Doubts about Pure land

Re: Doubts about Pure land

Postby sinweiy » Fri May 03, 2013 7:16 am

RikudouSennin wrote:I have been pondering this lately.

Since a Buddha's omniscience and compassion is boundless, it makes sense for Shakyamuni Buddha to give a teaching where the beings of this world of dukkha can be reborn into a world of sukkha, in order to escape samsara and attain complete awakening.


"Not only Sakyamuni Buddha, but all Buddhas use this method as the foremost method to teach all beings." http://www.amtbweb.org/ils01.html

also have to give credit to Amitabha Buddha, the founder.
:smile:
Dharmakara expressed his resolution to become a Buddha. At Dharmakara's pleading, Lokesvararaja showed Dharmakara innumerable Buddha- lands, which Dharmakara examined carefully as he made plans for his own Buddhahood. After five kalpas of contemplation, Dharmakara formulated a resolution which we know today as the 48 Great Vows (Chapter 7).
--The Infinite Life Sutra
http://www.tagtag.com/buddhist/kumpulan ... life_sutra

Dharmakara take into account the innumerable Buddha-lands and came up with a better one. founder of this method is Amitabha Buddha, ten mahakalpas(earth-years) ago. not very long ago.
:smile:
_/\_
Amituofo!

"Enlightenment is to turn around and see MY own mistake, Other's mistake is also my mistake. Others are right even if they are wrong. i'm wrong even if i'm right. " - Master Chin Kung
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Re: Doubts about Pure land

Postby Ratnagerald » Wed May 29, 2013 2:26 pm

Doubts about the Pure Land are natural for Bombu like ourselves. Just relax, say the Nembutsu and wait for Amida to gift you his faith!

NAMO AMIDA BU
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Re: Doubts about Pure land

Postby sinweiy » Thu May 30, 2013 1:56 am

i posted an article but in chinese, regrading how Pureland's profound theory can be seen no different from Dzogchen theory.
http://sgforums.com/forums/2954/topics/469656
many people in the east are also intereted in Tibetan buddhism, not knowing Pureland's theory is as profound.
_/\_
Amituofo!

"Enlightenment is to turn around and see MY own mistake, Other's mistake is also my mistake. Others are right even if they are wrong. i'm wrong even if i'm right. " - Master Chin Kung
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Re: Doubts about Pure land

Postby Arjan Dirkse » Thu Jun 06, 2013 2:35 am

I'm a big doubter, and this is to me why Pure Land seems to fit me so well. I am not fit for overly complicated Buddhism; if it's simple, dressed like me in simple layman's clothes, and with as little sacred texts, rituals and objects and hidden doctrines as possible, it's better for me. Pure Land represents that to me. I don't know how the Dharma will lead everyone to enlightenment; I don't know anything for sure. All I believe is that there is a saving grace which will come to whomever requests it, and that is the Infinite Light of Amida Buddha. To remind myself, Amida calls myself by its name.
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Re: Doubts about Pure land

Postby PorkChop » Fri Jun 07, 2013 7:24 pm

Arjan Dirkse wrote:I'm a big doubter, and this is to me why Pure Land seems to fit me so well. I am not fit for overly complicated Buddhism; if it's simple, dressed like me in simple layman's clothes, and with as little sacred texts, rituals and objects and hidden doctrines as possible, it's better for me. Pure Land represents that to me. I don't know how the Dharma will lead everyone to enlightenment; I don't know anything for sure. All I believe is that there is a saving grace which will come to whomever requests it, and that is the Infinite Light of Amida Buddha. To remind myself, Amida calls myself by its name.


I really agree with this sentiment, I'm pretty much the same way. I study with a Lam Rim group (Tibetan Gelug Buddhism) because I enjoy the people and find I get a lot out of the class, but looking at Tibetan Gelug practices makes my head spin. All the commitments, rituals, sadhanas, visualizations, and prayer implements can be downright scary. I tend to get intimidated by the idea of even attempting to keep 2 Uposatha days each month, when you look at the Tibetan Gelug calendar (like the one from FPMT for example), it's a full schedule. There's something very beautiful about the simplicity of Pure Land. Sure, there are visualizations in Pure Land too, but they're optional and they're introduced gradually. There's also something very restful about nianfo/nembutsu practice that I don't find elsewhere. I find it easier to let go when entrusting in something other. That being said, I've done a pretty horrible job maintaining any sort of routine lately - family life has been keeping me very busy.
看一切众生
皆是菩萨,
唯我一人
实是凡夫。
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Re: Doubts about Pure land

Postby Jiko » Wed Jan 01, 2014 8:14 pm

Doubt will always arise in a mind that is full of blind passions, this is why all the pure land masters tried so hard to get everyone to just do it, recite the name with all your heart, ceaselessly, or as ceaseless as you can manage. When there is only Amida in your mind and on your lips you will no longer doubt, you will be certain of your attainment of birth in the blissful land.

I struggled with doubts for several years, but now, if a thought of doubt arises, I have one single response to it.........Namu Amida Bu. And believe me that doubt will leave you be, well at least till next time :lol:

Doubt is something that arises when you put to much time into study and not enough into practice, study cannot and never will remove doubt, only practice removes doubt. It is only natural to us that we grasp after knowledge thinking it will give us answers, it will not. The books are there to show you what to do and understand what you are doing, after that, lock that book away, or better still give it to another.

Honen Shonin said, "once a scholar is born, a man forgets the Nembutsu" and that we should " become like the unlettered, ignorant of even a single character" because there is no settled heart/mind found in those things, only in the Nembutsu itself will you find your answers and come face to face with Amida Buddha.

Do not let the poison of doubt have a chance to take hold of your minds, when you see it come after you, run straight to the Buddha in his name until that doubt has give up. It has to be this way, it cannot be rationalized, take the leap of faith and recite the name like you got nothing to lose and then you will know for yourself what the books are teaching.

Gassho

Namu Amida Bu

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Where disputation takes place, blind passions arise. The wise keep their distance
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Re: Doubts about Pure land

Postby LastLegend » Wed Jan 01, 2014 11:50 pm

Don't doubt your own Buddha mind. Use your awareness to illuminate within. Then you will not doubt Pure Land.

Your doubt has nothing to do with Amitabha or Pure Land. It comes from within your mind.
NAMO AMITABHA
NAM MO A DI DA PHAT (VIETNAMESE)
NAMO AMITUOFO (CHINESE)

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―Listen! Those of you who devote yourselves to the Dharma
must not be afraid of losing your bodies and your lives―
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Re: Doubts about Pure land

Postby Northern Light » Thu Jan 16, 2014 5:31 pm

Metta wrote:Hello, I've joined this forum in order to express some doubts that I have. I've read the story about Dharmakara before he became Amitabha Buddha. My question is how really likely is it for some ordinary human to be able to go through five aeons (that's five big bangs) of nothing but sheer practice without retrogressing on the path in order to become a Buddha and create this pure land? I really don't mean to be offensive in any way, but how can anyone with a sane mind believe in something that sounds so irrational and fairy tale like? Not to mention the anti woman sentiments in one of the vows? Is a perfectly enlightened Buddha really supposed to have a discriminatory mind like that? Just doesn't make sense. I do not wish to offend anyone, if I did then I apologize.


You are considering the Pure Land Teachings in their most literal form. Just as with the Christian Bible, doing so leaves you with an epic adventure story, but not something that everyone will literally believe. :smile:

The story of Dharmakara may be just that; an inspiring story. If it causes a practitioner to be inspired and to call to the infinite light, life and love of the universe with sincerety (and all the positive aspects this brings in life), then it has done it's job.

Personally, as a Jodo-Shu (via Amida UK) practitioner, I probably doubt the literal fact of the story. However I believe with a strong and faithful heart in Amida; in the heart of the universe, and that in my practice, Amida becomes a real, conceivable force of good.
Nam Myoho Renge Kyo
Nichiren Buddhist.
My lifetime outlook: "...just take the good.... there is always bad..... but just take the good". :)
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Re: Doubts about Pure land

Postby Northern Light » Thu Jan 16, 2014 5:33 pm

Jiko wrote:Doubt is something that arises when you put too much time into study, and not enough into practice.


This is SO true. Of all aspects of Buddhism. On these forums we intellectualize it so much.

Very well said, and very wise. :thumbsup:
Nam Myoho Renge Kyo
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My lifetime outlook: "...just take the good.... there is always bad..... but just take the good". :)
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Re: Doubts about Pure land

Postby Osho » Wed Mar 12, 2014 1:17 am

Totally agree.
More study = more confusion plus it helps if you are a studious person and not everyone is.
Anyone can chant.
More about Mindfulness here
http://bemindful.co.uk/

" A Zen master's life is one continuous mistake."
(Dogen).
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Re: Doubts about Pure land

Postby Serenity509 » Sun Jul 26, 2015 5:27 am

I realize that this is an old thread. I just want to express my gratitude for having read it. My family of origin doesn't accept me for not practicing the religion in which I was raised, so it's reassuring to see a diversity of perspectives on this forum tolerated when it comes to Pure Land belief. I would feel even worse than I already do if, coming into Buddhism, I was made to feel just as inadequate for not believing a certain way as my parents do.

For those concerned about whether they believe enough or if they feel it in their heart enough, Honen's answer is stop worrying and just trust in the Nembutsu:
Question 1. Is it possible for a man to enter the Pure Land simply by
concentration of mind and the repetition of the nembutsu, and doing nothing else, even though his heart undergoes no change?
Answer: – It is the rule with common men for their hearts to be in a
state of confusion, and it cannot be helped. The only thing is that if men do concentrate their minds upon Amida, and call upon his name, their sin will be destroyed, and they will attain Ojo. Even sins more grievous than that of mental confusion disappear, if men practice the nembutsu.
http://sp.uconn.edu/~gwang/honen.htm


The Tannisho says that, in the scriptures, the true and real is mixed with the provisional and expedient, so I guess it's up to us as individuals to decide which parts are literal and which are symbolic of a higher truth:

THE DIALECTIC between truth in its ultimate nature and in its form adapted to our current capacities is the engine that drove Shinran’s quest for an authentic Buddhist spirituality available to everyone, not just monks and members of the elite. This distinction between absolute and conventional truth appears in his core teachings, as numerous passages of The Essential Shinran demonstrate. For example, Shinran wrote: “Supreme Buddha is formless, and because of being formless is called jinen (naturalness). Buddha, when appearing with form, is not called supreme nirvana. In order to make it known that supreme Buddha is formless (emptiness), the name Amida Buddha is expressly used; so I have been taught.” Shinran and his school understand Amida to be a symbol for the Buddha-nature that all beings are universally endowed with. Because Amida’s light embraces all beings and never abandons anyone, all creatures without exception will be liberated from suffering and ignorance.
http://www.tricycle.com/reviews/essential-and-pure
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Re: Doubts about Pure land

Postby theanarchist » Sun Jul 26, 2015 10:36 am

There are prayers in Tibetan buddhism to be reborn in the pure lands. There is even a whole cycle of practices to transfer one's consciousness (or that of someone else) to a pure land during the process of death.

If pure lands exist and it's possible to be reborn there, then why not aspire for it, if you currently don't feel up to the job of "human bodhisattva on earth".
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Re: Doubts about Pure land

Postby Serenity509 » Sun Jul 26, 2015 10:42 am

theanarchist wrote:There are prayers in Tibetan buddhism to be reborn in the pure lands. There is even a whole cycle of practices to transfer one's consciousness (or that of someone else) to a pure land during the process of death.

If pure lands exist and it's possible to be reborn there, then why not aspire for it, if you currently don't feel up to the job of "human bodhisattva on earth".


Faith in Buddhism traditionally means confidence and trust based on reason and experience, rather than blind belief in propositional truth claims. Whether you have faith in a Pure Land Buddhist context, then, might mean reciting the Nembutsu and trusting that it ensures your enlightenment or confidence in the Nembutsu as an aid in your spiritual development. You can be completely agnostic about certain points of doctrine or the literal meaning of an ancient text and still benefit from reciting the Nembutsu:

Shraddha means something closer to "trust" or "conviction." It most commonly refers to the conviction that develops from one's own direct experience and practice. It can also mean confidence or trust in oneself and one's practice. In the Saddha Sutta of the Pali Canon, the Buddha compared trust in the dharma to the way birds "trust" a tree in which they build their nests.
http://buddhism.about.com/od/buddhismgl ... raddha.htm


I sincerely trust in the compassion and wisdom of Amida Buddha, and I recite the Nembutsu out of devotion to him and in hope that it will help me to reflect his qualities in my own life, but certain things to me are just an open question, such as whether Amida had a beginning in time or if he's existed from the eternal past or whether the Pure Land is a literal planet billions of light years away or if it's a higher dimension of the space we already inhabit, like the Nirvana-essence of the universe.

To me, insisting that we get our beliefs exactly right seems like another form of self-power. There are certainly passages in the Pure Land sutras that appear to be symbolic, and some that are, according to Honen and Shinran, irrelevant to our faith and perhaps even unhelpful if we take literally, such as anything in the sutras that suggest the efficacy of self-power to save.

Something I believe for sure as a Mahayana Buddhist is that we all have a Buddha-nature, so I trust that reciting the Nembutsu helps me to awaken to my own Buddha-nature, the infinite life and infinite light that is my true self, rather than my ego-self.

Shin Buddhism traditionally teaches that the purpose of birth in the Pure Land is to immediately come back to the world of samsara as a Bodhisattva, so the question of the Pure Land being a literal place is sort of beside the point if we're supposed to instantly come back to this world anyway.
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Re: Doubts about Pure land

Postby theanarchist » Sun Jul 26, 2015 11:40 am

Serenity509 wrote:
theanarchist wrote:There are prayers in Tibetan buddhism to be reborn in the pure lands. There is even a whole cycle of practices to transfer one's consciousness (or that of someone else) to a pure land during the process of death.

If pure lands exist and it's possible to be reborn there, then why not aspire for it, if you currently don't feel up to the job of "human bodhisattva on earth".


Faith in Buddhism traditionally means confidence and trust based on reason and experience, rather than blind belief in propositional truth claims. Whether you have faith in a Pure Land Buddhist context, then, might mean reciting the Nembutsu and trusting that it ensures your enlightenment or confidence in the Nembutsu as an aid in your spiritual development. You can be completely agnostic about certain points of doctrine or the literal meaning of an ancient text and still benefit from reciting the Nembutsu: .




I think you should still know the essential teachings about emptiness nature, because I doubt that being reborn in a pure land works if you believe in the inherent material existence from it's own side of this pure land realm.
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Re: Doubts about Pure land

Postby Serenity509 » Sun Jul 26, 2015 4:01 pm

theanarchist wrote:
Serenity509 wrote:
theanarchist wrote:There are prayers in Tibetan buddhism to be reborn in the pure lands. There is even a whole cycle of practices to transfer one's consciousness (or that of someone else) to a pure land during the process of death.

If pure lands exist and it's possible to be reborn there, then why not aspire for it, if you currently don't feel up to the job of "human bodhisattva on earth".


Faith in Buddhism traditionally means confidence and trust based on reason and experience, rather than blind belief in propositional truth claims. Whether you have faith in a Pure Land Buddhist context, then, might mean reciting the Nembutsu and trusting that it ensures your enlightenment or confidence in the Nembutsu as an aid in your spiritual development. You can be completely agnostic about certain points of doctrine or the literal meaning of an ancient text and still benefit from reciting the Nembutsu: .


I think you should still know the essential teachings about emptiness nature, because I doubt that being reborn in a pure land works if you believe in the inherent material existence from it's own side of this pure land realm.



You have a good point. Can you please show me where the Pure Land sutras mention emptiness? According to Shinran, the only requirement for entering the Pure Land is accepting the 18th Vow of Amida Buddha in faith and then saying the Nembutsu in gratitude for the salvation he freely offers. In fact, everything I've read about Shinran suggests that he taught the Nembutsu specifically for people who don't understand or know about Buddhist concepts like emptiness.
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Re: Doubts about Pure land

Postby theanarchist » Sun Jul 26, 2015 7:39 pm

I can't. I come from a Tibetan buddhism background (where prayers and practices to be reborn in a pure land are also common, but not the main practice for most practitioners)

And in the tantric literature you find teachings about pure lands / the transcendent buddhas and bodhisattvas. It's also essential for tantric practice as a pure land is very closely related to the mandala of an enlightened meditation deity. Both are manifested from the enlightened mind and aspiration of a buddha.
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Re: Doubts about Pure land

Postby Serenity509 » Tue Jul 28, 2015 7:23 pm

I hope it can be seen that there need not be doubts about Pure Land Buddhism unless one has doubts about Buddhism in general. All of the essentials of Buddhism are contained in Pure Land Buddhism:

This essay is the first in a planned series on the origins of Pure Land Buddhism in the Pali Canon. One can see in seed-form, if not in bud-form, a foreshadowing of Pure Land Buddhism. My intention is to show that rather than being an aberration of the Buddha’s teachings, Pure Land is consistent and in-line with the historically respected Buddhist scriptures...
In everyday life, we can see these results when we take up Buddha-recitation or Buddha-remembrance. The mind can only focus on one object at a time. If the mind is occupied with reciting or recollecting the Buddha, there’s no space for complaining , criticizing, lusting, and desiring — our favorite programs to watch on the screen of our minds! These poisons are replaced by equanimity, calm, and lovingkindness.
Being mindful of either Shakyamuni Buddha or Amitabha Buddha accords with the Buddha’s words as reported in the oldest scriptures. Critical minds may find reassurance that rather than Pure Land Buddhism being a straying from the Buddha’s “original” teaching, Pure Land teachings are consistent with the dhamma as proclaimed by the historical Buddha.
https://purelandway.wordpress.com/2011/ ... ali-canon/


Even if a person is having doubts as to whether the Pure Land is a literal place or if Dharmakara was a historical person, one need not have doubts about Pure Land Buddhism being a legitimate form of Buddhism.

Many Pure Land Buddhists interpret the Pure Land as described in the sutras as expedient means for describing ultimate Nirvana in positive, rather than purely negative, terms. The sutras themselves describe the Pure Land as being like unconditioned Nirvana. Also, many interpret Amitabha as being the Eternal Buddha, rather than an individuated person who had a beginning in time on a planet billions of light years away, billions of years before the Big Bang.
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