FreeSangha - Buddhist Forum

Schools of Buddhism => Mahayana => Pure Land => Topic started by: Dharmakara on August 03, 2015, 11:17:37 pm

Title: A Look at Chinese Pure Land Buddhism
Post by: Dharmakara on August 03, 2015, 11:17:37 pm
Basic Teachings

Just like in Japanese Pure Land Buddhism, Chinese Pure Land Buddhism focuses on Amitabha Buddha (阿弥陀) and the Pure Land (浄土). The Pure Land is not a heaven-like realm.[2] Instead, like all Buddhas, Amitabha created the Pure Land as a kind of refuge, so beings could be reborn there and progress on the Buddhist path much more easily. The Pure Land has a great community of teachers and followers, and has no obstructions. So, people who have a difficult life, or have difficulty following the Buddhist teachings can choose to be reborn there instead and then make progress.

Also, both Buddhist groups believe in the importance of reciting the Buddha’s name. As explained in the Pure Land Sutras, if you sincerely recite the name of Amitabha Buddha, you can be reborn in the Pure Land upon death. This is based on Amitabha Buddha’s 18th vow. As Ou-I wrote:

"Achieving rebirth in the Pure Land depends entirely on Faith and Vows, while the level of rebirth depends on depth of practice."


Practice

Both Buddhist groups rely on the teachings of Shan-Dao (善導, 613-681) or Zendō in Japanese and other early Indian/Chinese Buddhist teachers. Shan-tao stressed the importance of reciting the Buddha’s name a lot, and focusing your Buddhist practice on that in particular. Other Buddhist practices are seen as “supporting” this but are secondary to reciting the Buddha’s name.

According to tradition, Shan-tao would recite the Buddha’s name ten of thousands of times a day. However, reciting without confidence and faith in the Buddha’s vow is pointless. So the emphasis by both Ou-I and Yin-Guang (and Honen from Japan) is on faith. As Honen said:

"So then, believe that you can attain ojo [rebirth in the Pure Land, 往生] by one repetition, and yet go on practicing it your whole life long."


Relationship with Zen

The relationship with Chinese “Chan” Buddhism (Zen) is long and complicated, but by the time of the Ming Dynasty (明朝), Chan and Pure Land Buddhism slowly converged into two sides of the same “Chinese Buddhism”. This in turn influenced China’s neighbors of Korea and Vietnam.

To illustrate this point, Buddhist authors in late-medieval China and Vietnam frequently describe Pure Land Buddhism’s practice of reciting the Buddha’s name in terms of three levels:

     ◾ Mundane, regular level: reciting the Buddha’s name to achieve rebirth in the Pure Land.

     ◾ Middle-level: reciting the Buddha’s name to “bring out” the Buddha within the practitioner.

     ◾ High-level: reciting the Buddha’s name with the understanding that there is no Buddha outside the mind.


Examples of these teachings include Tue Trung (Tuệ Trung Thượng Sĩ) in Vietnam and Ou-I in China.

The point is that the “ultimate” teaching of Pure Land Buddhism has nothing to do with an external refuge, but that the Pure Land is the mind itself, and is synonymous with Chan (Zen) teachings in Chinese Buddhism. The division between the two schools is mostly at surface-level. The task of the practitioner is to simply awaken to this truth through reciting the Buddha’s name and mindfulness, rather than traditional meditation. However, this doesn’t discourage Buddhists who simply want to be reborn in the Pure Land though, since it all ultimately converges anyway.

Ou-I wrote about this stating:

"Believing in inner truth (noumenon) means having deep faith that the ten billion Buddha-lands (worlds) are in reality not outside our Mind. Since there is really nothing outside of this Mind, we have deep certainty that the whole assembly of beings and surroundings in the Western Paradise [the Pure Land] is a set of reflections appearing in our mind." (pg. 40)

Even in contemporary writings, you see this same teaching still taught. For example, in Thich Nhat Hanh’s Finding Our True Home:

"When Recollecting the Buddha, the practitioner begins by supposing that the Buddha is a reality outside himself or herself. He or she might visualize the Buddha in the Jeta Grove or on Vulture Peak in India. However, gradually the Buddha becomes a reality both within and without. In our compassion, there are seeds of solidity, freedom, love, compassion, joy, and equanimity." (Pg 97)

The point is that Pure Land Buddhism in China, represents a kind of synthesis between Zen thought and Pure Land Buddhism, but still maintains enough diversity to include people of different temperaments and backgrounds. Pure Land Buddhism in China has a long, rich tradition that has slowly evolved over the years and integrated with other traditions within East Asian Buddhism as a whole.

Source: Essays in Idleness
http://jkllr.net/2014/02/16/a-look-at-chinese-pure-land-buddhism/ (http://jkllr.net/2014/02/16/a-look-at-chinese-pure-land-buddhism/)

Title: Re: A Look at Chinese Pure Land Buddhism
Post by: GoToTheStore on March 01, 2017, 10:53:09 am
It's much better and easier if the Pure Land Buddhist simply understand the Pure Land is at the moment of death.

I know the mind is pure land, comes from the
 Pratyutpanna Buddha Sammukhāvasthita Samādhi Sutra.
It is the practice of self power Nembutsu of the
"Four Things To Do".
Zhiyi of the Tiantai School taught this.




Title: Re: A Look at Chinese Pure Land Buddhism
Post by: zafrogzen on March 01, 2017, 07:17:31 pm
It's much better and easier if the Pure Land Buddhist simply understand the Pure Land is at the moment of death.

Easier yes. But better?

Why wait? I think it would be better to try and get it done right here, right now, within one's own pure mind, rather than off in the future somewhere in the uncertainty of death. It can still be "other power," but within, rather than without. If one doesn't succeed then there is always the moment of death.
Title: Re: A Look at Chinese Pure Land Buddhism
Post by: stillpointdancer on March 02, 2017, 03:52:31 am
It's much better and easier if the Pure Land Buddhist simply understand the Pure Land is at the moment of death.

I know the mind is pure land, comes from the
 Pratyutpanna Buddha Sammukhāvasthita Samādhi Sutra.
It is the practice of self power Nembutsu of the
"Four Things To Do".
Zhiyi of the Tiantai School taught this.

Wow. Do these people really want a lifetime without understanding? They are really ok with waiting until they die? Or is it just another meditation object, a concept allowing attachments to fall away, so they sneakily understand before their last breath?
Title: Re: A Look at Chinese Pure Land Buddhism
Post by: IdleChater on March 02, 2017, 07:18:30 am
It's much better and easier if the Pure Land Buddhist simply understand the Pure Land is at the moment of death.

I know the mind is pure land, comes from the
 Pratyutpanna Buddha Sammukhāvasthita Samādhi Sutra.
It is the practice of self power Nembutsu of the
"Four Things To Do".
Zhiyi of the Tiantai School taught this.

Wow. Do these people really want a lifetime without understanding? They are really ok with waiting until they die? Or is it just another meditation object, a concept allowing attachments to fall away, so they sneakily understand before their last breath?

It can be hard for some to understand.  For example, Christianity has deathbed salvation.  Tibetan Buddhism teaches that enlightenment can happen in the bardos following physical death.  Jodo Shinshu isn't so different.

People will follow the system that suits tem best.

Title: Re: A Look at Chinese Pure Land Buddhism
Post by: LetGo on March 20, 2017, 06:04:28 am
Easier yes. But better?

Why wait? I think it would be better to try and get it done right here, right now, within one's own pure mind, rather than off in the future somewhere in the uncertainty of death. It can still be "other power," but within, rather than without. If one doesn't succeed then there is always the moment of death.
Most Pure Land Buddhists would say that this viewpoint is just another form of delusional self grasping, overestimating one's capabilities, and reifying the false sense of self that keeps us trapped in samsara. The Pure Land method of ShanTao involves realizing one's foolish nature, so the romantic view of a lot of "Pure Land is merely Pure Mind" rhetoric really doesn't fit the method. Before this becomes a "Japanese vs Chinese Pure Land" discussion, know that ShanTao was Chinese, as were many of the Pure Land patriarchs that followed his methods - such as Master Yin Kuang who did not advocate mixing Chan and Pure Land.
Quote from: Pure Land Zen, Zen Pure Land
Thus, the Zen tradition points directly to the Self-Mind, seeing one’s Nature
and achieving Buddhahood. This is a perfect, direct shortcut. However, we are
speaking here from the viewpoint of the inherent Dharma Body (that is, principle
or noumenon), bypassing phenomenal cultivation and attainment grounded in the
law of Cause and Effect. If we were to consider the different levels of cultivation
and achievement, there would be no difference between Zen and the Sutra Studies
method.

However, in the midst of this Dharma-Ending Age, there are very few good
spiritual advisors, while the capacities of sentient beings are limited. It is difficult
enough to find someone who is awakened to the Way, not to mention one who has
truly attained Enlightenment ! Thus, knowing that sentient beings would find it
extremely difficult to achieve liberation by relying on self-power alone, Sakyamuni
Buddha taught, in addition to other methods, the special approach of Pure Land.
With this method, as long as their Faith and Vows are true and earnest, even those
who have committed the Five Grave Offenses or the Ten Evil Acts, may, on the
verge of death, when the marks of the hells appear, follow the advice of a good
spiritual advisor and recite the Buddha’s name one to ten times. Then, thanks
to the compassionate power of Amitabha Buddha, even they will be received and
guided to the Pure Land – not to mention those who practice wholesome deeds and
do not commit transgressions!

The more diligently the cultivator engages in wholesome conduct and the deeper
his power of concentration, the higher his level of rebirth will be. He will see
Amitabha Buddha soon after rebirth and be able to hear the wonderful Dharma.
Therefore, even those who have awakened to the Way, severed delusion and attained
the Truth should dedicate all merits toward rebirth in the Pure Land, seeking
perfect attainment of the Dharma Body and swift attainment of Buddhahood.

Other methods depend on the capacities of the practitioner. If they lead only to
limited attainment [such as Arhatship], those of high capacities need not practice
them. If they lead to great attainment, those of limited capacities cannot cultivate
them. Only the Pure Land method embraces practitioners of all three capacities,
high, moderate and low. Supremely lofty beings, such as the Bodhisattvas Avalokitesvara,
Mahasthamaprapta, Manjusri and Samantabhadra, cannot transcend
it, while those of low capacities, who have committed the Five Grave Offenses or
the Ten Evil Deeds and have sown the seeds of the Never-Ending Hell, can still
participate in it. If Sakyamuni Buddha had not taught this method, the majority
of sentient beings in the Dharma-Ending Age could not hope to escape the cycle of
Birth and Death.

...

In discussing the Pure Land method, you should make a general comparison of
the ease and difficulty of other-power vs. self-power, as employed in this and other
methods, respectively. Otherwise, even if you do not doubt the Dharma, you will
doubt yourself, and even a trace of doubt becomes an obstacle. In such a case, even
if you engage in cultivation you will not reap the full benefit – not to mention what
will happen if you do not cultivate. For this reason, Faith is the first criterion. You
should firmly believe that the Saha World is a place of suffering, the Western Pure
Land a realm of bliss ... As is said in the Smaller Amitabha Sutra:

Shariputra: Why is that land called Utmost Happiness? The beings of that
land experience no suffering; they only know every kind of joy; therefore it is
called Utmost Happiness. (Hozen Seki, Amida-kyo, p. 18.)

You should be wary and not attempt to reason with the mind of an ordinary
being, lest you mistakenly think that “all the wonderful, extraordinary events
beyond common understanding that occur in the Western Pure Land are myths
representing the Mind Dharma, rather than a true environment.” With this
misunderstanding, you lose the benefit of rebirth in the Pure Land. This is a major
error, so be careful!

Once you realize that the Saha World is a place of suffering while the Pure Land
is a place of joy, you should develop true, earnest Vows, resolving to leave the Saha
World and return to the Land of Ultimate Bliss. Such Vows are no different from
those of a person who has fallen into an excrement pit and seeks to escape swiftly,
or of a prisoner who yearns for his native village. Such hopes and desires should
be utterly sincere, because your own strength cannot free you from your predicament.

Sentient beings in the Saha World, facing circumstances that accord or fail to
accord with their wishes, often develop the mind of greed, anger and delusion, create
the karma of killing, stealing and lust, and tarnish their bright, spotless Self-Nature
– this is a filthy bottomless pit. Having created evil karma, they must endure suffering
through many lifetimes along the Evil Paths – this is a drawn out imprisonment.

Untold eons ago, Amitabha Buddha made forty-eight Vows to rescue sentient
beings. One of the Vows [the eighteenth] stated:

If, after my obtaining Buddhahood, all beings in the ten quarters should desire
in sincerity and trustfulness to be born in my country, and if they should not
be born by only thinking of me ten times ..., may I not attain the highest
Enlightenment. (J. Okazaki, Pure Land Buddhist Painting, p. 15.)
 
Although Amitabha Buddha, the Compassionate One, made such a Vow, if
sentient beings do not seek His help, there is little He can do. However, anyone who
recites his name with utter sincerity, vowing to leave the Saha World behind, will
be welcomed and escorted to the Pure Land. Amitabha Buddha has great power;
He can rescue sentient beings from the excrement pit and the prison of the defiled
world, guide them to the Land of Ultimate Bliss, and help them enter the realms of
the Buddhas to assume the prerogatives and functions of the Tathagatas (Buddhas).

Rebirth in the Western Land thus requires, first of all, deep Faith and fervent
Vows. Without these conditions, even if you were to cultivate, you could not obtain
a response from Amitabha Buddha. You would merely reap the blessings of the
human and celestial realms and sow the seeds of liberation in the future. Anyone
who fulfills the conditions of Faith and Vows is assured of rebirth in the Pure Land.
When Elder Master Yung Ming stated that “out of ten thousand who cultivate
Pure Land, ten thousand will achieve rebirth,” he was referring to those with full
Faith and Vows. Once you have deep Faith and earnest Vows, you should practice
Buddha Recitation as your principal method, guided by your Faith and Vows.
These three components [Faith, Vows, Practice] are precisely the main tenets of
Pure Land – lack of any one of these conditions will prevent you from achieving
rebirth in the Land of Ultimate Bliss.

=================================================

It is because the Mind-Only Pure Land exists that we are reborn in the
Pure Land of the West. If the mind is not pure, it is impossible to achieve rebirth
in the Pure Land. Even when those who have committed cardinal transgressions
achieve rebirth through ten recitations, such rebirth is due to their reciting the
Buddha’s name with a pure mind, thus eliciting a response from Amitabha Buddha.
Ordinary people generally think that if the Pure Land is Mind-Only, then it does
not exist. This is the understanding of demons and externalists. Such a deluded
view, which appears correct but is in reality wrong, affects more than half of all
people and causes practitioners to forfeit true benefits.

It is precisely because of the Self-Nature Amitabha that the practitioner must
recite the name of Buddha Amitabha of the West seeking rebirth in the Pure Land
– so as to achieve the Self-Nature Amitabha through gradual cultivation. If he
merely grasps at the Buddha Amitabha of the West, he cannot achieve immediate
escape from Birth and Death – not even if he is truly awakened, much less if (like
most people who ask this question) he is pretentious and just indulges in empty
talk without engaging in practice.

Thus, the answer to your question [are the Mind-Only Pure Land and the
Self-Nature Amitabha the same as or different from the Western Pure Land and
Amitabha in the Pure Land?] is that they are one yet two before Buddhahood is
attained, two yet one after Buddhahood is attained.

=================================================

Buddhist sutras teach followers to practice repentance constantly in order
to transcend delusion and achieve Buddhahood. Thus, even the Bodhisattva
Maitreya, who has attained the level of Equal Enlightenment, still pays respect
to the Buddhas of the ten directions during the six periods of the day, so as to
wipe out delusion and attain the Dharma Body. If this is true for the Bodhisattva
Maitreya, what can we say of common beings filled with heavy karmic afflictions?

If you do not feel shame and remorse, your Self-Nature may be the same as the
Buddhas’, but it is hidden by afflictions and evil karma and cannot manifest itself.
Just like a precious mirror which has been covered with dust for eons, not only
does it not reflect light, even its reflecting nature is hidden. If you realize that the
mirror already possesses the nature of brightness and strive ceaselessly to clean it,
the light reflected will gradually increase until it reaches maximum radiance. The
mirror can then become, once more, something of value in the world.

You should realize that the potential for reflection is inherent in the mirror and
is not the result of polishing. If it were not so, a brick would also shine brightly
when polished. Yet, you should also realize that although the brightness is inherent
in the mirror, without polishing, the day would never come when it would gleam.

The Mind-Nature of sentient beings is similar. Although it is intrinsically
identical to that of the Buddhas, [it is clouded]. Thus, if sentient beings do not
mend their ways, from evil to wholesome, and turn their backs on worldly dusts
“to merge with Enlightenment,” their inherently virtuous nature cannot appear.
Such a mind-consciousness, inherently possessing the Buddha Nature in full but
busily creating evil karma and suffering – mired in Birth and Death for many
eons – is no different from a dark house filled with treasures. You not only cannot
make use of the treasures, you may, in fact, suffer further loss. Is this not lamentable?

Pure Land is precisely the sublime method enabling the practitioner to turn his
back on worldly dusts to merge with Enlightenment and return to the source (the
Mind). Laymen bound up in mundane affairs cannot easily find the time to attend
retreats, practice meditation and recite the sutras. This method is, therefore, very
suitable for persons such as yourself. Each one can pay respect to the Buddhas and
recite sutras or Buddha Amitabha’s name according to individual circumstances
and capacities, dedicating the merits thus accrued to rebirth in the Pure Land. In
addition to your regular cultivation sessions, you should practice Buddha Recitation
when walking or standing, reclining or sitting, speaking or remaining silent, eating
or dressing, throughout the day, wherever you may be.

=================================================

You already know that you must confess your transgressions and practice repentance.
This is very much in accord with the Pure Land method because “when
the mind is pure, the Buddha land is pure.” However, once having repented, you
should change your ways and practice wholesome deeds, lest your repentance consist
of empty words bringing no real benefit. This is also true if you wish to be free
of external attachments in order to concentrate on Buddha Recitation and reach
one-pointedness of mind. No extraordinary method is required: you should paste
the single word “death” on your forehead or dangle it from your eyebrows, always
keeping the following thoughts in mind:

Since time immemorial I have created untold, immeasurable evil karma; if
such karma had form, the empty space of the ten directions could not contain
it. Thanks to good conditions, I have been reborn in a human body and have,
in addition, had the opportunity to hear the Dharma. However, given my evil
karma, I must now recite the Buddha’s name singlemindedly, seeking rebirth
in the Pure Land. Otherwise, when my breath has ceased, [I am bound to
endure the sufferings of hells, hungry ghosts and animality]. After recovering
a human body, I would lack intelligence and be deluded, prone to create evil
karma, unable to perform good deeds readily. In no time, I would sink deeper
into the evil realms. With my residual bad karma from previous lives still not
repaid, I would commit new evil karma, constantly revolving along the Six
Paths throughout eons as numerous as motes of dust – hopelessly lost in the
immense sea of suffering, not knowing how to reach liberation.

If you always reflect on these points, your cultivation will be focussed. Take the
example of the two notorious men who – on the verge of death – witnessed the
marks of hell appear, whereupon they recited the Buddha’s name several times with
utmost sincerity and devotion. Immediately, they saw Amitabha Buddha coming to
“receive and guide” them back to the Pure Land. This beneficial feature exists only
in the Pure Land method, out of all the countless methods taught by Sakyamuni
Buddha throughout His teaching career. Therefore, I have always said that “if the
Nine Realms of sentient beings do not practice this method, they cannot easily
perfect the fruits of Enlightenment, while if the Buddhas of the ten directions
abandon this method, they cannot benefit the masses far and wide.”

If you have utmost Faith and cultivate earnestly, seeking escape from Birth and
Death, then even though you still have not left the evil, deluded world, you will not
remain long in the Saha World either. While you may not have reached the Pure
Land yet, you will soon be a new guest in the Land of Ultimate Bliss.

=================================================

Nevertheless, the Dharma should be adapted to the level of the listener. If
through failure to examine his level, you administer the wrong remedy, you will be
no different from an incompetent physician who kills his patients with the wrong
medicine. You should know that although the two Dharma methods, Pure Land
and Zen, have the same root and the same source, their methods of cultivation are
different.

The main tenet of Zen is to see one’s Original Nature, while the teachings of
Pure Land are Faith, Vows and Reciting the Buddha’s name to achieve rebirth in
the Pure Land. If most people today were of high capacities, your words would indeed
be extremely beneficial. However, on close examination, those of high capacities
are few and far between, while those of moderate and low capacities form the vast
majority. This being the case, failing to teach people to develop Faith and Vows
seeking rebirth in the Pure Land, while advising them to meditate on the Buddha’s
name [as a koan] is utterly detrimental.

This is because, while awakening to the Way through meditation on the
Buddha’s name would be a fortunate development, an utterly sincere Vow for
rebirth in the Pure Land would still be necessary.

Meanwhile, if meditation is unsuccessful and the mind constantly grasps at
the koan “who is reciting the Buddha’s name,” correspondence between the
practitioner and the Buddha will be extremely difficult to realize and the benefit of
the “welcoming and escorting” Vow will be lost.

Those who really know “who is reciting the Buddha’s name” are precisely those
who have already awakened and clearly seen their True Nature. Nowadays, how
many practitioners can meditate to the point of awakening to the Way (Great
Awakening)?

However, let us not speak about others. Even you and your friends have not
reached that level. How do I know? It is because if you had, you would never have
dared to make such statements as these in your letter: “the Pure Land method is an
expedient for ordinary people of limited capacities ...; not knowing who is reciting
the Buddha’s name is not reciting in a mature way with an as-if-dead mind ...;
reciting a hundred thousand times a day has no relationship to the issue of Birth
and Death ...; the ancients practiced oral recitation only after they had achieved
success in meditation – those of limited capacities should not try to emulate them ...”

In truth, while your intention is to benefit yourself and others equally, through
your words you have not only erred yourself, you have led others astray as well.
From now on, please desist from such talk. Otherwise, you will slam the door on and
bury the all-embracing method of the Buddhas to rescue sentient beings everywhere
– preventing this method from being known far and wide. Such a transgression is
tantamount to vilifying the Buddhas, the Dharma and the Sangha. You should be
careful indeed!

Since your understanding of the Dharma is not skillfully adapted to people’s
capacities, in that you attempt to bring a high-level Dharma to everyone, it is, in
the end, a one-sided (biased) attachment – and a great mistake! Not realizing this,
you think that you have correctly understood the subtle meaning of the Dharma
and therefore seek my certification. This monk, although lowly and not erudite,
would not dare to commend, acquiesce in and support such a request, which would
cause all of us to fall into the error of vilifying the Three Treasures!

If you do not believe the words of this old monk, let us part ways once and for all.
I would not dare try forcing others to abandon their own ideas and understanding
to follow my lowly thoughts. It is only because of your letter that I have reluctantly
offered some frank though limited views.

I hope that you will reflect deeply on this letter.
Title: Re: A Look at Chinese Pure Land Buddhism
Post by: zafrogzen on March 20, 2017, 01:13:54 pm
Hi LetGo,

I wrote
Quote
Why wait? I think it would be better to try and get it done right here, right now, within one's own pure mind, rather than off in the future somewhere in the uncertainty of death. It can still be "other power," but within, rather than without. If one doesn't succeed then there is always the moment of death.
You replied
Quote
Most Pure Land Buddhists would say that this viewpoint is just another form of delusional self grasping, overestimating one's capabilities, and reifying the false sense of self that keeps us trapped in samsara. The Pure Land method of ShanTao involves realizing one's foolish nature, so the romantic view of a lot of "Pure Land is merely Pure Mind" rhetoric really doesn't fit the method. Before this becomes a "Japanese vs Chinese Pure Land" discussion, know that ShanTao was Chinese, as were many of the Pure Land patriarchs that followed his methods - such as Master Yin Kuang who did not advocate mixing Chan and Pure Land.
Yes, everyone is convinced their way is the best and other folks are wrong. At least you're not trying to claim that Pure Land practice was taught by Dogen and is a part of Japanese Zen training.

Quote
Sakyamuni Buddha taught, in addition to other methods, the special approach of Pure Land.

I thought that Pure Land practice didn't appear until maybe 6 or 7 centuries after Sakuamuni died.
Title: Re: A Look at Chinese Pure Land Buddhism
Post by: LetGo on March 20, 2017, 04:28:45 pm
Yes, everyone is convinced their way is the best and other folks are wrong. At least you're not trying to claim that Pure Land practice was taught by Dogen and is a part of Japanese Zen training.
Well, you're the one that came to a Pure Land thread in a Pure Land subforum and told everyone they were doing it wrong...

Quote
Quote
Sakyamuni Buddha taught, in addition to other methods, the special approach of Pure Land.
I thought that Pure Land practice didn't appear until maybe 6 or 7 centuries after Sakuamuni died.
That's a modern understanding and not the traditional one (actually it's closer to 4 centuries given modern dating). Patriarch Yin Kuang lived 1861-1940 and wasn't exposed to modern academic understandings of Buddhism. I doubt he would've cared much for them anyway as a lot of modern academic assertions are based on very little evidence and have not proven in any way to be beneficial towards practice.
Title: Re: A Look at Chinese Pure Land Buddhism
Post by: zafrogzen on March 20, 2017, 06:38:49 pm
LetGo wrote
Quote
Well, you're the one that came to a Pure Land thread in a Pure Land subforum and told everyone they were doing it wrong...

Sorry, I didn't realize it was a sub-forum. It just shows up as a "recent topic" when I come onto this site.

I didn't mean to tell "everyone they were doing it wrong." I was looking to get a reasoned response to questions I have regarding Pure Land practice in the here and now as opposed to after death. Instead you told me my view was "delusional self grasping, overestimating one's capabilities, and reifying the false sense of self that keeps us trapped in samsara."

I'll ignore your "subforum" from now on.
Title: Re: A Look at Chinese Pure Land Buddhism
Post by: LetGo on March 20, 2017, 08:01:01 pm
LetGo wrote
Quote
Well, you're the one that came to a Pure Land thread in a Pure Land subforum and told everyone they were doing it wrong...

Sorry, I didn't realize it was a sub-forum. It just shows up as a "recent topic" when I come onto this site.

I didn't mean to tell "everyone they were doing it wrong." I was looking to get a reasoned response to questions I have regarding Pure Land practice in the here and now as opposed to after death. Instead you told me my view was "delusional self grasping, overestimating one's capabilities, and reifying the false sense of self that keeps us trapped in samsara."

I'll ignore your "subforum" from now on.
Questions looking for reasoned responses? Surely you're joking...
I guess it's better to play the victim when you get caught sect bashing...

"But better?" is not a real question looking for a reasoned response - but questioning of the claims of the school.
"Why wait?" is also not a real question looking for a reasoned response - but a criticism; especially when followed with "I think it would be better to....".

Regardless, you received your answers.

My comments were completely couched in the language of Pure Land, just as your criticisms were couched in the language of Zen. It was not a personal attack, that is precisely how Pure Land discusses such views in their own literature. The goal of the Other Power approach; taken to its logical conclusion, is to give up any idea of a Self Powered approach. That's how the method works. In the Other Power approach, any attempt at self-generated merit, austere practices, advanced wisdom, or (forced) compassionate activity is considered tainted with selfishness, self-grasping, and ultimately delusional.

More importantly, the quotes from "Pure Land Zen, Zen Pure Land" by Chinese Patriarch Yin Kuang describe exactly how the Pure Land method works in language that can be followed by people with a Chan/Zen background. He explains exactly why one looks to be born somewhere else as well as who the intended audience is and why.
Title: Re: A Look at Chinese Pure Land Buddhism
Post by: LetGo on April 20, 2017, 08:54:25 am
Sorry, I didn't realize it was a sub-forum. It just shows up as a "recent topic" when I come onto this site.
Let me just publicly apologize for being rude in my earlier responses. Reading it now, I was way out of line. Sorry.
Title: Re: A Look at Chinese Pure Land Buddhism
Post by: IdleChater on April 20, 2017, 09:08:48 am
Sorry, I didn't realize it was a sub-forum. It just shows up as a "recent topic" when I come onto this site.
Let me just publicly apologize for being rude in my earlier responses. Reading it now, I was way out of line. Sorry.

I don't think you were being rude at all.
Title: Re: A Look at Chinese Pure Land Buddhism
Post by: zafrogzen on April 23, 2017, 09:54:51 pm
Sorry, I didn't realize it was a sub-forum. It just shows up as a "recent topic" when I come onto this site.
Let me just publicly apologize for being rude in my earlier responses. Reading it now, I was way out of line. Sorry.

No apology necessary. At least you understood what I was saying and your response was intelligent. I bailed because you obviously have strong opinions on a subject with which I'm not very familiar.

It's hard to have a reasonable discussion here, with all the shouting. I've been looking to concentrate more on my meditation practice, which is a bright spot in an otherwise chaotic world. 
Title: Re: A Look at Chinese Pure Land Buddhism
Post by: LetGo on April 24, 2017, 04:57:02 am
It's hard to have a reasonable discussion here, with all the shouting. I've been looking to concentrate more on my meditation practice, which is a bright spot in an otherwise chaotic world.
I know I'm partly responsible for that. I just assumed that there were actual moderators here that would step in at some point. Apparently there are none. I'm not sure how much longer I want to stick around on a site that is effectively unmanaged. I find DharmaWheel to be run much better, so I'll probably just stick to posting over there. For what it's worth, DW has a pretty decent Zen section if you're looking to touch base with other Zen practitioners. As far as Pure Land goes, it's much better and the troll wouldn't last a day there.
Title: Re: A Look at Chinese Pure Land Buddhism
Post by: meez on April 24, 2017, 08:45:07 am
It's hard to have a reasonable discussion here, with all the shouting. I've been looking to concentrate more on my meditation practice, which is a bright spot in an otherwise chaotic world.
I know I'm partly responsible for that. I just assumed that there were actual moderators here that would step in at some point. Apparently there are none. I'm not sure how much longer I want to stick around on a site that is effectively unmanaged. I find DharmaWheel to be run much better, so I'll probably just stick to posting over there. For what it's worth, DW has a pretty decent Zen section if you're looking to touch base with other Zen practitioners. As far as Pure Land goes, it's much better and the troll wouldn't last a day there.

LetGo,

I try to drop in about once a day (weekdays, not usually weekends).  I'm sure you can understand that one can't just ban and remove a user on this site because someone mentions the word "troll" or doesn't like what they have to say.

The brightly colored, large font nonsense is going to be removed, but this is the first I've seen it as it was posted while I was asleep.  As always, you are welcome here and your insight/knowledge is greatly appreciated.  If you decide to continue your stay, that would be great.  If you feel like your time is better spent elsewhere, I understand and respect that.

Thanks, LetGo.
Title: Re: A Look at Chinese Pure Land Buddhism
Post by: LetGo on April 24, 2017, 08:53:26 am
Actually, it was me that said that, not zafrogzen.

And what apparently you missed is that FR is promoting Puranic Hinduism and bashing Pure Land on the Pure Land subforum. He has been bashing Japanese Pure Land constantly. He has been bashing individuals with accusations of racism (while he himself has been guilty of racist diatribes against non-Indian asians). He has been spreading absolute horse shit in the face of legitimate Buddha Dharma, posting stuff directly contradictory of legitimate sutras, and bashing anyone who posts legitimate sutras in response to his made-up Hindu fantasies. This isn't even a matter of "difference of opinion", this is someone who is blatantly disruptive and intentionally dishonest. Someone who is not a sincere poster and is out to confuse people with his Hinduism masquerading as Buddha Dharma. For crying out loud, if you read the Amida a Real Buddha thread, you'll see him blatantly propagating the veneration of Vishnu and Rama, among other Hindu deities. It doesn't get any more obvious than that. He has violated the Terms of Service, repeatedly.
Title: Re: A Look at Chinese Pure Land Buddhism
Post by: meez on April 24, 2017, 09:14:25 am
I edited my post, sorry about the confusion.

FR's nonsense was deleted and he/she was banned, as I agree that it has no place here.  If something comes up in the future, shoot me a PM.  When I drop in, I don't always go through every page of recent posts, so if you see something that is an issue, I'm happy to check it out.
Title: Re: A Look at Chinese Pure Land Buddhism
Post by: LetGo on April 24, 2017, 09:17:52 am
Thanks for your help!
I'll definitely make sure to do that in the future and not contribute to things getting so out of hand.
Title: Re: A Look at Chinese Pure Land Buddhism
Post by: meez on April 24, 2017, 09:29:54 am
Thanks for your help!
I'll definitely make sure to do that in the future and not contribute to things getting so out of hand.

I don't think you contributed to things getting out of hand.  It's reasonable to get annoyed with things like that, especially if they cloud or impede a discussion you are trying to have, so I get it.  The reality is, there is going to be stuff that I miss, so if there is an issue and I'm made aware, it can be addressed.

Hope all is well!
Title: Re: A Look at Chinese Pure Land Buddhism
Post by: zafrogzen on April 24, 2017, 09:46:02 am
Hi Meez,

I like the looser free-for-all environment here. Some sites can get a little up-tight. But there are limits and Ficus was definitely pushing them.
Title: Re: A Look at Chinese Pure Land Buddhism
Post by: meez on April 24, 2017, 10:22:13 am
Hi Meez,

I like the looser free-for-all environment here. Some sites can get a little up-tight. But there are limits and Ficus was definitely pushing them.

Agreed.  I try to be hands off to the extent that people are able to express themselves in a manner that isn't completely off the rails.  While I know that is purely based on my opinion, I think there are some basic unspoken lines/boundaries that exist when communicating with one another and providing information or answers to questions.  What was taking place contributed nothing, and while simple non-contributing and harmless actions can be overlooked when they don't cause greater interference, if it starts to detract from the board's discussions and ability for people to engage each other, it becomes an issue.
SimplePortal 2.3.3 © 2008-2010, SimplePortal