Purelands

Purelands

Postby gingercatni » Thu Nov 03, 2011 4:18 pm

Over time since coming to Pureland Buddhism I have been intrigued by this tradition. Not only for the relatively simple teachings and practice of pureland, but the focus on Amitabha Buddha. I do not doubt the grace, compassion and kindness of the Great Compassionate Amitabha, however being single minded with the western pureland, in my opinion makes everyone narrow minded to the countless Buddha's and purelands that exist. For example, Aksobhya's eastern pureland the first to be expounded by Shakaymuni has been completely ignored and forgotten about, further the sutra expounding his wounderful pureland is rarely printed in any sutra's in book form. Aksobyha's pureland is described in detail, indeed too is the wonderful compassionate Buddha who remembers all that call his name and vow to be born in his land. Instead, he's forgotten, with Bhaisajayaguru replacing him in pureland teachings.

Again, Ratnasambhava Buddha he too has a southern pureland, described as Glorious together with his consort to promote equality. My point is, Buddha's take eons to great these wondrous purelands to welcome sentient beings into, why then would anyone assume they would then do this and then recommend another? There is much said about the short pureland sutra, some say the Buddha's recommend all beings go to the western pureland, but they don't, they merely acknowledge Amitabha's great merit and his pureland.

Therefore anyone who vows to be born in any pureland is a lucky being, because to be in one pureland is to be in them all.
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Re: Purelands

Postby Astus » Thu Nov 03, 2011 5:43 pm

It is said that Amita Buddha's land is the easiest to reach, that's why it is the one emphasised and taught primarily and not any other.
"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: Purelands

Postby gingercatni » Thu Nov 03, 2011 7:38 pm

Astus wrote:It is said that Amita Buddha's land is the easiest to reach, that's why it is the one emphasised and taught primarily and not any other.

I think if everyone read the sutra's available and other's which are not as easily found, people would see that all purelands are accessible. All Buddha's have buddha nature and have the compassion to rescue sentient beings. If someone has an affinity with another buddha and recites Amitabha's name instead, then their practice is jaded, because they are not being sincere. Further, Pureland Buddhism wasn't created by the Buddha it was created by a group of monks, the Buddha would not have wanted his teachings to become as linear as they are in traditional pureland buddhism, but for sentient beings to embrace the buddha's he expounded in the sutra's for us to be open to their merits. But really my point being whatever pureland someone vows to be reborn in, it should not matter as they are in the presence of an enlightened Buddha. That said though, although we all make the vows to be reborn in a pureland, we should be mindful not to turn the vow into a desire and not to continually focus on rebirth as the Buddha nature is present in everyone and we can cultivate this here while we are alive.
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Re: Purelands

Postby Astus » Thu Nov 03, 2011 9:41 pm

But you should look at the criteria of birth for those different buddha-lands. They are rarely available for just any ordinary being.

In case of Abhirati, "one with passion or attachment cannot be born in that Buddha-land. Only those who have planted good roots and cultivated pure conduct can be born there." (Treasury of Mahayana Sutras, p. 323) Also, answering Shariputra's question, Shakyamuni says that only those who follow the same practices as Akshobhya can be born there, plus other practices. (p. 332ff) It is definitely not an easy task.
"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: Purelands

Postby gingercatni » Fri Nov 04, 2011 12:30 am

Astus wrote:But you should look at the criteria of birth for those different buddha-lands. They are rarely available for just any ordinary being.

In case of Abhirati, "one with passion or attachment cannot be born in that Buddha-land. Only those who have planted good roots and cultivated pure conduct can be born there." (Treasury of Mahayana Sutras, p. 323) Also, answering Shariputra's question, Shakyamuni says that only those who follow the same practices as Akshobhya can be born there, plus other practices. (p. 332ff) It is definitely not an easy task.


Those who seek rebirth with Amitabha are themselves with passion and attachment. With passion to reborn in a buddha field that is made desireable and more favourable than others and attachment to the notion of self, in fear of rebirth in one of the lower realms. And in the Akshobhya sutra it states thus: Sariputra, Tathagata Akshobhya leads the bodhisattvas and followers of other vehicles in other lands as well as in the world of wonderful joy. Sariputra, if good men and good women after hearing the dharma door Tathagata Aksobhya's merits, are well able to accept, uphold, read and recite and comprehend it and wish to be born in that land, then Tathagata Akshobhya will always protect and remember them until the time of their death and will keep demons and demons retinues from causing them to regress from their determination.

Seeking refuge in another Buddha's pureland certainly is not difficult, so long as it is done with 100% faith.
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Re: Purelands

Postby Astus » Fri Nov 04, 2011 12:47 am

Then what do you make of the other passages in the sutra that lists all the different practices one should perform in order to attain birth in Abhirati? It says that one should follow the same vows as Akshobhya plus aspire to be born in his land. It doesn't add that it's all right to do without everything else but faith. Or you see it otherwise?
"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: Purelands

Postby gingercatni » Fri Nov 04, 2011 1:12 am

Astus wrote:Then what do you make of the other passages in the sutra that lists all the different practices one should perform in order to attain birth in Abhirati? It says that one should follow the same vows as Akshobhya plus aspire to be born in his land. It doesn't add that it's all right to do without everything else but faith. Or you see it otherwise?

Do you believe Aksobhya would deny a sentient being with sincere faith in him entry into his pureland? If someone recites Amitabhas name but does not have faith in him thats just stupid, though if they have an affinity with another Buddha and sincerely recite his name and seek rebirth in his pureland whats the problem? Focusing people solely on Amitabha is like forcing someone to believe in god, if someone such as myself seeks refuge with another Buddha with faith, are you suggesting that a compassionate Buddha would ignore this?
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Re: Purelands

Postby Huifeng » Fri Nov 04, 2011 1:28 am

Hehe. This semester I've been teaching a 2nd yr class "Selected Readings from Mahayana Scripture". I do excerpts from a different text each week. In the last two weeks we did Aksobhya-vyuha and then Sukhavati-vyuha. We followed this up with a bit of comparison. It was great to show the former teaching in particular to these students who are mostly fairly familiar with the Amitabha pureland teachings. People easily overlook just how pervasive the whole buddha-ksetra idea is in early and mid-period Mahayana Buddhism.

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Re: Purelands

Postby sinweiy » Fri Nov 04, 2011 2:15 am

净土十疑论 (3)
Treatise on Ten Doubts about Pure Land (Part 3)

隋(suī)天台智者大师说
As Taught by Great Master Zhi Zhe of Sui Dynasty (581-618)
(Translated to English by Shen Shi'an 沈时安)

第三疑: 偏念一佛疑

问。十方诸佛。一切净土。法性平等。功德亦等。行者普念一切功德。生一切净土。

Doubt of Particular Mindfulness of One Buddha

Question 3: All the Buddhas of ten directions, and all their Pure Lands have Dharma-nature [qualities] that is equal, with their merits likewise equal. Practitioners should be universally mindful of all their merits, to be born in all Pure Lands.

今乃偏求一佛净土。 与平等性乖。 云何生净土。

Now then, to particularly aspire for birth in one Buddha’s Pure Land, this contradicts with the nature of equality [equanimity]. Why speak of birth in [that] Pure Land?

答曰。 一切诸佛土。 实皆平等。 但众生根钝。 浊乱者多。 若不专系一心一境。 三昧难成。 专念阿弥陀佛。 即是一相三昧。 以心专至。 得生彼国。

Answer: All Buddhas’ Pure Lands are in reality all equal. But sentient beings' [good] roots are dull, and those confused [polluted and scattered] by [the Five] Corruptions are many.

若不专系一心一境。 三昧难成。

If one does not focus on fastening one’s mind to one subject [to develop single-pointedness], Samadhi is difficult to accomplish.

专念阿弥陀佛。 即是一相三昧。 以心专至。 得生彼国。

Focus on mindfulness of Amituofo is Single Mark [Form] Samadhi. With the mind focused sincerely, birth in Pure Land is attained.

如随愿往生经云。普广菩萨问佛。十方悉有净土。世尊何故偏赞西方弥陀净土。专遣往生。

As the 'Sutra of Rebirth According to One's Vows' states, Universal Greatness Bodhisattva asked the Buddha, 'The ten directions all have Pure Lands. Why does the World-honoured One particularly praise the Western Pure Land of Amituofo, focusing on urging to be reborn there?'

佛告普广。阎浮提众生。心多浊乱。

The Buddha answered Universal Greatness, 'Sentient beings of Jambudvipa have minds much [polluted and scattered] confused by the [Five] Corruptions.

为此偏赞西方一佛净土。使诸众生。专心一 境。即易得往生。

To hereby particularly praise the Western Pure Land of one Buddha will enable all sentient beings to focus their minds on one subject [for single-pointedness], and to easily attain rebirth.

若总念一切佛者。念佛境宽。则心散漫。三昧难成。故不得往生。

If collectively mindful of all Buddhas, as the scope of mindfulness of Buddhas is broad, the mind is thus scattered [undisciplined], and Samadhi is difficult to be accomplished. Therefore, one is not able to attain rebirth.'

又求一佛功德。与一切佛功德无异。 以同一佛法性故。为此念阿弥陀佛。即念一 切佛。

Furthermore, to seek one Buddha’s merits and all Buddhas’ merits has no difference. As all Buddhas have one common Dharma-nature, to thus be mindful of Amituofo is to be mindful of all Buddhas.

生一净土。即生一切净土。

To be born in one Pure Land is to be born in all Pure Lands.’

故华严经云。一切诸佛身。即是一佛身。一心一智慧。力无畏亦然。

Thus, the Avatamsaka Sutra states: ‘All Buddhas’ bodies are one Buddha’s body. They are of one mind and one wisdom. Their [ten] powers and fearlessness is likewise so.’

又云。譬如净满月。普应一切水。影像虽无量。本月未曾二。 如是无碍智。成就等正觉。应现一切刹。佛身无有二。

‘For example, like a pure full moon, which reflects universally in all waters, though its reflections are immeasurable, the original moon has never become two. As such is the unobstructable wisdom attained in [Unsurpassable; Supreme Equal] Right Awakening: 无上正等正觉: 阿耨多罗三藐三菩提: Anuttara Samyak Sambodhi: Buddhahood]. Responding and manifesting in all worlds, the Buddha body has no second.’

智者以譬喻得解。智者若能达一切月影即一月影。一月影即一切月影。月影无二。故一佛即一切佛。一切佛即 一佛。法身无二。故炽然念一佛时。即是念一切佛也。

The wise attain understanding via this metaphor. If the wise can reach the understanding that all the moon reflections are one moon's reflection, that one moon's reflection is all the moon reflections, that the moon and the reflections are not two, this is how [one understands] that one Buddha is all Buddhas, and all Buddhas are one Buddha, as the Dharmakaya is not two. Therefore, being earnestly mindful of one Buddha, is to be mindful of all Buddhas.
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Amituofo!

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Re: Purelands

Postby LastLegend » Fri Nov 04, 2011 2:54 am

gingercatni wrote:
Astus wrote:Then what do you make of the other passages in the sutra that lists all the different practices one should perform in order to attain birth in Abhirati? It says that one should follow the same vows as Akshobhya plus aspire to be born in his land. It doesn't add that it's all right to do without everything else but faith. Or you see it otherwise?

Do you believe Aksobhya would deny a sentient being with sincere faith in him entry into his pureland? If someone recites Amitabhas name but does not have faith in him thats just stupid, though if they have an affinity with another Buddha and sincerely recite his name and seek rebirth in his pureland whats the problem? Focusing people solely on Amitabha is like forcing someone to believe in god, if someone such as myself seeks refuge with another Buddha with faith, are you suggesting that a compassionate Buddha would ignore this?


Hello. It is ok to seek rebirth in other pure lands besides Amitabha's. But I want you to be clear of the prison that mentioned in Amitabha Pure Land. Amitabha did not set up such prison for people with doubt. Believe it or not there people who recite Buddha name but still have some doubt. The point here is doubt is the prison/hindrance but once they realize that their doubt is their hindrance/prison, they will see Buddha, Amitabha and will eventually become Buddha. So doubt is a hindrance to one's path to become Buddha. And the prison is not in a sense like we think of chains, iron bars, bad toilets, or anything near the prisons we have on earth that created by human. The prison here is no difference than a god's realm with good food, pleasant music, beds, etc.
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NAMO AMITUOFO (CHINESE)

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Re: Purelands

Postby sinweiy » Fri Nov 04, 2011 5:10 am

"prison" might not be a good word. should be called the "borderland" 边地疑城. it's sort of at the "border" of PL.
_/\_
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Re: Purelands

Postby LastLegend » Fri Nov 04, 2011 5:24 am

You have to understand that some passage used prison. And gingercatni had made a thread about that in the past. That's what the fuss is all about.
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Re: Purelands

Postby sinweiy » Fri Nov 04, 2011 6:24 am

yes, i saw, a strange translator. not sure how he derived it.
边-edge, margin, side, border
地-land, earth; soil, ground; region
疑-doubt, question, suspect
城-area, castle; city, town; municipality
but yea, there's some form of confinement. perhaps, all Buddhalands have this, since we said all are equal.
_/\_
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: Purelands

Postby Astus » Fri Nov 04, 2011 10:57 am

gingercatni,

It is not a matter of Akshobhya denying access nor Amitabha accepting people. Every buddha has the universal vows to liberate all beings and they have unbounded compassion toward all. At the same time there are specific vows that make buddhas and buddha-lands different. Thus conditions of getting to a buddha-land differ.

Historically speaking, it was quite a long process that Amitabha's practice became reduced to recitation and spread among lay people. Akshobhya's practice died out long ago, it wasn't competitive enough to survive on the religious market unlike other buddhas and bodhisattvas. If you prefer Abhirati I'm sure it is no problem to do practices related to that based on the sutras available. You might even find others who fancy Akshobhya above all the others.
"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: Purelands

Postby Mr. G » Fri Nov 04, 2011 1:46 pm

From the book Approaching the Land of Bliss:

"For those who wish to become buddhas swiftly, it is necessary to pray for rebirth in a pure buddha-field. There are differing fields beyond number, and it has been declared that they are difficult to delimit in speech. Among them, in order to be born in the other superior fields excepting Sukhavati, you must attain at least the eight bhumi, having entirely cut off the two obscurations. Even to be born in the middling fields, you must entirely cut off even the most subtle aspects of the obscuration of the afflictions and attain at least the first moment on the path of contemplative cultivation. And for even the least of the fields, you must cut off attachment to self from the roots, and attain the path of seeing, that is, selflessness, the real truth. Until you've attained the path of seeing, though you pray for re-birth in a buddha-field, you'll not achieve it. But even without attaining the path of seeing, should you strive at prayer, while not engaging even in the most subtle disciplinary faults with respect to your commitments and moral training, and purifying sins and gathering the profits of virtue, you may just be born in some of the trifling fields such as Tusita, and even that will be difficult. Because in those fields there is no room for the births of common, ordinary persons (prthagjana), who wallow in the afflictions, from now on you must pray at length! Therefore, it would seem that afflicted, common persons will not be born in the field of a buddha. Nevertheless, through the power of Buddha Amitabha's prayers, birth in the Sukhavati field has been vouchsafed by lord Amitabha himself, for which reason you must by all means strive at prayer for rebirth in Sukhavati! Without doubt, suspicion, laziness, or irresolution, and by means of certainty and with ardent exertion you must pray, while recollecting the array of the Sukhavati field and its qualities. Because even common, ordinary persons, who are burdened with the afflictions, may be born in Sukhavati, it is exceptional. And having been born there, all of your wishes will be realized just a soon as you conceive them, and you will not be tainted by the merest obscuration of affliction. Moreover, because you are permitted to journey to whichever among the buddha-fields you wish, it is exceptional; and it is exceptional because buddhahood is swifter that in the other fields. Because there is nowhere another field that is closer to being attained than Sukhavati, which is endowed with the aforementioned and other qualities beyond all conception, it is exceeding important that you strive in prayer for birth in Sukhavati."

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    grasping the letter of the text and ignoring its intention!
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Re: Purelands

Postby gingercatni » Fri Nov 04, 2011 2:24 pm

LastLegend wrote:You have to understand that some passage used prison. And gingercatni had made a thread about that in the past. That's what the fuss is all about.

Actually it isn't.
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Re: Purelands

Postby LastLegend » Fri Nov 04, 2011 2:48 pm

My bad, girl.
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Re: Purelands

Postby gingercatni » Sun Nov 06, 2011 6:38 pm

well what ever issues I had have been dispelled. A few days ago I, in complete confusion decided to pray to Amitabha. I asked for him to remove my confusion, to settle my mind and show me the path to follow. Next day, confusion gone, Amitabha constantly in my mind and since! So there you have it, a pureland miracle? Amitabha came to the rescue!
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Re: Purelands

Postby Jikan » Sun Nov 06, 2011 8:04 pm

gingercatni wrote:well what ever issues I had have been dispelled. A few days ago I, in complete confusion decided to pray to Amitabha. I asked for him to remove my confusion, to settle my mind and show me the path to follow. Next day, confusion gone, Amitabha constantly in my mind and since! So there you have it, a pureland miracle? Amitabha came to the rescue!


Excellent!

But now what?
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Re: Purelands

Postby Tenso » Mon Nov 07, 2011 2:32 am

Eat popcorn and watch youtube :popcorn:
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