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PostPosted: Fri Oct 15, 2010 9:15 am 
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I have a question concerning the differences in the Pureland practices of Jodoshu and Tendaishu. I know of the differences in the teachings about the Pureland and in the position about the validity of other practices, but my feeling is, that the actual practices associated with Amida are not that different, except that in Tendaishu the nenbutsu can also include visualisations. Of course there is also jogyo zanmai, but i am mainly interested in the practices of laypeople. So are there more differences in the Pureland practices of Jodoshu and Tendaishu than the teachings (only Pureland related practices are valid vs. many different Mahayana practices are valid) and amount of alternative Pureland practices (only verbal nenbutsu vs. verbal nenbutsu and visualisation)?

:namaste:

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 19, 2010 2:16 pm 
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To the best of my understanding, the main difference is in the role of nembutsu practice within the broader umbrella of the school's approach. Tendai is a school of eclectic practices but unified doctrine; nembutsu is one practice among many, and there are Tendai practitioners who primarily practice nembutsu.

Put differently: I know someone who prior to practicing Tendai practiced in Jodo Shinshu for some years and found no difference in the basic presentation of nembutsu as a practice, where the rubber meets the road. The difference lies in the claims made about the practice and the appropriateness of other practices to the time in which we live.

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PostPosted: Fri Nov 19, 2010 11:56 pm 
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First of all thank you for your answer, Jikan, and sorry, that I didn't reply earlier. Is it still practised, that Tendai monks meet with lay practitioners twice a year for a night long ceremony to recite the nenbutsu? Genshin established this practice groups (called Kangaku-e 觀學会) to establish a karmic bond between a monk and laypeople and to accumulate merit for birth in the Pure Land. I read, that it was disbanded in this form, but maybe a similar ceremony is still held today.
An I think, that there is also one major difference between a Jodo approach to the nenbutsu and a Tendai approach (but which is also more doctrinal than practical): In the Jodo tradition you don't recite the nenbutsu to accumulate merit, whereas in Tendai accumulating merit is also important (which includes doing good deeds)...

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 25, 2010 10:57 pm 
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Tatsuo wrote:
First of all thank you for your answer, Jikan, and sorry, that I didn't reply earlier. Is it still practised, that Tendai monks meet with lay practitioners twice a year for a night long ceremony to recite the nenbutsu? Genshin established this practice groups (called Kangaku-e 觀學会) to establish a karmic bond between a monk and laypeople and to accumulate merit for birth in the Pure Land. I read, that it was disbanded in this form, but maybe a similar ceremony is still held today.


I'm not familiar with this, but that may reflect my own ignorance.

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An I think, that there is also one major difference between a Jodo approach to the nenbutsu and a Tendai approach (but which is also more doctrinal than practical): In the Jodo tradition you don't recite the nenbutsu to accumulate merit, whereas in Tendai accumulating merit is also important (which includes doing good deeds)...


Again, this is one I'm ignorant of. I should say: I haven't been instructed in this point of doctrine, and I haven't read about it. The accumulation of merit wasn't mentioned when I was taught the practice of nembutsu, for what that's worth. Instead, it was taught in the context of hongaku (inherent enlightenment): we have in ourselves all of Amida's qualities in a latent form; the purpose of nembutsu is ultimately to draw out or manifest those enlightened qualities. I don't think this is how nembutsu is presented in any Jodo school.

I hope that helps.

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PostPosted: Fri Nov 26, 2010 12:24 am 
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It does help indeed, thank you. I think it is a combination of both. Zhiyi states in his Ten Doubts about Pure Land (淨土十疑論, chin. jìngtǔ shíyí lùn, jp. jōdo jūgi ron), that "if anyone believes in the power of Amitabha Buddha’s compassionate vow to rescue sentient beings and then develops the Bodhi Mind, cultivate the Buddha Remembrance (Recitation) Samadhi, grows weary of his temporal, impure body in the Triple Realm, practices charity, upholds the precepts and performs other meritorious deeds – dedicating all the merits and virtues to rebirth in the Western Land – his aspirations and the Buddha’s response will be accord. Relying thus on the Buddha’s power, he will immediately achieve rebirth."
But at the same time he makes it clear, that the birth in the Pure Land "is intrinsically empty. This is true Non-Birth, and also the meaning of “only when the Mind is pure, will the Buddha Lands be pure."
I think, that birth in the Pure Land is as real as being born in this world and that we are inherently enlightened wherever we are - regardless if we are in this world or in the Pure Land. But yet I would say, that it is a good aspiration to try to be reborn in the Pure Land after death, if we still haven't fully realized, that we are inherently Buddhas.

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PostPosted: Fri Nov 26, 2010 2:22 pm 
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I think you have it right there, Tatsuo.

It's a bit dated, but the volume _Traditions in Chinese Meditation_ (ed Gregory) collects some interesting scholarship on this question, particularly on the tension between Ch'an and Pure Land practices early on and how Chih-i resolved that tension doctrinally. If this is of interest to you.

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PostPosted: Fri Nov 26, 2010 5:45 pm 
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Thank you for the recommendation, Jikan. This is in fact an interesting subject. :bow:

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PostPosted: Fri Nov 26, 2010 5:59 pm 
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Jikan wrote:
I think you have it right there, Tatsuo.

It's a bit dated, but the volume _Traditions in Chinese Meditation_ (ed Gregory) collects some interesting scholarship on this question, particularly on the tension between Ch'an and Pure Land practices early on and how Chih-i resolved that tension doctrinally. If this is of interest to you.


I assume you're referring to David W. Chappell's "From Dispute to Dual Cultivation: Pure Land Responses to Ch'an Critics" in that anthology. Note that the book itself is dated 1986 and probably that essay is even earlier. The whole concept that in the Tang Dynasty there were "Chan" and "Pure Land" sects is left behind by now and there's no reason to think such non-existent entities were fighting each other. See more on this: "On Pure Land Buddhism and Ch'an/Pure Land Syncretism in Medieval China" PDF by Robert Sharf. By the way, Zhiyi lived before the emergence of Chan.

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PostPosted: Sat Nov 27, 2010 7:55 pm 
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Astus wrote:
Jikan wrote:
I think you have it right there, Tatsuo.

It's a bit dated, but the volume _Traditions in Chinese Meditation_ (ed Gregory) collects some interesting scholarship on this question, particularly on the tension between Ch'an and Pure Land practices early on and how Chih-i resolved that tension doctrinally. If this is of interest to you.


I assume you're referring to David W. Chappell's "From Dispute to Dual Cultivation: Pure Land Responses to Ch'an Critics" in that anthology. Note that the book itself is dated 1986 and probably that essay is even earlier. The whole concept that in the Tang Dynasty there were "Chan" and "Pure Land" sects is left behind by now and there's no reason to think such non-existent entities were fighting each other. See more on this: "On Pure Land Buddhism and Ch'an/Pure Land Syncretism in Medieval China" PDF by Robert Sharf. By the way, Zhiyi lived before the emergence of Chan.


Thanks for the update, Astus.

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