Category: japan

Is the Pure Land Here & Now?

In terms of whether the Pure Land is after death or here and now, these words of the Buddha are helpful:

‘With his heart thus unhostile and unafflicted by ill will, thus
undefiled and unified, a noble disciple here and now acquires these
four comforts. He thinks: ‘If there is another world and there is fruit
and ripening of actions well done and ill done, then it is possible that
on the dissolution of the body, after death, I might be reborn in a
heavenly world.’ This is the first comfort acquired. ‘But if there is no
other world and there is no fruit and ripening of actions well done
and ill done, then here and now in this life I shall be free from hostility,
affliction and anxiety, and I shall live happily.’

https://books.google.com/books?id=7AO9OLr2oJEC&printsec=frontcover#v=onepage&q&f=false

Seeking to live in the Pure Land here and now, through the dual practice of Ch’an (Zen) and Pure Land, need not deny the existence of a Pure Land after death.

Yet if our true nature is the same as Amida Buddha’s, then we can here and now be free from hostility, affliction and anxiety through the mindful recitation of Amida’s name. 

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NAMU-AMIDA-BUTSU

Zen & Pure Land

matthewsatori:

The relationship with Chinese “Chan” Buddhism (Zen) is long and complicated, but by the time of the Ming Dynasty (明朝), Chan and Pure Land Buddhism slowly converged into two sides of the same “Chinese Buddhism”. This in turn influenced China’s neighbors of Korea and Vietnam.

To illustrate this point, Buddhist authors in late-medieval China and Vietnam frequently describe Pure Land Buddhism’s practice of reciting the Buddha’s name in terms of three levels:

Mundane, regular level: reciting the Buddha’s name to achieve rebirth in the Pure Land.
Middle-level: reciting the Buddha’s name to “bring out” the Buddha within the practitioner.
High-level: reciting the Buddha’s name with the understanding that there is no Buddha outside the mind.

Examples of these teachings include Tue Trung (Tuệ Trung Thượng Sĩ) in Vietnam and Ou-I in China.

The point is that the “ultimate” teaching of Pure Land Buddhism has nothing to do with an external refuge, but that the Pure Land is the mind itself, and is synonymous with Chan (Zen) teachings in Chinese Buddhism.
https://klingonbuddhist.wordpress.com/2014/02/16/a-look-at-chinese-pure-land-buddhism/

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NAMU-AMIDA-BUTSU

High-level: reciting the Buddha’s name with the understanding that there is no Buddha outside the mind.

The Combined Practice of Zen & Pure Land

The relationship with Chinese “Chan” Buddhism (Zen) is long and complicated, but by the time of the Ming Dynasty (明朝), Chan and Pure Land Buddhism slowly converged into two sides of the same “Chinese Buddhism”. This in turn influenced China’s neighbors of Korea and Vietnam.

To illustrate this point, Buddhist authors in late-medieval China and Vietnam frequently describe Pure Land Buddhism’s practice of reciting the Buddha’s name in terms of three levels:

Mundane, regular level: reciting the Buddha’s name to achieve rebirth in the Pure Land.
Middle-level: reciting the Buddha’s name to “bring out” the Buddha within the practitioner.
High-level: reciting the Buddha’s name with the understanding that there is no Buddha outside the mind.

Examples of these teachings include Tue Trung (Tuệ Trung Thượng Sĩ) in Vietnam and Ou-I in China.

The point is that the “ultimate” teaching of Pure Land Buddhism has nothing to do with an external refuge, but that the Pure Land is the mind itself, and is synonymous with Chan (Zen) teachings in Chinese Buddhism.
https://klingonbuddhist.wordpress.com/2014/02/16/a-look-at-chinese-pure-land-buddhism/

NAMU-AMIDA-BUTSU

The Buddha’s Last Words

matthewsatori:

The Buddha’s last words were to be a lamp unto yourself, seeking no external refuge. How do we square this with the Nembutsu, since Namu-Amida-Butsu means “I take refuge in Amida Buddha”? 

The name Amida means “boundless light.” Amida, rather than an external refuge, is the boundless light of our own Buddha-nature. In reciting the Nembutsu, we awaken to the True Self, the lamp within. 

Rather than a literal flesh and blood man who attained Buddhahood ten kalpas ago, billions of Buddha-lands to the west, Amida is Dharma-body itself, the Buddha-nature in all things and beings. 

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NAMU-AMIDA-BUTSU

The name Amida means “boundless light.” Amida, rather than an external refuge, is the boundless light of our own Buddha-nature. In reciting the Nembutsu, we awaken to the True Self, the lamp within.

Is Amida Buddha a God?

matthewsatori:

Amida Buddha is not a theistic god. In reciting the name of Amida Buddha, and bowing to his statue on the altar, we seek to realize Amida as our true Buddha-self: 

So the question becomes, “what does the statue of Buddha represent?” Buddhism is a non-theistic religion, so, by definition, idolatry can’t be an issue here. 

In Zen, we usually say that we are bowing to our own Buddha Nature, that higher aspect of ourselves which we have in common with all other beings. 

When we bow, we are reminding ourselves of our inborn enlightenment, which our greed, hate, and delusion keep us from realizing, and making a renewed commitment to become what we truly are. 
http://www.chzc.org/bowing.htm 

Amida Buddha is a mirror into our own Buddha-nature:

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NAMU-AMIDA-BUTSU

In Zen, we usually say that we are bowing to our own Buddha Nature, that higher aspect of ourselves which we have in common with all other beings.

Is Amida Buddha a God?

Amida Buddha is not a theistic god. In reciting the name of Amida Buddha, and bowing to his statue on the altar, we seek to realize Amida as our true Buddha-self: 

So the question becomes, “what does the statue of Buddha represent?” Buddhism is a non-theistic religion, so, by definition, idolatry can’t be an issue here. 

In Zen, we usually say that we are bowing to our own Buddha Nature, that higher aspect of ourselves which we have in common with all other beings. 

When we bow, we are reminding ourselves of our inborn enlightenment, which our greed, hate, and delusion keep us from realizing, and making a renewed commitment to become what we truly are. 
http://www.chzc.org/bowing.htm 

Amida Buddha is a mirror into our own Buddha-nature:

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NAMU-AMIDA-BUTSU

February 15th is Nirvana Day, when the Buddha …

February 15th is Nirvana Day, when the Buddha passed away into final Nirvana, transcending all human limitations.

Nirvana Day 2018: why millions of Buddhists wi…

Nirvana Day 2018: why millions of Buddhists will be meditating today:

February 15th is Nirvana Day, when the Buddha passed away into final Nirvana. 

It is a time to reflect on the impermanence of life, and on why the Buddha appeared in the world. 

The Pure Land Within Ourselves

From the time of Sakyamuni Buddha it was said that Buddhahood cannot be created by practice. This was especially emphasized by the Sixth Patriarch, Hui-Neng. However, practice will help you to discover the innate Buddha nature.

Generally, people think of vexations as something inside that have to be destroyed. They think of the Buddha mind as something outside, beyond their reach, that has to be grasped. The constant effort to destroy vexations and grasp the Buddha mind is very burdensome.

Chinese Buddhists have an expression: “In life you don’t practice yet on your death bed you would seize the Buddha’s foot.“ In other words, at the last minute, such people are afraid they may drop down into the hells and thus implore the Buddha to take them up to the Pure Land. Their attitude shows that they consider the hells and the Pure Land to be external realms. In reality, all realms lie within ourselves. 

But it is precisely the greed of someone who wants the Buddha to save him that prevents him from being reborn in the Pure Land. This is because whatever you grasp is false. If you were to succeed in grabbing the Buddha’s foot and being transported to the Pure Land, it would turn out to be illusory. 

The true Pure Land is not located in any particular place and the true Buddha is formless. A Buddha with a form is just a single manifestation of Buddha, a transformation body. Thus you should not be greedy and seek enlightenment without, or be disgusted with vexations within. If you neither desire nor reject anything, you will feel at ease and joyful.
https://terebess.hu/english/hsin3.html#4

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NAMU-AMIDA-BUTSU

Buddhism is not idolatry…

matthewsatori:

If the Buddha is not a god, why do Buddhists engage in devotional practices, such as reciting a Buddha’s name or bowing to statues of a Buddha? Please consider the following words from Master Chin Kung… 

Each statue serves to inspire wisdom and awakening in each of us. They also represent certain aspects of Buddhism, which remind practitioners of the particular topic of teaching. 

For example, Guan Yin Bodhisattva, the most popular Bodhisattva in China, represents Infinite Compassion. When we see this statue, it reminds us to apply compassion when dealing with the world, its people and surroundings. 

However, people nowadays worship Guan Yin Bodhisattva as a god and pray for the relief of suffering and to eliminate obstacles. This is a superstitious view and misconception because people forget the fact that the statues are expressions of concepts in Buddhism. 

In the center of the main cultivation hall, there are three statues, one Buddha and two Bodhisattvas. Buddha represents the true nature of the universe and human life, which is called “Buddha nature” or true mind. “Buddha” is translated from Sanskrit, and means someone who is totally enlightened. 

The Buddha statue represents our original enlightenment and the Bodhisattvas statues represent the application of our original enlightened mind. 

All the representations and applications are infinite and can be classified into two categories: wisdom and practice. For example, the Pure Land School pays respect to the Buddha and two Bodhisattvas of the Western Paradise. Amitabha Buddha (Infinite Life and Infinite Light) represents the infinite enlightenment that is an intrinsic part of our nature. Bodhisattvas Guan Yin (Avalokiteshvara) and Da Shi Zhi (Great Strength or Mahasthamaprapta) respectively portray compassion with kindness and great wisdom. 

We should be compassionate and kind toward all beings. Our thoughts, views and behavior should be rational rather than emotional, for emotional behavior spells trouble. Therefore, we should not treat the Buddha and Bodhisattvas as gods. But will they help us? 

Yes, they will by providing us with the knowledge of how to protect ourselves from delusion, thereby obtaining release from suffering. Once we have learned the background of the artistic components in Buddhist architecture, music and statues, we will gain an enriched experience when paying a visit to a traditional Buddhist temple.

However, nowadays many people do not understand the meaning and teachings of Buddhism. They mistake the multi-representations of Bodhisattvas as a sign of polytheism. What people fail to understand is the fact that the statues in Buddhism are teaching aids and not statues of gods. 

All Buddhas and Bodhisattvas represent our nature and cultivation of virtue. We have infinite capabilities within our true nature that cannot be expressed by just one single term. Therefore, we have multiple representations; for instance, a capable person today may have many titles on his/her business cards to show his/her positions and accomplishments. 

The Buddha and Bodhisattvas are actually representations of the nature within ourselves: Buddha, as in our true nature of mind, and the Bodhisattvas, in our virtue of cultivation. We all possess these qualities. Not until we come to realize the meaning of Buddhist symbolism, will we appreciate the sophistication and completeness of its education.
http://www.buddhanet.net/budasedu.htm

As

Master Chin Kung

explains above, all the celestial Buddhas and Boddhisattvas are really symbolic of enlightenment itself, which is our true, essential nature when the ego-self is peeled away. 

In bowing and expressing devotion to Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, like when we recite the name of Amida Buddha, we are humbling the ego-self to let our Buddha-self shine through. 

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As Master Chin Kung explains above, all the celestial Buddhas and Boddhisattvas are really symbolic of enlightenment itself, which is our true, essential nature when the ego-self is peeled away.