Category: buddha

To cultivate the good, To abandon evil,  To pu…

To cultivate the good,
To abandon evil, 
To purify one’s heart, 
This is the teaching of the Buddhas.

It is deplorable that you have told people to …

It is deplorable that you have told people to abandon themselves to their hearts’ desires and to do anything they want. One must seek to cast off the evil of this world and to cease doing wretched deeds; this is what it means to reject the world and to live the Nembutsu.

Nirvana: The Ultimate Goal of Buddhism

Nirvana is described in many ways throughout the Buddhist sutras and commentaries, and one of the most common ways is through describing what nirvana is not. The Treatise on Abhidharma-skandha-padadescribes nirvana by saying it is “non-action, non-abiding, non-doing, without boundaries, without outflow, without arising, without expiring, without beginning, without defilements…” The Treatise on the Four Noble Truths describes nirvana by saying that it is “without destroying, without loss, without equal, without hindrance, without desire, without anything above it, without limit, without attachment…”

In terms of positive descriptions, the Treatise on Abhidharma-skandha-pada describes nirvana as “truth, the other shore, marvelous, tranquil, eternal, secure, supreme, the most wholesome, and unique.” TheTreatise on the Four Noble Truths describes nirvana positively as “liberation, transcendent, the one and only, complete, pure, supreme, truth, suchness…” These are affirming descriptions that give nirvana broader interpretations.

In addition to these descriptions, the Mahaparinirvana Sutra says that nirvana is Buddha nature. The Flower Adornment Sutra says that nirvana is the intrinsic nature of all phenomena. The Mahaprajnaparamita Sutra says that nirvana is “Prajna that is beyond common knowledge and knows everything.” The Surangama Sutra says that nirvana is “the truth in which activity and stillness cease.” TheVimalakirti Sutra says that nirvana is the “the ten grounds of Dharma method of non-duality.” The Lion’s Roar of Queen Srimala Sutra tells us that nirvana is the “storehouse of the Tathagata” and “the inherently pure mind.” Nirvana is intrinsic nature that does not arise or cease.” (Zen master Hsing Yun, The Core Teachings).
https://zennist.typepad.com/zenfiles/2017/05/different-ways-nirvana-is-used.html

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There is an Unborn, Unoriginated, Uncreated, U…

There is an Unborn, Unoriginated, Uncreated, Unconditioned. If that Unborn, Unoriginated, Uncreated, Unconditioned were not, there could be no escape from that which is born, originated, created, conditioned. But because there is That which is Unborn, Unoriginated, Uncreated, Unconditioned, an escape from that which is born, originated, created, conditioned can be proclaimed.

By oneself is evil done; by oneself is one de…

By oneself is evil done;
by oneself is one defiled.
By oneself is evil left undone;
by oneself is one made pure.
Purity and impurity depend on oneself;
no one can purify another.

The Pure Land is the Pure Mind

At the advanced level, i.e., for cultivators of high spiritual capacity, the Pure Land method, like other methods, reverts the ordinary, deluded mind to the Self-Nature (Buddha-nature).In the process, wisdom and Buddhahood are eventually attained.

This is exemplified by the following advice of the eminent Zen master Chu Hung (Jap. Shuko), one of the three “Dragon-Elephants” of 16th-17th century China:

Right now you simply must recite the buddha-name (Namu-Amida-Butsu) with purity and illumination.
Purity means reciting the buddha-name without any other thoughts. Illumination means reflecting back as you recite the buddha-name. Purity is sammata, “stopping.” Illumination is vipasyana, “observing.” Unify your
mindfulness of buddha through buddha-name recitation, and stopping and observing are both present.

(J.C. Cleary, Pure Land, Pure Mind.)

As stated in Buddhism of Wisdom and Faith (Section 18)

If we have the roots and the temperament of Mahayana followers, we should naturally understand that the goal of Buddha Recitation is to achieve Buddhahood…
Why is it that the goal of Buddha Recitation is to become a Buddha? It is because, as we begin reciting, the past, present and future have lost their distinction, marks exist but they have been left behind, form is emptiness, thought is the same as No-Thought, the realm of the Original Nature “apart from thought” of the Tathagata has been penetrated. This state is Buddhahood; what else could it be?

This high-level form of Pure Land is practiced by those of deep spiritual capacities: “when the mind is pure, the Buddha land is pure … to recite the Buddha’s name is to recite the Mind.” Thus, at the advanced level, Pure Land is
Zen, Zen is Pure Land.10

In its totality, Pure Land reflects the highest teaching of Buddhism as expressed in the Avatamsaka Sutra: mutual identity and interpenetration, the simplest method contains the ultimate and the ultimate is found in the simplest.11
https://www.buddhanet.net/pdf_file/yin_kuang.pdf

Nagarjuna: The First Patriarch of Pure Land Bu…

matthewsatori:

Nagarjuna is venerated by all sects and schools of Mahayana Buddhism for his ancient commentaries on the Buddha’s teachings, so such so that he’s often referred to as the Second Buddha.

Nagarjuna is perhaps most well-known for his distinction between relative truth and Ultimate Truth, which he likened to a finger pointing at the moon:

The highest truth (paramarthasatya) is beyond words or description, i.e. beyond the reach of conceptual understanding and yet it was presented by the Buddha Shakyamuni as his teaching so that our conceptual understanding could grasp it. It is in this sense that the teaching is regarded as an ‘expedient means’ (upaya), often likened to a finger pointing to the moon. What is crucial about this metaphor is that the finger and the moon are mutually reflexive. Without the finger, the moon would not be known. Without the moon, there would be no need for the finger pointing to it. 
http://www.nembutsu.info/tokusuny.htm

Nagarjuna was also the first patriarch of Pure Land Buddhism, the first commentator to endorse Pure Land practice as the easy path to Buddhahood: 

The bodhisattva Nagarjuna emphasizes this core teaching of Pure Land Buddhism, saying in Chapter on the Easy Path, “Amitabha’s Fundamental Vow is as follows: If anyone invokes me, recites my name (Namu-Amida-Butsu), and takes Refuge in me, he will instantly enter the state of assurance (of future Buddhahood), and subsequently attain the highest perfect enlightenment. For that reason, you should always be mindful of him.”
https://www.buddhistdoor.net/features/the-lifeline-of-pure-land-buddhism

From the perspective of two-truths doctrine, the stories of Amida in the Pure Land scriptures and even the recitation of his name are a relative truth, a symbolic expression for enabling us to realize the Ultimate Truth of Dharma-body:

Buddha exists in many forms, but all share the same “body of reality,” the same Dharmakaya, which is formless, omnipresent, all-pervading, indescribable, infinite–the everywhere-equal essence of all things, the one reality within-and-beyond all appearances.

Dharmakaya Buddha is utterly abstract and in fact inconceivable, so buddha takes on particular forms to communicate with living beings by coming within their range of perception. For most people, this is the only way that buddha can become comprehensible and of practical use. The particular embodiments of buddha, known as Nirmanakaya, are supreme examples of compassionate skill-in-means (upaya).
http://amtb.co.uk/pure-land-buddhism/

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From the perspective of two-truths doctrine, the stories of Amida in the Pure Land scriptures and even the recitation of his name are a relative truth, a symbolic expression for enabling us to realize the Ultimate Truth of Dharma-body…

The Ultimate Truth of Amida Buddha

If Amida turned out to not be a historical Buddha, Pure Land Buddhists would have lost nothing.

Amida is, on the level of ultimate truth, the formless reality of Suchness itself, rather than a literal Buddha.

This is from The Awakening of Faith in the Mahayana:

Any corporeal aspects [such as the marks of the Buddha] that are visible are magic-like products of Suchness manifested in accordance with the mentality of men in defilement. It is not, however, that these corporeal aspects which result from the suprarational functions of wisdom are of the nature of nonemptiness [i.e., substantial]; for wisdom has no aspects that can be perceived.
http://www.thezensite.com/ZenTeachings/Translations/Awakening_of_faith.html

Please compare this to the following words of Shinran:

Supreme Buddha is formless, and because of being formless is called jinen (Suchness). Buddha, when appearing with form, is not called supreme nirvana. In order to make it known that supreme Buddha is formless, the name Amida Buddha is expressly used; so I have been taught. Amida Buddha fulfills the purpose of making us know the significance of jinen.
http://shinranworks.com/letters/lamp-for-the-latter-ages/5-2/

If the virgin birth and the physical resurrection of Christ turned out to be untrue historically, then traditional Christianity would be refuted.

Mahayana Buddhism, however, isn’t so dependent on literal historicity, due to such concepts as upaya:

The highest truth (paramarthasatya) is beyond words or description, i.e. beyond the reach of conceptual understanding and yet it was presented by the Buddha Shakyamuni as his teaching so that our conceptual understanding could grasp it. It is in this sense that the teaching is regarded as an ‘expedient means’ (upaya), often likened to a finger pointing to the moon. What is crucial about this metaphor is that the finger and the moon are mutually reflexive. Without the finger, the moon would not be known. Without the moon, there would be no need for the finger pointing to it.
http://www.nembutsu.info/tokusuny.htm 

Atheism and Devotion in Buddhism

matthewsatori:

Rather than a god, Amida symbolizes enlightenment itself (Dharma-body), the Ultimate Truth of all reality:

Buddhism is not about either believing or not believing in God or gods. Rather, the historical Buddha taught that believing in gods was not useful for those seeking to realize enlightenment…

No gods, no beliefs, yet Buddhism encourages devotion. How can that be?

The Buddha taught that the biggest barrier to realization is the notion that “I” am a permanent, integral, autonomous entity. It is by seeing through the delusion of ego that realization blooms. Devotion is an upaya for breaking the bonds of ego.

For this reason, the Buddha taught his disciples to cultivate devotional and reverential habits of mind. Thus, devotion is not a “corruption” of Buddhism, but an expression of it. Of course, devotion requires an object. 

To what is the Buddhist devoted? This is a question that may be clarified and re-clarified and answered in different ways at different times as one’s understanding of the teachings deepens.

If Buddha was not a god, why bow to Buddha-figures? One might bow just to show gratitude for the Buddha’s life and practice. But the Buddha figure also represents enlightenment itself and the unconditioned true nature of all things.

In the Zen monastery where I first learned about Buddhism, the monks liked to point to the Buddha representation on the altar and say, “That’s you up there. When you bow, you are bowing to yourself.“ 

What did they mean? How do you understand it? Who are you? Where do you find the self? Working with those questions is not a corruption of Buddhism; it is Buddhism. For more discussion of this kind of devotion, see the essay ”Devotion in Buddhism“ by Nyanaponika Thera.
https://www.thoughtco.com/atheism-and-devotion-in-buddhism-449718

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NAMU-AMIDA-BUTSU

If Buddha was not a god, why bow to Buddha-figures? One might bow just to show gratitude for the Buddha’s life and practice. But the Buddha figure also represents enlightenment itself and the unconditioned true nature of all things…

Alan Watts on Pure Land Buddhism

matthewsatori:

Popularly, Amitabha is somebody else. He is some great compassionate being who looks after you. Esoterically, Amitabha is your own nature; Amitabha is your real self, the inmost boundless light that is the root and ground of your own consciousness. 

You don’t need to do anything to be that. You are that, and saying Nembutsu (NAMU-AMIDA-BUTSU) is simply a symbolical way of pointing out that you don’t have to become this, because you are it.

And Nembutsu, therefore, in its deeper side builds up a special kind of sage, which they called myoko-nin. Myoko-nin in Japanese means “a marvelous fine man,” but the myoko-nin is a special type of personality who corresponds in the West to the holy fool in Russian spirituality, or to something like the Franciscan in Catholic spirituality. I will tell you some myoko-nin stories because that is the best way to indicate their character. 

One day a myoko-nin was traveling and he stopped in a Buddhist temple overnight. He went up to the sanctuary where they have big cushions for the priests to sit on, and he arranged the cushions in a pile on the floor and went to sleep on them. In the morning the priest came in and saw the tramp sleeping and said, “What are you doing here desecrating the sanctuary by sleeping on the cushions and so on, right in front of the altar?” And the myoko-nin looked at him in astonishment and said, “Why, you must be a stranger here, you can’t belong to the family.”

In Japanese, when you want to say that a thing is just the way it is, you call it sonomama. There is a haiku poem that says, “Weeds in the rice field, cut them down, sonomama, fertilizer.” Cut the weeds, leave them exactly where they are, and they become fertilizer, or sonomama. And sonomama means “reality,” “just the way it is,” “just like that.“ 

Now, there is a parallel expression, konomama. Konomama means "I, just as I am.” just little me, like that, with no frills, no pretense, except that I naturally have some pretense. That is part of konomama. The myoko-nin is the man who realizes that “I, konomama-just as I am-am Buddha, delivered by Amitabha because Amitabha is my real nature." 

If you really know that, that makes you a myoko-nin, but be aware of the fact that you could entirely miss the point and become a monkey instead by saying, "I’m all right just as I am, and therefore I’m going to rub it in-I’m going to be going around parading my unregenerate nature, because this is Buddha, too.” The fellow who does that doesn’t really know that it’s okay. He’s doing too much, and he is coming on too strong. The other people, who are always beating themselves, are making the opposite error. 

The Middle Way, right down the center, is where you don’t have to do a thing to justify yourself, and you don’t have to justify not justifying yourself. So, there is something quite fascinating and tricky in this doctrine of the great bodhisattva Amitabha, who saves you just as you are, who delivers you from bondage just as you are. 

You only have to say “NAMU-AMIDA-BUTSU.“

https://terebess.hu/english/watts5.html

You don’t need to do anything to be that. You are that, and saying Nembutsu (NAMU-AMIDA-BUTSU) is simply a symbolical way of pointing out that you don’t have to become this, because you are it…