Provenance of Pure Land Practice

Re: Provenance of Pure Land Practice

Postby rory » Sun Oct 27, 2013 4:30 am

In this day and age of universal education, literacy, leisure and abundance of texts, everyone can study. This fantasy that people are 'incapable' is ridiculous. We all can make an effort. That's the undermining assumption of exclusive Pure Land practice.
gassho
rory
Dharani of Amoghapasa Avalokitesvara:

Om amogha-padma-pasa-krodhakarsaya praveshaya maha-pashupati-yama-varuna-kuvera
brahma-vesa-dhara padma-kula-samayan hum hum

heart mantra: Om amogha vijaya hum phat
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Re: Provenance of Pure Land Practice

Postby LastLegend » Sun Oct 27, 2013 5:46 am

rory wrote:In this day and age of universal education, literacy, leisure and abundance of texts, everyone can study. This fantasy that people are 'incapable' is ridiculous. We all can make an effort. That's the undermining assumption of exclusive Pure Land practice.
gassho
rory


Your statement is not warranted by your experience. If you think you can do by yourself, that's very cool. Now go head and do that. When you are liberated, come back here and tell us you have done it.
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Re: Provenance of Pure Land Practice

Postby LastLegend » Sun Oct 27, 2013 6:21 am

Indrajala wrote:
This is an article of faith that would seem contrary to traditional theories of karma, including what the Buddha described.


Not it is.

Okay. As I've said, Buddhadharma is not necessarily an easily understood subject. Saying you can neglect proper study and get superior results to one who actually put in the time and effort to study is like saying the amateur surgeon is commendable for their good intentions.

The study of Buddhadharma is like training to be a surgeon. First you learn the theory, then you apply it to rid the mind of suffering and the causes of it.

To perform surgery without any understanding of the theory is unwise.


Based on your view, you want everyone to be dissecting Buddhadharma and apply it. Do you not understand that people have different capacities? Oh, so you are saying Buddhadharma is for the elitists? Scholarly and academic?

You are not more learned than those Zen masters who advocate Pure Land path.
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Re: Provenance of Pure Land Practice

Postby Astus » Sun Oct 27, 2013 11:55 pm

Indrajala wrote:What you're referring to is the prescriptive. I'm referring to the descriptive.


Do you have a description of any Buddhist group/tradition where the majority of followers are fulfilling the prescribed teachings? And if your criticism is about how certain people act it does not address the teaching itself.

This is an article of faith that would seem contrary to traditional theories of karma, including what the Buddha described.


Karma is an article of faith. The possibility of birth in a buddha-land is not contrary to karma as I see it. Could you explain what you see here as a contradiction?

Saying you can neglect proper study and get superior results to one who actually put in the time and effort to study is like saying the amateur surgeon is commendable for their good intentions.


Nobody said that. The idea in gaining birth in the Pure Land is to postpone that required study and effort. And it is postponed because in one's current situation such study and effort is not possible and/or not certain to bring results. The attainment of buddhahood is guaranteed only on the stage of no regression. Since there's hardly any living teacher who claims to be anything but an ordinary person (pudgala), on what basis can one have faith that one would be more successful in practising the Dharma? Therefore it only seems logical that aspiring for birth in the Pure Land is the most sensible decision. To use your example, mastering surgery takes lot of education and practice, and that costs time and money. While a few may be rich and already finished primary and secondary education, many people have trouble not just with biology and chemistry, but with the basic skills of literacy and mathematics, plus they are quite poor and busy with making a living. And even among those who are qualified surgeons, only a handful of them are really good at what they do.

As I have demonstrated above, this is not so


Could you give a link to your explanation?
"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: Provenance of Pure Land Practice

Postby PorkChop » Mon Oct 28, 2013 9:00 am

Indrajala wrote:
I don't agree with you on your inflexible view on Karma.

Misrepresentation? I basically don't believe buddhas are omnipotent and can absolve you of all your past karma.
I don't agree with you on the damnation that is "necessary" for not following Right Livelihood.

The Buddha himself was pretty clear that the Eightfold Noble Path required right livelihood.


I've seen you post your view of a violation of karma before.
The sutras are pretty clear that if you're not there yet, you go into a holding cell, unable to hear the dharma, and unable to practice the bodhisattva path until your karma is exhausted. Multiple sutras (in all traditions) explain that certain acts have the effect of purifying karma, including mere thinking of the Buddha. In fact, your view of karma means Angulimala should've been killed 998 more times. Regardless of the historicity of that sutta, I doubt you'd find a Buddhist alive that would buy into that view.

I disagree with your view of the eightfold path.
It is not the 10 commandments of Christianity, but a prescriptive path that one should follow in their journey.
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Re: Provenance of Pure Land Practice

Postby PorkChop » Mon Oct 28, 2013 9:21 am

rory wrote:In this day and age of universal education, literacy, leisure and abundance of texts, everyone can study. This fantasy that people are 'incapable' is ridiculous. We all can make an effort. That's the undermining assumption of exclusive Pure Land practice.
gassho
rory


This statement of people being 'incapable' is not a doctrinal position of orthodoxy. It is a statement that has been reached through self examination by the people making those statements. It is prescriptive in the sense that if people already think they're incapable, then there is another path. This is not a statement telling those that think that they are capable that they are not. One should not automatically accept any such statement as gospel. The idea is to examine one's own motivations and if one finds that they are impure, then to follow this alternative path. This is not an a priori required belief. If this statement does not apply to you, then it's a good sign that this is not your dharma door. You're an intelligent person, rory. You've been playing around with these ideas for a good long while. You know they do not fit you. You seem to have found another path. Other people do find these teachings helpful. Running around trying to discredit this path seems unfruitful, especially to those poor souls who've already found value in this path. You'd be better served by putting your efforts into your own practice IMHO. That's not to say this path does not require effort. Once one realizes one's capabilities are such that they have tainted motivations, it requires tons of effort to learn to let go of one's evil ways. This path isn't for everyone. No one in this thread has tried to maintain the assertion that this is the only valid path. There are 84,000 dharma doors for people of various capabilities. If this one is not it, no one here is maintaining that this is the only true way. If people in the past have said as much, then they are not telling the whole story. Most of the time such quotes are found in the context of addressing a particular audience who already have certain views. As with most matters of translation, context is key. Wish you all the best.
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Re: Provenance of Pure Land Practice

Postby Nighthawk » Wed Oct 30, 2013 6:25 am

Haven't heard from Indrajala in this thread for some time. You guys might have converted him to PL :mrgreen:
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Re: Provenance of Pure Land Practice

Postby Indrajala » Wed Oct 30, 2013 6:33 am

Nighthawk wrote:Haven't heard from Indrajala in this thread for some time. You guys might have converted him to PL :mrgreen:


No, I've just stated my arguments and feel there is no further need for discussion.
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Re: Provenance of Pure Land Practice

Postby Nighthawk » Wed Oct 30, 2013 7:03 am

Indrajala wrote:
Nighthawk wrote:Haven't heard from Indrajala in this thread for some time. You guys might have converted him to PL :mrgreen:


No, I've just stated my arguments and feel there is no further need for discussion.


No problem. It was a really good discussion.
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Re: Provenance of Pure Land Practice

Postby rory » Thu Oct 31, 2013 3:00 am

What I was saying and Ven. Indrajala was saying that relying solely on Pure Land is a bad idea and from his experience in Singapore etc leads to devayana. I have also had similar experience with pious pure landers who do not study when there are ample opportunities, not only temples with monks, nuns (the Fo Guang temple nuns are well trained in Ch'an) but also with such lectures as these:
http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL ... ynvvVozO8i Ven. Heng Sure lecturing line by line on the Avatmsaka Sutra
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qXHC9N5Z1oI Professor Dan Lusthaus on karma in Yogacara

Neither of the above are difficult! I personally don't even like Ven. Heng Sure's superficial commentary. And then there are the free books available here from the Young Men's Buddhist Association http://www.ymba.org/free-books

I respect Ven. Indrajala for his vows, but I don't worship him for being a monastic or view him as the voice of authority; rather I regard him as a good Dharma friend who sometimes give advice that puts me outside of my comfort zone....good. Honen and Shinran in Japan were atypical outside normative Buddhism, Jokei was the norm, he had many practices, many devotional! Wise advice to follow.
with gassho
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Dharani of Amoghapasa Avalokitesvara:

Om amogha-padma-pasa-krodhakarsaya praveshaya maha-pashupati-yama-varuna-kuvera
brahma-vesa-dhara padma-kula-samayan hum hum

heart mantra: Om amogha vijaya hum phat
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Re: Provenance of Pure Land Practice

Postby yan kong » Thu Oct 31, 2013 3:40 am

I know a nun who practices solely pure land and I don't believe she can be said to be practicing devayana nor could one say she has not done a fair bit of study for her practice.
"Meditation is a spiritual exercise, not a therapeutic regime... Our intention is to enter Nirvana, not to make life in Samsara more tolerable." Chan Master Hsu Yun
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Re: Provenance of Pure Land Practice

Postby LastLegend » Thu Oct 31, 2013 5:15 am

rory wrote:What I was saying and Ven. Indrajala was saying that relying solely on Pure Land is a bad idea and from his experience in Singapore etc leads to devayana. I have also had similar experience with pious pure landers who do not study when there are ample opportunities, not only temples with monks, nuns (the Fo Guang temple nuns are well trained in Ch'an) but also with such lectures as these:
http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL ... ynvvVozO8i Ven. Heng Sure lecturing line by line on the Avatmsaka Sutra
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qXHC9N5Z1oI Professor Dan Lusthaus on karma in Yogacara

Neither of the above are difficult! I personally don't even like Ven. Heng Sure's superficial commentary. And then there are the free books available here from the Young Men's Buddhist Association http://www.ymba.org/free-books

I respect Ven. Indrajala for his vows, but I don't worship him for being a monastic or view him as the voice of authority; rather I regard him as a good Dharma friend who sometimes give advice that puts me outside of my comfort zone....good. Honen and Shinran in Japan were atypical outside normative Buddhism, Jokei was the norm, he had many practices, many devotional! Wise advice to follow.
with gassho
rory



I don't understand why you make this more important than your own practice.
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Re: Provenance of Pure Land Practice

Postby Son of Buddha » Fri Nov 01, 2013 8:29 pm

rory wrote:What I was saying and Ven. Indrajala was saying that relying solely on Pure Land is a bad idea and from his experience in Singapore etc leads to devayana. I have also had similar experience with pious pure landers who do not study when there are ample opportunities,


its not devayana to simply following the 18th Vow.
I actually find the results to be the opposite,from my experience Pure Landers actually study more than most others.


Honen and Shinran in Japan were atypical outside normative Buddhism, Jokei was the norm, he had many practices, many devotional! Wise advice to follow.
with gassho
rory


Honen and Shinran were not outside normative Buddhism,in the Pali canon it is taught there are two types of desciples the Faith Follower an the knowledge follower,Pure Landers fall under the Faith follower desciple,also Honen/Shinran simply maintained the views of the Chinese masters before them.

for instance it is taught MAYBE 1 out of 10 million MIGHT become enlightened with "practices" but 10 million out of 10 million will go to the Pure land to become Enlightened.

the Pure Land method having statistically a higher chance at helping one to arrive at Enlightenment.

a question Rory...why are you not Enlightened yet?? you have had since beginingless time to become Enlightened,how come after infinite billions of years have you not yet become Enlightened?

how many times have you "practiced" just to climb that mountain getting close to the top just to fall right back off it?what good is all the practice in the world if you fall right back into Samsara and forget everything you practiced to begin with?

Honens/Shinrans perspective was simple:the ultimate goal is Enlightenment so why would you practice for 10 billion years always retrogressing and slipping back into samsara barely keeping your head above water,everytime you think you gained something by your practice you instead die and are reborn forgeting all your practice,when instead you can go to the Pure Land and practice under and Buddha and never retrogress?

but hey I like to be a Tiger with Horns :D
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Re: Provenance of Pure Land Practice

Postby Qing Tian » Sun Nov 03, 2013 4:44 am

The following excerpt is quoted from The Altar Sutra of Hui Neng (Chapter 3: Questions). Personally I feel it is unequivocal.


Prefect Wei then asked the next question. "I notice that it is a common practice for monks and laymen to recite the name of Amitabha with the hope of being born in the Pure Land of the West. To clear up my doubts, will you please tell me whether it is possible for them to be born there or not." "Listen to me carefully, Sir," replied the Patriarch, "and I will explain.
According to the Sutra spoken by the Bhagavat in Shravasti City for leading people to the Pure Land of the West, it is quite clear that the Pure Land is not far from here, for the distance in mileage is 108,000, which really represents the 'ten evils' and 'eight errors' within us. To those of inferior mentality certainly it is far away, but to superior men we may say that it is quite near. Although the Dharma is uniform, men vary in their mentality.
Because they differ from one another in their degree of enlightenment or ignorance, therefore some understand the Law quicker than others.

While ignorant men recite the name of Amitabha and pray to be born in the Pure Land, the enlightened purify their mind, for, as the Buddha said, 'When the mind is pure, the Buddha Land is simultaneously pure.' "Although you are a native of the East, if your mind is pure you are sinless.
One the other hand, even if you were a native of the West an impure mind could not free you from sin, When the people of the East commit a sin, they recite the name of Amitabha and pray to be born in the West; but in the case of sinners who are natives of the West, where should they pray to be born? Ordinary men and ignorant people understand neither the Essence of Mind nor the Pure Land within themselves, so they wish to be born in the East or the West. But to the enlightened everywhere is the same. As the Buddha said, 'No matter where they happen to be, they are always happy and comfortable.' "Sir, if your mind is free from evil the West is not far from here; but difficult indeed it would be for one whose heart is impure to be born there by invoking Amitabha! "Now, I advise you, Learned Audience, first to do away with the 'ten evils'; then we shall have traveled one hundred thousand miles. For the next step, do away with the 'eight errors', and this will mean another eight thousand miles traversed. If we can realize the Essence of Mind at all times and behave in a straightforward manner on all occasions, in the twinkling of an eye we may reach the Pure Land and there see Amitabha.
"If you only put into practice the ten good deeds, there would be no necessity for you to be born there. On the other hand, if you do not do away with the 'ten evils' in your mind, which Buddha will take you there? If you understand the Birthless Doctrine (which puts an end to the cycle of birth and death) of the 'Sudden' School, it takes you only a moment to see the West. If you do not understand, how can you reach there by reciting the name of Amitabha, as the distance is so far? "Now, how would you like it if I were to shift the Pure Land to your presence this very moment, so that all of you might see it?" The congregation made obeisance and replied, "If we might see the Pure Land here there would be no necessity for us to desire to be born there. Will Your Holiness kindly let us see it by having it removed here." The Patriarch said, "Sirs, this physical body of ours is a city.
Our eyes, ears, nose and tongue are the gates. There are five external gates, while the internal one is ideation. The mind is the ground. The Essence of Mind is the King who lives in the domain of the mind. While the Essence of Mind is in, the King is in, and our body and mind exist. When the Essence of Mind is out, there is no King and our body and mind decay.

We should work for Buddhahood within the Essence of Mind, and we should not look for it apart from ourselves. He who is kept in ignorance of his Essence of Mind is an ordinary being. He who is enlightened in his Essence of Mind is a Buddha. To be merciful is Avalokitesvara (one of the two principal Bodhisattvas of the Pure Land). To take pleasure in almsgiving is Mahasthama (the other Bodhisattva). Competence for a pure life is Sakyamuni (one of the titles of Gautama Buddha). Equality and straightforwardness is Amitabha. The idea of a self or that of a being is Mount Meru. A depraved mind is the ocean. Klesa (defilement) is the billow. Wickedness is the evil dragon.
Falsehood is the devil. The wearisome sense objects are the aquatic animals.
Greed and hatred are the hells. Ignorance and infatuation are the brutes.
"Learned Audience, if you constantly perform the ten good deeds, paradise will appear to you at once. When you get rid of the idea of a self and that of a being, Mount Meru will topple. When the mind is no longer depraved, the ocean (of existence) will be dried up. When you are free from klesa, billows and waves (of the ocean of existence) will calm down. When wickedness is alien to you, fish and evil dragons will die out.
"Within the domain of our mind, there is a Tathagata of Enlightenment who sends forth a powerful light which illumines externally the six gates (of sensation) and purifies them. This light is strong enough to pierce through the six Kama Heavens (heavens of desire); and when it is turned inwardly it eliminates at once the three poisonous elements, purges away our sins which might lead us to the hells or other evil realms, and enlightens us thoroughly within and without, so that we are no different from those born in the Pure Land of the West. Now, if we do not train ourselves up to this standard, how can we reach the Pure Land?" Having heard what the Patriarch said, the congregation knew their Essence of Mind very clearly. They made obeisance and exclaimed in one voice, "Well done!" They also chanted, "May all the sentient beings of this Universe who have heard this sermon at once understand it intuitively." The Patriarch added, "Learned Audience, those who wish to train themselves (spiritually) may do so at home. It is quite unnecessary for them to stay in monasteries. Those who train themselves at home may be likened unto a native of the East who is kind-hearted, while those who stay in monasteries but neglect their work differ not from a native of the West who is evil in heart. So far as the mind is pure, it is the 'Western Pure Land of one's own Essence of Mind'."
“Not till your thoughts cease all their branching here and there, not till you abandon all thoughts of seeking for something, not till your mind is motionless as wood or stone, will you be on the right road to the Gate.”
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