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Schools of Buddhism => Mahayana => Pure Land => Topic started by: Potential on January 18, 2014, 05:45:21 pm

Title: Buddhists: Is Christianity a Pure Land Practice?
Post by: Potential on January 18, 2014, 05:45:21 pm
(Not Advocating Christianity, just thought this would be interesting, I posted this on Yahoo Answers, but nobody's answering it, so I figured here would be better. No Trolls, atheists or Christians utterly denying it.
Being in the West, I was brought up in Christianity, but I've had a chance to seek, ask, and knock, and like the Kalama Sutra I found what I felt was conducive to the good and benefit of myself and others.
   I saw my first glimpse of this in that Youtube movie:
Did Jesus Christ learn Buddhism
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rmCS7P-vdRM (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rmCS7P-vdRM)  )

The whole purpose of Christianity is to get to Heaven, the Pure Land of Jesus Christ, and the way in order to do that is Belief in Jesus, not to mention proper morality. Basically Faith and Good Works. Similar to Amitabha's Pure Land. The chanting of Amitabha, and Christians do a similar practice which is invoking the name of Jesus and/or in Prayers (and of worship too).

I think that Kshitigarbha Bodhisattva and Jesus have a lot in Common, the descent into Hell, the liberating of Hell souls.

I mean, just look at the names, Kshiti and Christ, similar yes?
Perhaps over time the name evolved into what it is now for Christians.

I'm not sure if Kshitigarbha or Earth-Store Bodhisattva, has a Pure Land Practice, but Jesus sure does IMO. According to the Kshitigarbha Sutra, Kshitigarbha could manifest himself into as many copies as was needed to help all living beings, perhaps one of those copies made it to Bethlehem.

Maybe I should call it Pure Land Theory, I remember hearing that Buddha taught different practices for people with different levels of understanding. And in this Dharma-Ending Age, it appears that Pure Land is the way to go for most. Generation Stage Practice uses an image and then the visualization practices of seeing that goal. Whether the visualization practice be for one hour on Sundays, and/or in a prayer format, but it seems to me that this is a very watered down version of Pure Land Practice in the Christian Tradition. In essence this is Dhyana/Zen which is just another form of Concentration for Kali-Yuga beings.

Your thoughts.
Title: Re: Buddhists: Is Christianity a Pure Land Practice?
Post by: moonbeam on January 18, 2014, 05:59:36 pm
The point of Pure Land is to go there and learn and become a Bodhisattva and then come back to help people. When people want to go to Heaven, they just want to stay there to live the good life.
Title: Re: Buddhists: Is Christianity a Pure Land Practice?
Post by: Potential on January 18, 2014, 06:10:51 pm
Maybe that's how some would interpret Heaven, but living the good life would get boring after a while, an eternity to do whatever, not me, I'd want to know it all, so I would seek instruction from either God or Jesus and if need be somebody they can reference me to someone who does.

I provided a link about Jesus possibly being a Buddhist. Why is Jesus always depicted wearing a red kashya over the right shoulder, I only thought Buddhist Monks did that. Perhaps what Jesus intended on us learning might've not happened the way it was supposed to. Cause certain people in Power like to interpret things the way they would like to see it.

I also made a reference to the descent into Hell by both Jesus and Kshitigarbha.
I believe that Christianity has Buddhist Origins. Though some may not want to acknowledge that.
Title: Re: Buddhists: Is Christianity a Pure Land Practice?
Post by: Dharmakara on January 18, 2014, 06:28:53 pm
Came across this:

"…Scholars, for over two hundred years, have been pointing out the influence of Buddhism on the origins of Christianity, but Christian theologians have, in the main, been indifferent to a serious study of this relationship. Such a study would require that they acquire a deep historical knowledge of Buddhism and a mastery of the languages of Pali, Sanskrit, Tibetan and Chinese among others."

It's a quote from a small e-book (23 pages) by Michael Lockwood entitled "Buddhism's Relation to Christianity" --- haven't read it myself, but maybe someone else here has:

http://www.stellarhousepublishing.com/buddhismchristianity.html (http://www.stellarhousepublishing.com/buddhismchristianity.html)
Title: Re: Buddhists: Is Christianity a Pure Land Practice?
Post by: Potential on January 19, 2014, 12:25:37 am
Dharmakara :jinsyx:
I will be buying that,
found it on Amazon
but in the Hardcover,
I will get the eBook,
so my DharmaBag
will remain light.
Thank You!!!

HI-FIVE!!!


(http://pic.pimg.tw/xgear/normal_4bea8ea0f20e3.jpg)
Title: Re: Buddhists: Is Christianity a Pure Land Practice?
Post by: Potential on January 19, 2014, 02:53:29 am
PAX
(http://www.windstarembroidery.com/cw2/Assets/product_full/3188_250.gif)

Latin for "Peace"
I wonder which came first, the symbol or the word?

But, Dharmakara, why would I post this?
Title: Re: Buddhists: Is Christianity a Pure Land Practice?
Post by: Dharmakara on January 19, 2014, 04:51:59 am
What came first? The word came first. The symbol itself is called a "Chi Rho" and it didn't originate as a symbol for peace.

more here >>> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chi_Rho (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chi_Rho)
Title: Re: Buddhists: Is Christianity a Pure Land Practice?
Post by: NepalianBuddhist on January 19, 2014, 12:30:57 pm
I believe you can "absorb" and learn a new language like Sanskrit.


Title: Re: Buddhists: Is Christianity a Pure Land Practice?
Post by: Potential on January 19, 2014, 11:29:03 pm
Dharmakara, I was doing a Pun on your Avatar pic, the Chinese character for Peace.
Looking at that link, ya know the Chi Rho might be a modified DharmaChakra?
Title: Re: Buddhists: Is Christianity a Pure Land Practice?
Post by: Potential on January 19, 2014, 11:36:18 pm
I believe you can "absorb" and learn a new language like Sanskrit.

The only reason I made reference to the Chi-Rho and Peace was a play on Dharmakara's Chinese Avatar pic which says Peace in both Chinese and Japanese characters. Not to start anything on language. I can read many languages.
Title: Re: Buddhists: Is Christianity a Pure Land Practice?
Post by: Dharmakara on January 20, 2014, 08:49:50 am
I could be wrong, but I believe that Wesley's comment was in regard to my earlier quote from Michael Lockwood's book, that such a study would require that they acquire a deep historical knowledge of Buddhism and a mastery of the languages of Pali, Sanskrit, Tibetan and Chinese among others.
Title: Re: Buddhists: Is Christianity a Pure Land Practice?
Post by: NepalianBuddhist on June 20, 2014, 02:14:04 pm
Christianity is the belief in the Bible and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Title: Re: Buddhists: Is Christianity a Pure Land Practice?
Post by: NepalianBuddhist on June 20, 2014, 02:25:21 pm
What came first? The word came first. The symbol itself is called a "Chi Rho" and it didn't originate as a symbol for peace.

more here >>> [url]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chi_Rho[/url] ([url]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chi_Rho[/url])


I think its a symbol used by the Catholic Church.
Title: Re: Buddhists: Is Christianity a Pure Land Practice?
Post by: Kaji on May 27, 2015, 03:43:09 am
(...)The whole purpose of Christianity is to get to Heaven, the Pure Land of Jesus Christ, and the way in order to do that is Belief in Jesus, not to mention proper morality. Basically Faith and Good Works. Similar to Amitabha's Pure Land. The chanting of Amitabha, and Christians do a similar practice which is invoking the name of Jesus and/or in Prayers (and of worship too).
From what I have learned from the Chinese Pure Land school, there is more to faith and good work to make it to Amitabha's Pure Land. Faith here should also include right views, such as karma and reincarnation. Another essential criteria is aspiration - one has to hold strong intentions to be reborn into Amitabha's Pure Land. Good work here should refer to not just ethical conduct, but also diligent Pure Land practices as taught by the Buddha.

I think that Kshitigarbha Bodhisattva and Jesus have a lot in Common, the descent into Hell, the liberating of Hell souls.

I mean, just look at the names, Kshiti and Christ, similar yes?
Perhaps over time the name evolved into what it is now for Christians.
I've never think of that. Thanks for pointing this out!

I'm not sure if Kshitigarbha or Earth-Store Bodhisattva, has a Pure Land Practice, but Jesus sure does IMO. According to the Kshitigarbha Sutra, Kshitigarbha could manifest himself into as many copies as was needed to help all living beings, perhaps one of those copies made it to Bethlehem.
From what little I've read about it, yes, Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva does indeed have his own pure land. As the Buddha has taught, Ksitigarbha is on par with any buddha - the difference between this bodhisattva and a full buddha is merely technical, I understand. Just as Avalokitesvara (Guanyin) Bodhisattva has his own pure land, so does Ksitigarbha.

Now remembering what I have once read, because the Buddha before entering into nirvana appointed Ksitigarbha as the "agent buddha" of our world before Maitreya comes, the location of Ksitigarbha's pure land is none other than our world!

I have not studied the three sutra of Ksitigarbha in the Chinese Taisho enough to be sure of this, but it seems there isn't written a specific pure land practice there for this bodhisattva. I don't know if the Tibetan Vajrayana tradition has any in their text?

Maybe I should call it Pure Land Theory, I remember hearing that Buddha taught different practices for people with different levels of understanding. And in this Dharma-Ending Age, it appears that Pure Land is the way to go for most. Generation Stage Practice uses an image and then the visualization practices of seeing that goal. Whether the visualization practice be for one hour on Sundays, and/or in a prayer format, but it seems to me that this is a very watered down version of Pure Land Practice in the Christian Tradition. In essence this is Dhyana/Zen which is just another form of Concentration for Kali-Yuga beings. (...)
I wholeheartedly agree that Pure Land practices is the way to go for most practitioners in this day and age.

Regarding the idea of watered-down versions - well, in the eyes of accomplished practitioners many so-called Pure Land practices are already watered down in varying degrees. I mean, until one can enter Samadhi at will by recalling/remembering Amitabha, how can the practice not be a "watered down" version? One could be on the right track to finally getting the right version, but it is still not the real deal.

Please don't look at me. I have not even had a glimpse of Samadhi yet.

Could there be Christians that have figured out the real deal Pure Land practice? I certainly wouldn't be surprised if I get told an elderly lady in one Catholic church passed away reciting her rosary showing auspicious signs of a Pure Land rebirth.
Title: Re: Buddhists: Is Christianity a Pure Land Practice?
Post by: Nils Horn on May 28, 2015, 05:56:49 am
The whole purpose of Christianity is to get to Heaven, the Pure Land of Jesus Christ, and the way in order to do that is Belief in Jesus, not to mention proper morality. Basically Faith and Good Works. Similar to Amitabha's Pure Land. The chanting of Amitabha, and Christians do a similar practice which is invoking the name of Jesus and/or in Prayers (and of worship too). I think that Kshitigarbha Bodhisattva and Jesus have a lot in Common.
I have the same opinion. The basis is faith, praying, mantra, connecting with an enlightened person or God. The basis of Jesus is love to God and do good. This is the same in Amitabha Buddhismus. I call it Master-Yoga. Who prays to an enlightened master will be lead on the spiritual path.
A difference between Christianity and Amitabha Buddhism is the spiritual role model. Amitabha is a meditating buddha. As a role model he leads us to meditate and to love all people. He inspires us to become a Buddha Amitabha by ourselves. In Christianity the focus lies on sacrificing the ego, to take things as they are (your will be done) and not in the meditation. Amitabha Buddhism started with visualizing Buddha Amitabha and the paradies (pure land). In Shin Buddhism the focus lies on the mantra like praying in Christianity. But the way of love is equal.
Title: Re: Buddhists: Is Christianity a Pure Land Practice?
Post by: Dharmakara on May 28, 2015, 08:41:44 am
I think that Kshitigarbha Bodhisattva and Jesus have a lot in Common, the descent into Hell, the liberating of Hell souls.

I mean, just look at the names, Kshiti and Christ, similar yes?
Perhaps over time the name evolved into what it is now for Christians.


I've never think of that. Thanks for pointing this out!

Hi Kanji.

My advise is that you never think about it again LOL

"Christ" (from Ancient Greek: Χριστός, Christós, meaning "anointed") is a translation of the Hebrew מָשִׁיחַ (Māšîaḥ) and the Syriac ܡܫܝܚܐ (M'shiha), the Messiah:
Quote
The word Christ (or similar spellings) appears in English and most European languages. It is derived from the Greek word Χριστός, Christós (transcribed in Latin as Christus), in the New Testament as a description for Jesus. Christ is now often used as if it were a name, one part of the name "Jesus Christ", but is actually a title (the Messiah). Its usage in "Christ Jesus" emphasizes its nature as a title.

In the Septuagint version of the Hebrew Bible, the word Christ was used to translate into Greek the Hebrew mashiach (messiah), meaning "anointed." Christós in classical Greek usage could mean covered in oil, or anointed, and is thus a literal translation of messiah.

[url]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christ[/url]

With that said, this doesn't mean that kshiti/christos don't share the same linguistic root (Proto-Indo-European), but it certain had nothing to do with Christianity --- if anything, there's a good possibility that Buddhism might have actually influenced Christianity to some degree, but IMHO still needs a bit more research to know for sure:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jesus_Sutras (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jesus_Sutras)
Title: Re: Buddhists: Is Christianity a Pure Land Practice?
Post by: Kaji on May 28, 2015, 05:17:09 pm
Thanks, Dharmakara!

Now that you've mentioned the word messiah, I feel obliged to share this. I have read somewhere (can't remember where) that this word and Maitreya have the same root.

I have not done the research to verify this, but it does make one see the potential connection that the Jews are expecting their messiah's arrival and Buddhists Maitreya's.

Having read your post and the quoted text, I do see that the word messiah means anointed - whereas the word Maitreya carries the meaning loving kindness, or benevolence. But then, in Sanskrit a name can carry more than one meaning. Take the name Avalokitesvara for example. I wouldn't be surprised if the name Maitreya also means anointed.

Regarding the broader question of whether there has been any relations or influence between Buddhism and Christianity - setting aside the theory/claim that Jesus had travelled to India and Tibet - well, my personal take on it is that... how is it important per se?

I'm not saying it is of no value to study their connection. What I'm leading to is that how the study can benefit Buddhists and Christians.

Having been brought up in a Christian family myself, and having read parts of the Bible, I can comfortably say that Jesus did walk the path of a bodhisattva. He certainty exemplified, taught and advocated ethical concepts such as kindness, compassion, generosity, forgiveness, etc. He also had a good go teaching students about renunciation and liberation.

I have read that Jesus did teach about karma and reincarnation but those parts have been edited out of the Bible, but let's park that aside too.

What Jesus had to face was to teach new concepts to the Jewish community, which had certain existing views. Buddhist or not, he had to exercise a fair bit of expedient means to send his messages across.

And if we Buddhists have to converse with Christians to share some of our concepts, perhaps more the secular and philosophical ones, so do we have to use expedient means. Whether he was a Buddhist or not, Jesus makes a great role model for us.

No, we aren't going out to "convert" Christians into Buddhists. All we need to do, I suggest, is to share our views and learnings. Don't dwell on the differences especially the technical and historical ones. Make use of the similarities and learn something new, for both parties. For example, Buddhists can definitely learn the effectiveness and widespread-ness of Christian charities and schooling.

At the end of the day, even if the Christian's heaven is not a pure land of any kind but simply the deva realm, we Buddhists can still create positive karmic bonds with Christians this lifetime. And when we have managed to escape Samsara and/or become enlightened we will come back to help them. This is the Mahayana way. Oh, and they will help us too. How can a bodhisattva's accomplishment be complete (for ascension to buddhahood) without helping those we have a bond with?
Title: Re: Buddhists: Is Christianity a Pure Land Practice?
Post by: Dharmakara on May 28, 2015, 07:33:57 pm
Now that you've mentioned the word messiah, I feel obliged to share this. I have read somewhere (can't remember where) that this word and Maitreya have the same root.

I have not done the research to verify this, but it does make one see the potential connection that the Jews are expecting their messiah's arrival and Buddhists Maitreya's.

Correct, both words are derived from the same linguistic root, but we're talking about a language tree that's shared in common and not the aspects of a commonly shared eschatology --- for example, the Jewish and Christian tradition derive from a commonly shared eschatology, where doctrinally speaking the scholars from both traditions would not only have a hard time acknowledging the Mahayana concept of Maitreya as anything other than a false messiah, but Christianity takes it a step further, where Maitreya is considered to be the Anti-Christ himself.

Unfortunately, there's a certain degree of irony at play in all of this, namely that both would probably have no problem with the Maitreya of the Pali Canon, but the Mahayana tradition couldn't leave well enough alone.
Title: Re: Buddhists: Is Christianity a Pure Land Practice?
Post by: Kaji on May 28, 2015, 07:37:20 pm
(...)Unfortunately, there's a certain degree of irony at play in all of this, namely that both would probably have no problem with the Maitreya of the Pali Canon, but the Mahayana tradition couldn't leave well enough alone.
Sorry but what do you mean with your last phrase?
Title: Re: Buddhists: Is Christianity a Pure Land Practice?
Post by: Dharmakara on May 28, 2015, 09:14:10 pm
Sorry, I was speaking strictly from academic position, namely that the earlier version of Maitreya found within the Pali Canon wasn't messianic in nature, so I suspect it would have been more acceptable.
Title: Re: Buddhists: Is Christianity a Pure Land Practice?
Post by: Kaji on May 28, 2015, 09:17:29 pm
Pardon me if my knowledge of the Pali Canon is wrong here. I thought in the Pali Canon the Buddha also said that Maitreya is the bodhisattva that will become the next buddha in this world. Isn't that also messianic?
Title: Re: Buddhists: Is Christianity a Pure Land Practice?
Post by: Dharmakara on May 29, 2015, 09:20:37 am
In the arena of dialectics, such a statement would be considered to be an inopportune argument and you would have been shown the door. Why? Simply because the historical Buddha that's presented in the Pali Canon is not messianic in nature, so likewise the same can be said of all Buddhas past and in the future --- the Buddha of the Pali Canon did not possess the messianic attributes found within the Mahayana Canon:

Quote
After Avalokita and Manjusri the most important Bodhisattva is Maitreya, also called Ajita or unconquered, who is the only one recognized by the Pali Canon. This is because he does not stand on the same footing as the others. They are superhuman in their origin as well as in their career, whereas Maitreya is simply a being who like Gotama has lived innumerable lives and ultimately made himself worthy of Buddhahood which he awaits in heaven. There is no reason to doubt that Gotama regarded himself as one in a series of Buddhas: the Pali scriptures relate that he mentioned his predecessors by name, and also spoke of unnumbered Buddhas to come. Nevertheless Maitreya or Metteyya is rarely mentioned in the Pali Canon. He is, however, frequently alluded to in the exegetical Pali literature, in the Anagata-vamsa and in the earlier Sanskrit works such as the Lalita-vistara, the Divyavadana and Mahavastu. In the Lotus he plays a prominent part, but still is subordinate to Manjusri. Ultimately he was eclipsed by the two great Bodhisattvas but in the early centuries of our era he received much respect. His images are frequent in all parts of the Buddhist world: he was believed to watch over the propagation of the Faith, and to have made special revelations to Asanga. In paintings he is usually of a golden colour: his statues, which are often gigantic, show him standing or sitting in the European fashion and not cross-legged. He appears to be represented in the earliest Gandharan sculptures and there was a famous image of him in Udyana of which Fa-Hsien (399-414 A.D.) speaks as if it were already ancient. Hsiian Chuang describes it as well as a stupa erected to commemorate Sakyamuni's prediction that Maitreya would be his successor. On attaining Buddhahood he will become lord of a terrestrial paradise and hold three assemblies under a dragon flower tree, at which all who have been good Buddhists in previous births will become Arhats. I-Ching speaks of meditating on the advent of Maitreya in language like that which Christian piety uses of the second coming of Christ and concludes a poem which is incorporated in his work with the aspiration "Deep as the depth of a lake be my pure and calm meditation. Let me look for the first meeting under the Tree of the Dragon Flower when I hear the deep rippling voice of the Buddha Maitreya." But messianic ideas were not much developed in either Buddhism or Hinduism and perhaps the figures of both Maitreya and Kalki owe something to Persian legends about Saoshyant the Saviour.


Hinduism and Buddhism: An Historical Sketch
Sir Charles Eliot / Alexandria (1960)
pp. 398-399

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