commonalities and divergences between traditions...

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Re: commonalities and divergences between traditions...

Postby LastLegend » Wed Dec 14, 2011 7:33 pm

Huseng wrote:
There is no active will present in the first and other jhānas, and you don't have to be enlightened to achieve jhāna.


Then you must be in the meditative state all the time without resorting to active will.

Fitness of the mind capable of cultivating insight.


You also get insight from reciting Buddha too.

I don't understand what you mean here.


I am talking about Amitabha's compassion through his vows, that sentient beings can go to Pure Land. This type of compassion can be understood as there is not separation between Amitabha's mind and sentient beings' minds. However, your text says The classical theories of karma and rebirth don't allow for such easily directed rebirths until one is at a much higher level. In other words, ordinary beings have no say in where they're reborn. At death it comes down to your karma.

No, because wisdom and compassion can be actively cultivated together while on the bodhisattva career.


Can you then predict when will you be enlightened?

My compassion is ordinary, and my ability to aid others in a serious way depends on deference to the words of enlightened beings.


I am sure other Buddhists are working on this also. But this will not lead sentient out of samsara as when you are enlightened.

That has nothing to do with my suffering and ability to feel empathy for others.


True. But you will not be able to lead them out of samsara when you are still deluded yourself.

Technically this world of ours Earth is Shakyamuni's buddha-realm (buddha-kṣetra), and it is samsara. It is in the process of transformation, so to speak. Amitabha's Pure Land is merely one of minimal, if any, suffering and defilements, but nevertheless because it is occupied by sentient beings, who exist by virtue of their defilements, it is samsara.


That doesn't negate my position that it is still samsara.


I already explained to you Buddha's lands are not samsara lands created by deluded beings.

Like I said, this world is Shakyamuni's buddha-kṣetra, and though all buddhas are pure and free of defilements, those who dwell in it (i.e., me, you and all ordinary beings), are not pure.


Samsara is not Sakyamuni's land, but samsara is where he chose to liberate these deluded beings.

Hence, just because Amitabha is enlightened does not mean his buddha-kṣetra will be pure. Our world is Shakyamuni's buddha-kṣetra, and this world is clearly not pure.


This world is not pure because we are not pure. Pure Land sentient beings are pure.

You are mistaken. Again, a buddha-kṣetra is not necessarily pure just by virtue of it being a buddha's realm. Our world is a buddha-realm. It is not pure.


Our world is not a Buddha-realm.

Buddha realms exist as tools to liberate sentient beings.

Where did I suggest a nihilistic understanding?


Maybe you did not. My delusion.

Again, you don't know my background, so cease with such judgements.


True. However, I was just making a comparison of how suffering affects how people see life. People who cannot afford a proper meal and access to medical treatments will definitely want to get out of their situation. Likewise, suffering sentient beings want to be liberated if they have a chance such as Pure Land or paradise as you had believed before.

I said Pure Land practice is not appropriate for serious bodhisattva aspirants. The Mahāyāna was in ancient times conceived of as a vehicle of Buddhism for a few good men -- one which required extreme dedication and endurance well beyond that which was required to become an arhat. This meant that few would be expected to undertake bodhisattva aspirations as it was long road of toil and effort. To that effect I think a lot of Mahāyāna ideas are not going to be readily adopted and carried out by most people, and in my experience this is actually the case as more often than not the ideals of the Mahāyāna get little more than mere lip service much of the time.


This is the realm of scholars and book learning which does not reflect reasoning and true understanding of Buddhism as a whole.
On this special occasion, practice is essential.

So, those who have bodhisattva aspirations would bite the bullet and take suffering as an opportunity to grow and cultivate themselves for the benefit of others rather than expecting to be saved via the salvation of some greater being.


I must admire this attitude. And I encourage you to get off this forum and focus on your practice or things that you have been speaking of here. Otherwise, you might be lip servicing there.

I would like to take the elevator to get there faster. If you want to take the stairs, then by all means.

And there is no separation between Buddhas' minds and sentient beings' minds. This is why the more you give, the more you will receive. What belongs to your father you will inherit. Likewise with Amitabha who is enlightened, he liberates sentient beings through Pure Land. And through reciting Amitabha, his merits and purity will develop in you.

Different strokes for different folks.

Suffering is still disagreeable sensation to the poor, hungry and sick, just as much as it is to the spoiled kid who laments being unable to buy a new Playstation. The former might receive more pity than the latter, but the experience is still disagreeable sensation no matter how you look at it.


No doubt. But I am sure your suffering affects you in a different way from the poor, sick, and hungry. And therefore it affects how you see the world [Dharma and dharmas] differently from them.
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Re: commonalities and divergences between traditions...

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Thu Dec 15, 2011 2:08 am

LastLegend wrote:
PadmaVonSamba wrote:Please tell me how far the borders of Amitabha's Pure land extend.


To the tip of my nose.


That is exactly the way I understand it.
in fact, I have used that very phrase.

I very much like this stanza from Ippen:

"Once our false thinking has completely ceased,
There is neither start nor finish, beginning nor end,
In the oneness of Buddha and sentient being
Say Namu Amida Butsu"


...especially the line: In the oneness of Buddha and sentient being
--which i think really sums up the whole thing.
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Re: commonalities and divergences between traditions...

Postby catmoon » Thu Dec 15, 2011 2:51 am

PadmaVonSamba wrote:Please tell me how far the borders of Amitabha's Pure land extend.


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Re: commonalities and divergences between traditions...

Postby Nighthawk » Thu Dec 15, 2011 9:56 am

Dechen Norbu wrote:The only shame were the little results CIA accomplished. Had they helped compressing China back to their borders, that would have been something worthy of notice. With guerrilla tactics the Afghans resisted URSS invasion for decades. They are still independent. Unfortunately, the same result wasn't achieved in Tibet, so they are now devastated and live under the oppression of the Chinese regime.
The Chinese occupation of Tibet is illegal. Tibetans lost their country in result of a militarized illegal invasion that persists today solely due to economic interests, not because there's anything fair or legitimate about it.


Occupation is illegal. No doubt about that. I'm just confused about Dalai Lama's position from the acceptance of military force to "pro peace non violence" approach. It seems like he might be using Buddhism for political points only. Either way, no offense as I support his cause.
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Re: commonalities and divergences between traditions...

Postby Spiny Norman » Thu Dec 15, 2011 11:16 am

dumbbombu wrote:i enjoy exploring the commonalities and divergences between different traditions and am curious to know - which school/s do you feel most closely resemble your own? which least closely? why? cheers :thanks:


I've found a lot of commonality between aspects of Zen, Theravada and Dzogchen. Like they're pointing at the same experience from different directions.

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Re: commonalities and divergences between traditions...

Postby Huifeng » Thu Dec 15, 2011 12:20 pm

bodhicitta

~~ Huifeng
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Re: commonalities and divergences between traditions...

Postby Indrajala » Thu Dec 15, 2011 12:27 pm

LastLegend wrote:
Huseng wrote:
There is no active will present in the first and other jhānas, and you don't have to be enlightened to achieve jhāna.


Then you must be in the meditative state all the time without resorting to active will.


Where did you get that idea? I am saying while in the absorption (jhāna), there is no active will.

I am talking about Amitabha's compassion through his vows, that sentient beings can go to Pure Land. This type of compassion can be understood as there is not separation between Amitabha's mind and sentient beings' minds. However, your text says The classical theories of karma and rebirth don't allow for such easily directed rebirths until one is at a much higher level. In other words, ordinary beings have no say in where they're reborn. At death it comes down to your karma.


Pure Land Buddhism generally attributes omnipotent-like power to buddhas. However, this is not really the case. It is true that buddhas consider as themselves all sentient beings, but that doesn't mean they can just pluck anyone out of samsara just because they know the right mantra or phrase.

What you're proposing is no different than theists who claim their deity will save the select few individuals who know the name of god or have the right membership card, so to speak.

No, because wisdom and compassion can be actively cultivated together while on the bodhisattva career.


Can you then predict when will you be enlightened?


Enlightenment in English is a word with many meanings. What do you mean? When will I be liberated from involuntary rebirth? When will I achieve buddhahood? When will I achieve the first bodhisattva bhumi?



That has nothing to do with my suffering and ability to feel empathy for others.


True. But you will not be able to lead them out of samsara when you are still deluded yourself.


I can defer to the words of the Buddha and other liberated people.

Technically this world of ours Earth is Shakyamuni's buddha-realm (buddha-kṣetra), and it is samsara. It is in the process of transformation, so to speak. Amitabha's Pure Land is merely one of minimal, if any, suffering and defilements, but nevertheless because it is occupied by sentient beings, who exist by virtue of their defilements, it is samsara.


That doesn't negate my position that it is still samsara.


I already explained to you Buddha's lands are not samsara lands created by deluded beings.


They are still samsaric because those who dwell in them, i.e., sentient beings, exist by virtue of their defilements. It is only because of defilements (kleśa) that sentient beings exist, regardless of wherever they dwell.
Like I said, this world is Shakyamuni's buddha-kṣetra, and though all buddhas are pure and free of defilements, those who dwell in it (i.e., me, you and all ordinary beings), are not pure.


Samsara is not Sakyamuni's land, but samsara is where he chose to liberate these deluded beings.


You are mistaken. This world, earth, is Shakyamuni's buddha-kṣetra, and it is samsara.
Hence, just because Amitabha is enlightened does not mean his buddha-kṣetra will be pure. Our world is Shakyamuni's buddha-kṣetra, and this world is clearly not pure.


This world is not pure because we are not pure. Pure Land sentient beings are pure.


You are mistaken. Sentient beings only exist because of kleśa. If they were pure, as you insist, then they would not be sentient beings.

You are mistaken. Again, a buddha-kṣetra is not necessarily pure just by virtue of it being a buddha's realm. Our world is a buddha-realm. It is not pure.


Our world is not a Buddha-realm.


Yes, it is. You need to brush up on basic buddhology my friend. This is Shakyamuni's buddha-kṣetra.


Again, you don't know my background, so cease with such judgements.


True. However, I was just making a comparison of how suffering affects how people see life. People who cannot afford a proper meal and access to medical treatments will definitely want to get out of their situation. Likewise, suffering sentient beings want to be liberated if they have a chance such as Pure Land or paradise as you had believed before.


That's fine. They're probably not serious bodhisattva aspirants then.

So, those who have bodhisattva aspirations would bite the bullet and take suffering as an opportunity to grow and cultivate themselves for the benefit of others rather than expecting to be saved via the salvation of some greater being.


I must admire this attitude. And I encourage you to get off this forum and focus on your practice or things that you have been speaking of here. Otherwise, you might be lip servicing there.


You're in no position to make suggestions to me about how to practice and when.



Suffering is still disagreeable sensation to the poor, hungry and sick, just as much as it is to the spoiled kid who laments being unable to buy a new Playstation. The former might receive more pity than the latter, but the experience is still disagreeable sensation no matter how you look at it.


No doubt. But I am sure your suffering affects you in a different way from the poor, sick, and hungry. And therefore it affects how you see the world [Dharma and dharmas] differently from them.


Sure, but I've been poor, sick and hungry before. Again, you don't know my background, so cease with such judgements about my personal background -- that I'm somehow ignorant of suffering. You don't know me, I don't know you.
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Re: commonalities and divergences between traditions...

Postby Dechen Norbu » Thu Dec 15, 2011 1:01 pm

Ryoto wrote:
Dechen Norbu wrote:The only shame were the little results CIA accomplished. Had they helped compressing China back to their borders, that would have been something worthy of notice. With guerrilla tactics the Afghans resisted URSS invasion for decades. They are still independent. Unfortunately, the same result wasn't achieved in Tibet, so they are now devastated and live under the oppression of the Chinese regime.
The Chinese occupation of Tibet is illegal. Tibetans lost their country in result of a militarized illegal invasion that persists today solely due to economic interests, not because there's anything fair or legitimate about it.


Occupation is illegal. No doubt about that. I'm just confused about Dalai Lama's position from the acceptance of military force to "pro peace non violence" approach. It seems like he might be using Buddhism for political points only. Either way, no offense as I support his cause.

He's a head of state and always did his best to avoid armed conflict. Their only hope would have been delaying the occupation by means of guerrilla tactics until China gave up to external pressures. Those days are long gone. After the Chinese party succeeded and effectively took over Tibet, guerrilla tactics wouldn't be useful any longer. Had the Tibetan government received enough funds and his men adequate training, it's possible that due to the topographic characteristics of Tibet they were able to resist for a few decades. That would have been enough. An occupation like they suffered would be intolerable a few decades later and China wouldn't get away with it. In the end it was a nice try. Unfortunately the Tibetan government didn't have enough support back then. That lead to the death of thousands and thousands of people.

But this issue is way of topic here. :lol: Let's avoid derailing the topic.
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Re: commonalities and divergences between traditions...

Postby Nighthawk » Thu Dec 15, 2011 1:24 pm

Huseng my friend I think you are being blatantly ignorant about a lot of things when it comes to Pure Land Buddhism. Just curious, do you deny the existence of Amitabha Buddha? If you deny his existence then it might be easier to understand your strong continuous rejection a bit. Buddhas might not be omnipotent, but they do have vast stores of merit and compassion. Even enough to "pluck" a deluded being out of samsara. If you don't trust me then trust the great Nagarjuna who advocated the Pure Land path as well as many other well respected sages in the Mahayana tradition.
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Re: commonalities and divergences between traditions...

Postby Indrajala » Thu Dec 15, 2011 1:49 pm

Ryoto wrote:Huseng my friend I think you are being blatantly ignorant about a lot of things when it comes to Pure Land Buddhism.


I understand it well enough. I just think much of it is incompatible with older lines of Buddhist thought.


Just curious, do you deny the existence of Amitabha Buddha?


No, I just don't think Amitabha is omnipotent and capable of bypassing karmic law.


If you deny his existence then it might be easier to understand your strong continuous rejection a bit.


I don't deny it.

Buddhas might not be omnipotent, but they do have vast stores of merit and compassion. Even enough to "pluck" a deluded being out of samsara.


If this was so, we'd all be plucked out of samsara already.

If you don't trust me then trust the great Nagarjuna who advocated the Pure Land path as well as many other well respected sages in the Mahayana tradition.


A lot of things are attributed to him.
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Re: commonalities and divergences between traditions...

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Thu Dec 15, 2011 2:19 pm

Huseng wrote:
Ryoto wrote:Huseng my friend I think you are being blatantly ignorant about a lot of things when it comes to Pure Land Buddhism.


I understand it well enough. I just think much of it is incompatible with older lines of Buddhist thought.

Just curious, do you deny the existence of Amitabha Buddha?


No, I just don't think Amitabha is omnipotent and capable of bypassing karmic law.



If you assert a 'self', as an existent thing (the theistic view) then all of this confusion arises.
Outside of your own mind, you have no karma.
If beings truly existed, then Amitabha could not save them.
Consider as an analogy,
when a man looks in the mirror in order to shave his beard.
If the face in the reflection truly existed,
no matter how much the man shaved, the face in the mirror would still have a beard.
But because the reflection has no true existence, when the man shaves, his reflection does too.
If the people inside mirrors thought they were real, they'd be having the same argument as the one above.

It's the mind of delusion from which karma is produced.
but your true nature is infinite, thus already inseparable from the nature of Buddha.
Amida Buddha can liberate beings
because in fact, they are already liberated.
Saying Amitabha's name doesn't make it happen,
just as practicing any dharma will not give you what you don't already have.
it just reveals what is already happening,
mind's infinite nature.
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Re: commonalities and divergences between traditions...

Postby Astus » Thu Dec 15, 2011 2:58 pm

Huseng wrote:I understand it well enough. I just think much of it is incompatible with older lines of Buddhist thought.
I just don't think Amitabha is omnipotent and capable of bypassing karmic law.


What older lines do you mean? Teachings about different means to attain birth in buddha-lands has been part of Indian Mahayana and of East Asian Mahayana as well. The land of Amitabha was emphasised by the Tiantai school and then on by others. It is older than the whole Vajrayana.

No buddha is omnipontent and in interaction with beings they can't overwrite karma. As I said before, merit transference is what allows the assistance of buddhas and bodhisattvas, and that is a doctrine found even in the Nikayas.
"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)

“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; T51n2076, p461b24-26)
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Re: commonalities and divergences between traditions...

Postby Indrajala » Thu Dec 15, 2011 4:29 pm

Astus wrote:
Huseng wrote:I understand it well enough. I just think much of it is incompatible with older lines of Buddhist thought.
I just don't think Amitabha is omnipotent and capable of bypassing karmic law.


What older lines do you mean?


Abhidharma for starters.

Teachings about different means to attain birth in buddha-lands has been part of Indian Mahayana and of East Asian Mahayana as well.


Sure, but it isn't as easy as many proponents of Pure Land Buddhist suggest it is.

The land of Amitabha was emphasised by the Tiantai school and then on by others. It is older than the whole Vajrayana.


I'm aware of that. I've been stating this whole time I disagree with much of Pure Land Buddhism. If I lived in the time when Tiantai flourished I'd have debated with them just as much as I'm arguing on this forum.

You can be Buddhist and disagree with the tenets of other schools. This is to be encouraged, otherwise you'll end up accepting everything as equal without acknowledging all the contradictions.

No buddha is omnipontent and in interaction with beings they can't overwrite karma. As I said before, merit transference is what allows the assistance of buddhas and bodhisattvas, and that is a doctrine found even in the Nikayas.


Well, Shinran had a rather notable position in that even evil people get into the Pure Land by virtue of the grace of Amitabha. That overrides karmic theory big time.
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Re: commonalities and divergences between traditions...

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Thu Dec 15, 2011 4:57 pm

Huseng wrote:Well, Shinran had a rather notable position in that even evil people get into the Pure Land by virtue of the grace of Amitabha. That overrides karmic theory big time.


The point is that once one understands one's true nature, past actions are of little consequence.
Consider this quote (The Zen Teachings of Bodhidharma, trans. Red Pine; p.41):

"But once you see your true nature, you're a buddha even if you work as a butcher"

Buddha nature does not depend on conditions. It is not affected by karma.
Realizing buddha nature depends on conditions.
Reciting Buddha's name is Shinran's expedient method to realization.

This doesn't mean that all bets are off, and that you can just say "namo amitabha" and then go rob a bank.
Most people, if they continue to engage in negative actions,
will never realize their true nature.
But, In Reciting Amida's name, it is possible to realize (again, to quote Ippen):
"... the oneness of Buddha and sentient being".

Whether a person actually does realize that oneness or not, that's where actions and karma come in to play.
And that's their problem, not Buddha's.
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Re: commonalities and divergences between traditions...

Postby Astus » Thu Dec 15, 2011 5:46 pm

Huseng wrote:You can be Buddhist and disagree with the tenets of other schools. This is to be encouraged, otherwise you'll end up accepting everything as equal without acknowledging all the contradictions.

Well, Shinran had a rather notable position in that even evil people get into the Pure Land by virtue of the grace of Amitabha. That overrides karmic theory big time.


No problem with disagreeing, but the reasons you give in order to refute the Pure Land teachings don't actually address the proper doctrines themselves.

Shinran's "evil person" is simply a prthagjana, and the possibility of ordinary beings being born in the Pure Land was argued and accepted long before him by Jingying Huiyuan (523-592, see: The Dawn of Chinese Pure Land Buddhist Doctrine, p. 109). It doesn't negate karma but shows that via merit transference evil karma is overridden by good karma, as it is explained in the Lotus Sutra's Guanyin chapter.
"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)

“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; T51n2076, p461b24-26)
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Re: commonalities and divergences between traditions...

Postby Dechen Norbu » Thu Dec 15, 2011 7:31 pm

Can you explain me then why do we have to do anything at all if such rebirth depends on merit transference, Astus? Why is it only transferred to those who do this or that recitation instead of everyone, not mattering what they do? What does the doctrine says about it?
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Re: commonalities and divergences between traditions...

Postby Dechen Norbu » Thu Dec 15, 2011 7:37 pm

catmoon wrote:
PadmaVonSamba wrote:Please tell me how far the borders of Amitabha's Pure land extend.


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Re: commonalities and divergences between traditions...

Postby LastLegend » Thu Dec 15, 2011 8:18 pm

Huseng wrote:Where did you get that idea? I am saying while in the absorption (jhāna), there is no active will.


Fair enough. However, this does not address why Buddha Recitation Samadhi is not possible.

Pure Land Buddhism generally attributes omnipotent-like power to buddhas. However, this is not really the case. It is true that buddhas consider as themselves all sentient beings, but that doesn't mean they can just pluck anyone out of samsara just because they know the right mantra or phrase.


No, they cannot pluck anyone out of samsara especially those who continue to do evil. However, lets say a butcher knows of Amitabha, and he decides to stop killing animals and with of his heart he recites Amitabha, it is his strong will to change and recite is what liberates him. If he continues what he does and ignores Amitabha, no Buddha can save him. This says that only sentient beings can save themselves when they decide to. In the same manner, we cannot practice Buddhism while not striving to change our deep karmic habits.

How does Buddha recitation override one's own karma? It is the will power of sentient beings plus the merits and lights of Buddha through recitation. This is how Amitabha's compassion works as it is deeply manifested through his vows and recitation of his name. Likewise, a person on his/her deathbed with strong evil karma, Amitabha's compassion cannot pull him/her. Sentient minds have to be compatible with Amitabha for Amitabha to pull the person. A person on his/her deathbed with pure faith in Amitabha, a strong will to recite, and given that he/she is able to recite Amitabha, then Amitabha's compassion will be able to pull this person.

For a pure practitioner, he/she must strive to quarantine all of non-virtuous karma habits of the mental and behavioral. This can be reached through continuous recitation over time. Then when he/she takes rebirth in Pure Land, he/she will become instantly liberated as all of those karma habits will vanish as soon as he/she reaches Pure Land. This is why Pure Land is not a heavenly realm.

What you're proposing is no different than theists who claim their deity will save the select few individuals who know the name of god or have the right membership card, so to speak.


Buddha recitation is a tool. It is up to the sentient to practice or not. If you continue to do evil, no Buddha can save you. This is why cultivation is important, things such as maintaining conducts, precepts, and such.

Enlightenment in English is a word with many meanings. What do you mean? When will I be liberated from involuntary rebirth? When will I achieve buddhahood? When will I achieve the first bodhisattva bhumi?


Now you are playing with semantics. I mean free from suffering and exiting samsara.

I can defer to the words of the Buddha and other liberated people.


Everyone on this forum does that.

They are still samsaric because those who dwell in them, i.e., sentient beings, exist by virtue of their defilements. It is only because of defilements (kleśa) that sentient beings exist, regardless of wherever they dwell.


No. In Pure Land sentient beings are pure. It is not a heavenly realm. That's why it is called Pure Land. Our world is not pure because sentient beings here are not pure.

You are mistaken. This world, earth, is Shakyamuni's buddha-kṣetra, and it is samsara.


Samsara is not Pure Land created by Sakyamuni. Samsara is the sphere of influence and activity of Sakyamuni. In other words, this is where Sakyamuni works to liberate sentient beings of these realms.

You are mistaken. Sentient beings only exist because of kleśa. If they were pure, as you insist, then they would not be sentient beings.


Buddha is a sentient being. What are you saying?

This begs for your definition of sentient being.

Yes, it is. You need to brush up on basic buddhology my friend. This is Shakyamuni's buddha-kṣetra.


If by that you mean where Sakyumuni works to liberate sentient beings of these realms then yes. But Buddha did not create these realms of samsara.

Still trying hard?

That's fine. They're probably not serious bodhisattva aspirants then.


When you speak about others, I will then have to speak about you. Are you a serious bodhisattva aspirant?

You're in no position to make suggestions to me about how to practice and when.


What you speak of reflect your beliefs does it not?

Sure, but I've been poor, sick and hungry before. Again, you don't know my background, so cease with such judgements about my personal background -- that I'm somehow ignorant of suffering. You don't know me, I don't know you.

I don't know anything about your background. You are right about this.

However, when I speak of the poor, sick, and hungry. I mean those people who really have it bad like those folks in Africa and underdeveloped nations.
NAMO AMITABHA
NAM MO A DI DA PHAT (VIETNAMESE)
NAMO AMITUOFO (CHINESE)
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Re: commonalities and divergences between traditions...

Postby Shutoku » Fri Dec 16, 2011 12:01 am

PadmaVonSamba wrote:
LastLegend wrote:
PadmaVonSamba wrote:Please tell me how far the borders of Amitabha's Pure land extend.


To the tip of my nose.


That is exactly the way I understand it.
in fact, I have used that very phrase.

I very much like this stanza from Ippen:

"Once our false thinking has completely ceased,
There is neither start nor finish, beginning nor end,
In the oneness of Buddha and sentient being
Say Namu Amida Butsu"


...especially the line: In the oneness of Buddha and sentient being
--which i think really sums up the whole thing.

That is great!
Namo Amida Butsu
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Re: commonalities and divergences between traditions...

Postby Astus » Fri Dec 16, 2011 1:01 am

Dechen Norbu wrote:Can you explain me then why do we have to do anything at all if such rebirth depends on merit transference, Astus? Why is it only transferred to those who do this or that recitation instead of everyone, not mattering what they do? What does the doctrine says about it?


This requires understanding what merit transference is, which is quite simple actually. One receives another's merit when one rejoices in another's merit. The same is true of demerit of course. So the name "transference" is a bit misleading because there is no "merit energy" transferred from one person to another, but what happens is the identification with another's deeds. That is the reason why no buddha can just simply save the beings but beings must save themselves. That is why one has to create a connection between himself and a buddha. It is explained with the following analogy in the Shurangama Sutra:

"Those Buddhas taught me the Buddha-recitation Samadhi: Suppose there are two people, one of whom always remembers the other, while the other has entirely forgotten about the first one. Even if these two people were to meet or see each other, it would be the same as not meeting or seeing each other. On the other hand, if two people develop intense memories for one another, then in life after life, they will be together like an object and its shadow, and they will never be separated. The Tathagatas of the ten directions are tenderly mindful of living beings just like a mother remembering her son. But if the son runs away, of what use is the mother's concern? However, if the son remembers his mother in the same way that the mother remembers her son, then in life after life mother and son will never be far apart. If living beings remember the Buddha and are mindful of the Buddha, they will certainly see the Buddha now and in the future. Being close to the Buddha, even without the aid of expedients, their hearts will open of themselves."
"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)

“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; T51n2076, p461b24-26)
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