No Proofs of Sucessful Rebirths?&Are Pure Land sutras real?

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Mr. G
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Re: No Proofs of Sucessful Rebirths?&Are Pure Land sutras real?

Postby Mr. G » Tue Aug 17, 2010 12:03 pm


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Re: No Proofs of Sucessful Rebirths?&Are Pure Land sutras real?

Postby Belincia » Fri Oct 29, 2010 7:23 pm

Hello Nosta and all others

You were discussing about whether Avalokiteshvara lives on Sukhavati or in his own pureland.
As I have understood it, Bodhisattvas can manifest almost in limitless forms and Buddhas supposedly in completely limitless forms...
So, why can't Avalokiteshvara simply do both - live on Sukhavati AND his/her own pureland ?

Buddhas and Bodhisattvas are not limited by things we are... As I have understood it, there are several manifestations of Avalokiteshvara present on the Earth right now, Dalai Lama being probably best known...

Also I'd encourage you to contemplate about logics behind buddhist teachings. Ask yourselves why rebirth and karma makes or makes not sense... And read a lot...
Because I think those things are pretty logical, and not based on blind faith. Everything in nature and physics for example has causes and effects... Also if you are nasty for people, they aren't likely to love you. If you eat a lot you are going to get fat except if you have some CAUSE that prevents it.. If you think positively, you will become happier... List will be endless... Of course in most things there is many causes and effects happening at the same time, so it can be complicating.
And about rebirth: is there actually any logical reason to think that we would suddenly disappear at the moment of death ? If some people's minds are still able to create hallusinations when their bodies are virtually dead ?

And about those hallusinations, or whatever they are... I think everything we experience is eventually our own mind... Life is illusion. Still that doesn't prevent us from living and experiencing the life. Why would it prevent us from being born to Pureland ?

And about returning to help people on this realm of existence: As I have understood it, when we go to Sukhavati, our first task is to become Buddhas. Once we are Buddhas, we manifest can manifest in limitless realms helping all sentient beings. Note that we may manifest in many such forms, that no-one would understand we are Buddhas. We won't necessarily (or even likely I think) go yelling around: I am Buddha, I just came from Sukhavati...
So limitless Buddhas/Bodhisattvas from Sukhavati might very well right now be in your room but you wouldn't see them. That doesn't mean they are not benefiting you...

Last one important thing is... Finding something that inspires you. For me this is simply reading Sukhavatisutras (which you can find from internet luckily. I'd suggest to print them). I usually read them aloud by my altar. I love the "pure, ultimate, perfect" view on these sutras. It might not suit everyone, but I love it... It shows the Pureland as it is: pure, ultimate, perfect, without any stains... Let your imagination run wild :reading:
And the of the things that distinguishes Buddhist Pureland Path from Christianity etc theistic religions is: Sukhavatisutras doesn't contain a word about violence, "God's revenge, cursing etc..", Amitabha wanting anything for himself: he simply does all he can to benefit all living beings. He has ultimate compassion. That's very unlike Christian God: Christian God wants himself to be worshipped etc and has pretty big ego if you ask me. He wants to punish those who does wrong. He thinks some deserves hell.
Amitabha isn't omnipotent, but he does all he can just to benefit any living being, he doesn't even want harm for those that does terrible things or hates Amitabha himself... That's pure compassion. And that's unlike any other religion (just read Bible, you will see).

Sorry for long message, I got into writing mood ;)

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Re: No Proofs of Sucessful Rebirths?&Are Pure Land sutras real?

Postby Individual » Fri Oct 29, 2010 9:11 pm


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Re: No Proofs of Sucessful Rebirths?&Are Pure Land sutras real?

Postby shinchan » Sun Oct 31, 2010 1:11 pm


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Nosta
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Re: No Proofs of Sucessful Rebirths?&Are Pure Land sutras real?

Postby Nosta » Mon Nov 01, 2010 7:38 pm

1- What are the Sukhavatisutras? Is that a general name for a certain type of sutras, or is that the nme of a specifi sutra?

2- If Buddhas and Boddhisattvas can manifest themselves on many ways, why do they not simply apear in front of me and say "Hey, Nosta, its me Avalokitesvara."? Maybe we are the problem, maybe we need to develop more insight in order to see them, but if Buddhas/Bodhisatvas can travel across worlds, i dont see why we cant see them directly, right now.

3- About Buddhism being a religion much more compassive than Christian religion, i totally agree. Islamism is even worse. On their "bible" there are lots of references to the "jihad" and they even say how to kill non-believers (cutting their neck or the head with a sword seems to be the most acceptable way...).

1- I asked Amida once to get some signals. No sucess. Why? :-(
2- About the scent, how was that scent you felt? Did you heard some sounds too?

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Re: No Proofs of Sucessful Rebirths?&Are Pure Land sutras real?

Postby Shutoku » Mon Nov 01, 2010 8:14 pm


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Nosta
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Re: No Proofs of Sucessful Rebirths?&Are Pure Land sutras real?

Postby Nosta » Mon Nov 01, 2010 10:07 pm

But so you speak on blind faith, and thats dangerous in a general way. Not in buddhism but on sects where one can commit suicde in a group or act with violence.

Faith my be a jumping the black, but one needs to get some ideas and some proofs on what is the other side of that "black area".

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Re: No Proofs of Sucessful Rebirths?&Are Pure Land sutras real?

Postby shinchan » Tue Nov 02, 2010 11:29 am


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Re: No Proofs of Sucessful Rebirths?&Are Pure Land sutras real?

Postby Shutoku » Tue Nov 02, 2010 8:10 pm

Namo Amida Butsu

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Nosta
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Re: No Proofs of Sucessful Rebirths?&Are Pure Land sutras real?

Postby Nosta » Fri Nov 05, 2010 7:22 pm

Pure Land is for me, but the bst you know something, the best you get into it. While i try to get more storys about sucessful rebirths, my faith and wish to get in Pure Land, grows up.

Of course that some Theravada buddhism is nice for me. I like Theravada, but i think that Pure Land is my Way.

:-)

And speaking on rebirths, if anyone knows more storys, post them here :-)

Thank you all of you for the great answers so far.

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Re: No Proofs of Sucessful Rebirths?&Are Pure Land sutras real?

Postby spiritnoname » Sat Nov 06, 2010 12:30 am

Umm,.. someone said you cannot prove rebirth. Why not? That just sounds crazy to me. :coffee:

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Re: No Proofs of Sucessful Rebirths?&Are Pure Land sutras real?

Postby cj39 » Wed May 18, 2011 9:09 pm

Nosta,
Do you have similar issues with other Buddhist schools or is just the Pure Land school. For example, do you practice Zen without the experience of sitting down with a Buddha over a cup of coffee or maybe a frozen yogurt and getting all your questions answered and answers questioned beforehand?
Just curious...

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Re: No Proofs of Sucessful Rebirths?&Are Pure Land sutras real?

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Wed May 18, 2011 10:06 pm

Nothing cuts through attachment to that intellectual safety net as well as Shinran's Pure Land method. With all due respect to the Jodo ShinShu tradition (and I really DO respect it), c'mon, you scriptural purists and brainiacs....get stupid!!!

(at least explore the difference between the western concept of 'faith' and Shinran's 'ShinJin' 信心 ).

Obviously, there is no 'western' direction in the universe. In common usage, however, Sukhavati, Amitabha's Pure land is described as a place in the west where those who recite his name or mantra go when they die. The west is where the sun sets, so it is a metaphor for the end of one's life. Throughout Chinese -speaking countries you can even buy little transistorized 'nian fo ji' (buddha's name reciting machine) that looks like a transistor radio and chants "Amito fo" fo you. The batteries do all the work, and I think that when the batteries die, they go to the Pure Land.

The more subtle or perhaps 'profound' understanding is that, as you know, there is no permanent self in buddhism. Our consciousness is not one long thing, but a string of flickering events. You are not exactly who you were a moment ago. Every second we die and and take rebirth. So on that level, the practice of Pure Land Buddhism means faith that you might finally realize enlightenment in the next moment. In this sense, 'faith' means really believing in your own practice. Do you really, really believe that you are going to become enlightened? Would you stake your life on it?

One more thing...if Amitabha is the Buddha of infinity (infinite light, infinite life - amitayus) then his pure land must also be infinite. So, no matter where it is in the universe, it's distance must be infinite. It's boundaries extend all the way to the tip of your nose.

Oh yeah...and another thing. people want to know if the Realms, and the Pure lands are 'real' the way our experience seems 'real'. i think the answer is that they are absolutely not any more real than our own experience is right now. But how can some coagulated glob of skhandas that we call 'consciousness' leave this body and go somewhere else? I don't know. But as far as I know, there is nothing that exists in the human body that can create cognitive awareness. Amino acids and so forth may provide an environment for brain activity to occur, but as far as '"who" is experiencing that synaptic soup as "thought" , that is who is meditating. That is who experiences the cessation of brain activity as 'death' and so I do not see any reason why a 'pure realm', meaning mind's original luminosity, cannot occur when this body is no longer functioning. My understanding is that Pure Land practices give that "me" that we imagine a little bit of an edge.

I find Pure Land Buddhism to be part visualization and part koan. I don't know if the Buddha really taught it. It is said to be the only---or one of the few teachings that was not requested. In other words, the Buddha supposedly just gave it. So, I practice it along with other practices, but I don't know if Buddha taught it. if I die and go to a Buddha realm, I will inquire.
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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: No Proofs of Sucessful Rebirths?&Are Pure Land sutras real?

Postby LastLegend » Thu May 19, 2011 2:31 am

Check out Shurangama Sutra. There are 25 methods to cultivate concentration and are represented by 25 Bodhisattvas. Pure Land is represented by the method of Mahāsthāmaprāpta who talks about how to recite Amitabha.
NAMO AMITABHA
NAM MO A DI DA PHAT (VIETNAMESE)
NAMO AMITUOFO (CHINESE)

Bodhidharma [my translation]
―I come to the East to transmit this clear knowing mind without constructing any dharma―

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Re: No Proofs of Sucessful Rebirths?&Are Pure Land sutras real?

Postby rory » Thu May 19, 2011 5:05 am

Nostra;
Maybe some here will remember me from E-sangha, I'm a modern euro-american pure lander & forgive me if this story is a repetition to you but I hope it will inspire others with faith.
I'm a pure land devotee since 1996, originally from New York City with lots of temples and a wonderful Jodo monk who was my teacher. Then I moved to Ireland; no master, no sangha.
One day I woke up with double vision and a paralyzed left eye. Oh oh, this usually means a brain tumor or an aneurysm, I was rushed to the hospital had an IV stuck in my arm. I couldn't read, I was so weak; all I could do lie in my hospital bed and chant Amitabha's name on my beads. And like the masters say a sickbed is an amazing place to practice; because there are no distractions; no ambitions, no plans, who knows if you have a tomorrow? So your mind is concentrated & I thought about death and prayed for Amitabha to come to me & I was very scared at one point & then this golden light suffused my vision and I felt deep calm that Amitabha was coming. And no more fear. Actually I welcomed going to the Pure Land and leaving samsara. But then I felt it would be selfish to leave my elderly parents and not tell others about Amitabha & how it is all true. So I prayed to Guan Yin to help me get better and help others. The next day, I walked down the corridor pushing my IV and talking to the other very sick patients, they could not believe how calm & happy I was.
Anyway I was diagnosed with 6th nerve palsy, an infected nerve, released 10 days later. At home I chanted with so much faith and gratitude. I made a complete recovery in 3 months, with my eye returning to normal. The doctor was astonished as healing takes 1 year with no guarantee and my eye was badly crossed.

I can tell you just keep chanting & if you need an online sangha you are welcome here: http://groups.google.com/group/jodoshubuddhism we have 2 priests there as well.
I hope this is of help to you - keep chanting, practice will make your faith grow.
with gassho
Rory
Namu Kanzeon Bosatsu
Chih-I:
The Tai-ching states "the women in the realms of Mara, Sakra and Brahma all neither abandoned ( their old) bodies nor received (new) bodies. They all received buddhahood with their current bodies (genshin)" Thus these verses state that the dharma nature is like a great ocean. No right or wrong is preached (within it) Ordinary people and sages are equal, without superiority or inferiority
Paul, Groner "The Lotus Sutra in Japanese Culture"eds. Tanabe p. 58
https://www.tendai-usa.org/

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Re: No Proofs of Sucessful Rebirths?&Are Pure Land sutras real?

Postby LastLegend » Thu May 19, 2011 2:44 pm

^Excellent
NAMO AMITABHA
NAM MO A DI DA PHAT (VIETNAMESE)
NAMO AMITUOFO (CHINESE)

Bodhidharma [my translation]
―I come to the East to transmit this clear knowing mind without constructing any dharma―

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Anders
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Re: No Proofs of Sucessful Rebirths?&Are Pure Land sutras real?

Postby Anders » Thu May 19, 2011 2:51 pm

Guanyin to the rescue again! :smile:
"Even if my body should be burnt to death in the fires of hell
I would endure it for myriad lifetimes
As your companion in practice"

--- Gandavyuha Sutra

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rory
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Re: No Proofs of Sucessful Rebirths?&Are Pure Land sutras real?

Postby rory » Fri May 20, 2011 5:35 am

Yup, Kannon-sama never fails; this is my favorite dharma gate for sure.
I recognize more names here from E-sangha. This is super.
gassho
rory
Namu Kanzeon Bosatsu
Chih-I:
The Tai-ching states "the women in the realms of Mara, Sakra and Brahma all neither abandoned ( their old) bodies nor received (new) bodies. They all received buddhahood with their current bodies (genshin)" Thus these verses state that the dharma nature is like a great ocean. No right or wrong is preached (within it) Ordinary people and sages are equal, without superiority or inferiority
Paul, Groner "The Lotus Sutra in Japanese Culture"eds. Tanabe p. 58
https://www.tendai-usa.org/

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Nosta
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Re: No Proofs of Sucessful Rebirths?&Are Pure Land sutras real?

Postby Nosta » Fri May 20, 2011 9:28 pm

Its good to see so many people from e-sangha coming back to here again :-)

Rory, thank you for sharing your story. Its inspiring indeed :thumbsup:
I hope you are complety healed from your problem. I posted here at 2 months more or less, a similar case regarding my tinnitus (ear "ringing") problem and my healing after some Medicine Buddha recitations. Coincidence or not, my problem is much, much better!

About my faith, i have faith but not 100%.

And i think that little people have it to 100%.

Its natural to have doubts, to make questions. And we must take in account our "heavy" world filled with lies, false prophets (so to say), wrong doctrines and so on. Also, we must take into account the scientific tought that, altought being good, its bad for things like believing on Amitabha (and i have a scentific tought, always questioning everything). But even so, may faith is bigger than before. Faith grows up with little steps. One cannot avoid having questions.

Sharing experiences with each other, like we do here, its great! My faith raises up! And i am very thankful for having this oportunity. In my coutry and even worst in my smalll town, its very hard to find buddhists and aven harder to find pure land practioners. I tought that maybe chinese comunity (spread on some points of my city) may be a good way to find pure land buddhists...i must think on that idea, the problem is that they dont speak english and only say a few words of portuguese (i am portuguese).


About the concern of some people here, regarding the autenticy of Pure Land teachings (ie, is Pure Land/Amitabha a real teaching from Buddha, or a later "add"?), i have the same questions too. I try to avou to think to much on that, because such questions will lead to no answer (unless you find some great scholarship guys as we can find here in this forum :thumbsup: ) and such questions are not good for practice if you have them always in your mind. But sometimes i cannot avoid it too.
The best thing to do is to follow the idea from a great master (cannot remember right now the name but i found it in the free ebook "Buddhism of Wisdow and Faith": "say one sentence less and say one more recitation: thats a good practice; say one sentence less and say one more recitation: thats a good practice too". :namaste:

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PadmaVonSamba
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Re: No Proofs of Sucessful Rebirths?&Are Pure Land sutras real?

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Sat May 21, 2011 1:39 am

When you cannot find the right answer, maybe you are not asking the right question.
Pure Lands are no more real than the world you experience right now.
'Pure' means there is no obstruction. From here, Amitabha appears to be across the universe.
From Amitabha's view point, there is no distance at all.
"Amitabha is Real" and "Amitabha is a metaphor" are both exactly the same thing. That's ShinJin.
It has nothing to do with blind faith. It's not like Christianity at all despite a similar outward appearance.
It is realizing the enlightened mind from Amita. In other words, it is infinity looking at the finite.
When we take refuge in our habits and perceptions we take refuge in the finite.
When we go to Amita Buddha, we take refuge in the infinite.
In the infinite there is no difference between you and Buddha.
Amita is infinite, so there is no difference between Amitabha and the original infinite nature of your own mind.
Amitabha's pure land is real and you are already there, but relying on your own limited mental habits you don't see it.
So, maybe people have a better chance when they are dead. More free time.
That's why there is the idea of 'faith' meaning total trust. But it is not duality faith.
If you totally trust that mind is infinite, then what does that mean? Can you cross that ocean?
If you aren't sure, then what is it you are doing?
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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