Enlightenment in a Pure Land

Forum for discussion of Tibetan Buddhism. Questions specific to one school are best posted in the appropriate sub-forum.
Malcolm
Posts: 32821
Joined: Thu Nov 11, 2010 2:19 am

Re: Enlightenment in a Pure Land

Post by Malcolm »

AmidaB wrote: Tue Oct 20, 2020 5:19 am
Malcolm wrote: Tue Oct 20, 2020 12:49 am
Aryjna wrote: Mon Oct 19, 2020 7:37 pm

The necessity for sexual organs seems to apply only in the context of particular classes of tantra and/or schools.
Gender differentiation applies In all four classes of tantra.
How it is interpreted in the case of pure lands?
Some buddhafiekds have gender differentiation, some don’t.
Malcolm
Posts: 32821
Joined: Thu Nov 11, 2010 2:19 am

Re: Enlightenment in a Pure Land

Post by Malcolm »

PadmaVonSamba wrote: Tue Oct 20, 2020 4:25 am You can’t fit an infinite Buddha within a finite space.
Correct.
User avatar
Aryjna
Posts: 1267
Joined: Mon Mar 27, 2017 12:45 pm

Re: Enlightenment in a Pure Land

Post by Aryjna »

Malcolm wrote: Tue Oct 20, 2020 12:27 pm
Aryjna wrote: Tue Oct 20, 2020 5:21 am
Malcolm wrote: Tue Oct 20, 2020 12:49 am

Gender differentiation applies In all four classes of tantra.
Are sexual organs needed to practice tantra in all systems? I thought it was the case only in Anuttarayogatantra in particular schools.
Gendered bliss arousal is needed in all four systems whether by gazing, holding hands, embracing, or intercourse, in that order.
Thanks. Going by Karma Chagme's aspiration (as I have not carefully read the Sukhavati sutras), it would seem that contact, at least up to embracing if not also intercourse, should be possible with emanated offering goddesses in Sukhavati.
User avatar
PadmaVonSamba
Posts: 4195
Joined: Sat May 14, 2011 1:41 am

Re: Enlightenment in a Pure Land

Post by PadmaVonSamba »

Malcolm wrote: Tue Oct 20, 2020 12:31 pm
PadmaVonSamba wrote: Tue Oct 20, 2020 4:25 am You can’t fit an infinite Buddha within a finite space.
Correct.
If that is correct, then, if an infinite Buddha resides in a Buddha realm, the Buddha realm must also be infinite.
EMPTIFUL.
An inward outlook develops outward insight.
User avatar
Zhen Li
Posts: 1583
Joined: Sun Apr 07, 2013 8:15 am
Location: Kamakura

Re: Enlightenment in a Pure Land

Post by Zhen Li »

Malcolm wrote: Mon Oct 19, 2020 5:23 pm Your objection is not really valid. Why? Because there is only one dharmakāya, and only one teacher, the dharmakāya, since the dharmakāya of all buddhas is the same, that is, the dharmakāya of Amitabha is not different than the dharmakāya of Śakyamuni, etc. But it is nevertheless the case that no one can see the dharmakāya other than a buddha, since the dharmakāya of the buddhas is just their complete realization of buddhahood.

Because of the compassionate nature of buddhahood, different sentient beings experience different nirmāṇakāyas, but only bodhisattvas on the pure stages, 8-10, are able to perceive the sambhogakāya, since the sambhogakāya cannot be perceived by any person who is tainted with afflictive obscurations.

As for the dharmakāya having two aspects, this is a distinction without a difference. The dharmakāya emanates the sambhogakāya, and the sambhogakāya emanates various buddhas such as Amitabha, Śākyamuni, and the other of the 1002 buddhas of the fortunate eon.

But rather than be distracted by buddhology of Amitabha Buddha, we ought to be focusing rather on the nature of Sukhāvati. 1) Sukhāvati is compounded because it was formed out of the Bodhisattva Dipaṃkāra's cultivation of a buddhafield. This is an undeniable fact. 2) Sukhāvati may be regarded as permanent, because it is sustained by Bodhisattva Dipaṃkāra's aspiration, which is limitless, given that he was an āryabodhisattva who perfected the perfections, one of which cultivating a buddhafield, however, Akaniṣṭha Ghanavyūha is uncompounded.
This is largely in accord with my perspective and not in contradiction to it, with the exception of the name of the Bodhisattva Dharmākara. Amitābha and Amitāyus as terms indicate qualities of the dharmakāya, as the effect of Dharmākara's 48 vows, they are designations. The Jōdo Shinshū perspective is indeed that there is only one dharmakāya and that all Buddhas are the same as it. The Pure Land as effected by the vows is called the transformed land, whereas the Pure Land as nirvāṇa and suchness is the fulfilled land. Dharmākara is a time-delimited instantiation of the dharmakāya—as are the 48 Vows. They are created, whereas the fulfilled land is not.

Where the Japanese Pure Land sects do differ from others is in seeing the definitive practice as the fulfilment of the 18th Vow. But since it is effected by non-calculation and non-working, it is a non-practice practice. It's realisation of buddha-nature without accumulation of merits and surpassing sūtric and tantric methods. So, we see it as the Ekayāna. I'm not going to push my perspective, we could go on forever and that would be tedious, but just replying as I see necessary.

The Ghanavyūha does not feature in Japanese Pure Land so I can't say anything from a traditional perspective. Unfortunately your link did not work, but going from your description, it fits the Shin understanding of the dharmakāya as suchness, or the fulfilled land.
Malcolm wrote: Mon Oct 19, 2020 5:23 pm But to summarize, there is no justification at all in commonly accepted scriptures for your two central claims: 1) "[Y]ou are learning from the Dharmakāya itself;" 2)"[It] is instantaneous and beyond the need for methods that can be calculated in the normal sense of duration and ascension."
You too have stated that dharmakāya emanates sambhogakāya and that emanates nirmāṇakāya, and that these are distinct and yet without a difference, thus you are contradicting your first objection. On the other hand, attaining birth having not harboured doubt is the attainment of buddhahood and nirvāṇa, this is because it is the realisation of suchness and the dharmakāya as suchness in fulfilment of the 11th Vow.
Malcolm wrote: Mon Oct 19, 2020 5:23 pm This is unsupportable as well: the first contradiction is that if Sukhāvati is nondual with the dharmakāya, then the dharmakāya must be compounded, because beings take birth there. The second contradition is that If Sukhavāti is nondual with the dharmakāya, then it is impossible for sentient beings to attain birth there, and the aspirations of Bodhisattva Dipaṃkāra cannot be fulfilled. Both of these negative consequences arise from asserting that Sukhāvati something more than a nirmāṇakāya buddhafield. In fact, that whole point of Sukhāvati is that it is a nirmāṇakāya buddhafield, because 1) all learned people understand that even noble bodhisattvas from the seventh stage on down cannot see the sambhogakāya, must less those of us on the paths of accumulation and application, and because 2) not even bodhisattvas on the pure stages can perceive the dharmakāya since they have remaining knowledge obscurations. Since Dipaṃkāra's vows are specifically aimed at ordinary sentient beings, it is simply an exaggeration to make the two claims you have made, since they lack a basis in scripture and they cannot be defended with reason.
This is quite simple. As you stated, the dharmakāya emanates sambhogakāya, etc. Without the dharmakāya, Amitābha would not be a Buddha and Sukhāvatī could not be established. Moreover, if the dharmakāya is limited in the way you are suggesting, then you are asserting that the dharmakāya is separate from this world, its buddhas, and is not equal to suchness. This is not Mahāyāna, but perhaps you are asserting a different doctrine.

As I understand, perception of the dharmakāya comes about with the attainment of the dharmakāya, realisation of suchness, nirvāṇa, and buddhahood. This is not the same as attainment of the recompensed land as effected by the 48 Vows, but it is claimed in the East Asian Pure Land tradition that the 18th vow in particular does enable one to attain the fulfilled land (Ghanavyūha if you will), but this is only because it is through the Buddha's power. Anyway, beings born in Sukhāvatī as the recompensed land are on the stage of irreversibility, they are at least on the 8th Bhūmi.
Malcolm wrote: Mon Oct 19, 2020 5:23 pm These rebuttals should not be seen as a negation of Bodhisattva Dipaṃkāra's vows, nor should they be seen as a rebuttal of the aspiration to attain rebirth in Sukhāvati. Rather, they are merely proffered in order to correct misconceptions that birth in Sukhāvati is somehow a short cut to buddhahood—it is not—or that birth in Sukhāvati relieves one of having gather accumulations and perfect the perfections, and so on, the normal duties of a bodhisattva on the path. In fact, as it is well known and as you admit above, some who are born in Sukhāvti do not hear the voice or see the face of Amitabha for five hundred years. This is crucial because the Tathāgatānāṃbuddhakṣetraguṇoktadharmaparyāya states that a single day in Sukhavāti equals a kalpa in the Sahā world. This means that those who are stuck in lotuses in Sukhavāti must remain there for the equivalent of 182,500 kalpas (500 * 365) in human time. Of course they don't suffer, but still they are trapped, cannot hear the dharma, see the Buddha and so on. This is an unimaginable amount of time.
The Buddha says different things on different occasions and to people with different conditions. Upāya are meant to encourage right action. Whether we take this literally or as an upāya, the point is clear: attain the three minds of the 18th Vow, attain birth in the first rank of the first grade, become irreversible.
Malcolm wrote: Mon Oct 19, 2020 5:23 pmWhat is known as the Large Sūtra in the Tibetan canon does not affirm this, It merely states, "In the future, until the sublime Dharma utterly perishes, this great Dharmapariyaya will be truly praised by all the buddhas, extolled by all the buddhas, and conferred by all the buddhas." But there is no mention at all of it being the last surviving sūtra at the end of Śākyamūni's dispensation, as the Sanskrit (See Gomez, Land of Bliss: Hawaii, 1996, pg. 108: section 150) also bears out.
This is the Tibetan Buddhism forum, so I won't push the translations of other traditions here but the Chinese recensions are older.
Malcolm
Posts: 32821
Joined: Thu Nov 11, 2010 2:19 am

Re: Enlightenment in a Pure Land

Post by Malcolm »

PadmaVonSamba wrote: Tue Oct 20, 2020 12:52 pm
Malcolm wrote: Tue Oct 20, 2020 12:31 pm
PadmaVonSamba wrote: Tue Oct 20, 2020 4:25 am You can’t fit an infinite Buddha within a finite space.
Correct.
If that is correct, then, if an infinite Buddha resides in a Buddha realm, the Buddha realm must also be infinite.
Incorrect.
User avatar
PadmaVonSamba
Posts: 4195
Joined: Sat May 14, 2011 1:41 am

Re: Enlightenment in a Pure Land

Post by PadmaVonSamba »

Malcolm wrote: Tue Oct 20, 2020 4:03 pm
PadmaVonSamba wrote: Tue Oct 20, 2020 12:52 pm
Malcolm wrote: Tue Oct 20, 2020 12:31 pm

Correct.
If that is correct, then, if an infinite Buddha resides in a Buddha realm, the Buddha realm must also be infinite.
Incorrect.
So, to use an analogy, the Buddha of infinite light could be like a lighthouse on an island, whose light shines everywhere, but whose island has limited area?
EMPTIFUL.
An inward outlook develops outward insight.
Malcolm
Posts: 32821
Joined: Thu Nov 11, 2010 2:19 am

Re: Enlightenment in a Pure Land

Post by Malcolm »

Zhen Li wrote: Tue Oct 20, 2020 3:37 pm Dharmākara is a time-delimited instantiation of the dharmakāya—as are the 48 Vows. They are created, whereas the fulfilled land is not.
Dharmakara was a bodhisattva on the paths and stages, not a buddha.
Where the Japanese Pure Land sects do differ from others is in seeing the definitive practice as the fulfilment of the 18th Vow. But since it is effected by non-calculation and non-working, it is a non-practice practice. It's realisation of buddha-nature without accumulation of merits and surpassing sūtric and tantric methods.
Such a view has no support in the Indian scriptures upon which you rely.
The Ghanavyūha does not feature in Japanese Pure Land so I can't say anything from a traditional perspective.
The Ghanavyūha Sūtra is in the Chinese canon.

"the fulfilled land."

I assume this is your translation of sambhogakāya-buddhakṣetra, sambhogakāya buddhafield.

But to summarize, there is no justification at all in commonly accepted scriptures for your two central claims: 1) "[Y]ou are learning from the Dharmakāya itself;" 2)"[It] is instantaneous and beyond the need for methods that can be calculated in the normal sense of duration and ascension."
You too have stated that dharmakāya emanates sambhogakāya and that emanates nirmāṇakāya, and that these are distinct and yet without a difference, thus you are contradicting your first objection. [/quote]

This is a misrepresentation of my statement, unless by "dharmakāya as compassion," you are actually referring the rūpakāyas, in which case there is a difference between the three kāyas in terms of cause, the dharmakāya arises out of the accumulation of gnosis, the rūpakāya out of the accumulation of merit.

On the other hand, attaining birth having not harboured doubt is the attainment of buddhahood and nirvāṇa, this is because it is the realisation of suchness and the dharmakāya as suchness in fulfilment of the 11th Vow.
This is uncertain. The eleventh aspiration only assures following a proper path, and nothing more.
This is quite simple. As you stated, the dharmakāya emanates sambhogakāya, etc. Without the dharmakāya, Amitābha would not be a Buddha and Sukhāvatī could not be established.
Are you asserting then that the Sahāloka is nondual with the dharmakāya? If so, then all the benefits of Sukhavati should apply in the Sahāloka, because if you assert that Amitabha is the dharmakāya, then you must assert all buddhas are the dharmakāya, and therefore all buddhafields of all buddhas are nondual with the dharmakāya, whether they are so called pure or impure buddhafields.

Thus, the only reason there is a difference between the Sahāloka and Sukhāvati is that the aspirations of Śākyamuni and Amitabha while on the path were different, accounting for differences in their respective buddhafields. The same applies to Amoghasiddhi's buddhafield, Bhaisajyaguru's buddhafield and so on. This means these nirmāṇakāya buddhafields are only compounded phenomena, not uncompounded.
Moreover, if the dharmakāya is limited in the way you are suggesting, then you are asserting that the dharmakāya is separate from this world, its buddhas, and is not equal to suchness. This is not Mahāyāna, but perhaps you are asserting a different doctrine.
The question is not the limitations of the dharmakāya, the question is the limitations of the nirmāṇakāya, since the latter appears in various realms to various beings in those realms as a result of their karma, unlike the dharmakāya, which does not appear to sentient beings at all, not even bodhisattvas on the tenth bhumi.
As I understand, perception of the dharmakāya comes about with the attainment of the dharmakāya, realisation of suchness, nirvāṇa, and buddhahood. This is not the same as attainment of the recompensed land as effected by the 48 Vows, but it is claimed in the East Asian Pure Land tradition that the 18th vow in particular does enable one to attain the fulfilled land (Ghanavyūha if you will), but this is only because it is through the Buddha's power. Anyway, beings born in Sukhāvatī as the recompensed land are on the stage of irreversibility, they are at least on the 8th Bhūmi.
There are levels of irreversibility on each path. For example, someone on the path of accumulation reaches a state of irreversible generation of bodhicitta; someone on the path of application reaches a state of patience where they can no longer fall into lower realms, etc. It is quite impossible for beings to attain the eighth bodhisattva stage merely through birth in Sukhāvati. There is no justification in the sūtra for this position whatsoever. This also ignores the presence of srāvakas of various levels of attainment in Sukhāvati, bodhisattvas of inferior merit, and so on. There is also no statement in any Sukhāvati sūtra or its like which guarantees that one will be born as a eighth stage bodhisattva. Instread, it is due to the incredibly long lifespans of beings there that they are assured that they have only one lifetime before attaining buddhahood, and not because of any guarantee of immediate realization.
The Buddha says different things on different occasions and to people with different conditions. Upāya are meant to encourage right action. Whether we take this literally or as an upāya, the point is clear: attain the three minds of the 18th Vow, attain birth in the first rank of the first grade, become irreversible.
The upaya card is must stand up to scripture and it must stand up to reason, otherwise one can say anything about any text that one likes. Your assertion does not stand up to scripture, since the eighteenth aspiration makes no mention whatsoever of these three minds, and further excludes those who have committed the five deeds of immediate retribution from birth in Sukhāvati, so not only does this assertion not stand up to scriptural analysis, it also does stand up to reason since if it were the case, there would be no arhats or bodhisattvas of inferior merit in Sukhāvati, unless of course you argue that they lack these three minds. But the eighteenth aspiration guarantees only that apart from those who commit the five deeds of immediate retribution, those who hear the name of Amitabha and have trust in him are granted a vision of Amitabha at death.
This is the Tibetan Buddhism forum, so I won't push the translations of other traditions here but the Chinese recensions are older.
This does not mean they were accurately translated. In fact, in this early period, when Saṃghavarman was working, the third century CE, translation into Chinese was still in its infancy. Given that we have a Sanskrit version that the Tibetan reflects very well, it casts doubt on the accuracy of the Samghavarman's translation on this point. We would need to compare it with later translations of the same text to see if there is a correspondence with other recensions of the text.
Malcolm
Posts: 32821
Joined: Thu Nov 11, 2010 2:19 am

Re: Enlightenment in a Pure Land

Post by Malcolm »

PadmaVonSamba wrote: Tue Oct 20, 2020 4:32 pm
Malcolm wrote: Tue Oct 20, 2020 4:03 pm
PadmaVonSamba wrote: Tue Oct 20, 2020 12:52 pm

If that is correct, then, if an infinite Buddha resides in a Buddha realm, the Buddha realm must also be infinite.
Incorrect.
So, to use an analogy, the Buddha of infinite light could be like a lighthouse on an island, whose light shines everywhere, but whose island has limited area?
Amitabha is a nirmāṇakāya, with respect to Sukhāvati. His identification of being the dharmakāya is a Vajrayāna doctrine, connected with the
lotus buddhafamily of Guru Rinpoche: Amitabha is considered to be the dharmakāya; Avalokiteśvara is considered to be the sambhogakāya; and Guru Rinpoche is considered to be the nirmāṇakāya. But this is inapplicable to this discussion, since Amitabha being discussed here is the nirmāṇakāya.
User avatar
Zhen Li
Posts: 1583
Joined: Sun Apr 07, 2013 8:15 am
Location: Kamakura

Re: Enlightenment in a Pure Land

Post by Zhen Li »

Malcolm wrote: Tue Oct 20, 2020 5:11 pmDharmakara was a bodhisattva on the paths and stages, not a buddha.
The point I am making is not that he was a Buddha, it is that he has characteristics and yet is not, fundamentally, apart from suchness. From the dharmakāya perspective, there is no need for characteristics. From the upāya perspective, you need characteristics.
Malcolm wrote: Tue Oct 20, 2020 5:11 pmSuch a view has no support in the Indian scriptures upon which you rely.
You'll have to address the arguments made by the tradition, I shall not reiterate them all.
Malcolm wrote: Tue Oct 20, 2020 5:11 pm The Ghanavyūha Sūtra is in the Chinese canon.
I am claiming that it does not feature in Japanese Pure Land thought.
Malcolm wrote: Tue Oct 20, 2020 5:11 pm "the fulfilled land."

I assume this is your translation of sambhogakāya-buddhakṣetra, sambhogakāya buddhafield.
No, fulfilled land is a term used to indicate suchness, recompensed land is a term used to indicate the Pure Lands as compassionate means.
Malcolm wrote: Tue Oct 20, 2020 5:11 pm This is a misrepresentation of my statement, unless by "dharmakāya as compassion," you are actually referring the rūpakāyas, in which case there is a difference between the three kāyas in terms of cause, the dharmakāya arises out of the accumulation of gnosis, the rūpakāya out of the accumulation of merit.
This is correct.
Malcolm wrote: Tue Oct 20, 2020 5:11 pm This is uncertain. The eleventh aspiration only assures following a proper path, and nothing more.
It assures irreversibility and nirvāṇa:
"If, when I attain Buddhahood, the humans and devas in my land should not dwell in the stage of the truly settled and necessarily attain nirvana, may I not attain the perfect enlightenment."
Malcolm wrote: Tue Oct 20, 2020 5:11 pm Are you asserting then that the Sahāloka is nondual with the dharmakāya? If so, then all the benefits of Sukhavati should apply in the Sahāloka, because if you assert that Amitabha is the dharmakāya, then you must assert all buddhas are the dharmakāya, and therefore all buddhafields of all buddhas are nondual with the dharmakāya, whether they are so called pure or impure buddhafields.

Thus, the only reason there is a difference between the Sahāloka and Sukhāvati is that the aspirations of Śākyamuni and Amitabha while on the path were different, accounting for differences in their respective buddhafields. The same applies to Amoghasiddhi's buddhafield, Bhaisajyaguru's buddhafield and so on. This means these nirmāṇakāya buddhafields are only compounded phenomena, not uncompounded.
It's a matter of identity and difference at the same time, depending upon one's level of awakening. All Buddhas emerge from dharmakāya. The benefits of Sukhāvatī are a result of the dharmakāya as compassionate means and not the dharmakāya as suchness are compounded, so they don't apply in the Sahāloka.
Malcolm wrote: Tue Oct 20, 2020 5:11 pm The question is not the limitations of the dharmakāya, the question is the limitations of the nirmāṇakāya, since the latter appears in various realms to various beings in those realms as a result of their karma, unlike the dharmakāya, which does not appear to sentient beings at all, not even bodhisattvas on the tenth bhumi.
I am not disputing this. Essentially we are largely in agreement about everything but you are not realising it, probably because I am using terminology that is sect specific. The same thing happens to me when I hear people from Tibetan Buddhism.
Malcolm wrote: Tue Oct 20, 2020 5:11 pm There are levels of irreversibility on each path. For example, someone on the path of accumulation reaches a state of irreversible generation of bodhicitta; someone on the path of application reaches a state of patience where they can no longer fall into lower realms, etc. It is quite impossible for beings to attain the eighth bodhisattva stage merely through birth in Sukhāvati. There is no justification in the sūtra for this position whatsoever. This also ignores the presence of srāvakas of various levels of attainment in Sukhāvati, bodhisattvas of inferior merit, and so on. There is also no statement in any Sukhāvati sūtra or its like which guarantees that one will be born as a eighth stage bodhisattva. Instread, it is due to the incredibly long lifespans of beings there that they are assured that they have only one lifetime before attaining buddhahood, and not because of any guarantee of immediate realization.
This is an interpretation, as is my assertion of the 8th bhūmi. But I would say you are right that not all bodhisattvas there are at a certain bhūmi immediately.
Malcolm wrote: Tue Oct 20, 2020 5:11 pm The upaya card is must stand up to scripture and it must stand up to reason, otherwise one can say anything about any text that one likes. Your assertion does not stand up to scripture, since the eighteenth aspiration makes no mention whatsoever of these three minds, and further excludes those who have committed the five deeds of immediate retribution from birth in Sukhāvati, so not only does this assertion not stand up to scriptural analysis, it also does stand up to reason since if it were the case, there would be no arhats or bodhisattvas of inferior merit in Sukhāvati, unless of course you argue that they lack these three minds. But the eighteenth aspiration guarantees only that apart from those who commit the five deeds of immediate retribution, those who hear the name of Amitabha and have trust in him are granted a vision of Amitabha at death.
1. The three minds are underlined here,
(18) If, when I attain Buddhahood, the sentient beings of the ten quarters who, with sincere and entrusting heart, aspire to be born in my land and say my name even ten times, should not be born there, may I not attain the perfect enlightenment. Excluded are those who commit the five grave offenses and those who slander the right Dharma.
I.e. sincere mind, entrusting mind, and aspiring mind.

2. Not all who attain birth do so through the 18th vow. Also, the 18th vow does not produce birth due to merit.

3. Vision of Amitābha at death is not assured by the 18th vow.

There are too many different directions this is going in, but the exclusion of those who commit the five grave offenses is also an upāya—since they are allowed birth if they have the three minds as per the Contemplation Sūtra. The point however for now is not in the details, it is that certain things are meant to encourage and not be definitive statements.
Malcolm wrote: Tue Oct 20, 2020 5:11 pm This does not mean they were accurately translated. In fact, in this early period, when Saṃghavarman was working, the third century CE, translation into Chinese was still in its infancy. Given that we have a Sanskrit version that the Tibetan reflects very well, it casts doubt on the accuracy of the Samghavarman's translation on this point. We would need to compare it with later translations of the same text to see if there is a correspondence with other recensions of the text.
I'd argue that his translations are pretty comprehensible compared to other translators. Something like the passage we are referring to is unlikely to have issues, whereas matters of basic terminology do end up being problematic. Since entire sections are present or missing in different versions, it is clearly less a translation issue and more of a recension issue.
User avatar
Zhen Li
Posts: 1583
Joined: Sun Apr 07, 2013 8:15 am
Location: Kamakura

Re: Enlightenment in a Pure Land

Post by Zhen Li »

I wanted to add something in an edit but the time ran out, so I'll put a new post:
There are many details here, and I came across a couple of quotes in my morning readings that might be of relevance as I found they aptly summarise the point of this discussion. First, Tanluan writes,
Tanluan wrote:What is the cause of not practicing in accord with the Dharma, or in agreement with the significance of the Name? It is due to failure to understand that the Tathagata [Amida] is a Body of Reality and also a Body for the Sake of Living Beings.
In other words, and I think this is essentially the point of the Mahāyāna sūtra literature as a whole, we have to understand that the Buddha is both suchness and compassionate means. These are neither the same nor different. The qualities of one are not interfered with by the other, both retain their qualities or lack thereof, and efficacy.
Second,
Sengchao wrote:The Dharma-body has no form of its own and yet manifests various forms, corresponding to [the conditions and capacities of sentient beings]. The sound of the ultimate truth has no words and yet extensively unfolds scriptures of profound teachings. The unfathomable expediency has no planning and yet works in agreement with things.
I think the issue is people are getting bogged down in the details of the expediency of words and missing the essence which is Dharma nature which is beyond comprehension; so, you have to stop using your calculating brain if you want to understand enlightenment through Amitābha's vows.
AJP
Posts: 287
Joined: Sun Oct 01, 2017 4:48 am

Re: Enlightenment in a Pure Land

Post by AJP »

Zhen Li wrote: Wed Oct 21, 2020 1:31 am I wanted to add something in an edit but the time ran out, so I'll put a new post:
There are many details here, and I came across a couple of quotes in my morning readings that might be of relevance as I found they aptly summarise the point of this discussion. First, Tanluan writes,
Tanluan wrote:What is the cause of not practicing in accord with the Dharma, or in agreement with the significance of the Name? It is due to failure to understand that the Tathagata [Amida] is a Body of Reality and also a Body for the Sake of Living Beings.
In other words, and I think this is essentially the point of the Mahāyāna sūtra literature as a whole, we have to understand that the Buddha is both suchness and compassionate means. These are neither the same nor different. The qualities of one are not interfered with by the other, both retain their qualities or lack thereof, and efficacy.
Second,
Sengchao wrote:The Dharma-body has no form of its own and yet manifests various forms, corresponding to [the conditions and capacities of sentient beings]. The sound of the ultimate truth has no words and yet extensively unfolds scriptures of profound teachings. The unfathomable expediency has no planning and yet works in agreement with things.
I think the issue is people are getting bogged down in the details of the expediency of words and missing the essence which is Dharma nature which is beyond comprehension; so, you have to stop using your calculating brain if you want to understand enlightenment through Amitābha's vows.
Other Power Faith in Jodo Shinshu is in Amida as Suchness anyway especially in the profound aspect of support.

It takes form as the Name through it's Other Power working.

Then the quality of implicit trust is paramount.

Thanks for reminding me of Tan Luan used to love reading his quotes!
Varis
Posts: 320
Joined: Tue Jul 11, 2017 5:09 am

Re: Enlightenment in a Pure Land

Post by Varis »

Zhen Li wrote: Tue Oct 20, 2020 3:37 pm Where the Japanese Pure Land sects do differ from others is in seeing the definitive practice as the fulfilment of the 18th Vow. But since it is effected by non-calculation and non-working, it is a non-practice practice. It's realisation of buddha-nature without accumulation of merits and surpassing sūtric and tantric methods. So, we see it as the Ekayāna. I'm not going to push my perspective, we could go on forever and that would be tedious, but just replying as I see necessary.
Do they really? Not being facetious, I'm not familiar with Japanese Pure Land. I'm kinda shocked wondering as to how they came to such a conclusion, is this something that happened in response to developments in Zen?
User avatar
Zhen Li
Posts: 1583
Joined: Sun Apr 07, 2013 8:15 am
Location: Kamakura

Re: Enlightenment in a Pure Land

Post by Zhen Li »

Varis wrote: Wed Oct 21, 2020 3:50 pmDo they really? Not being facetious, I'm not familiar with Japanese Pure Land. I'm kinda shocked wondering as to how they came to such a conclusion, is this something that happened in response to developments in Zen?
It depends on what part you are asking about, but taking the nianfo as definitive practice is not Japanese in origin and goes back to Tanluan, Daocho, Shandao, Tsung-hsiao, etc.

As for influence from Zen, it really depends on what you are referring to. My impression of Zen and Ch'an takes on Pure Land is an insistence on seeing this-worldly benefit and disregarding the birth aspect.

I personally like Dōgen, but I can't commit to Sōto as a Mahāyānist. Dōgen was a contemporary of Shinran and briefly lived next door to him. Shikantaza is a non-practice practice as well, but it's something that manifests when your life is full to the brim with self-power. Dōgen writes that Shikantaza is causing the Buddha to live as Buddha without producing the Buddha. However, in Pure Land teachings, for those with shinjin/xinxin (信心), Buddhahood is attained in the next life, but irreversibility is attained in this life after having attained shinjin. Dōgen is unconcerned with the next life (he mentions it in relation to karma and saṃsāra a few times, but it is almost ignored as a topic in my opinion). In this regard, Pure Land sects retain the fundamental essence of Mahāyāna doctrine (which is attainment of full Buddhahood, which cannot occur in our current form, and then returning to saṃsāra to rescue beings), whereas Dōgen is trying to go off in a new direction seeing it all as this-worldly and in this life. In Pure Land sects, however, individuals with shinjin will see their life and activities naturally change without effort. This is because shinjin is other-power, it effectuates the spontaneous working of the Tathāgata in an individual. In Zen, it's the opposite, i.e. you practice and cultivate virtue, and you then attain awakening.

It is difficult or impossible for someone to understand Pure Land from another sect without first putting their other books on Zen and Tantra away, perhaps taped up in a box, and then spending time focusing and listening to the Pure Land teachings for some time. Shinjin is the hardest to attain because we want control—this is natural for beings of blind passions with attachment to the ego-self. But it comes with deep listening and reading. There has to be an openness to receive, but so long as there's the doubt or attachment to another way, the mind is not truly open yet. Once there is openness, you can see how Amitābha has been open to us all the time without us accepting it. Hearing and understanding the Dharma of Amitābha, shinjin spontaneously arises by the Buddha's power and not by our own working. I cannot make you accept, understand, or believe this. It depends on your own karma. But I can answer questions and clear up any misunderstandings as necessary.
User avatar
nowmindful
Posts: 16
Joined: Sat Jan 04, 2020 11:21 pm

Re: Enlightenment in a Pure Land

Post by nowmindful »

Chantings are for selfish people and those with sins! Please don't flame me. To each his own. :oops:
Malcolm
Posts: 32821
Joined: Thu Nov 11, 2010 2:19 am

Re: Enlightenment in a Pure Land

Post by Malcolm »

Zhen Li wrote: Wed Oct 21, 2020 12:24 am
Malcolm wrote: Tue Oct 20, 2020 5:11 pmDharmakara was a bodhisattva on the paths and stages, not a buddha.
The point I am making is not that he was a Buddha, it is that he has characteristics and yet is not, fundamentally, apart from suchness. From the dharmakāya perspective, there is no need for characteristics. From the upāya perspective, you need characteristics.
No sentient being is apart from suchness, yet not all sentient beings are buddhas.

No, fulfilled land is a term used to indicate suchness, recompensed land is a term used to indicate the Pure Lands as compassionate means.
What's the Chinese?
This is uncertain. The eleventh aspiration only assures following a proper path, and nothing more.
It assures irreversibility and nirvāṇa:

"If, when I attain Buddhahood, the humans and devas in my land should not dwell in the stage of the truly settled and necessarily attain nirvana, may I not attain the perfect enlightenment."
It does not assert that someone is reborn an eighth stage bodhisattva, merely that they will never 1) fall into a lower realm, b) that they will be on a correct path, and c) that eventually in time they will attain nirvana.

Malcolm wrote: Tue Oct 20, 2020 5:11 pm Are you asserting then that the Sahāloka is nondual with the dharmakāya? If so, then all the benefits of Sukhavati should apply in the Sahāloka, because if you assert that Amitabha is the dharmakāya, then you must assert all buddhas are the dharmakāya, and therefore all buddhafields of all buddhas are nondual with the dharmakāya, whether they are so called pure or impure buddhafields.

Thus, the only reason there is a difference between the Sahāloka and Sukhāvati is that the aspirations of Śākyamuni and Amitabha while on the path were different, accounting for differences in their respective buddhafields. The same applies to Amoghasiddhi's buddhafield, Bhaisajyaguru's buddhafield and so on. This means these nirmāṇakāya buddhafields are only compounded phenomena, not uncompounded.
It's a matter of identity and difference at the same time, depending upon one's level of awakening. All Buddhas emerge from dharmakāya. The benefits of Sukhāvatī are a result of the dharmakāya as compassionate means and not the dharmakāya as suchness are compounded, so they don't apply in the Sahāloka.
This does not make any sense. The Sahāloka is Śākyamuni's buddhafield, so according to your terminology, it is also a result of the dharmakāya as compassionate means. On the other hand, the dharmakāya is knowledge, not a creative force. When we say the rūpakāya emerges from the dharmakāya, this is not mean literally on the sense of a seed emerging from a sprout. You've already agreed that the cause of the rūpakāya is merit.

Malcolm wrote: Tue Oct 20, 2020 5:11 pm The question is not the limitations of the dharmakāya, the question is the limitations of the nirmāṇakāya, since the latter appears in various realms to various beings in those realms as a result of their karma, unlike the dharmakāya, which does not appear to sentient beings at all, not even bodhisattvas on the tenth bhumi.
I am not disputing this. Essentially we are largely in agreement about everything but you are not realising it, probably because I am using terminology that is sect specific. The same thing happens to me when I hear people from Tibetan Buddhism.
This happens all the time.
Malcolm wrote: Tue Oct 20, 2020 5:11 pm There are levels of irreversibility on each path. For example, someone on the path of accumulation reaches a state of irreversible generation of bodhicitta; someone on the path of application reaches a state of patience where they can no longer fall into lower realms, etc. It is quite impossible for beings to attain the eighth bodhisattva stage merely through birth in Sukhāvati. There is no justification in the sūtra for this position whatsoever. This also ignores the presence of srāvakas of various levels of attainment in Sukhāvati, bodhisattvas of inferior merit, and so on. There is also no statement in any Sukhāvati sūtra or its like which guarantees that one will be born as a eighth stage bodhisattva. Instread, it is due to the incredibly long lifespans of beings there that they are assured that they have only one lifetime before attaining buddhahood, and not because of any guarantee of immediate realization.
This is an interpretation, as is my assertion of the 8th bhūmi. But I would say you are right that not all bodhisattvas there are at a certain bhūmi immediately.
Then my assertion is not merely an interpretation, but is based in scripture and founded on reason, and also includes the fact that Buddha Amitabha is also Buddha Amitayus. Further, the details of the paths and stages are laid out very precisely by Asanga and so on.

Malcolm wrote: Tue Oct 20, 2020 5:11 pm The upaya card is must stand up to scripture and it must stand up to reason, otherwise one can say anything about any text that one likes. Your assertion does not stand up to scripture, since the eighteenth aspiration makes no mention whatsoever of these three minds, and further excludes those who have committed the five deeds of immediate retribution from birth in Sukhāvati, so not only does this assertion not stand up to scriptural analysis, it also does stand up to reason since if it were the case, there would be no arhats or bodhisattvas of inferior merit in Sukhāvati, unless of course you argue that they lack these three minds. But the eighteenth aspiration guarantees only that apart from those who commit the five deeds of immediate retribution, those who hear the name of Amitabha and have trust in him are granted a vision of Amitabha at death.
1. The three minds are underlined here,
(18) If, when I attain Buddhahood, the sentient beings of the ten quarters who, with sincere and entrusting heart, aspire to be born in my land and say my name even ten times, should not be born there, may I not attain the perfect enlightenment. Excluded are those who commit the five grave offenses and those who slander the right Dharma.
I.e. sincere mind, entrusting mind, and aspiring mind.

2. Not all who attain birth do so through the 18th vow. Also, the 18th vow does not produce birth due to merit.

3. Vision of Amitābha at death is not assured by the 18th vow.
This again is not certain, the term you've translated as heart is simply "citta," mind, "mama nāmadheyaṃ śrutvā prasannacittā māmanusmareyuḥ;" the adjective for citta is "prasanna," and it simply means "clear," so there are not three things here, but only two, "1) remembers me 2) with a clear mind." Since there are only two things here, being lucid at the time of death and Buddhanusmṛti, recollection of the Buddha, arguably this is even easier than the requirement to have Shinjin. It still does not guarantee anything about realization. The word "sincere" and "entrusting" are nowhere to be found in the Sanskrit, or the Tibetan, for that matter.

Furthermore, it is not birth in that land to which they aspire, it is "ye sattvā anyeṣu lokadhātuṣvanuttarāyāṃ samyaksaṃbodhau cittamutpādya," is "Any sentient beings who generates the intent to unsurpassed full awakening in that lokadhātu, who hears/says my name, and remembers me with a clear mind , etc...." But there is no mention of ten times. "Say" rather than "hear", is Shinran's revision, however, there is an argument that can be made that śruta can be understood both ways, however the Chinese, if I recall, clearly has "hear," as Gomez confirms. Also in Gomez's translation of the Sangavarman recension, there is no ten times, this is a Shin addition to the text. So the intent here is that one must generate bodhicitta, aspirational bodhicitta, to attain unsurpassed full awakening in Sukhāvati. And if one has generated such bodhicitta, heard the name of Amitabha, and at the time of death has a clear mind and remembers him, these are the four conditions that will result in a vision of Amitabha and his retinue at the time of death.
There are too many different directions this is going in, but the exclusion of those who commit the five grave offenses is also an upāya—since they are allowed birth if they have the three minds as per the Contemplation Sūtra. The point however for now is not in the details, it is that certain things are meant to encourage and not be definitive statements.
The devil is always in the details, this is why these conversations happen between schools. One's schools "skillful means" is a wrong view according to another school.But since you brought up certain points, it is important to demonstrate where there are variances between schools that ostensibly both belong to Mahāyāna.
Malcolm wrote: Tue Oct 20, 2020 5:11 pm This does not mean they were accurately translated. In fact, in this early period, when Saṃghavarman was working, the third century CE, translation into Chinese was still in its infancy. Given that we have a Sanskrit version that the Tibetan reflects very well, it casts doubt on the accuracy of the Samghavarman's translation on this point. We would need to compare it with later translations of the same text to see if there is a correspondence with other recensions of the text.
I'd argue that his translations are pretty comprehensible compared to other translators. Something like the passage we are referring to is unlikely to have issues, whereas matters of basic terminology do end up being problematic. Since entire sections are present or missing in different versions, it is clearly less a translation issue and more of a recension issue.
There are a number of issues both in Samghavarmin's translations, and even more in the way Shinran has recast portions of Samghavarmin's translation to fit with his approach to Nembutsu.
User avatar
Queequeg
Global Moderator
Posts: 11238
Joined: Tue Jul 03, 2012 3:24 pm

Re: Enlightenment in a Pure Land

Post by Queequeg »

Malcolm wrote: Mon Oct 19, 2020 5:23 pm The Ghanavyūha Sūtra
Is this the 39th Chapter of the Avatamsaka or is this a different text?
Those who, even with distracted minds,
Entered a stupa compound
And chanted but once, “Namo Buddhaya!”
Have certainly attained the path of the buddhas.

-Lotus Sutra, Expedient Means Chapter

There are beings with little dust in their eyes who are falling away because they do not hear the Dhamma. There will be those who will understand the Dhamma.
-Ayacana Sutta
Malcolm
Posts: 32821
Joined: Thu Nov 11, 2010 2:19 am

Re: Enlightenment in a Pure Land

Post by Malcolm »

Queequeg wrote: Thu Oct 22, 2020 2:02 am
Malcolm wrote: Mon Oct 19, 2020 5:23 pm The Ghanavyūha Sūtra
Is this the 39th Chapter of the Avatamsaka or is this a different text?
Different text, you are referring to the Gandhavyuha.
User avatar
Queequeg
Global Moderator
Posts: 11238
Joined: Tue Jul 03, 2012 3:24 pm

Re: Enlightenment in a Pure Land

Post by Queequeg »

Malcolm wrote: Thu Oct 22, 2020 2:40 am
Queequeg wrote: Thu Oct 22, 2020 2:02 am
Malcolm wrote: Mon Oct 19, 2020 5:23 pm The Ghanavyūha Sūtra
Is this the 39th Chapter of the Avatamsaka or is this a different text?
Different text, you are referring to the Gandhavyuha.
Thanks. Are there English translations? Is there a source to learn about its history?
Those who, even with distracted minds,
Entered a stupa compound
And chanted but once, “Namo Buddhaya!”
Have certainly attained the path of the buddhas.

-Lotus Sutra, Expedient Means Chapter

There are beings with little dust in their eyes who are falling away because they do not hear the Dhamma. There will be those who will understand the Dhamma.
-Ayacana Sutta
User avatar
Zhen Li
Posts: 1583
Joined: Sun Apr 07, 2013 8:15 am
Location: Kamakura

Re: Enlightenment in a Pure Land

Post by Zhen Li »

Queequeg wrote: Thu Oct 22, 2020 3:12 am Thanks. Are there English translations? Is there a source to learn about its history?
There's a discussion here, which mentions the possibility that it was translated from Chinese. It appears to be a Tathāgatagarbha text.
Malcolm wrote: Wed Oct 21, 2020 6:38 pmNo sentient being is apart from suchness, yet not all sentient beings are buddhas.
Allow me to rephrase my understanding of Dharmākara. He was not awakened to the dharmakāya until he attained Buddhahood and fulfilled his vows, but at that point he becomes a tathāgata endowed with the dharmakāya as suchness and the dharmakāya as compassionate means (in fact, in the Japanese Pure Land understanding, this is the saṃbhogakāya—I know you would say it is a nirmāṇakāya, but this is a difference which we need not go into here as it is getting a bit beyond the point of the discussion).
Malcolm wrote: Wed Oct 21, 2020 6:38 pm What's the Chinese?
I'm using terminology common to English Shin. Looking at it more literally we get more instructive understandings.
Fulfilled land: 真実報土 (shinjitsu hōdo), i.e. tathātvavipākakṣetram.
Recompensed land: 方便化土 (hōben kedo), i.e. upāyakauśalyanirmāṇakṣetram.
Malcolm wrote: Wed Oct 21, 2020 6:38 pm It does not assert that someone is reborn an eighth stage bodhisattva, merely that they will never 1) fall into a lower realm, b) that they will be on a correct path, and c) that eventually in time they will attain nirvana.
Time is not specified.
Malcolm wrote: Wed Oct 21, 2020 6:38 pm This does not make any sense. The Sahāloka is Śākyamuni's buddhafield, so according to your terminology, it is also a result of the dharmakāya as compassionate means. On the other hand, the dharmakāya is knowledge, not a creative force. When we say the rūpakāya emerges from the dharmakāya, this is not mean literally on the sense of a seed emerging from a sprout. You've already agreed that the cause of the rūpakāya is merit.
The Sahāloka was not established by vows. Not every land is the result of compassionate means. I think you are tending to read into my words claims that I did not make.
Malcolm wrote: Wed Oct 21, 2020 6:38 pm This again is not certain, the term you've translated as heart is simply "citta," mind, "mama nāmadheyaṃ śrutvā prasannacittā māmanusmareyuḥ;" the adjective for citta is "prasanna," and it simply means "clear," so there are not three things here, but only two, "1) remembers me 2) with a clear mind." Since there are only two things here, being lucid at the time of death and Buddhanusmṛti, recollection of the Buddha, arguably this is even easier than the requirement to have Shinjin. It still does not guarantee anything about realization. The word "sincere" and "entrusting" are nowhere to be found in the Sanskrit, or the Tibetan, for that matter.

Furthermore, it is not birth in that land to which they aspire, it is "ye sattvā anyeṣu lokadhātuṣvanuttarāyāṃ samyaksaṃbodhau cittamutpādya," is "Any sentient beings who generates the intent to unsurpassed full awakening in that lokadhātu, who hears/says my name, and remembers me with a clear mind , etc...." But there is no mention of ten times. "Say" rather than "hear", is Shinran's revision, however, there is an argument that can be made that śruta can be understood both ways, however the Chinese, if I recall, clearly has "hear," as Gomez confirms. Also in Gomez's translation of the Sangavarman recension, there is no ten times, this is a Shin addition to the text. So the intent here is that one must generate bodhicitta, aspirational bodhicitta, to attain unsurpassed full awakening in Sukhāvati. And if one has generated such bodhicitta, heard the name of Amitabha, and at the time of death has a clear mind and remembers him, these are the four conditions that will result in a vision of Amitabha and his retinue at the time of death.
I am not translating quotes I provided. I don't really have time for that. I don't tend to agree with the translations and would do them differently myself, but it's a lot of legwork for just a forum post. For now I'll go over these matters in some more detail, but may not have time later.

Your Sanskrit needs some work. Prasanna in BHS is believing.
Edgerton, BHS Dictionary, p. 388 wrote: prasanna , ppp., adj. (= Pali pasanna, used in same
way, with loc.; cf. abhi-pra°, and (abhi-) prasāda; seems
not to be recorded in Skt.), believing in (loc.): yada puna
janatā prasanna brahme LV 393.14 (vs), but since people
have faith in Brahmc (I will turn the wheel of the law
only on his request); cittam abhiprasannam, prasanna-
cittaś ca…Divy 137.1.
Also, the fulfilment line has "prasādasahagatena," prasāda is also used as faith or belief in BHS so we know with certainty that faith is implied. The Sanskrit recension of the vow actually has 3 elements: 1. Hearing my name, 2. Remembering me, and 3. Being [one of] those with a mind of faith.

You say "arguably this is even easier than the requirement to have Shinjin," actually 信= prasanna and 心= citta.

That "sincere" and "entrusting" are not in the Sanskrit as separate words actually is not of relevence in Shin since the Three Minds (which are actually an argument of Shandao originally) are actually One. The three elements are all, ultimately, prasanna faith. In quoting Vasubandhu, Shinran notes that Vasubandhu is talking about one mind—whether this is due to the other elements being interpolated in translation or not is not clear.
Shinran, http://web.mit.edu/stclair/www/horai/kgss-c.htm wrote:When I consider the literal meaning of the Three Minds, the three should be one. The reason is as follows: with regard to Sincere Mind (shishin), shi means true, real and sincere; shin means seed and fruit. With regard to Joyful Faith (shingyo), shin means true, real, sincere, full, utmost, accomplished, function, heavy, discerning, test, expounding, and loyal; gyo means desire, aspiration, appreciation, rejoicing, delight, joy, gladness and happiness. With regard to Desire for Birth (yokusho), yoku means vow, aspiration, awakening and realization; sho means accomplishing, making, doing and raising.

We clearly realize as follows. Sincere Mind is the mind of true, real and genuine [wisdom] and of the seed [of Buddhahood]; hence, it is not mixed with doubt. Joyful Faith is the mind full of truth and sincerity, the mind of utmost trust and reverence, the mind of clear perception [of Amida's saving power] and steadfastness, the mind of aspiration and appreciation, and the mind of joy and delight; hence, it is not mixed with doubt. Desire for Birth is the mind of certainty and assurance [of Birth], the desire to become [Buddha] and perform [altruistic activities], and the mind endowed by the Great Compassion; hence, it is not mixed with doubt.

When I consider the meanings of the characters that make up the words for the Three Minds, they are the true mind not mixed with delusion and the sincere mind not mixed with falsehood. I truly realize that it is the mind not mixed with doubt; hence, it is called Joyful Faith. Joyful Faith is One Mind; One Mind is True Entrusting Heart. For this reason, the author of the Discourse professed 'One Mind' at the outset [of the Discourse]. This we should realize.
Translation not perfect, but you can get the idea.

The "aspiring mind" is interpreted as lacking doubt, and is thus an element of prasanna. Someone with shinjin "knows" that they are going to the Pure Land without doubt—it is not a worldly desire or aspiration as you understand. Thus it is prasanna.

The lack of elements in modern Nepalese editions or the Tibetan again is not relevant from a Shin perspective. I also found Gomez' translations easy for a general audience but lacking precision—it's more of a paraphrase. Your assertion that Shinran is making stuff up is ridiculous, since these elements of his argument are all from quotes by other masters from India, China, and Japan (the Kyōgyōshinshō is 90% quotes). He uses both Sanghavarman's translation and Bodhiruci's, see chapter 3 section 2 and 3. I'll go through Sanghavarman's line by line, and you can look it up yourself if you don't believe me.
設我得佛 When I become a Buddha,
十方衆生 sentient beings in the ten directions
至心信樂 with entrusting mind, faith (prasanna/shin), and joy,
欲生我國 who aspire to be born in my land,
乃至十念 who perform even down to ten remembrances/utterances,
若不生者 if they were not born [there],
不取正覺 may I not attain perfect awakening;
唯除五逆 only excluding those who commit the five grave sins
誹謗正法 and who slander the Saddharma.

Hear or say are not interpolations by Shinran, there is a long history of understanding 念 recitation, which is not necessary to get into here. Actually uttering the name is not crucial in Shinran's thought, but it was emphasised by previous Chinese and Japanese Pure Land masters. Shinshu is probably the only East Asian Pure Land sect in which verbal utterance can be disposed of and one can still attain birth. That being said, the emphasis on verbal utterance by the prior patriarchs is all about the "easy path."The point is that if you utter the name, you are bringing it to mind. It is easier for simple people to do something mechanical than contemplative.

Ten times is clearly not Shinran's interpolation, it's in the Taisho edition. It's also in Bodhiruci's translation. So, it was definitely common enough in Sanskrit recensions to be found in two different translations centuries apart. It is not really necessary to get into the foundational philology of the texts, since this is not an academic forum, but at some point there is some dropping off and conflation of praṇidhānas in Sanskrit recensions. Nanjio reconstructed how the Sanskrit would have looked at the time of Sanghavarman in the notes of the Sacred Books of the East translation.
Malcolm wrote: Wed Oct 21, 2020 6:38 pm There are a number of issues both in Samghavarmin's translations, and even more in the way Shinran has recast portions of Samghavarmin's translation to fit with his approach to Nembutsu.
I'm not sure where you are getting these ideas, since you are clearly not familiar with Shinran's thought. Shinran does not really have a particular approach to nembutsu as such, he comes to argue that it is recited as an act of gratitude but he never tried to imply that that is present in the sūtra text. Shinran's emphasis was always on shinjin and other power and it is there that you will find the way in which he differs from his forebears.
Post Reply

Return to “Tibetan Buddhism”