Wesley1982 wrote:" To emancipate all living creatures from the cycle of suffering " seems like a enormous & daunting task.
Nighthawk wrote:Huifeng wrote:Hmmm, while there is course a lot of common ground between the Chinese and Japanese Pure Land traditions, I have very seldom if ever encountered full "other power" expressions in Chinese Pure Land practice. I have only ever encountered the idea that we still need to very sincerely bring about that faith and determination for rebirth in Sukhavati, and without doing that, we just are not going to get there. While Amitabha has made his vows, we still have to make vows to be reborn in Sukhavati.
Having Shinjin (unwavering faith with zero doubts) in Amida Buddha and his Primal Vow is essential to being reborn in the Pure Land according to orthodox Jodo Shinshu. Relying solely on other power and having pure faith is not so easy as everyone makes it out to be imo.
[Summary of the Discussion of the Threefold Mind]
50 Truly we know that although the terms "sincere mind," "entrusting," and "aspiration for birth" differ, their significance is the same. Why? Because these three minds are already completely untainted by the hindrance of doubt. They are therefore the true and real mind that is single. This is called the diamondlike true mind. The diamondlike true mind is true and real shinjin. True and real shinjin is unfailingly accompanied by [saying] the Name. [Saying] the Name, however, is not necessarily accompanied by shinjin that is the power of the Vow. Thus, the author of the Treatise opens with the words, "I, with the mind that is single." Further he states, "One wishes to be in correspondence with [the Name] by practicing in accord with reality."
[The Nature of Shinjin]
51 In reflecting on the great ocean of shinjin, I realize that there is no discrimination between noble and humble or black-robed monks and white-clothed laity, no differentiation between man and woman, old and young. The amount of evil one has committed is not considered; the duration of any performance of religious practices is of no concern. It is a matter of neither practice nor good acts, neither sudden attainment nor gradual attainment, neither meditative practice nor nonmeditative practice, neither right contemplation nor wrong contemplation, neither thought nor no-thought, neither daily life nor the moment of death, neither many-calling nor once-calling. It is simply shinjin* that is inconceivable, inexplicable, and indescribable. It is like the medicine that eradicates all poisons. The medicine of the Tathagata's Vow destroys the poisons of our wisdom and foolishness.
[Shinjin as the Mind Aspiring for Enlightenment]
52 Further, the mind aspiring for enlightenment is of two kinds [of orientation]: lengthwise and crosswise.
The lengthwise is further of two kinds: transcending lengthwise and departing lengthwise. These are explained in various teachings - accommodated and real, exoteric and esoteric, Mahayana and Hinayana. They are the mind [with which one attains enlightenment after] going around for many kalpas, the diamondlike mind of self-power, or the great mind of the bodhisattva.
The crosswise is also of two kinds: transcending crosswise and departing crosswise. That characterized by departing crosswise is the mind of enlightenment of right and sundry practices or meditative and nonmeditative practices - of self-power within Other Power. That characterized by transcending crosswise is shinjin* that is directed to beings through the power of the Vow. It is the mind that aspires to attain Buddhahood. The mind that aspires to attain Buddhahood is the mind aspiring for great enlightenment of crosswise orientation. It is called "the diamondlike mind of crosswise transcendence."
Although the same term is used, the crosswise and the lengthwise minds of aspiration for enlightenment differ in significance; nevertheless, both take entrance into the true as right and essential, both take true mind as their foundation, both reject the wrong and sundry, and both take doubt to be erroneous.
All who seek the Pure Land, both monk and lay, must grasp the profound significance of the precious words concerning imperfect realization of shinjin and must become free of the wrong thinking of imperfect realization of hearing.
53 The Commentary on the Treatise states:
In reflecting on the Sutra of Immeasurable Life taught at Rajagrha, it is clear that although among the three levels of practicers some are superior in practice and some inferior, not one has failed to awaken the mind aspiring for supreme enlightenment. This mind aspiring for supreme enlightenment is the mind that aspires to attain Buddhahood. The mind that aspires to attain Buddhahood is the mind to save all sentient beings. The mind to save all sentient beings is the mind to grasp sentient beings and bring them to birth in the land where the Buddha is. Thus, the person who aspires to be born in the Pure Land of happiness must unfailingly awaken the mind aspiring for supreme enlightenment. Suppose there is a person who, without awakening the mind aspiring for supreme enlightenment, simply hears that bliss is enjoyed in that land without interruption and desires to be born there for the sake of the bliss; such a person will not be able to attain birth. Thus it is said, They do not seek the sustained bliss for their own sake, but think only of freeing all sentient beings from pain. Sustained bliss means that the Pure Land is sustained by the power of Amida Tathagata's Primal Vow, and that the enjoyment of bliss is without interruption.
In general, the term "directing virtue" may be interpreted as meaning that [Amida] gives all virtues he has gathered to sentient beings and brings them to enter the Buddha-way together.
54 Master Yüan-chao states:
Because no others can accomplish it, it is described as "extremely difficult." Because nowhere in all the world has it yet been seen, it is called "rare."
55 Further, he states:
The dharma-gate of the nembutsu does not discriminate between foolish and wise, noble and poor; the length of practice, or whether you are good or evil, is of no concern. If you simply realize firm resolution and unshakable entrusting, although adverse conditions may accompany the end of your life, with ten utterances you will be born. It is the dharma by which the foolish beings in bondage, the lowly such as butchers and wine dealers, in an instant transcend birth-and-death and attain Buddhahood. This must be called that which is "for all people of the world, most difficult to accept."
56 Further, he states:
To perform practices and attain Buddhahood in this evil world is extremely difficult. To teach this dharma-gate for the sake of all sentient beings is a second great difficulty. These two difficulties [that Sakyamuni accomplished] show us that what all the Buddhas praise is not futile. They instruct sentient beings to hear and accept.
57 Yung-ch'in of the Vinaya school states:
When the dharma [of the nembutsu-gate] is said to be difficult [to accept], is it not really because it transforms the foolish being into a sage as easily as you turn your palms? Because this seems so tremendously easy, many unreflective sentient beings are skeptical. Thus the Larger Sutra states, "To go there is easy and yet no one is born there." Thus we know that it is difficult to accept.
58 Notes to Yüan-chao's Amida Sutra Commentary states:
It does not discriminate between foolish and wise: in natures there are keen and dull. It does not choose between noble and poor: in karmic rewards there are strong and weak. Length of practice is of no concern: in effort there is shallow and deep. It does not choose between good and evil: in practice there is good and bad. If you realize firm resolution and unshakable entrusting, although adverse conditions may accompany the end of your life: as taught in the Contemplation Sutra, concerning those of the middle grade of the lowest level, the flames of hell all at once sweep up to them. Foolish beings in bondage: for they are utterly possessed of the two kinds of delusional thinking. The lowly such as butchers and wine dealers in an instant transcend birth-and-death and attain Buddhahood. This must be called that which is "for all people of the world, most difficult to accept": butchers are those who earn their livings by killing. Wine dealers are those who make and sell liquor. Such evil people, simply through ten utterances, are able to transcend and attain birth. Is this not difficult to accept?
Amida Tathagata is called the true and real light, the enlightenment of equality, the difficult to conceive, the ultimate resort, the great one worthy of offerings, the great consolation, the unequaled, the inconceivable light.
59 The postscript to Collection of Passages on the Land of Bliss states:
There are always many who endeavor to be born in the Pure Land, but exceedingly few reach the gateway and immediately attain birth. There are always many who discuss the Pure Land, but few indeed grasp what is essential and directly point it out. I have yet to hear a person explain [nembutsu] with reference to self-obstruction and self-obscuration. Having grasped this matter, I explain it here.
There is no greater self-obstruction than attachment, no greater self-obscuration than doubt. As that which finally eliminates these hindrances of doubt and attachment, we have only the teaching-gate of the Pure Land. Never has there been any separation: Amida's vast Vow always, of itself, grasps and holds beings. This is the necessary way of its working.
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