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Mahayana / Re: Pure Lands in Mahayana Buddhism
« Last post by Gibbon on July 31, 2020, 10:51:02 am »

I'm one of those who hold that a pure land can be here-and-now.

It's said the a pure land emanated around Shakyamuni Buddha as he taught on Vulture Peak.  The power of this is demonstrated by his close student, Shariputra, giving the teaching recorded in the Heart Sutra, through the "power of the Buddha" while the Buddha sat nearby, deep in meditation.

Asanga was said to have recieved the so-called "Maitreya texts" directly because of his devotion to practice.  The direct teachings of a Buddha or Bodhisattva can only occur in the the land where that being is Nirmanakaya - a Pure Land.

So, I believe that the deepest of practice occurs in a pure land, right where you happen to be.  This could be in solitary practice or with your teacher/guru (if seen as a Buddha). It can be that moments of practice can be truly blessed, as if you were in the physical presence of a Buddha.

So for me the answer to the question of Pure Land: Fact or Symbol.  I must answer simply, Yes

This is a great post!!  Nothing to add.

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The Dharma Express / MOVED: Pure Lands in Mahayana Buddhism
« Last post by Chaz on July 29, 2020, 04:38:57 am »
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Mahayana / Re: Pure Lands in Mahayana Buddhism
« Last post by Chaz on July 29, 2020, 04:38:05 am »
I always suspect there is another element in the discussions about Buddhist ideas such as pure lands, apart from the ones in my earlier post. I've done a lot of meditating over many years, and when you do that, stuff happens. I remember one series of visualisations I experimented with which lasted a couple of years, and I still do them in a somewhat different form. This one evolved from work on allowing light from the earth and from above to form a pillar of metta, being freely available to all. I was merely a conduit for the energy (it was nothing to do with me) which rose up and spread out everywhere.

One episode on the mat saw (in my visualisation) other pillars arising from elsewhere, the energy spreading out and joining up. For me at that moment I was joining something, whatever it was, and whenever I did that meditation, the same happened. For me it was just the product of my mind, but a powerful experience nevertheless. I can imagine how such experiences could be interpreted as something akin to a Pure Land, and that such a visualisation would be powerful when incorporated into the kind of story needing a wow factor.

If that sounds rather sceptical, then so be it. On the other hand if I wasn't such an unbeliever I would find the whole experience a powerful reinforcement of Pure Land Buddhist practice, so maybe I understand where they are coming from.

I'm one of those who hold that a pure land can be here-and-now.

It's said the a pure land emanated around Shakyamuni Buddha as he taught on Vulture Peak.  The power of this is demonstrated by his close student, Shariputra, giving the teaching recorded in the Heart Sutra, through the "power of the Buddha" while the Buddha sat nearby, deep in meditation.

Asanga was said to have recieved the so-called "Maitreya texts" directly because of his devotion to practice.  The direct teachings of a Buddha or Bodhisattva can only occur in the the land where that being is Nirmanakaya - a Pure Land.

So, I believe that the deepest of practice occurs in a pure land, right where you happen to be.  This could be in solitary practice or with your teacher/guru (if seen as a Buddha). It can be that moments of practice can be truly blessed, as if you were in the physical presence of a Buddha.

So for me the answer to the question of Pure Land: Fact or Symbol.  I must answer simply, Yes
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Mahayana / Re: Pure Lands in Mahayana Buddhism
« Last post by stillpointdancer on July 29, 2020, 04:01:34 am »
I always suspect there is another element in the discussions about Buddhist ideas such as pure lands, apart from the ones in my earlier post. I've done a lot of meditating over many years, and when you do that, stuff happens. I remember one series of visualisations I experimented with which lasted a couple of years, and I still do them in a somewhat different form. This one evolved from work on allowing light from the earth and from above to form a pillar of metta, being freely available to all. I was merely a conduit for the energy (it was nothing to do with me) which rose up and spread out everywhere.

One episode on the mat saw (in my visualisation) other pillars arising from elsewhere, the energy spreading out and joining up. For me at that moment I was joining something, whatever it was, and whenever I did that meditation, the same happened. For me it was just the product of my mind, but a powerful experience nevertheless. I can imagine how such experiences could be interpreted as something akin to a Pure Land, and that such a visualisation would be powerful when incorporated into the kind of story needing a wow factor.

If that sounds rather sceptical, then so be it. On the other hand if I wasn't such an unbeliever I would find the whole experience a powerful reinforcement of Pure Land Buddhist practice, so maybe I understand where they are coming from.
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Mahayana / Re: Pure Lands in Mahayana Buddhism
« Last post by Chaz on July 28, 2020, 06:22:44 pm »
I was going to offer a lengthy tome, but read thuis again,and should suffice to add some depth  to the discussion...

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pure_land

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Mahayana / Re: Pure Lands in Mahayana Buddhism
« Last post by stillpointdancer on July 28, 2020, 03:10:11 am »
is all this supposed to be symbolic!

There's a lot of this in Buddhism, partly to do with those aspects which belong to an oral tradition. What do you do to put emphasis on something? How do you persuade someone that what you are teaching is important? One way is to compare with the vastness of something, and how much bigger can you get than infinite space? Or perhaps you want to go along the vastness of time path. Here you describe a huge granite block. Visualise someone gently touching it with a piece of silk, once, say, every hundred years. Then try to visualise how long it would take for this to wear away the block to nothing.

You can do other things like add gods, or Buddhas or whatever it takes to put over your story, to make it something important for the listener to remember, the wow factor if you like. If the fundamental message is put over, does it really matter if such devices are used? The downside is that they can take over and hide the message, so you have to be careful how you respond to them.
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Mahayana / Re: Pure Lands in Mahayana Buddhism
« Last post by Chaz on July 27, 2020, 04:25:40 pm »
is all this supposed to be symbolic!

What difference does it make?

That was kina abrupt.  My bad.

Whether or not something like a Pure Land is a real, phyiscal place, doesn't really matter.

What matters is suffering, the cause of suffering, the cessation of suffering and the path to he cessation of suffering. While a Pure Land practice may aid the practitioner reach the cessation of suffering, the belief in a physical place probably won't.

Better to put your time to good use in practice and not chasing your tail over some pointless intellectual excercise.

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Mahayana / Re: Pure Lands in Mahayana Buddhism
« Last post by Chaz on July 27, 2020, 09:20:44 am »
is all this supposed to be symbolic!

What difference does it make?
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Mahayana / Re: Pure Lands in Mahayana Buddhism
« Last post by NicolaR1 on July 27, 2020, 08:09:22 am »
is all this supposed to be symbolic!
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Mahayana / Re: Pure Lands in Mahayana Buddhism
« Last post by stillpointdancer on July 27, 2020, 03:53:05 am »
In our Puja we always chanted about, 'beings inhabiting limitless space' finding peace. It was part of the Bodhisattva ideal to not gain final enlightenment until every conscious being anywhere had. As a Triratna Puja it incorporated a number of strands from different schools of Buddhism. For my part I took it to be an affirmation-strengthening aspect of the Puja. It just felt good saying it rather than a practical expectation.

As a science teacher keeping up with cutting edge astronomy I kind of assumed there could be an element of truth in the possibility of other life forms somewhere in the vastness of space and time. And if this is the case could it not be that they struggle, as we do, to make sense of the universe? And could not some being somewhere also have found the solution that the Buddha found?

I'm not a Pure Land Mahayana Buddhist but I like to carry out 'What if?' exercises on, well practically anything really. Such exercises regularly change my assumptions about the world without accepting whether they are 'truth' or not, and I think that makes every aspect of Buddhism both interesting and useful without necessarily going down the road of practice and belief.
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