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 Post subject: Re: Precepts and Shinran
PostPosted: Wed Apr 28, 2010 4:21 pm 
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Astus wrote:
It seems to me you take it too much to the extreme. Of course buddhas and bodhisattvas work tirelessly for the wellfare of all beings. But they cannot make anyone enlightened. Even if one goes to a buddha-land (any of them), they have to attain realisation on their own.
.

Yeah, maybe I put it wrongly. I agree that a Buddha isn't some sort of trident-wielding deity who can just zap people into enlightenment.

But even if we go deep into Chinese Pure Land we can see that we do not make ourselves enlightened either. Rather, we bring about a response from Amitabha:

Patriarch Chih I wrote:
If anyone believes in the power of Amitabha Buddha’s compassionate vow to rescue sentient beings and then develops the Bodhi Mind, cultivate the Buddha Remembrance (Recitation) Samadhi, grows weary of his temporal, impure body in the Triple Realm, practices charity, upholds the precepts and performs other meritorious deeds – dedicating all the merits and virtues to rebirth in the Western Land – his aspirations and the Buddha’s response will be accord. Relying thus on the Buddha’s power, he will immediately achieve rebirth.


All these cultivation practices create the right conditions. Nevertheless the deciding factor is "the power of Amitabha Buddha's compassionate vow".

The Infinite Life Sutra assures us that:

Quote:
any sentient being who recites Amitabha Buddha’s name shall be assured of rebirth in the Land of Ultimate Bliss, thanks to the great, compassionate vow-power of the Buddha.


True, the practitioner also has to do the work. The argument, as far as I can see, is over the nature of this "work". In Chinese Pure Land this encompasses the usual Buddhist practices of sila, overcoming defilements, creating merit and so on. Although even here, the reason for these practices is ultimately to build the state of mind in which one can nianfo 10 times with sincerity. But later, with Shinran, it seems to be emphasized that none of these practices can really help us -- there is nothing you or I can actually "do". So deep entrusting as expressed in nembutsu has to carry the weight of it all. (If I have summed this up wrongly, please correct me).

Now we can decide whether or not to accept Shinran's take on it. But if we're going to acknowledge any form of Pure Land as valid, we have to accept the idea of Other Power to some degree or another. I understood Huseng to be objecting to this -- though maybe I misread him. If that's the case, sorry!

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 Post subject: Re: Precepts and Shinran
PostPosted: Wed Apr 28, 2010 4:35 pm 
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Huseng wrote:
Let us turn the US Pentagon into a Dharma Center.


:jawdrop:

WHAT??? And leave us poor saps south of the border open to the nefarious machinations of the National Defense Ministry? We'd have troops in Boston again messing with taxes and tee and forcing us to sing that "God Save the Queen" drinking song in no time flat. You sneaky guys north of the border are building up your navy, don't you know, eh?

Kirt

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 Post subject: Re: Precepts and Shinran
PostPosted: Wed Apr 28, 2010 4:53 pm 
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Huseng,

Yes, generally lot of merits are necessary. However, even the sutra says, that Pure Land is available for those who committed the five heinous crimes and ten wrong deeds. This is neither Honen's nor Shinran's invention who both relied on the scriptures and Chinese masters. It is just that they took it to its logical end.

See what the great Ming master Ouyi says (Mind Seal of the Buddhas): "Whether we achieve rebirth in the Pure Land depends entirely on whether or not we have faith and vows. How high we rank in the Pure Land depends entirely on how deeply we recite the Buddha-name."

It is said the Pure Land path is good for those with high, with middle and with low capacity. Honen and Shinran said they're incapable of anything else but relying solely on Amita Buddha's power. That interpretation is still within the boundaries of traditional understanding of the Pure Land scriptures. Thus there is the possiblity of attaining birth without being good at precepts. Nevertheless, no Pure Land teacher ever said people should do bad things.

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"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)


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 Post subject: Re: Precepts and Shinran
PostPosted: Wed Apr 28, 2010 5:18 pm 
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Huseng wrote:
My problem is with the assertion that merely by saying, "Namu Amida Butsu" that you can become free from all defilements and become an omniscient tathagata.


Lord Buddha said many times that one or another practice would plant the causes for Buddhahood in a future lifetime.

Just practicing "Namu Amida Butsu" is the same as reciting "Om Ami Dewa Hrih" or it's variants (literally) and is said to be a definite cause for rebirth in Sukavati, again, as noted, from Amida Buddha's Vows. Since all thoughts, words and deeds create karma, chanting the name of Amida creates the cause to be reborn in Sakavati. Chanted sincerely it will also be a cause for transforming the practitioners mind and behavior. There are lots of stories about such people in all the Pure Land traditions, including Shin.

Then with rebirth in the Pure Land one quickly attains enlightenment.

Reading Jodo Shin authors, it is clear that they are not claiming that people, even people who have been blessed (is this the correct teminology in Jodo Shin?) with shinjin, are free of defilements by the practice. But this is no different from the blessings of the lineages and practices in other Buddhist systems either - people react differently and have different experiences.

Kirt

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 Post subject: Re: Precepts and Shinran
PostPosted: Wed Apr 28, 2010 6:16 pm 
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Astus wrote:
At the same time, failing on the bodhisattva path and losing human birth can easily result in aeons of wandering around (see the parable of the blind turtle in the ocean).


Amitabha's 36th vow guarantees that bodhisattvas connected to him will not retrogress but will continue their bodhisattvic activities in their next life.

Kirt

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 Post subject: Re: Precepts and Shinran
PostPosted: Wed Apr 28, 2010 7:30 pm 
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Kirtu,

Yes, bodhisattvas who are in connection with Amita Buddha. Those who have a connection with him could as well be born in his land. Not to mention that arya bodhisattvas can travel between buddha-lands.

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"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)


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 Post subject: Re: Precepts and Shinran
PostPosted: Wed Apr 28, 2010 7:36 pm 
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Huseng,

Quote:
I think this is uncalled for. Are you taking the precepts as "commandments"? In Shinshu, the precepts are worthy of upholding, if you are able to uphold them, go ahead. But don't take the precepts as something that will feed your ego. This is what Shinran admonished against. Many of us tend to think that we're "holier-than-thou" when we follow the precepts and see others to be "lower" when they don't.


That's the point Shinran was making, indeed. Shinran never said break the precepts or that they have no value, he simply didn't give them to his followers because he was aware that there are always situations that we find ourselves breaking them. If you first take them as a vow and then realize that you are breaking one of them it adds the karma of breaking a holy vow to the fact of breaking a precept. People tend to be afraid of everything and Shinran lived in a time when people had lots of reasons to fear situations and people around them. He didn't want to add fear into their lifes but bring them hope and freedom and peace.

When you are a fisherman and you have to kill to make a living (and in the time of Shinran people had even less possibilities to change their 'way of life' than we have today), then you have to break the precept of 'avoid not to kill'. You have no choice. If you are a prostitute who is selling her body to have enough food for her children then you are not living according to the buddhist ideal - but again you might find yourself unable to change it. Shinrans main approach to the Dharma was compassion and that was the driving force behind his life and work. The precepts are guidelines not commandments as Dodatsu says, so it makes perfect sense to see them as ideals and trying to live holding them up. If for whatever reason you fail to do so, don't feel guilty and start all over so to say.

Quote:
It sounds like you have critically misunderstood what a Buddha is and made a Brahma out of Buddha. Your vision of the Buddha has turned him into a god like we find in monotheist religions


From what you are saying in this thread I think you have greatly misunderstood Shinran and his teachings. It is you who is always repeating that Amida is a 'being' and like a 'god saving people', Shinshu having a 'theodicy problem' etc.. Amida and his Pure Land are ONE and it's Nirvana itself. 'Nobody' is 'there' when 'you' are born in the Pure Land and that's the state of transpersonal ultimate reality. Amida is neither a creator nor a judge, but reality.


Quote:
My idea of the Pureland is to build one right here on earth. Or rather turn our world into a Pureland. Let us eliminate all disease, war, fighting, anger, poverty and oppression on earth. Let us turn the US Pentagon into a Dharma Center.


Sounds to me that you are not really grasping what the First Noble truth is actually saying and that you don't see the root problem that is causing both our illusions and our cravings. Both illusions, who we are and what we can achieve and the craving for power and wealth etc., are closely tied to how we live our life. To strive for a better world is a noble goal, but what you seem to have in mind is ignoring the root problem and by that feeding what is causing all the trouble - our ego.

Quote:
My problem is with the assertion that merely by saying, "Namu Amida Butsu" that you can become free from all defilements and become an omniscient tathagata.


Again, you should go and study Shinrans works or read some books by good Shin teachers to get the basics right. The Nembutsu is doing nothing, by saying it nothing happens. It's more like the other way round - something happens to you and you say the name. It's not a mantra with magical powers, no charm to fight any spirits or whatever - it's pure gratitude born from the experience of being grasped never to be abandoned. The experience of being grasped is not debatable and can't be proven to you in any way (nor is there any need to do so actually) and the response to it is born out of gratitude and happens naturally - it has nothing to do with what you seem to think the nembutsu is.

Quote:
From that perspective maintaining precepts allows for an accumulation of merit in daily life. You need merit to get to the pure land of Amitabha, ergo maintaining precepts is quite beneficial in achieving said goal.


In Shinrans teachings the Pure Land is Nirvana and to say you have to maintain the precepts and accumulate merit to attain it is saying that enlightenment is based on conditions and has a definitive cause. Enlightenment though is the state of unconditioned awareness of suchness and it is a misunderstanding (even among Buddhists) to think that meditation is the cause for enlightenment. It has no cause or else it wouldn't be the state of freedom, the realization of it happens naturally. Since the liberation from suffering is a shift in perspective and no specific step on a ladder of magical education and practice there's nothing to do to make it happen. The goal is to be free from causes and conditions so you can not reach that state by creating a certain framework with the idea to 'produce' it.


Quote:
Thus I disagree with Shinran or anyone else who would say precepts are unnecessary. They are the foundation of everything in Buddhism.


It's fine that you disagree, but again I'm afraid you don't understand what Shinran had in mind. When Shinjin happens then a certain transformation of your being starts and that will naturally transform your life towards the 'better' which may even help you to hold the precepts (aren't the precepts some guidelines to transform you into some 'better person'?). Then it's not a matter of 'holding a precept' like a robot but to simply live a natural life of compassion without any calculation to get something out of it. For Shinran the precepts as such are neither the cause nor the hindrance to enlightenment, but guidelines and Shinjin will make them unnecessary because then you will most likely live according to their spirit anyway.

The foundation of Buddhism is the insight that we are living a life of ignorance based on a false understanding of who and what we actually are. The Ego- illusion and how to get rid of it is the foundation of Buddhism not a bunch of thou-shalt-nots. To think one can beat the illusion by giving more power to the idea itself (you know, sitting down and meditating the ego away so to say) is actually fueling the ego-engine and it will produce even more illusions this way. Shinran was aware of this since he knew how it worked when he was trying to become liberated/enlightened without any positive results (quite the contrary) and the solution was to simply surrender the idea itself - if you can't cross the mountain simply circumvent it. Not by strengthening the ego is liberation from it achieved but by letting it go. And letting go of the ego is the foundation of Buddhism...

Astus,

Quote:
that's how by remembering Amita Buddha we can meet him at the time of death and be escorted to the Pure Land.


Well, it seems you are still closer to Honen than to Shinran, but Dodatsu already gave Shinrans quote regarding this idea.

Kirt,

Quote:
chanting the name of Amida creates the cause to be reborn in Sakavati


No it does not. At least not in the understanding of Shinran. Nembutsu is not about getting enlightened or receiving merit or achieving any other goal. The nembutsu is a response to something, not a cause of something.

Quote:
Then with rebirth in the Pure Land one quickly attains enlightenment.


No, since birth in the Pure Land IS attaining enlightenment.



The thread here actually reminds me why we had a separate Shinshu forum on E-Sangha. So many misunderstandings and confused ideas about what Shinran taught or didn't teach come together that it is nearly impossible to give concrete answers and to explain things extensively. And it's the reason why Shin Buddhists always see the need to rectify some errors regarding Shinrans ideas and always find themselves in an endless fight with those who say they don't accept it as a valid path etc. - although the teachings are not well understood by those who say that. Makes it all rather pointless imho.

In the end it really comes down to a simple decision. If you can not enter the hall by any other door but the one that is wide open then you will use it. Any debates why other doors might be better are useless when you don't have the keys to open them. That's why we are crossing the ocean of suffering by boarding the ship of the Great Vow. The calculation whether it works or not is already beyond the decision because we have no other way to go anyway. That's why Shinran said 'only the nembutsu is real' - it's simply our reality.

Gassho

Andreas


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 Post subject: Re: Precepts and Shinran
PostPosted: Wed Apr 28, 2010 8:41 pm 
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Andreas Ludwig wrote:
It has no cause or else it wouldn't be the state of freedom, the realization of it happens naturally. Since the liberation from suffering is a shift in perspective and no specific step on a ladder of magical education and practice there's nothing to do to make it happen. The goal is to be free from causes and conditions so you can not reach that state by creating a certain framework with the idea to 'produce' it.


This is naturalism, a denial of causality and the validity of the path to enlightenment. Saying that there are no cause nor conducive conditions for enlightenment necessitates that then people attain liberation randomly. Morality, meditation and wisdom are the three necessary components of the fourth noble truth. That's how the issue of keeping the precepts is important. To say that there is a way where upholding the precepts is unnecessary needs good reasons, for it is the basis of the entire Buddhist path. By claiming that in this life no need for the threefold training (sila, samadhi, prajna) and at the time of death there is enlightenment, well, this is contradictory to the whole thing.

Andreas Ludwig wrote:
Well, it seems you are still closer to Honen than to Shinran, but Dodatsu already gave Shinrans quote regarding this idea.


Can be. I can only understand Shinran based on Honen and the whole Chinese Pure Land teachings as a logical result of that lineage and other factors, mainly from Tendai.

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"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)


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 Post subject: Re: Precepts and Shinran
PostPosted: Wed Apr 28, 2010 9:08 pm 
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Astus wrote:
Kirtu,

Yes, bodhisattvas who are in connection with Amita Buddha. Those who have a connection with him could as well be born in his land. Not to mention that arya bodhisattvas can travel between buddha-lands.


And other teachings (non-Pure Land teachings) make the same claim: people who practice sincerely may indeed create negative karma but unless they go "totally off the rails" they will be reborn in positive circumstances to re-encounter the Dharma and continue practicing.

Kirt

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 Post subject: Re: Precepts and Shinran
PostPosted: Wed Apr 28, 2010 9:28 pm 
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Andreas Ludwig wrote:

Kirt,

Quote:
chanting the name of Amida creates the cause to be reborn in Sakavati


No it does not. At least not in the understanding of Shinran. Nembutsu is not about getting enlightened or receiving merit or achieving any other goal. The nembutsu is a response to something, not a cause of something.


Thanks for the correction. I had forgotten that Shinran actually took a radical view in the context of other Pure Land teachings (Tibetan and Chinese).

Since merit is in fact generated and purification is occurring, how does Jodo Shin address that, if at all, beyond nembutsu as a response to Amida Buddha's gift?

Quote:
Quote:
Then with rebirth in the Pure Land one quickly attains enlightenment.


No, since birth in the Pure Land IS attaining enlightenment.


Right, in Shin and Jodo Shin (and presumably all the schools derived from Honen's historical teaching). At least in Tibetan and Chinese Pure Land teaching one is not enlightened upon birth in a Pure Land. One continues to practice and then attains enlightenment and then sends out emanations to rescue beings from samsara. In the comment I was addressing Huseng and addressing an objection or point he made regarding seemingly bypassing karmic consequences. So-called karmic "escape hatches" can also be read into other Pure Land teachings. It was not meant to be interpreted in Jodo Shin terms (even though the thread concerns Shinran Shonin and his remarkable teachings).

Quote:
The thread here actually reminds me why we had a separate Shinshu forum on E-Sangha. So many misunderstandings and confused ideas about what Shinran taught or didn't teach come together that it is nearly impossible to give concrete answers and to explain things extensively. And it's the reason why Shin Buddhists always see the need to rectify some errors regarding Shinrans ideas and always find themselves in an endless fight with those who say they don't accept it as a valid path etc. - although the teachings are not well understood by those who say that. Makes it all rather pointless imho.


Shinran has a unique teaching that needs to be well understood. I look forward to continuing over many threads what I see as a fruitful exchange between Pure Land people from quite different backgrounds. For me at least it's not a criticism of Shinran or Honen or this or that school but of learning.

Kirt

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 Post subject: Re: Precepts and Shinran
PostPosted: Wed Apr 28, 2010 10:30 pm 
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Kirtu,

Honen didn't say one attains enlightenment immediately after birth but there one can engage in the bodhisattva path on full scale. So that agrees with what other traditions say. Also, if you look at these words of Jixing Chenwu (considered the 12th patriarch of Chinese Pure Land) they resemble the way Shinran speaks:

"The very moment of contemplating the buddha (nianfo) is the very moment of seeing the buddha and becoming the buddha. The very moment of seeking rebirth is the very moment of attaining rebirth and the very moment of liberating all beings (du sheng, 渡生). The three margins of time are all a single, identical time; there is no before and after."

However, this is actually a summary of the progress in Pure Land practice, just as the article explains, "Chewu takes this progression so much for granted that he uses it without further elaboration to illustrate another point, knowing that his audience will accept it unquestioningly." (source)

But of course it is up to Shin masters to explain their view of the issue.

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"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)


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 Post subject: Re: Precepts and Shinran
PostPosted: Thu Apr 29, 2010 1:31 am 
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Andreas Ludwig

Andreas Ludwig wrote:
That's the point Shinran was making, indeed. Shinran never said break the precepts or that they have no value, he simply didn't give them to his followers because he was aware that there are always situations that we find ourselves breaking them. If you first take them as a vow and then realize that you are breaking one of them it adds the karma of breaking a holy vow to the fact of breaking a precept. People tend to be afraid of everything and Shinran lived in a time when people had lots of reasons to fear situations and people around them. He didn't want to add fear into their lifes but bring them hope and freedom and peace.


Ironically, you have more to fear by not having precepts and refuge vows. Having precepts and refuge vows are a cause for future Buddhahood. No refuge vows no Buddhahood.




Quote:
When you are a fisherman and you have to kill to make a living (and in the time of Shinran people had even less possibilities to change their 'way of life' than we have today), then you have to break the precept of 'avoid not to kill'. You have no choice. If you are a prostitute who is selling her body to have enough food for her children then you are not living according to the buddhist ideal - but again you might find yourself unable to change it. Shinrans main approach to the Dharma was compassion and that was the driving force behind his life and work. The precepts are guidelines not commandments as Dodatsu says, so it makes perfect sense to see them as ideals and trying to live holding them up. If for whatever reason you fail to do so, don't feel guilty and start all over so to say.



Such revisionism is no different than spitting in the face of Shakyamuni. People had the same professions in Buddha's day and nevertheless Shakyamuni, who was an enlightened Buddha, insisted on even the general laity taking precepts.


Quote:
Sounds to me that you are not really grasping what the First Noble truth is actually saying and that you don't see the root problem that is causing both our illusions and our cravings. Both illusions, who we are and what we can achieve and the craving for power and wealth etc., are closely tied to how we live our life. To strive for a better world is a noble goal, but what you seem to have in mind is ignoring the root problem and by that feeding what is causing all the trouble - our ego.


The First Noble Truth is that suffering exists. Whether I'm an arrogant maniac or a selfless saint, provided the causes for that suffering exist suffering will continue to arise. Your use of the word ego indicates potentially you're examining things from a perspective heavily influenced by western psychology which indeed is not Buddhism.


Quote:
The experience of being grasped is not debatable and can't be proven to you in any way (nor is there any need to do so actually) and the response to it is born out of gratitude and happens naturally - it has nothing to do with what you seem to think the nembutsu is.


Anybody from any religion can claim to "be grasped" or have some kind of mystical experience with a metaphysical principle or transcendental reality. Such an experience could easily be just another illusion of samsara.


Quote:
In Shinrans teachings the Pure Land is Nirvana and to say you have to maintain the precepts and accumulate merit to attain it is saying that enlightenment is based on conditions and has a definitive cause. Enlightenment though is the state of unconditioned awareness of suchness and it is a misunderstanding (even among Buddhists) to think that meditation is the cause for enlightenment. It has no cause or else it wouldn't be the state of freedom, the realization of it happens naturally. Since the liberation from suffering is a shift in perspective and no specific step on a ladder of magical education and practice there's nothing to do to make it happen. The goal is to be free from causes and conditions so you can not reach that state by creating a certain framework with the idea to 'produce' it.


Well, how do you define enlightenment? The enlightenment of a Buddha is different from that of an Arhat or a Bodhisattva.

It sounds like Shinran was a proponent of fundamental realization (hongaku 本覚). I don't deny that model at all, but you still need to foster causes and conditions in order to realize that original tathata or suchness.

To remove the defilements which are a hindrance in any system of Buddhism has causes and conditions which must be fostered lest the defilements will remain. From this perspective, enlightenment actually has a cause. Precepts are generally the optimal mode of behaviour that establishes the appropriate conditions for samadhi and prajna. There is no cessation of defilements without samadhi. There is no prajna without samadhi. There is no bodhi without prajna. It is that simple. To deny this is to deny the Buddha's teaching and to slander the tathagata.

Again, going back to what Buddha actually taught as opposed to Shinran, Buddha insisted on the practise of meditation as a cornerstone of trainings which lead to the cessation of defilements.




Quote:
It's fine that you disagree, but again I'm afraid you don't understand what Shinran had in mind. When Shinjin happens then a certain transformation of your being starts and that will naturally transform your life towards the 'better' which may even help you to hold the precepts (aren't the precepts some guidelines to transform you into some 'better person'?).


The precepts if followed generally prevent akusala karma and foster the conditions necessary for advancement along the path.


Quote:
The foundation of Buddhism is the insight that we are living a life of ignorance based on a false understanding of who and what we actually are. The Ego- illusion and how to get rid of it is the foundation of Buddhism not a bunch of thou-shalt-nots.


Actually it does often come down to instructing people on what the cause of suffering is and strongly suggesting they from from actions which only perpetuate that suffering.



Quote:
To think one can beat the illusion by giving more power to the idea itself (you know, sitting down and meditating the ego away so to say) is actually fueling the ego-engine and it will produce even more illusions this way. Shinran was aware of this since he knew how it worked when he was trying to become liberated/enlightened without any positive results (quite the contrary) and the solution was to simply surrender the idea itself - if you can't cross the mountain simply circumvent it. Not by strengthening the ego is liberation from it achieved but by letting it go. And letting go of the ego is the foundation of Buddhism...



So Shinran had a bad experience in Tendai! That hardly negates that almost every single Buddhist tradition in history has advocated some kind of meditation, never mind that Shakyamuni himself prescribed it.

You suggest "meditating the ego away" is not possible -- but insight meditation into the emptiness of self followed by the emptiness of phenomena actually exists. Maybe Shinran failed, but that doesn't necessitate that everyone else will.

If anyone had a big ego, it was Shinran. His revisionism and rejection of Shakyamuni's teachings can hardly qualify him the title of "saint".

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 Post subject: Re: Precepts and Shinran
PostPosted: Thu Apr 29, 2010 3:54 am 
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I see that this has become a personal attack on Shinran, Huseng. If you disagree with his ideas, it's fine, but there's no need to attack him. I think i shall stop in engaging in any more debates in this thread.

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Contemplating the power of Tathagata's Primal Vow,
One sees that no foolish being who encounters it passes by in vain.
When a person single-heartedly practices the saying of the Name alone,
It brings quickly to fullness and perfection [in that person] the great treasure ocean of true and real virtues.
- Shinran Shonin


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 Post subject: Re: Precepts and Shinran
PostPosted: Thu Apr 29, 2010 4:07 am 
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This is how "Enlightenment" is viewed:
Quote:
Enlightenment [satori, shogaku]

The root of suffering is ignorance (avidya) that blinds a person's perception of life as it is. The goal of Buddhism is to transform this ignorance into wisdom that sees things, including the self, as they truly are. The realization of wisdom is enlightenment, the attainment of Buddhahood. Unlike the relation of sin and salvation in other religions, ignorance and enlightenment are asserted to be nondifferentiated in Mahayana Buddhism. In Shin Buddhism, human existence is seen as permeated by ignorance; hence, the source of the transformation from ignorance to wisdom is not within a person but without, the Primal Vow of Amida. The Primal vow effects the enlightenment of all beings in two stages: in the realization of shinjin here and now in this life, persons attain the equal of enlightenment (but not full enlightenment, because of their karmic limitations); and at the end of life, they attain birth in the Pure Land and realize complete and supreme enlightenment (having become freed of all karmic bonds - intellectual, emotional, and physical). Moreover, since enlightenment is not a static state but a dynamic becoming, the enlightened being comes back to the defiled world of karmic limitations to work for the emancipation of suffering beings.


Quote:
Ironically, you have more to fear by not having precepts and refuge vows. Having precepts and refuge vows are a cause for future Buddhahood. No refuge vows no Buddhahood.

Shinran Shonin did not say one did not have to take the refuge vows, for he himself was always joyful in having encountered the Buddha's teachings.
Quote:
The bodhisattva takes refuge in the Buddha, just as filial children obey their parents and loyal retainers follow their rulers, with their behavior not self-centered and their acts always according with reason. Since the bodhisattva is aware of the Buddha's benevolence and responds in gratitude to the Buddha's virtue, he naturally addresses the Buddha first. Moreover, Vasubandhu's aspiration is not undertaken lightly. How could it ever be fulfilled without the support of the Tathagata's majestic power? Here Vasubandhu entreats the Tathagata to lend his majestic powers; hence he reverently addresses him, saying, "O World-honored one!"

_________________
Contemplating the power of Tathagata's Primal Vow,
One sees that no foolish being who encounters it passes by in vain.
When a person single-heartedly practices the saying of the Name alone,
It brings quickly to fullness and perfection [in that person] the great treasure ocean of true and real virtues.
- Shinran Shonin


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 Post subject: Re: Precepts and Shinran
PostPosted: Thu Apr 29, 2010 4:18 am 
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Quote:
Such revisionism is no different than spitting in the face of Shakyamuni. People had the same professions in Buddha's day and nevertheless Shakyamuni, who was an enlightened Buddha, insisted on even the general laity taking precepts.


To explain again, Shinran did not think that one did not need to adhere to the precepts; he just merely said that it was NOT a pre-requirement for birth in the Pure Land. It is also an open secret that there were many monks and nuns, not to mention laypeople, past and contemporary, who say they "adhere" to the precepts, yet we hear of many who break them. Out of compassion, even Amida would not forsake such people.

Quote:
Again, going back to what Buddha actually taught as opposed to Shinran, Buddha insisted on the practise of meditation as a cornerstone of trainings which lead to the cessation of defilements.


Well, not everyone can practice meditation. This may sound contrary to Shinran's teachings but in many Pure Land traditions the Nembutsu is also seen as some form of meditation. But even then, Shin Buddhists are free to practice in meditation if they want, but it's NOT a requisite for birth in the Pure Land.

Quote:
If anyone had a big ego, it was Shinran. His revisionism and rejection of Shakyamuni's teachings can hardly qualify him the title of "saint".


If you think so, that's fine. That's your own personal opinion but i really don't think that you should degrade yourself into calling him names! I'll be direct here, this is VERY VERY offensive. If you want to continue in doing so, then i think i will ask the admins and mods to close off this thread.

_________________
Contemplating the power of Tathagata's Primal Vow,
One sees that no foolish being who encounters it passes by in vain.
When a person single-heartedly practices the saying of the Name alone,
It brings quickly to fullness and perfection [in that person] the great treasure ocean of true and real virtues.
- Shinran Shonin


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 Post subject: Re: Precepts and Shinran
PostPosted: Thu Apr 29, 2010 7:00 am 
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Dodatsu wrote:
If you think so, that's fine. That's your own personal opinion but i really don't think that you should degrade yourself into calling him names! I'll be direct here, this is VERY VERY offensive. If you want to continue in doing so, then i think i will ask the admins and mods to close off this thread.


I have not resorted to slandering Shinran as you suggest. I'm critically evaluating his theory and model and you're both defending and explaining in detail his position. I appreciate that and I don't think it qualifies as slander.

This is discussion and debate. Nobody should uncritically accept a model without thoroughly challenging it. Especially when your liberation from samsara is potentially on the line.

The original point of this thread was as follows:

Quote:
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.


I've charged Shinran with disregarding sacred discipline and as a result slandering the tathagata. I've presented numerous points explaining why I think so and have attempted to point out the faults I perceive in Shinran's ideas.

If those faults are truly there then people should be made aware of them as those faults could easily lead one astray.

In short, despite the potential for people to get offended, if the faults of someone's theories are made clear and their assertions refuted, ultimately this is of benefit to all. Revealing errors and distinguishing the true from the false is actually quite compassionate, though it has a tendency to be perceived otherwise by many.

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 Post subject: Re: Precepts and Shinran
PostPosted: Thu Apr 29, 2010 7:25 am 
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Quote:
If anyone had a big ego, it was Shinran. His revisionism and rejection of Shakyamuni's teachings can hardly qualify him the title of "saint".

Quote:
I've charged Shinran with disregarding sacred discipline and as a result slandering the tathagata. I've presented numerous points explaining why I think so and have attempted to point out the faults I perceive in Shinran's ideas.


You call this not slandering? Come on! Anyway who can read English will find this statement slanderous! I'm not going to go into a personal attack here but the tone from the two quotes above is already far BEYOND courteous debate and discussion fit for this thread!

For me and other Shin Buddhists, the message presented by Shinran, inherited from his predecessors and the Tathagata Himself is already our message of liberation from samsara. If you don't accept it, that's fine with you. But saying that "Revealing errors and distinguishing the true from the false is actually quite compassionate, though it has a tendency to be perceived otherwise by many." is self-serving and feeding your own ego, Huseng.

I'm not trying to convince you to accept Shinran's thought and theories: there are many who don't and many who didn't. But at least, if you want to keep this discussion ongoing, then i think i have the right to ask you to retract the two statements you made above before the rest of us can continue on with any form of debate or discussion.

Also, if your "cup is full" so as to borrow a famous Zen story, then no amount of debate and discussion is going to be of any use either.

_________________
Contemplating the power of Tathagata's Primal Vow,
One sees that no foolish being who encounters it passes by in vain.
When a person single-heartedly practices the saying of the Name alone,
It brings quickly to fullness and perfection [in that person] the great treasure ocean of true and real virtues.
- Shinran Shonin


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 Post subject: Re: Precepts and Shinran
PostPosted: Thu Apr 29, 2010 12:33 pm 
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Huseng,

A "debate and discussion" is not possible in this case because you dismiss Shinran's basic premises and reject his legitimacy as a teacher. So there's no room for further dialogue. All that's happening is that you keep restating your rejection in post after post and using provocative language that will wind people up.

Eventually it's going to lead to one of three outcomes: a) the mods will close the thread, b) you might be asked not to post here, or c) Shin Buddhists will stop participating because they feel it is a hostile environment and their practice is being slandered. From my point of view as a beginning student, all three of these possibilities are unfortunate.

Ch'an/Pure Land is my major focus of study at the moment and I'm reading the Avatamsaka sutra, so your depth of knowledge in this area is much appreciated (and thank you, by the way, for your excellent blog). I'm also interested in Shin, so it's extremely valuable to have representatives of that tradition here. For the sake of making DW a useful resource, please allow the discussion to proceed constructively!

It would be inappropriate for a Theravadin to march over here and declare that the Mahayana sutras are "revisionist" and "not what the Buddha taught". If this is a Mahayana/Vajrayana board then we agree, as a point of etiquette, to accept the various schools (including Shin and Nichiren) as valid and refrain from attacking them in toto as you are doing. Shinran's POV regarding the precepts was stated at the beginning of the thread and no one has deputized you to "charge" him with anything. We are adults and can make our own decisions based on the information before us.

Otherwise, the mods should include in the terms of service a statement saying this forum does not recognize Shin as legitimate.

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Last edited by Lazy_eye on Thu Apr 29, 2010 3:37 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Precepts and Shinran
PostPosted: Thu Apr 29, 2010 2:47 pm 
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南無阿彌陀佛南無阿彌陀佛南無阿彌陀佛南無阿彌陀佛南無阿彌陀佛南無阿彌陀佛南無阿彌陀佛南無阿彌陀佛
南無阿彌陀佛南無阿彌陀佛南無阿彌陀佛南無阿彌陀佛南無阿彌陀佛南無阿彌陀佛南無阿彌陀佛南無阿彌陀佛
南無阿彌陀佛南無阿彌陀佛南無阿彌陀佛南無阿彌陀佛南無阿彌陀佛南無阿彌陀佛南無阿彌陀佛南無阿彌陀佛

:anjali:

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 Post subject: Re: Precepts and Shinran
PostPosted: Thu Apr 29, 2010 3:48 pm 
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plwk wrote:
南無阿彌陀佛南無阿彌陀佛南無阿彌陀佛南無阿彌陀佛南無阿彌陀佛南無阿彌陀佛南無阿彌陀佛南無阿彌陀佛
南無阿彌陀佛南無阿彌陀佛南無阿彌陀佛南無阿彌陀佛南無阿彌陀佛南無阿彌陀佛南無阿彌陀佛南無阿彌陀佛
南無阿彌陀佛南無阿彌陀佛南無阿彌陀佛南無阿彌陀佛南無阿彌陀佛南無阿彌陀佛南無阿彌陀佛南無阿彌陀佛

:anjali:


Forgive my language-ignorance. Is there an English version of this I could find?

Thanks!
Laura :)


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