Doubts about Pure land

Doubts about Pure land

Postby Metta » Sat Mar 23, 2013 11:06 am

Hello, I've joined this forum in order to express some doubts that I have. I've read the story about Dharmakara before he became Amitabha Buddha. My question is how really likely is it for some ordinary human to be able to go through five aeons (that's five big bangs) of nothing but sheer practice without retrogressing on the path in order to become a Buddha and create this pure land? I really don't mean to be offensive in any way, but how can anyone with a sane mind believe in something that sounds so irrational and fairy tale like? Not to mention the anti woman sentiments in one of the vows? Is a perfectly enlightened Buddha really supposed to have a discriminatory mind like that? Just doesn't make sense. I do not wish to offend anyone, if I did then I apologize.
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Re: Doubts about Pure land

Postby Wayfarer » Sat Mar 23, 2013 11:26 am

Well, hello and welcome to the Forum! I can see you're wresting with some big questions. I don't really have a direct answer, because my knowledge of Pure Land Buddhism is limited to a few articles in books.

My approach is - well, I suppose you could say I'm a typical Western student of Buddhism who meditates and studies and tries to follow the teachings. I interpret many of these kinds of ideas - not the ones you have mentioned, in particular - as mythological representations of profound truths. They are often attempting to represent profound truths about the human condition in an allegorical way and ought not to be taken as literally true, or as historical accounts. However this doesn't mean that they are simply untrue, or ought to be dismissed. They require interpretation. Often they relate ideas which could never be communicated in strictly literal terms.

I see you refer to 'big bang' theories of the Universe. Such theories belong to a completely different historical epoch to the Buddhist traditions. Furthermore they are also speculative in their own way, and perhaps even 'mythological' in some respects, even if their objective validity can be verified by instruments.

Finally - Buddhism is a big world. There are many schools, teachings and methods. Some are really minimalist - they don't require acceptance of an elaborate framework of beliefs about 'many lives' and legendary figures. Sometimes it is useful to 'start small' and just work on the basic principles which are common to all schools of Buddism. The 'big picture' elements will make themselves clear in their own time.

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Re: Doubts about Pure land

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Sat Mar 23, 2013 1:40 pm

Metta wrote:Hello, I've joined this forum in order to express some doubts that I have. I've read the story about Dharmakara before he became Amitabha Buddha. My question is how really likely is it for some ordinary human to be able to go through five aeons (that's five big bangs) of nothing but sheer practice without retrogressing on the path in order to become a Buddha and create this pure land? I really don't mean to be offensive in any way, but how can anyone with a sane mind believe in something that sounds so irrational and fairy tale like? Not to mention the anti woman sentiments in one of the vows? Is a perfectly enlightened Buddha really supposed to have a discriminatory mind like that? Just doesn't make sense. I do not wish to offend anyone, if I did then I apologize.


I have a lot of confidence, based on my own experience, in Pure Land practice.
And, it's totally stupid. It's brilliantly, stupidly simple.
It cuts through the most developed level of intellectual processing.
In other words, you have obviously given this matter considerable thought,
carefully analyzed the situation, and looked at it quite logically.
But in spite of that, all hope is not lost!
:rolling:
Pure land is perfect for deep thinkers such as yourself.

It is not very easy for somebody to become Amitabha, as you have noted. So far, it looks as though it has only happened once. Amitabha made 48 vows specifically for people like you and me, who still cling to the safety net of having a sane mind. There is nothing quite like nice square thinking in neat logical little boxes, to give one something solid to hold onto. What a shame!
So, don't worry about your doubts. Don't worry about fairy tales.
Don't fear the irrational.
just recite Amitabha's name.
That's all it's about...letting go of your calculating mind.

Regarding Vow #35, which promises women that they will be reborn as men, that appears pretty sexist alright. But before that, in Vow #10 he says that if beings reborn in the Pure land are still "cherish any thought of attachment to the body, may I not achieve the highest enlightenment" and so, the body naturally must also include gender.

So, male or female in the Pure land really doesn't matter. You have to examine this in that context, as well as in the context of ancient Indian society, which in some ways is similar to modern Indian society, especially regarding the status of women. What you might call this is a patchwork solution. He could have said, "if men and women are not given equal status in the Pure land, then the deal's off" but that would have still maintained attachment to the (differing) forms of the physical body. I think, in fact, what he is actually saying is that very thing, that women and men will have equal status.

The language is problematic, and there are various translations, and what ever was originally recorded may have been distorted over time as well. This is speculation, but it is valid speculation because of the fact that one's physical bodily form must be of no consequence in the Pure Land.

The problem arises from a somewhat convoluted way of seeing things,
and it is not a big deal to assume that this is because so much of this stuff is written by men.
"Feminine" as a concept can be regarded as a negative trait in a purely misogynist way, meaning really being anti-woman. That's one thing.
But can also refer to the (very convoluted) idea that inequality, some weakness or lesser ability is an inherent female trait. In other words, "I'm not against women, I'm just against all that weakness which is a characteristic of femininity, and that that women wouldn't have if they were men" which, by today's understanding is obviously all bullsh## but even in the last century in our "modern" western world, Europe & America, you see this kind of thinking. Even today, there are women as well as men who assert that the qualities of being feminine include subservience to masculinity.

The Buddha was quite remarkable in that he allowed women to be "monks" which was quite an unusual thing in Ancient India. Of course, you can't ever move too far ahead of the prevalent sexism of the day, and I think Vow #35 is a reflection of this. It is, I think, a guy's attempt at grasping some notion of women's equality. It doesn't really make sense otherwise.
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Re: Doubts about Pure land

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Sat Mar 23, 2013 2:50 pm

PadmaVonSamba wrote:"Feminine" as a concept can be regarded as a negative trait in a purely misogynist way, meaning really being anti-woman. That's one thing.
But can also refer to the (very convoluted) idea that inequality, some weakness or lesser ability is an inherent female trait.


My "edit" button quit on me, and I am not sure that this came out right.
I am making a distinction between outright misogyny, simply hating women,
and the idea that being female itself is an inherently weaker trait.
they are both sexist attitudes, but the second one, at least, provides options.
Men who supported the women's suffrage movement for example,
might have easily said "full equality should be given to the weaker sex".
The overall intention is good
even though the grasp of the situation is faulty.
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The Chinese characters are Fo (buddha) and Ming (bright). The image is of a student of Buddhism, who, imagining himself to be a monk, and not understanding the true meaning of the words takes the sound of the words literally. Likewise, People on web forums sometime seem to be foaming at the mouth.
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Re: Doubts about Pure land

Postby RikudouSennin » Sat Mar 23, 2013 2:55 pm

:good:
“You have some good connection with the Dzogchen Teaching - you have arrived to the Dzogchen Teaching, you have met a Dzogchen Master; you must understand that it means you are very fortunate.” ChNNR
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Re: Doubts about Pure land

Postby Nosta » Sat Mar 23, 2013 5:02 pm

Hi!

First, about the vows regarding women: for all the purposes, being a woman is worst than being a man. Sorry to say this, but woman in the majority of societys are not respected. They are the target of sexual harassement; they have less oportunitys for finding a job; they do all the work at home; they suffer when giving to birth, etc.

That means that the karma of reborn as a woman is not so good as the karma of reborn as a man (in a general way of course). Sadly this is truth.

Secondly, it is really hard to believe on such teachings about the existence of a Pure Land and a great guy called Amitabha. Thats like a fairy tale!

But believing on life after death is something like a fairy tale too. Do you really reborn again after each life? Isnt that something impossible?

What about karma? Do you really believe that each single and litte action may create a snow ball effect thats lasts for lives?

What about the knowledge of Buddha, do you think that Buddha was able to see the past and the future of every single being? Thats something impossible too!

Fairy tales? ...

I am not saying that if you believe on rebirth, karma, etc you should believe on Pure Land, but when you believe on such things, you must open your mind to other ideas and understand that they are not that impossible.

BUT, as you, sometimes I have my doubts too! Pure Land concept is damn good to be truth, and really incredible to be real!
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Re: Doubts about Pure land

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Sat Mar 23, 2013 7:19 pm

Nosta wrote:Hi!

First, about the vows regarding women: for all the purposes, being a woman is worst than being a man. Sorry to say this, but woman in the majority of societys are not respected. They are the target of sexual harassement; they have less oportunitys for finding a job; they do all the work at home; they suffer when giving to birth, etc.

I do all the work at home, I was a stay at home dad when our kid was born. I do the cooking and the cleaning. I also work from home in a professional business capacity.

What you describe are conditions inflicted onto women. If it is worse to be a woman, it is only because of how societies treat women, and not because one is a woman. You could say the same thing of Dalits in India, or about any beings who suffers from the actions of others. You could say that it is worse to be a man because men get sent to war. It is not a reasonable argument.
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The Chinese characters are Fo (buddha) and Ming (bright). The image is of a student of Buddhism, who, imagining himself to be a monk, and not understanding the true meaning of the words takes the sound of the words literally. Likewise, People on web forums sometime seem to be foaming at the mouth.
Original painting by P.Volker /used by permission.
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Re: Doubts about Pure land

Postby PorkChop » Sat Mar 23, 2013 9:36 pm

Metta wrote:Hello, I've joined this forum in order to express some doubts that I have. I've read the story about Dharmakara before he became Amitabha Buddha. My question is how really likely is it for some ordinary human to be able to go through five aeons (that's five big bangs) of nothing but sheer practice without retrogressing on the path in order to become a Buddha and create this pure land? I really don't mean to be offensive in any way, but how can anyone with a sane mind believe in something that sounds so irrational and fairy tale like? Not to mention the anti woman sentiments in one of the vows? Is a perfectly enlightened Buddha really supposed to have a discriminatory mind like that? Just doesn't make sense. I do not wish to offend anyone, if I did then I apologize.


Nah, you're more respectful than most western Buddhists that come across Pure Land and don't know how to grok it.

I think it's helpful to point out to fellow westerners that the mechanism of Pure Land practice can be understood & accepted without any reading into the phenomenology of Pure Land. At it's very root, the mindfulness of an enlightened being helps one to purify their mind, to navigate it on the right course. It shouldn't be hard to accept that actions of body, speech, and mind can greatly affect how we interact with the world. Furthermore, one's mental state/mental purity, greatly affect how we perceive the world. A pure mind is a pure land.

Somewhat reluctant to do this, because I think the view point disregards the 3rd & 4th noble truths and is thus not Buddhism, but my normal justification to my physicalist/annihilationist friends (who think that death is the end) is that if death really is the end of everything, I would rather go out peacefully. Focusing on enlightened being for at least 10 repetitions of the buddha name at the time of death would help bring peace of mind in an obviously stressful situation.

So regardless of your opinions of the phenomenology, the mechanism can have a great affect on your mind. That's enough justification for me to do it. I feel better when I do the practice. Whereas zazen or anapanasati can make me hypersensitive & grumpy, nianfo/nembutsu/Buddha name recitation gives me a warm, refreshed feeling. I still do both to keep the practice balanced, but I get a little more out of nianfo/nembutsu/Buddha name recitation as far as my day-to-day.

When it comes to the phenomenology of the Pure Land teachings, I tend to think of it as metaphor that describes a fundamental truth. As member Queequeg likes to describe the Lotus Sutra, I think most Mahayana sutras are kinda like how sci fi (like Star Wars) uses outrageous stories to communicate fundamental truths about the human condition. Like Joseph Campbell says, "if you read this stuff like a newspaper you're completely missing the point." So whether the phenomenology is exactly how the sutra describes, if it just works because of emptiness/not-self, if it's a metaphor for one's own purified luminous mind, if it's a skillful means to represent the unborn/unmanifested/thusness/nibanna/dharmakaya or whatever, I'm not so worried about it. I'm pretty agnostic about the phenomenology, I just know it works on multiple levels. If I achieve Enlightenment in my life, then I'll see a Buddha. If I die before I'm enlightened, then at least the mechanism has helped me in life and I'll realize the truth of the story then. I have faith that the technique works and trust that the rest will prove true in some sense or another when the time comes.

The mechanism dates back to the earliest forms of Buddhism. The Pure Land practice itself is recommended in almost all forms of Northern & Eastern Buddhism. Even iconoclastic Chinese Chan Buddhism came to an agreement with Pure Land a long time ago. There's a koan/kung'an of Chan/Zen that asks "who is the one reciting the Buddha's name?". In other words, if some of the most advanced meditators of the Northern & Eastern forms of Buddhism have come to recommend the practice, that eases my mind quite a bit.

As far as the part about the women - you gotta remember that rebirth can also correspond to moment-to-moment rebirth of a mind-stream and that one can be reborn in the Pure Land in this lifetime. That means that the vow is not so much as referring to a female body, as much as a female identity. If one's hung up on the idea that their identity as a female is somehow inferior to that of a man, the vow refers to helping those people have a mental rebirth into an identity equal to that of a man (being) who doesn't have such doubts. You gotta remember it's not just chauvinists that have these misconceptions, but women raised in such chauvinistic societies who are filled with insecurities.
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Re: Doubts about Pure land

Postby Son of Buddha » Sat Mar 23, 2013 11:12 pm

"Metta"]Hello, I've joined this forum in order to express some doubts that I have. I've read the story about Dharmakara before he became Amitabha Buddha. My question is how really likely is it for some ordinary human to be able to go through five aeons (that's five big bangs) of nothing but sheer practice without retrogressing on the path in order to become a Buddha and create this pure land? I really don't mean to be offensive in any way, but how can anyone with a sane mind believe in something that sounds so irrational and fairy tale like?


he would have to be in a state of non retrogression to practice for that long,which is common for high level Bodhisattvas,an equivilant view can also be found in the
Pure abodes of the Theravadan tradition.also one has to consider what his life spans actually were.
for example:to a fly a full life is one day,to a human a full life could a hundred years
so what a fly might conceive as a full life span of a 100yrs,a human considers to be one day.

"Metta"
Not to mention the anti woman sentiments in one of the vows? Is a perfectly enlightened Buddha really supposed to have a discriminatory mind like that? Just doesn't make sense. I do not wish to offend anyone, if I did then I apologize.


it was not meant to be anti women or discriminatory,for example is it discriminatory to say I wish to leave my demon body and not be reborn in demon body again?a demon body is just a body,the body itself is neither good nor evil,BUT the demon body is not desirable,those who live in this body generally are in hell,while in this body they suffer more than others,the see more driscrimination more pain and more suffering,even other people upon hearing of their demon bodies call them names and say they are evil,saying they are demons and are disgusting and can never be good,being in demon body they are hated,while suffering all this pain they may wish to NEVER be reborn into this type of body or existance ever again.

this was the purpose of the 35th vow it was a garuntee for women that they would never have to undergo the pains and suffering of a woman body or existance every again.TODAY in this day and age there are still countries where women are vieed as being property to men and in many countries statistics state that 2 out of every 10 women are raped or molested,even in what is considered civilized countries of law like america look at the statstics of rape and molestation that is reported the numbers are staggering,now think if it is this bad today in what we consider a more civilized world how much worse was it for women 2556 years ago.where women had as much rights as a dog.the 35th vow was a promise to women their pain would be over.
also in the Pureland there are no gods or humans read chapter 17 people only receive the names gods or humans from their previous existances and in bodily form there are no differences we are all equal,being neither god nor human there is no genitalia of either(man or female).
Chapter 7 vow 3 we all have the same color of skin(no racism)
vow we have the same appearance(same body)
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Re: Doubts about Pure land

Postby Nosta » Sat Mar 23, 2013 11:46 pm

PadmaVonSamba wrote:
Nosta wrote:Hi!

First, about the vows regarding women: for all the purposes, being a woman is worst than being a man. Sorry to say this, but woman in the majority of societys are not respected. They are the target of sexual harassement; they have less oportunitys for finding a job; they do all the work at home; they suffer when giving to birth, etc.

I do all the work at home, I was a stay at home dad when our kid was born. I do the cooking and the cleaning. I also work from home in a professional business capacity.

What you describe are conditions inflicted onto women. If it is worse to be a woman, it is only because of how societies treat women, and not because one is a woman. You could say the same thing of Dalits in India, or about any beings who suffers from the actions of others. You could say that it is worse to be a man because men get sent to war. It is not a reasonable argument.
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Yes, being a woman is worse because the conditions inflicted to them by society. In a general way, women in the world suffer a little more than men I think. They do all the work. Of course, many men do the work, but on many societys thats not the case. In Portugal, for instance, agression towards women (from their husbands/boyfriends) its something very real.

But lets accept that in fact there is no karmic difference between men and women: should we say that Amitabha vows are not perfect because, after all, He is discriminating women?
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Re: Doubts about Pure land

Postby Nosta » Sat Mar 23, 2013 11:51 pm

PorkChop, In the sutras Budha says that the teaching of Pure Land is very hard to believe, so I think he was saying that, in fact, pure land is real (at least Buddha tought it was real).

Also, Pure Land masters state that is wrong to see Pure Land just in a noumenon way. It is wrong to see Pure Land just as a metaphor.
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Re: Doubts about Pure land

Postby PorkChop » Sun Mar 24, 2013 3:37 am

Nosta wrote:PorkChop, In the sutras Budha says that the teaching of Pure Land is very hard to believe, so I think he was saying that, in fact, pure land is real (at least Buddha tought it was real).

Also, Pure Land masters state that is wrong to see Pure Land just in a noumenon way. It is wrong to see Pure Land just as a metaphor.


Well, I was trying (poorly) to provide an easier explanation of this section from Buddhism of Wisdom and Faith
I'd quote it but it's awfully long.
It's pretty much what we're both talking about - Buddha-Recitation Practice vs Buddha-Recitation Essence, noumena & phenomena, reducing it to metaphor is not getting the whole picture, not practicing gets you nowhere, but seeing Amitabha Buddha as outside the mind indicates that practice is not yet complete...
I wasn't trying to restrict it to metaphor, but I think reading the sutras metaphorically may help Western converts until confidence in practice is established.
I was also saying that the practice works for me as a mechanism for purifying the mind and digesting it on that level may help ease the doubts of people who aren't ready to think about Buddhas that they can't yet touch, see, or feel - at least until they build a little confidence.
As I said, I find it works on many levels (literal as well as metaphorical), and I believe that the end result will hold true to the sutras, regardless of what form that takes.
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Re: Doubts about Pure land

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Sun Mar 24, 2013 3:53 am

Nosta wrote: lets accept that in fact there is no karmic difference between men and women: should we say that Amitabha vows are not perfect because, after all, He is discriminating women?

I'm sorry,
I don't understand the logic of this question.
My point was that the intention is not discrimination against women,
But to make clear that in the Pure Land that there is no difference between men and women,
regarding the fulfilling of the vow.

The terminology used in the sutra, I think, should be regarded as an indication
of an overall discriminatory attitude towards women
which was then, and still is part of Indian culture.
The idea, for example, if someone were to say "I'd sure hate to be born as a woman"
as I pointed out, this can be taken two ways:
It is either misogyny, meaning that one thinks there is something intrinsically wrong with being female,
or else it is really an expression of one's disgust with the victimization of women,
with the conditions that women face in that society.

I think that the words used in the preservation of this teaching
sound like the first, they sound misogynist,
but in fact are meant to describe the second situation, victimization.

And the reason I say this is because
Realization is not limited to one gender or another,
and Shakyamuni knew this when he ordained women,
and when he gave this teaching on Amitabha,
and in general, Amita's vow does not discriminate among beings in either.
All sorts of awful people are guaranteed rebirth in the Pure land without regretting who they are
so why would women be singled out?
That's why I say that in fact, the are not
And thinking that this vow regards women as intrinsically unfit is a misunderstanding.

The vow goes beyond any notion of perfect or imperfect.
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Re: Doubts about Pure land

Postby Namgyal » Sun Mar 24, 2013 4:43 am

Metta wrote:...how can anyone with a sane mind believe in something that sounds so irrational and fairy tale like? Not to mention the anti woman sentiments in one of the vows?

The vow appears to apply only to women who specifically wish to be men. For my part, I have no problem believing that a Cosmic Buddha is able to duplicate the powers of the higher gods and magically create a world-system for his students. However, I do not believe that mantra-recitation guarantees rebirth in Sukhavati, unless it is accompanied by meditation, ethical conduct and so forth.
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Re: Doubts about Pure land

Postby Johnny Dangerous » Sun Mar 24, 2013 5:07 am

Doesn't address Pure Land specifically, but if you undress all the various mythologies and just look at some basic questions it will clarify what you do and don't believe:

1) Do you believe your mindstream continues in some form

2) Do you believe your mindstream is what it is due to causes and conditions

3) Do you believe that your mindstream can experience a continuum of either extremely positive (i.e. a pure land) or extremely negative states (i.e. Naraka, Preta etc.) that go beyond the small bandwidth of what you've experienced consciously right now

The specifics of what does and doesn't exist, how it does or doesn't exist don't matter so much, if you answer affirmatively that you believe the answer to the above questions is yes by inference, then you can see that the mythologies work in a similar way to Padma's Big Bang analogy.
"Just as a lotus does not grow out of a well-levelled soil but from the mire, in the same way the awakening mind
is not born in the hearts of disciples in whom the moisture of attachment has dried up. It grows instead in the hearts of ordinary sentient beings who possess in full the fetters of bondage." -Se Chilbu Choki Gyaltsen
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Re: Doubts about Pure land

Postby PorkChop » Sun Mar 24, 2013 5:39 am

Namgyal wrote:
Metta wrote:...how can anyone with a sane mind believe in something that sounds so irrational and fairy tale like? Not to mention the anti woman sentiments in one of the vows?

The vow appears to apply only to women who specifically wish to be men. For my part, I have no problem believing that a Cosmic Buddha is able to duplicate the powers of the higher gods and magically create a world-system for his students. However, I do not believe that mantra-recitation guarantees rebirth in Sukhavati, unless it is accompanied by meditation, ethical conduct and so forth.
:namaste:


Mantra recitation/Buddha name recitation isn't a form of meditation? :?
You do realize that the goal is explicitly called "Buddha Remembrance/Recitation Samadhi" (Buddhanusmrti Samadhi)...
As far as whether or not there's a guaranteed rebirth, the sutras are pretty specific... even in the Pali Suttas, there's the example of Sarakaani who achieved Suddhavasa (Pure Abode) rebirth after dying of alcoholism...
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Re: Doubts about Pure land

Postby shaunc » Sun Mar 24, 2013 5:43 am

Maybe in the pureland there's no men or women, no black or white, no tall or short, no fat or thin. Maybe theres just people, beings, practitioners. Sure Amitabha is represented as a man & Kuan Yin is represented as a woman but that's how we percieve them to be. Remember that Sakyumani buddha was preaching to people, he had the difficult task of preaching to people something (the pureland) that people or at least most people were not capable of percieving. He was I believe trying to describe a place of infinite beauty filled only with love, compassion & goodwill. As humans we're incapable (at least most of us) of understanding such a profound teaching. So what do we do about it? We try our best with the 5 precepts, we meditate, we believe (have faith) & above all we chant his name. Namo Amitabha Buddha.
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Re: Doubts about Pure land

Postby Metta » Sun Mar 24, 2013 12:21 pm

PadmaVonSamba wrote:
Metta wrote:Hello, I've joined this forum in order to express some doubts that I have. I've read the story about Dharmakara before he became Amitabha Buddha. My question is how really likely is it for some ordinary human to be able to go through five aeons (that's five big bangs) of nothing but sheer practice without retrogressing on the path in order to become a Buddha and create this pure land? I really don't mean to be offensive in any way, but how can anyone with a sane mind believe in something that sounds so irrational and fairy tale like? Not to mention the anti woman sentiments in one of the vows? Is a perfectly enlightened Buddha really supposed to have a discriminatory mind like that? Just doesn't make sense. I do not wish to offend anyone, if I did then I apologize.


I have a lot of confidence, based on my own experience, in Pure Land practice.
And, it's totally stupid. It's brilliantly, stupidly simple.
It cuts through the most developed level of intellectual processing.
In other words, you have obviously given this matter considerable thought,
carefully analyzed the situation, and looked at it quite logically.
But in spite of that, all hope is not lost!
:rolling:
Pure land is perfect for deep thinkers such as yourself.

It is not very easy for somebody to become Amitabha, as you have noted. So far, it looks as though it has only happened once. Amitabha made 48 vows specifically for people like you and me, who still cling to the safety net of having a sane mind. There is nothing quite like nice square thinking in neat logical little boxes, to give one something solid to hold onto. What a shame!
So, don't worry about your doubts. Don't worry about fairy tales.
Don't fear the irrational.
just recite Amitabha's name.
That's all it's about...letting go of your calculating mind.



Hi Padmavonsamba,
By reducing pure land practice to just another meditation technique, are we not missing the actual intent of PL buddhism which is to deliver sentient beings of all capacities to the promised land?

And if the pure land path is such an easy one there is still the question why Shakyamuni did not teach it. In studies I've read, it stated that people in deep meditation can have dmt naturally released in their brains causing them to experience hallucinations like hippies who take psychedelic drugs. Can it also be the case that the monks who wrote the pure land sutras experienced this in their meditation and had mistaken it for something actually real? Isn't that why zen monks are taught that if they see the Buddha in deep meditation they are told to "kill it" because it is just a hallucinatory experience? That's something to think about.
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Re: Doubts about Pure land

Postby Namgyal » Sun Mar 24, 2013 12:22 pm

PorkChop wrote: Mantra recitation/Buddha name recitation isn't a form of meditation? :?
You do realize that the goal is explicitly called "Buddha Remembrance/Recitation Samadhi" (Buddhanusmrti Samadhi)...
As far as whether or not there's a guaranteed rebirth, the sutras are pretty specific... even in the Pali Suttas, there's the example of Sarakaani who achieved Suddhavasa (Pure Abode) rebirth after dying of alcoholism...

Pure Land is often mixed with other traditions (usually Ch'an) because of a lingering doubt about complete reliance on 'other power'. No doubt there have been exceptional individuals who were able to call out to the Buddhas to aid them, regardless of their circumstances, but ordinarily such an appeal would require at least some contributory 'self power' on the part of the appellant. The power of loving kindness would certainly be sufficient, perhaps resulting from contemplation of the Four Immeasurables, along with one-pointed concentration to stabilise the mind in the intermediate state, and Five Precepts for merit.
:namaste:
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Re: Doubts about Pure land

Postby Nosta » Sun Mar 24, 2013 1:16 pm

Padmavonsamba, thank you for answering my question. :)

Porkchop, thanks for the clarification. :)
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