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PostPosted: Tue Sep 10, 2013 12:26 pm 
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As you may know, chanting Amitabha's name or Medicine Buddha mantra, etc, may bring you some benefits. For example, according this site:
http://namobuddhamy.com/en/sadhana.html

You will receive the following benefits:
"1. Amitabha Buddha will always be over him, day and night, to bless him with safety and peace as well as to protect him from harm that his adversaries may want to cause him; at the time of his passing on, he will be able to take rebirth in the Blissful Pure Land of the West at will.
2. He will be able to lower his chances of meeting with calamities, reduce his bad karma, increase his prosperity and happiness, and lengthen his life.
3. He will be able to liberate those who have passed away and help them to take rebirth in the Blissful Pure Land of the West.
"

So it seems that even with bad karma, you may reduce the chances of meeting with calamities (as an example). How can a Buddha help you, since even no Buddhas cannot avoid the law of Karma? Isnt that a kind of paradox?

If I chant Amitabha name a lot and with pure hearth and faith, and even so I get caught by a flood, does that means that my previous karma was SO bad that even a Buddha couldnt not help?

In fact, I dont understand very well how the karma can be cleanse by "other power".


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 10, 2013 3:30 pm 
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As you said, it is impossible in Buddhism for anyone to meddle with another person's karma. What makes all the difference is your attitude and your practice. Even the smallest thought can result in aeons of trouble or bliss. That way being mindful of a buddha is a positive influence on what and how you experience. So even if something bad befalls you, you could say that without the influence of a buddha/bodhisattva, it would have been much worse.

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"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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PostPosted: Tue Sep 10, 2013 6:22 pm 
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Yes, what Astus said...
It's not like chanting the name & thinking of the Buddha makes him come down and change your karma.
It's the fact that you are thinking purely wholesome thoughts, the more you flood your mind with purely wholesome thoughts, the more you put out the fires of greed, anger, and ignorance. Furthermore, by reciting the name, you're acting with your body, speech, AND mind, so it's triply-effective for reversing ingrained behaviors.


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 10, 2013 6:52 pm 
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in addition to PorkChop's post

This may vary by tradition, but...

are there not commonly-practiced repentence verses that are recited in the context of Pure Land practice generally? These would address past habits & actions as well, through the resolve not to repeat those behaviors but instead to cultivate beneficial ones.

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 10, 2013 7:09 pm 
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Jikan wrote:
in addition to PorkChop's post

This may vary by tradition, but...

are there not commonly-practiced repentence verses that are recited in the context of Pure Land practice generally? These would address past habits & actions as well, through the resolve not to repeat those behaviors but instead to cultivate beneficial ones.


Good question.
Aside from the TianTai 108 Buddha Repentance that is practiced at the temple (only by Vietnamese members), the only other repentance service I have much info on is the 35 Buddha Repentance from the FPMT.
I don't currently have much info on Pure Land repentance ceremonies, be they Chinese or Japanese.
I do know that many consider nianfo/nembutsu (for Amitabha or any Buddha) to be a purification practice.
I'm going to look into that.


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 10, 2013 10:29 pm 
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Repentance is among the daily practices in both Chinese Buddhism and Jodo Shu.

An example of a Chinese practice: Repentance before the 88 Buddhas.

And this is from the Jodo Shu North America Buddhist Missions:

Quote:
San Ge-ge
In the presence of Buddhas, we repent of harmful karmas we accumulated from the past to present.

GA SHAKU SHO ZO SHO AKU GO
KAI YU MU SHI TON JIN CHI
JU SHIN GO I SHI SHO SHO
I- SSAI GA KON KAI SAN GE

All harmful karmas I have ever accumulated from the past are caused by my wrong speech, conduct and mind, that are derived from my greed, anger and ignorance. I now repent of all of them.


And the same in different translation from JSRI:

Quote:
SANGE-GE
(Confession)
GA SHAKU SHO ZO SHO AKU GO
KAI YU MU SHI TON JIN CHI
JU SHIN GO I SHI SHO SHO
I-SSAI GA KON KAI SAN GE

All the evil Karma ever accumulated by me in the past, which I realize is derived
from my inherent greed, anger, and ignorance.
Whatsoever born of my body, words, and thoughts, I now make full confession of them wholeheartedly to the everlasting Compassion of Amida Buddha.

_________________
"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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PostPosted: Wed Sep 11, 2013 4:35 am 
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In all the Tibetan traditions they use the practice of Vajrasattva (a.k.a. Dorje Sempa) for the purification of negative karma, as well as removing emotional and intellectual obscurations.
Quote:
In fact, I dont understand very well how the karma can be cleanse by "other power".

It's more like a partnership than some unilateral action from the other side. You still are the one that has to do the practice. Kalu R. said*;

"...we could think of the form of Dorje Sempa as the water, the recitation of the mantra as the soap, and the visualization of ourselves being purified by the flow of the nectar as the actual work of scrubbing. When all of these elements come together, our purification will be effective and we will experience the benefits of the practice."

Without the water and soap, you can't get clean! I imagine the same kind of idea would apply to Pure Land practices, although I don't know that for a fact.


* "Gem Ornament of Manifold Oral Instructions", p.54

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 11, 2013 12:31 pm 
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Thanks for the answers so far :)

But when we read about the Buddhas (Amitabha, Medicine Buddha, etc) helping you against calamities, getting less karma, etc, its seems like they were operating directly. Like paranormal (at lack of a best word) intervention. Its not only the fact that you are thinking wholesome toughts, like the name of a Buddha, but its also another being (a Buddha) really helping you in invisible ways.

Do you interpretate that way too?


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 11, 2013 3:06 pm 
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Nosta wrote:
Do you interpretate that way too?


There are various ways Buddhism is taught and explained. See: The Four Siddhanta. The above one falls into the category of "worldly method".

_________________
"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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PostPosted: Wed Sep 11, 2013 8:37 pm 
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Nosta wrote:
Thanks for the answers so far :)

But when we read about the Buddhas (Amitabha, Medicine Buddha, etc) helping you against calamities, getting less karma, etc, its seems like they were operating directly. Like paranormal (at lack of a best word) intervention. Its not only the fact that you are thinking wholesome toughts, like the name of a Buddha, but its also another being (a Buddha) really helping you in invisible ways.

Do you interpretate that way too?

You're asking two different questions.

Vajrasattva practice purifies unripened bad karma. Once negative karma fully ripens you're pretty much screwed.

Dharmapalas might be able to tip some aspect of a volitile situation in favor of a Dharmic outcome, but I wouldn't count on it. Suffice it to say that if that kind of intervention was reliable, there would be no Chinese inTibet!

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A human being has his limits. And thus, in every conceivable way, with every possible means, he tries to make the teaching enter into his own limits. ChNN


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