Pureland study group anyone?

Pureland study group anyone?

Postby gingercatni » Wed Mar 13, 2013 9:58 am

Hi everyone,

I've been reading the forums on and off for the past few months and I've noticed people seem to be a little be lonely, confused about the teachings (I'm guilty of that too! :tongue: ) so why don't we study the sutra's together?

I thought we could go through each of the 3 main Pureland Sutra's and post on here maybe each month and discuss our individual interpretation of the sutra's and get advice from each other. I suppose what I'm suggesting is uniting as our own little Pureland community to help one another.

Just a thought, let me know what you all think.

Take care.
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Re: Pureland study group anyone?

Postby MattyNottwo » Wed Mar 13, 2013 4:52 pm

That sounds like a great idea! :smile:
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Re: Pureland study group anyone?

Postby LastLegend » Wed Mar 13, 2013 7:34 pm

I will be here.
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Re: Pureland study group anyone?

Postby black_tea » Wed Mar 13, 2013 8:46 pm

That sounds like a great idea :heart:
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Re: Pureland study group anyone?

Postby PorkChop » Wed Mar 13, 2013 9:13 pm

Sounds like fun.
Any preferences on the translation?
I have a few different copies, maybe we could even compare and contrast.
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Re: Pureland study group anyone?

Postby kirtu » Thu Mar 14, 2013 1:38 am

Good idea.

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Re: Pureland study group anyone?

Postby Hickersonia » Thu Mar 14, 2013 2:06 am

I've recently read BDK's translation, but could certainly go over it again. I won't say for certain that I'll have anything to add to the discussion, but I'll be watching in case I do. :thumbsup:
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Re: Pureland study group anyone?

Postby RikudouSennin » Thu Mar 14, 2013 5:00 am

This is a great idea.
When i first started studying buddhist pathways, i was amazed at the pureland school. It was all so new and mystical, the thought of Sukhavati always stuck with me for years.
Eventually i became doubtful. Decided to see what other ways were out there etc. I had it stuck in my head to reach perfect enlightenment in one lifetime, probably due to being influenced by another holy name tradition of the traditional rasik babajis. Or the lives of vajrayana masters.
Anyways back and forward i tried and try to attain and attempt.
But over the course of my wanderings I remembered the precious pureland path.

This time i feel a feeling of sincerity that was lacking, a sense of understanding how this dharma gate is for me.

I have to study more from the fundamentals.

Astus and plwk post in the pl forum have been a inspiration for my newfound trust in this dharma
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Re: Pureland study group anyone?

Postby RikudouSennin » Thu Mar 14, 2013 5:28 am

I remember way back when i was a teenager a member on the esangha forum had alot of notes/insight on the sutras.

One of my main questions is on the emphasis of this being a teaching of Shakyamuni Buddha that he gave because no one had the capacity to ask questions about it.

Any ideas?
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Re: Pureland study group anyone?

Postby PorkChop » Thu Mar 14, 2013 6:28 am

RikudouSennin wrote: I had it stuck in my head to reach perfect enlightenment in one lifetime...


Don't have to give up on enlightenment in this lifetime.
According to the Shurangama Sutra, Mahasthamaprapta Bodhisattva Mahasattva achieved enlightenment through Pure Land practice.
It's a valid Dharma door, it's not giving up.
A Pure Mind is a Pure Land.

RikudouSennin wrote:I remember way back when i was a teenager a member on the esangha forum had alot of notes/insight on the sutras.
One of my main questions is on the emphasis of this being a teaching of Shakyamuni Buddha that he gave because no one had the capacity to ask questions about it.
Any ideas?


I have a view on this that is probably not standard or correct.
I tend to try to read the metaphors.
So for me, the question becomes "what's the type of teaching that you provide someone without asking?" and the answer to that one tends to be the example I set by simply living my life.
In other words, Amitabha being a metaphor for Shakyamuni himself; certainly the lives of Shakyamuni and pre-enlightenment Amitabha are very similar.

The Lotus sutra makes a case for the concept of emanation Buddhas stemming from an Original/Eternal Buddha. Lotus sutra schools assert that Shakyamuni is the Eternal Buddha, as he is our example of a Samyaksam Buddha in this time period of this Saha world, and in one of the chapters states that he actually achieved enlightenment countless of eons ago.

On the other hand, I know in the Tibetan tradition, in the lineage of the Panchen Lamas - Subhuti (Rabjor) and Padmasambhava are both considered emanations of Amitabha (among others).
Of course, it's also said that Amitabha achieved enlightenment 14 great kalpas ago.
As to who's the "real" Original/Eternal Buddha or who Amitabha may have been historically is anyone's guess.
In the end, it doesn't really matter so much, in the Dharmakaya/Thusness there are no differences.
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Re: Pureland study group anyone?

Postby gingercatni » Thu Mar 14, 2013 12:01 pm

RikudouSennin wrote:This is a great idea.
When i first started studying buddhist pathways, i was amazed at the pureland school. It was all so new and mystical, the thought of Sukhavati always stuck with me for years.
Eventually i became doubtful. Decided to see what other ways were out there etc. I had it stuck in my head to reach perfect enlightenment in one lifetime, probably due to being influenced by another holy name tradition of the traditional rasik babajis. Or the lives of vajrayana masters.
Anyways back and forward i tried and try to attain and attempt.
But over the course of my wanderings I remembered the precious pureland path.

This time i feel a feeling of sincerity that was lacking, a sense of understanding how this dharma gate is for me.

I have to study more from the fundamentals.

Astus and plwk post in the pl forum have been a inspiration for my newfound trust in this dharma


I think all of us on the Pureland path have had doubt at some point. Most of us I think come from a christian background and there for have a lot of christian "deprogramming" to deal with. But I think the major issue we all have is that such a compassionate being, made a vow to help liberate us from samsara and help us achieve Buddhahood. But once we open our minds to Amitabha, the bounty of his love and compassion is a great aid for us to reach our goal. :smile:
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Re: Pureland study group anyone?

Postby gingercatni » Thu Mar 14, 2013 12:11 pm

RikudouSennin wrote:I remember way back when i was a teenager a member on the esangha forum had alot of notes/insight on the sutras.

One of my main questions is on the emphasis of this being a teaching of Shakyamuni Buddha that he gave because no one had the capacity to ask questions about it.

Any ideas?

The Buddha, in countless discourses would recount his previous lives, he would also speak of previous Buddha's. What we have to remember is the Sutra's are a written record of a discourse, they record what the Buddha said and at times questions asked by others. What we will never find in the many sutras is the context in which they were expounded, that has been lost in time. But the major point of Pureland, that after the Buddha's death the eventual forming of Pureland in India was propagated because obviously the teaching was so profound and aided people who could not read. This is not to say Pureland is an easy path, because I have yet to encounter anyone that finds Pureland easy, following the meditation as decribed in the Sutra's of our school is very difficult, but being mindful of Amitabha and reading and rereading one finds the compassion of the Buddha of our age and why Amitabha was introduced to us and how to find faith in both Shakyamuni and Amitabha.
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Re: Pureland study group anyone?

Postby gingercatni » Thu Mar 14, 2013 4:19 pm

PorkChop wrote:Sounds like fun.
Any preferences on the translation?
I have a few different copies, maybe we could even compare and contrast.



I think whatever you have is fine, the various translations follow the same theme, besides perhaps those reading different translations can bring a different perspective to the group? All exciting stuff! :smile: Should we start with the smaller sutra? , does everyone have a copy? :anjali:
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Re: Pureland study group anyone?

Postby RikudouSennin » Thu Mar 14, 2013 4:33 pm

Pureland is definetly profound.

I have alot of studying to do, i jumped right into practices without even understanding the Mahayana.

Now that ive refound my original interest in the Pure Land path i feel more enthusiastic.
:heart:
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Re: Pureland study group anyone?

Postby PorkChop » Thu Mar 14, 2013 5:52 pm

gingercatni wrote:I think whatever you have is fine, the various translations follow the same theme, besides perhaps those reading different translations can bring a different perspective to the group? All exciting stuff! :smile: Should we start with the smaller sutra? , does everyone have a copy? :anjali:


Free copies abound online.
Here are 2 sites for multiple sutras (taken from the resources thread on this forum and others):
It's the 5 Sutras & 1 Sastra for Pure Landers: http://www.amtb-usa.org/eabs1-1.htm
The Threefold Pure Land Sutras: http://www.drba.org/dharma/amitabhasutra.asp

For the Shorter sutra, we have:
Chinese (CTTB): http://cttbusa.org/amitabha/amitabha.htm
Japanese (Shin): http://web.mit.edu/stclair/www/smaller.html

For the Larger sutra, we have:
Old Translation: http://web.mit.edu/~stclair/www/larger.html
Modern Translation: http://buddhistfaith.tripod.com/purelan ... s/id2.html

For The Buddha Speaks on Visualization of Amitayus Sutra:
Old Translation: http://web.mit.edu/stclair/www/meditationsutra.html
Modern Translation: http://buddhistfaith.tripod.com/purelan ... s/id5.html

For the Pure Land Exhortation Sutras:
Pratyutpanna Samadhi Sutra: http://www.sutrasmantras.info/sutra22.html
Chapter 40 Avatamsaka Sutra: http://www.buddhanet.net/pdf_file/samantabhadra.pdf
Shurangama Sutra: Mahastamaprapta's Insight: http://www.sutrasmantras.info/sutra08.html
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Re: Pureland study group anyone?

Postby MattyNottwo » Thu Mar 14, 2013 8:24 pm

gingercatni wrote:
PorkChop wrote:Sounds like fun.
Any preferences on the translation?
I have a few different copies, maybe we could even compare and contrast.



I think whatever you have is fine, the various translations follow the same theme, besides perhaps those reading different translations can bring a different perspective to the group? All exciting stuff! :smile: Should we start with the smaller sutra? , does everyone have a copy? :anjali:


I think starting with the smaller sutra is a good idea.
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Re: Pureland study group anyone?

Postby Astus » Thu Mar 14, 2013 9:28 pm

BDK translation (Inagaki & Stewart) in one book: http://www.bdkamerica.org/digital/dBET_ ... s_2003.pdf

Inagaki's Dharma Treasury that has the sutras (translation from both Kumarajiva and Xuanzang of the shorter sutra): http://www12.canvas.ne.jp/horai/dharma- ... -index.htm
"There is no such thing as the real mind. Ridding yourself of delusion: that's the real mind."
(Sheng-yen: Getting the Buddha Mind, p 73)

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

“Don’t rashly seek the true Buddha;
True Buddha can’t be found.
Does marvelous nature and spirit
Need tempering or refinement?
Mind is this mind carefree;
This face, the face at birth."

(Nanyue Mingzan: Enjoying the Way, tr. Jeff Shore; T2076p461b24-26)
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Re: Pureland study group anyone?

Postby shaunc » Fri Mar 15, 2013 3:48 am

This is a great idea. I feel that this study group may help me.
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Re: Pureland study group anyone?

Postby kirtu » Fri Mar 15, 2013 3:10 pm

We can approach the sutras in different ways. I tend to like to begin with what looks like an approach from literature and gets dates, origins, etc. on the texts as a start. I haven't done this previously with Pure Land sutras. Does anyone have a putative chronology of the sutras?

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Re: Pureland study group anyone?

Postby PorkChop » Fri Mar 15, 2013 4:26 pm

kirtu wrote:We can approach the sutras in different ways. I tend to like to begin with what looks like an approach from literature and gets dates, origins, etc. on the texts as a start. I haven't done this previously with Pure Land sutras. Does anyone have a putative chronology of the sutras?

Kirt


From wiki all I got was this:
I think the Pratyutpanna is the first reference to Amitabha, it was translated into Chinese between 178 and 189 CE.
The Larger Sukhāvatīvyūha is the main Pure Land sutra but probably the second translated, it was first translated into Chinese some time between 147 and 253 CE, the main version currently used was translated into Chinese in the later part of the 4th century CE.
The Smaller Sukhāvatīvyūha was translated into Chinese in 402 CE.
I know Zhiyi of Tiantai put the Pure Land sutras in the 3rd period, called the Expansive or Correct & Equal period.
Other than that, I'm not sure where to look for in depth estimates on dates of authorship, it's never been a high priority for me with Mahayana sutras - usually more worried about content.

Nice find by Astus by the way.
Here are a few more for the Smaller Sukhāvatīvyūha:
http://www.lapislazulitexts.com/shorter ... sutra.html
http://online.sfsu.edu/~rone/Buddhism/amitabha.htm
http://chinesenotes.com/buddhism_amituo_jing.php
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