Author Topic: Amida is a real Buddha?  (Read 1836 times)

Offline Dharma Flower

  • Member
  • Posts: 84
    • View Profile
Amida is a real Buddha?
« on: December 28, 2016, 11:49:55 pm »
Jodo Shinshu: A Guide was published by the Buddhist Churches of America in 2004. This part of the text gives the impression that Amida is a real Buddha:

Quote
Amida Buddha
To explain Amida Buddha to the people of his time, Sakyamuni spoke
before a gathering at Vulture's Peak near Rajagrha. He told them of a
king who renounced his throne and was given the name Dharmakara.
Motivated by deep compassion, he resolved that he would save humanity
from suffering. He made forty-eight vows, promising that he would
not become a Buddha until it was possible for all beings to be born in
his Pure Land.
For an inconceivably long time, he devoted his life to performing the
duties ofthe bodhisattva until he attained the highest, perfect En lightenment.
Realizing wisdom and compassion, he became Amida Buddha. By
becoming a Buddha, he fulfilled his vows and accomplished the liberation
of all humanity.
The 18th Vow, referred to as the Primal Vow, is the essential focus of
Jodo Shinshu:
Upon my attainment of Buddhahood, if the sentient beings in
the ten quarters, who have sincerity of heart, with sincere minds
entrusting themselves, and wishing to be born in my land, repeating
my name, perhaps up to ten times, would not be born
therein, then may I not obtain the Great Enlightenment.
Sakyamuni further reassured people to trust completely in the Teaching
and to recite the Name of Amida Buddha, "Namo Amida Butsu," for the
great compassion and wisdom of Amida would always be with them.
7
Amida Buddha, then, is the Ultimate Embodiment of Compassion
and Wisdom. Amida is neither a creative nor a destructive force. Amida
is neither forgiving nor judgmental; neither merciful nor vengeful. The
polarities that exist in the human condition do not exist in Amida Buddha.
Amida Buddha asks for nothing; Amida Buddha simply beckons
all to his Pure Land. Amida's Vow is therefore an unconditional promise
of compassion and liberation.
http:// buddhistchurchesofamerica.org/ wp/wp-content/uploads/jodo_ shinshu_a_guide.pdf


I've had doubts in the past about the Pure Land sutras, because they weren't written down until hundreds of years after the Buddha taught them. I then reminded myself that ancient India was an oral culture, in which important religious texts like the Rigveda were faithfully passed down for hundreds of years before taking a written form:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vedic_chant#Oral_transmission
« Last Edit: December 29, 2016, 03:53:51 am by Dharma Flower »
www.matthewsatori.tumblr.com
May you be happy and well.  :anjali:

Offline Dharma Flower

  • Member
  • Posts: 84
    • View Profile
Re: Amida is a real Buddha?
« Reply #1 on: December 30, 2016, 10:28:33 pm »
This is an article that first appeared in Tricycle magazine, which used historical evidence to call into question the common belief that the Pali scriptures are more historically trustworthy than the Mahayana scriptures:
http://www.lindaheuman.com/stories/Tricycle_Magazine_Whose_Buddhism_is_Truest.pdf

Here are some relevant parts:

Quote
"It was a mistake to assume that the foundation of Buddhist textual tradition was singular, that if you followed the genealogical branches back far enough into the past they would eventually converge. Traced back in time, the genealogical branches diverged and intertwined in such complex relationships that the model of a tree broke down completely. The picture looked more like a tangled bush...We now know that if there was ever a point of convergence in the Buddhist family tree - the missing link, the single original and authentic Buddhist cannon - it is physically lost in the era of oral transmission."

"Somehow we pictured the Buddha's true, single, unambiguous meaning encapsulated in his words like jewels inside a box, passed from one generation to the next...but that's not the way meanings or words work. In India, 'leaving the family' means 'getting married'. To my Jewish grandmother, it mean 'changing religions.' In the household where I was raised, it meant 'going to college.' The very same words, spoken in a different context, have different meanings. The meaning of words is their use in context. A set of words stripped of their context is like playing pieces stripped of their board game. What would we have?"

"It certainly would be good to know what the Buddha said. To the extent that we share the conventions of the 5th-century BCE Indians, we might understand some of what he meant. If we increased the conventions we shared with them, obviously we would understand more. But context is vast - an unbounded, interdependent web of connections. And it is dynamic, shifting moment to moment. We can't really recreate it. And even if we could, we still wouldn't know exactly how the Buddha was using his words within that context, so we wouldst know exactly what he meant."

"When it comes right down to it, sectarian posturing contradicts the Buddha's message as all traditions understand it...That picture is an essentialist view of the nature of reality, which according to the Buddha's doctrine of selflessness is the source of not just this, but all our suffering - the wrong view that is the very point of Buddhism to refute."
http://www.lindaheuman.com/stories/Tricycle_Magazine_Whose_Buddhism_is_Truest.pdf


Reading the above article will hopefully give us more confidence in the trustworthiness of the Pure Land sutras.
www.matthewsatori.tumblr.com
May you be happy and well.  :anjali:

Offline Dharma Flower

  • Member
  • Posts: 84
    • View Profile
Re: Amida is a real Buddha?
« Reply #2 on: December 30, 2016, 10:51:04 pm »
This is a beautiful passage from the writings of Shinran:

Quote
In the Hymns [on the Samadhi] of All Buddhas’ Presence Shan-tao, the Master of Kuang-ming temple, explains that the heart of the person of shinjin already and always resides in the Pure Land. “Resides” means that the heart of the person of shinjin constantly dwells there. This is to say that such a person is the same as Maitreya. Since being of the stage equal to enlightenment is being the same as Maitreya, the person of shinjin is equal to the Tathagatas.
http://shinranworks.com/letters/a-collection-of-letters-zensho-text/5-2/


Reading this passage from Shinran helped me to realize that the belief Amida is really our true nature or our Buddha-nature doesn't make any sense if Amida isn't a real Buddha in the first place.

If one claims that a fictional character is really their true nature, it's a meaningless, empty statement. One might as well say that Daffy Duck or the Easter Bunny is really their true nature instead.

Furthermore, if we insist that Amida is really our true nature or our Buddha-nature without having any sort of objective reality outside our own minds, that becomes an exercise in self-centeredness, rather than entrusting in Amida and humbling ourselves before him.
« Last Edit: December 31, 2016, 09:14:25 pm by Dharma Flower »
www.matthewsatori.tumblr.com
May you be happy and well.  :anjali:

Offline Dharma Flower

  • Member
  • Posts: 84
    • View Profile
Re: Amida is a real Buddha?
« Reply #3 on: December 31, 2016, 02:57:05 am »
This is a beautiful animated version of the Infinite Life Sutra:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pTASgrY-KpM
www.matthewsatori.tumblr.com
May you be happy and well.  :anjali:

Offline GoToTheStore

  • Member
  • Posts: 6
    • View Profile
Re: Amida is a real Buddha?
« Reply #4 on: February 28, 2017, 11:47:28 am »
Real Buddha is relative in that, who do you think you are
to ask?
In otherwords, What are you to decide what a Buddha is or not?
Buddha is a Buddha.



Offline Dharma Flower

  • Member
  • Posts: 84
    • View Profile
Re: Amida is a real Buddha?
« Reply #5 on: March 04, 2017, 05:03:53 am »
Real Buddha is relative in that, who do you think you are
to ask?
In otherwords, What are you to decide what a Buddha is or not?
Buddha is a Buddha.


There is no doubt in my mind that Amida is a real Buddha. The only question is what form or kind of Buddha is Amida.

Is Amida a literal flesh and blood Buddha, from eons before Big Bang, sitting on a lotus flower, billions of Buddha-lands away?

Or is Amida the ultimate Buddha, Dharma-body itself?

These are questions that we can only come to grips with in our own experience and understanding. No one can tell us what to believe or not believe, but I found the following article from Alfred Bloom helpful:
http://ccbs.ntu.edu.tw/FULLTEXT/JR-ENG/bloom.htm

What matters, ultimately, is not what we believe or disbelieve about Amida in a doctrinal sense, but whether or not we recite and entrust in the Nembutsu. Please consider the following words from Honen Shonin:

Quote
Regarding the potential for a nembutsu devotee, I would say that one should recite nembutsu in whatever is the natural state one was born into. Since one is born into this world through the power of one’s residual karma, rectification is impossible.

To illustrate, one born as a woman cannot become a man in this life even if she fervently desires to be a man. The wise should recite nembutsu as wise people do; the unlearned should recite nembutsu in their natural state; the compassionate should recite nembutsu with compassion; and one with aberrant views may recite nembutsu as a person with aberrant views.

Each should recite nembutsu in his own manner. This is because Amida Buddha awakened his all-encompassing essential vow for all sentient beings in the ten directions.
https://books.google.com/books?isbn=0861716965


When asked who was the Buddha, the Chinese Chan master Yunmen replied, "A feces-covered stick." If Buddha-nature is in all things, at all times, then we need not be worried if Amida is a real Buddha or not.

In the Lotus Sutra, Shakyamuni Buddha uses various forms of expedient means, including parables, to convey a deeper truth. Even in the Pali scriptures, which are believed to be the oldest teachings of the Buddha, he teaches with various parables and symbolic expressions:
http://buddhism.about.com/od/mahayanabuddhism/fl/Upaya.htm

The Infinite Life Sutra, then, which narrates the life of Amida as a literal flesh and blood Buddha from eons before the Big Bang, in a world galaxies away, is a parable or teaching device, rather than a literal story. Amida is expressive of Dharma-body itself, the Buddha-nature in all things and beings:

Quote
Shinran Shōnin goes even further in explaining the importance of religious symbols. He teaches us that the Buddha’s enlightenment (Dharma-body) is formless; we cannot see it, touch it, or grasp it. But, because it is true, it makes itself known to us by taking form.

Shinran says that formless truth takes the form of the light of wisdom and the Name of Amida Buddha—Namu Amida Butsu. The images and stories of Amida Buddha are all religious symbols, the form taken by wisdom and compassion in order to guide us to enlightenment.
https://www.berkeleysangha.org/newsletter/Padma-2010-10-web.pdf


Entrusting in the name, Namu-Amida-Butsu, we are made to realize the outworking of Dharma-body in our lives, leading us to the Pure Land, the realm of Nirvana. In sincere gratitude, we say Namu-Amida-Butsu.
« Last Edit: March 04, 2017, 05:43:27 pm by Dharma Flower »
www.matthewsatori.tumblr.com
May you be happy and well.  :anjali:

Offline Dharma Flower

  • Member
  • Posts: 84
    • View Profile
Re: Amida is a real Buddha?
« Reply #6 on: March 05, 2017, 12:34:55 am »
This is from Naturalness, a Shin Buddhist classic:

Quote
The mythological representation of spiritual truth is an essential element in the organism of Shakyamuni’s Teaching.

When we read Buddhist Sutras, myth bursts in upon our ordinary consciousness with a revelation of something new and strange, and the narrow, matter-of-fact, workaday experience is suddenly flooded and transfused by the inrush of a vast experience, as from another world.

The visions of the mythopoeic imagination are received by the self of ordinary consciousness with a strange surmise of the existence, in another world, of Another Self which, while it reveals itself in these visions, has a deep secret which it will not disclose...

Shakyamuni appeals to that major and basal part of man’s nature which is not articulate and logical, but feels and wills and acts—to that part which cannot explain what a thing is, or how it happens, but feels spontaneously that the thing is good or bad, and expresses itself, not scientifically in theoretic judgments, but practically in value-judgments—or rather value-feelings.

In appealing, through the recital of dreams, to that major part of us which feels values, which wills and acts, Shakyamuni indeed goes down to the bedrock of human nature.
http://www.worldwisdom.com/public/viewpdf/default.aspx?article-title=Pure_Feeling_by_Kenryo_Kanamatsu.pdf

www.matthewsatori.tumblr.com
May you be happy and well.  :anjali:

Offline stillpointdancer

  • Enlightenment through insight
  • Member
  • Posts: 349
  • Dancing at the Still Point describes my meditation
    • View Profile
    • Enlightenment for Grown Ups
Re: Amida is a real Buddha?
« Reply #7 on: March 05, 2017, 04:06:58 am »
Hi Guys. Not a Pure Land Buddhist myself, but was given an Amitabha image by my teacher at my public ceremony when I became a mitra, and I have used it on my home shrine ever since. My visualization practice involves light going to everyone, so I guess I have a natural connection. Am I right in thinking that he epitomizes the idea that everyone should be able to gain wisdom, and that compassion is for all?
“You do not need to leave your room. Remain sitting at your table and listen. Do not even listen, simply wait, be quiet, still and solitary. The world will freely offer itself to you to be unmasked, it has no choice, it will roll in ecstasy at your feet.” Franz Kafka

Offline Dharma Flower

  • Member
  • Posts: 84
    • View Profile
Re: Amida is a real Buddha?
« Reply #8 on: March 05, 2017, 01:03:02 pm »
Hi Guys. Not a Pure Land Buddhist myself, but was given an Amitabha image by my teacher at my public ceremony when I became a mitra, and I have used it on my home shrine ever since. My visualization practice involves light going to everyone, so I guess I have a natural connection. Am I right in thinking that he epitomizes the idea that everyone should be able to gain wisdom, and that compassion is for all?


For Shinran Shonin, Amida is the ultimate personification of wisdom and compassion:

Quote
Compassionate means [hoben]

The Sanskrit original, upaya, means “coming near,” “approaching,” and in extension, “means,” “expedience.” Generally speaking, it has two usages in Buddhism: the method or practice by which a person can attain Buddhahood, and the skillful means which Buddhas use to teach and to guide sentient beings to enlightenment. In Shin Buddhism, compassionate means refers to the manifestation of ultimate reality, which is beyond time and form, in the world of relativities – that is, of the dharma-body as suchness in the realm of birth-and-death – so that it comes into the range of human comprehension and description. Thus, Amida, with Primal Vow, Name, and Land, is dharma-body as compassionate means that, while being one with dharma-body as suchness, makes possible the liberation and enlightenment of all beings.
http://shinranworks.com/glossary/


Amida and the Nembutsu are a upaya or skillful means for us to come in contact with the ultimate Buddha, Dharma-body itself.

Also, for Shinran, the Pure Land is the realm of Nirvana itself:
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/


I am honestly unsure if Amida is a literal flesh and blood Buddha from eons before the Big Bang in a world galaxies away. The most important thing is, from the perspective of Shinran's writings, that Amida is the ultimate Buddha, Dharma-body itself:
http://bschawaii.org/shindharmanet/wp-content/uploads/sites/3/2015/02/Bloom-Ultimacy.pdf
« Last Edit: March 05, 2017, 01:14:16 pm by Dharma Flower »
www.matthewsatori.tumblr.com
May you be happy and well.  :anjali:

Offline Dharma Flower

  • Member
  • Posts: 84
    • View Profile
Re: Amida is a real Buddha?
« Reply #9 on: March 06, 2017, 06:37:33 am »
Everything that I teach or share regarding Amida Buddha and the Pure Land is upaya or skillful means, meaning that I will advocate any position or viewpoint that others need to hear in order to entrust themselves to the Nembutsu.

For those who need to hear that Amida is a literal flesh and blood Buddha, I teach that Amida is a literal flesh and blood Buddha. For those who need to hear that Amida is the ultimate Buddha, Dharma-body itself, I teach that Amida is the ultimate Buddha, Dharma-body itself.

What ultimately matters is whether or not one entrusts in the Nembutsu for one's future Buddhahood. As Honen taught, those with "aberrant views" should recite the Nembutsu anyway as a person with "aberrant views."
www.matthewsatori.tumblr.com
May you be happy and well.  :anjali:

Offline stillpointdancer

  • Enlightenment through insight
  • Member
  • Posts: 349
  • Dancing at the Still Point describes my meditation
    • View Profile
    • Enlightenment for Grown Ups
Re: Amida is a real Buddha?
« Reply #10 on: March 07, 2017, 03:59:16 am »
That doesn't make sense. It might if you knew me, but you don't. If you don't want to answer questions then there is no point in me asking. I can just Google.
“You do not need to leave your room. Remain sitting at your table and listen. Do not even listen, simply wait, be quiet, still and solitary. The world will freely offer itself to you to be unmasked, it has no choice, it will roll in ecstasy at your feet.” Franz Kafka

Offline LetGo

  • Member
  • Posts: 69
    • View Profile
Re: Amida is a real Buddha?
« Reply #11 on: March 20, 2017, 06:29:04 am »
Hi Guys. Not a Pure Land Buddhist myself, but was given an Amitabha image by my teacher at my public ceremony when I became a mitra, and I have used it on my home shrine ever since. My visualization practice involves light going to everyone, so I guess I have a natural connection. Am I right in thinking that he epitomizes the idea that everyone should be able to gain wisdom, and that compassion is for all?
That's basically the gist of it. He epitomizes the idea that at the ultimate level of wisdom, compassion is expressed naturally, unceasingly, and is all-embracing. The visualization exercises that I'm aware of also involve receiving that light of compassion into oneself as well.
« Last Edit: March 20, 2017, 06:47:15 am by LetGo »

Offline stillpointdancer

  • Enlightenment through insight
  • Member
  • Posts: 349
  • Dancing at the Still Point describes my meditation
    • View Profile
    • Enlightenment for Grown Ups
Re: Amida is a real Buddha?
« Reply #12 on: March 21, 2017, 03:23:46 am »
Hi Guys. Not a Pure Land Buddhist myself, but was given an Amitabha image by my teacher at my public ceremony when I became a mitra, and I have used it on my home shrine ever since. My visualization practice involves light going to everyone, so I guess I have a natural connection. Am I right in thinking that he epitomizes the idea that everyone should be able to gain wisdom, and that compassion is for all?
That's basically the gist of it. He epitomizes the idea that at the ultimate level of wisdom, compassion is expressed naturally, unceasingly, and is all-embracing. The visualization exercises that I'm aware of also involve receiving that light of compassion into oneself as well.
Thanks for that. It explains another visualization practice I do where I imagine myself as a hollow glass image of me meditating, with white light pouring into the vessel, cleansing and filling it. I finish by sealing off the the glass image filled with white light.
“You do not need to leave your room. Remain sitting at your table and listen. Do not even listen, simply wait, be quiet, still and solitary. The world will freely offer itself to you to be unmasked, it has no choice, it will roll in ecstasy at your feet.” Franz Kafka

Offline LetGo

  • Member
  • Posts: 69
    • View Profile
Re: Amida is a real Buddha?
« Reply #13 on: April 16, 2017, 09:23:04 pm »
I feel sorry for anybody who reads those 7 paragraphs and comes away from it thinking that any of it is real or in any way based on official doctrines or sutras.

Offline LetGo

  • Member
  • Posts: 69
    • View Profile
Re: Amida is a real Buddha?
« Reply #14 on: April 17, 2017, 06:01:02 pm »
"Nonsense counter to Buddhism" - sounds like an apt description of trying to establish Amitabha as having anything to do with Vishnu. There are no mentions of Veganism in the 3 Pure Land sutras.

"There is no right nor wrong in this instance." - In Buddhism there is definitely "Right View" (part of the 8 fold path) and "Wrong View" the view of those who follow other sects, such as the Puranas. You have definitely embraced the later.

"What was written is correct. I suggest you clarify your problem." - Almost everything you wrote is complete nonsense.

"A strict doctrine of orthodox Buddhist form is also counter to the Dharma." - "Right View" is the first step of the 8 fold path, any path that doesn't have the 8 fold path is not Buddhist. Your concept of "Dharma" is not "Buddha Dharma".

"How can you claim that the seven paragraphs are not true when you do not know what lineage is speaking?" - I know precisely what the sutras & Buddhist lineage masters say. You're peddling Puranic Hinduism as BuddhaDharma and it is disgusting.

"What does lineage have to do with enlightenment?" - You're the one that mentioned lineage with your "secret pronunciation" monkey business.

"And why would you feel sorry for people you have invented in your mind?" - Compassion embraces the suffering of all sentient beings. In this case, you are disparaging the Buddha Dharma (by misrepresenting it), the penalties for it are rather harsh, as would be the suffering for any misfortunate few that somehow thought your nonsense was correct.

"Perhaps you should ask questions and make inquiries for the sake of polite interaction." - No, presenting Puranic Hinduism as Pure Land Buddha Dharma is insulting. You should apologize.

"Finding out what you have missed by polite interaction only will enrich both people." - Misrepresenting the Buddha Dharma is serious enough that it should not be treated lightly.

 


SimplePortal 2.3.3 © 2008-2010, SimplePortal