Astus wrote:This sounds like an acceptible reason for not maintaining the precepts, for they're not just no longer needed but one is actually incapable of fulfilling them. On the other hand, this argument doesn't stand for any other paths where discipline in moral acts is essential.
Lazy_eye wrote:My argument is that allowing for a married priesthood does not, in and of itself, really change anything. In effect, it just creates a new kind of "job" alongside the traditional roles of monk and layperson. Now there is this sort of intermediary figure. But the path and goal remain the same. Regardless of one's function within organized Buddhism, if you want to realize the Buddha's path you're going to have to overcome the klesas.
So in this regard, the priest who lives like a layperson simply faces the same constraints as a layperson. Likewise, a layperson who lives in seclusion and practices with single-minded intensity might surpass the attainments of many monks.
Which means, according to certain teachers at least, that some degree of jhana/dhyana should be possible for non-celibates. So while we should not overestimate the samadhi attainable by the layperson (and by extension the married priest), perhaps we should not underestimate it either.
...who said that for himself (and generally for people who live in this Age of Declining Dharma) it is impossible to walk the Path of Sages (everything else than Pure Land) because he is full of defilements and only Amita Buddha can help who brings even the evil to his Land of Peace and Bliss.
Astus wrote:I don't think it is only Pure Land people saying we're in the Age of Decline but even Tibetans (although they use this to say that Vajrayana is the solution to the problem).
As for "apparently enlightened beings" I cannot say much. How is it apparent?
Regarding the first jhana, if it requires abandonment of sensual craving, only a non-returner can do it, excluding even bodhisattvas. How could then such people as non-Buddhists attain it?
Huseng wrote: You must look extremely wise and skilled if you can while engaging in sexual activity claim mastery of practises which Buddha himself declared impossible unless sensory desires are abandoned.
Dodatsu wrote:Shinran Shonin didn't say it was impossible for others to attain enlightenment, he meant it was impossible for HIMSELF to do so, and in sense, for a majority of us.
While I'm not much of a Dharma Decline proponent I find it a traditional and common view throughout Mahayana lands. I've also heard that those who actually have real attainments are bodhisattvas appearing in this world but no common human really attains anything.
This I don't necessarily agree with. You know, I'm more of a Chan-style buddha-nature believer, which guarantees the availability of enlightenment for everyone at any time, and, certain conditions provided, it can be actualised. Still, reliable teachers are few and phony (wild fox) people are many. And while Ven. Shengyan didn't claim to be greatly enlightened, people like Living Buddha Lu Shengyan seems to say so.
If sensual desires has to be left behind temporarily or partially, even married lay people can attain absorption on a retreat or on a peaceful morning.
Huseng wrote:Dodatsu wrote:Shinran Shonin didn't say it was impossible for others to attain enlightenment, he meant it was impossible for HIMSELF to do so, and in sense, for a majority of us.
That's a depressing prospect if what he said is true. I can see such statements doing more harm than good. Some might lose whatever confidence they might have had in meditation and so on, and just pray for rebirth in the Pureland while continuing on with their regular samsaric lifestyle.
Each of you has come to see me, crossing the borders of more than ten provinces at the risk of your life, solely with the intent of asking about the path to birth in the land of bliss. But if you imagine in me some special knowledge of a path to birth other than the nembutsu or of scriptural writings that teach it, you are greatly mistaken. If that is the case, since there are many eminent scholars in the southern capital of Nara or on Mount Hiei to the north, you would do better to meet with them and inquire fully about the essentials for birth.
As for me, I simply accept and entrust myself to what my revered teacher (Honen) told me, "Just say the nembutsu and be saved by Amida"; nothing else is involved.
I have no idea whether the nembutsu is truly the seed for my being born in the Pure Land or whether it is the karmic act for which I must fall into hell. Should I have been deceived by Master Honen and, saying the nembutsu, were to fall into hell, even then I would have no regrets.
The reason is, if I could attain Buddhahood by endeavoring in other practices, but said the nembutsu and so fell into hell, then I would feel regret at having been deceived. But I am incapable of any other practice, so hell is decidedly my abode whatever I do.
If Amida's Primal Vow is true, Shakyamuni's teaching cannot be false. If the Buddha's teaching is true, Shan-tao's commentaries cannot be false. If Shan-tao's commentaries are true can Honen's words be lies? If Honen's words are true, then surely what I say cannot be empty.
Such, in the end, is how this foolish person entrusts himself [to the Vow]. Beyond this, whether you take up the nembutsu or whether you abandon it is for each of you to determine.
Thus were his words
Dodatsu wrote:Well, that's really up to your point of view. Shinran Shonin spent 20 years as a monk on Mt Hiei, Honen Shonin spent 30 and both found that they were unable to attain enlightenment despite all the number of years they spent up there doing various practices and studies, that's why both of them left. Honen Shonin left first, and founded an independent Pure Land school in Japan.
Even Saicho, the founder of Japanese Tendai, found himself unable to attain enlightenment, and aspired to attain birth in the Pure Land. Many of us who find ourselves attracted to Shinran's message (at least for "converts" like me) are those who were unable to find comfort in the other teachings. The other teachings are all supreme teachings; but they're not for me, i can't attain emancipation no matter how much i try, that's why i take refuge in Shinran's teachings.
At any rate, the idea has generally been that even if you don't end up becoming enlightened in this lifetime, you cultivate the roots for it to happen in a future lifetime.
However, declaring that enlightenment is impossible or extremely unlikely in the present age is not only arrogant, but also inconsiderate and dangerous. If some people hear that they'll throw whatever interest they might have had in spiritual cultivation out the window, say to hell with it and just go bugger off into regular samsara while casually uttering Namu Amida Butsu once in awhile.
Dodatsu wrote:Sounds too simple and too good? Well, this is the flip-side of the coin. Other than the Path of Sages, there is the Pure Land Path which is simple and easy, but difficult to put faith in. By acknowledging that we're "bonbu", it brings us back to the reality of the difficulty many of us will have in endeavoring in other practices. Thus, like what i quoted in the Tannisho, whether one takes up the Nembutsu of the Primal Vow, or rejects it, is ultimately up to oneself.
I don't deny the existence of Purelands, but if only Buddhahood was that simple: just recite Namu Amida Butsu and you're yanked out of samsara regardless of whatever wicked karma tailing behind.