Amidaji and Rev. Cirlea going independent

Jingtoo2
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Re: Amidaji and Rev. Cirlea going independent

Post by Jingtoo2 »

Nagarjuna would not agree of course.
What we are seeing here is the contrast between Shin as a separate development of Dharma that is self referencing, and Shin as part of mainstream Mahayana rather than being eastern or western.
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Tatsuo
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Re: Amidaji and Rev. Cirlea going independent

Post by Tatsuo »

It is almost unbearable to read his blog entries filled with hateful speech. This is the most recent one: https://amida-ji-retreat-temple-romania ... owers.html

Whatever he might have to say about Jodo Shinshu, this guy definitely belongs in the category "extremist' and he's not worth anyone's time.

南無阿弥陀佛
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Zhen Li
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Re: Amidaji and Rev. Cirlea going independent

Post by Zhen Li »

Jingtoo2 wrote: Mon Oct 26, 2020 11:51 am Nagarjuna would not agree of course.
What we are seeing here is the contrast between Shin as a separate development of Dharma that is self referencing, and Shin as part of mainstream Mahayana rather than being eastern or western.
That is not an "of course" matter. Nāgārjuna is interpreted in different ways. Yogācāra-Svatantrika-Mādhyamika and Shentongpa read Nāgārjuna as affirming a positive Buddha-nature instead of a Buddha-nature equals complete negation philosophy. If Shin does not engage with the wider Mahāyāna tradition it cannot explain its own doctrines. This is one reason Shin fails to make sense to a lot of people who come to it without any background—there is no explanation given for why we ought to seek birth in the Pure Land, so you end up with a lot of temples where the most serious practitioners are those who come for zazen classes (which are held in many BCA temples) or who only care for the Theravāda teachings—considering Amitābha to be invalid or non-existent due to historical reductionism. It is true that it is easier for a simple person to attain faith, but this is not about appealing to the dull, but about allowing people to become their simple self, letting go of calculation (Recall that Hōnen and Shinran were both highly educated and learned scholar monks—the former having read through the entire canon five times before he settled on nembutsu). Anyway, Cirlea's recent comments are of course completely unnecessary and indefensible. He made his point about this previously and it seems he is flaming at this point.
Jingtoo2
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Re: Amidaji and Rev. Cirlea going independent

Post by Jingtoo2 »

Do you think it’s possible that some people come to it with a lot of background knowledge..sometimes over several generations, and then at some point take a different view to yours? Do you think that might happen? 🙂

I take your point about Cirlea. I think we are talking about a particular type of mentality that has become all too common in reliance and politics.
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Zhen Li
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Re: Amidaji and Rev. Cirlea going independent

Post by Zhen Li »

Jingtoo2 wrote: Mon Oct 26, 2020 2:28 pm Do you think it’s possible that some people come to it with a lot of background knowledge..sometimes over several generations, and then at some point take a different view to yours? Do you think that might happen? 🙂
I don't actually understand your question. Do you mean knowledge from previous lives? Or generations within someone's family? I think some people go to a temple because their family has been going there for many generations, without any particular interest in doctrine—this is probably the majority.

For people who come with background knowledge, I think most come with a passing knowledge from general introductions ("nightstand Buddhist"). One in a few hundred visitors may have deep knowledge. It is incredibly rare to encounter the Buddha Dharma, even rarer to encounter a Bodhisattva.
shoe
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Re: Amidaji and Rev. Cirlea going independent

Post by shoe »

Zhen Li wrote: Sun Oct 25, 2020 3:18 pm I have to agree that these are some what less defensible moves made by Cirlea and are not quite in line with the trend of separation between politics and religion in the Hongwanji which with Rennyo as expressed in his letter "On Norms of Conduct:"
[D]o not slight the provincial military governors and local land stewards, claiming that you have attained faith; meet your public obligations in full without fail. Further, do not belittle the various kami and buddhas and bodhisattvas, for they are all encompassed within the six characters “na-mu- a-mi-da-butsu.” Besides this, in particular, take the laws of the state as your outer aspect, store other-power faith deep in your hearts...
This also goes back to the principle expressed by Shinran that we should avoid outward shows of religiosity—this creates conflict between the state, society, and the saṅgha. Outwardly we should not be at odds with society or the laws of the state in a way that would draw unwanted attention or turn people away due to things that are irrelevant to their ability to attain shinjin. People may be coming from different political backgrounds, left or right, and may equally attain shinjin—I think after someone attains a degree of faith in the Dharma, political activities tend to take second place to the Dharma, as one realises that they necessarily deal with temporary states of affairs that will disappear and return in our future lives if we do not attain Buddhahood—this, then should always be our priority.

Equally so, the kind political dialogue, particularly of the social-justice variety, as found in the BCA are equally as divisive and will drive away many conservatives. We should just focus on shinjin and the writings and practices of the tradition—that there are many Shin saṅghas where discussion of shinjin is absent are a truly lamentable states of affairs and remind one of Rennyō's letters:
Now, what is the purpose of monthly meetings in our sect?
Laypeople, lacking wisdom, spend their days and nights in vain; their lives pass by meaninglessly, and, in the end, they fall into the three evil paths. The meetings are occasions when, even if only once a month, just those who practice the nenbutsu should at least gather in the meeting place and discuss their own faith and the faith of others. Recently, however, because matters of faith are never discussed in terms of right and wrong, the situation is deplorable beyond words.
In conclusion, there must definitely be discussions of faith from now on among those at the meetings. For this is how we are to attain birth in the true and real Land of Utmost Bliss.
Temples and ministers have no ability in Jōdo Shinshū doctrine to have authority over matters of good or evil, again Rennyō wrote
And so, by giving himself as an example, the Master’s words were meant to awaken us to our twofold ignorance: we are deluded as to the depth of our transgressions and unaware of the breadth of Amida’s beneficence. For others as well as myself speak only of good and evil without heeding the beneficence of Amida. As Shinran said:

I am completely ignorant of good and evil. If I could know what good was as totally as Amida does, then I could claim to know good; and if I knew evil as totally as Amida does, then I could claim to know evil. But I must confess that we are all ordinary beings beset by defiling passions and that everything in our world is as transient as a burning house. All things are illusory and delusive and have no truth in them. The nenbutsu alone is true.

Indeed, I myself as well as others speak only of idle things, of which the most regrettable is that when we discuss among ourselves or explain to others the meaning of faith, some impute to the Master words that he did not utter, merely to silence their opponents and put an end to the discussion. This is most deplorable, and we should be careful to discriminate in this regard.
Reputation is of course important, but the whole upholding of precepts by Shin ministers that Cirlea is advocating is really quite unusual from a Shin perspective. While he speaks with great clarity and wisdom when it comes to matters of doctrine, these matters of discipline and morality are somewhat at odds with the tradition—the same is easily said of BCA diversions. We just need to restore a middle-way. I think it is easy to go too far and end up missing the mark and going overboard.
I would like to read more into this, which letter from Rennyo was this? I think reading this letter would answer some other questions I had (that would be off topic to mention here).
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