I think it was Shinran who proposed that even evil wicked people get saved just by uttering Namu Amida Butsu."

It's never been the idea that Pure Land is for the morally wicked people - this is again mistaking it for Christian salvation. The big thing here is that it is available for prthagjanas, non-enlightened beings. The morality part comes in only as a secondary aspect, saying that non-enlightened beings don't have the perfect moral conduct as aryas do. Therefore some Pure Land teachers said it's not a big problem if one cannot abide by the precepts in every situation. Like what Honen says here:

Q: Is it a sin to drink sake (Japanese rice wine)?
A: Definitely you shouldn’t drink, but, you know, it’s the way of the world.


Morally base people usually don't care at all about religion so it's not a common thing if somebody truly considers enlightenment. Because it shouldn't be forgot that the Pure Land is a way to enlightenment, to buddhahood, and nothing else. So yes, whatever person one might be, it is possible to attain birth, just as it is possible to attain sudden enlightenment. This doesn't undermine the meaning of morality but rather it is a skilful means that can be used by those in unfortunate circumstances.

_________________
"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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 Post subject: Re: Pure lands....why?
PostPosted: Wed Aug 18, 2010 1:04 pm 
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"Getting away from your karma", is not so at all. As has been said earlier depending on your mass of virtue or your mass of evil you may have to spend 500 years or 3000 years .... in isolation in Sukhavati. All this time you will hear only the Dharma. Only after this period of solitary meditation will you be granted the full citizenship in the Land of Bliss. What prison on earth can equal with that ??!!




Huseng wrote:
Astus wrote:
Hi Huseng,

1. It is not just the scriptures themselves but also the Pure Land tradition's many outstanding teachers that should be noted here. And while I may be inclined to agree that Shinran's is an extreme position (but not unorthodox), others (from Zhiyi to Honen) are unequivocal in viewing the Pure Land as a place where people can attain enlightenment certainly. The sutras discussing Sukhavati can be considered neyartha, which makes little difference nevertheless, as it is obviously another of the skilful means. Some call even the prajnaparamita sutras neyartha anyway.


Buddhism has many masters on paper and I respect them, but I've yet to meet someone who could sufficiently explain the Pure Land path to my satisfaction without, in my opinion at least, violating some key principles of karma as far as I personally understand it.



Quote:
2. It is not the person's karma that is important, that's what other-power is about, being escorted to the Pure Land by Amita Buddha, saved by the vow, even if one has hellish karma. It is self-power where the karma matters in getting to a buddha-land.


I can't accept this, but to each their own. It is far too easy a way out of samsara. Not even Bodhisattvas until a high level of advancement can specifically decide where they will take rebirth. To say you will take rebirth in a Pure Land because you have the right mantra or utter the right Buddha's name is a gamble in my opinion.

I think it might have a palliative effect however in that it might put someone's mind at ease as death approaches and those last waking moments of consciousness potentially influence the route one takes postmortem.


Quote:
3. Guanyin resides in Sukhavati, isn't her the best master in compassion? Also, one can move freely to millions of other lands. Two other reasons can be how wisdom is inseparable from compassion and the way practices like the immeasurables and lojong work.


Wisdom generates compassion, yes, but not the other way around. There are plenty of Catholics with plenty of compassion, but they lack wisdom of karma, rebirth, causality and so on, so while they may attain rebirth in some grand celestial heaven they are still subject to samsara.

Quote:
4. Power is ascribed only to Amita Buddha himself and his vows, and as far as I know, buddhas having powers is not against the law of causality. Also, the whole concept of being born through buddha-remembrance is affirming causality and not denying or contradicting it.


There is a kind of theodicy in what you propose: if a Buddha has the ability to pluck someone out of our shitty world and transport them to a Pure Land, why wait until the death of the individual? Why does it not happen now?

Again, Pure Land Buddhism as it has been explained to me and from what I've read is too much of a gamble, at least for me. It also potentially eradicates the basis of morality because even if you're a horrible wretched person who has murdered and raped thousands you still get away from your karma by virtue of Amitabha's vow. I think it was Shinran who proposed that even evil wicked people get saved just by uttering Namu Amida Butsu.

This same line of thought is adopted by some Christians who believe that even if they are responsible for the murders of millions they still get into the country club in the sky just by having the a membership in the right church. Whether they are good or bad the result is the same: freedom from the consequences of one's actions because some other being out there will save them from it.

If you have the inclination and faith for it I cannot stop you from pursuing that path, but I think my criticism is still valid and has yet to be sufficiently answered, let alone refuted.

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svaha


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 Post subject: Re: Pure lands....why?
PostPosted: Wed Aug 18, 2010 1:54 pm 
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Aemilius wrote:
"Getting away from your karma", is not so at all. As has been said earlier depending on your mass of virtue or your mass of evil you may have to spend 500 years or 3000 years .... in isolation in Sukhavati. All this time you will hear only the Dharma. Only after this period of solitary meditation will you be granted the full citizenship in the Land of Bliss. What prison on earth can equal with that ??!!


Actually, the Contemplation Sutra says that on the middle lowest birth one spends six kalpas in the lotus, on the lowest lowest it is twelve great kalpas.

_________________
"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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 Post subject: Re: Pure lands....why?
PostPosted: Wed Aug 18, 2010 4:26 pm 
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Posts: 1601
Sh....."Over the years, I have also seen proponents of various approaches claiming that their particular approach is best, and have quotes from the suttas/sutras/tantras to back them up. This I think is all part of the Buddha's skilfull mean to inspire confidence in the person to whom the particular approach is taught"

You are stateing (wether you realize it or not) that all paths are the same. Well they are in a sense, they all eventually will lead to enlightenment, but as we know as Mayahanists that some like the sutric approach may take very very much longer to accomplish and thusly can not be considered to the example you describe of different clothes. They are not the same....yes tailored to circumstance and such disposition but they cannot all be expected to achieve the result of enlightenment in the same fashion. Circumstance and dispositon can not be disregarded as karmically affections, thusly the result of such..... the spiritual path available, likewise can not be expected to be in content and immediate result to be producing same result AS the dispositions, circumstances, of the individual differ karmically likewise their choice of path available differs karmically, and yes.....the result of both of those things the actual path, pureland, sutric, whatever, differs as well.

Basically just devotion and prayer compriseing circumstance for complete enlightenment in the next lifetime do not provide enough cause for almost all humans.Devotion and prayer are necessary componants of a spiritual path which will achieve enlightenment but solely and singularly particularly as has been described by others in this thread....by murderers and such as means to equlilivize with one who spends his/her life in meditational pursuit....it cannot be so. The causes will not produce the result.

Differing causes are present which will produce differing result.

Actually all the arguments which Husang briefly entertains such as why would the Buddha not enlighten us all right here and now if devoid of consequence of cause and result are his powers....are the same exact arguments a buddhist could frame to devolve a theist/christian belief structure...

they will be found to be exactly the same. Exchange buddha with christ or god the names and we have buddhism equalizing such....this is simply not so. The theist path is inferior not a case of differing clothes nor of chooseing different foods or a particular approach due to circumstance or inclination which is exactly equal.....it is inferior and will not by itself produce a enlightened state. Buddhism will .

It is never a question of some peoples being totally morally berift and anyone having spiritual intention can attain enlightenment simply by prayer and devotion....theists have moral intention as well. This claim the claim these americans make here...it exactly equates buddhism to theism.

That is absurd....your argument is thusly refuted it total.

_________________
"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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