Author Topic: Nembutsu: The Effortless Buddhist Practice  (Read 1003 times)

Offline Dharma Flower

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Nembutsu: The Effortless Buddhist Practice
« on: March 11, 2018, 02:11:23 pm »
Of all Buddhist practices, the Nembutsu is most suited for ordinary people, who can’t follow the rigorous discipline of monks and nuns. This is important to remember.

In the words of Shinran, “Since the Name is devised to be easily recited by the unlettered who cannot even grasp the basic meaning of the scriptures and commentaries, such utterance is called effortless practice.”

If we are, in our own Buddha-nature, Amida Buddha just as we are, then reciting the Name, Namu-Amida-Butsu, is a natural expression of our original enlightenment.

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Amitabha is the most commonly used name for the Buddha of Infinite Light and Infinite Life.  A transhistorical Buddha venerated by all Mahayana schools (T'ien T'ai, Esoteric, Zen  …) and, particularly, Pure Land.
Presides over the Western Pure Land (Land of Ultimate Bliss), where anyone can be reborn through utterly sincere recitation of His name, particularly at the time of death.

Amitabha Buddha at the highest or noumenon level represents the True Mind (Buddha-nature), the Self-Nature common to the Buddhas  and  sentient  beings  – 
all-encompassing  and all-inclusive.
This deeper understanding provides the rationale for the harmonization of Zen and Pure Land, two of the most popular schools of Mahayana Buddhism.
https://www.ymba.org/books/mind-seal-buddhas/glossary

The name Amida means “boundless light.” This is because, archetypally, Amida is the originally pure or luminous nature of the mind, before it became tainted by the Three Poisons of passion, aversion, and delusion:
https://www.thoughtco.com/the-three-poisons-449603

This luminous mind is also referred to as Buddha-nature, which is every being’s innate potential for enlightenment. In reciting the name, Namu-Amida-Butsu, we are calling forth the primally radiant nature of our mind:   

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“Luminous, monks, is the mind.[1] And it is defiled by incoming defilements.” {I,v,9}
“Luminous, monks, is the mind. And it is freed from incoming defilements.” {I,v,10}
“Luminous, monks, is the mind. And it is defiled by incoming defilements. The uninstructed run-of-the-mill person doesn’t discern that as it actually is present, which is why I tell you that — for the uninstructed run-of-the-mill person — there is no development of the mind.” {I,vi,1}
“Luminous, monks, is the mind. And it is freed from incoming defilements. The well-instructed disciple of the noble ones discerns that as it actually is present, which is why I tell you that — for the well-instructed disciple of the noble ones — there is development of the mind.”
https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/an/an01/an01.049.than.html

« Last Edit: March 15, 2018, 07:43:09 pm by Dharma Flower »

Offline Dharma Flower

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Re: Nembutsu: The Effortless Buddhist Practice
« Reply #1 on: March 25, 2018, 05:41:23 pm »
While Jodo Shinshu teaches that we will not attain Buddhahood until reborn in the Pure Land, it also recognizes that, in an ultimate sense, we share the same Buddha-nature as Amida Buddha, along with all other beings.

Zen Buddhism traditionally recognizes two kinds of enlightenment, small enlightenment and big enlightenment. Small enlightenment is called kensho, the sudden flash of insight which allows us to see into our own Buddha-nature.

Big enlightenment is the full perfection of a Buddha, which must be cultivated after the experience of kensho. It is extremely rare for a Zen monk to attain the perfection of a Buddha after the initial experience of kensho.

I once asked a Rinzai Zen monk if one can attain Buddhahood, in this lifetime, through recitation of the Nembutsu alone, without needing to wait for rebirth in the Pure Land. The monk said it was unlikely to happen, given the extreme work it takes for even a Zen monk to attain Buddhahood.

However, the Zen monk said a Nembutsu practitioner can experience kensho or small enlightenment through reciting the Nembutsu, with the understanding that the Buddha-nature within is ultimately the same as Amida Buddha's.

Offline stillpointdancer

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Re: Nembutsu: The Effortless Buddhist Practice
« Reply #2 on: March 26, 2018, 02:34:03 am »
Yes, it becomes another way to experience insight, as is 'just sitting' rather than meditating. I think kensho, by this definition, is what we should all be looking for if we are interested in insight meditation. Big enlightenment belongs to a post-kensho phase, presupposing you would still be interested in it after kensho.
“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 Dharma Flower

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Re: Nembutsu: The Effortless Buddhist Practice
« Reply #3 on: March 28, 2018, 08:21:16 pm »
Big enlightenment belongs to a post-kensho phase, presupposing you would still be interested in it after kensho.

Whether kensho or final enlightenment, does one's attainment need to be confirmed by a qualified teacher? How does one find such a teacher?

Offline Lotusmile

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Re: Nembutsu: The Effortless Buddhist Practice
« Reply #4 on: March 28, 2018, 09:55:10 pm »
All buddha dharma or sects or traditions are teaching pointed to buddha or nirvana or origin of all beings. And when majority of all living beings are not equally able to consistently residing on its origin or nirvana upon receiving this teaching of origin nature in one lifespan, thus forth, buddhas of all directions highly praise the most suitable and most expedient way, to recover back to the origin nature, in one lifespan, is indisputably the pureland nembutsu ✌️

Offline stillpointdancer

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Re: Nembutsu: The Effortless Buddhist Practice
« Reply #5 on: March 30, 2018, 01:47:33 am »
Big enlightenment belongs to a post-kensho phase, presupposing you would still be interested in it after kensho.

Whether kensho or final enlightenment, does one's attainment need to be confirmed by a qualified teacher? How does one find such a teacher?
I think the attainment here is about those who want the authority to teach a particular form of Buddhism, who want to be seen as part of the 'unbroken' history of confirmed teachers going back to whoever. If this isn't needed, then those who have either type of enlightenment have no need of confirmation. Why should they? If you really have to ask, then you haven't been through either of them.
“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

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Re: Nembutsu: The Effortless Buddhist Practice
« Reply #6 on: April 01, 2018, 06:10:38 pm »
In the Tendai, Zen and Shingon sects, one recites the Nembutsu with the goal of entering samadhi, a meditative state in which one completely forgets the ego-self and the Buddha-nature is revealed.

In this light, Honen Shonin is notable as one of the greatest Dharma masters of Japanese history:

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From this exodus from Mt. Hiei through the lectures at Todaiji and the Gyakushu seppo sermons, Honen’s religious experience deepened, until in his later years, he experienced nembutsu samadhi.
Nembutsu samadhi is traditionally attained through concentrating one’s mind on a visualized image of Amida Buddha and the Pure Land. In Honen’s case, he focused on exclusive recitation of the nembutsu which led to an experience of seeing Amida Buddha and the Pure Land…
According to the Sanmai-hottokuki, Honen experienced this samadhi and saw the Pure Land several times between 1198-1206.
http://www.jsri.jp/English/Honen/LIFE/conversion.html


Honen recited the Nembutsu, the name of Amida Buddha, Namu-Amida-Butsu, at least 60,000 times a day. The Nembutsu is ideal as a Buddhist practice, since it can be recited during the activities of everyday life.

Offline Lotusmile

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Re: Nembutsu: The Effortless Buddhist Practice
« Reply #7 on: April 01, 2018, 11:57:10 pm »
Attainment of enlightenment in Pureland Buddhism does not necessarily only qualified for those in recitation of Nembutsu or Amida Buddha name, although it is so much easy, straightforward, simple, direct and suitable to both illiterates and intellectually inclined personalities, extremely low and supremely high ability minded people in the pursuit of wisdom. It is also meant for all others who aspired for inherent pureland or bliss but are on their preferred affinity in other sect, religions or non religions people, so long as their vow is towards pureland, and all their performance of kind or merits deeds in the course of their respective sects or traditions or religions demanded or worldly kindness, among others are purely sincere, and for eventual objective to emigrate to the pureland ultimate bliss

 


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