Author Topic: Is the Pure Land a Buddhist heaven?  (Read 3192 times)

Offline Dharma Flower

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Re: Is the Pure Land a Buddhist heaven?
« Reply #60 on: June 24, 2018, 04:55:52 pm »
A monk asked the Chinese Zen master Yunmen, “What is Buddha?” To this he replied, “A sh*t-covered stick.” If Dharma-body is in all things, that includes fecal matter as well. Why worry, then, if Amida is a literal Buddha?

In the image of Amida Buddha on the altar, and the recitation of his name, Namu-Amida-Butsu, we awaken to the outworking of Dharma-body in our daily lives, leading us to the Pure Land, the realm of Nirvana.
« Last Edit: June 24, 2018, 09:53:39 pm by Dharma Flower »

Offline Dharma Flower

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Re: Is the Pure Land a Buddhist heaven?
« Reply #61 on: June 29, 2018, 02:43:06 am »
This is one of the Buddha’s most important quotes:
Quote
There is an Unborn, Unoriginated, Uncreated, Unformed. If there were not this Unborn, this Unoriginated, this Uncreated, this Unformed, escape from the world of the born, the originated, the created, the formed, would not be possible.
But since there is an Unborn, Unoriginated, Uncreated, Unformed, therefore is escape possible from the world of the born, the originated, the created, the formed.
https://www.budsas.org/ebud/word-of-buddha/wob4nt04.htm


Please compare the above to Shinran quoting the Chinese Pure Land master Shan-tao on the nature of the Pure Land:
Quote
The land of bliss is the realm of nirvana, the uncreated;
I fear it is hard to be born there by doing sundry good acts according to our diverse conditions. Hence, the Tathagata selected the essential dharma,
Instructing beings to say Amida’s Name with singleness, again singleness.
http://shinranworks.com/the-major-expositions/chapter-on-true-buddha-and-land/


The Pure Land is the realm of Nirvana, the “escape from the born, the originated, the created, the formed.” Shinran described the Pure Land as “the birth of non-birth,” just as the Buddha described Nirvana as “the unborn.”

The Buddha selected the name of Amida, Namu-Amida-Butsu, as a skillful device (upaya) for bringing ordinary beings like ourselves into the realm of Nirvana. Whether Amida is a literal historical being is beside the point. 

rom the beginning of Buddhism, it’s been understood that one takes refuge in the Dharma-body of a Buddha, rather than in his gross physical form:
Quote
Enough, Vakkali! What is there to see in this vile body? He who sees Dhamma, Vakkali, sees me; he who sees me sees Dhamma. Truly seeing Dhamma, one sees me; seeing me one sees Dhamma.
https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/sn/sn22/sn22.087x.wlsh.html

Quote
He whose faith in the Tathagata is settled, rooted, established, solid, unshakeable by any ascetic or Brahmin, any deva or mara or Brahma or anyone in the world, can truly say: “I am a true son of Blessed Lord, born of his mouth, born of Dhamma, created by Dhamma, an heir of Dhamma.” Why is that? Because, Vasettha, this designates the Tathagata: “The Body of Dhamma”…
http://www.palicanon.org/en/sutta-pitaka/transcribed-suttas/majjhim...


When Pure Land Buddhists, in the Nembutsu, take refuge in Amida Buddha, they are taking refuge in the Dharma-body, rather than in a literal historical person who attained Buddhahood galaxies away, eons before the Big Bang:
https://www.thoughtco.com/dharmakaya-449805

Shinran Shonin referred to Amida Buddha as “Dharmakaya-as-upaya,” making the point that Amida, the Pure Land, and the Nembutsu are a skillful device (upaya) for Ultimate Truth to make itself known and complete its work of leading all beings to enlightenment.
« Last Edit: July 01, 2018, 01:55:34 pm by Dharma Flower »

Offline Dharma Flower

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Re: Is the Pure Land a Buddhist heaven?
« Reply #62 on: July 08, 2018, 12:29:22 pm »
Upaya or skillful means is a teaching which might not be literally true, but which nonetheless helps someone come to a realization of the Ultimate Truth. Skillful means is also referred to as provisional truth:
https://www.thoughtco.com/upaya-skillful-or-expedient-means-450018

In the Lotus Sutra, the historical Buddha Shakyamuni says his enlightenment is so far beyond our understanding, that he can only communicate it through similes and parables, various forms of upaya or skillful means.

It doesn’t matter whether or not Amida Buddha is a historical being, if what he symbolizes (as a upaya) is the Ultimate Truth itself. What matters is that Dharma-body, that which Amida Buddha signifies, is a true reality.

However, the source of skillful means does matter, since only an enlightened being such as the historical Buddha is qualified to know which provisional teachings will lead others to the Ultimate Truth of enlightenment.

Amida Buddha, as a symbol of the Dharmakaya, would be meaningless if there wasn’t the historical Shakyamuni in the first place, who experienced the Dharmakaya for himself, and then symbolized it as Amida Buddha.

In the Nembutsu, the name of Amida Buddha, Namu-Amida-Butsu, we are led by Dharma-body to the Pure Land, the realm of Nirvana. The heaven-like language used to describe the Pure Land is also a upaya for Nirvana itself.
« Last Edit: July 08, 2018, 12:33:45 pm by Dharma Flower »

Offline Dairy Lama

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Re: Is the Pure Land a Buddhist heaven?
« Reply #63 on: July 16, 2018, 06:28:38 am »
In reciting the name of Amida Buddha, we are safely and effortlessly reborn into the Pure Land, the realm of Nirvana.

How do you know? 
"My religion is very simple - my religion is ice-cream"

Offline IdleChater

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Re: Is the Pure Land a Buddhist heaven?
« Reply #64 on: July 16, 2018, 04:25:23 pm »
In reciting the name of Amida Buddha, we are safely and effortlessly reborn into the Pure Land, the realm of Nirvana.

How do you know?

How do any of us know about the ultimate fruition of our practice?

Offline Dharma Flower

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Re: Is the Pure Land a Buddhist heaven?
« Reply #65 on: July 19, 2018, 12:25:01 am »
"We cannot ultimately understand what the Buddha is. The sutras are a pointing finger – not the moon – and all the myriad teachings are skillful means to induce us to utter Namo Amitabha Buddha. That is all. It doesn’t matter whether you believe it or not, or whether you’re a Buddhist or not. Amitabha Buddha is one with his Name, and his Name is simply the truth. Just speak the truth, which lies totally beyond the realms of belief and disbelief, and you will be reborn in the Pure Land,"
- Dharma Master Jingzong

Offline Dairy Lama

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Re: Is the Pure Land a Buddhist heaven?
« Reply #66 on: July 19, 2018, 01:38:09 am »
In reciting the name of Amida Buddha, we are safely and effortlessly reborn into the Pure Land, the realm of Nirvana.

How do you know?

How do any of us know about the ultimate fruition of our practice?

Most Buddhist practice is progressive, and you can get a sense of where it is leading, sometimes glimpses of the goal.   But Pureland seems more like a Christian praying to get into Heaven, which is purely a matter of faith.  Any kind of chanting will have an effect on the mind, but this looks like blind belief.
« Last Edit: July 19, 2018, 01:42:35 am by Dairy Lama »
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Re: Is the Pure Land a Buddhist heaven?
« Reply #67 on: July 19, 2018, 01:41:12 am »
"We cannot ultimately understand what the Buddha is. The sutras are a pointing finger – not the moon – and all the myriad teachings are skillful means to induce us to utter Namo Amitabha Buddha. That is all. It doesn’t matter whether you believe it or not, or whether you’re a Buddhist or not. Amitabha Buddha is one with his Name, and his Name is simply the truth. Just speak the truth, which lies totally beyond the realms of belief and disbelief, and you will be reborn in the Pure Land,"
- Dharma Master Jingzong

"It doesn’t matter whether you believe it or not.."   Sorry but I don't understand this at all.  If you don't believe that chanting will get you reborn in the Pureland, then why would you bother?
"My religion is very simple - my religion is ice-cream"

Offline IdleChater

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Re: Is the Pure Land a Buddhist heaven?
« Reply #68 on: July 19, 2018, 04:13:01 pm »
"It doesn’t matter whether you believe it or not.."   Sorry but I don't understand this at all.  If you don't believe that chanting will get you reborn in the Pureland, then why would you bother?

I have to agree.  Belief, here, is extremely important.  As you say, if you don't believe that a practice will be effective, you won't do it.



Offline zafrogzen

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Re: Is the Pure Land a Buddhist heaven?
« Reply #69 on: July 20, 2018, 10:35:19 am »
I don't know, but it looks like the ultimate in belief or faith to me.
« Last Edit: July 20, 2018, 10:38:15 am by zafrogzen »
My first formal meditation training was with Shunryu Suzuki in the 60's and later with Kobun, Robert Aitken and many other teachers (mainly zen). However, I've spent the most time practicing on my own, which is all I do now. I'm living in a rather isolated area so I miss connecting with other practitioners. Despite my interest in zen I've made an effort to remain secular. You can visit my website at http://www.frogzen.com

Offline IdleChater

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Re: Is the Pure Land a Buddhist heaven?
« Reply #70 on: July 21, 2018, 10:07:07 am »
I don't know, but it looks like the ultimate in belief or faith to me.

Yeah, but that's not such a bad thing, is it?  We all have our beliefs and faith in various things, even as Buddhists.

I see it as the beginning of a "western" form of Buddhism.  The obvious and striking similarity with Christian forms is very familiar to many westerners from a Christian background, who might find that familiarity a lot more comfortable that other Buddhists traditions that seem alien and strange.

What I know of Pure Land doesn't agree with me, so I don't practice it, but many do, and many more will.  One person's (mine) inclinations won't hold back the development of a cultural influence.  I'm ok with that.


Offline Solodris

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Re: Is the Pure Land a Buddhist heaven?
« Reply #71 on: Today at 11:05:50 am »
"We cannot ultimately understand what the Buddha is. The sutras are a pointing finger – not the moon – and all the myriad teachings are skillful means to induce us to utter Namo Amitabha Buddha. That is all. It doesn’t matter whether you believe it or not, or whether you’re a Buddhist or not. Amitabha Buddha is one with his Name, and his Name is simply the truth. Just speak the truth, which lies totally beyond the realms of belief and disbelief, and you will be reborn in the Pure Land,"
- Dharma Master Jingzong

"It doesn’t matter whether you believe it or not.."   Sorry but I don't understand this at all.  If you don't believe that chanting will get you reborn in the Pureland, then why would you bother?

Conditional karmic imprints puts the nature of the practitioner among the circumstances that produces the imprints. In the name of great compassion I would ask my father to utter Namo Amitabha Buddha, not because I am forcing my religion upon him, but because I believe his nature now has the imprint of being released from suffering. Not in this life, but maybe another life since he doesn't believe in what I say about the effect, even though he recited out of compassion for me.

Offline IdleChater

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Re: Is the Pure Land a Buddhist heaven?
« Reply #72 on: Today at 03:39:12 pm »
"We cannot ultimately understand what the Buddha is. The sutras are a pointing finger – not the moon – and all the myriad teachings are skillful means to induce us to utter Namo Amitabha Buddha. That is all. It doesn’t matter whether you believe it or not, or whether you’re a Buddhist or not. Amitabha Buddha is one with his Name, and his Name is simply the truth. Just speak the truth, which lies totally beyond the realms of belief and disbelief, and you will be reborn in the Pure Land,"
- Dharma Master Jingzong

"It doesn’t matter whether you believe it or not.."   Sorry but I don't understand this at all.  If you don't believe that chanting will get you reborn in the Pureland, then why would you bother?

Conditional karmic imprints puts the nature of the practitioner among the circumstances that produces the imprints. In the name of great compassion I would ask my father to utter Namo Amitabha Buddha, not because I am forcing my religion upon him, but because I believe his nature now has the imprint of being released from suffering. Not in this life, but maybe another life since he doesn't believe in what I say about the effect, even though he recited out of compassion for me.

I you were to look at the Tibetan traditions, the Kagyu specifically, there are Amitabha sadhanas that are practiced for others' rebirth in Amitabha's Pure Land.  Avalokitehvara Sadhanas are somewhat the same in this regard.  Both Sadhanas can be used for the living as well as the dead (for 40 days after death of the body).  You can also do Tonglen practice in these cases as well.  You don't have to try to get the person to do something they may not be inclined to do.

 


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