which pure land do you seek?

Re: which pure land do you seek?

Postby JKhedrup » Sun Sep 01, 2013 1:36 pm

Thanks plwk, it makes sense!

It would be interesting to see if there were specific historical factors in place in China that influenced which Buddha-figure was preferred during various periods. It is very important to understand also because Amitabha Pure Land Buddhism is such a dominant force in the Dharma World in East Asia.
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Re: which pure land do you seek?

Postby dakini_boi » Mon Sep 02, 2013 12:48 am

JKhedrup wrote:Amitabha Buddha is the Lord of the Western Pure Land, and Bhaisayaguru is the Lord of the Eastern Pure Land. My question is why the Western Pure Land is seen as a more desireable option, as Bhaisayaguru (Medicine Buddha) also made powerful vows for the benefit of sentient beings.


I was taught that although all Buddhas' compassion is equal, it is easier to relate the Padma family. This is because the Padma family is the enlightened aspect of desire - desire is the one afflictive emotion that draws us towards others, and the energy of the Western direction is that it reaches back to us.
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Re: which pure land do you seek?

Postby PorkChop » Mon Sep 02, 2013 7:36 am

JKhedrup wrote:Amitabha Buddha is the Lord of the Western Pure Land, and Bhaisayaguru is the Lord of the Eastern Pure Land. My question is why the Western Pure Land is seen as a more desireable option, as Bhaisayaguru (Medicine Buddha) also made powerful vows for the benefit of sentient beings.


Bhaisajyaguru's 12 vows in the Medicine Buddha Sutra are all very much this-life oriented benefits (to avoid calamities, illness, hardships, and to improve practice). Amitabha's 48 vows in the Pure Land sutras are all about providing a perfect place of practice to achieve liberation in the next life. One part of the Medicine Buddha Sutra even talks about how the Medicine Buddha will send Bodhisattvas to help those who maintain the 8 precepts but still have doubt of their birth in Amitabha's Pure Land to find their way.
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Re: which pure land do you seek?

Postby Nosta » Mon Sep 02, 2013 1:29 pm

Both practices are good: Medicine Budha will help us here in this world, while Amitabha will take us to higher realms, to Nirvana.

But I suppose that Medicine Budha practice will only benefit the ones with great karma. Sometimes I ask for his help and, while I can have some help, I will not have it completly. Since Medicine Buddha is perfect, I suppose that the problem is me, my karma.
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Re: which pure land do you seek?

Postby JKhedrup » Mon Sep 02, 2013 4:21 pm

It doesn't make sense to me that one Buddha would be more compassionate to those with negative karma than another, though. So I would think that Medicine Buddha's Pure Land is just as attainable as Amitabha's.
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A straw floats on the surface of water,
But a precious gem placed upon it sinks to the depths
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Re: which pure land do you seek?

Postby PorkChop » Mon Sep 02, 2013 5:22 pm

JKhedrup wrote:It doesn't make sense to me that one Buddha would be more compassionate to those with negative karma than another, though. So I would think that Medicine Buddha's Pure Land is just as attainable as Amitabha's.


Reading through the sutra, a lot of Medicine Buddha's help is much more dependent on maintaining precepts than Amitabha's is.
Not only that, but they recommend following the 8 uposatha precepts, not just the 5 for lay people, and some of the help is dependent on the 8.
If you do break precepts and ask for help, the best help it seems to offer is a human rebirth and/or avoiding the 3 lower realms.
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Re: which pure land do you seek?

Postby Astus » Mon Sep 02, 2013 5:24 pm

JKhedrup wrote:Amitabha Buddha is the Lord of the Western Pure Land, and Bhaisayaguru is the Lord of the Eastern Pure Land. My question is why the Western Pure Land is seen as a more desireable option, as Bhaisayaguru (Medicine Buddha) also made powerful vows for the benefit of sentient beings.


The Pratyutpanna Sutra was translated to Chinese in the 2nd century. In the 3rd century both Zhi Qian and Saṅghavarman translated the Larger Amitabha Sutra. Huiyuan established the first community dedicated to birth in Amitabha's Pure Land in the early 5th century, while Kumarajiva translated the Shorter Sutra a little later. Zhiyi's (6th century) constantly walking samadhi prescribes contemplation on Amitabha in his grand meditation manual. The so called patriarchs of Pure Land Buddhism (Chinese, Japanese) show some traditionally outstanding teachers propagating this teaching.

Besides the above I don't have enough information or resources to provide regarding the social development of the cult of Amitabha. The Dawn of Chinese Pure Land Buddhist Doctrine can give some insights, just as Visions of Sukhavati, Interpreting Amida, and on a linguistic level The Land of Bliss.
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Re: which pure land do you seek?

Postby Nosta » Mon Sep 02, 2013 6:25 pm

Porkchop, so one needs to do the 8 precepts and only them ask for help? And what if you do that and, after receiving the help you asked for, you broke the precepts again? I think thats almost impossible to keep totaly all the precepts all life. I cant avoid killing some bugs sometimes (like an annoying mosquito) or break other precepts sometimes (harsh speech, etc).
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Re: which pure land do you seek?

Postby JKhedrup » Mon Sep 02, 2013 7:07 pm

Astus, Thanks so much. A few more "must reads" to add to my ever-increasing pile!
A foolish man proclaims his qualifications,
A wise man keeps them secret within.
A straw floats on the surface of water,
But a precious gem placed upon it sinks to the depths
-Sakya Pandita
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Re: which pure land do you seek?

Postby Astus » Mon Sep 02, 2013 8:13 pm

JKhedrup wrote:Astus, Thanks so much. A few more "must reads" to add to my ever-increasing pile!


If you are interested in a more internal argument for Amitabha, Honen's Senchaku Hongan Nenbutsu Shu (here's a summary) is the work to look into.

The common argument everywhere is that the Pure Land path is simply the easiest and safest to buddhahood among all the other options. And frankly, this is something that no other Buddhist method or school can beat.
"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)

“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; T51n2076, p461b24-26)
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Re: which pure land do you seek?

Postby PorkChop » Tue Sep 03, 2013 2:47 am

Nosta wrote:Porkchop, so one needs to do the 8 precepts and only them ask for help? And what if you do that and, after receiving the help you asked for, you broke the precepts again? I think thats almost impossible to keep totaly all the precepts all life. I cant avoid killing some bugs sometimes (like an annoying mosquito) or break other precepts sometimes (harsh speech, etc).


Replied to this earlier and not sure what happened...
The 5th vow of the Medicine Buddha is about helping people follow precepts and setting people back on the right path once they've broken precepts.
The rest of the sutra talks about how people who violate the 8 precepts can, through mindfulness of Medicine Buddha, avoid the 3 lower paths.
However according to the Medicine Buddha sutra, It's only those that follow the 8 precepts for a full year or for 3 months every year and dedicate those merits to being born in Amitabha's Pure Land, that are guided towards Amitabha's Pure Land.
Being free from illness, calamities, transformation of cravings, and the other this-worldly fringe benefits all seem to be from merely hearing the Medicine Buddha's name & single-mindedly reciting it, however.
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Re: which pure land do you seek?

Postby Nosta » Tue Sep 03, 2013 10:36 am

Thanks for your answer :)
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Re: which pure land do you seek?

Postby sinweiy » Tue Sep 03, 2013 12:11 pm

for me, you can't compare compassion itself. because the requirement for each individual are different. to a sick person who needed medicine to survive and if Medicine Buddha offer the help, then Medicine Buddha is "more" compassionate at that point of time and situation per se. and Amitabha Buddha can be "more" compassionate to a person who needed liberation from samsara.
_/\_
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