Author Topic: Amida is a real Buddha?  (Read 9369 times)

Offline paracelsus

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Re: Amida is a real Buddha?
« Reply #75 on: December 07, 2018, 08:42:10 pm »
This makes Buddhism different from Western religions like Christianity and Islam.

Some versions of Buddhism are closer to Christianity and Islam than others.

This similarity might be true if Christianity and Islam dropped their insistence that salvation was a reward dished out by God. Since they can't quite give up this power to their followers, I suggest that there is a vast and irresolvable gap between them and the Buddhist. The fact that the Christian or the Islamic mystic might achieve satori and attribute the experience to their God doesn't mean that is what happened. It is a cultural overlay. HOWEVER, just because a Buddhist might insist that they did it all by their own efforts, it doesn't mean that a god didn't spot their valiant (god denying) efforts and secretly reward them, but it doesn't ring true to me.

There can be a simplistic and effective belief that Amida will save you if you chant his name (as if he were an external being), but the deeper understanding and basic tenet of Buddhism is that you and you alone must attain the realisation that will gain you liberation. All the teachers can do is offer assistance. All Amida can do is exist as a fundamental principle which, once realised will admit the realiser to the "Pure Land" of union with that principle.

It is interesting that portrayals of heaven always have God remaining separate from the angels and happy souls. This suggests no union with the absolute. (He can always chuck you out again....)

Offline Dharma Flower

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Re: Amida is a real Buddha?
« Reply #76 on: January 09, 2019, 08:29:24 pm »
According to the famous Heart Sutra, all conditioned things are empty of inherent existence:

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Sariputra, form is not other than emptiness
and emptiness not other than form.
Form is precisely emptiness and emptiness precisely form.
https://www.westernchanfellowship.org/about-the-western-chan-fellowship/buddhist-liturgy/the-heart-sutra/

Asking, then, if Amida is a real Buddha might the wrong question, since nothing is ultimately real in and of itself.

Amida, whether "real" or not, points us to the ultimate truth of Dharma-body, the one unconditioned reality.
« Last Edit: January 09, 2019, 08:37:00 pm by Dharma Flower »

Offline Chaz

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Re: Amida is a real Buddha?
« Reply #77 on: January 10, 2019, 07:29:41 am »
According to the famous Heart Sutra, all conditioned things are empty of inherent existence:

Quote
Sariputra, form is not other than emptiness
and emptiness not other than form.
Form is precisely emptiness and emptiness precisely form.
https://www.westernchanfellowship.org/about-the-western-chan-fellowship/buddhist-liturgy/the-heart-sutra/

Asking, then, if Amida is a real Buddha might the wrong question, since nothing is ultimately real in and of itself.

I think the answer lies in defining what the word "real" means in the context of your question.

Does it mean is Amida substantially real?

Does it mean is Amida is a Buddha as opposed to a Bodhisattva?

Do you know?


Offline Dairy Lama

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Re: Amida is a real Buddha?
« Reply #78 on: January 11, 2019, 02:44:40 am »
According to the famous Heart Sutra, all conditioned things are empty of inherent existence:
Amida, whether "real" or not, points us to the ultimate truth of Dharma-body, the one unconditioned reality.

The Heart Sutra doesn't describe an "unconditioned reality".  It says that all phenomena are conditional and empty = sunyata.
"My religion is very simple - my religion is ice-cream"

Offline Dharma Flower

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Re: Amida is a real Buddha?
« Reply #79 on: January 11, 2019, 09:52:08 pm »
This is one of my favorite Zen stories, perhaps because I’m still twelve years old at heart:

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A monk asked the Chinese Zen master Yunmen, “What is Buddha?” To this he replied, “A sh*t-covered stick.”
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shit_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.

Offline Dairy Lama

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Re: Amida is a real Buddha?
« Reply #80 on: January 12, 2019, 02:07:58 am »
Why worry, then, if Amida is a literal Buddha?

Who are you trying to convince?
"My religion is very simple - my religion is ice-cream"

Offline Dharma Flower

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Re: Amida is a real Buddha?
« Reply #81 on: January 12, 2019, 07:53:38 am »
In his book Buddhism of the Heart, Rev. Jeff Wilson relates Yunmen's story of the shit-stick to the ultimate truth about Amida Buddha:

https://books.google.com/books?id=4ocQM7Amr7IC&pg=PA93&dq=buddhism+of+the+heart+feces&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjfh8ymv-jfAhWJGXwKHVuCA08Q6AEILjAB#v=onepage&q=feces&f=false

Offline Dharma Flower

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Re: Amida is a real Buddha?
« Reply #82 on: January 12, 2019, 01:23:06 pm »
Why worry, then, if Amida is a literal Buddha?

Who are you trying to convince?

For some who might otherwise feel attracted to Pure Land Buddhism, it might seem too similar to Christianity or the literal existence of Amida Buddha as a historical person might be too hard to believe. I am hoping to relieve this apprehension.

Offline Zen44

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Re: Amida is a real Buddha?
« Reply #83 on: January 12, 2019, 09:26:21 pm »
I think he means Jesus Christ appearing to you.

Offline Dairy Lama

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Re: Amida is a real Buddha?
« Reply #84 on: January 13, 2019, 07:17:02 am »
Why worry, then, if Amida is a literal Buddha?

Who are you trying to convince?

For some who might otherwise feel attracted to Pure Land Buddhism, it might seem too similar to Christianity or the literal existence of Amida Buddha as a historical person might be too hard to believe. I am hoping to relieve this apprehension.

It can seem like proselytising though.  It would be more interesting to hear about your personal approach to practice, the practical side.  What you actually do, the purpose of it, and the effect that it has.   
"My religion is very simple - my religion is ice-cream"

Offline Dharma Flower

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Re: Amida is a real Buddha?
« Reply #85 on: January 17, 2019, 02:48:17 am »
Whether Amida is a literal Buddha or is instead a upaya-symbol for the Dharmakaya, millions of people have passed away with his name on their lips, and many have reported deathbed experiences of Amida or the Pure Land.
« Last Edit: January 17, 2019, 02:59:52 am by Dharma Flower »

Offline Dharma Flower

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Re: Amida is a real Buddha?
« Reply #86 on: February 18, 2019, 09:35:41 pm »
Rather than one Buddha among many, Amida is the Buddha-nature in all things:

Quote
Shinran’s spirituality is grounded in his sense of the non-discriminating and universal embrace of Amida Buddha’s compassion and wisdom.

In his view, reality itself is Amida Buddha whose name means Infinite; the inconceivable, boundless reality that is the basis of life in nature and the goal of ultimate spiritual realization.

He is not just one Buddha among many, but rather Amida Buddha is Buddha-nature in all things; we are already Buddhas, though we are not aware of it. True Entrusting is the activity of Buddha nature; “Great Shinjin is itself Buddha-nature” [3]

Such an understanding gives rise to a sense of awe, mystery, wonder and gratefulness, which are marks of deep spirituality.

In his writings Shinran wrote of the Eternal Amida [4] beyond the limited expression of the mythic story which describes how the Bodhisattva Dharmakara became Amida Buddha in five eons.

Amida Buddha is the Buddha from which all Buddhas are manifest. “To praise the one Buddha, Amida, with the mind that is single/ is to praise all the unhindered ones.” [5]

Shinran broke through the boundaries of mythic belief to see Amida, in faith, as wondrous reality shining through our lives and world.
http://bschawaii.org/shindharmanet/wp-content/uploads/sites/3/2015/02/Bloom-Spirituality.pdf


Amida Buddha is the unconditioned true nature of all things, the unfathomable Reality of enlightenment that takes us just as we are. In gratitude for this boundless compassion, we say Namu-Amida-Butsu.
« Last Edit: February 19, 2019, 10:10:18 am by Dharma Flower »

Offline Dharma Flower

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Re: Amida is a real Buddha?
« Reply #87 on: February 26, 2019, 01:03:34 am »
According to the Christian theologian Paul Tillich, the word “God” is only a symbol for Ultimate Reality, not the Ultimate Reality itself, since anything that’s ultimate will surpass what human language can describe:

Quote
Since God is infinite and ultimate and faith in God is the ultimate concern, Tillich asserts that only symbolic language is sufficient to express faith and God.  Thus, he outlines the definition of the term “symbol.” 

Like signs, symbols refer to that which is beyond themselves.  For instance, a stop sign points to the command to stop the movement of a vehicle.  Similarly letters refer to sounds and meanings.  However, unlike signs, symbols play a part in that which they represent and cannot be easily replaced. 

For instance, a country’s flag not only represents the nation that it stands for but also is an active participant in portraying the country’s “power and dignity.”  Thus, it cannot simply be replaced unless the character of the nation itself is also changed. 

Tillich also asserts that symbols allow us to experience other levels of reality that are normally off limits to us.  For instance art creates a symbol for a plane that we cannot move toward by science alone. 

Additionally, symbols open aspects of our souls which allow us to experience awareness of ourselves that we were not conscious of prior to experiencing the symbol (such as the depths that we can reach by listening to the “melodies and rhythms in music”).

 Another characteristic of a symbol is that it cannot be manufactured.  Symbols arise from the unconscious and must be accepted on that level before conscious acceptance.
http://www.qcc.cuny.edu/SocialSciences/ppecorino/PHIL_of_RELIGION_TEXT/CHAPTER_10_DEFINITION/The-Definition-of-Religion.htm


From a Buddhist perspective, Amida is a symbolic expression of the Ultimate Reality described as Nirvana, Buddha-nature, Dharma-body, etc. Amida is thus more than a literal flesh and blood Buddha from eons before the Big Bang.

Furthermore, in reciting his name, Namu-Amida-Butsu, depths of our own being are realized which we wouldn’t be aware of otherwise, our own Buddha-nature which connects us with the Buddha-nature in all things and beings.

Rather than a fictional story manufactured to deceive the gullible, the narratives of Amida which we read in the Pure Land sutras developed from the unconscious mind of meditators who encountered Amida while in samadhi:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Samadhi#Indian_Mahayana

As a religious symbol, Amida’s Pure Land is the realm of Nirvana, rather than a geographic place galaxies away. Entrusting in the name, Namu-Amida-Butsu, we gratefully await our future rebirth into the Pure Land, the land of Nirvana.

Rather than clever deceptions, Buddhist teachings are a finger pointing to the moon of enlightenment:
https://essenceofbuddhism.wordpress.com/2016/04/19/what-the-finger-pointing-to-the-moon-analogy-really-means-from-zen-buddhism-the-buddha-in-the-shurangama-sutra/

Offline Dairy Lama

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Re: Amida is a real Buddha?
« Reply #88 on: March 01, 2019, 02:59:23 am »
Rather than a fictional story manufactured to deceive the gullible, the narratives of Amida which we read in the Pure Land sutras developed from the unconscious mind of meditators who encountered Amida while in samadhi:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Samadhi#Indian_Mahayana

Who's to say it wasn't just a figment of their imagination, or confirmation bias or whatever? 

And is this something you have experienced personally?
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Offline Chaz

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Re: Amida is a real Buddha?
« Reply #89 on: March 01, 2019, 05:26:55 pm »
Rather than a fictional story manufactured to deceive the gullible, the narratives of Amida which we read in the Pure Land sutras developed from the unconscious mind of meditators who encountered Amida while in samadhi:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Samadhi#Indian_Mahayana

Who's to say it wasn't just a figment of their imagination, or confirmation bias or whatever? 

Yes, and who's to say it didn't really happen?


Quote
And is this something you have experienced personally?

You ask that a lot.  I tend to agree.

DF, it would be very cool, for everyone, if you started offering personal experiences with your promotions/endorsements of Pure Land practice, it would add a lot of flavor to otherwise drab posts.

Nuthin, but luv for ya DF, but how about throwing us a bone?

 


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