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."
That reminds me of Padmasambhava quote that goes more or less like this “"I am present in front of anyone who has faith in me , just as the moon casts its reflection, effortlessly, in any vessel filled with water."
Somehow like the rays of the sun, so is the compassion of Buddhas. It's there for every sentient being, but we need to get out of the shade to recognize it.
I just wonder about what it takes for one to leave the shade.
To be honest, PL Buddhism seems a tad optimistic. It reminds me of people always claiming that Vajrayana can bring Buddhahood in a single lifetime.
Indeed, but only to exceptional
practitioners, not the average one!
What I ponder are the risks of failing. In Vajrayana, if we don't attain Buddhahood in a single lifetime, there's no problem. We've worked a lot accumulating merit and wisdom. It's a complex system that deals with the path in several fronts.
In Pure Land, what's the price of failure? I don't see (I admit my ignorance about PL) how reciting a certain text often can help one to get a good rebirth if one fails to attain rebirth in a Pure Land, especially if it was an evil one (that seems to be one of Huseng's points) doing it. If it was in Vajrayana, such person would have to perform tremendous purification practices, a la
Milarepa, for instance. He went through hell with his teachers because of his previous actions. I doubt just reciting a text would cut it for him.
Can you address this point now, please?