Author Topic: Amida is a real Buddha?  (Read 14028 times)

Offline Dharma Flower

  • Member
  • Posts: 341
    • View Profile
Re: Amida is a real Buddha?
« Reply #135 on: May 18, 2019, 05:59:32 pm »
The Pure Land sutras speak of Amida as a Buddha from galaxies away, eons before the Big Bang. This is meant to convey the transcendent nature of Amida as Dharma-body itself, the ultimate nature of Buddhahood.

If we insisted that Amida be an ancient alien, a Buddha from a distant planet, then we might look for the Pure Land with a telescope or space ship and miss the point entirely of Buddhist scriptures, to be a finger pointing at the moon:

Quote
Consider, for example, a person instructing us by pointing to the moon with his finger. [To take words to be the meaning] is like looking at the finger and not at the moon. The person would say, ‘I am pointing to the moon with my finger in order to show it to you. Why do you look at my finger and not the moon?’ Similarly, words are the finger pointing to the meaning; they are not the meaning itself. Hence, do not rely upon words.
http://shinranworks.com/the-major-expositions/chapter-on-transformed-buddha-bodies-and-lands/

Reciting the name of Amida Buddha, Namu-Amida-Butsu, we entrust in Dharma-body itself leading us to the Pure Land, the formless realm of Nirvana. The true Pure Land transcends anything that science fiction can imagine: 

Quote
First of all, is it possible to determine the size of Buddha, whether great or small? Even though the size of Buddha in the Pure Land is described in a sutra, it is the manifestation of the Dharmakaya-as-compassion (relative truth). When one attains enlightenment of Dharma-as-it-is (ultimate truth), how can size be a factor, since such shapes as long or short, square or round, do not exist, and it transcends color, whether blue, yellow, red, white, or black?
http://shinmission_sg.tripod.com/tannisho/tannisho/

Offline Dharma Flower

  • Member
  • Posts: 341
    • View Profile
Re: Amida is a real Buddha?
« Reply #136 on: July 14, 2019, 09:13:42 am »
If we insist that Amida is a literal flesh and blood Buddha, sitting on a lotus blossom billions of galaxies away, then he becomes unreal and distant from our daily lives.
If we see Amida as symbolic of Dharma-body itself, the Buddha-nature in all things, then his light is always with us, no matter where we go, whenever we say the Nembutsu.

Offline Dharma Flower

  • Member
  • Posts: 341
    • View Profile
Re: Amida is a real Buddha?
« Reply #137 on: August 24, 2019, 12:38:54 pm »
Amida Buddha is as "real" as the earth and sky:

Quote
On the ultimate level, only the Dharma-body in its aspect as emptiness of inherent existence or the non-dual nature of consciousness is real; the Transformation- and Enjoyment-bodies…are provisional ways of talking about and apprehending it.

The real nature of a Tathāgata cannot be seen by seeing his physical form, as ‘Tathāgatas have the Dharma as their body’… Transformation- and Enjoyment-body Buddhas, Pure Lands, and high-level Bodhisattvas, then, are not truly real: any more than the book you are now reading or the eyes with which you read it!

In emptiness, nothing stands out with separate reality. At the conventional level of truth, however, such Buddhas, etc. are just as real as anything else. Indeed in popular Mahāyāna practice, the Enjoyment-body Buddhas and advanced Bodhisattvas are treated as wholly real, and rebirth in their Pure Lands is ardently sought through faith.

The rather disconcerting feeling generated by switching between ultimate and conventional truth is nicely captured in an explanation given by a Chinese recluse to John Blofeld, in which he also draws on the Chinese idea of ‘One Mind’ (see p. 145):
‘Believe me, the Bodhisattvas are as real as earth and sky, and have infinite power to aid beings in distress, but they exist within our common mind, which, to speak the truth, is itself the container of earth and sky’ (Blofeld, 1987: 151).

From the conventional perspective, the high-level Bodhisattvas and heavenly Buddhas (like Amitabha and Avalokitesvara) are those who have heroically striven to be close to, or attained to, Buddhahood.

From the ultimate perspective, they are the symbolic forms in which the ‘minds’ of empty ‘beings’ perceive the Dharma-body, the all-encompassing totality which is the Dharma-realm described in the Avatamsaka Sūtra.
https://books.google.com/books?id=u0sg9LV_rEgC&printsec=frontcover#v=onepage&q&f=false

Offline Dharma Flower

  • Member
  • Posts: 341
    • View Profile
Re: Amida is a real Buddha?
« Reply #138 on: September 13, 2019, 11:35:15 am »
It’s often said the celestial buddhas and bodhisattvas of Mahayana Buddhism are symbolic, rather than literal beings. What do we mean by ‘symbolic’ and what do they symbolize? Here is a definition of ‘symbol’:

Quote
A thing that represents or stands for something else, especially a material object representing something abstract.
https://www.lexico.com/en/definition/symbol


There are different terms for Ultimate Truth in Buddhism, including Dharmakaya (Dharma-body) and Sunyata (emptiness). All material things are empty of separate existence, and Enlightenment is the only enduring reality.

In the words of the Heart Sutra, “Form is emptiness and emptiness is form.” The Ultimate Truth of emptiness is abstract and, therefore, must be depicted in form for unenlightened beings like ourselves to perceive It.

Celestial buddhas and bodhisattvas like Amitabha and Avalokitesvara serve as our window for seeing into Dharma-body, the reality of Enlightenment itself, regardless of whether they literally walked the earth:

Quote
People may say that the Bodhisattvas in Buddhist scripture do not have a historical reality. We cannot say what day they were born and what day they died. But we do not need a historical reality… A historian could never take away my faith in Avalokiteshvara, because I know very clearly that love is something real, manifesting itself in many different forms. - Thich Nhat Hanh


Since both truths are mutually reflexive, the Ultimate Truth of emptiness is not superior nor preferable to the relative truth of celestial buddhas and bodhisattvas:

Quote
The highest truth (paramarthasatya) is beyond words or description, i.e. beyond the reach of conceptual understanding and yet it was presented by the Buddha Shakyamuni as his teaching so that our conceptual understanding could grasp it. It is in this sense that the teaching is regarded as an ‘expedient means’ (upaya), often likened to a finger pointing to the moon. What is crucial about this metaphor is that the finger and the moon are mutually reflexive. Without the finger, the moon would not be known. Without the moon, there would be no need for the finger pointing to it.
http://www.nembutsu.info/tokusuny.htm
« Last Edit: September 13, 2019, 12:50:11 pm by Dharma Flower »

 


SimplePortal 2.3.3 © 2008-2010, SimplePortal