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Schools of Buddhism => Mahayana => Pure Land => Topic started by: Nils Horn on May 10, 2015, 03:28:49 am

Title: Western Amitabha Buddhism
Post by: Nils Horn on May 10, 2015, 03:28:49 am
How do we practice western Amitabha Buddhism? Non-dogmatically. You sense what does you good and what brings you forward spiritually. At best you live according to a daily plan with spiritual exercises. The intervals of the exercises should be such that you spend the day in peace, happiness and love. One starts with a call to Buddha Amitabha in the morning and all of the enlightened masters (Buddhas and Bodhisattvas). One asks for guidance and help. Then you orient yourself based on the voice of inner wisdom and go with feeling for what is right at the right moment. You pay attention to feelings and thoughts. You think positive, act positive, and have a positive feeling as a result. In the evening you pray to Buddha Amitabha before falling asleep so that one day you wake up in paradise.

We don’t know if the Buddha Amitabha existed historically. There are three possibilities. We can believe in his existence, or we can see ourselves as Buddhas of light, or we can rely on enlightened masters who have been proven to exist. We can go by the line of Amitabha masters. (Buddha, Nagarjuna, Vasubandhu, T'an-luan, Tao-ch'o, Shan-tao, Genshin, Honen, Shinran). For me, all of the enlightened masters of love are Buddha Amitabha altogether. They all comprise him.

I pray to the enlightened masters who I think have the highest spiritual abilities (omni-presence, all-knowningness, all-powerfulness). That is for example Jesus Christ, Buddha, Nagarjuna, Shan-tao, Honen, the Dalai Lama, Sathya Sai Baba, Anandamayi Ma, Amritanandamayi and Mother Meera. I have experienced a lot of miracles and energy transfers from my masters. In this way, I practice the unity of all religions.

 :buddha: :buddha2: :buddha:
Title: Re: Western Amitabha Buddhism
Post by: Cobblers Apprentice on July 05, 2015, 02:40:44 am
Thanks Nils, just joined the Forum recently and I've been trawling through some of the older threads.

Nice to read your take on Pure Land.

Title: Re: Western Amitabha Buddhism
Post by: Namaste253 on July 05, 2015, 02:55:07 am
Shinran wrote that the historical Buddha was a manifestation of Amida Buddha, which in Shin Buddhism, refers to Dharmakaya or the eternal Buddha. So when we call out "Namu Amida Butsu," it is in relation to the historical Buddha, who is living and still with us today.

Quote
‘Amida, who attained Buddhahood in the infinite past,
Full of compassion for foolish beings of the five defilements,
Took the form of Sakyamuni Buddha
And appeared in Gaya.’ (CWS, p. 349)
[url]http://www.georgegatenby.id.au/?p=2106[/url] ([url]http://www.georgegatenby.id.au/?p=2106[/url])
Title: Re: Western Amitabha Buddhism
Post by: MissGrape on July 05, 2015, 10:11:17 am
Some images of Amitabha Buddha are my favorite images to look upon ...   :namaste:
Title: Re: Western Amitabha Buddhism
Post by: Cobblers Apprentice on July 05, 2015, 11:27:57 am
(http://api.ning.com/files/oEI7P4BrUGlP8SPTzEB0*lSl8f3I2GvCNd2PWuI9AagZmGVguFzOb5g7IWuhaDxv/tabinara2009.jpg?width=340&height=454)

This is one of my favorites, "Amida Looking Back", where she/he is looking for the stragglers, the ones who are not going to make it without special help. Some might say it is over sentimental and perhaps seek out texts that speak of being lamps unto ourselves and emphasise self sufficiency, each has to tread the path for themselves etc etc..... :socool:.......but there you go, horses for courses.

O Saichi! Will you tell us of Other Power?
Yes, but there is neither self power nor Other Power.
What is, is the graceful acceptance only.


(From Saichi's Journals)
Title: Re: Western Amitabha Buddhism
Post by: Namaste253 on July 05, 2015, 03:35:12 pm
Om mani padme hum is the mantra to Kannon or Guanyin, the feminine consort of Amida Buddha who represents the compassion of all Buddhas. Buddhism has not suppressed the divine feminine to the extent that it's been suppressed in the Western world. While Amida is for our salvation after death, Kannon is called to for our salvation from suffering in this world. There is a deep human need, at least in many people, to reach out to the divine as personified in a feminine, motherly form.

Shinran left the life of a monk to pursue marriage after Kannon, the feminine consort of Amida Buddha, appeared to him in a dream and promised to be incarnated as his future wife, Eshinni. Devotion to the divine feminine may not be a common practice in Shin temples today, at least not in North America, but it was important to Shinran and remains important for the common people in Japan today.

http://www.buddhas-online.com/kwanyin.html (http://www.buddhas-online.com/kwanyin.html)
Title: Re: Western Amitabha Buddhism
Post by: Cobblers Apprentice on July 06, 2015, 12:41:07 am
How do we practice western Amitabha Buddhism? Non-dogmatically. You sense what does you good and what brings you forward spiritually. At best you live according to a daily plan with spiritual exercises. The intervals of the exercises should be such that you spend the day in peace, happiness and love. One starts with a call to Buddha Amitabha in the morning and all of the enlightened masters (Buddhas and Bodhisattvas). One asks for guidance and help. Then you orient yourself based on the voice of inner wisdom and go with feeling for what is right at the right moment. You pay attention to feelings and thoughts. You think positive, act positive, and have a positive feeling as a result. In the evening you pray to Buddha Amitabha before falling asleep so that one day you wake up in paradise.

We don’t know if the Buddha Amitabha existed historically. There are three possibilities. We can believe in his existence, or we can see ourselves as Buddhas of light, or we can rely on enlightened masters who have been proven to exist. We can go by the line of Amitabha masters. (Buddha, Nagarjuna, Vasubandhu, T'an-luan, Tao-ch'o, Shan-tao, Genshin, Honen, Shinran). For me, all of the enlightened masters of love are Buddha Amitabha altogether. They all comprise him.

I pray to the enlightened masters who I think have the highest spiritual abilities (omni-presence, all-knowningness, all-powerfulness). That is for example Jesus Christ, Buddha, Nagarjuna, Shan-tao, Honen, the Dalai Lama, Sathya Sai Baba, Anandamayi Ma, Amritanandamayi and Mother Meera. I have experienced a lot of miracles and energy transfers from my masters. In this way, I practice the unity of all religions.

 :buddha: :buddha2: :buddha:

So when one practice Amida Buddhism, does he practice alone or does he practice along with others devout?
Do you also believe Jesus Christ?(Just asked out of curiosity)
Thank You

Though addressed to Nils, I'll throw in my own answer.......

I'm a "loner", there are no "devotees" - as far as I am aware - within a 100 miles of where I live. Basically I just say the nembutsu and hope for the best....... ;D. Often it just seems to transform into "thank you, thank you" whatever the circumstances, good or bad.

"Belief" I know little about. As I understand it the Buddhadharma is a path that seeks for us to share and know the experience of the Buddha. I'm one for upaya, expedient means.

O Saichi! What is your joy?
This world of delusion is my joy!
It provides the seeds for relishing the dharma!
Namu-Amida-Butsu is blooming everwhere!
Title: Re: Western Amitabha Buddhism
Post by: MissGrape on July 07, 2015, 07:59:01 am
I like how you worded that Cobbler!
Title: Re: Western Amitabha Buddhism
Post by: Namaste253 on July 14, 2015, 08:43:50 pm
Since there is only one Shakyamuni Buddha, one Eternal Buddha, and one Buddha-Dharma, the differences in doctrine and practice between the various schools of Buddhism are only true in a provisional sense. They are expedient means for the sake of realizing the Ultimate Truth, rather than Ultimate Truth itself. As it says in the Tannisho:
Quote
Generally among scriptures you will find a mixture of teachings which are true and real and which are accommodating and tentative. The master's basic idea was to abandon the teachings accommodating the needs of the people and chose the real, to reject the tentatively presented and select the true. Be very careful to discern such distinctions in the scriptures...
Now, whether you accept the nembutsu, entrusting yourself to it, or reject it, that is your own decision.
[url]http://shinmission_sg.tripod.com/tannisho/tannisho/[/url] ([url]http://shinmission_sg.tripod.com/tannisho/tannisho/[/url])
Title: Re: Western Amitabha Buddhism
Post by: Cobblers Apprentice on July 15, 2015, 03:50:47 am
Since there is only one Shakyamuni Buddha, one Eternal Buddha, and one Buddha-Dharma, the differences in doctrine and practice between the various schools of Buddhism are only true in a provisional sense. They are expedient means for the sake of realizing the Ultimate Truth, rather than Ultimate Truth itself. As it says in the Tannisho:
Quote
Generally among scriptures you will find a mixture of teachings which are true and real and which are accommodating and tentative. The master's basic idea was to abandon the teachings accommodating the needs of the people and chose the real, to reject the tentatively presented and select the true. Be very careful to discern such distinctions in the scriptures...
Now, whether you accept the nembutsu, entrusting yourself to it, or reject it, that is your own decision.
[url]http://shinmission_sg.tripod.com/tannisho/tannisho/[/url] ([url]http://shinmission_sg.tripod.com/tannisho/tannisho/[/url])



Thanks Namaste, a good summary of the "pure land" take on the "two truths", which raise their heads throughout the Buddhadharma, as here in the words of Nagarjuna...

The Buddha's teaching of the Dharma
Is based on two truths:-
A truth of worldly convention
And an ultimate truth

Those who do not understand
The distinction drawn between these two truths
Do not understand
The Buddha's profound truth

Without a foundation in the conventional truth,
The signficance of the ultimate cannot be taught.
Without understanding the significance of the ultimate
Liberation is not achieved.
Title: Re: Western Amitabha Buddhism
Post by: MissGrape on July 15, 2015, 11:05:16 am
([url]http://api.ning.com/files/oEI7P4BrUGlP8SPTzEB0[/url]*lSl8f3I2GvCNd2PWuI9AagZmGVguFzOb5g7IWuhaDxv/tabinara2009.jpg?width=340&height=454)

This is one of my favorites, "Amida Looking Back", where she/he is looking for the stragglers, the ones who are not going to make it without special help. Some might say it is over sentimental and perhaps seek out texts that speak of being lamps unto ourselves and emphasise self sufficiency, each has to tread the path for themselves etc etc..... :socool:.......but there you go, horses for courses.

O Saichi! Will you tell us of Other Power?
Yes, but there is neither self power nor Other Power.
What is, is the graceful acceptance only.


(From Saichi's Journals)


What a beautiful image  :namaste:
Title: Re: Western Amitabha Buddhism
Post by: Namaste253 on July 15, 2015, 01:45:20 pm
Since the Buddha taught the middle path, I believe that includes avoiding ideological extremes. On one end of the spectrum are those who insist that Dharmakara attained enlightenment billions of years ago, and resides today on a lotus flower billions of light years away, and that anyone who disagrees with this is ignorant. On the other end are those who insist that Amida Buddha is just symbolic of the natural universe, that there's nothing supernatural to it, and that anyone who disagrees is ignorant.

If we look to the writings of Shinran, we can avoid these extremes. If the historical Gautama was the manifestation of Amida, as Shinran tells us, then we can leave it an open question whether the traditional story of Dharmakara is literally true. If the purpose of birth in the Pure Land is to immediately attain enlightenment and come back to this world as a Bodhisattva, as Shinran tells us, then we can leave it an open question whether the Pure Land is on a planet light years away.
Title: Re: Western Amitabha Buddhism
Post by: Namaste253 on July 15, 2015, 05:24:15 pm
The dividing line between Jodo Shinshu and other schools of Buddhism has traditionally been whether you trust in self-power or Other-Power. But if there's a fragment of Amida Buddha or Buddha-nature in every human being, and you awaken to it by reciting and trusting in the Nembutsu, then in an ultimate sense, there is no distinction between self-power and Other-Power.

It's not up to us to place limits on the light and compassion of the Buddha, regardless of what school of Buddhism a person comes from. It's up to the Buddha, not ourselves, whether anyone who takes refuge in him will receive the grace and compassion of the Buddha. Honen and Shinran never intended on forming their own schools of Buddhism, so we should be mindful to avoid sectarianism in all forms.
Title: Re: Western Amitabha Buddhism
Post by: Dharmakara on July 15, 2015, 10:40:44 pm
Honen and Shinran never intended on forming their own schools of Buddhism, so we should be mindful to avoid sectarianism in all forms.

Although I would whole-heartedly agree that sectarianism should be avoided in all its forms, the same cannot be said of your comment in regard to Honen and Shinran, that one (or the other) never intended to form their own school of Buddhism, ect. --- it would appear that you're not only attempting to redact the history of your own tradition, but in doing so it would also appear that you're more than willing to rip an entire chapter from the bindings of all history books as it relates to Shinran himself:

As a fervent follower of Hōnen, Shinran adopted his teaching of the “exclusive nembutsu” (senju nembutsu): invoking the name of Amida Buddha is the sole practice assuring enlightenment in the Pure Land. Hōnen’s religious movement provoked controversy and was censured by several powerful temples, including the Tendai monastery on Mt. Hiei and the Kōfuku Temple in Nara. In 1207 the ruling authorities suppressed the movement, resulting in Shinran’s banishment to the remote province of Echigo. It was about this time that he married Eshin Ni and began a family. During his banishment and subsequent 20-year residency in the Kantō region (the vicinity of present-day Tokyo), Shinran deepened his religious ideas and actively propagated Pure Land teachings. He attracted an enthusiastic following of his own as a peripatetic preacher, emulating perhaps the itinerant priests of the Zenkō Temple, whose sacred Amida icon Shinran revered. During this period he also compiled an early draft of his magnum opus, Kyōgyōshinshō (“Teaching, Practice, Faith, and Attainment”), a collection of scriptural quotations on Pure Land teachings interspersed with Shinran’s interpretations or comments.

more here >>> http://www.britannica.com/biography/Shinran-Japanese-Buddhist-philosopher (http://www.britannica.com/biography/Shinran-Japanese-Buddhist-philosopher)

Title: Re: Western Amitabha Buddhism
Post by: Cobblers Apprentice on July 16, 2015, 03:27:52 am
I would say that often there can be a sectarianism of the heart.

Once we begin to identify the "path" exclusively with our own current understanding. practice and knowledge we become in effect sectarian, no matter what Tradition of the Buddhadharma we follow.

But yes, I have detected a current of sectarianism in the origins of the Japanese Pure Land Tradition. My own current understanding is that this can be related to the idea of the "age of mappo", but enough of that, I am not well read enough. Having said that, as I understand the "exclusive nembutsu", this in context is an "in house" dispute and not one directed at other Traditions at all - but that is my understanding.
Title: Re: Western Amitabha Buddhism
Post by: Dharmakara on July 16, 2015, 08:19:33 am
Hi Cobbler.

I hope my comment wasn't taken the wrong way, especially if it gave the impression that I was criticizing the Pure Land tradition for being sectarian in some way or another, as this wasn't the case --- in other words, my comment (and criticism) was specific to the very idea that Shinran never intended to establish his own school of Buddhism, when this was without doubt the end result of his intention to establish a new expression of Buddhist practice that was unique to his own understanding of the Dharma.
Title: Re: Western Amitabha Buddhism
Post by: Cobblers Apprentice on July 16, 2015, 08:22:01 am
No, it wasn't, thanks.
Title: Re: Western Amitabha Buddhism
Post by: Namaste253 on July 16, 2015, 09:06:52 am
What happened is that, after Shinran's death, a new sect of Buddhism was built around his teachings:

Quote
The founder of our sect is Shinran Shonin (1173-1263). Shinran was born May 21, 1173 and died on January 16, 1263. Shinran never intended to found a new sect of Buddhism, yet through his life and writings he profoundly influenced many individuals, who wanted to follow his teachings.
[url]http://www.slbuddhist.org/bca-history.html[/url] ([url]http://www.slbuddhist.org/bca-history.html[/url])


Quote
Shinran never intended to start a religion. He humbly taught the Nembutsu teaching to anyone who had receptive Karma. The Buddhist organization was started by Shinan’s daughter Kukshini. Jodo Shin Shu has flourished around the world...

It is utterly unthinkable that among the followers of single-hearted nembutsu practice there are arguments about “my disciples” and “other’s disciples.”
As for myself, Shinran, I do not have a single disciple. If I could make others say the nembutsu through my own devices, they would be my disciples. But how arrogant it is to claim as disciples those who live the nembutsu through the sole working of Amida’s compassion.
https://ichinyo.wordpress.com/2015/06/01/grim-reminders/ (https://ichinyo.wordpress.com/2015/06/01/grim-reminders/)


I'm sorry for being unclear earlier.
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