Pureland study group anyone?

Re: Pureland study group anyone?

Postby PorkChop » Wed Apr 17, 2013 7:02 pm

RikudouSennin wrote:I abbreviated LS for Larger Sutra. sorry for the misunderstanding :oops:


Given that we'll be starting off with the Smaller Sukhavati Sutra (Amitabha Sutra), you might just want to make a thread in the Sutra Studies subforum.
For the Amitabha Sutra, I imagine my posts are going to take a while as I have like 4 hard copies of the sutra and numerous commentaries.
The plan is to break it down section by section, compare translations & commentaries for each section, and then add my own point of view.
Even starting early, it could be some time before I could get around to your questions.
User avatar
PorkChop
 
Posts: 665
Joined: Wed Sep 19, 2012 11:17 pm
Location: Marietta, GA

Re: Pureland study group anyone?

Postby Nosta » Thu Apr 18, 2013 9:22 pm

Since the original idea of the OP is to study here, maybe there is no need for a new topic.

We could start here.

I have no idea how to start. Should we start to comment and make questions for the first ideas? Anyone?
User avatar
Nosta
 
Posts: 671
Joined: Tue Apr 13, 2010 10:28 pm

Re: Pureland study group anyone?

Postby Jikan » Fri Apr 19, 2013 12:59 am

To my mind, the most significant aspects of the Smaller Sutra are these:

*the mandate to practice Amitabha Buddha's name for an interval of time

*the description of the Pure Land and its merits, and why beings should aspire to be born there

In terms of practice, these are fundamental. Perhaps these two points can serve as a starting point for a more detailed discussion.
Jikan
Site Admin
 
Posts: 4285
Joined: Tue Jul 13, 2010 5:04 pm

Re: Pureland study group anyone?

Postby PorkChop » Fri Apr 19, 2013 5:45 am

Nosta wrote:Since the original idea of the OP is to study here, maybe there is no need for a new topic.
We could start here.
I have no idea how to start. Should we start to comment and make questions for the first ideas? Anyone?


I'll get started on it this weekend when I have more time.
I'd like to break it up, passage by passage.
My plan is to note points where translations seem to contradict, summarize each of the commentaries I have, and give my own take.
Figure at that point each person could add their own input, other people could add consecutive segments if they wish, and we could discuss.
I'm thinking something like the Avatamsaka sutra thread on the Sutra Studies forum with more commentary & discussion.
User avatar
PorkChop
 
Posts: 665
Joined: Wed Sep 19, 2012 11:17 pm
Location: Marietta, GA

Re: Pureland study group anyone?

Postby gingercatni » Tue Apr 30, 2013 6:19 pm

Hi everyone!

Well it's been a month and a bit!

My following comments for discussion should in no way be deemed the topic or theme for the study of the smaller sutra, just thought I'd go first :tongue:

In the description of the pureland, we are told there are carriage wheel sized lotus flowers whose colours (these vary from each translation) are blue, red, yellow, green and white. Amitabha is said to have white light shining from his brow, a prism breaks down the sun's white light into it's component colours, are the lotus flowers a further focus of the infinite light of Amitabha? Or are the lotus's representing the other 5 buddha's? your thoughts!;)

PS. I hope everyone is keeping well :namaste:
gingercatni
 
Posts: 98
Joined: Fri Feb 11, 2011 5:09 pm
Location: Belfast Northern Ireland

Re: Pureland study group anyone?

Postby Son of Buddha » Wed May 01, 2013 3:19 am

gingercatni wrote:Hi everyone!

Well it's been a month and a bit!

My following comments for discussion should in no way be deemed the topic or theme for the study of the smaller sutra, just thought I'd go first :tongue:

In the description of the pureland, we are told there are carriage wheel sized lotus flowers whose colours (these vary from each translation) are blue, red, yellow, green and white. Amitabha is said to have white light shining from his brow, a prism breaks down the sun's white light into it's component colours, are the lotus flowers a further focus of the infinite light of Amitabha? Or are the lotus's representing the other 5 buddha's? your thoughts!;)

PS. I hope everyone is keeping well :namaste:


yea the colors are always translated different also sometimes the stones/jewels are translated different I think its due to two of the colors being almost exactly the same so they just change one of the colors.

don't know It could represent the 5 Buddhas or different aspects of the Dharma or it could represent the Buddhas light shining down on the 5 transmigations of rebirth(hell,ghosts,animals,humans,gods) or it could be they are just pretty colors;)
User avatar
Son of Buddha
 
Posts: 777
Joined: Wed Dec 21, 2011 6:48 pm

Re: Pureland study group anyone?

Postby sinweiy » Wed May 01, 2013 3:28 am

that said, if a person start to practice Amitabha' Pureland and have faith in Amitabha, a lotus bud will start to develop in Amitabha PL's "lake", depending on one's practice and sincerity, the lotus will either grow bigger and bigger or wither and disappear if the person looses faith and aspiration. and when the time come for you to go, Amitabha will carry the lotus to welcome you. the lotus is your pedestal per se.

the color is up to your affinity or preference or imagination or visualisation. i often like a pinkish (red) lotus. then the lotus there will turn pinkish, as per my visualisation. just like the story about a few guys going to Mount Putuo to look for Kuan Yin Bodhisattva, and they each saw Kuan Yin separately and each had their own description of Kuan Yin. so i think the colours will all depend on our own individual perspective.

you can say the colours represent certain quality as in the 5 Buddhas colours.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Five_Dhyani_Buddhas

or perhaps One lotus contain all five colours changing every now and then. :smile: that will be pretty Nice!
Last edited by sinweiy on Wed May 01, 2013 3:50 am, edited 1 time in total.
_/\_
Amituofo!

"Enlightenment is to turn around and see MY own mistake, Other's mistake is also my mistake. Others are right even if they are wrong. i'm wrong even if i'm right. " - Master Chin Kung
User avatar
sinweiy
 
Posts: 271
Joined: Sat Oct 08, 2011 3:18 am
Location: Singapore

Re: Pureland study group anyone?

Postby PorkChop » Wed May 01, 2013 3:36 am

I haven't forgotten about this study group, I've just been very busy with my new kid. Sorry if I've been slackin.

As far as the 5 colors, I think they may correspond to the 5 elements.
Any time 7 is mentioned, I think it corresponds to the 7 factors of enlightenment.
When 8 is mentioned, I think that corresponds to the 8 fold path.
User avatar
PorkChop
 
Posts: 665
Joined: Wed Sep 19, 2012 11:17 pm
Location: Marietta, GA

Re: Pureland study group anyone?

Postby Son of Buddha » Wed May 01, 2013 3:49 am

These are what I generally think are the most important parts of the Smaller Amitayus sutra

9. 'Shariputra, if there be a good man or a good woman, who, on hearing of Buddha Amitayus, keeps his name (in mind) with thoughts undisturbed for one day, two days, three days, four days, five days, six days, or seven days, that person, when about to die, (will see) Amitayus Buddha accompanied by his holy host appear before him; and immediately after his death, he with his mind undisturbed can be born into the Sukhavati land of Buddha Amitayus. Shariputra, as I witness this benefit, I say these words; Every being who listens to this preaching ought to offer up prayer with the desire to be born into that country.

16. 'Shariputra, what do you think in your mind, why it is called the Sutra approved and protected by all the Buddhas? Shariputra, if there be a good man or a good woman who listens to those Buddhas' invocation of the name (of Buddha Amitayus) and the name of this Sutra, that good man or woman will be protected by all the Buddhas and never fail to attain Anuttara-samyaksambodhi. For this reason, Shariputra, all of you should believe in my words and in what all the Buddhas proclaim. Shariputra, if there are men who have already made, are now making, or shall make, prayer with the desire to be born in the land of Buddha Amitayus, they never fail to attain Anuttara-samyaksambodhi, and have been born, are now being born, or shall be born in that country. Therefore, Shariputra, a good man or good woman who has the faith ought to offer up prayers to be born in that land.

Peace and Love
User avatar
Son of Buddha
 
Posts: 777
Joined: Wed Dec 21, 2011 6:48 pm

Re: Pureland study group anyone?

Postby RikudouSennin » Wed May 01, 2013 6:00 am

by sinweiy » Tue Apr 30, 2013 10:28 pm

that said, if a person start to practice Amitabha' Pureland and have faith in Amitabha, a lotus bud will start to develop in Amitabha PL's "lake", depending on one's practice and sincerity, the lotus will either grow bigger and bigger or wither and disappear if the person looses faith and aspiration. and when the time come for you to go, Amitabha will carry the lotus to welcome you. the lotus is your pedestal per se.


So this would mean a person with faith is assured of a rebirth in Ultimate Bliss, and as long as they practice sincerely they don't have to worry about rebith in samsara.
thats very impressive, it makes my chanting more enthusiastic, it feels like im already one foot in the pureland. I just have to keep my faith and make sure to cultivate so my lotus doesnt wither.
This makes life so much easier, my fear of death is gone. And my human existence seems incredibly wonderful because i have the chance to hear this Dharma. Now I just hve to work on my mental, physical and emotional behaviours.
:woohoo:
“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
User avatar
RikudouSennin
 
Posts: 199
Joined: Wed Aug 15, 2012 1:19 am

Re: Pureland study group anyone?

Postby PorkChop » Wed May 01, 2013 6:36 am

I think I'm going to stick with Rulu's translation in "Thinking of Amitabha Sutra" as it's a pretty well respected translation. I'll do my best to cover as many commentaries as I can.

Let's get started...

Buddha Pronounces the Sutra of Amitabha Buddha
Translated from Sanskrit into Chinese in the Later Qin Dynasty by the Tripitaka Master Kumarajiva from Kucha
Thus I have heard:
At one time the Buddha was staying in the Anathapindika Garden of Jetavana Park in the city kingdom of Sravasti, together with 1,250 great bhiksus, who all were great Arhats as recognized by the multitudes. Such great disciples included the Elder Sariputra, Mahamaudgalyayana, Mahakasyapa, Mahakatyayana, Mahakausthila, Revata, Suddhipanthaka, Nanda, Ananda, Rahula, Gavampati, Pindola-Baradvaja, Kalodayin, Mahakapphina, Vakkula, Aniruddha, and others. Also present were Bodhisattva-Mahasattvas, such as Manjusri the Dharma Prince, Ajita Bodhisattva, Gandhahastin Bodhisattva, and Persistent Energetic Progress Bodhisattva. Along with great Bodhisattvas such as these, in attendance as well were the god-king Sakro-Devanam-Indra and an innumerable multitude of gods.


BDK note: in the spot of Gandhahastin Bodhisattva there is a Bodhisattva listed as "Bodhisattva Sweet-smelling Elephant".

Hsuan Hua notes:
Hsuan Hua breaks down the intro into 6 requirements: faith, hearer, time, host, place, and audience.
"Thus" fulfills the requirement of faith.
"I have heard" fulfills the requirement of the hearer.
"At one time" fulfills the requirement of time.
"Buddha" fulfills the requirement of host/teacher.
"The garden of benefactor Anathapindika in Srawasti" fulfills the requirement of place.
"The gathering of great Bhiksus" fulfills the requirements of audience.
He describes how all of these requirements came about with Ananda's Four Questions.
He gives some background on Anathapindika, the great benefactor of orphans and the solitary.
Then he goes into detail on each of the attendees, starting with the 3 Kasyapa Brothers, giving their background.
Next he gives background on Shariputra as foremost of the Sravakas in wisdom, Mahamaudgalyayana as foremost in spiritual penetrations, Mahakasyapa as foremost in ascetic practices and age, and Mahakatyayana as foremost in debate.
Revata is listed as the foremost in being "not upset or confused", though his backstory is a nice little lesson on anatta/not-self.
Suddhipanthaka = "little roadside", the disciple too simple minded to remember great teachings, so he recited the 2 words "sweep clean" until he was Enlightened.
Nanda = "wholesome bliss", a cow-herd who heard the Buddha preach the "Eleven Matters of Tending Cows" and used the teaching to help 500 Bhikshunis attain Arhatship.
Sundarananda is Buddha's younger brother, the one who was overly attached to his wife. Buddha converted him by showing him the beauty of the devas in heaven, and the suffering of the hell to follow.
Ananda we all know as the Buddha's cousin with the great memory, who recited the sutras.
Rahula the Buddha's son.
Gavampati = "cow cud" after his eating habits, eventually sent to one of the heavens to cultivate, and a lesson not to scold others.
Pindola Bharadvaja is the Arhat asked to stay behind in the world and be a field of blessedness for living beings after greedily displaying powers for a sandalwood bowl.
Kalodayin = "black light", one of the foremost teachers and Dharma Protectors.
Mahakapphinha, the foremost in astrology.
Vakkula is said to be the longest lived of the disciples as a result of not killing in many previous lifetimes.
Aniruddha was originally somewhat lazy, after being scolded he practiced severely, eventually going blind. The Buddha taught him how to develop the Heavenly Eye and became the foremost disciple in the practice.
Next are the Bodhisattvas: Manjushri foremost in wisdom, Ajita the future Maitreya Buddha, Gandhahastin ("never resting"), and Nityodyukta ("ever vigorous").
Last are Indra and the devas.

My note:
The location is very important as Anathapindika was one of the Buddha's foremost lay disciples. I believe the setting shows who the teaching is geared towards. The backstories of the audience provide important teachings that should be cultivated in this practice.
User avatar
PorkChop
 
Posts: 665
Joined: Wed Sep 19, 2012 11:17 pm
Location: Marietta, GA

Re: Pureland study group anyone?

Postby Son of Buddha » Wed May 01, 2013 1:12 pm

Hey PorkChop I cant wait to see the compiled comentaries you post for the infinite life sutra.
User avatar
Son of Buddha
 
Posts: 777
Joined: Wed Dec 21, 2011 6:48 pm

Re: Pureland study group anyone?

Postby Luke » Wed May 01, 2013 8:49 pm

PorkChop wrote:I've been kicked off of other forums before just for having been associated with Pure Land practice and posting on this forum.
One of the admins even followed up with an email saying "go back to DharmaWheel!" before I ever even typed the words "Pure Land," "Amitabha," or "Mahayana".
I think getting openly dismissed and ridiculed by other "Buddhists" online can make people a little gun shy.
Therefor I think we should do whatever we can to provide a friendly environment and encourage dialog.

You really got kicked off other sites for discussing Pure Land Buddhism? Wow, that's surprising!

PorkChop wrote:Pure Land's a very deep & lovely dharma door that works on so many different levels, from the most rational to the most devotional.
If we could give it more of an online voice, maybe others would see it too.
At the very least, it would be nice to foster more dialog and encourage each other in our practice.

Yes, I agree. I'm still forming my opinion about Pure Land Buddhism, so I'll check out some posts here.
But Amitabha is great. That much is certain! :D
User avatar
Luke
 
Posts: 1558
Joined: Mon Apr 06, 2009 9:04 pm

Re: Pureland study group anyone?

Postby PorkChop » Thu May 02, 2013 1:07 am

Luke wrote:
PorkChop wrote:I've been kicked off of other forums before just for having been associated with Pure Land practice and posting on this forum.
One of the admins even followed up with an email saying "go back to DharmaWheel!" before I ever even typed the words "Pure Land," "Amitabha," or "Mahayana".
I think getting openly dismissed and ridiculed by other "Buddhists" online can make people a little gun shy.
Therefor I think we should do whatever we can to provide a friendly environment and encourage dialog.

You really got kicked off other sites for discussing Pure Land Buddhism? Wow, that's surprising!


I didn't even get to discuss Pure Land Buddhism.
I went to "Buddhism without boundaries" (ironic forum name). They used to have a Mahayana subforum before they locked it.
On one of the threads in the Mahayana subforum a guy asked some questions about Pure Land, said he liked it but he also liked the Pali Suttas.
On that thread, I guess a moderator pretty much told him Pure Land ain't buddhism and just stick with the Pali Suttas, then shortly thereafter they locked down the whole subforum.

After I saw the thread, I figured that the original poster wanted some questions answered and I figured I could help.
I posted a thread on the main forum (think it was called "Teachings of the Buddha"), asking the original poster if he got the answers that he was looking for, because it seemed like he was getting some contradictory responses. My thinking was that the 2 are not *completely* incompatible, and if one wants to stick with a more Theravadan interpretation, they can do Buddhanussati with the "Iti Pi So" chant and read the Pali Suttas all they like (a similar practice with a similar destination), but I never got that far.

As soon as it went up, my thread got deleted, I believe I got banned, and the moderator started harassing me with emails. One of those said that the forum is called "Teachings of the Buddha", that Pure Land is not Buddha's teaching, that I don't know anything about the Pali Suttas, and "go back to Dharma Wheel!". Well, I shot him back a nice little email with Pali Sutta references and never heard back. Interesting fact, that moderator posts on DhammaWheel and I think is considered a "respected member". After catching some of the major currents at DhammaWheel, I don't really have a whole bunch of respect for a lot of those folks, and stopped going.

In the west Pure Land seems to get it from all sides - from the hard core, fundamentalist, western Theravada converts, from Vajrayana guys like Robert Thurman who basically said it was "only for less educated people", and even from a lot of Mahayana people (Nichiren folks, western Zen folks, etc). The mechanism of the practice (buddhanussati - mindfulness of the Buddha) is/was THE recommended form of practice for householders in the earliest forms of Buddhism and has parallels in just about every form of Buddhism since, but is probably the most widely disparaged type of practice in the west. Also, I don't see a lot of Pure Land Buddhists running around attacking other forms of Buddhism, yet when Pure Land comes up around Buddhists who only know the kindergarten version of the story, the insulting & dismissive comments start.

I've seen a lot of online instances like the guy in my example who came on the forum to ask some questions and only got a huge diatribe in return. It's easy to get into a mindset of having to defend yourself whenever you go online. I think it'd be nice to at least make this place a bit of a safe haven where people don't feel they're under attack for openly discussing the dharma door they prefer. I think one of the great things about Pure Land is that there is a great deal of humility involved with people who don't assume they're going to be rocking great siddhis (powers) or that they can do everything all by themselves; creates a more laid back atmosphere.

If you have any questions, feel free to ask on the forum or in private.
A lot of guys like plwk, Sinweiy, and others are very, very knowledgeable and I'll help if I can.
User avatar
PorkChop
 
Posts: 665
Joined: Wed Sep 19, 2012 11:17 pm
Location: Marietta, GA

Re: Pureland study group anyone?

Postby PorkChop » Thu May 02, 2013 1:10 am

Son of Buddha wrote:Hey PorkChop I cant wait to see the compiled comentaries you post for the infinite life sutra.


Since I'm doing it section by section, I can look across the various hard copies I have for commentary and I'll add it under the sutra sections, which will be in bold. If you guys find more commentaries or have commentaries of your own, please add them. :)
User avatar
PorkChop
 
Posts: 665
Joined: Wed Sep 19, 2012 11:17 pm
Location: Marietta, GA

Re: Pureland study group anyone?

Postby Hickersonia » Thu May 02, 2013 1:35 am

PorkChop wrote:
Luke wrote:
PorkChop wrote:I think getting openly dismissed and ridiculed by other "Buddhists" online can make people a little gun shy.

You really got kicked off other sites for discussing Pure Land Buddhism? Wow, that's surprising!

...the moderator started harassing me with emails. One of those said that the forum is called "Teachings of the Buddha", that Pure Land is not Buddha's teaching, that I don't know anything about the Pali Suttas...

As if presuming to know what you do or do not know isn't bad enough, to have someone use such certain terms about Pure Land is disappointing.

I look at my practice as a hybrid between Theravada and Pure Land, primarily because these are the two traditions to which I have the most easy access. I don't consider them mutually exclusive, nor do I presume that one is better than the other. I may find that I focus on one more than the other, but I can't disparage one tradition over another.

And thank you for going through this the way you are -- the section by section bit -- I really appreciate the time that may be going into this and I have to imagine that I'll learn a few things as a result.
Hickersonia
http://hickersonia.wordpress.com/


"Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of
throwing it at someone else; you are the one getting burned."

Nam mô A di đà Phật!
User avatar
Hickersonia
 
Posts: 97
Joined: Wed Feb 15, 2012 9:23 am
Location: Cincinnati, OH

Re: Pureland study group anyone?

Postby Luke » Fri May 03, 2013 12:36 am

PorkChop wrote:In the west Pure Land seems to get it from all sides - from the hard core, fundamentalist, western Theravada converts, from Vajrayana guys like Robert Thurman who basically said it was "only for less educated people", and even from a lot of Mahayana people (Nichiren folks, western Zen folks, etc). The mechanism of the practice (buddhanussati - mindfulness of the Buddha) is/was THE recommended form of practice for householders in the earliest forms of Buddhism and has parallels in just about every form of Buddhism since, but is probably the most widely disparaged type of practice in the west. Also, I don't see a lot of Pure Land Buddhists running around attacking other forms of Buddhism, yet when Pure Land comes up around Buddhists who only know the kindergarten version of the story, the insulting & dismissive comments start.

Wow! I never knew that Pure Land Buddhists were so oppressed in west!

In any case, I'm sure that you have accumulated a great deal of merit by spreading Pure Land teachings.

So... please post the next section of the sutra, Mr. Chop! :D

Image
User avatar
Luke
 
Posts: 1558
Joined: Mon Apr 06, 2009 9:04 pm

Re: Pureland study group anyone?

Postby Luke » Fri May 03, 2013 12:51 am

PorkChop wrote:Hsuan Hua breaks down the intro into 6 requirements: faith, hearer, time, host, place, and audience.
"Thus" fulfills the requirement of faith.
"I have heard" fulfills the requirement of the hearer.
"At one time" fulfills the requirement of time.
"Buddha" fulfills the requirement of host/teacher.
"The garden of benefactor Anathapindika in Srawasti" fulfills the requirement of place.
"The gathering of great Bhiksus" fulfills the requirements of audience.

These 6 requirements are quite similar to the five perfections (perfect teaching, perfect time, perfect teacher, perfect place, perfect disciples).
http://www.rigpawiki.org/index.php?titl ... erfections
User avatar
Luke
 
Posts: 1558
Joined: Mon Apr 06, 2009 9:04 pm

Re: Pureland study group anyone?

Postby PorkChop » Fri May 03, 2013 3:34 pm

Luke wrote:Wow! I never knew that Pure Land Buddhists were so oppressed in west!
In any case, I'm sure that you have accumulated a great deal of merit by spreading Pure Land teachings.
So... please post the next section of the sutra, Mr. Chop! :D
Image


I wouldn't say "oppressed", more like "unpopular".
It's not like they're rounding Pure Landers up on trains or anything.
They just look down on it, don't think it's Buddhism, and are very vocal in their criticism.
I'm not much of a proselytizer, this sutra study is as much for me as anyone else.
I just don't like seeing people picked on online and think if people are coming online with an interest in Pure Land, it's the least I can do to answer what questions I can.

I've had a stomach flu this week.
I'll get back on the sutra as soon as I can.
User avatar
PorkChop
 
Posts: 665
Joined: Wed Sep 19, 2012 11:17 pm
Location: Marietta, GA

Re: Pureland study group anyone?

Postby Luke » Sat May 04, 2013 11:45 pm

PorkChop wrote:I'm not much of a proselytizer, this sutra study is as much for me as anyone else.

Ah, but proselytizing could be fun!
"Say the holy name with me, my Pure Land Buddhist brothers and sisters! A-mi-taaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa-bha! That's right! Come on with it, my brothers and sisters! Feel the power!! A-MI-TAAAAAAA-BHA!! Yeah! Praise the Buddha!"
lol :D

PorkChop wrote:I just don't like seeing people picked on online and think if people are coming online with an interest in Pure Land, it's the least I can do to answer what questions I can.

Yes, that's reasonable. You are very kind.

PorkChop wrote:I've had a stomach flu this week.
I'll get back on the sutra as soon as I can.

Yeah, no rush. Don't worry about it.
I hope you get well soon.
User avatar
Luke
 
Posts: 1558
Joined: Mon Apr 06, 2009 9:04 pm

PreviousNext

Return to Pure Land

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 5 guests

>