Provenance of Pure Land Practice

Re: What has Chinese Buddhism lost?

Postby rory » Thu Oct 17, 2013 7:16 am

Pork Chop; I suggest you read some scholarly works about Genshin, not take your info from Pure Land sectarian sites: you really are well not informed about the topic. You even can read snippets over at Google Books

"The Strong and the Weak in Japanese Literature" Fuminobu Murakami

"Elsewhere in Essentials of Rebirth Genshin states that the nembutsu alone cannot guarantee rebirth in the Pure Land. He says: "It is impossible to catch a fowl using a net consisting of just one mesh (likewise it is only by) employing myriad techniques to aid in the nembutsu contemplation that the great matter of rebirth is accomplished." p. 15

"Jokei and Buddhist Devotion in Early Medieval Japan" James L. Ford

"For example the Avatamsaka Sutra distinguishes for different types of nenbutsu practices, including vocal invocation of the Buddha's name, contemplation of the Buddha's image and realm, contemplation of the characteristics of the Buddha and/or realm, and, finally contemplation of suchness... Contemplative nembutsu practices were generally perceived to be for more advanced practitioners and vocal nembutsu for beginning practitioners. The hierarchy in the Kegon classification above is readily evident. The stages of practice, from easiest to most difficult, are implicit, if not explicit, in the teachings of both the Chinese Pure Land masters and the early Japanese Pure Land masters, such as Genshin, author of Ojoyoshu." p. 115

gassho
Rory
Honmon Butsuryu Shu USA http://www.beikokuhbs.com/about-us.html

NamuMyohoRengeKyo
User avatar
rory
 
Posts: 553
Joined: Mon May 16, 2011 8:08 am
Location: SouthEast USA

Re: What has Chinese Buddhism lost?

Postby Matylda » Thu Oct 17, 2013 7:59 am

Dear Rory,

I sympathize with you, and I agree with what you have written... but...
I understand that you practiced jodo shin in America or somewhere... was there any myokonin? or any other deeply experienced person? I am not sure... I think that the level of teaching and practice might be determined by the history of shinshu outside of Japan.. basically missionaries were sent to serve Japanese folk, parishioners who were emigrants. I do not think that jodo shin scholarship or other high level features od the school followed those in need of religious service.

Moreover I can say that all Japanese schools which sent their missionaries to Japanese emigrants represented just basic level of priestly services... on the top of it, even those parishioners were not at all interested in an spiritual pursuit. It would rather annoy them, it is natural. Finallythis situation had to imprint its influence on the level of teachings and practice.

And it is problem, or rather situation with all buddhist schools. I have a friend, Chinese monk from Singapor.. he is an abbot and has nice temple frequanted by many lay buddhists... and he is very interested in zen practice... so has some place for zazen on the temple grounds and zazen group. So his temple has hundreds if not thousands of visitors, but for zazen he has very small group, and generally all memebers of his temple are not interested in any spiritual practice... so generally I think that in all established schools one has to do some little effort to find right people to practice with.. but it is problem with people not with practice and dharma. If you look at Japan I thin most people are exactly same. They are mostly interested in temple services, not in practice or even teachings. But there is important minority, genuine dharma practitioners, and even myokonin.. those are jewels. So look for jewels not for sand. Sorry if those words are too bold, I do not mean to offend you :)
Matylda
 
Posts: 342
Joined: Mon May 14, 2012 3:32 pm

Re: What has Chinese Buddhism lost?

Postby PorkChop » Thu Oct 17, 2013 8:34 am

rory wrote:Pork Chop; I suggest you read some scholarly works about Genshin, not take your info from Pure Land sectarian sites: you really are well not informed about the topic.


..and I think you're giving entirely too much credit to anti-Pure Land polemics instead of what the source material actually says. You're condemnation of Jodo Shu is a clear example of this... It's important to quote source material when making a critique of a school and not a second hand interpretation, hence quoting Pure Land sites for what Pure Land teachers actually said. When it comes to Genshin, the first link is a history professor, the Kansai link has nothing to do with Pure Land, Inagaki's work is sourced, so if you refuse to check the sources, not my problem. For the rest of it, probably laziness on my part for not doing more extensive quotes, but some of the more important parts come from the books at the end: Horton (Nanzan Institute - more TienTai than Pure Land), Paul Groner (Tendai), August Karl Reischauer (NYU), and Chieko Nakano (University of Arizona) - hardly a murderers row of Pure Land sectarians.

rory wrote:"The Strong and the Weak in Japanese Literature" Fuminobu Murakami
"Elsewhere in Essentials of Rebirth Genshin states that the nembutsu alone cannot guarantee rebirth in the Pure Land. He says: "It is impossible to catch a fowl using a net consisting of just one mesh (likewise it is only by) employing myriad techniques to aid in the nembutsu contemplation that the great matter of rebirth is accomplished." p. 15


You do realize that page 14 of that same book says the exact opposite, also quoting Genshin?
"In response to questions such as these [ie over how ordinary people could possibly succeed with complex practices above their capabilities] Genshin repeatedly asserts that, even if ordinary human beings are unable to attain Buddhahood through the difficult contemplative nembutsu or other arduous ascetic practices, they can be successful by sincerely concentrating on and practicing the simple invocational nembutsu."

rory wrote:"Jokei and Buddhist Devotion in Early Medieval Japan" James L. Ford

Jokei was a hardline Vinaya guy who was pushing his own Pure Land practice (Potala) and came from the rivals of the Tendai, the Hosso. Of course he wasn't going to mesh with Honen, who came from a Tendai background and was teaching fishermen and prostitutes. Book's worth a look, but I'm not convinced of an absence of sectarian bias on the part of Jokei.
User avatar
PorkChop
 
Posts: 683
Joined: Wed Sep 19, 2012 11:17 pm

Re: What has Chinese Buddhism lost?

Postby Dodatsu » Thu Oct 17, 2013 9:44 am

Erm... The posts here have more or less gone off track from the title of the thread.

:offtopic:

However I'd like to pose a question. The recent threads like to quote from "scholars" etc but the gist of the Pure Land teachings is not whether one is a scholar or not. It is just simply to say the Nembutsu.
Even in Shin Buddhism there are scholars who acknowledge that the Three Pure Land Sutras may not have been directly 'spoken" by the historical Buddha, and evolved during early Mahayana. But then again, can we be very certain that even the Pali texts were directly from the Buddha Himself without any form of evolvement? Are these scholars "enlightened beings", are they the Buddha? We can argue on whether the Pure Land exists or not, or even whether the Pure Land teachings were really expounded by the Buddha. BUT more important is, when impermanence strikes, are we ready for it?

On the assertion that for practicers who do not read the sutras and commentaries and engage in study, birth is not settled.

This statement must be declared hardly worth mentioning.
All the sacred writings that clarify the significance of the truth and reality of Other Power state that one who entrusts oneself to the Primal Vow and says the nembutsu attains Buddhahood. Apart from this, what learning is essential for birth?
Indeed, the person confused about this should by all means engage in study and understand the significance of the Primal Vow. But nothing is more to be pitied than failure to understand the fundamental intent of the sacred teachings even though one reads and studies the sutras and commentaries.
The Name is meant to be easy to say for the person unfamiliar with even a single character and ignorant of the lines of discourse in the sutras and commentaries; hence it is called "easy practice."
It is the Path of Sages that takes learning to be essential; it is called "difficult practice." As for those who engage in study with wrong intentions, dwelling in thoughts of fame and profit, is there not the authoritative passage: "I wonder if their birth in the next life is really settled"?
At present, people of the sole practice of the nembutsu and those of the Path of Sages initiate disputes over the teaching, each claiming their own way to be superior and those of others inferior; as they do so, enemies of the dharma emerge and slander of the dharma is committed. Does this not finally result in abusing and bringing destruction to the teaching they themselves follow?
Suppose that all other schools joined together in declaring, "The nembutsu is for the sake of worthless people; that teaching is shallow and vulgar." Even then, without the slightest argument, one should reply "When foolish beings of inferior capacity like ourselves, persons ignorant of even a single letter, entrust themselves to the Vow, they are saved. Since we accept and entrust ourselves to this teaching, for us it is the supreme dharma, though for those of superior capacity it might seem utterly base. Even though other teachings may be excellent, since they are beyond our capacity they are difficult for us to put into practice. The fundamental intent of the Buddhas is nothing but freedom from birth-and-death for all, ourselves and others included, so you should not obstruct our practice of the nembutsu." If one responds without rancor thus, what person will do one harm? Moreover, there is an authoritative passage that states, "Where disputation takes place, blind passions arise. The wise keep their distance."
Further, the late master said:

Shakyamuni taught that there would be both people who entrust themselves to this teaching and people who abuse it. By the fact that I have entrusted myself fully to it and there are others who abuse it, I realize that the Buddha's words are indeed true. Hence, I realize all the more clearly that my birth is indeed firmly settled. If there were none who abused the teaching, then surely we would wonder why there are those who entrust but none who abuse it. This is not to say the nembutsu necessarily must be slandered; I merely speak of the fact that the Buddha, knowing beforehand that there would be both those who trust and those who slander, taught this so people would have no doubts.

Thus were his words

These days however, people seem to engage in learning to put a stop to criticism by others, making ready to devote themselves wholly to debate and argument. If one studies, more and more one realizes Amida's fundamental intent and grows in awareness of the immensity of the compassionate Vow, so that one can explain, to those who anxiously wonder how birth is possible for the wretched people like themselves, that the Primal Vow does not discriminate as to whether one's mind is good or evil, pure or defiled. Only then is there meaning in being a scholar. But to intimidate a person who happens to say the nembutsu in accordance with the Primal Vow without any forethought- insisting that one must have learning- is the act of a demon obstructing the dharma, of a foe of the Buddha. Not only do such people themselves lack shinjin of Other Power, but further they confuse others with mistaken thoughts.
One should cautiously fear that one may be going against the late Master's intent. Further, one should grieve if one is not in accord with Amida's Primal Vow.

(Tannisho 12, shinranworks.com)



Lamp for the Latter Ages 6

It is saddening that so many people, both young and old, men and women, have died this year and last. But the Tathagata taught the truth of life's impermanence for us fully, so you must not be distressed by it.

I, for my own part, attach no significance to the condition, good or bad, of persons in their final moments. People in whom shinjin is determined do not doubt, and so abide among the truly settled. For this reason their end also - even for those ignorant and foolish and lacking in wisdom - is a happy one.

You have been explaining to people that one attains birth through the Tathagata's working; it is in no way otherwise. What I have been saying to all of you from many years past has not changed. Simply achieve your birth, firmly avoiding all scholarly debate. I recall hearing the late Master Honen say, "Persons of the Pure Land tradition attain birth in the Pure Land by becoming their foolish selves." Moreover, I remember him smile and say, as he watched humble people of no intellectual pretensions coming to visit him, "Without doubt their birth is settled." And I heard him say after a visit by a man brilliant in letters and debating, "I really wonder about his birth." To this day these things come to mind.

Each of you should attain your birth without being misled by people and without faltering in shinjin. However, the practicer in whom shinjin has not become settled will continue to drift, even without being misled by anyone, for he does not abide among the truly settled.

Please relay what I have written here to the others.

Respectfully.

Bun'o [1260], Eleventh month, 13th day

Zenshin
Written at age 88

To Joshin-bo
Contemplating the power of Tathagata's Primal Vow,
One sees that no foolish being who encounters it passes by in vain.
When a person single-heartedly practices the saying of the Name alone,
It brings quickly to fullness and perfection [in that person] the great treasure ocean of true and real virtues.
- Shinran Shonin
User avatar
Dodatsu
 
Posts: 94
Joined: Mon May 04, 2009 3:49 pm
Location: Kyoto, Japan

Re: What has Chinese Buddhism lost?

Postby Indrajala » Thu Oct 17, 2013 10:42 am

Dodatsu wrote:Are these scholars "enlightened beings", are they the Buddha?


They often display more wisdom and stability in their lives than a lot of self-identifying practitioners.
Flower Ornament Depository (Blog)
Indrajāla's Contemplations (Blog)
Exploring Classical Chinese (Blog)
Dharma Depository (Site)

"Hui gives me no assistance. There is nothing that I say in which he does not delight." -Confucius
User avatar
Indrajala
Former staff member
 
Posts: 5570
Joined: Fri Feb 12, 2010 3:19 pm
Location: India

Re: What has Chinese Buddhism lost?

Postby daverupa » Thu Oct 17, 2013 3:35 pm

Dodatsu wrote:Even in Shin Buddhism there are scholars who acknowledge that the Three Pure Land Sutras may not have been directly 'spoken" by the historical Buddha, and evolved during early Mahayana. But then again, can we be very certain that even the Pali texts were directly from the Buddha Himself without any form of evolvement? Are these scholars "enlightened beings", are they the Buddha? We can argue on whether the Pure Land exists or not, or even whether the Pure Land teachings were really expounded by the Buddha. BUT more important is, when impermanence strikes, are we ready for it?


I think the interesting thing is that impermanence doesn't 'strike' - it can be observed or not observed. The important question is whether this or that practice conduces to the arising of clinging due to a delusion that permanence can be found and possessed/dwelt within, or to the cessation of clinging due to developing wholesome conduct, composure, and wisdom.

The thing about the historical Buddha's teachings is that Pali-Chinese comparisons strongly support the claim that a common core from a single source was carefully protected and promulgated over the early centuries. There's no reason to say that the Nikayas are better than the Agamas, but there's definitely a reason to say that the common threads between these two recitation lineages are both (a) reflective of what the historical Buddha taught, and (b) form the foundation for everything that follows, Chinese Buddhism and Pure Land and Secular Buddhism and the whole lot.

So it's one thing to say inspired teachers have employed skillful means in terms of practices as the Buddhadhamma permutated through different cultures over the centuries, and quite another to cut away at the very foundations that all of these ideas and practices necessarily rely upon by throwing doubt on this foundation with a cafeteria approach to the sources one uses for core Dhamma.

As Indrajala mentioned earlier, the core principles of Buddhadhamma ought to be conserved and embodied, not set aside in favor of other practices. These other practices can offer supports, bulwarks, flying buttresses, but they cannot replace the foundation. Surely all Buddhists can agree on this?
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]
User avatar
daverupa
 
Posts: 149
Joined: Mon Feb 04, 2013 12:52 am

Re: What has Chinese Buddhism lost?

Postby Indrajala » Thu Oct 17, 2013 4:02 pm

daverupa wrote:As Indrajala mentioned earlier, the core principles of Buddhadhamma ought to be conserved and embodied, not set aside in favor of other practices. These other practices can offer supports, bulwarks, flying buttresses, but they cannot replace the foundation. Surely all Buddhists can agree on this?


It goes without saying Pure Land practices are nowhere to be found in the Āgamas. That isn't to dismiss them entirely, but clearly they can't be considered a core component of Buddhadharma.
Flower Ornament Depository (Blog)
Indrajāla's Contemplations (Blog)
Exploring Classical Chinese (Blog)
Dharma Depository (Site)

"Hui gives me no assistance. There is nothing that I say in which he does not delight." -Confucius
User avatar
Indrajala
Former staff member
 
Posts: 5570
Joined: Fri Feb 12, 2010 3:19 pm
Location: India

Re: What has Chinese Buddhism lost?

Postby Dodatsu » Thu Oct 17, 2013 4:45 pm

daverupa wrote:
Dodatsu wrote:Even in Shin Buddhism there are scholars who acknowledge that the Three Pure Land Sutras may not have been directly 'spoken" by the historical Buddha, and evolved during early Mahayana. But then again, can we be very certain that even the Pali texts were directly from the Buddha Himself without any form of evolvement? Are these scholars "enlightened beings", are they the Buddha? We can argue on whether the Pure Land exists or not, or even whether the Pure Land teachings were really expounded by the Buddha. BUT more important is, when impermanence strikes, are we ready for it?


I think the interesting thing is that impermanence doesn't 'strike' - it can be observed or not observed.


By saying when impermanence strikes, i mean that one can stop breathing at the next moment. This is a common teaching in all Buddhist traditions.

Yes the Pure Land teachings are not found in the Agamas, but then again, so what? Does it mean that the centuries of Pure Land teachings should be cast aside or negated completely, just because so?
Contemplating the power of Tathagata's Primal Vow,
One sees that no foolish being who encounters it passes by in vain.
When a person single-heartedly practices the saying of the Name alone,
It brings quickly to fullness and perfection [in that person] the great treasure ocean of true and real virtues.
- Shinran Shonin
User avatar
Dodatsu
 
Posts: 94
Joined: Mon May 04, 2009 3:49 pm
Location: Kyoto, Japan

Re: What has Chinese Buddhism lost?

Postby Dodatsu » Thu Oct 17, 2013 4:46 pm

Indrajala wrote:
Dodatsu wrote:Are these scholars "enlightened beings", are they the Buddha?


They often display more wisdom and stability in their lives than a lot of self-identifying practitioners.


I've seen a lot of such people even within Buddhist circles in Singapore.
Contemplating the power of Tathagata's Primal Vow,
One sees that no foolish being who encounters it passes by in vain.
When a person single-heartedly practices the saying of the Name alone,
It brings quickly to fullness and perfection [in that person] the great treasure ocean of true and real virtues.
- Shinran Shonin
User avatar
Dodatsu
 
Posts: 94
Joined: Mon May 04, 2009 3:49 pm
Location: Kyoto, Japan

Re: Provenance of Pure Land Practice

Postby Dodatsu » Thu Oct 17, 2013 4:50 pm

Jokei was a hardline Vinaya guy who was pushing his own Pure Land practice (Potala) and came from the rivals of the Tendai, the Hosso. Of course he wasn't going to mesh with Honen, who came from a Tendai background and was teaching fishermen and prostitutes. Book's worth a look, but I'm not convinced of an absence of sectarian bias on the part of Jokei.


Jokei, of course, was the one who submitted the "Kofukuji Peitition", which indirectly resulted in Honen and Shinran's exile.
Contemplating the power of Tathagata's Primal Vow,
One sees that no foolish being who encounters it passes by in vain.
When a person single-heartedly practices the saying of the Name alone,
It brings quickly to fullness and perfection [in that person] the great treasure ocean of true and real virtues.
- Shinran Shonin
User avatar
Dodatsu
 
Posts: 94
Joined: Mon May 04, 2009 3:49 pm
Location: Kyoto, Japan

Re: What has Chinese Buddhism lost?

Postby Indrajala » Thu Oct 17, 2013 4:50 pm

Dodatsu wrote:Yes the Pure Land teachings are not found in the Agamas, but then again, so what? Does it mean that the centuries of Pure Land teachings should be cast aside or negated completely, just because so?


I can't speak for others, but I won't practice or advocate Pure Land teachings. I think you can take the vows of buddhas as found in the literature in a figurative sense rather than placing your salvation in their hands.

What others do is up to them. Nobody is going to police Buddhism.
Flower Ornament Depository (Blog)
Indrajāla's Contemplations (Blog)
Exploring Classical Chinese (Blog)
Dharma Depository (Site)

"Hui gives me no assistance. There is nothing that I say in which he does not delight." -Confucius
User avatar
Indrajala
Former staff member
 
Posts: 5570
Joined: Fri Feb 12, 2010 3:19 pm
Location: India

Re: Provenance of Pure Land Practice

Postby Dodatsu » Thu Oct 17, 2013 4:59 pm

Well as a Shin Pure Land Buddhist myself it's my "duty" to propagate and practice the Shin Buddhist teachings. Since Amida vowed to liberate sentient beings and lead them to Buddhahood, then why shouldn't i just take it?

Each of you has come to see me, crossing the borders of more than ten provinces at the risk of your life, solely with the intent of asking about the path to birth in the land of bliss. But if you imagine in me some special knowledge of a path to birth other than the nembutsu or of scriptural writings that teach it, you are greatly mistaken. If that is the case, since there are many eminent scholars in the southern capital of Nara or on Mount Hiei to the north, you would do better to meet with them and inquire fully about the essentials for birth.
As for me, I simply accept and entrust myself to what my revered teacher told me, "Just say the nembutsu and be saved by Amida"; nothing else is involved.
I have no idea whether the nembutsu is truly the seed for my being born in the Pure Land or whether it is the karmic act for which I must fall into hell. Should I have been deceived by Master Honen and, saying the nembutsu, were to fall into hell, even then I would have no regrets.
The reason is, if I could attain Buddhahood by endeavoring in other practices, but said the nembutsu and so fell into hell, then I would feel regret at having been deceived. But I am incapable of any other practice, so hell is decidedly my abode whatever I do.

If Amida's Primal Vow is true, Shakyamuni's teaching cannot be false. If the Buddha's teaching is true, Shan-tao's commentaries cannot be false. If Shan-tao's commentaries are true can Honen's words be lies? If Honen's words are true, then surely what I say cannot be empty.
Such, in the end, is how this foolish person entrusts himself [to the Vow]. Beyond this, whether you take up the nembutsu or whether you abandon it is for each of you to determine.

Thus were his words
Contemplating the power of Tathagata's Primal Vow,
One sees that no foolish being who encounters it passes by in vain.
When a person single-heartedly practices the saying of the Name alone,
It brings quickly to fullness and perfection [in that person] the great treasure ocean of true and real virtues.
- Shinran Shonin
User avatar
Dodatsu
 
Posts: 94
Joined: Mon May 04, 2009 3:49 pm
Location: Kyoto, Japan

Re: What has Chinese Buddhism lost?

Postby daverupa » Thu Oct 17, 2013 5:06 pm

Dodatsu wrote:Yes the Pure Land teachings are not found in the Agamas, but then again, so what? Does it mean that the centuries of Pure Land teachings should be cast aside or negated completely, just because so?


That's not the only possible response to the fact, so no, that doesn't follow.

My point is simply that if Pure Land teachings are all one is doing, one is not doing the Dhamma taught by the historical Buddha. Perhaps Pure Land practices can offer amazing and helpful supports for Dhamma practice, but it is not in and of itself Dhamma practice as taught by the historical Buddha.

The "so what" on this score matters differently for different folk, but I am in favor of enough information being presented about the matter so that "so what" can be answered by the individual. If they ask about what the Buddha taught, Pure Land is not a correct response. If they ask what can help the practice along, Pure Land can be discussed as one among many additional features which Dhamma practitioners have found useful and supportive over the years, when engaged with appropriately.

(I guess if the historical Buddha isn't a requisite foundation on which to build Buddhism, anything goes? I don't mean to be a rube, but it can be so confusing.)

:shrug:
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]
User avatar
daverupa
 
Posts: 149
Joined: Mon Feb 04, 2013 12:52 am

Re: Provenance of Pure Land Practice

Postby Indrajala » Thu Oct 17, 2013 5:08 pm

Dodatsu wrote:Well as a Shin Pure Land Buddhist myself it's my "duty" to propagate and practice the Shin Buddhist teachings. Since Amida vowed to liberate sentient beings and lead them to Buddhahood, then why shouldn't i just take it?


You are free to do as you please.

I still reserve the right to criticize.
Flower Ornament Depository (Blog)
Indrajāla's Contemplations (Blog)
Exploring Classical Chinese (Blog)
Dharma Depository (Site)

"Hui gives me no assistance. There is nothing that I say in which he does not delight." -Confucius
User avatar
Indrajala
Former staff member
 
Posts: 5570
Joined: Fri Feb 12, 2010 3:19 pm
Location: India

Re: Provenance of Pure Land Practice

Postby Dodatsu » Thu Oct 17, 2013 5:24 pm

Indrajala wrote:
Dodatsu wrote:Well as a Shin Pure Land Buddhist myself it's my "duty" to propagate and practice the Shin Buddhist teachings. Since Amida vowed to liberate sentient beings and lead them to Buddhahood, then why shouldn't i just take it?


You are free to do as you please.

I still reserve the right to criticize.


And i also reserve the right to refute the criticisms. But then again, it will just go round and round in circles.

daverupa wrote:
Dodatsu wrote:Yes the Pure Land teachings are not found in the Agamas, but then again, so what? Does it mean that the centuries of Pure Land teachings should be cast aside or negated completely, just because so?


That's not the only possible response to the fact, so no, that doesn't follow.

My point is simply that if Pure Land teachings are all one is doing, one is not doing the Dhamma taught by the historical Buddha. Perhaps Pure Land practices can offer amazing and helpful supports for Dhamma practice, but it is not in and of itself Dhamma practice as taught by the historical Buddha.

The "so what" on this score matters differently for different folk, but I am in favor of enough information being presented about the matter so that "so what" can be answered by the individual. If they ask about what the Buddha taught, Pure Land is not a correct response. If they ask what can help the practice along, Pure Land can be discussed as one among many additional features which Dhamma practitioners have found useful and supportive over the years, when engaged with appropriately.

(I guess if the historical Buddha isn't a requisite foundation on which to build Buddhism, anything goes? I don't mean to be a rube, but it can be so confusing.)

:shrug:


The "so what" was more of a reply to Indrajala's post, not yours.

As with other teachings of Buddhism, to us Pure Land Buddhists, before the advent of so-called "modern scholarship", the Pure Land teachings are from the historical Buddha Himself. The same basic teachings such as the "Three (Four) Marks of Existence" are there, the Noble Eightfold Path etc etc are there. The only difference that sets us aside is, other than reliance on a Buddha, in this case Amida, and vowing to be reborn in the Pure Land, is of course a "faith"-centred doctrine. But then again, even within the different Pure Land schools there are different interpretations on this. But this "faith" (sraddha) can also be found in the early teachings of Buddhism as well, because without "sraddha" one would not be able to start practice.

Also, the exclusive Pure Land practice is more of a Japanese Pure Land teaching, of which Honen and Shinran based on the Pure Land scriptures, but it's not limited to Pure Land Buddhism either.

If you desire to free yourself quickly from birth-and-death, of the two excellent teachings leave aside the Path of Sages and choosing, enter the Pure Land way. If you desire to enter the Pure Land way, of the two methods of practice, right and sundry, cast aside all sundry practices and choosing, take the right practice. If you desire to perform the right practice, of the two kinds of acts, true and auxiliary, further put aside the auxiliary and choosing, solely perform the act of true settlement. The act of true settlement is to say the Name of the Buddha. Saying the Name unfailingly brings about birth, for this is based on the Buddha's Primal Vow.
(Honen's Senjakushu, quoted by Shinran in the Kyogyoshinsho)


It's almost 1:30am here so i'm stopping my posts for tonight.

:anjali:
Contemplating the power of Tathagata's Primal Vow,
One sees that no foolish being who encounters it passes by in vain.
When a person single-heartedly practices the saying of the Name alone,
It brings quickly to fullness and perfection [in that person] the great treasure ocean of true and real virtues.
- Shinran Shonin
User avatar
Dodatsu
 
Posts: 94
Joined: Mon May 04, 2009 3:49 pm
Location: Kyoto, Japan

Re: Provenance of Pure Land Practice

Postby daverupa » Thu Oct 17, 2013 5:47 pm

Dodatsu wrote:Yes the Pure Land teachings are not found in the Agamas, but then again, so what?


Dodatsu wrote:The only difference that sets us aside is, other than reliance on a Buddha, in this case Amida, and vowing to be reborn in the Pure Land, is of course a "faith"-centred doctrine.


The "only difference" is turning out to be quite significant, especially since 'saddha' from the Nikayas and Pure Land 'faith' are not discussed in the same way at all in their respective sources.

As just one example, saddha in the Nikayas is, among other things, to be directed at the Triple Gem and, as such, the historical Buddha, not Amida. To equate these two uses of the word is illegitimate and ahistorical.
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]
User avatar
daverupa
 
Posts: 149
Joined: Mon Feb 04, 2013 12:52 am

Re: Provenance of Pure Land Practice

Postby Dodatsu » Thu Oct 17, 2013 5:56 pm

daverupa wrote:
Dodatsu wrote:Yes the Pure Land teachings are not found in the Agamas, but then again, so what?


Dodatsu wrote:The only difference that sets us aside is, other than reliance on a Buddha, in this case Amida, and vowing to be reborn in the Pure Land, is of course a "faith"-centred doctrine.


The "only difference" is turning out to be quite significant, especially since 'saddha' from the Nikayas and Pure Land 'faith' are not discussed in the same way at all in their respective sources.

As just one example, saddha in the Nikayas is, among other things, to be directed at the Triple Gem and, as such, the historical Buddha, not Amida. To equate these two uses of the word is illegitimate and ahistorical.


Since this a Mahayana Buddhist forum, I think you know that in Mahayana there is not only Sakyamuni, but also countless Buddhas in the Ten Directions. Even Theravada speaks of Seven Past Buddhas. Thus the Buddha-rupa not only comprises of the historical Sakyamuni Buddha, it also comprises of the Buddhas of the Ten Directions, of which Amida is one, so why can't sraddha be used?
Contemplating the power of Tathagata's Primal Vow,
One sees that no foolish being who encounters it passes by in vain.
When a person single-heartedly practices the saying of the Name alone,
It brings quickly to fullness and perfection [in that person] the great treasure ocean of true and real virtues.
- Shinran Shonin
User avatar
Dodatsu
 
Posts: 94
Joined: Mon May 04, 2009 3:49 pm
Location: Kyoto, Japan

Re: Provenance of Pure Land Practice

Postby daverupa » Thu Oct 17, 2013 6:17 pm

Dodatsu wrote:Since this a Mahayana Buddhist forum,


Yes indeed; I am lasering in on the 'Buddhist' aspect, and letting 'Mahayana' take a back seat, since we are discussing the historical provenance of Pure Land teachings, i.e. what can be sourced with the historical Buddha and what cannot be sourced therein.

I think you know that in Mahayana there is not only Sakyamuni, but also countless Buddhas in the Ten Directions.


"In Mahayana" is fine; all I have said is that it is not based on the historical Buddha's teachings, such as we have them. Just a plain ol' statement of fact.

Even Theravada speaks of Seven Past Buddhas.


Sure, there's a list of them somewhere in the back of the Digha Nikaya, for example. I think Theravada actually brings the number up to 28 (it's almost as though we can see a historical development here, but this is just more crazy "modern scholarship" getting uppity). But there are no practices related to them and Amida isn't mentioned, nor is reverence for them associated with particular rebirths.

Differences continually compound, the more we look...

Thus the Buddha-rupa not only comprises of the historical Sakyamuni Buddha, it also comprises of the Buddhas of the Ten Directions, of which Amida is one, so why can't sraddha be used?


Saddha can be used, it simply doesn't have the same semantic realm in the two cases, and this bears pointing out... as does the fact that that use of the term "Buddha-rupa" isn't something the historical Buddha discussed, either. Even as a reference for statues and other Buddha figures, these post-date the teaching period of the Buddha.

These things may or may not be useful; we can use a foundational text to assess these things:

AN 8.53 wrote:"As for the qualities of which you may know, 'These qualities lead to dispassion, not to passion; to being unfettered, not to being fettered; to shedding, not to accumulating; to modesty, not to self-aggrandizement; to contentment, not to discontent; to seclusion, not to entanglement; to aroused persistence, not to laziness; to being unburdensome, not to being burdensome': You may categorically hold, 'This is the Dhamma, this is the Vinaya, this is the Teacher's instruction.'"


...but we are tacitly admitting, thereby, that such texts are foundational, else we would not feel obliged to refer to them - and thus the historical Buddha - at all (whereupon Mahayana Buddhism becomes Mahayanism, I guess).
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]
User avatar
daverupa
 
Posts: 149
Joined: Mon Feb 04, 2013 12:52 am

Re: Provenance of Pure Land Practice

Postby futerko » Thu Oct 17, 2013 6:47 pm

Whether it can be sourced to the historical Buddha or not would seem secondary to the following consideration;

daverupa wrote:The important question is whether this or that practice conduces to the arising of clinging due to a delusion that permanence can be found and possessed/dwelt within, or to the cessation of clinging due to developing wholesome conduct, composure, and wisdom.
we cannot get rid of God because we still believe in grammar - Nietzsche
User avatar
futerko
 
Posts: 993
Joined: Mon Aug 13, 2012 5:58 am

Re: Provenance of Pure Land Practice

Postby daverupa » Thu Oct 17, 2013 6:55 pm

futerko wrote:Whether it can be sourced to the historical Buddha or not would seem secondary to the following consideration;

daverupa wrote:The important question is whether this or that practice conduces to the arising of clinging due to a delusion that permanence can be found and possessed/dwelt within, or to the cessation of clinging due to developing wholesome conduct, composure, and wisdom.


Yet this consideration is itself sourced to the historical Buddha, whence its authority... and indeed, whence Mahayana Buddhism, neh?
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]
User avatar
daverupa
 
Posts: 149
Joined: Mon Feb 04, 2013 12:52 am

PreviousNext

Return to East Asian Buddhism

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Google [Bot], rory and 5 guests

>