Pure Land as a meditation practice?

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Lazy_eye
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Pure Land as a meditation practice?

Postby Lazy_eye » Thu Mar 18, 2010 1:10 pm

Last edited by Lazy_eye on Thu Mar 18, 2010 2:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Astus
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Re: Pure Land as a meditation practice?

Postby Astus » Thu Mar 18, 2010 2:04 pm

The Pure Land teaching has always had meditation as the central piece of the tradition. What came to be the Jodo and Jodo Shinshu schools in Japan are quite radicals compared to all the others. If you want a more detailed description of the options check . As for buddha-remembrance practice, this is a really nice text: .
Myriad dharmas are only mind.
Mind is unobtainable.
What is there to seek?

If the Buddha-Nature is seen,
there will be no seeing of a nature in any thing.

Neither cultivation nor seated meditation —
this is the pure Chan of Tathagata.

With sudden enlightenment to Tathagata Chan,
the six paramitas and myriad means
are complete within that essence.



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Re: Pure Land as a meditation practice?

Postby plwk » Thu Mar 18, 2010 2:13 pm


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Re: Pure Land as a meditation practice?

Postby Devotee » Thu Mar 18, 2010 2:30 pm

The nuns/monks at our temple advise mantra or Buddha-name recitation as a practice for Zen. I was taught that essentially, when one cannot do techniques such as mindfulness of the breath, breath-counting, koans, or what they call "the meditation on compassion" (similar to Metta in Theravada), silent recitation of Buddha-names or mantras (such as the Medicine Buddha mantra or Heart Sutra) can overcome obstacles and prepare one for other techniques of Zen. This reminds me of Tibetan Buddhism, where a beginner recites one single mantra 100,000 times before progressing. We were told too, that if a student cannot (due to heavy karma or lack of wisdom) easily adapt to Zen, one should have faith that recitation will at least collect the help of the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas.

We were warned though, not to become attached to the technique (praising one technique while disparaging others) or to attach to possible effects such as seeing lights and visions, apparitions, etc.

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Namu Butsu
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Re: Pure Land as a meditation practice?

Postby Namu Butsu » Thu Mar 18, 2010 2:43 pm

Very interesting thread. I enjoy reading about Chinese Pure Land Buddhism. Many people who practice Jodo Shinshu and Jodo Shu practice Zazen, but not in order to gain enlightenment. Taitetsu Unno said that if meditation would be used for anything in Jodo Shinshu, it would be for deep hearing (hearing the call of Amida in our hearts). Dr. Alfred Bloom has written that meditation is fine as long as there is no goal. This is similar to shikintaza.

I am fascrinated by the methods of Chinese Pure Land forms. Also in some Tibetan traditions there are obviously meditations or visualizations of Amida and the Pure Land.


Plwk I enjoyed your post. It does seem that recitation of nembutsu is meditation in of itself even though there is no goal. It is recollection of the Primal Vow of Buddha Amida :)

:bow:
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"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

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Re: Pure Land as a meditation practice?

Postby catmoon » Mon Mar 22, 2010 9:53 am

Fascinating. It looks like the advice on dealing with meditation hindrances is going to be very useful.

Thanks for the posts!
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Huifeng
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Re: Pure Land as a meditation practice?

Postby Huifeng » Mon Mar 22, 2010 10:26 am

Good thread.

In short: Yes, I practice chanting, and other forms of meditation too, which are more commonly associated with Chan. One of the most common combos is to recite up to the point where one has some depth and concentration, and then turn to the question of: "Who recites?" This is the "word-head" (hua-tou) form of Chan (often called Koan in Jp, but Gong'an in Chinese is a bit different).

This is probably one of the most common forms of meditation in Chinese Buddhism. Though just straight out Pureland recitation is more common, as it takes some depth to get to the point of the question.


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Re: Pure Land as a meditation practice?

Postby Lazy_eye » Mon Mar 22, 2010 8:20 pm

Thanks for the great responses -- there is a lot here to consider! From the discussion, I notice (broadly speaking) two strands of thought. One sees Pure Land as a kind of stepping stone to Ch'an meditation, as Venerable Huifeng suggested -- build concentration through the recitation practice and then, when ready, address the huatou. This is probably a naive thing to say, but the approach sounds almost like a version of samatha-vipassana, with Buddha-remembrance taking the place of breath counting.

The other sees Pure Land more as an alternative to Ch'an -- the "easy" versus the "hard" path. And this, to me, raises the question: why would anyone choose the hard path? After all, the Pure Land teachers stress that the practice is all-inclusive. Not simply meaning that those of low capacities should choose this option, but that those of high capacities should as well. According to the excerpt Plwk gave us above, rebirth in the Pure Land makes it pointless to worry about attaining the state of No-Birth and No-Mark. So what need is there for a more "advanced" form of practice?

I have a couple more follow-up questions:

If Pure Land is about "establishing a realm of marks", how does this happen exactly? Do we start simply with the practice of reciting and then gradually faith develops, or do we start with a strong faith and then our recitation practice grows out of that? Where does the faith come from if we don't have it already?

To Namu Butsu I wanted to ask this:

You wrote that according to Taitetsu Unno the function of meditation would be "deep hearing", that is, hearing the call of Amida within our own mind/heart. But since meditation has to be done without expectations, it would seem that this hearing is not something we can consciously will into being. That is, we can't sit down with the anticipation that deep hearing is going to occur. So what do we do instead? Is it something that happens naturally and spontaneously, and is meditation just providing an opportunity for it to arise (in a way, like standing in a field provides an opportunity to get hit by lightning)?


Namaste,
LE

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catmoon
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Re: Pure Land as a meditation practice?

Postby catmoon » Mon Mar 22, 2010 10:24 pm

I don't have a Zen teacher, but I have had cats around almost all my life.

A cat can do an odd thing. It can remain on the brink of action indefinitely. So you watch the cat and meditate upon "Who is about to meow?"

When they finally do meow (they don't every time) the poor meditator is liable to engage in spontaneous levitation. They always catch you exactly on the unexpected moment.

Ok I've never actually done this :D but kitties make pretty fair meditation and compassion teachers.
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Re: Pure Land as a meditation practice?

Postby plwk » Tue Mar 23, 2010 11:09 am


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Re: Pure Land as a meditation practice?

Postby plwk » Tue Mar 23, 2010 11:13 am


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Re: Pure Land as a meditation practice?

Postby plwk » Tue Mar 23, 2010 2:05 pm


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Re: Pure Land as a meditation practice?

Postby Lazy_eye » Wed Mar 24, 2010 12:49 pm

Plwk,

Thank you :). These are great readings.

How did your own faith develop? What brought you to this "dharma door?" and how have things progressed since then? If you don't mind discussing, I'd be interested in hearing about your experience.

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Namu Butsu
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Re: Pure Land as a meditation practice?

Postby Namu Butsu » Thu Mar 25, 2010 7:40 pm

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

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Re: Pure Land as a meditation practice?

Postby Huifeng » Fri Mar 26, 2010 3:49 am



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Re: Pure Land as a meditation practice?

Postby Andreas Ludwig » Fri Mar 26, 2010 10:38 am


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Huifeng
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Re: Pure Land as a meditation practice?

Postby Huifeng » Fri Mar 26, 2010 11:31 am

Thanks, Andreas, for that correction. As I say above, my take is kind of a general Chinese Pureland one.


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Re: Pure Land as a meditation practice?

Postby Ngawang Drolma » Fri Mar 26, 2010 8:52 pm


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Re: Pure Land as a meditation practice?

Postby Lazy_eye » Wed Apr 07, 2010 5:24 am


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Re: Pure Land as a meditation practice?

Postby Huifeng » Wed Apr 07, 2010 7:10 am




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