Author Topic: Amida Buddha and the Pure Land  (Read 3990 times)

Offline Namaste253

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Re: Amida Buddha and the Pure Land
« Reply #45 on: July 19, 2015, 07:25:00 pm »
The final thing I can say about this is that we believe the light and grace of Amida Buddha enables us to follow the Buddhist path. Trusting in Other-Power isn't an excuse to be complacent as much as it is the grace and strength we need to continue on the Buddhist path. I am sorry for not communicating this very well.

Offline Dharmakara

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Re: Amida Buddha and the Pure Land
« Reply #46 on: July 19, 2015, 08:15:03 pm »
I'm not saying that Other-Power is an excuse to be complacent, but that it can be used as an excuse by some practitioners --- there's a difference between the two.

Offline Cobblers Apprentice

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Re: Amida Buddha and the Pure Land
« Reply #47 on: July 20, 2015, 12:21:25 am »
I'm not saying that Other-Power is an excuse to be complacent, but that it can be used as an excuse by some practitioners --- there's a difference between the two.

Hi Dharmakara, obviously true, yet is it not the case that any particular path can have its ups and downs? Some think that to sit on a cushion for inordinate lengths of time will make them a Buddha, while - alas - it CAN merely makes them feel elevated above the common herd. Then we have the merit accumulators where the little self is busy gathering its store. Well, we all know what Bodhidharma said to the Emperor of China......well, perhaps we don't, but there you go.

Anyway, here is a passage from a book by Hiroyuki Itsuki,  "Tariki: Embracing Despair, Discovering Peace." (Tariki is the Japanese for "Other Power", as opposed to Jiriki, self power)

(The book is party autobiographical, and the descriptions of Itsuki's early life (as a refugee) sweep away any thought that his words are in any way "sentimental")

The Other Power (Tariki) derives from the true and full acceptance of the reality that is within us and surrounds us. It is not a philosophy of passivity or iresponsibility, but one of radical spiritual activity, of personal, existential revolution. Its essence is the spontaneous wondrous force that gives us the will to act, to "do what man can do and then wait for heaven's will." Importantly, Other Power is a power that flows from the fundamental realization that, in the lives we live, we are already enlightened. This enlightenment does not come easily. It is born of the unwelcome understanding that, despite our protestations, we are insignificant, imperfect beings, born to a hell of suffering that defines human existence. But in this hell, we sometimes excounter small joys, friendship, the kind acts of strangers, and the miracle of love. We experience moments when we are filled with courage, when the world sparkles with hopes and dreams. There are even times when we are deeply grateful to have been born. These moments are paradise. But paradise is not another realm; it is here, in the very midst of the hell of this world. Other Power, a power that transcends theological distinctions, avails us of these moments. In the endless uncertainties of contemporary life, Other Power confers upon us a flexibility of spirit, an energy to feel joy, and the respite of peace.

The point being made, at least by me, (and I am not saying anyone is arguing differently) is that the Pure Land Way is authentic Buddhism. It is a path that, like all Buddhist Paths, seeks to solve the paradox of the "not-self" becoming a lamp unto itself.

I have quoted this before, but it is worth quoting again, from the pen of the cobbler Saichi.....

Oh Saichi, will you tell us of Other Power?
Yes, but there is neither self power nor Other Power.
What is, is the Graceful Acceptance only.


And perhaps, just to pick up on the  "transcends theological distinctions" of Itsuki's words, here is the Catholic monk Thomas Merton speaking from out of the Christian Tradition....

In our being there is a primordial YES that is not our own; it is not at our own disposal; it is not accessible to our inspection and understanding; we do not even fully experience it as real.......Basically......my being is not an affirmation of a limited self, but the YES of Being itself, irrespective of my own choices. Where do "I" come in? Simply in uniting the YES of my own freedom with the YES of Being that already IS before I have a chance to choose. This is not "adjustment". There is nothing to adjust. There is reality, and there is free consent. There is the actuality of one YES. In this actuality no question of "adjustment" remains and the ego vanishes.


(From "Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander")

Edit. Hi, I see your post 46 acknowledges my first point. Sorry.
« Last Edit: July 20, 2015, 01:02:07 am by Cobblers Apprentice »

Offline Dharmakara

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Re: Amida Buddha and the Pure Land
« Reply #48 on: July 20, 2015, 01:20:51 am »
The point being made, at least by me, (and I am not saying anyone is arguing differently) is that the Pure Land Way is authentic Buddhism. It is a path that, like all Buddhist Paths, seeks to solve the paradox of the "not-self" becoming a lamp unto itself.

I certainly would never declare who is a Buddhist and who is not, but when it comes to something being "authentic" it would imply that there has been no fabrication, something I don't believe any Buddhist tradition can claim at this point.

Offline Cobblers Apprentice

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Re: Amida Buddha and the Pure Land
« Reply #49 on: July 20, 2015, 03:42:51 am »
The point being made, at least by me, (and I am not saying anyone is arguing differently) is that the Pure Land Way is authentic Buddhism. It is a path that, like all Buddhist Paths, seeks to solve the paradox of the "not-self" becoming a lamp unto itself.

I certainly would never declare who is a Buddhist and who is not, but when it comes to something being "authentic" it would imply that there has been no fabrication, something I don't believe any Buddhist tradition can claim at this point.

OK.........then "as authentic as any other current Buddhist Tradition", this again in the context of not judging anyone, as to who is or isn't anything.

Hopefully this is satisfactory.



 ;D

Offline Dharmakara

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Re: Amida Buddha and the Pure Land
« Reply #50 on: July 20, 2015, 06:26:59 am »
People just need to work the word "authentic" in --- nothing but one track minds  :lmfao:

None are authentic and if you want to see why this is so, all you have to do picture the following scenario: let's say that the historical Buddha was able to stand before us today, who among us would recognize him, long enough accept him if he said "I didn't teach that" --- no, a slave to the "ism" will never be able to do this because he or she is too busy chasing willo-wisps in the wind.

My friend, you will never here the word "authentic" come out of my mouth because there isn't a Buddhist sect or tradition that hasn't been caught with their hand in the proverbial cookie jar when it comes to authenticity.

Offline Cobblers Apprentice

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Re: Amida Buddha and the Pure Land
« Reply #51 on: July 20, 2015, 06:45:59 am »
People just need to work the word "authentic" in --- nothing but one track minds  :lmfao:

None are authentic and if you want to see why this is so, all you have to do picture the following scenario: let's say that the historical Buddha was able to stand before us today, who among us would recognize him, long enough accept him if he said "I didn't teach that" --- no, a slave to the "ism" will never be able to do this because he or she is too busy chasing willo-wisps in the wind.

My friend, you will never here the word "authentic" come out of my mouth because there isn't a Buddhist sect or tradition that hasn't been caught with their hand in the proverbial cookie jar when it comes to authenticity.

Ah ha! so I assume my change of words was not satisfactory to your own ears.

Apologies. I see that slaves to the "ism" and one track minders must watch their step around you.

 ;D

Offline Dharmakara

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Re: Amida Buddha and the Pure Land
« Reply #52 on: July 20, 2015, 06:54:29 am »
No, they don't need to watch their step around me, but the one thing they shouldn't be doing is attempting to insult the intelligence of those who know better --- if there's any Pure Landers or others over here who find my position intolerable, then it would be better that they go to Dharma Wheel and Dhamma Wheel because they'll defend the "ism" over there, whereas we won't cater to the "ism" on this forum.

Offline Cobblers Apprentice

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Re: Amida Buddha and the Pure Land
« Reply #53 on: July 20, 2015, 07:10:10 am »
No, they don't need to watch their step around me, but the one thing they shouldn't be doing is attempting to insult the intelligence of those who know better --- if there's any Pure Landers or others over here who find my position intolerable, then it would be better that they go to Dharma Wheel and Dhamma Wheel because they'll defend the "ism" over there, whereas we won't cater to the "ism" on this forum.

Personally, I do not find your position intolerable. I have a sense of humour.

 ;D

Offline Dharmakara

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Re: Amida Buddha and the Pure Land
« Reply #54 on: July 20, 2015, 07:21:38 am »
I have a sense of humor too, but it usually gets me in trouble  :teehee:

Offline Namaste253

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Re: Amida Buddha and the Pure Land
« Reply #55 on: July 21, 2015, 12:27:58 pm »
I would like to please share the most important things I have to share about Pure Land Buddhism. I hope that sharing these things can help to benefit others, and I am sorry if these things offend anyone. 

While Shin Buddhist teachers who read the Pure Land sutras metaphorically are often accused of being modernists who've deviated from the faith, what if they are actually trying to refocus our attention on Shakyamuni, the historic founder of the faith?

The 21st Vow of Amida Buddha promises that anyone born in the Pure Land will be perfected with the 32 attributes of a great being, which include webbed fingers and toes, a long, broad tongue, and a retractable male organ. How much of this can we read literally?

Theravada teaches that there's only one Buddha per universe age, with ours being Shakyamuni Buddha. A disciple of the Buddha who attains enlightenment is referred to not as a Buddha but as an Arahant.

Mahayana, on the other hand, includes a seemingly infinite number of Buddhas. This makes me wonder which idea came first, the one Buddha or the infinite Buddhas, and which is closest to what the historical Buddha taught.

When Shin Buddhists today teach that Amida Buddha is symbolic of Dharmakaya or is Shakyamuni Buddha in his transcendent form, rather than another Buddha from a distant world, is this because they are attempting to go back to an original Buddhist belief of there being only one Buddha?

It was Shinran, not some modernist thinker, who wrote that Amida existed from the eternal past and took form as Shakyamuni Buddha. The Tannisho also says that, in the scriptures, the provisional and expedient is mixed with the true and the real, and that it's up to us to discern which is which.

The story of Dharmakara Bodhisattva, as others have noted, may be symbolic of Shakyamuni Buddha's own life story, in that both figures renounced their royal titles for the sake of enlightening all beings. The Smarta tradition of Hinduism teaches that the vast array of gods are actually different aspects of the same god. My impression is that, in Mahayana Buddhism, the vast array of Buddhas are, in some sense, different aspects of Shakyamuni Buddha in his enlightened form.
« Last Edit: July 21, 2015, 12:53:48 pm by Namaste253 »

Offline Namaste253

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Re: Amida Buddha and the Pure Land
« Reply #56 on: July 21, 2015, 12:48:09 pm »
I'm not saying that Other-Power is an excuse to be complacent, but that it can be used as an excuse by some practitioners --- there's a difference between the two.

I agree with what you are observing. In the Tannisho, Shinran said don't take poison just because you have the antitode, in response to Nembutsu followers who used Amida's grace as an excuse to commit grave sins.

Offline Dharmakara

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Re: Amida Buddha and the Pure Land
« Reply #57 on: July 21, 2015, 01:40:24 pm »
That was an excellent analogy  :namaste:

Offline Namaste253

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Re: Amida Buddha and the Pure Land
« Reply #58 on: July 21, 2015, 05:35:06 pm »
The Buddha is not a god, who must be feared and obeyed. The Buddha is an awakened teacher, who says "Be lamps unto yourselves."  The injunction to be "lamps unto yourselves" would seem callous if we didn't have a Buddha-nature to guide us from within. What makes Pure Land devotion, then, different from Christian or Muslim devotion is that, in an ultimate sense, we view the Buddha and ourselves to have one and the same nature.

Offline Namaste253

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Re: Amida Buddha and the Pure Land
« Reply #59 on: July 22, 2015, 02:42:15 pm »
Buddhist devotion is often described as a way of cultivating wholesome states of mind, so that we may cut through the limitations of our ego-self. This is a way of looking at why we recite the Nembutsu. We express devotion to Amida Buddha in order to cultivate in ourselves his qualities of wisdom and compassion:

Quote
The Buddha taught that the biggest barrier to realization is the notion that "I" am a permanent, integral, autonomous entity. It is by seeing through the delusion of ego that realization blooms. Devotion is a upaya for breaking the bonds of ego.
For this reason, the Buddha taught his disciples to cultivate devotional and reverential habits of mind. Thus, devotion is not a "corruption" of Buddhism, but an expression of it...
In the Zen monastery where I first learned about Buddhism, the monks liked to point to the Buddha on the altar and say, "That's you up there. When you bow, you are bowing to yourself." What did they mean? How do you understand it? Who are you? Where do you find the self? Working with those questions is not a corruption of Buddhism; it is Buddhism...
Most of the time, it's more accurate in western terms to think of the iconographic devas and bodhisattvas as archetypes rather than as supernatural beings. For example, a Buddhist might evoke the Bodhisattva of compassion in order to become more compassionate.
http://buddhism.about.com/od/basicbuddhistteachings/a/buddhaatheism.htm

 


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