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 :r4wheel:

A good forum you guys got cooking here. This might be the wrong thread to post this, but I could not find a more appropriate place to put it.

I am a 24 year old Norwegian student studying religion @ The Norwegian University of Science and Technology. By studying religion, it has made me more self aware, and I've become more self aware. And it is mainly by discussing religion with fellow classmates or persons in general. And I've come to learn more, to extend my views. But first I need your help.
Well, to be quite frank, I'm on the lookout for someone who can help me answering a termpaper, or rather get me on my way answering it. The subject is South Asian Religions, and this one is about Buddhism. The task, freely translated from Norwegian, goes something like this:

"Modern day scholars often differ between Theravada/Hinayana and Mahayana as different schools or areas of Buddhsim. Discuss why this distinction may be problematic. Consider also the history of Southeast Asian Buddhism as the premise of modern research."


I've read about them both, but by the life of me, I cannot get this wheel rolling.. The problem is of course Western distinctions often suffer to historical bias, but that's not enough at all.

Appreciate any help I can get here!
Thank you :)

:anjali:

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If enlightenment is the abolishment of craving, how can we attain it by craving it? If enlightenment is the realization of non-self, how do we attain it through self-effort alone?In reciting the name of Amida Buddha, we are safely and effortlessly reborn into the Pure Land, the realm of Nirvana.

Unfortunately language is slippery and elusive. Of course you can abolish craving by craving for it to end, and of course you can attain realization of non self-self through self effort. If you recite the name of Amida Buddha you recite it through craving, and it is the self-effort of reciting it that brings about its efficacy. I'm not against your Pure Land, but there are many other ways of attaining realization. It's a matter of finding what works for each individual.
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Buddha Basics - Beginner Zone / Re: Is the Pure Land a Buddhist heaven?
« Last post by Dharma Flower on April 24, 2018, 11:22:22 pm »
If enlightenment is the abolishment of craving, how can we attain it by craving it? If enlightenment is the realization of non-self, how do we attain it through self-effort alone?In reciting the name of Amida Buddha, we are safely and effortlessly reborn into the Pure Land, the realm of Nirvana.
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Vajrayana / Re: Returning to Buddhism after leaving - questions about vows
« Last post by Gibbon on April 24, 2018, 09:01:56 am »
Are my old vows void if I take a new guru?

Am I allowed to retake the Lay Pratimoksha vows and select the ones I feel I can keep (instead of taking all 5 at once) before advancing to my HYT practice?

Coming from the Gelug perspective, here are my thoughts:

Your vows are not void.  Pratimoksha vows are taken for the entirety of this life.  Bodhisattva vows, if you have them, are taken for eternity until you reach enlightenment.  I am not sure if you can return one or more Pratimoksha vows, but I doubt it.  Vinaya (monastic) vows can be returned if they were kept well.

The Pratimoksha vows are the absolute minimum to Buddhist practice and are generally taken at the same time as refuge.  To enter the Mahayana path, you also need the Bodhisattva vows. 

Tantric vows are the next level.  It is better to start with Kriya or other lower-level tantra before proceeding to HYT.  Before beginning any tantric practice, you need to spend a significant amount of time studying Lam Rim. Unlike in Kagyu, preliminary practices in the Gelug school are not required to be completed before beginning tantra, you can do them simultaneously (but they should not be skipped or overlooked).

You will definitely want to discuss all this with your new teacher. 

Best wishes,

Gibbon
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Vajrayana / Re: Guru Rinpoche Natmthar
« Last post by Gibbon on April 24, 2018, 08:46:42 am »
Hi Yeshe Jazer,

Here is a very nice explanation of the Vajra Guru mantra:

http://www.rinpoche.com/gurumantra.html

Best wishes,

Gibbon
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Buddha Basics - Beginner Zone / Re: Is the Pure Land a Buddhist heaven?
« Last post by Dharma Flower on April 21, 2018, 09:02:56 am »
Because Nirvana means “to blow out,” there’s a common misconception that Nirvana entails personal annihilation. Instead, Nirvana is the extinguishment of suffering:

Quote
Thus the image underlying nibbana (nirvana) is one of freedom. The Pali commentaries support this point by tracing the word nibbana to its verbal root, which means “unbinding.” What kind of unbinding? The texts describe two levels. One is the unbinding in this lifetime, symbolized by a fire that has gone out but whose embers are still warm. This stands for the enlightened arahant, who is conscious of sights and sounds, sensitive to pleasure and pain, but freed from passion, aversion, and delusion. The second level of unbinding, symbolized by a fire so totally out that its embers have grown cold, is what the arahant experiences after this life. All input from the senses cools away and he/she is totally freed from even the subtlest stresses and limitations of existence in space and time.

The Buddha insists that this level is indescribable, even in terms of existence or nonexistence, because words work only for things that have limits. All he really says about it — apart from images and metaphors — is that one can have foretastes of the experience in this lifetime, and that it’s the ultimate happiness, something truly worth knowing.
https://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/thanissaro/nibbana.html

Shinran understood the Pure Land as the realm of Nirvana, and referred to rebirth in the Pure Land as the birth of non-birth, just as the Buddha described Nirvana as the unborn.
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Buddha Basics - Beginner Zone / Re: Is the Pure Land a Buddhist heaven?
« Last post by Dharma Flower on April 21, 2018, 01:46:59 am »
Here's a good one! In Jodo Shinshu, what is Amida Buddha's Pure Land named? 

In Tibetan Buddhism all Buddha's and Bodhisattva's emanate a Pure Land.  This sometimes referred to as a Buddha Field.  The so-called mandala is often a diagram of one such Pure Land.

I don't know how to Pure Land came to be included in Tibetan Buddhism.  I'm thinking it came from some Chinese influence.


In the teaching of Shinran, Amida's Pure Land is, in and of itself, the formless realm of Nirvana. There is no other Pure Land where one should seek rebirth, according to Shinran. Shinran also refers to Amida as the Buddha-nature in all things and as Dharma-body itself, rather than simply one Buddha among many:
http://ccbs.ntu.edu.tw/FULLTEXT/JR-ENG/bloom.htm
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Buddha Basics - Beginner Zone / Re: Is the Pure Land a Buddhist heaven?
« Last post by IdleChater on April 21, 2018, 01:42:24 am »
Here's a good one! In Jodo Shinshu, what is Amida Buddha's Pure Land named? 

In Tibetan Buddhism all Buddha's and Bodhisattva's emanate a Pure Land.  This sometimes referred to as a Buddha Field.  The so-called mandala is often a diagram of one such Pure Land.

I don't know how to Pure Land came to be included in Tibetan Buddhism.  I'm thinking it came from some Chinese influence.
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Buddha Basics - Beginner Zone / Re: Is the Pure Land a Buddhist heaven?
« Last post by Dharma Flower on April 20, 2018, 07:18:53 pm »
AS far as Zen goes, I like it...

As do I. In countries like China and Vietnam, the combined practice of Ch'an (Zen) and Pure Land is the norm rather than the exception. This tradition of dual practice also exists in the Obaku school of Japanese Zen.

Here are some helpful books on the topic of dual Zen and Pure Land practice:

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/418427.Buddha_of_Infinite_Light

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/478374.Finding_Our_True_Home

This is from The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Zen Buddhism:

Quote
During the practice of chanting the Nembutsu within the Zen school…Zen masters will refer to the Buddha within the self (koshin no mida) and the Pure Land of the Mind Only (yuishin no jôdo).
In some cases, Zen masters encourage disciples to make use of the Nembutsu as a kôan… The Nembutsu kôan generally takes the form of a question, such as ‘Who chants the Nembutsu?
https://terebess.hu/zen/szoto/Baroni.pdf

Hakuin was the great reformer of the Rinzai sect and, besides Dogen, was the most influential Zen teacher in Japanese history. Hakuin was respectful to the Nembutsu as a Buddhist practice, especially for lay people unable to devote their lives to zazen and koan study:

Quote
It should be known that those who think that the Mu koan and the recitation of the Buddha’s name are two different things belong to the class of evil heretics…

Reciting the name of the Buddha constantly, he has reached the state where the mind is undisturbed. The Great Matter appears suddenly before him and his salvation is determined. Such a man can be called one who has truly seen into his own nature. His own body is the limitless body of Amida, the treasure trees of seven precious gems, the pond of the eight virtues…

In the past the Buddha established expedients; one was called “rebirth in the Pure Land,” another “seeing into one’s own nature.” How can these be two different things! Zen people who have not penetrated to this understanding look at a Pure Land practitioner and think that he is a stupid and evil common person who knows nothing about the Great Matter of seeing into one’s own nature…
https://books.google.com/books?id=mzgHaexXQBUC&printsec=frontcover#v=onepage&q&f=false

In the words of Master Hakuin above, "It should be known that those who think that the Mu koan and the recitation of the Buddha’s name are two different things belong to the class of evil heretics."
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Buddha Basics - Beginner Zone / Re: Is the Pure Land a Buddhist heaven?
« Last post by IdleChater on April 20, 2018, 09:15:30 am »
Wiki even says that Japanese versions have much more in common with forms of Western Protestantism...

No, that's what Western Protestants asserted a 100 or so years ago, when they assumed it would be easy to convert Japanese Buddhists to Christianity due to supposed similarities.

I recommend reading The Essential Shinran by Alfred Bloom, which gives a good, brief overview of what Japanese Pure Land Buddhism actually teaches:
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/9729498-the-essential-shinran

I've been to several Jodo Shinsho "services" in Colorado.  The similarity between their gatherings and those of protestant Christianity is striking.

The use of Nembutsu is similar to a church I attended in Califormia where they would repeat "OH LORD JESUS".

If I wanted a Christian-like experience, I'd go back to being Methodist.

AS far as Zen goes, I like it.  There is a certain elegance in the practice I find very appealing.  My practice incorporates a number of elements from Zen according to the teaching of Chogyam Trungpa.  There is also a bit of Pure Land practice in there as well.

I guess if you need to be one or the other, then that's ok, but it doesn't have to be that way.
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