himalayanspirit wrote:1. According to what I have read, Pure Land practitioners acknowledge the authenticity of the Chan school which requires great merit and talent to be practiced. Pure Land is emphasized to be an easy practice especially in this Dharma-ending age when people are more busy in life and do not possess enough merits.
2. Pure Land attributes a reality to the Sukhavati of Buddha Amitabha and its scriptures describes the land in great detail.
3. But Chan practitioners openly criticize the Pure Land thought of a Pure Land existing outside the mind.
Now since the Pure Land practitioners acknowledge the Chan vehicle's superiority, its adherents too must be considered knowledgeable by them. So why do they still insist on the reality of Pure Land when the Chan monks deny any existence of Pure Land outside the mind?
After reading about Pure Land for some time, in which my interest was aroused due to a stated simplicity of this school, I am now getting more oriented towards the Chan point of view. And I believe, chanting "Happy Birthday" a thousand times would give the same result as chanting "Namo Amitabhaya" the same number of times. No? Please explain. I know I have little faith but it is very difficult to arouse faith just on the basis of what is stated in a scripture.
Also, which method of remembering the Buddha name would give better results - chanting the name of Amitabha Buddha or invoking it silently (as recommended by the Chan monks)?
Reality as taught by the Buddhadharma cannot be spoken of for it is indescribable in word and speech. Therefore, the Surangama Sutra says. 'The language used has no real meaning [in itself]'. However, to cope with the great variety of living being's propensities, countless expedients have been devised to guide them. In China, the Buddhadharma is divided into the Chan School, the Teaching School (sutras), the Vinaya School and the Pure Land and Yogacara Schools. To learned and experienced practitioners, this division is superfluous because they are already clear about the Dharma-nature which does not admit differentiation. But beginners hold conflicting opinions and like to drive the Dharma into sects and schools which they discriminate between and thereby greatly reduce the value of the Dharma for enlightening people.
We should know that the hua-tou technique and the repetition of the Buddha's name are only expedient methods which are not the ultimate and are useless to those who have already achieved their goals by efficient training. Why so? Because they have realized the absolute state in which movement and stillness are one, like the moon reflected in a thousand rivers in which it is bright and clear without obstructions. Obstructions come from floating clouds in the sky and the mud in water (deluded thoughts). If there are obstructions, the moon cannot appear in spite of its brightness and its reflection will not be seen in spite of the clear water.
If we practitioners of the Dharma understand this truth and are clear about the self-mind which is like the bright moon in autumn and does not wander outside in search of externals but turns back its light to illumine itself, without giving rise to a single thought and without any notion of realization, then how can there be room for different names and terms? It is only because for countless aeons we have been clinging to wrong thoughts, and because of the strong force of habits, that the Lord Buddha held three hundred assemblies during his forty-nine years of teaching. But the aim of all expedient methods is to cure living beings of different ailments caused by desire, anger and stupidity and perverted habits. If we can keep away from all this, how can there be differences among living beings? Hence an ancient said:
'Though there are many expedients for the purpose
They are identical when returned to the source'.
Learned Audience, it has been the tradition of our school to take 'Idealessness' as our object, 'Non-objectivity' as our basis, and 'Non-attachment' as our fundamental principle. 'Idea-lessness' means not to be carried away by any particular idea in the exercise of the mental faculty. 'Non-objectivity' means not to be absorbed by objects when in contact with objects. 'Nonattachment' is the characteristic of our Essence of Mind.
Our mind should stand aloof from circumstances, and on no account should we allow them to influence the function of our mind. But it is a great mistake to suppress our mind from all thinking; for even if we succeed in getting rid of all thoughts, and die immediately thereafter, still we shall be reincarnated elsewhere. Mark this, treaders of the Path. It is bad enough for a man to commit blunders from not knowing the meaning of the Law, but how much worse would it be to encourage others to follow suit? Being deluded, he sees not and in addition he blasphemes the Buddhist Canon.
rory wrote:So you will find critiques. Pure Landers will say 99 out of 100 who practice Pure Land succeed, 1 out of 100 who practice Ch'an succeed.
In this article I argue that there is little evidence of anything resembling an
independent or self-conscious Pure Land tradition in medieval China. Pure Land
cosmology, soteriology, and ritual were always part-and-parcel of Chinese Buddhism
in general and Ch’an monasticism in particular. Accordingly, there was no
need for a “synthesis” of Pure Land and Ch’an. The modern conception of a
Chinese Pure Land school with its own patriarchate and teachings, and the associated
notion of Ch’an/Pure Land syncretism, are inordinately influenced by historical
developments in Japan and the enduring legacy of sectarian polemics in
contemporary Japanese scholarship.