Doubts about Pure land

Metta
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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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Wayfarer
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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.

:namaste:
In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities; in the expert's mind there are few ~ Suzuki-roshi

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PadmaVonSamba
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Re: Doubts about Pure land

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

Profile Picture: "The Foaming Monk"
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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PadmaVonSamba
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Re: Doubts about Pure land

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

Profile Picture: "The Foaming Monk"
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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KrisW
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Re: Doubts about Pure land

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

:good:
The guru is the Buddha, the guru is the Dharma, likewise the guru is the Sangha, the guru is Śrī Heruka, the guru creates everything.

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Nosta
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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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PadmaVonSamba
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Re: Doubts about Pure land

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

Profile Picture: "The Foaming Monk"
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 Admin_PC » Sat Mar 23, 2013 9:36 pm


Son of Buddha
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Re: Doubts about Pure land

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


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Nosta
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Re: Doubts about Pure land

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


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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 Admin_PC » Sun Mar 24, 2013 3:37 am


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PadmaVonSamba
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Re: Doubts about Pure land

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

Profile Picture: "The Foaming Monk"
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 Namgyal » Sun Mar 24, 2013 4:43 am


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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.
"it must be coming from the mouthy mastermind of raunchy rapper, Johnny Dangerous”

-Jeff H.

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Re: Doubts about Pure land

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


shaunc
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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.

Metta
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Re: Doubts about Pure land

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


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Re: Doubts about Pure land

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


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Nosta
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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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