Ribbons of Fire

Ribbons of Fire

Postby Will » Tue May 01, 2012 1:13 am

At the very top of this tanka are 7 ribbons of fire. The central 3 seem to inspire the Triple Jewels fire, but what about the other 4; two of which go into 2 swans? And two of the ribbons make a loop of while light held by two beings??

What is the meaning of and source of these Light ribbons above the pavilion & Amitabha Buddha??

Image
One should refrain from biased judgments and doubting in fathoming the Buddha and the Dharma of the Buddhas. Even though a dharma may be extremely difficult to believe, one should nonetheless maintain faith in it. Nagarjuna
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Re: Ribbons of Fire

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Tue May 01, 2012 2:03 am

They are not going in...they are coming out (or out from behind Amitabha's house):

"And furthermore, O Sariputra, in this land there are all sorts of strange and wondrously colored birds. White Cranes and peacocks, parrots and mynah birds and other sorts of birds having melodious voices and fabulous birds who have two heads and all the many kinds of birds are assembled there. Day and Night, during each of the Six Periods their harmony creates and elegant sound which, if listened to, expounds and makes clear the five spiritual organ roots which are positive and the five powers of Mara which, if springing from the corresponding sensory organs, are negative factors. Likewise do they expound the seven characteristics of Bodhi and the Holy Eightfold Path..."
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.
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The Chinese characters are Fo (buddha) and Ming (bright). The image is of a student of Buddhism, who, imagining himself to be a monk, and not understanding the true meaning of the words takes the sound of the words literally. Likewise, People on web forums sometime seem to be foaming at the mouth.
Original painting by P.Volker /used by permission.
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Re: Ribbons of Fire

Postby Nighthawk » Tue May 01, 2012 3:12 am

I guess we'll have to go to the Pure Land to find out
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Re: Ribbons of Fire

Postby Uniltiranyu » Tue May 01, 2012 11:34 am

A solution is at hand,
The eyes have it.
String your lyre,
And play!
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Re: Ribbons of Fire

Postby Will » Tue May 01, 2012 9:36 pm

PadmaVonSamba wrote:They are not going in...they are coming out (or out from behind Amitabha's house):

"And furthermore, O Sariputra, in this land there are all sorts of strange and wondrously colored birds. White Cranes and peacocks, parrots and mynah birds and other sorts of birds having melodious voices and fabulous birds who have two heads and all the many kinds of birds are assembled there. Day and Night, during each of the Six Periods their harmony creates and elegant sound which, if listened to, expounds and makes clear the five spiritual organ roots which are positive and the five powers of Mara which, if springing from the corresponding sensory organs, are negative factors. Likewise do they expound the seven characteristics of Bodhi and the Holy Eightfold Path..."
.
.
.


OK - going out it is. Yet I wonder why not radiate from Amitabha himself; and what is with all the fluffy clouds? Iconography has many mysteries.
One should refrain from biased judgments and doubting in fathoming the Buddha and the Dharma of the Buddhas. Even though a dharma may be extremely difficult to believe, one should nonetheless maintain faith in it. Nagarjuna
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Re: Ribbons of Fire

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Tue May 01, 2012 11:55 pm

Will wrote:
OK - going out it is. Yet I wonder why not radiate from Amitabha himself; and what is with all the fluffy clouds? Iconography has many mysteries.


1. Artistic composition. The rays or ribbons are going "upward" so this sort of simulates radiating outward, like when you throw confetti into the air.
2. I don't think it's what the Sutra says is happening (seven characteristics of Bodhi and the Holy Eightfold Path) coming out of Amitabha.
3. This painting is a tool for Vajrayana visualization. So, the elements are there mostly for reference.
Padmasambhava also appears in this cartoon. There are some differences in Mahayana Pure Land practice & Vajrayana practice.
Profile Picture: "The Foaming Monk"
The Chinese characters are Fo (buddha) and Ming (bright). The image is of a student of Buddhism, who, imagining himself to be a monk, and not understanding the true meaning of the words takes the sound of the words literally. Likewise, People on web forums sometime seem to be foaming at the mouth.
Original painting by P.Volker /used by permission.
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Re: Ribbons of Fire

Postby Nighthawk » Wed May 02, 2012 12:24 am

PadmaVonSamba wrote:3. This painting is a tool for Vajrayana visualization. So, the elements are there mostly for reference.
Padmasambhava also appears in this cartoon. There are some differences in Mahayana Pure Land practice & Vajrayana practice.


What would those differences be?
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Re: Ribbons of Fire

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Wed May 02, 2012 1:49 am

Nighthawk wrote:
PadmaVonSamba wrote:3. This painting is a tool for Vajrayana visualization. So, the elements are there mostly for reference.
Padmasambhava also appears in this cartoon. There are some differences in Mahayana Pure Land practice & Vajrayana practice.


What would those differences be?


For example, what is chanted is a little different, and the visualization in Vajrayana includes Sanskrit seed syllables.
.
.
.
Profile Picture: "The Foaming Monk"
The Chinese characters are Fo (buddha) and Ming (bright). The image is of a student of Buddhism, who, imagining himself to be a monk, and not understanding the true meaning of the words takes the sound of the words literally. Likewise, People on web forums sometime seem to be foaming at the mouth.
Original painting by P.Volker /used by permission.
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Re: Ribbons of Fire

Postby Nighthawk » Wed May 02, 2012 3:52 am

PadmaVonSamba wrote:
Nighthawk wrote:
PadmaVonSamba wrote:3. This painting is a tool for Vajrayana visualization. So, the elements are there mostly for reference.
Padmasambhava also appears in this cartoon. There are some differences in Mahayana Pure Land practice & Vajrayana practice.


What would those differences be?


For example, what is chanted is a little different, and the visualization in Vajrayana includes Sanskrit seed syllables.
.
.
.


I also heard that being born in Dewachen equals instant Buddhahood? Is that true?
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Re: Ribbons of Fire

Postby plwk » Wed May 02, 2012 4:40 am

I also heard that being born in Dewachen equals instant Buddhahood? Is that true?

Some samples...
http://www.drba.org/dharma/amitabhasutra.asp
Moreover, Shariputra, the living beings born in the Land of Utmost Happiness are all avaivartika.(non-retrogression)
Among them are many who in this very life will dwell in Buddhahood. Their number is extremely many; it is incalculable.
And only in measureless, limitless asamkyeyas of kalpas could they be counted.
http://buddhistfaith.tripod.com/purelan ... s/id2.html
(22) If, when I attain Buddhahood, Bodhisattvas in the Buddha-lands of other quarters who visit My Land should not ultimately and unfailingly reach the Stage of Becoming a Buddha after One More Life, may I not attain Perfect Enlightenment.
Excepted are those who wish to teach and guide sentient beings in accordance with their original vows.
For they wear the armour of great vows, accumulate merits, deliver all beings from birth-and-death, visit Buddha-lands to perform the Bodhisattva practices, make offerings to Buddhas, Tathagatas, throughout the ten quarters, enlighten uncountable sentient beings as numerous as the sands of the River Ganges, and establish them in the highest, Perfect Enlightenment.
Such Bodhisattvas transcend the course of practice of the ordinary Bodhisattvas, manifest the practices of all the Bodhisattva stages, and cultivate the virtues of Samantabhadra.
(36) If, when I attain Buddhahood, Bodhisattvas in the immeasurable and inconceivable Buddha-lands of the ten quarters, who have heard my Name, should not, after the end of their lives, always perform sacred practices until they reach Buddhahood, may I not attain Perfect Enlightenment.
(47) If, when I attain Buddhahood, Bodhisattvas in the lands of the other quarters who hear My Name should not instantly reach the Stage of Non-Retrogression, may I not attain perfect Enlightenment.
(48) If, when I attain Buddhahood, Bodhisattvas in the lands of the other quarters who hear My Name should not instantly gain the first, second and third insights into the nature of dharmas and firmly abide in the truths realized by all the Buddhas, may I not attain Perfect Enlightenment.

http://buddhistfaith.tripod.com/purelan ... s/id3.html
The Buddha said to Ananda, "Sentient beings who are born in that Buddha-land all reside among those assured of Nirvana.
The reason is that in that land there are neither beings who are destined to adverse conditions nor those whose destinies are uncertain.
"All Buddhas, Tathagatas, in the ten quarters, as numerous as the sands of the River Ganges, together praise the inconceivable, supernal virtue of Amitayus.
All sentient beings who, having heard his Name, rejoice in faith, remember him even once and sincerely transfer the merit of virtuous practices to that Land, aspiring to be born there, will attain birth and dwell in the Stage of Non-retrogression.
But excluded are those who have committed the five gravest offenses and abused the right Dharma."

http://cttbusa.org//avatamsaka/avatamsaka40_2.asp
I vow that when my life approaches its end,
All obstructions will be swept away;
I will see Amita Buddha,
And be born in His Land of Ultimate Bliss and Peace.

When reborn in the Western Land,
I will perfect and completely fulfill
Without exception these great vows,
To delight and benefit all beings.

The Assembly of Amita Buddha is completely pure;
When from a matchless lotus I am born,
I’ll behold the Tathagata’s measureless light as He appears before me
To bestow a prediction of Bodhi.

Receiving a prediction from the Thus Come One,
I’ll transform countless kotis of bodies,
And with wisdom power vast and great pervade the ten directions
To benefit the realms of living beings.
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Re: Ribbons of Fire

Postby Nighthawk » Wed May 02, 2012 5:41 am

Hello plwk, I was asking about the Varjayana point of view. The concept of instant Buddhahood when reborn in Pure land only belongs to the Jodo Shinshu school in east asian Mayahana. Maybe I shouldn't have asked here. Thanks for the quotes though.
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Re: Ribbons of Fire

Postby plwk » Wed May 02, 2012 7:29 am

I have read of attainment of Buddhahood in Jodo Shinshu yes, but instant Buddhahood?
Perhaps you can point me to a Jodo Shinshu source which states: instant Buddhahood when reborn in Pure land... and I would like to know what is the context of 'instant'?
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Re: Ribbons of Fire

Postby Nighthawk » Wed May 02, 2012 7:53 am

Here are the writings of Eiken Kobai Sensei. He directly quotes Master Shinran and provides his own commentary.

In the Chapter on Shinjin of his Kyogyoshinsho, the Venerable Master wrote:

Regardless of class or rank, those born in the Pure Recompensed Land of the Great Vow will immediately attain the “unparalleled true way”; hence, it is referred to as “crosswise transcendence.”

In other words, the Venerable Master asserted that we will attain the highest level of enlightenment, i.e., become a Buddha, at the moment we are born in the Pure Land. Further, in the Chapter on Faith he wrote:

Truly we know that because Miroku Bosatsu has realized the diamond-hard mind of the “state equal to bodhi,” he will attain the Highest Enlightenment. As a result of three dharma talks that he will give under a dragon-flower tree, those who (recite the) Nembutsu with the diamond-hard mind of “crosswise transcendence” (shinjin) will also attain the great, perfect Nirvana the moment they leave this world. That is why followers of the Nembutsu are said to be “equal” (to Miroku Bosatsu).

In his Shozomatsu Wasan, the Venerable Master wrote,

Five-billion six-hundred-seventy million
Years will pass
Before Miroku Bosatsu
Attains the highest Enlightenment,
But those with shinjin
Will attain it immediately
(After leaving this world).


As related above, those with shinjin will attain enlightenment before Miroku Bosatsu (who has the rank of toshogaku, the 51st stage on the Bodhisattva Path) attains the supreme Enlightenment 5,670,000,000 years from now. As already indicated, Pure Land thought before the Venerable Master was that only after being born in the Pure Land would you be in the “Rightly Established Group,” after which you must perform the religious practices required in order to become a Buddha (become enlightened).

The Venerable Master turned this thought around, and asserted that we are in the “rightly established group” when our shinjin is determined, and emphasized that we will become a Buddha simultaneously with our birth in the Pure Land.

After “becoming a Buddha,” we immediately “return to this world” (genso) and begin our activity of helping others.


http://web.mit.edu/stclair/www/content/ ... index.html
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Re: Ribbons of Fire

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Wed May 02, 2012 12:46 pm

Nighthawk wrote:Hello plwk, I was asking about the Varjayana point of view. The concept of instant Buddhahood when reborn in Pure land only belongs to the Jodo Shinshu school in east asian Mayahana. Maybe I shouldn't have asked here. Thanks for the quotes though.


not only Jodo Shinshu.
A vajrayana sadhana includes these lines (Tibetan pronunciation with English translation):

NAM ZHIK T'HSE PO GYUR MA THAK DE WA CHEN DU KYE GYUR CHIK
Instantly, when we leave this life, may we be bprn on Dewachen (Tib.=Sukhavati).
KYE NE PE MAY KHA CHHE TE LU TEN DE LA SANGE GYE SHOK
Once we are born there, may the lotus open and, in that body, may we achieve enlightenment.

As far as any concept of "instantly" is concerned, this is a relative concern.
the idea is that realization is attained very quickly.
In the context of a Buddha Realm,
any dualism between quickly and gradually, or immediate and latent, is meaningless.
.
.
.
Profile Picture: "The Foaming Monk"
The Chinese characters are Fo (buddha) and Ming (bright). The image is of a student of Buddhism, who, imagining himself to be a monk, and not understanding the true meaning of the words takes the sound of the words literally. Likewise, People on web forums sometime seem to be foaming at the mouth.
Original painting by P.Volker /used by permission.
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Re: Ribbons of Fire

Postby Nighthawk » Thu May 03, 2012 1:31 am

PadmaVonSamba wrote:
Nighthawk wrote:Hello plwk, I was asking about the Varjayana point of view. The concept of instant Buddhahood when reborn in Pure land only belongs to the Jodo Shinshu school in east asian Mayahana. Maybe I shouldn't have asked here. Thanks for the quotes though.


not only Jodo Shinshu.
A vajrayana sadhana includes these lines (Tibetan pronunciation with English translation):

NAM ZHIK T'HSE PO GYUR MA THAK DE WA CHEN DU KYE GYUR CHIK
Instantly, when we leave this life, may we be bprn on Dewachen (Tib.=Sukhavati).
KYE NE PE MAY KHA CHHE TE LU TEN DE LA SANGE GYE SHOK
Once we are born there, may the lotus open and, in that body, may we achieve enlightenment.

As far as any concept of "instantly" is concerned, this is a relative concern.
the idea is that realization is attained very quickly.
In the context of a Buddha Realm,
any dualism between quickly and gradually, or immediate and latent, is meaningless.
.
.

.


Thank you for clarifying :cheers:
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Re: Ribbons of Fire

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Thu May 03, 2012 2:35 am

PadmaVonSamba wrote:
A vajrayana sadhana includes these lines (Tibetan pronunciation with English translation):

NAM ZHIK T'HSE PO GYUR MA THAK DE WA CHEN DU KYE GYUR CHIK
Instantly, when we leave this life, may we be bprn on Dewachen (Tib.=Sukhavati).


may we be bprn on Dewachen :oops:
Should read: born in Dewachen
Profile Picture: "The Foaming Monk"
The Chinese characters are Fo (buddha) and Ming (bright). The image is of a student of Buddhism, who, imagining himself to be a monk, and not understanding the true meaning of the words takes the sound of the words literally. Likewise, People on web forums sometime seem to be foaming at the mouth.
Original painting by P.Volker /used by permission.
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Re: Ribbons of Fire

Postby Uniltiranyu » Thu May 03, 2012 8:43 am

Will wrote:
PadmaVonSamba wrote:They are not going in...they are coming out (or out from behind Amitabha's house):

"And furthermore, O Sariputra, in this land there are all sorts of strange and wondrously colored birds. White Cranes and peacocks, parrots and mynah birds and other sorts of birds having melodious voices and fabulous birds who have two heads and all the many kinds of birds are assembled there. Day and Night, during each of the Six Periods their harmony creates and elegant sound which, if listened to, expounds and makes clear the five spiritual organ roots which are positive and the five powers of Mara which, if springing from the corresponding sensory organs, are negative factors. Likewise do they expound the seven characteristics of Bodhi and the Holy Eightfold Path..."
.
.
.


OK - going out it is. Yet I wonder why not radiate from Amitabha himself; and what is with all the fluffy clouds? Iconography has many mysteries.


Have you seen the nimitta of the moon appearing in the clouds? When that sign appears, a whole lot of other activity will also be unfolding in your fathom-long form, hence the association of clouds behind spiritual appearances on the picture. On this note, I'll mention the lyre once again, because it connects with the folk-lore of playing a harp once you get to Heaven - that place depicted by numerous clouds, and also accessed via a pearly gate. Again - if you know the nimitta's appearance, you'll understand why I say this.

Also, don't forget that swans were sacred to Apollo, the deity who plays a lyre in a contest with a Faun, depicting an early resurrection motif wherein the Faun plays an aulos, and, losing the contest, is flayed and pinned by Apollo to a tree, rather like Jesus, who is scourged and then nailed by the hands to a cross. Hands are significant when they bear stigmata in Christian icons, and eyes in Buddhist icons, and such are a very good reason for depicting the bands of light on those two figures at the top of the picture. Don't forget that Tara bears eyes in her hands, and she brings long-life. As I said - 'String your lyre, and play!'
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