Author Topic: Is the Pure Land a Buddhist heaven?  (Read 4488 times)

Offline Dharma Flower

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Re: Is the Pure Land a Buddhist heaven?
« Reply #60 on: July 19, 2018, 12:25:01 am »
"We cannot ultimately understand what the Buddha is. The sutras are a pointing finger – not the moon – and all the myriad teachings are skillful means to induce us to utter Namo Amitabha Buddha. That is all. It doesn’t matter whether you believe it or not, or whether you’re a Buddhist or not. Amitabha Buddha is one with his Name, and his Name is simply the truth. Just speak the truth, which lies totally beyond the realms of belief and disbelief, and you will be reborn in the Pure Land,"
- Dharma Master Jingzong

Offline Dairy Lama

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Re: Is the Pure Land a Buddhist heaven?
« Reply #61 on: July 19, 2018, 01:38:09 am »
In reciting the name of Amida Buddha, we are safely and effortlessly reborn into the Pure Land, the realm of Nirvana.

How do you know?

How do any of us know about the ultimate fruition of our practice?

Most Buddhist practice is progressive, and you can get a sense of where it is leading, sometimes glimpses of the goal.   But Pureland seems more like a Christian praying to get into Heaven, which is purely a matter of faith.  Any kind of chanting will have an effect on the mind, but this looks like blind belief.
« Last Edit: July 19, 2018, 01:42:35 am by Dairy Lama »
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Offline Dairy Lama

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Re: Is the Pure Land a Buddhist heaven?
« Reply #62 on: July 19, 2018, 01:41:12 am »
"We cannot ultimately understand what the Buddha is. The sutras are a pointing finger – not the moon – and all the myriad teachings are skillful means to induce us to utter Namo Amitabha Buddha. That is all. It doesn’t matter whether you believe it or not, or whether you’re a Buddhist or not. Amitabha Buddha is one with his Name, and his Name is simply the truth. Just speak the truth, which lies totally beyond the realms of belief and disbelief, and you will be reborn in the Pure Land,"
- Dharma Master Jingzong

"It doesn’t matter whether you believe it or not.."   Sorry but I don't understand this at all.  If you don't believe that chanting will get you reborn in the Pureland, then why would you bother?
"My religion is very simple - my religion is ice-cream"

Offline Chaz

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Re: Is the Pure Land a Buddhist heaven?
« Reply #63 on: July 19, 2018, 04:13:01 pm »
"It doesn’t matter whether you believe it or not.."   Sorry but I don't understand this at all.  If you don't believe that chanting will get you reborn in the Pureland, then why would you bother?

I have to agree.  Belief, here, is extremely important.  As you say, if you don't believe that a practice will be effective, you won't do it.



Offline zafrogzen

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Re: Is the Pure Land a Buddhist heaven?
« Reply #64 on: July 20, 2018, 10:35:19 am »
I don't know, but it looks like the ultimate in belief or faith to me.
« Last Edit: July 20, 2018, 10:38:15 am by zafrogzen »
My first formal meditation training was with Shunryu Suzuki in the 60's and later with Kobun, Robert Aitken and many other teachers (mainly zen). However, I've spent the most time practicing on my own, which is all I do now. I'm living in a rather isolated area so I miss connecting with other practitioners. Despite my interest in zen I've made an effort to remain secular. You can visit my website at http://www.frogzen.com

Offline Chaz

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Re: Is the Pure Land a Buddhist heaven?
« Reply #65 on: July 21, 2018, 10:07:07 am »
I don't know, but it looks like the ultimate in belief or faith to me.

Yeah, but that's not such a bad thing, is it?  We all have our beliefs and faith in various things, even as Buddhists.

I see it as the beginning of a "western" form of Buddhism.  The obvious and striking similarity with Christian forms is very familiar to many westerners from a Christian background, who might find that familiarity a lot more comfortable that other Buddhists traditions that seem alien and strange.

What I know of Pure Land doesn't agree with me, so I don't practice it, but many do, and many more will.  One person's (mine) inclinations won't hold back the development of a cultural influence.  I'm ok with that.


Offline Chaz

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Re: Is the Pure Land a Buddhist heaven?
« Reply #66 on: July 22, 2018, 03:39:12 pm »
"We cannot ultimately understand what the Buddha is. The sutras are a pointing finger – not the moon – and all the myriad teachings are skillful means to induce us to utter Namo Amitabha Buddha. That is all. It doesn’t matter whether you believe it or not, or whether you’re a Buddhist or not. Amitabha Buddha is one with his Name, and his Name is simply the truth. Just speak the truth, which lies totally beyond the realms of belief and disbelief, and you will be reborn in the Pure Land,"
- Dharma Master Jingzong

"It doesn’t matter whether you believe it or not.."   Sorry but I don't understand this at all.  If you don't believe that chanting will get you reborn in the Pureland, then why would you bother?

Conditional karmic imprints puts the nature of the practitioner among the circumstances that produces the imprints. In the name of great compassion I would ask my father to utter Namo Amitabha Buddha, not because I am forcing my religion upon him, but because I believe his nature now has the imprint of being released from suffering. Not in this life, but maybe another life since he doesn't believe in what I say about the effect, even though he recited out of compassion for me.

I you were to look at the Tibetan traditions, the Kagyu specifically, there are Amitabha sadhanas that are practiced for others' rebirth in Amitabha's Pure Land.  Avalokitehvara Sadhanas are somewhat the same in this regard.  Both Sadhanas can be used for the living as well as the dead (for 40 days after death of the body).  You can also do Tonglen practice in these cases as well.  You don't have to try to get the person to do something they may not be inclined to do.

Offline Dairy Lama

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Re: Is the Pure Land a Buddhist heaven?
« Reply #67 on: July 24, 2018, 01:30:57 am »
I don't know, but it looks like the ultimate in belief or faith to me.

It does to me too.   To me Buddhadharma isn't about taking on a set of beliefs, it's actually quite the contrary since attachment to views is a hindrance.  If you go around with a headful of beliefs, how on earth are you going to develop insight, or see things "as they really are"?

Maybe some people just have a strong need to believe?
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Offline stillpointdancer

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Re: Is the Pure Land a Buddhist heaven?
« Reply #68 on: July 24, 2018, 02:20:52 am »
I don't know, but it looks like the ultimate in belief or faith to me.

It does to me too.   To me Buddhadharma isn't about taking on a set of beliefs, it's actually quite the contrary since attachment to views is a hindrance.  If you go around with a headful of beliefs, how on earth are you going to develop insight, or see things "as they really are"?

Maybe some people just have a strong need to believe?

Blind belief of this kind works for some people by loosening their attachments for other things. Not my personal cup of tea though.
“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 zafrogzen

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Re: Is the Pure Land a Buddhist heaven?
« Reply #69 on: July 24, 2018, 06:00:59 am »
I don't know, but it looks like the ultimate in belief or faith to me.

It does to me too.   To me Buddhadharma isn't about taking on a set of beliefs, it's actually quite the contrary since attachment to views is a hindrance.  If you go around with a headful of beliefs, how on earth are you going to develop insight, or see things "as they really are"?

Maybe some people just have a strong need to believe?

Blind belief of this kind works for some people by loosening their attachments for other things. Not my personal cup of tea though.

I didn't mean that Pejoratively. Nembutsu being just as effective no matter how it's chanted does look like "the ultimate in belief or faith."
« Last Edit: July 24, 2018, 06:05:01 am by zafrogzen »
My first formal meditation training was with Shunryu Suzuki in the 60's and later with Kobun, Robert Aitken and many other teachers (mainly zen). However, I've spent the most time practicing on my own, which is all I do now. I'm living in a rather isolated area so I miss connecting with other practitioners. Despite my interest in zen I've made an effort to remain secular. You can visit my website at http://www.frogzen.com

Offline Chaz

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Re: Is the Pure Land a Buddhist heaven?
« Reply #70 on: July 24, 2018, 07:58:45 am »
I don't know, but it looks like the ultimate in belief or faith to me.

It does to me too.   To me Buddhadharma isn't about taking on a set of beliefs, it's actually quite the contrary since attachment to views is a hindrance.  If you go around with a headful of beliefs, how on earth are you going to develop insight, or see things "as they really are"?

Maybe some people just have a strong need to believe?

Yes, they do.  To some degree we all do.

I see beliefs as a kind of attachment to views. As with any attachment, abandoning them is a difficult proposition. It's a normal and predictable occurrence with the execution of the 12 Nidanas. Attachment is the result of craving.  If you want to cease attachment, you must first cease craving.  Craving it the result of sensation and this is where it gets difficult.  How do sensations cease?  You can't, by force of will, stop sensation.  According to the Nidanas you have a number of steps down leading to the ultimate cause of all of it, ignorance.  If you deal with ignorance, everything else falls away.

So, I think, rather than worrying about beliefs - something we all have - work towards the cessation of ignorance.

Afterwards:  Back to the topic - If chanting the Nembutsu leads to the cessation of ignorance, great.  If you don't believe it can, then it won't.
« Last Edit: July 24, 2018, 01:46:03 pm by IdleChater »

Offline Dharma Flower

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Re: Is the Pure Land a Buddhist heaven?
« Reply #71 on: August 12, 2018, 12:57:01 am »
This is one of the most important quotes in all Hindu scripture:

Quote
That which is not uttered by speech, but that by which the word is expressed, know That alone to be Brahman, and not the gods being worshiped.
That which one does not think with the mind, but that by which, they say, the mind is thought, know That alone to be Brahman, and not the gods being worshiped.
That which man does not see with the eye, but that by which man sees the activities of the eye, know That alone to be Brahman, and not the gods being worshiped.
That which man does not hear with the ear, but that by which man hears the ear’s hearing, know That alone to be Brahman, and not the gods being worshiped.
That which man does not smell with the organ of smell, but that by which the organ of smell is attracted towards its objects, know That alone to be Brahman, and not the gods being worshiped.

Similarly, the true and ultimate Buddha is the Dharmakaya, beyond name and form. All the celestial buddhas of Mahayana Buddhism, such as Amida Buddha, are symbolic expressions of the one inexpressible Truth.

Offline Dairy Lama

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Re: Is the Pure Land a Buddhist heaven?
« Reply #72 on: August 14, 2018, 01:29:38 am »
This is one of the most important quotes in all Hindu scripture:

Quote
That which is not uttered by speech, but that by which the word is expressed, know That alone to be Brahman, and not the gods being worshiped.
That which one does not think with the mind, but that by which, they say, the mind is thought, know That alone to be Brahman, and not the gods being worshiped.
That which man does not see with the eye, but that by which man sees the activities of the eye, know That alone to be Brahman, and not the gods being worshiped.
That which man does not hear with the ear, but that by which man hears the ear’s hearing, know That alone to be Brahman, and not the gods being worshiped.
That which man does not smell with the organ of smell, but that by which the organ of smell is attracted towards its objects, know That alone to be Brahman, and not the gods being worshiped.

Similarly, the true and ultimate Buddha is the Dharmakaya, beyond name and form. All the celestial buddhas of Mahayana Buddhism, such as Amida Buddha, are symbolic expressions of the one inexpressible Truth.

You seem to be equating belief in Brahman to belief in Amida Buddha.  I still don't see a substantial difference between the two beliefs, and both seem to be a matter of blind faith.
"My religion is very simple - my religion is ice-cream"

Offline stillpointdancer

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Re: Is the Pure Land a Buddhist heaven?
« Reply #73 on: August 14, 2018, 02:45:55 am »
I was pretty friendly with the people who ran a corner shop where I used to live. They were Hindu, and fell about laughing when they found out I was a Buddhist saying, 'Since Buddhism is essentially a subsection of our Hindu religion you are one of us now.' I laughed too.

I think 'beyond name and form' and 'symbolic expressions of the one inexpressible Truth' sum up the problem that the Zen saying, 'There is neither a God nor not a God' is designed to resolve. It gets around buying into the 'Is there or isn't there?' dichotomy. Even if you say there isn't a God you are accepting that the question is valid, whereas it is the question which is the problem. To answer is to accept the validity of the question. Fortunately we have the Zen solution (Well, it works for me).
“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 Dairy Lama

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Re: Is the Pure Land a Buddhist heaven?
« Reply #74 on: August 17, 2018, 01:47:49 am »
I was pretty friendly with the people who ran a corner shop where I used to live. They were Hindu, and fell about laughing when they found out I was a Buddhist saying, 'Since Buddhism is essentially a subsection of our Hindu religion you are one of us now.' I laughed too.

Some schools of Buddhism do look rather like Hinduism.   :wink1:
"My religion is very simple - my religion is ice-cream"

 


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