Author Topic: Is the Pure Land a Buddhist heaven?  (Read 4485 times)

Offline Chaz

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Re: Is the Pure Land a Buddhist heaven?
« Reply #30 on: May 16, 2018, 09:28:35 am »
One curious thing, that you included makes enlightenment, compasion and wisdom sound sentient and capable to performing volitional action like "taking form".

Shinran taught that the Dharmakaya or the Buddha-nature in all things is without name and form. Amida Buddha, his image, and the recitation of his name are religious symbols for awakening us to the boundless wisdom and compassion of Dharma-body.

I'm not sure what you wrote in response has to do with with my quoted sentence.

As to what you wrote, Dharmakaya and Buddha nature are not nameless.  You gave them names.

Offline Dharma Flower

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Re: Is the Pure Land a Buddhist heaven?
« Reply #31 on: May 16, 2018, 04:35:55 pm »
As to what you wrote, Dharmakaya and Buddha nature are not nameless.  You gave them names.

Are you familiar with the two-truths doctrine of Mahayana Buddhism?

Offline Chaz

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Re: Is the Pure Land a Buddhist heaven?
« Reply #32 on: May 16, 2018, 06:45:05 pm »
As to what you wrote, Dharmakaya and Buddha nature are not nameless.  You gave them names.

Are you familiar with the two-truths doctrine of Mahayana Buddhism?

Yes and don't see how it applies to my statement:

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One curious thing, that you included makes enlightenment, compasion and wisdom sound sentient and capable to performing volitional action like "taking form".

I should have framed that as a question.  My bad.  How do you squre this idea you seem to have that enlightenment, wisom and compassion can perform volitional actions like "taking" form.

And I suppose that you will ignore that question to sate that Amida Buddha is "absolute" truth as opposed to "relative".

I would also suggest that this thread has gone way pst the scope of the Beginners Zone forum.  I would suggest you ask Meeks to move it over to the Danger Zone.

Offline Dharma Flower

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Re: Is the Pure Land a Buddhist heaven?
« Reply #33 on: May 17, 2018, 11:12:31 am »
I would also suggest that this thread has gone way pst the scope of the Beginners Zone forum.  I would suggest you ask Meeks to move it over to the Danger Zone.

Perhaps this thread has steered a little off course. The distinction between relative truth and absolute truth, however, is something that beginning Buddhists might want to learn. Amida Buddha is a relative truth or symbol for awakening us to the formless truth of Dharma-body.

Offline Chaz

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Re: Is the Pure Land a Buddhist heaven?
« Reply #34 on: May 17, 2018, 01:24:04 pm »
I would also suggest that this thread has gone way pst the scope of the Beginners Zone forum.  I would suggest you ask Meeks to move it over to the Danger Zone.

Perhaps this thread has steered a little off course.

Y'think?

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The distinction between relative truth and absolute truth, however, is something that beginning Buddhists might want to learn.

New Buddhists, especially those you encounter online, the ones that have no real teachers or sangha, want to learn everything, as if learning leads to enlightenment.

That doesn't mean they should be taught, even by people qualified to teach it.  It involves Shunyatha  and it's unwise to teach it to those who aren't ready for it.

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Amida Buddha is a relative truth or symbol for awakening us to the formless truth of Dharma-body.

Wait a minute.  Didn't you say that Amida was Dharmakaya?

Offline Dharma Flower

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Re: Is the Pure Land a Buddhist heaven?
« Reply #35 on: May 18, 2018, 10:01:00 pm »
Didn't you say that Amida was Dharmakaya?

The Dharmakaya, on the level of ultimate truth, is without name and form. Shinran Shonin described Amida Buddha as "Dharmakaya-as-upaya," meaning that Amida is a upaya or skillful device of the Dharmakaya, awakening us to the reality of Dharma-body in our lives. I recommend reading The Essential Shinran by Alfred Bloom.

Offline Chaz

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Re: Is the Pure Land a Buddhist heaven?
« Reply #36 on: May 20, 2018, 06:21:33 am »
Didn't you say that Amida was Dharmakaya?

The Dharmakaya, on the level of ultimate truth, is without name and form. Shinran Shonin described Amida Buddha as "Dharmakaya-as-upaya," meaning that Amida is a upaya or skillful device of the Dharmakaya, awakening us to the reality of Dharma-body in our lives. I recommend reading The Essential Shinran by Alfred Bloom.

WEll, I'm not gonna read that.  Sorry.

Your post here, shows why this thread has no place in a beginners' forum.  Discussion of the kayas, even amongst those truly learned in the subject is not novice study material, when one is confused or offers confusing information, it definitely has no place for beginners.

I'm afrain what you write above is confusing.  Hell, I've studied this stuff - the kaya and the two truths and I'm not sure I understand what you're talking about here. Dharma - as - upaya equals Sambogakya and that's what Amida is in the materials I've studies or have been taught.  Amida is Sambogakaya.  Dharmakaya doesn't enter into it, and you fail in reconciling the two.

Offline Dharma Flower

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Re: Is the Pure Land a Buddhist heaven?
« Reply #37 on: May 20, 2018, 09:02:23 pm »
Amida is Sambogakaya.  Dharmakaya doesn't enter into it, and you fail in reconciling the two.

According to Shinran Shonin, the Sambogakaya body of Amida Buddha, along with the recitation of his name, are a skillful device (upaya) or relative truth for enabling us to realize the ultimate truth of Dharma-body.

Rinzai master Hakuin encouraged the Nembutsu as a Buddhist practice for lay people, unable to devote their lives to zazen and koan study:

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It should be known that those who think that the Mu koan and the recitation of the Buddha’s name are two different things belong to the class of evil heretics…

Reciting the name of the Buddha constantly, he has reached the state where the mind is undisturbed. The Great Matter appears suddenly before him and his salvation is determined. Such a man can be called one who has truly seen into his own nature. His own body is the limitless body of Amida, the treasure trees of seven precious gems, the pond of the eight virtues…

In the past the Buddha established expedients (upaya); one was called “rebirth in the Pure Land,” another “seeing into one’s own nature.” How can these be two different things! Zen people who have not penetrated to this understanding look at a Pure Land practitioner and think that he is a stupid and evil common person who knows nothing about the Great Matter of seeing into one’s own nature…
https://books.google.com/books?id=mzgHaexXQBUC&printsec=frontcover#v=onepage&q&f=false

According to both Shinran and Hakuin, Amida Buddha is a skillful device for enabling us to realize the ultimate truth of reality.
« Last Edit: May 20, 2018, 09:30:16 pm by Dharma Flower »

Offline Chaz

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Re: Is the Pure Land a Buddhist heaven?
« Reply #38 on: May 21, 2018, 08:52:01 am »
Amida is Sambogakaya.  Dharmakaya doesn't enter into it, and you fail in reconciling the two.

According to Shinran Shonin, the Sambogakaya body of Amida Buddha, along with the recitation of his name, are a skillful device (upaya) or relative truth for enabling us to realize the ultimate truth of Dharma-body.

Rinzai master Hakuin encouraged the Nembutsu as a Buddhist practice for lay people, unable to devote their lives to zazen and koan study:

OK, unless you change your mind again, we're getting somewhere.  In the broader context of Mahayana, this is no different from other visualization and mantra recitation practices  such as Avalokiteshvara, Vajrasattva, Tara, or Medicine Buddha.  In the Tibetan traditions these are called Kriya Yoga.  They're commonly performed by those who have yet to take up Vajrayana practices.  These practices are often used by lay practitioners and are thought of as upaya.

In Tibet that they have taken this to the point of devices such as the so-called "prayer wheel" to multiply the recitation with each turning.  There are even prayer wheels made with CD-Rom discs that contain millions and even billions of copies of a mantra (usually OM MANI PADME HUM) and each rotation of the disc represents that many recitations of the mantra bestowing the corresponding level of merit for all beings.  Check out tibettech.com

I don't see these practices as any different, in result, to the Amida practice you contantly promote and evangelize.



Offline Dharma Flower

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Re: Is the Pure Land a Buddhist heaven?
« Reply #39 on: May 26, 2018, 02:12:09 pm »
I don't see these practices as any different, in result, to the Amida practice you contantly promote and evangelize.


The reason why I like to present the teachings of Shinran Shonin is how easily they can be understood and practiced by lay people, unable to devote their lives to meditation and study.

The basic outline of Shinran's teachings is relatively simple, that ultimately Amida is the Dharma-body in all things and the Pure Land is the formless realm of Nirvana. In reciting the name of Amida Buddha, we are reborn into the Pure Land, the realm of Nirvana.

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Other Pure Land Buddhist masters, including Shinran’s own beloved
teacher, Honen, stressed the importance of anticipating the last
moment of one’s life, when Amida would rescue us from our sorrows
and take us to be reborn in the Pure Land. In contrast, Shinran’s interpretation was that by having a trusting heart, we experience the joy that accompanies birth in the Pure Land during this life, rather than waiting anxiously for liberation in the future.
When the end of life does arrive, our karmic entanglements are unraveled as we are released into the bliss of the Pure Land, the realm of nirvana. However, Shinran’s vision of the Pure Land is far from a heavenly resting place. Instead, he taught that we immediately return in innumerable forms to free those still trapped in suffering, eternally working on behalf of others.
http://www.buddhistchurchesofamerica.org/dec2016/wp-content/uploads/2013_04_wod.pdf


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Amida Buddha is the “personal” or human-facing dimension of Nirvana—the accessible
aspect of the Dharma-Body that condescends, so to speak, to address us directly according to
our pitiable condition. It can do so directly and intimately because, at base, it is “us”—our fundamental
essence—so by liberating us as individuals it is also liberating aspects of itself. This is
why no one is—or can be—left behind. All that is required is that we accept the working of the
Vow which saves us, unencumbered by our fretful and flawed calculations...

The only response by Amida Buddha to such a state of affairs is profound concern, not
condemnation. Therefore, the Buddha has vowed to remove the conditions that bind us so
woefully—through awakening us to the truth in this life (shinjin) and by guiding us to the Pure
Land of Nirvana when we relinquish our defiled minds and corruptible bodies at the time of
death.
http://www.buddhistchurchesofamerica.org/dec2016/wp-content/uploads/2015_04_wod.pdf


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According to T’an-luan, all Buddhas, including Amida, have two bodies (aspects):

1. Dharmakaya of Dharma-nature and 2. Dharmakaya of Expediency.

The first is the ultimate, unconditioned reality beyond form, which is equally shared by all Buddhas[2], while the second is the specific and particular manifestation of each Buddha for the sake of saving sentient beings…

Ultimate Dharmakaya or Dharmakaya of Dharma-nature is beyond time and form, so it cannot be perceived as an object of faith.
In this ultimate Dharmakaya we dwell only after we attain Buddhahood in the Pure Land, but here and now, ordinary unenlightened people like us cannot relate to it, nor understand it.

This is why Amida Buddha does not remain secluded in his ultimate - formless Dharmakaya, but has manifested himself in the form described by Shakyamuni in the Larger Sutra, and has established his Pure Land.
http://amida-ji-retreat-temple-romania.blogspot.com/2014/08/master-tan-luan-on-amida-buddha-and.html


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The Pure Land of Amida Buddha has two main aspects: 1) the ultimate Dharmakaya aspect, and 2) the manifestation or Sambhogakaya (recompense) aspect.

1) The first aspect (Dharmakaya) means that the Pure Land is Nirvanic in its essence, as it was stated in the Larger Sutra:

My land, being like Nirvana itself,
Will be beyond comparison.”[1]

This means that all the manifestations of the Pure Land are grounded in the perfect Enlightenment of Amida Buddha, and are conducive to Enlightenment. We ourselves will attain Enlightenment when we are born in the Pure Land, because the essence of the Pure Land is Enlightenment/Nirvana/Dharmakaya itself. Otherwise, if the Pure Land was not an enlightened realm, it would produce only sensorial attachments, like other Samsaric realms do, but Shakyamuni Buddha[2] and our Masters were very clear that this is not the case.
http://amida-ji-retreat-temple-romania.blogspot.com/2015/07/the-two-aspects-of-pure-land.html

On the level of relative truth, however, Amida may seem like a Buddhist god and the Pure Land may seem like a Buddhist heaven.
« Last Edit: May 26, 2018, 05:06:21 pm by Dharma Flower »

Offline Chaz

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Re: Is the Pure Land a Buddhist heaven?
« Reply #40 on: May 26, 2018, 06:47:49 pm »
I don't see these practices as any different, in result, to the Amida practice you contantly promote and evangelize.

The reason why I like to present the teachings of Shinran Shonin is how easily they can be understood and practiced by lay people, unable to devote their lives to meditation and study.

Again this isn't really any different from th Kriya Yoga practices found in Tibetan Buddhism.  These are performed by lay folks who have jobs. families and all sorts of responsibilities.  We even do Amithaba / Amida pracices as well.

Quote
The basic outline of Shinran's teachings is relatively simple, that ultimately Amida is the Dharma-body in all things and the Pure Land is the formless realm of Nirvana. In reciting the name of Amida Buddha, we are reborn into the Pure Land, the realm of Nirvana.

But here is where we diverge.  In all other types of Buddhism that recognize pure lands, they are not seen as Nirvana.  Pure Lands are merely a fortunate realm.


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Re: Is the Pure Land a Buddhist heaven?
« Reply #41 on: May 26, 2018, 07:16:11 pm »
But here is where we diverge.  In all other types of Buddhism that recognize pure lands, they are not seen as Nirvana.  Pure Lands are merely a fortunate realm.

Shinran Shonin, in teaching that the true and ultimate Pure Land is the formless realm of Nirvana, drew from the teachings of Chinese Pure Land masters Tan-luan and Shan-dao. In terms of Tibetan interpretations of the Pure Land, I'm not too familiar.

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Re: Is the Pure Land a Buddhist heaven?
« Reply #42 on: May 27, 2018, 03:03:58 am »
But here is where we diverge.  In all other types of Buddhism that recognize pure lands, they are not seen as Nirvana.  Pure Lands are merely a fortunate realm.

Shinran Shonin, in teaching that the true and ultimate Pure Land is the formless realm of Nirvana, drew from the teachings of Chinese Pure Land masters Tan-luan and Shan-dao. In terms of Tibetan interpretations of the Pure Land, I'm not too familiar.

How can you call something that is nameless and formless anything?

Didn't you say that Amida's Prue land  was Nirvana?

If this is supposed to be so good for novice Buddhists, why are you making it so confusing.

Offline Dharma Flower

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Re: Is the Pure Land a Buddhist heaven?
« Reply #43 on: May 27, 2018, 05:08:29 pm »
But here is where we diverge.  In all other types of Buddhism that recognize pure lands, they are not seen as Nirvana.  Pure Lands are merely a fortunate realm.

Shinran Shonin, in teaching that the true and ultimate Pure Land is the formless realm of Nirvana, drew from the teachings of Chinese Pure Land masters Tan-luan and Shan-dao. In terms of Tibetan interpretations of the Pure Land, I'm not too familiar.

How can you call something that is nameless and formless anything?

Didn't you say that Amida's Prue land  was Nirvana?

If this is supposed to be so good for novice Buddhists, why are you making it so confusing.

The realm of Nirvana is beyond name and form. The word "Pure Land," along with the flowery imagery of the Pure Land sutras, are a skillful device for making the reality of Nirvana more relatable to unenlightened beings like ourselves.

Quote
In the fourth chapter on Attainment, Shinran primarily bases himself upon Tan-luan for his expositions on what the final goal of the Nembutsu faith is, what the character of the state called Nirvana is, and how the Enlightened man (Buddhas and Bodhisattvas) carries out the activity of salvation of sentient beings who are immersed in the sea of birth and death.

In this chapter, it is clarified that Nirvana can never be described in relative terms, it is beyond human concep­tion, and that “Ojo” (rebirth into the Pure Land) is in actuality the Birth of Non-birth (Nirvana), and that the Bodhisattva's birth in the Pure Land itself is his activity of deliver­ing sentient beings in samsāra.
https://nirc.nanzan-u.ac.jp/nfile/3169

Have you read the chapter of the Lotus Sutra on skillful means? Every Mahayana Buddhist can benefit from this chapter:
https://rk-world.org/publications/lotussutra_B2.html
« Last Edit: May 28, 2018, 04:54:29 am by Dharma Flower »

Offline Dharma Flower

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Re: Is the Pure Land a Buddhist heaven?
« Reply #44 on: May 30, 2018, 02:48:29 pm »
The honest truth is that, if Buddhism is true, then the Pure Land path is my only chance of enlightenment. Nagarjuna described it as the easy path to Buddhahood, for those incapable of monastic practices and austerities.

 


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