Dharma Wheel

A Buddhist discussion forum on Mahayana and Vajrayana Buddhism
It is currently Mon Dec 22, 2014 1:11 pm

All times are UTC [ DST ]


Forum rules


Please click here to view the forum rules



Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 95 posts ]  Go to page Previous  1, 2, 3, 4, 5  Next
Author Message
PostPosted: Mon Mar 15, 2010 8:32 pm 
Offline

Joined: Mon Nov 02, 2009 10:07 pm
Posts: 38
Location: Germany
Laura,

Ngawang Drolma wrote:
Perhaps the simplest way to ask my question is, would anyone hope to 'enter' the Pure Land right here and now? However unlikely that may be given our present condition, as a practitioner is that an aim?


Shinran taught that enlightenment cannot be attained as long as we exist as biological beings because as such we can't conquer our foolish nature no matter how hard we try. But he also taught that once we awaken to the truth that we are embraced by absolute compassion and always have been, this doesn't matter anymore since enlightenment will definitely occur after we die, when our karma runs out so to say. So from the Shinshu perspective it's not only 'unlikely' to 'enter the Pure Land' (attain enlightenment) while we are alive, it's impossible. But again - that doesn't really matter, since the joy one can experience by being grasped never to abandoned doesn't come from our hope of achieving enlightenment in the future, but from the fact that the assurance of attaining it, is given to us in the here and now. Calculation stops now and we are free from our wrong expectations causing so much suffering.

Btw you speak of a 'practicioner'....we don't have a 'practice', the nembutsu is not a practice, it's not 'working'. Shinran said that no-working is true working because this is the only way to realize that the Great Practice - saying the Nembutsu - is actually not our practice but is Amidas working, the name arising within us as pure gratitude.

Gassho

Andreas


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Mon Mar 15, 2010 8:41 pm 
Offline
Founding Member

Joined: Tue Apr 07, 2009 8:44 pm
Posts: 2230
Thank you kindly, Andreas. As I said I feel like I'm interrupting a bit but my curiosity overcame me :)

Best wishes,
Laura


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Mon Mar 15, 2010 9:02 pm 
Offline
Former staff member
User avatar

Joined: Tue Feb 23, 2010 11:22 pm
Posts: 4203
Location: Budapest
Andreas,

Thank your for your kind reply and correction. I'm not trying to tell who is a real Shin follower and who is not. Sorry if my language wasn't appropriate. To me Shin as presented by Adrian sounded sensible and more in line with common (non-Shin) Pure Land thought. And if that is a minority view what he says I'd still like to understand the other version. By understanding I mean to have it explained in agreement with general Mahayana teachings, like transference of merit, buddha-lands, three bodies, dependent origination, etc. My other idea was once that Shinran turned Pure Land teachings into something very lofty, like as you said, dropping all self-centred effort, leaving mental proliferation (calculation) behind, and so on. In that case it resembles Zen a lot, or even more extreme. But that I find so contrary to the emphasis on unenlightened wicked nature and the concept of nenbutsu being a path for all. If it is such a radical no-effort, no-method teaching, I can only imagine that it is a way of very very few people. And thus it would belong to the Path of Sages and not the easy path of Pure Land. See now what I'm perplexed about?

_________________
"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)


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Mon Mar 15, 2010 11:46 pm 
Offline
Former staff member
User avatar

Joined: Thu Nov 19, 2009 3:20 am
Posts: 2995
Location: British Columbia
Ngawang Drolma wrote:
Perhaps the simplest way to ask my question is, would anyone hope to 'enter' the Pure Land right here and now? However unlikely that may be given our present condition, as a practitioner is that an aim?

Kind wishes,
Laura


Gee, if you are going to ask a question like that, you have just got to say whether you mean "enter" in the literal or metaphorical sense.

_________________
Sergeant Schultz knew everything there was to know.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Tue Mar 16, 2010 12:17 am 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Thu Oct 29, 2009 4:30 pm
Posts: 91
Gassho Andreas


P.S. for others and myself here are some good articles that clarifies the nature of Amida

http://buddhistfaith.tripod.com/beliefs/id7.html The Universal Buddha of Light

http://buddhistfaith.tripod.com/beliefs/id19.html Amida One Universal Life

http://buddhistfaith.tripod.com/beliefs/id8.html Amida beyond God

http://buddhistfaith.tripod.com/beliefs/id11.html Pure Land a Buddhist heaven?

http://buddhistfaith.tripod.com/beliefs/id10.html The Primal Vow Power of Love

http://buddhistfaith.tripod.com/beliefs/id9.html The Alpha and Omega of Spiritual life (this speaks about the Nembutsu)

_________________
Image
"Just say the nembutsu and be liberated" Shinran Shonin
"However hard it may be to bid farewell to this world, when the conditions that bind us to this saha [samsara] realm run out, we are powerless to do anything as the final hour arrives and we are swept away to that Land." -A Record in Lament of Divergences


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Tue Mar 16, 2010 12:25 am 
Offline
Founding Member

Joined: Tue Apr 07, 2009 8:44 pm
Posts: 2230
catmoon wrote:
Ngawang Drolma wrote:
Perhaps the simplest way to ask my question is, would anyone hope to 'enter' the Pure Land right here and now? However unlikely that may be given our present condition, as a practitioner is that an aim?

Kind wishes,
Laura


Gee, if you are going to ask a question like that, you have just got to say whether you mean "enter" in the literal or metaphorical sense.


Well if we understand that our conditioned state is currently a human one, then if follows that we could just as likely enter into a pure land upon the break up of our skandhas if our aspiration, faith, karma, and diligence permit.

I hope that answers in a satisfactory way. A pure land is not so much a location (as in New York is a location on Earth) as it is a condition. This is true of all samsaric states or 'locations.' Samsara and nirvana are here simultaneously but we are unable to see things are they truly are due to our afflictions and deluded mind patterns. This is my humble understanding and any errors are entirely my own, not a reflection of my teachers.

However I don't wish to derail this thread as it is very interesting and fruitful. Please continue :)

Kind wishes,
Laura


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Tue Mar 16, 2010 12:57 am 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Thu Oct 29, 2009 4:30 pm
Posts: 91
Yes Laura, probably so in your tradition and others, but no so in the teachings of Shinran Shonin. Enlightenment is attained when the physical body dies. Shinjin is the deep entrusting given to us by Amida in which we dwell in such joy at confirmation of Enlightenment. So on our deathbed or however we may die we have no thoughts about it because we are in a stat eof deep entrusting where we will definately enter nirvana.

_________________
Image
"Just say the nembutsu and be liberated" Shinran Shonin
"However hard it may be to bid farewell to this world, when the conditions that bind us to this saha [samsara] realm run out, we are powerless to do anything as the final hour arrives and we are swept away to that Land." -A Record in Lament of Divergences


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Tue Mar 16, 2010 1:34 am 
Offline
Founding Member

Joined: Tue Apr 07, 2009 8:44 pm
Posts: 2230
Thank you for your kind explanation Namu Butsu :smile:

Best,
Laura


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Tue Mar 16, 2010 11:24 am 
Offline

Joined: Mon Nov 02, 2009 10:07 pm
Posts: 38
Location: Germany
Hi Astus,

Quote:
Thank your for your kind reply and correction. I'm not trying to tell who is a real Shin follower and who is not. Sorry if my language wasn't appropriate.


No problem, it wasn't so much your language but the simple fact that I often receive emails from people whom I recommended some books by Bloom, Unno and others. Then they come across Adrian or Paul ranting about the 'false teachers' and are left behind highly confused. As I previously said, a red rag for me when I read these names.

Quote:
To me Shin as presented by Adrian sounded sensible and more in line with common (non-Shin) Pure Land thought.


The latter is not a surprise because your impression is right. Adrian is much more in line with 'traditional' Pure Land thought than with Shinran.

Quote:
And if that is a minority view what he says I'd still like to understand the other version.


The matter is a bit more complicated, because I won't say that Adrians views are those of a minority in Shinshu. Part of the problem is the fact that Shinshu today is often much more in line with Honens ideas than with those of Shinran. Rev. George Gatenby told me that to his knowledge only very few Shin Buddhists ever read what Shinran wrote. They go to their temple, listen to the Dharma talks and usually have a very basic understanding of things. I already mentioned Rennyo and as I said he was not only the driving force that made Jodo Shinshu a mass movement and established the Hongwanji as a powerful political institution in Japan, he was also responsible for an interpretation of Shinrans teachings that changed some of Shinrans ideas into something different. Discussions have been going on for a long time and there are still debates on how close Rennyo actually is to Shinran, but in my opinion (and I'm not alone with this view) Rennyo actually distorted Shinrans teachings.

He went back to the ideas of Honen and didn't understand how far beyond the traditional views Shinran went with his views. Shinrans focus was the experience of Shinjin in the here and now, that is the key of spiritual life and awakening for him - enlightenment is part of the process started by the realisation of Shinjin, but in fact it doesn't play any big role. Not because it's unimportant, but because it's the natural flow of things in Shinrans view once you are grasped by Amida. Shinran was strictly opposed against every attempt to connect spiritual life with anxiety and fear and therefore denied the belief of his time that the deathbed rites are important and that one has to be always on the edge because death can happen every minute. The latter aspect is the reason that in the Jodo Shu the nembutsu is constantly chanted because one doesn't want to die when the mind is busy with something else - since that might lead to a different place than the Pure Land in the afterlife.

All these thoughts are foreign to Shinran and he clearly said, there's no need for either constant chanting nor any fear of your last hour and his focus was this life, not the afterlife. Rennyo's main concern was again the afterlife and he brought back the fear that one perhaps didn't do enough to be prepared for the hour X. He summed Shinrans teachings up to 'Amida please save me' and simplified Shinran in his many letters (used as a propagation tool) to his followers because he thought it not possible to teach them in a different manner. He also told them to treat the Letters as the Dharma directly taught by Amida Buddha and his person was an important part of the Shinshu movement because he could even excommunicate followers and that was understood as excluding them from the Pure Land.

Here's what Al Bloom says about Rennyo:

Quote:
In historical retrospect, it is clear that Rennyo laid the foundation for the popular spread of Shinshu by presenting the teaching in ways which the common man could grasp, just as Shinran himself had done. In this popularization, however, some of the subtlety of Shinran's own thought was perhaps reduced in favor of clear and concrete belief. Sometimes, in meeting a particular crisis, decisions are made which at the time hold yet unknown implications for the future. Rennyo appears to have forwarded the developing ecclesiasticism and centrality of hereditary abbacy through his own charisma. While on one side he warned against the tendency of Zenchishiki-danomi (dependence on a teacher) as a means to assure people of their salvation, his own charisma created such a dependency on himself and his successors. Thus, after Rennyo, zenchishiki-danomi, still a negative term in its implications, comes to refer to reliance on teachers other than the abbot.

Similarly, in the struggle to restrain the tendencies to antinomianism and ridicule of the gods and Buddhas, Rennyo also counseled obeying the laws of the state. He urged followers not to express contempt for traditional religions. He established regulations to control Honganji and aided in the transformation of Pure Land faith from an individual quest of salvation (as it had been for Shinran), to a group-oriented faith. Through his close relation to the peasants in various regions, Rennyo caused them to band together as local groups. This tendency to sectarian feeling and communality was strengthened through the struggles in the Ikko-ikki wars (known as peasant revolts).

Through all of these various developments under Rennyo Shonin, the Honganji gradually became a firmly structured, virtually authoritarian movement which subordinated the individual to the group, cultivated a paternalism on the part of the leadership, and encouraged a dependency and ardency on the part of the follower. After Rennyo, the Ikko-ikki wars (which have the appearance of defense of the "faith", or anti-feudalism) increased with the result that the community transformed from one of nurturing trust to one of feudalistic character. To that extent, it departed from Shinran to a point from which it could not return. The ko turned into gumi -- an organization for warfare. Sect egoism grew. The anomalous belief was implanted in Shin followers that one could vindicate one's rebirth only by exposing himself to the danger of giving his life in bloodshed. This transformation in the character of Honganji took place in the period of Shonyo, during the Temmon period -- 1532-55. The Ikko-ikki struggles were the turning point.

There were many levels in the feudal structure of the Shin order, Honganji-Ikkashu (one family group), also Daibozu, Matsuji, Dojo, and Monto respectively, chief priest, branch temple, practice or worship center, and follower. There was a structure to meet external threat, and internally there developed the centrality of the head with power of excommunication, which threatened the future destiny of the believer. There were strong religious sanctions which could execute a person spiritually but which also were tantamount to physical execution, since individuals excommunicated from the village lost their right to live. It is remarkable that the systematization of Honganji with such strong internal sanctions, could be so very tolerant to outside groups. In effect, in that period, Honganji externally taught Shinran, but in its internal promulgation was non-Shinran.


Official Jodo Shinshu today is much more in line with Honen than with Shinran and that is true for the temples in Japan as well as for the temples of the BCA in the USA. That's why I'm 'independent' so to say and there are other groups who try to get back to Shinran instead of just copying a Japanese tradition deeply rooted in culture and history of this country. Sure, without Rennyo I doubt that we would know about Shinran since it was the fact that Hongwanji became such a powerful organization that the teachings and writings could survive but unfortunately this thankfulness of todays Shinshu has made Rennyo much more important than Shinran. It has become an orthodox doctrine without the freedom Shinran brought back to the individual.

Dr. Taitesu Unno states:

Quote:
Since the orthodox Shin teaching has stressed the working of absolute Other-power exclusively, any exploration of the individual to attain such an awareness has been rejected as a self-power deviation. The label of heterodoxy (ianjin) has been used to cut off any meaningful discussion of the personal quest.

The stress on absolute Other-power, the exclusive emphasis on faith, the discouragement of any questioning, the appeal to human feelings and so on all contribute to the anti-intellectualism contained in traditional Shin discourse. Shin Buddhism today has become an authoritarian religion, rejecting all forms of independent thinking and questioning.


So we have to differentiate two aspects here. Adrian and all the other fundis are very close to official Shinshu as it is taught in the temples in Japan and the BCA in the USA. It's not so close to academic study in the Shinshu universities as someone told me, because there Shinrans works are studied and then it becomes quite clear how far away official doctrines are sometimes from what he actually taught. But both, the official Shinshu we have today and those who propagate a 'True Shin Buddhism' (itself of course a nonsense term since Jodo Shinhsu means True Pure Land sect, so what they are teaching is a True True Pure Land Sect...but it fits to their understanding that some are always 'truer' than others) are not representing the spirit and the teachings of Shinran they way he taught them. So the majority is probably in line with what Adrian says, who knows, I didn't count the members of these two 'factions'. But we are not talking about the Hongwanji, but about Shinran and therefore Adrian and Paul and whoever it is who tries to tell us what 'correct belief' is, is dead wrong since they are not following Shinran and his attitude.

Quote:
By understanding I mean to have it explained in agreement with general Mahayana teachings, like transference of merit, buddha-lands, three bodies, dependent origination, etc.


That certainly is way beyond the possibility to be discussed fully in a thread like this here and I would say you better read some books on these subjects first. Or start with Alfred Blooms online course:

http://www.shindharmanet.com/course/outline.htm

Quote:
My other idea was once that Shinran turned Pure Land teachings into something very lofty, like as you said, dropping all self-centred effort, leaving mental proliferation (calculation) behind, and so on. In that case it resembles Zen a lot, or even more extreme.


At least Soto Zen, yes.

Quote:
But that I find so contrary to the emphasis on unenlightened wicked nature and the concept of nenbutsu being a path for all. If it is such a radical no-effort, no-method teaching, I can only imagine that it is a way of very very few people. And thus it would belong to the Path of Sages and not the easy path of Pure Land. See now what I'm perplexed about?


I can see that, yes. The problem in Shinrans teaching is and always has been that there's no way to 'achieve' Shinjin since it's a gift. Shinran was well aware of this:

Quote:
For evil sentient beings of wrong views and arrogance,
The nembutsu that embodies Amida's Primal Vow
Is hard to accept in SHINJIN;
This most difficult of difficulties, nothing surpasses it.


So it remains a sort of 'mystical experience' and we don't know why some people experience it and others don't. We can only be open to the possibility that it also might happen to us.

Quote:
In this way, one can see that the initiative for seeking enlightenment can only come from Enlightenment itself. Strictly speaking, our limited egos can contribute nothing to this process because they are ultimately insubstantial and unreal - 'empty' of self-being and thus incapable of generating light out of darkness. All we can really do, under these circumstances, is to maintain mindfulness of Amida's Dharma through monpo, or 'hearing' (Skt. sruta-maya-jnana). This calls for an attitude of receptivity whereby we remain open to the influence and blessings of the Infinite Light shining from both within and without. Of course, such a degree of receptivity presupposes favourably appropriate karmic conditions but one can never know whether such conditions exist in advance of our actually striving to conform to that which we acknowledge to be the truth. Once we are able to accept, admittedly after much struggle and travail, the Primal Vow into our lives, we leave ourselves open to its complete embrace which serves to guide us through the stormy ocean of samsara towards the blissful shores of the Land of Light wherein all the 'ice' of our doubts, anxieties and shortcomings are finally transformed into the soothing waters of emancipation. [http://www.nembutsu.info/aof2.htm]


Gassho

Andreas


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Tue Mar 16, 2010 3:31 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Tue Apr 07, 2009 4:32 am
Posts: 307
Location: Laurel, MD
Astus wrote:
Lazy eye,

Understanding the meaning of the teaching of Mind Only not being an easy task it seems natural to me that such a teaching cannot be called a universal means saving people of all capacities from high to low...Saying that Amita Buddha is the true nature of mind without providing the necessary methods is misleading. Simple faith doesn't lead to recognising buddha-mind, neither does the sole repetition of any sets of words.

Do you really think common deluded beings can easily realise Amita Buddha as the self-nature and perform the tasks of an enlightened bodhisattva? If not, it is misleading to tell them so.


Interestingly, though, Bukkyo Dendo Kyokai's widely circulated publication "The Teaching of Buddha", intended as a kind of introduction for everyday people, includes a section on Mind-Only. Indeed, this is presented fairly early on in the book, after the life of Buddha, the Four Noble Truths, dependent origination and karma. The next chapter, after Mind-Only, is on Buddha Nature.

As for Amida, it doesn't mention Dharmakara by name. Rather, it describes Amida Buddha in the following way:

Quote:
Buddha, who thoroughly understood human nature, had great sympathy for people and made a vow that He would do anything possible, even at the cost of great hardship to Himself, to relieve them of their fears and sufferings. To effect this relief He manifested himself as a Bodhisattva in the immemorial past and made the following ten vows...(discussion of vows follows)


There are some obvious and interesting parallels to the Christ narrative but that's a whole different topic that we probably don't want to get into right here.

Amida is further described as "compassion itself". Moreover:

Quote:
Amida Buddha is not far from anyone. His Land of Purity is described as being far away to the west but it is also within the minds of those who earnestly wish to be with him.


Common deluded beings do not have to "realize Amita Buddha as the self-nature" because to express it this way is to to use the language of striving and self-power. In reality, the "only way" is through trust in the Buddha. Moreover:

Quote:
The faith to believe in Buddha is called a 'rootless' faith. That is, it has no root by which it can grown in the human mind, but it has root to grow in the compassionate mind of Buddha.


And further:

Quote:
It is not because of one's own compassion that one has awakened faith, but because of the Buddha's compassion which long ago threw its pure light of faith into human minds and dispelled the darkness of their ignorance.


In reference to self-nature, the text declares emphatically that the "only way" to realize it is via "the Buddha and the Buddha's noble teaching". It is described as something hidden which the Buddha discovered and revealed to people, who can receive it in various ways according to their capacities. As for the practical steps that you or I can take, most of the advice given is about living a moral life (sila).

All this in a book which is presented as a kind of Buddhist "Gideon's Bible" and placed in hotel rooms across Japan! Although it's a pan-Mahayana rather than Shin text per se, the discussion of Amida seems quite Shin-influenced and may suggest how mainstream Japanese Buddhism integrates those teachings within the overall dharma context.

Namaste,

LE

_________________
Rubblework


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Tue Mar 16, 2010 10:22 pm 
Offline
Former staff member
User avatar

Joined: Tue Feb 23, 2010 11:22 pm
Posts: 4203
Location: Budapest
Andreas,

Good to read your thoughtful response. What you say appears to me that it is very much connected with the trend of finding "original Buddhism" - well known in Japan. It's similar to Soto people taking up Dogen from the long past and saying he knew it all and that's enough, never mind the past 800 years, or those before him.

Of course, a traditionalist-modernist debate should be avoided. Today's popular thinking raises its own challenges for all schools. Turning back to the "original" and being more socially engaged are well known effects of West meeting East. Maybe something enduring emerges from it, maybe it is just a temporary phase. I cannot tell. What I know is that a comparative study of modern Theravada, Zen and Shin would be really intriguing. I think they show similar changes to fit a modern mindset.

To me, as far as Pure Land soteriology goes - including Shin - the great wonder is giving an option for stupid people to reach liberation. As the Tannisho (§15) says, "This is the effortless practice undertaken by inferior religious practicers in which the distinction between good and evil is non-existent." To make it anything more complicated than believing that Amita Buddha saves those who trust in his vows is contrary to Amita Buddha's intention as explained in the sutras. Of course, that doesn't mean there can be no difficult to understand explanations and philosophies based on that. And I'm not talking against anyone here.

It seems strange to me to say that Shinran greatly diverged from what Honen and the other patriarchs taught when it is Shinran himself claiming to be a direct follower of their teachings. He not just knew Honen personally but had his magnum opus, the Senchakushu, at hand. In case he didn't agree with that fully he could have said so, don't you think? Nevertheless, that's not to say Shinran didn't have his own perspectives and style of teaching.

_________________
"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)


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Tue Mar 16, 2010 10:44 pm 
Offline
Former staff member
User avatar

Joined: Tue Feb 23, 2010 11:22 pm
Posts: 4203
Location: Budapest
Lazy eye,

Nice you mentioned that book, it was just last weekend I finished reading it. Personally I found it very eclectic and thus confusing for those who have no knowledge of East-Asian Buddhism. Mixing the Pali scriptures with popular Mahayana sutras seems a not so good idea to me. Plus it is not just a collection of quotes but actually a rewritten version. Fairly readable but not the kind of book one should analyse it on a finer level of meaning. For that the original texts are indispensable, like the Pure Land sutras themselves. If you want a taste of the difficulty of Mind Only teaching try the Mahayanasamgraha by Asanga as an introduction.

_________________
"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)


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Wed Mar 17, 2010 1:16 am 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Thu Oct 29, 2009 4:30 pm
Posts: 91
Astus,

the views of Andreas and that of Shinran are for all people. Common folks dont need to just believe in a human who became enlightened before life existed on earth in order to sail on the waterways of easy practice. Like I said many of the poetry written by Shin Buddhist (laymen and women) have described in poetic terms such deep awakenings that go beyond concepts. What Taitetsu Unno and Alfred Bloom show of Shinrans teachings is very simple. No one is saying you must understand Dharmakaya in order to follow the easy practice. Amida Buddha which is the Wisdom and Compassion of the cosmos transmits the Light of insight and we see more deeply. Then Amida is no longer just some man who practiced before the earth had life on it, but as Amida whom is our True and Real Life here and now.

If you havent seen how different Shinrans teachings are from Shinran you should investigate further. If you notice many Jodo Shu may emphasize repeating the Name of the Buddha many times. Jodo Shinshu doesnt stress any number of times. Honen spoke about holding the string on your death bed connected to the image of Amida and the pure land to assure one entrance into Pure Land, Shinran Shonin did not. This view makes people nervous about death. There are similarities with Honen's teachings, but Shinran was revolutionary in his approach.
Namandabu

_________________
Image
"Just say the nembutsu and be liberated" Shinran Shonin
"However hard it may be to bid farewell to this world, when the conditions that bind us to this saha [samsara] realm run out, we are powerless to do anything as the final hour arrives and we are swept away to that Land." -A Record in Lament of Divergences


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Wed Mar 17, 2010 2:00 am 
Offline

Joined: Thu Feb 25, 2010 10:41 am
Posts: 2776
Quote:
http://www.ymba.org/parable/parabfr3.htm
DEATH OF HONEN, FOUNDER OF JAPANESE PURE LAND
"At the hour of the serpent (10 a.m.), on the day of his death, his disciples brought him an image of Amida, three feet high, and as they put it on the right side of his bed, asked him if he could see it.
With his finger pointing to the sky he said,
'There is another Buddha here besides this one. Do you not see him?'
Then he went on to say,
'As a result of the merit of repeating the sacred name, I have, for over ten years past, continually been gazing on the glory of the Pure Land, and the very forms of the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, but I have kept it secret and said nothing about it.
Now, however, as I draw near the end, I disclose it to you.'
The disciples then took a piece of cord made of five-colored strands, fastened it to the hand of the Buddha's image, and asked Honen to take hold of it."
(Honen, the Buddhist Saint: His Life and Teaching, p.636.)

Note: It is an ancient practice in northern India (and later China and Japan) to exhort a dying person to face west, holding onto a thread attached to the finger of an Amitabha Buddha statue. This practice, which stems from a samadhi ("light") in the Avatamsaka Sutra, is meant to remind the dying of their vow to be reborn in the Pure Land.

"To exhort the dying to remembrance of Buddha, / And show them icons for them to behold,/ Causing them to take refuge in the Buddha,/ Is how this light can be made." (T. Cleary, Flower Ornament Sutra/Avatamsaka Sutra, v.I p.350)

It is as the sutra says:
'If a man meditates wholly on Amitabha Buddha in the world of the Western Paradise and wishes to be born in that world, directing all the goodness he has cultivated toward that goal, then he will be born there.' Because he will see the Buddha at all times, he will never fall back ... [If a cultivator follows this path], he will be able to be born there in the end because he abides in the correct samadhi." (Asvaghosha, The Awakening of the Faith, Y. Hakeda, tr., p. 102.)

_________________
TWTB BIES OCB DDM BWF


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Wed Mar 17, 2010 2:17 am 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Thu Oct 29, 2009 4:30 pm
Posts: 91
Plwk
Gassho

:buddha1:

_________________
Image
"Just say the nembutsu and be liberated" Shinran Shonin
"However hard it may be to bid farewell to this world, when the conditions that bind us to this saha [samsara] realm run out, we are powerless to do anything as the final hour arrives and we are swept away to that Land." -A Record in Lament of Divergences


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Wed Mar 17, 2010 9:28 am 
Offline
Former staff member
User avatar

Joined: Tue Feb 23, 2010 11:22 pm
Posts: 4203
Location: Budapest
"Amida Buddha which is the Wisdom and Compassion of the cosmos transmits the Light of insight and we see more deeply."

What do you mean by "compassion of the cosmos"? You imply that stars, rocks and gases have compassion? Or there is a separate natural force besides the four elements, similar to gravity?

_________________
"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)


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Wed Mar 17, 2010 11:00 am 
Offline

Joined: Mon Nov 02, 2009 10:07 pm
Posts: 38
Location: Germany
Quote:
It's similar to Soto people taking up Dogen from the long past and saying he knew it all and that's enough, never mind the past 800 years, or those before him.


No, I don't think that's comparable. There's a difference in saying lets stick to Dogen because 'he knew it all' and lets skip those before him or lets see what Shinran said and what those said who came after him. It's a fact that Rennyo made Jodo Shinshu what it is today, not Shinran. And it's a fact that Jodo Shinshu on its way from being a 'heresy' to being an accepted buddhist sect underwent some changes - changes Shinran wouldn't have always considered changes to the better.

Quote:
Of course, a traditionalist-modernist debate should be avoided.


We have this debate already. And folks like Adrian fuel it constantly. Based on Shinrans views there wouldn't be the need for such a debate since the core experience in Shinshu - Shinjin - is a very personal thing and not open to debate. If you start discussing it, if you start looking for 'correct shinjin' vs 'wrong shinjin', if you try to limit the experience to some specific criteria etc. you get this debate going.

Quote:
the great wonder is giving an option for stupid people to reach liberation


I so often hear that and I don't think it's helpful to use such terms. If you always say Shinshu is for 'stupid people' you won't get many people interested in it because no one considers him or herself as being stupid. Even those who do so, at least won't say it in the open. That's also a difference between Honen and Shinran btw. - Honen considered the Pure Land way as a way for those not capabale doing the various practices of the Path of the Sages. Mappo for him was real and so he didn't think that many people were able to achieve enlightenment on their own. Shinran went beyond that traditional understanding, for him Mappo wasn't so much a problem of 'time' but more a matter of personal situation as such. It's similar to Icchantika. Before Shinran the 'icchantika' was a specific class of people who were considered to lack any seed of possible enlightenment. He used it as a term of the general mode of existence we all are in - we are all icchantikas. But Shinran is speaking about being spiritually unable to achieve freedom from our blind passions, he is not saying that we are all 'stupid' in the normal sense of the word, nor that we need this stupidity to be saved spiritually.

Quote:
To make it anything more complicated than believing that Amita Buddha saves those who trust in his vows


Nobody is making it more complicated than that - except those who want to dictate others how to 'trust correctly' and how to view Amida. The sutras say we should trust in the power of the Vow(s) to attain birth in the Pure Land, they don't say we should view Amida this or that way to attain birth. This whole debate - again - is about 'divergences' from the 'orthodox' doctrines as viewed by folks like Adrian Cirlea and others. To use the term you mentioned, 'modernist' Shin Buddhists don't go around and tell people what to think and how to believe 'correctly' and they are in accordance with Shinran by not doing this. Problems arise when people forget that what Shinran is talking about is a very personal spiritual journey and it's not open to debate or critic by others who think they know it better. I don't have a problem with people who think Amida is a 'being' in a 'location' in 'the West'. I don't agree with them, but I don't think it has anything to do with their 'birth' in the Pure Land how they view Amida and it's simply not my business to judge their views. The only situation I ever discuss this is in a more 'academic' debate or when people try to cram their personal beliefs down people’s throats. These people are having problems with what others think and that is causing problems and is disrupting the Shin community.

Quote:
It seems strange to me to say that Shinran greatly diverged from what Honen and the other patriarchs taught when it is Shinran himself claiming to be a direct follower of their teachings. He not just knew Honen personally but had his magnum opus, the Senchakushu, at hand. In case he didn't agree with that fully he could have said so, don't you think?


There's more to a close teacher-disciple relationship than merely discussing points of doctrine. Shinran was deeply grateful for what Honen did and of course he wouldn't have said anything against his beloved old teacher. Nevertheless Shinrans ideas riped over many years and continued to evolve to his last day, he was not just keeping Honens teachings like a book on the shelf. If you compare Shinrans teachings with what we know about Honens ideas, there's no doubt that Shinran went beyond his teacher in specific aspects. Here's an interesting essay on the relationship of Honen and Shinran:

http://www.shindharmanet.com/writings/loyalty.htm

Quote:
Or there is a separate natural force besides the four elements, similar to gravity?


That was not directed to me, but anyways. You shouldn't consider Other Power as an external force, but more as power reaching you through others.

Here's a great interview with Alfred Bloom that might help you to understand some key aspects of Shinrans teachings:

http://www.tricycle.com/interview/beyond-religion

Gassho

Andreas


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Wed Mar 17, 2010 12:26 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Thu Oct 29, 2009 4:30 pm
Posts: 91
Quote:
"Amida Buddha which is the Wisdom and Compassion of the cosmos transmits the Light of insight and we see more deeply."

What do you mean by "compassion of the cosmos"? You imply that stars, rocks and gases have compassion? Or there is a separate natural force besides the four elements, similar to gravity?


Ofcourse, stars, rocks, and gasses are compassion. Without them what happens to us? Do we exist without them? Everything is interdependence.

Quote:
Here's a great interview with Alfred Bloom that might help you to understand some key aspects of Shinrans teachings:

http://www.tricycle.com/interview/beyond-religion



Awesome, I loved reading this again.

_________________
Image
"Just say the nembutsu and be liberated" Shinran Shonin
"However hard it may be to bid farewell to this world, when the conditions that bind us to this saha [samsara] realm run out, we are powerless to do anything as the final hour arrives and we are swept away to that Land." -A Record in Lament of Divergences


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Wed Mar 17, 2010 12:47 pm 
Offline
Former staff member
User avatar

Joined: Tue Feb 23, 2010 11:22 pm
Posts: 4203
Location: Budapest
Thanks especially for that interview link. It speaks in clear words that here Amida is the same as dependent origination and not an enlightened being in a buddha-land. Thus it symbolises reality, as Bloom said. Shinjin is realising that we're bad people full of karmic delusion, but this is all dependently originated, so it is not really mine. Am I correct?

_________________
"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)


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Wed Mar 17, 2010 1:45 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Thu Oct 29, 2009 4:30 pm
Posts: 91
Just wanted to share my two favorite vids on youtube

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nJ5dsBKy ... re=related Taitetsu Unno lecture part 1

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bDv6zNqD ... re=related Lecture part 2

He explains the Vow and the chanting of Nembutsu.

Gassho!

:buddha1: :buddha1: :buddha1:

_________________
Image
"Just say the nembutsu and be liberated" Shinran Shonin
"However hard it may be to bid farewell to this world, when the conditions that bind us to this saha [samsara] realm run out, we are powerless to do anything as the final hour arrives and we are swept away to that Land." -A Record in Lament of Divergences


Top
 Profile  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 95 posts ]  Go to page Previous  1, 2, 3, 4, 5  Next

All times are UTC [ DST ]


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 4 guests


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
Powered by phpBB® Forum Software © phpBB Group