Thich Nhat Hanh, Pure Land, & Zen practice

Re: Thich Nhat Hanh, Pure Land, & Zen practice

Postby Dodatsu » Wed Apr 11, 2012 5:13 am

Huseng wrote:
Nighthawk wrote:From the Shinshu point of view, all self power practices including Zen are defunct practices in the last age so it wouldn't really make sense to mix Zen and Pure Land together.


That is their undoing. Without yogic attainment there is not the mental stamina required for true liberation.


I wouldn't agree totally with nighthawk's statement, the problem lies with ourselves whether we are able to attain liberation from self-power practices. I'm not that's why I choose Shin.

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.
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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.
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Re: Thich Nhat Hanh, Pure Land, & Zen practice

Postby Astus » Wed Apr 11, 2012 11:58 pm

Lazy_eye wrote:I think this question has been asked somewhere before -- but isn't rebirth in the Pure Land more or less analogous to the non-returner stage? That might give some added weight to TNH's interpretation, since being a non-returner (anagami) is defined in terms of mind state and not by some set of external circumstances. I mean, ultimately the task at hand has nothing to do with being in this place or that; it's about purification of mind.


It is not like an anagami for two reasons. Anagamis are sravakas and not bodhisattvas. Those who are born in the Pure Land don't automatically possess any attainment beyond what they have already achieved before their birth, but they have to practise themselves there on the path of the bodhisattva in order to reach full liberation.
What is meant by being similar to a bodhisattva on the level of irreversibility (avaivartika) is that those born in the Pure Land will definitely attain buddhahood without any chance of falling back from the bodhisattva path.
"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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Re: Thich Nhat Hanh, Pure Land, & Zen practice

Postby Astus » Thu Apr 12, 2012 12:09 am

Huseng wrote:In my experience it is mostly Chan practitioners who hold such views. Many Chan practitioners also simultaneously do Nianfo practices as well, though they may not see it as a means to being reborn in the pure land.
This is actually necessary, otherwise if you believe that post-mortem Amitabha saves you from all your suffering, then there is no point to sitting on a meditation cushion for years attempting to achieve liberation. Better to just recite the Nianfo and feel content in having a saviour.
I suspect that is part of the reason why in Chinese Buddhism not many people seriously meditate or only do so sporadically (or not at all). If you believe Amitabha will save you, then there is little pressing need to cultivate yourself in meditation.
Thich Nhat Hanh's idea is appropriate to Chan practice as it encourages realistic practice rather than discouraging it. Pure Land practice as it is normally advocated (rebirth in the Pure Land due to Amitabha's grace) negates all need for meditation and yogic attainment.


The Pure Land doctrines were never against to meditative practices as far as I know. In fact, there are a great number of methods within the area of Pure Land praxis. The wish to be born in the Western Land of Peace and Bliss is not contrary to working on the bodhisattva path in this life, but they are actually the very same path. There are differences between teachers and groups in terms of what they emphasise, but under the banner of the Pure Land school you can find both hermits with unshakeable samadhi and common men with little understanding. And this is fulfilling the Mahayana idea of saving all sentient beings, regardless of their capacity for wisdom, meditation and meritorious deeds, as the Pure Land teachings address both high and low.
"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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Re: Thich Nhat Hanh, Pure Land, & Zen practice

Postby Shutoku » Thu Apr 12, 2012 12:56 am

Regarding meditation in North American Shin Temples, honestly I see it as a sort of marketing strategy, because many people who come to a buddhist Temple, come expecting bald meditating monks, and in the case of Shinshu instead they are greeted mostly by nice elderly folks of Japanese descent, wearing their Sunday best, and a Sensei who may have his wife and family in attendance, and probably has a regular hair style and a suit under his robes.
The Service including "hymns" and such must seem an awful lot like a Christian service to most, which might be comforting to some, but I think most people coming to a Buddhist Temple have already rejected Christianity and are thus searching for something else.
Between TNH, the Dalai Lama, and popular notions of Japanese Zen, the public sort of expects meditation and may be dismayed at the lack of it in Shin Temples. I think the BCA and BCC simply want to take advantage of the popularity of HHDL and TNH.
It is not without some level of controversy within Temples either.

Regarding "Finding Our True Home", I can honestly say it is the only book of TNH's I really did not like, and without question it is because of the complete ignoring of "other power".
I've always felt the Other power aspect of PL is key even for a Zen-like approach, because it involves letting go of the ego.

Regarding "the West" I"ve always taken it as symbolic of after death...the sun setting in the west and all.
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Re: Thich Nhat Hanh, Pure Land, & Zen practice

Postby Lazy_eye » Thu Apr 12, 2012 1:39 am

Huseng wrote:A lot of Japanese in the past believed it was literally out in the west somewhere. Some cults would forcibly put people into boats and cast them off to sea in the western direction wishing them well.


Yikes. Where did you find this?

Astus wrote: It is not like an anagami for two reasons. Anagamis are sravakas and not bodhisattvas. Those who are born in the Pure Land don't automatically possess any attainment beyond what they have already achieved before their birth, but they have to practise themselves there on the path of the bodhisattva in order to reach full liberation.
What is meant by being similar to a bodhisattva on the level of irreversibility (avaivartika) is that those born in the Pure Land will definitely attain buddhahood without any chance of falling back from the bodhisattva path.


I'll have to defer to your knowledge here -- but my impression is that, in some schools at least, the ariyan stages are incorporated into the bodhisattva path. The practitioner must pass through them regardless of vehicle...the difference is in aspiration (self-liberation vs enlightenment for the sake of all beings).

Shutoku wrote:Regarding "Finding Our True Home", I can honestly say it is the only book of TNH's I really did not like, and without question it is because of the complete ignoring of "other power".


I also found it to be one of his weaker books -- it seemed awkward and somewhat lacking in conviction. And perhaps it's for the reason you mention.

Regarding "the West" I"ve always taken it as symbolic of after death...the sun setting in the west and all.


I think one kind of has to interpret this way, i.e. symbolically. But what this tells me is there isn't really such a thing as a strictly "traditional" approach to Pure Land -- all workable interpretations are revisionist to some degree. The era in which these teachings could be taken 100% literally has passed. If we're going to invoke ancient masters such as Honen in order to dispute the validity of, say, TNH's interpretation, it is worth recalling that Honen's entire worldview was radically different from ours, in ways that we could not approximate today.
Last edited by Lazy_eye on Thu Apr 12, 2012 1:53 am, edited 5 times in total.
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Re: Thich Nhat Hanh, Pure Land, & Zen practice

Postby Fu Ri Shin » Thu Apr 12, 2012 1:49 am

Lazy_eye wrote:I also found it to be one of his weaker books -- it seemed a awkward and somewhat lacking in conviction. And perhaps it's for the reason you mention.


I've heard that at least some of TNH's books are composed through assembling and editing multiple (probably portions of) talks he has given on a common subject, which is done by his senior students.

I cannot back this up, however. It would explain the slightly incoherent passages I've read in books with his name on them. I've never heard his own spoken words and instructions go into such territory.
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Re: Thich Nhat Hanh, Pure Land, & Zen practice

Postby LastLegend » Thu Apr 12, 2012 2:13 am

Some people are not suited for Mahayana because their mindset is basically "each for his own." If without Pure Land, how do we understand Mahayana? And what is the essence of Mahayana anyway that makes it distinctive from say the Elder Vehicle? Any challenge? But please be logical and rational with your thoughts. I am tired of thoughts that are based on subjective and emotional biases.

MAHAYANA IS NOT FOR EVERYONE. That is why people are just content with sitting meditation such Theravada's. There is nothing wrong with that. Just different understandings, perspectives, capacities, etc. For some people, Mahayana requires employment of rational thinking, science, and mathematics. Of course, you are not required to know any of that. You can just be content in your sitting. But when you open your mouth, make sure you really understand what you are saying. A basic understanding of philosophy, math, or science is required if you really want to understand Mahayana. And if you really close your eyes, you might not even have a clue what Mahayana is in this life time no matter how many books or papers have you read or will read. If your mind is narrowed as a grain of sand, it of course cannot contain the mountains, rivers, and the universe. And of course, it contains no compassion and no understanding of what compassion is. If you cannot understand the simple concept of love as giving and sacrificing, then how can you understand compassion. Thus your mind is very narrowed. Then you say you have compassion, but what does your compassion really mean? It is not just a word. So what does compassion in Mahayana mean then?
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Re: Thich Nhat Hanh, Pure Land, & Zen practice

Postby Indrajala » Thu Apr 12, 2012 2:08 pm

Astus wrote:The Pure Land doctrines were never against to meditative practices as far as I know.


I'm not saying this.

I'm saying Pure Land ideology discourages meditation. It is unnecessary if you believe post-mortem Amitabha plucks you out of the sea of suffering. In that case, why bother trying to master the fourth jhana?
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Re: Thich Nhat Hanh, Pure Land, & Zen practice

Postby Astus » Thu Apr 12, 2012 2:30 pm

Huseng wrote:
Astus wrote:The Pure Land doctrines were never against to meditative practices as far as I know.


I'm not saying this.

I'm saying Pure Land ideology discourages meditation. It is unnecessary if you believe post-mortem Amitabha plucks you out of the sea of suffering. In that case, why bother trying to master the fourth jhana?


Most of the Pure Land teachers, especially outside Honen's heirs, teach the combined use of self-power and other-power. One works on oneself in order to gain a higher birth within the Pure Land, since there are 9 different levels explained by the sutras. Please check this topic: Seosan's Argument for Pure Land Practice (Seosan was an outstanding Zen teacher of 16th century Korea).
"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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Re: Thich Nhat Hanh, Pure Land, & Zen practice

Postby Jikan » Thu Apr 12, 2012 4:35 pm

I understand (from the frontmatter) that many of TNH's books are assembled from lectures; this one's not unique in that respect.

I don't think it's his weakest book (_The Sun My Heart_ & _Living Buddha, Living Christ_ are not high on my list, but for different reasons). It's not his strongest, either. I think the softest spot in it is his insistence on roping Christian takes on the afterlife right in, which is part of the legacy of LB,LC...

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Re: Thich Nhat Hanh, Pure Land, & Zen practice

Postby Jikan » Thu Apr 12, 2012 4:56 pm

Jikan wrote:I understand (from the frontmatter) that many of TNH's books are assembled from lectures; this one's not unique in that respect.


should also add that it's not at all unusual for Dharma books, particularly those intended for popular reading, to come together in this way. Trungpa Rinpoche's books were all or nearly all like this. The Compass of Zen is a tremendously helpful book, and it was also compiled by students. &c.

it's not an easy task to edit a master's spoken words into readable (and not-too-repetitive) prose. The editors of such books have a huge responsibility, and when they do their work well, they perform a great service to the Dharma.
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Re: Thich Nhat Hanh, Pure Land, & Zen practice

Postby Nighthawk » Fri Apr 13, 2012 9:56 am

LastLegend wrote:Some people are not suited for Mahayana because their mindset is basically "each for his own." If without Pure Land, how do we understand Mahayana? And what is the essence of Mahayana anyway that makes it distinctive from say the Elder Vehicle? Any challenge? But please be logical and rational with your thoughts. I am tired of thoughts that are based on subjective and emotional biases.

MAHAYANA IS NOT FOR EVERYONE. That is why people are just content with sitting meditation such Theravada's. There is nothing wrong with that. Just different understandings, perspectives, capacities, etc. For some people, Mahayana requires employment of rational thinking, science, and mathematics. Of course, you are not required to know any of that. You can just be content in your sitting. But when you open your mouth, make sure you really understand what you are saying. A basic understanding of philosophy, math, or science is required if you really want to understand Mahayana. And if you really close your eyes, you might not even have a clue what Mahayana is in this life time no matter how many books or papers have you read or will read. If your mind is narrowed as a grain of sand, it of course cannot contain the mountains, rivers, and the universe. And of course, it contains no compassion and no understanding of what compassion is. If you cannot understand the simple concept of love as giving and sacrificing, then how can you understand compassion. Thus your mind is very narrowed. Then you say you have compassion, but what does your compassion really mean? It is not just a word. So what does compassion in Mahayana mean then?


I would have to disagree with this. It should all be about aspiration for Buddhahood. Understanding Mahayana intellectually in other words mental masturbation should be secondary. Just get the basics down of the teachings and get to work. Besides, you will only truly understand Mahayana once you become a Buddha. Scholars are also foolish beings suffering from blind passions like everyone else. Become a Buddha first and then (truly) understand.
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Re: Thich Nhat Hanh, Pure Land, & Zen practice

Postby Mr. G » Fri Apr 13, 2012 1:13 pm

There is an interesting passage in the Go-shosuki-shu (A Collection of Letters) where Shinran seems to be advocating self-power practice to those whose faith is unsettled:

    Those who feel uncertain of birth should say the nembutsu aspiring first for their own birth. Those who feel that their own birth is completely settled should, mindful of the Buddha's benevolence, hold the nembutsu in their hearts and say it to respond in gratitude to that benevolence, with the wish, "May there be peace in the world, and may the Buddha's teaching spread!"
    How foolish you are,
    grasping the letter of the text and ignoring its intention!
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Re: Thich Nhat Hanh, Pure Land, & Zen practice

Postby Mr. G » Fri Apr 13, 2012 1:25 pm

Astus wrote:
Lazy_eye wrote:I think this question has been asked somewhere before -- but isn't rebirth in the Pure Land more or less analogous to the non-returner stage? That might give some added weight to TNH's interpretation, since being a non-returner (anagami) is defined in terms of mind state and not by some set of external circumstances. I mean, ultimately the task at hand has nothing to do with being in this place or that; it's about purification of mind.


It is not like an anagami for two reasons. Anagamis are sravakas and not bodhisattvas. Those who are born in the Pure Land don't automatically possess any attainment beyond what they have already achieved before their birth, but they have to practise themselves there on the path of the bodhisattva in order to reach full liberation.
What is meant by being similar to a bodhisattva on the level of irreversibility (avaivartika) is that those born in the Pure Land will definitely attain buddhahood without any chance of falling back from the bodhisattva path.


Adding to what Astus wrote, Prof. Kenneth Tanaka writes in "Where is the Pure Land?":

    During the 7th century, Pure Land advocates such as Daochuo, Jiacai, and Huaigan asserted the superiority of Sukhavati over Maitreya's Tusita Heaven. Their arguments relative to the present discussion can be summarized as follows:

    1. While Sukhavati transcends the saha world-realm, Tusita (as one of the heavens of the desire realm) still lies within the saha world-realm.
    2. While the lifespan in Sukhavati is limitless, like that of the buddhas, and transcends samsara, the lifespan in Tusita lasts four thousand heaven years and, at the end of that time, one is forced back into the stream of samsara.
    3. While Sukhavati is a realm of nonretrogression, Tusita is not. Rebirth in Sukhavati assures not only attainment of buddhahood but also no retrogression to lower levels on the cultivational path (marga).
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Re: Thich Nhat Hanh, Pure Land, & Zen practice

Postby LastLegend » Fri Apr 13, 2012 3:59 pm

Nighthawk wrote:I would have to disagree with this. It should all be about aspiration for Buddhahood. Understanding Mahayana intellectually in other words mental masturbation should be secondary. Just get the basics down of the teachings and get to work. Besides, you will only truly understand Mahayana once you become a Buddha. Scholars are also foolish beings suffering from blind passions like everyone else. Become a Buddha first and then (truly) understand.


But I am not disagreeing with you. You gonna have to reread what I wrote again.
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Re: Thich Nhat Hanh, Pure Land, & Zen practice

Postby Nighthawk » Sat Apr 14, 2012 2:01 am

LastLegend wrote:
Nighthawk wrote:I would have to disagree with this. It should all be about aspiration for Buddhahood. Understanding Mahayana intellectually in other words mental masturbation should be secondary. Just get the basics down of the teachings and get to work. Besides, you will only truly understand Mahayana once you become a Buddha. Scholars are also foolish beings suffering from blind passions like everyone else. Become a Buddha first and then (truly) understand.


But I am not disagreeing with you. You gonna have to reread what I wrote again.


My apologies. I understand what you were trying to say now.
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Re: Thich Nhat Hanh, Pure Land, & Zen practice

Postby Nighthawk » Sat Apr 14, 2012 2:09 am

Mr. G wrote:There is an interesting passage in the Go-shosuki-shu (A Collection of Letters) where Shinran seems to be advocating self-power practice to those whose faith is unsettled:

    Those who feel uncertain of birth should say the nembutsu aspiring first for their own birth. Those who feel that their own birth is completely settled should, mindful of the Buddha's benevolence, hold the nembutsu in their hearts and say it to respond in gratitude to that benevolence, with the wish, "May there be peace in the world, and may the Buddha's teaching spread!"


Not completely self power but has a little hint of it. Very Jodo Shu.
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Re: Thich Nhat Hanh, Pure Land, & Zen practice

Postby Mr. G » Sun Apr 15, 2012 11:55 am

Nighthawk wrote:
Mr. G wrote:There is an interesting passage in the Go-shosuki-shu (A Collection of Letters) where Shinran seems to be advocating self-power practice to those whose faith is unsettled:

    Those who feel uncertain of birth should say the nembutsu aspiring first for their own birth. Those who feel that their own birth is completely settled should, mindful of the Buddha's benevolence, hold the nembutsu in their hearts and say it to respond in gratitude to that benevolence, with the wish, "May there be peace in the world, and may the Buddha's teaching spread!"


Not completely self power but has a little hint of it.


Shinran's first sentence is completely based on self power:

    Those who feel uncertain of birth should say the nembutsu aspiring first for their own birth.


His second sentence is based on the nembutsu as other power resulting from shinjin:

    Those who feel that their own birth is completely settled should, mindful of the Buddha's benevolence, hold the nembutsu in their hearts and say it to respond in gratitude to that benevolence, with the wish, "May there be peace in the world, and may the Buddha's teaching spread!"


Very Jodo Shu


No, it's Jodo Shinshu. It just happens to be ignored in favor of other passages that emphasize other power. Shinran had greater depth than given credit for. He wasn't just some one dimensional "all other power, all the time" advocate. He was sharp enough to give advice to fit a person's state of mind depending upon their circumstances.
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Re: Thich Nhat Hanh, Pure Land, & Zen practice

Postby Mr. G » Sun Apr 15, 2012 12:33 pm

Lazy_eye wrote:
Huseng wrote:A lot of Japanese in the past believed it was literally out in the west somewhere. Some cults would forcibly put people into boats and cast them off to sea in the western direction wishing them well.


Yikes. Where did you find this?



I haven't come across Pure Land cults that forcibly drowned members, but it would'nt surprise me. Self drowning however seemed to be popular:

    D. Max Moerman’s chapter discusses an alternate form of
    Buddhist self-immolation—‘‘death by water’’—in premodern Japan,
    where birth in a pure land became the dominant reason given for
    Buddhist ascetic suicide. Along with the method of auto-cremation
    discussed in Benn’s chapter, that of self-drowning ( jusui) is well attested
    in Japan and was often carried out at sites having cultic associations
    with specific pure lands. Moerman’s chapter focuses on a
    variant of this practice known as ‘‘sailing to Potalaka’’ (Fudaraku tokai),
    in which ascetics set out from various points along the southern
    coast of western Japan in small, rudderless boats, hoping to
    reach Potalaka (J. Fudaraku), the island paradise of the bodhisattva
    Kannon (Skt. Avalokites´vara). None of them returned. In tracing
    resonances with non-Buddhist notions of realms of the dead located
    on islands or across the sea, or the ritual use of boats to send disease
    and defilement away from the community, Moerman reminds
    us that Buddhist cosmologies and death-related rites were often
    informed by those of other traditions. His study of ‘‘sailing to Potalaka’’
    draws on examples of this practice spanning the medieval
    period, using both visual representations and textual accounts, including
    the reports of Jesuit missionaries. This practice was at once
    both ‘‘personal devotion and public spectacle,’’ as the departure
    of the boats bound for Potalaka would typically be witnessed by
    crowds of devotees, prompted by the desire to form karmic connections
    with the ascetic and share in the merit of his act. Like Raoul
    Birnbaum’s account of the death photograph of Master Hongyi,
    Moerman’s chapter underscores the point that exemplary deaths,
    to be exemplary, require witnesses and that the seemingly personal
    act of dying in ideal Buddhist fashion had a profoundly social dimension.
    This observation also raises some questions about the
    term ‘‘voluntary death,’’ by which ascetic suicide is often described.
    As Moerman notes, the presence of insistent crowds determined
    to gain merit from witnessing the act may have rendered some instances
    of religious suicide not quite so voluntary.

    Another means of self-immolation, one associated more with
    Pure Land than with Lotus Su¯tra practices, was that of drowning
    oneself ( jusui).15 It was carried out in lakes and rivers and in particular
    in the sea at Naniwa beside Tennoji. The western gate of this
    temple faced the sea and was believed to mark the entrance or the
    eastern gate of Amida’s Pure Land. From this auspicious location,
    worshipers meditated on the sun setting over the sea as if it were
    the sun setting in the west of that ‘‘other shore’’ and then sailed out
    to the open sea to drown themselves. Numerous accounts of this
    practice are to be found in the ojden literature, hagiographic collections
    of those born in the Pure Land. The Goshuiojoden, for
    example, tells of a wandering monk determined to drown himself.
    He sails down the river toward the sea while other monks burn
    incense, play music, and scatter flowers. When they arrive at the
    ocean, the monk takes a seat within a bamboo cage, faces west,
    closes his eyes, and places his hands together in prayer. To the
    sound of chanting, he is then lowered into the waters.
    The Ippen hijiri-e offers additional examples of jusui, and, as it
    is a picture scroll (emakimono) of alternating panels of text and
    image, provides some of the few visual representations of the act.
    The Hijiri-e is a hagiography of the priest Ippen (1239–89), founder
    of the Pure Land order later known as the Jishu¯ , in a twelve-scroll
    emakimono format completed in 1299. The first image of jusui appears
    in the third section of scroll six, often noted for its depiction
    of Mt. Fuji. Just to the left of the famous peak, however, is another
    scene depicting a monk from Musashi Province who, having been
    converted by Ippen’s Pure Land teaching, drowns himself in the
    Fuji River while chanting the nenbutsu, the Buddha Amida’s name.
    The other scene is to be found at the end of the tale, in the third section
    of scroll twelve, which depicts Ippen’s death, a scene that follows
    the standard iconography of pictures of the death of the Buddha
    (nehan-e). The crowds of sorrowful devotees surrounding the
    teacher are standard elements in such images. What is unusual in
    the Hijiri-e is the depiction of seven of Ippen’s followers drowning
    themselves. The accompanying text describes the scene as ‘‘seven
    people, both members of the Jishu¯ and those with karmic ties (kechien),
    throwing themselves into the sea before them.’’


    - The Buddhist Dead: Practices, Discourses, Representations
    How foolish you are,
    grasping the letter of the text and ignoring its intention!
    - Vasubandhu
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Re: Thich Nhat Hanh, Pure Land, & Zen practice

Postby Lazy_eye » Sun Apr 15, 2012 3:55 pm

Mr. G wrote:.
This observation also raises some questions about the
term ‘‘voluntary death,’’ by which ascetic suicide is often described.
As Moerman notes, the presence of insistent crowds determined
to gain merit from witnessing the act may have rendered some instances
of religious suicide not quite so voluntary.


A pertinent question for me is whether Shinran would have endorsed such practices. A teacher can't necessarily be held to account for misinterpretations by followers. And teachers in various Buddhist traditions have warned against overliteralization of teachings.

On a perhaps related note, my son was reading a book about mummies and it included an example of self-mummification by a Japanese monk!
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