Author Topic: "Wisdom" within the Pure Land Tradition  (Read 1033 times)

Offline Cobblers Apprentice

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"Wisdom" within the Pure Land Tradition
« on: July 11, 2015, 12:06:48 am »
One of the early "fathers" of the Pure Land Tradition (at least, as it has developed in Japan) was Honen. Here is a quote from Honen......"In the Path of the Sages one perfects wisdom and achieves enlightenment; in the Path of Pure Land one returns to the foolish self to be saved by Amida."

The Pure Land Way has been called "the easy path" - but the comment has been added...."yet few there be who walk it". The Pure Land writer Taitetsu Unno has said that the return to the foolish self is no easy matter....that "struggle and suffering ensue". This suggests/implies that "wisdom" - if we are prepared to use the word with respect to the Pure Land Tradition - is to be found there, yet of another order to that of the "way of the sages".

Here is a cut and paste job of a post made on another thread (now locked) which speaks of wisdom as related to the "return to the foolish self".........

The gulf between word and act has been spoken of and for me this relates to self-knowledge. The more we truly know ourselves, as we are, perhaps the firmer the foundation for progress on the path. Within my own Pure Land Tradition ( and I speak of "tradition" rather then sect simply because I actually belong to no actual division/sub-section of the Pure Land Way, but in fact draw inspiration from all of its history and  unfolding within time) Shinran was recorded as saying, when he had become an old man, that he felt utter shame that although he could see quite clearly his continuing passions and faults, yet he still relished the thought of himself being a teacher of others and the pride that came with it. Such, for Shinran, simply gave him a deeper realisation/surrender to the compassion of Reality-as-is (Amida). This is a verse from one of Shinran's hymns.....

My eyes being hindered by blind passions,
 I cannot perceive the light that grasps me;
 Yet the great compassion, without tiring,
 Illumines me always.


(From "Hymns of the Pure Land Masters")

There is much wisdom in having such insight, particularly in respect of studies done by Jack Kornfield - who apparently learnt his meditation trade in Thailand - who has said that it has been found that there can be a degree of "spiritual by-passing" in even the long term meditator, where unresolved issues remain a problem, these sometimes unseen and unacknowledged.

Again, this can be related to some words of the meditation master Suzuki Roshi, author of the famous book "Zen Mind, Beginners Mind". An anecdote was told of him, that one day he was giving a lecture in the meditation hall and noticed that here seemed to be much agitation and very little zen-like calm in the hall. He said......."Ah, these agitations, feelings of discomfort, worries and insecurities will.............." at which point most would have anticipated the closing words....."disappear after further practice" but actually said....."will be with you for the rest of your life." Which seems to offer little hope from one perspective, but just might from another, i.e that "wisdom" has little to do - if anything - with perfection.

I often ponder the words of Pai-chang, a Ch'an master, who said.......What are called desire and aversion when one is not yet enlightened or liberated are called enlightened wisdom after enlightenment. That is why it is said, "One is not different from who one used to be; only one's course of action is different from before". I would not know.

Anyway, I spend my time with the unliberated and the unenlightened. I like to stick with my own kind..... ;D Nevertheless, I can see wisdom in  those who have the capacity for mercy and forgiveness, this simply because they know themselves. As William Blake said..."mutual forgiveness of each vice opens the gates of paradise"

END OF CUT AND PASTE

Maybe others who find inspiration from the Pure Land Tradition can add their own insights, drawn from their own experience, of "wisdom".

Thank You

Offline MissGrape

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Re: "Wisdom" within the Pure Land Tradition
« Reply #1 on: July 11, 2015, 08:53:30 am »
I don't label myself as belonging to any one sect of Buddhism however I do draw a lot of inspiration from Amitabha buddha. I see 'wisdom' as something that comes from experience in life. One who shows compassion to others and wants to help others to improve their lives in a positive way.  :namaste:
:buddha: ~ Watcher on the Wall ~ :buddha2:

Offline Cobblers Apprentice

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Re: "Wisdom" within the Pure Land Tradition
« Reply #2 on: July 11, 2015, 01:06:56 pm »
I don't label myself as belonging to any one sect of Buddhism however I do draw a lot of inspiration from Amitabha buddha. I see 'wisdom' as something that comes from experience in life. One who shows compassion to others and wants to help others to improve their lives in a positive way.  :namaste:

I think it is important to keep in mind that Buddhism sees "enlightenment"/"emancipation" as the bottom line, the "end of suffering". As I understand it, this means to see/know reality as it is and that all else is a by-product of such seeing. Therefore true compassion must be born of this.

This implies selflessness and whatever aids us in becoming selfless can be understood as the true path. For Pure Landers the dojo ( training place ) is our everyday lives, not a secluded room - although a secluded room can be part of our everyday lives. Selflessness can be the product of changing nappies, of time at the kitchen sink.......and much else that may often seem as distractions from "practice".
 
So I agree ( sorry, I always tend to waffle and be long-winded.. ;D) wisdom comes from experience in life, and acts of compassion can be signs that our experiences of life, however trivial they may seem at times, have not been wasted.

 


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