Enlightenment in a Pure Land

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AmidaB
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Enlightenment in a Pure Land

Post by AmidaB »

Tashi delek!

Which Pure Land is the best place to get enlightened? And also: why Amitabha's Devachen isn't suitable for this purpose?

Thanks
ab
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Aryjna
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Re: Enlightenment in a Pure Land

Post by Aryjna »

AmidaB wrote: Tue Oct 13, 2020 12:51 pm Tashi delek!

Which Pure Land is the best place to get enlightened? And also: why Amitabha's Devachen isn't suitable for this purpose?

Thanks
ab
What makes you say it is not suitable?
javier.espinoza.t
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Re: Enlightenment in a Pure Land

Post by javier.espinoza.t »

AmidaB wrote: Tue Oct 13, 2020 12:51 pm Tashi delek!

Which Pure Land is the best place to get enlightened? And also: why Amitabha's Devachen isn't suitable for this purpose?

Thanks
ab
afaik, one goes learning in this and that buddha's lands but at the end point one goes to Amoggasiddhi's land and there swiftly attain buddhahood.
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AmidaB
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Re: Enlightenment in a Pure Land

Post by AmidaB »

Aryjna wrote: Tue Oct 13, 2020 1:06 pm
AmidaB wrote: Tue Oct 13, 2020 12:51 pm Tashi delek!

Which Pure Land is the best place to get enlightened? And also: why Amitabha's Devachen isn't suitable for this purpose?

Thanks
ab
What makes you say it is not suitable?
E.g. Lama Yeshe:
"If we are born in the pure land of Vajrayogini, then we can definitely achieve enlightenment there. This is the particular benefit of this. It is very easy for ordinary people to take birth in the pure land of Amitabha, but although this liberates from the lower worlds forever, there is no special opportunity [to attain enlightenment]."
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Aryjna
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Re: Enlightenment in a Pure Land

Post by Aryjna »

AmidaB wrote: Tue Oct 13, 2020 1:54 pm
Aryjna wrote: Tue Oct 13, 2020 1:06 pm
AmidaB wrote: Tue Oct 13, 2020 12:51 pm Tashi delek!

Which Pure Land is the best place to get enlightened? And also: why Amitabha's Devachen isn't suitable for this purpose?

Thanks
ab
What makes you say it is not suitable?
E.g. Lama Yeshe:
"If we are born in the pure land of Vajrayogini, then we can definitely achieve enlightenment there. This is the particular benefit of this. It is very easy for ordinary people to take birth in the pure land of Amitabha, but although this liberates from the lower worlds forever, there is no special opportunity [to attain enlightenment]."
I'm pretty sure he means that if someone goes to Dewachen as a result of only a little sutra practice, then it takes an eternity to attain buddhahood while staying there. If one goes there through practicing tantra etc., there shouldn't be much if any difference.
Maybe the difference is that it is not possible to go to Vajrayogini's buddhafield as easily, so you cannot go there and then remain there for ages until buddhahood.
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Brahma
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Re: Enlightenment in a Pure Land

Post by Brahma »

I believe what is meant by "there is no special opportunity", is that with diligence we can do it down here just as well. Attainment of Enlightened is an inner-thing. I believe that is what is meant.
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Re: Enlightenment in a Pure Land

Post by pemachophel »

Of course you can achieve Buddhahood in Sukhavati.
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AmidaB
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Re: Enlightenment in a Pure Land

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Thanks, very reassuring, at least to me.
Varis
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Re: Enlightenment in a Pure Land

Post by Varis »

Aryjna wrote: Tue Oct 13, 2020 2:10 pm I'm pretty sure he means that if someone goes to Dewachen as a result of only a little sutra practice, then it takes an eternity to attain buddhahood while staying there. If one goes there through practicing tantra etc., there shouldn't be much if any difference.
Maybe the difference is that it is not possible to go to Vajrayogini's buddhafield as easily, so you cannot go there and then remain there for ages until buddhahood.
In a tantric pureland you'll be born with the proper channels, sex organs, etc. to practice Vajrayana unlike Dewachen where you'll lack all these things and therefore can only practice common sutric methods. That's why it takes longer to attain Buddhahood in Dewachen.

As for the OP: You're already living in the best pureland, Sakyamuni's pureland. Don't waste the opportunity.
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Re: Enlightenment in a Pure Land

Post by Aryjna »

Varis wrote: Thu Oct 15, 2020 9:20 am
Aryjna wrote: Tue Oct 13, 2020 2:10 pm I'm pretty sure he means that if someone goes to Dewachen as a result of only a little sutra practice, then it takes an eternity to attain buddhahood while staying there. If one goes there through practicing tantra etc., there shouldn't be much if any difference.
Maybe the difference is that it is not possible to go to Vajrayogini's buddhafield as easily, so you cannot go there and then remain there for ages until buddhahood.
In a tantric pureland you'll be born with the proper channels, sex organs, etc. to practice Vajrayana unlike Dewachen where you'll lack all these things and therefore can only practice common sutric methods. That's why it takes longer to attain Buddhahood in Dewachen.

As for the OP: You're already living in the best pureland, Sakyamuni's pureland. Don't waste the opportunity.
This doesn't seem to be an unreasonable view, but I don't think it is widely accepted in Vajrayana, though I don't have something specific in mind. Maybe someone else can provide some specific information.
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AmidaB
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Re: Enlightenment in a Pure Land

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As for the OP: You're already living in the best pureland, Sakyamuni's pureland. Don't waste the opportunity.
A good point. Thanks :anjali:
Last edited by jake on Fri Oct 16, 2020 11:44 am, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Fixed quote error. -mod team
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Re: Enlightenment in a Pure Land

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The Amitābha sūtras do not specify a limit to methods practiced by bodhisattvas in Sukhāvatī, nor is there specified that they need to practice to attain the thirty-two marks, infinite dhāraṇīs, or all the supernatural powers—they have them naturally and inherently by the power of Amitābha's vows. Practicing or not practicing vajrayāna or sūtrayāna is not really a question, since "practice" Sukhāvatī is essentially just ekayāna—you are learning from the Dharmakāya itself, it is instantaneous and beyond the need for methods that can be calculated in the normal sense of duration and ascension.

Moreover, bodhisattvas there, by definition, can visit all buddhas in all buddha-lands in an instant, so attaining birth there enables studying with Vajrayogini. Those without firm faith or other obstacles may take more time to have their lotus flower open, those in the highest rank do so instantaneously. All buddhas praise Amitābha and his land, and attainment of birth in Sukhāvatī is said to be where all buddhas have abided. There is no calculation required on our part. Have no doubt, you can attain the rank of irreversibility and be equal to Maitreya, with one more birth before Buddhahood, in this life, if you entrust yourself to Amitābha Buddha.

Śākyamuni Buddha emphasised the suffering of the Saha World in the Amitābha Sūtras for the very reason of encouraging you to go to the Pure Land. I don't dispute that it is good to practice for some benefit in the here and now, but with a short life in the age of Dharma decline there is only so much you can achieve. Human birth is rare to obtain, and it is almost impossible for non-humans to aspire for and attain birth in Sukhāvatī, so at least make it an aspiration for the end of your life if nothing more.
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Re: Enlightenment in a Pure Land

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Zhen Li wrote: Sat Oct 17, 2020 5:28 am The Amitābha sūtras do not specify a limit to methods practiced by bodhisattvas in Sukhāvatī, nor is there specified that they need to practice to attain the thirty-two marks, infinite dhāraṇīs, or all the supernatural powers—they have them naturally and inherently by the power of Amitābha's vows. Practicing or not practicing vajrayāna or sūtrayāna is not really a question, since "practice" Sukhāvatī is essentially just ekayāna—you are learning from the Dharmakāya itself, it is instantaneous and beyond the need for methods that can be calculated in the normal sense of duration and ascension.

Moreover, bodhisattvas there, by definition, can visit all buddhas in all buddha-lands in an instant, so attaining birth there enables studying with Vajrayogini. Those without firm faith or other obstacles may take more time to have their lotus flower open, those in the highest rank do so instantaneously. All buddhas praise Amitābha and his land, and attainment of birth in Sukhāvatī is said to be where all buddhas have abided. There is no calculation required on our part. Have no doubt, you can attain the rank of irreversibility and be equal to Maitreya, with one more birth before Buddhahood, in this life, if you entrust yourself to Amitābha Buddha.

Śākyamuni Buddha emphasised the suffering of the Saha World in the Amitābha Sūtras for the very reason of encouraging you to go to the Pure Land. I don't dispute that it is good to practice for some benefit in the here and now, but with a short life in the age of Dharma decline there is only so much you can achieve. Human birth is rare to obtain, and it is almost impossible for non-humans to aspire for and attain birth in Sukhāvatī, so at least make it an aspiration for the end of your life if nothing more.
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Re: Enlightenment in a Pure Land

Post by AJP »

The 48 Vows of Amitabha Buddha are a very fortuitous Dharma to be connected with don't underestimate it.
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Re: Enlightenment in a Pure Land

Post by Tenma »

Varis wrote: Thu Oct 15, 2020 9:20 am
Aryjna wrote: Tue Oct 13, 2020 2:10 pm I'm pretty sure he means that if someone goes to Dewachen as a result of only a little sutra practice, then it takes an eternity to attain buddhahood while staying there. If one goes there through practicing tantra etc., there shouldn't be much if any difference.
Maybe the difference is that it is not possible to go to Vajrayogini's buddhafield as easily, so you cannot go there and then remain there for ages until buddhahood.
In a tantric pureland you'll be born with the proper channels, sex organs, etc. to practice Vajrayana unlike Dewachen where you'll lack all these things and therefore can only practice common sutric methods. That's why it takes longer to attain Buddhahood in Dewachen.

As for the OP: You're already living in the best pureland, Sakyamuni's pureland. Don't waste the opportunity.
You mean to tell me Sukhavati and other purelands like Abhirati and the Copper Mountain have suffering as well? What even is a pure land?
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Re: Enlightenment in a Pure Land

Post by GrapeLover »

Tenma wrote: Sat Oct 17, 2020 5:23 pm
Varis wrote: Thu Oct 15, 2020 9:20 am
Aryjna wrote: Tue Oct 13, 2020 2:10 pm I'm pretty sure he means that if someone goes to Dewachen as a result of only a little sutra practice, then it takes an eternity to attain buddhahood while staying there. If one goes there through practicing tantra etc., there shouldn't be much if any difference.
Maybe the difference is that it is not possible to go to Vajrayogini's buddhafield as easily, so you cannot go there and then remain there for ages until buddhahood.
In a tantric pureland you'll be born with the proper channels, sex organs, etc. to practice Vajrayana unlike Dewachen where you'll lack all these things and therefore can only practice common sutric methods. That's why it takes longer to attain Buddhahood in Dewachen.

As for the OP: You're already living in the best pureland, Sakyamuni's pureland. Don't waste the opportunity.
You mean to tell me Sukhavati and other purelands like Abhirati and the Copper Mountain have suffering as well? What even is a pure land?
Nay, this is Shakyamuni’s Buddhafield, but it’s “impure”—that is, how we perceive it depends on the purity of our own mind. So, if our minds are impure then there is lots of apparent suffering etc. However, the Vimalakirti Sutra states that this has benefit because it allows us to practise the paramitas etc. Strictly speaking, merit is also accumulated here a lot faster than in Sukhavati. So Varis alluded to the benefits.

On the other hand, Sukhavati is a pure Buddhafield, or an “actual” Pure Land, which doesn’t have the capacity to appear impure to anybody. There is definitely no suffering there.

Everywhere is a Buddhafield but not all Buddhafields are pure.
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Re: Enlightenment in a Pure Land

Post by javier.espinoza.t »

Maybe oftopic questions: is there another pure realm where beings can go or be sent regardless their sins? is there something in this sense similar to Buddha Amitabha's land?
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Re: Enlightenment in a Pure Land

Post by PadmaVonSamba »

My understanding is that while there are infinite Buddha fields where beings take rebirth, Amitabha’s pure land is the one best suited for human realm beings in this particular time. It’s like finding a planet with oxygen and water. That might not work for every creature in the universe, but would be for earthlings.
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Re: Enlightenment in a Pure Land

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An interesting take on pure lands were provided by Medieval Shingon scholars such as Kakuban and Kakukai. A strongly "immanentalist" streak pervades Shingon theories from this epoch...the idea that one could access the Pure Land here and now in "this very body"; the esoteric reading of the name "Amida" and the sense of body, speech, and mind interacting in an esoteric manner when one intoned the Name. Not self power, because the Breath of Life came from Amida as Other Power, but not as starkly "Other-power-esque" as Honan or Shinran. Hey, it's Shingon after all.

This PDF goes into Kakukai's theories for example:

https://nirc.nanzan-u.ac.jp/nfile/2291
Last edited by FiveSkandhas on Sun Oct 18, 2020 5:45 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Zhen Li
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Re: Enlightenment in a Pure Land

Post by Zhen Li »

AJP wrote: Sat Oct 17, 2020 2:57 pm The 48 Vows of Amitabha Buddha are a very fortuitous Dharma to be connected with don't underestimate it.
I agree, it is for a very good reason that even practitioners generally relying on self-power and practicing tantras still entrust to Amitābha at the end of the day. It is not in contradiction with any Mahāyāna or Vajrayāna practice to aspire to be born in Sukhāvatī, unless you have already engaged yourself with another Pure Land practice. As is often said, a loyal retainer cannot serve two masters, a faithful wife cannot have two husbands. We have to choose and commit at the end of the day.

Also, we have to be very careful with this talk of comparing Pure Lands, it can easily slip into slandering the Dharma territory if we are speaking ill of one Buddha and his land in comparison to another. For instance, do we know with certainty that merit is accumulated faster in the Sāha world than in Sukhāvatī? If one seriously thinks that this is so being in this Sāha world, without access to any nirmaṇakāya, let alone sambhogakāya, and in the age of Dharma Decline where almost no one teaches the True Dharma, upholds the precepts, replete with the five defilements, while knowing that Sukhāvatī not only allows one to be instantaneously imbued with all of the requisites for reception and practice of the Dharma, and the ability to visit and make offerings to all buddhas instantaneously, then one does not understand merits. What one may be trying to say by such things is that we have further to climb on our own in the Sāha world, whereas in Sukhāvatī, Amitābha does most of the hard work through the merit of his past practices as Dharmakara Bodhisattva. That's true. But the opportunities for merit here are truly scanty, and the opportunities in Sukhāvatī are infinite.

At the end of the day, our goal is to attain Buddhahood, everything else is secondary. If you want to feel proud because you climbed a hill when the other person just drove around it, then that's your choice. In fact, it is more difficult to choose to get into that car (relying on Amitābha) than to actually climb the hill (self-power path) because of our attachment to our view of a self. That's why Śākyamuni declared that to gain faith in and practice the Dharma of Amitābha's Pure Land is the most difficult of all difficulties.

Regarding esotericism and Pure Land. It is fine to point to an esoteric layer of teaching in the Pure Land teachings—it is also fine to say that beings are all already awakened and in the Pure Land, it is another to have this be a path that beings can have faith in and easily practice, which is why Amitābha selected simple recitation or thinking of him after attaining a mind of faith as the base practice. The definitive practice for birth is thus nembutsu, provisional practices include accumulations of merits and mantras (including tantric practices such as samkrantiyoga). Also, I don't think it is the case, as Morrell writes, that Shingon is concerned with arguing that the Dharma is about seeing representation when others are concerned with literal-mindedness (a modern concern). On the one hand, Shingon would not contradict the mainstream Mahāyāna view that manifested lands and beings as things that would be perceivable if our minds have the right karmic conditions—after all, this world is entirely illusory, but it manifests as it does, and we are born as we are, due to our karmic conditions and misperceptions; similarly, a Pure Land manifests for beings according to their conditions, but is those skilful transformations cannot be equated with the fulfilled land, i.e. suchness or dharmatā. Shingon practice, however, is done according to the tantras—the visualisations and contemplations performed during, for instance, goma, are not to be taken as identical to a manifested land or beings—they need to be understood, ultimately, as made to arise (bhāvayet) by the mind, and of course should be seen as representative. Thus it does not do to transpose or compare principles of tantric practice with, for instance, the existence of Sukhāvatī. Thus, Shingon does not represent a pre-modern attempt at appealing to modernist wishes to have a Mahāyāna devoid of rebirth or anything not this-worldly (humanism, perhaps). On the other hand (returning to the matter of literal-mindedness), if the Pure Land sects were just about taking the sūtras literally, there would be no need for there to be so many commentaries and interpretations. Pure Land sects admit the layer of skilfulness in the sūtras, which is what they mean when they refer to the transformed (tenzu) and fulfilled land (shinjitsu-hodo). But at the level of the core sūtric practice of Pure Land, the Pure Land is not attained in this life but after death—however, what is attained in this life is ascension to the rank of non-retrogression when one is assured of birth. This does not entail any transformation in terms of mind or behaviour, though may result in it in some cases—but this means it is not equal to the Shingon concept of attaining Buddhahood in this very body, though it shares some similarities in terms of nonretrogression and definite settlement. It does mean that one has only one more birth until one attains Buddhahood.
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