Tenth Vow of Amitabha

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Astus
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Tenth Vow of Amitabha

Post by Astus »

In the tenth vow of Amitabha it is stated that beings in Sukhavati will not arouse any clinging/desire (parigraha/貪), not even to their own bodies. It is generally believed that even ordinary beings (prthagjana) may be born there. However, how could an unenlightened one be free from clinging suddenly?

The Tenth Vow of Amitabha

sacenme bhagavaṃstasmin buddhakṣetre ye sattvāḥ pratyājāyeran, teṣāṃ kācitparigrahasaṃjñotpadyeta, antaśaḥ svaśarīre'pi, mā tāvadahamanuttarāṃ samyaksaṃbodhimabhisaṃbudhyeyam
(http://www.dsbcproject.org/canon-text/content/59/528)

"O Bhagavat, if in that Buddha country of mine the beings who are born there should form any idea of property, even with regard to their own body, then may I not obtain the highest perfect knowledge."
(Müller, https://www.sacred-texts.com/bud/sbe49/sbe4924.htm)

設我得佛。國中人天。若起想念貪計身者。不取正覺。
(Saṅghavarman, T360p268a9-10; http://21dzk.l.u-tokyo.ac.jp/SAT2015/T0 ... 268a10.cit)

"If, when I attain buddhahood, humans and devas in my land should give rise to thoughts of self-attachment, may I not attain perfect enlightenment."
(Inagaki, BDK ed, p 13; http://www.acmuller.net/bud-canon/sutra ... _life.html)

"After I become a Buddha, if gods in my land should imagine that they have embodied selves, I would not attain the perfect enlightenment."
(Rulu, http://www.sutrasmantras.info/sutra25.html)
1 Myriad dharmas are only mind.
Mind is unobtainable.
What is there to seek?

2 If the Buddha-Nature is seen,
there will be no seeing of a nature in any thing.

3 Neither cultivation nor seated meditation —
this is the pure Chan of Tathagata.

4 With sudden enlightenment to Tathagata Chan,
the six paramitas and myriad means
are complete within that essence.


1 Huangbo, T2012Ap381c1 2 Nirvana Sutra, T374p521b3; tr. Yamamoto 3 Mazu, X1321p3b23; tr. J. Jia 4 Yongjia, T2014p395c14; tr. from "The Sword of Wisdom"
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PadmaVonSamba
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Re: Tenth Vow of Amitabha

Post by PadmaVonSamba »

How does a sleeping person suddenly awaken from a dream?
EMPTIFUL.
An inward outlook develops outward insight.
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Re: Tenth Vow of Amitabha

Post by Astus »

PadmaVonSamba wrote: Mon Apr 20, 2020 1:28 pmHow does a sleeping person suddenly awaken from a dream?
Unless you're suggesting that Sukhavati is Nirvana, the simile does not apply. But if Sukhavati were Nirvana, then it raises even bigger issues, since it'd mean a buddha can turn beings into liberated ones without having them cultivate the path.
1 Myriad dharmas are only mind.
Mind is unobtainable.
What is there to seek?

2 If the Buddha-Nature is seen,
there will be no seeing of a nature in any thing.

3 Neither cultivation nor seated meditation —
this is the pure Chan of Tathagata.

4 With sudden enlightenment to Tathagata Chan,
the six paramitas and myriad means
are complete within that essence.


1 Huangbo, T2012Ap381c1 2 Nirvana Sutra, T374p521b3; tr. Yamamoto 3 Mazu, X1321p3b23; tr. J. Jia 4 Yongjia, T2014p395c14; tr. from "The Sword of Wisdom"
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Könchok Thrinley
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Re: Tenth Vow of Amitabha

Post by Könchok Thrinley »

I think it would probably depend on "what sort of body" beings in sukhavati have. Here our body and mind are mixed like milk and water. There the body might not be physical as it is here. So it would be for example like body in a dream. When we are lucid in a dream we don't cling to our bodies.
“Observing samaya involves to remain inseparable from the union of wisdom and compassion at all times, to sustain mindfulness, and to put into practice the guru’s instructions”. Garchen Rinpoche

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Astus
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Re: Tenth Vow of Amitabha

Post by Astus »

Könchok Thrinley wrote: Mon Apr 20, 2020 2:07 pmI think it would probably depend on "what sort of body" beings in sukhavati have.
They have bodies, however, the vow is not limited to clinging to one's body, but it's used as an example to the extent of clinging.
1 Myriad dharmas are only mind.
Mind is unobtainable.
What is there to seek?

2 If the Buddha-Nature is seen,
there will be no seeing of a nature in any thing.

3 Neither cultivation nor seated meditation —
this is the pure Chan of Tathagata.

4 With sudden enlightenment to Tathagata Chan,
the six paramitas and myriad means
are complete within that essence.


1 Huangbo, T2012Ap381c1 2 Nirvana Sutra, T374p521b3; tr. Yamamoto 3 Mazu, X1321p3b23; tr. J. Jia 4 Yongjia, T2014p395c14; tr. from "The Sword of Wisdom"
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Re: Tenth Vow of Amitabha

Post by SonamTashi »

Astus wrote: Mon Apr 20, 2020 2:03 pm
PadmaVonSamba wrote: Mon Apr 20, 2020 1:28 pmHow does a sleeping person suddenly awaken from a dream?
Unless you're suggesting that Sukhavati is Nirvana, the simile does not apply. But if Sukhavati were Nirvana, then it raises even bigger issues, since it'd mean a buddha can turn beings into liberated ones without having them cultivate the path.
That's almost exactly what Jodo Shinshu teaches, although they are unique in teaching that way. Basically, in Jodo Shinshu, beings born there by relying on the 18th vow immediately attain the state of Buddhahood and then immediately return from there to save beings, and it is taught that this happens entirely through the power of Amida's vows.
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Re: Tenth Vow of Amitabha

Post by GrapeLover »

In the Vimalakirti Sutra, it states that because of the intentionally superficially impure nature of the Sahā World, there are ten virtuous practices existent here that “do not exist in any other Buddhafield” (lists them as generosity etc, presumably because there are actually people in need and so on). Buddhafields are otherwise portrayed as being basically universally utopian.

As such, I basically infer that Buddhas are capable of establishing the nature of the very fabric of existence of their Buddhafields, and Amitabha has established that Sukhavati intrinsically will not provide the supporting circumstances for clinging to arise (just like it doesn’t provide the circumstances for the existence of a hell realm).

It’s maybe a case of whatever karma still exists within the being, Sukhavati somehow doesn’t give it anything to grab onto—the laws of its physics are such that it will not facilitate anything not in accordance with the Dharma. Elsewhere in the sutra it states that meritorious deeds are accomplished there spontaneously, which might be broadly related to this… the nature of the place is such that it will only facilitate totally natural meritorious action. So the being may not be free of anything per se, but the conditions are.

“Not [giving] rise to thoughts of” perhaps being meaningfully distinct from being intrinsically incapable of giving rise to such thoughts if the conditions were there.

Perhaps the nature of the skandhas of the bodies there will not facilitate the arising of such thoughts. Like how you can remove particular functions by messing with the human brain.

Maybe! Something like that…
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Re: Tenth Vow of Amitabha

Post by FromTheEarth »

Before one fully develops, say, the wisdom (智) of a śrotāpanna, one would first develop recognition or forbearance of the wisdom (智忍). Likewise, according to certain Mahayana texts, before a Bodhisattva achieves something similar to śrotāpanna-ship, where one eliminates defilement, one would first be able to suppress defilement as a result of long-term practice (say, the five forbearance doctrine as in Tiantai system).

Also, there are many conditions that prevent defilement (of certain sorts) from arising: meditation states, lack of stimuli, birth in higher realms (hard for devas in higher realms to have certain lower-realm-specific mental activities, if ever cognitively possible for them), and effective learning alongside the resultant, profound recognition of the truth. This is not to say the relevant sentient beings are able to eliminate the defilement once for all, but only that they are able to prevent the defilement from arising, given the right time and right place.

I guess in Sukhavati these different factors may be in effect at the same time.
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Re: Tenth Vow of Amitabha

Post by Wayfarer »

Astus wrote: Mon Apr 20, 2020 2:03 pm
PadmaVonSamba wrote: Mon Apr 20, 2020 1:28 pmHow does a sleeping person suddenly awaken from a dream?
Unless you're suggesting that Sukhavati is Nirvana, the simile does not apply. But if Sukhavati were Nirvana, then it raises even bigger issues, since it'd mean a buddha can turn beings into liberated ones without having them cultivate the path.
As I understand it, in Japanese Pure Land, there is no thought of 'cultivation' whatever. Any attempt to 'cultivate' is a self-power idea. You are reborn in Sukhavati solely by faith in other-power, that being the power of Amida's vow.

I don't know if it's the same in all Pure Land schools, I've just taken delivery of a book on Pure Land tradition in Tibet, but haven't delved into it yet.
'Only practice with no gaining idea' ~ Suzuki Roshi
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Re: Tenth Vow of Amitabha

Post by Astus »

Wayfarer wrote: Tue Apr 21, 2020 9:20 amAs I understand it, in Japanese Pure Land, there is no thought of 'cultivation' whatever. Any attempt to 'cultivate' is a self-power idea. You are reborn in Sukhavati solely by faith in other-power, that being the power of Amida's vow.
Still, even if in this life there is no progress, the Pure Land itself is where one completes the bodhisattva path.

From the Jodoshu Research site:

"The fourth and the last stage is perhaps best thought of as the stage after death, when one has succeeded in being born in the Pure Land in the West. At this fourth stage, all of the practices of the Holy Path aimed towards gaining final enlightenment that were rejected as being too difficult for people living in the age of the final Dharma are readmitted on their own terms. Since they now dwell amid the wonders of the Pure Land, people are continuously in the presence of the Buddha and hear his teachings without the distortions caused by the many disturbing passions of the present world. Now they can indeed obtain the bodhicitta, reach the stage of non-retrogression, and be assured of eventual enlightenment. Therefore, the practices of the Holy Path which were rejected as too difficult are now all reinstated and practiced in their full essence."

Image
1 Myriad dharmas are only mind.
Mind is unobtainable.
What is there to seek?

2 If the Buddha-Nature is seen,
there will be no seeing of a nature in any thing.

3 Neither cultivation nor seated meditation —
this is the pure Chan of Tathagata.

4 With sudden enlightenment to Tathagata Chan,
the six paramitas and myriad means
are complete within that essence.


1 Huangbo, T2012Ap381c1 2 Nirvana Sutra, T374p521b3; tr. Yamamoto 3 Mazu, X1321p3b23; tr. J. Jia 4 Yongjia, T2014p395c14; tr. from "The Sword of Wisdom"
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Re: Tenth Vow of Amitabha

Post by SonamTashi »

Astus wrote: Tue Apr 21, 2020 10:15 am
Wayfarer wrote: Tue Apr 21, 2020 9:20 amAs I understand it, in Japanese Pure Land, there is no thought of 'cultivation' whatever. Any attempt to 'cultivate' is a self-power idea. You are reborn in Sukhavati solely by faith in other-power, that being the power of Amida's vow.
Still, even if in this life there is no progress, the Pure Land itself is where one completes the bodhisattva path.

From the Jodoshu Research site:

"The fourth and the last stage is perhaps best thought of as the stage after death, when one has succeeded in being born in the Pure Land in the West. At this fourth stage, all of the practices of the Holy Path aimed towards gaining final enlightenment that were rejected as being too difficult for people living in the age of the final Dharma are readmitted on their own terms. Since they now dwell amid the wonders of the Pure Land, people are continuously in the presence of the Buddha and hear his teachings without the distortions caused by the many disturbing passions of the present world. Now they can indeed obtain the bodhicitta, reach the stage of non-retrogression, and be assured of eventual enlightenment. Therefore, the practices of the Holy Path which were rejected as too difficult are now all reinstated and practiced in their full essence."

Image
That's accurate for Jodo Shu, but like I said, Jodo Shinshu teaches that beings relying on the 18th vow (relying on other power) instantly attain full Buddhahood upon reaching Sukhavati, and this is by the power of Amida.
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Re: Tenth Vow of Amitabha

Post by Malcolm »

Astus wrote: Mon Apr 20, 2020 1:26 pm In the tenth vow of Amitabha it is stated that beings in Sukhavati will not arouse any clinging/desire (parigraha/貪), not even to their own bodies. It is generally believed that even ordinary beings (prthagjana) may be born there. However, how could an unenlightened one be free from clinging suddenly?
Parigraha means "possession" or "property." I don't think this means clinging in the sense you take it to mean. I think it means that beings born there will have no concept of property.
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that name does not exist."
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Re: Tenth Vow of Amitabha

Post by juexing »

SonamTashi wrote: Tue Apr 21, 2020 6:13 pm
Astus wrote: Tue Apr 21, 2020 10:15 am
Wayfarer wrote: Tue Apr 21, 2020 9:20 amAs I understand it, in Japanese Pure Land, there is no thought of 'cultivation' whatever. Any attempt to 'cultivate' is a self-power idea. You are reborn in Sukhavati solely by faith in other-power, that being the power of Amida's vow.
Still, even if in this life there is no progress, the Pure Land itself is where one completes the bodhisattva path.

From the Jodoshu Research site:

"The fourth and the last stage is perhaps best thought of as the stage after death, when one has succeeded in being born in the Pure Land in the West. At this fourth stage, all of the practices of the Holy Path aimed towards gaining final enlightenment that were rejected as being too difficult for people living in the age of the final Dharma are readmitted on their own terms. Since they now dwell amid the wonders of the Pure Land, people are continuously in the presence of the Buddha and hear his teachings without the distortions caused by the many disturbing passions of the present world. Now they can indeed obtain the bodhicitta, reach the stage of non-retrogression, and be assured of eventual enlightenment. Therefore, the practices of the Holy Path which were rejected as too difficult are now all reinstated and practiced in their full essence."

Image
That's accurate for Jodo Shu, but like I said, Jodo Shinshu teaches that beings relying on the 18th vow (relying on other power) instantly attain full Buddhahood upon reaching Sukhavati, and this is by the power of Amida.
Jodo Shinshu may teach that, but isn't that incorrect? The point of being reborn in the pure land is that it's an ideal place to cultivate, not that you automatically become a Buddha on arrival.
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Re: Tenth Vow of Amitabha

Post by SonamTashi »

juexing wrote: Tue Apr 21, 2020 6:54 pm
SonamTashi wrote: Tue Apr 21, 2020 6:13 pm
Astus wrote: Tue Apr 21, 2020 10:15 am

Still, even if in this life there is no progress, the Pure Land itself is where one completes the bodhisattva path.

From the Jodoshu Research site:

"The fourth and the last stage is perhaps best thought of as the stage after death, when one has succeeded in being born in the Pure Land in the West. At this fourth stage, all of the practices of the Holy Path aimed towards gaining final enlightenment that were rejected as being too difficult for people living in the age of the final Dharma are readmitted on their own terms. Since they now dwell amid the wonders of the Pure Land, people are continuously in the presence of the Buddha and hear his teachings without the distortions caused by the many disturbing passions of the present world. Now they can indeed obtain the bodhicitta, reach the stage of non-retrogression, and be assured of eventual enlightenment. Therefore, the practices of the Holy Path which were rejected as too difficult are now all reinstated and practiced in their full essence."

Image
That's accurate for Jodo Shu, but like I said, Jodo Shinshu teaches that beings relying on the 18th vow (relying on other power) instantly attain full Buddhahood upon reaching Sukhavati, and this is by the power of Amida.
Jodo Shinshu may teach that, but isn't that incorrect? The point of being reborn in the pure land is that it's an ideal place to cultivate, not that you automatically become a Buddha on arrival.
I think it is incorrect. IMO Shinran misinterpreted references to the 10th bhumi, which is sometimes called the Buddha Level, but it is not full Buddhahood. It is the stage of Buddhahood after one more life. Since beings born in Sukhavati will attain Buddhahood after leaving Sukhavati, in a way they are on that stage, but they don't have any of the realization or attributes, so they still have to do the work in the Pure Land. In my opinion, Shinran didn't understand this and took the 10th bhumi to be Buddhahood itself, and thus taught that beings born there would immediately attain Buddhahood (the sutra actually says ultimately, not immediately). However, it is what Shinran taught, and it is thus what Jodo Shinshu teaches.
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Re: Tenth Vow of Amitabha

Post by 明安 Myoan »

FromTheEarth wrote: Tue Apr 21, 2020 7:59 am Before one fully develops, say, the wisdom (智) of a śrotāpanna, one would first develop recognition or forbearance of the wisdom (智忍). Likewise, according to certain Mahayana texts, before a Bodhisattva achieves something similar to śrotāpanna-ship, where one eliminates defilement, one would first be able to suppress defilement as a result of long-term practice (say, the five forbearance doctrine as in Tiantai system).

Also, there are many conditions that prevent defilement (of certain sorts) from arising: meditation states, lack of stimuli, birth in higher realms (hard for devas in higher realms to have certain lower-realm-specific mental activities, if ever cognitively possible for them), and effective learning alongside the resultant, profound recognition of the truth. This is not to say the relevant sentient beings are able to eliminate the defilement once for all, but only that they are able to prevent the defilement from arising, given the right time and right place.

I guess in Sukhavati these different factors may be in effect at the same time.
:good:

Regarding clinging to the environment, each of the five senses has a corresponding appearance in Sukhavati, the beautiful music, the beautiful sights, the smells, the touch of the ground, the visualized taste of the foods that appear. They all cause one to remember the Buddha, Dharma, Sangha. Like FromTheEarth said, this is supportive.

Regarding clinging to one's body, it has the marks of a buddha and is of one appearance with others there. And the Three Lower Realms are closed off.

I recall also, maybe in one of the Three Sutras, that those born in Sukhavati by thinking of Amida Buddha will continue to see that Buddha even after he passes into parinirvana and Avalokiteshvara and Mahasthamaprapta continue the work.

I think your question is related to the matter of non-retrogression.
With a heart wandering in ignorance down this path and that, to guide me I simply say Namu-Amida-Butsu. -- Ippen

Reciting the Nembutsu and believing in birth in the Pure Land naturally give rise to the Three Minds and the Four Modes of Practice. -- Master Hōnen
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