Chinese vs Japanese pure land

Chinese vs Japanese pure land

Postby shaunc » Tue Jul 09, 2013 1:06 pm

Many years after first discovering Buddhism, I'm still trying to find the right school for me. There's been many hours studying different books, pamphlets & web-sites, and for me, lately I feel trapped between Chinese & Japanese pure land. With the Chinese version, I particularly like how chan & pure land are often mixed together and this philosophy/theology to me is how Buddhism should be. However in Japan, I'm led to believe zen & pure land never/rarely share the same bed. My problem is that I also feel quite strongly about the role of married/non-celibate clergy in Japanese Buddhism (priests rather than monks, generally speaking). I don't feel that Buddhism is a religion that can only be practised properly by a few people that are able to turn their back on modern society. My question is this. Does anyone know of a school of Buddhism that incorporates married clergy, meditation & pure land teachings. My understanding is that if there is one it would most probably would be Japanese.
Moderators: I've done my best trying to post this in the right section, however if you feel that it would be better suited in the chan or zen sections, please feel free to move it there.
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Re: Chinese vs Japanese pure land

Postby Astus » Tue Jul 09, 2013 2:40 pm

shaunc wrote:Does anyone know of a school of Buddhism that incorporates married clergy, meditation & pure land teachings.


Married clergy exists not only in Japanese but also Korean, Tibetan and Nepalese Buddhism. (But I don't see why having married clergy is relevant to the issue.) Aspiration to be born in the Pure Land and meditation exists in practically every Mahayana tradition. At the same time, you don't have to become a monk to practise any of that. Although mainstream Jodoshu and Shinshu are "exclusive nenbutsu" paths, there are other Pure Land oriented traditions in Japan, and even in those schools it's not a sin to do some meditation (as long as it supports nenbutsu).
"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: Chinese vs Japanese pure land

Postby Greg » Tue Jul 09, 2013 4:34 pm

Astus wrote:
shaunc wrote:Does anyone know of a school of Buddhism that incorporates married clergy, meditation & pure land teachings.


Married clergy exists not only in Japanese but also Korean, Tibetan and Nepalese Buddhism. (But I don't see why having married clergy is relevant to the issue.) Aspiration to be born in the Pure Land and meditation exists in practically every Mahayana tradition. At the same time, you don't have to become a monk to practise any of that. Although mainstream Jodoshu and Shinshu are "exclusive nenbutsu" paths, there are other Pure Land oriented traditions in Japan, and even in those schools it's not a sin to do some meditation (as long as it supports nenbutsu).


Really? I thought Korean monks followed the vinaya.
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Re: Chinese vs Japanese pure land

Postby Astus » Tue Jul 09, 2013 5:07 pm

Greg wrote:Really? I thought Korean monks followed the vinaya.


Yes, most of them. However, the Taego Order allows marriage.
"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: Chinese vs Japanese pure land

Postby PorkChop » Tue Jul 09, 2013 5:36 pm

Have you thought about Tendai?
Everything you seem to be looking for with healthy doses of the Lotus Sutra and Madhyamaka philosophy.
What's not to love? :)

EDIT:
On second thought, I think Astus' post is spot on when saying it's not a sin to meditate in any of the Japanese Pure Land schools.
I can think of a number of Shin schools I've come across online that have meditation classes.
So it all comes down to personal preference and what's locally available.
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Re: Chinese vs Japanese pure land

Postby shaunc » Wed Jul 10, 2013 10:30 am

Thanks for the help everyone. Porkchop, I owe it to myself to check out tendai, but from a quick glance it does seem to offer what I'm looking for.
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Re: Chinese vs Japanese pure land

Postby Illuminaughty » Wed Sep 04, 2013 5:17 am

You might be interested in the book " No Abode, The Record of Ippen" then. Ippen was a Japanese pure land practitioner who was influenced by Honen and and Shoku but who also received inka as a Zen Master . I've found his writings very inspirational. Right up there with Shinran and Honen and I'm not quick to say anything like that. I'm on my third read through of the book now.

"Make no judgments about the nature of your heart and mind. Since this mind is delusional, both when it is good and when it is evil, it cannot be essential for emancipation. Namu Amida Butsu itself is born.
..
When ten [kalpas past] and one [thought moment] are nondual, we realize no-birth
Where land and realm are the same, we sit in Amidas great assembly.
...
After the one thought moment in which realizing the transience of birth and death in our own flesh we once genuinely and directly entrust ourselves through saying Namu Amida Butsu, the self is no longer the self. Then, as our hearts are Amida Buddha's heart, our bodily actions Amida Buddha's actions, and our words Amida Buddha's words, the life we are living is Amida Buddha's life.
..
Birth is the first thought moment [of taking refuge in the Name], the term "first thought moment," however, still implies the perspective of the practicer; from the very beginning, Namu Amida Butsu itself is birth. This birth is no-birth. The point at which a person encounters this Dharma [of Namu Amida Butsu] is provisionally called one thought moment. When a person has returned to and entered the Name, which cuts of all past, present and future, birth is without beginning and without end."

See good ol wikipedia:

Ippen's doctrine was primarily influenced by Shōkū, founder of the Seizan branch of the Jōdo-shū, who "insisted that the various Buddhist practices contain no more than a portion of the merit of the single practice of the nembutsu and serve merely to lead people to recite the nembutsu."[4] However he was also strongly influenced by the non-dualism of Zen and even received inka (a seal of recognition) as a Zen Master from Roshi Kakushin.
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