the meditation sutra

the meditation sutra

Postby gingercatni » Sun Jan 01, 2012 8:27 pm

I've only recently obtained a copy of the meditation sutra, in which Shakymuni expounds how to envisage the pureland and Amitabha Buddha. Has anyone else read this sutra? I'm finding it hard to envisage things in the order described, whereas before in meditation I would form an image in my mind of Amitabha. Also this sutra says that to envisage the pureland guarantees rebirth in the pureland, but the smaller sutra says anyone who has faith in the sutra and holds the name of Amaitabha will attain rebirth in Amitabhas pureland.

And there was me thing pureland was easy :rolling: But seriously for those of us who cannot master the many things described in the mediation sutra, is the chanting of the sutras and Amiatabhas name enough?
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Re: the meditation sutra

Postby Jikan » Sun Jan 01, 2012 11:04 pm

I've read the contemplation sutra. The practice described therein is detailed, elaborate, and challenging. I have not attempted it, nor have I been instructed in it. I would like to know if anyone here at DW has had such instruction.

For what it's worth, I suggest you practice as you were with full faith, and read and contemplate the sutras to the best of your ability. Why not do what you can well now instead of stressing over not being able to do now what you have not yet learned?
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Re: the meditation sutra

Postby gingercatni » Mon Jan 02, 2012 12:05 am

Jikan wrote:I've read the contemplation sutra. The practice described therein is detailed, elaborate, and challenging. I have not attempted it, nor have I been instructed in it. I would like to know if anyone here at DW has had such instruction.

For what it's worth, I suggest you practice as you were with full faith, and read and contemplate the sutras to the best of your ability. Why not do what you can well now instead of stressing over not being able to do now what you have not yet learned?


Very true! :smile:
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Re: the meditation sutra

Postby Mr. G » Mon Jan 02, 2012 12:46 am

gingercatni wrote: But seriously for those of us who cannot master the many things described in the mediation sutra, is the chanting of the sutras and Amiatabhas name enough?


100% Yes.

Prof. Kenneth Tanaka writes in "The Dawn of Chinese Pure Land Buddhist Doctrine":

    ...if Shan-tao did indeed include oral recitation under the category of contemplation on the Buddha, it follows that Shan-tao regarded oral recitation as an essential action, not simply an auxiliary action.

He further writes:

    This discussion has presented the process by which Shan-tao...ranked oral recitation as equal with, if not greater than, visualization in importance and credibility.

Honen, who was influenced by Shant-tao has many passages in the Senchakushu on this as well. He quotes Shan-tao:

    The remaining manifold practices, even though they are called 'good', cannot even be compared with the nian-fo.

Shinran writes:

    The great practice is to say the Name of the Tathagata of unhindered light. This practice, embodying all good acts and possessing all roots of virtue, is perfect and most rapid in bringing about birth. It is the treasure ocean of virtues that is suchness or true reality. For this reason, it is called great practice.

And:

    These passages reveal that saying the Name breaks through all the ignorance of sentient beings and fulfills their aspirations. Saying the Name is the right act, supreme, true, and excellent. The right act is the nembutsu. The nembutsu is Namu-amida-butsu. Namu-amida-butsu is right-mindedness. Let this be known.

And:

    The Master of Kuang-ming temple states:

    Single-heartedly practice the saying of the Name alone.

    Further:

    With wholehearted thought, practice the saying of the Name alone.

So many more great passages I could quote if I had more time. :smile:
    How foolish you are,
    grasping the letter of the text and ignoring its intention!
    - Vasubandhu
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Re: the meditation sutra

Postby Mr. G » Mon Jan 02, 2012 12:49 am

Jikan wrote:I I would like to know if anyone here at DW has had such instruction.


I've seen Vajrayana sadhanas for Amitabha/Amitayus that go through the visualizations.
    How foolish you are,
    grasping the letter of the text and ignoring its intention!
    - Vasubandhu
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