Category: japanese

Edicts of Ashoka – Dhamma Wiki

Edicts of Ashoka – Dhamma Wiki:

The Edicts of Ashoka are a collection of 33 inscriptions on the Pillars of Ashoka, as well as boulders and cave walls, made by the Emperor Ashoka of the Mauryan dynasty during his reign from 272 to 231 BC. 

These inscriptions are dispersed throughout the areas of modern-day Pakistan and northern India, and represent the first tangible evidence of Buddhism

The edicts describe in detail the first wide expansion of Buddhism through the sponsorship of one of the most powerful kings of Indian history. According to the edicts, the extent of Buddhist proselytism during this period reached as far as the Mediterranean, and many Buddhist monuments were created…

The inscriptions revolve around a few repetitive themes: Ashoka’s conversion to Buddhism, the description of his efforts to spread Buddhism, his moral and religious precepts, and his social and animal welfare programs.

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Historical Evidence for the Buddha

matthewsatori:

Gautama the Buddha was not a mythical figure but an actual, historical personality who introduced the religion known today as Buddhism. Evidence to prove the existence of this great religious Teacher are to be found in the following facts:

The testimonies of those who knew Him personally. These testimonies were recorded in the rock-inscriptions, pillars and pagodas made in His honour. These testimonies and monuments to His memory were created by kings and others who were near enough to His time to be able to verify the story of His life.

The discovery of places and the remains of buildings that were mentioned in the narrative of His time.

The Sangha, the holy order which He founded, has had an unbroken existence to the present day. The Sangha possessed the facts of His life and Teachings which have been transmitted from generation to generation in various parts of the world.

The fact that in the very year of His death, and at various times subsequently, conventions and councils of the Sangha were held for the verification of the actual Teachings of the Founder. These verified Teachings have been passed on from teacher to pupil from His time to the present day.

After His passing away, His body was cremated and the bodily relics were divided among eight kingdoms in India. Each king built a pagoda to contain his portion of the relics. The portion given to King Ajatasatthu was enshrined by him in a pagoda at Rajagriha. Less than two centuries later, Emperor Asoka took the relics and distributed them throughout his empire. The inscriptions enshrined in this and other pagodas confirmed that those were the relics of Gautama the Buddha.

‘The Mahavansa’, the best and authentic ancient history known to us gives detailed particulars of life as well as details of the life of Emperor Asoka and all other sovereigns related to Buddhist history. Indian history has also given a prominent place to the Buddha’s life, activities, Buddhist traditions and customs.

The records which we can find in the Buddhist countries where people received Buddhism a few hundred years after the Buddha’s passing away such as Sri Lanka, Burma, China, Tibet, Nepal, Korea, Mongolia, Japan, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos show unbroken historical, cultural, religious, literary and traditional evidence that there was religious Teacher in India known as Gautama the Buddha.

The Tripitaka, an unbroken record of His 45 years of Teaching is more than sufficient to prove that the Buddha really lived in the world.

The accuracy and authenticity of the Buddhist texts is supported by the fact that they provide information for historians to write Indian history during the 5thand 6th century B.C. The texts, which represent the earliest reliable written records in India, provide a profound insight into the socio-economic, cultural and political environment and conditions during the Buddha’s lifetime as well as into the lives of His contemporaries, such as King Bimbisara.
Source: http://www.budsas.org/ebud/whatbudbeliev/17.htm

The historical evidence for the Buddha is arguably superior to the evidence for Christianity:

The historical evidence for the Buddha is arguably superior to the evidence for Christianity…

Temple Attendance in Buddhism

I visit a Buddhist temple about twice a month. In Japan, most Buddhists only visit temples on special occasions like holidays, weddings, and funerals. It’s common for Japanese Buddhists to have butsudans for home practice: 
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Butsudan

While Jodo Shinshu is the largest sect in Japan, Shinran never intended on founding an official, distinct sect of Buddhism. In the words of Shinran, he never had a single disciple, since Amida Buddha was always the focus.

The only required Jodo Shinshu practice is recitation of the Nembutsu, in gratitude for our future rebirth into the Pure Land, the realm of Nirvana. Jodo Shinshu Buddhists first met in each other’s homes, rather than in temples.

matthewsatori: One’s own relationship with A…

matthewsatori:

One’s own relationship with Amida Buddha is between that person and The Buddha of Infinite Life and Light. 

NO ONE ELSE can ultimately decide whether or not your faith relationship with Amida Buddha is valid. 

ONLY Amida can confirm or deny the validity of your Shinjin (sincere trust in Amida Buddha).

Anthony Bourdain Dead at 61

Anthony Bourdain was not a Buddhist, yet he was respectful of every Buddhist country and culture he visited, while shedding light on all of them for a Western audience.

The Buddhism of Bourdain’s friend and TV partner Eric Ripert was also featured on the show:
https://www.lionsroar.com/eric-ripert-anthony-bourdain/

Bourdain spent his final days filming again with Ripert. 

May his death be a reminder of life’s impermanence, that we may be grateful for this precious human birth.

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matthewsatori: One’s own relationship with A…

matthewsatori:

One’s own relationship with Amida Buddha is between that person and The Buddha of Infinite Life and Light. 

NO ONE ELSE can ultimately decide whether or not your faith relationship with Amida Buddha is valid. 

ONLY Amida can confirm or deny the validity of your Shinjin (sincere trust in Amida Buddha).

One’s own relationship with Amida Budd…

One’s own relationship with Amida Buddha is between that person and The Buddha of Infinite Life and Light. 

NO ONE ELSE can ultimately decide whether or not your faith relationship with Amida Buddha is valid. 

ONLY Amida can confirm or deny the validity of your Shinjin (sincere trust in Amida Buddha).

Significance of the Nembutsu

Significance of the Nembutsu:

Shinran says: “Amida’s Original Vow was meant for us to become the Supreme Buddha. The Supreme Buddha has no form. Because it has no form, it is called ‘Suchness’. If it were shown as having forms, it could not be called the ‘Supreme Nirvana’ either. I learned from my master that Amida Buddha is so called only so as to make known to us its formlessness. The Name of Amida Buddha is only a skilful means (upaya) to make Suchness known to us.”

Consequently, the name of Amida itself shows that it is already a limited, relative Buddha, for naming something inevitably qualifies it. Therefore, when we express in words the Infinite Buddha as Amida it is only the Buddha objectified on the level of the secondary truth. Therefore Shinran called Amida ‘Dharmakaya as Upaya’. That which is pointed at with the name of Amida is, needless to say, unnamable, inexpressible, for it is Suchness itself…

The fact that the True Buddha and His Land (Nirvana) is acintya (‘unthinkable’) does not mean that they are shrouded in mystery. Rather they are, to enlightened eyes, most self evident. Acintya means that reality is so self evident that it is not graspable or expressible through limiting human concepts, or else it means that it is not possible to express reality in finite terms.

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matthewsatori: In the words of Shinran Shonin,…

matthewsatori:

In the words of Shinran Shonin, “the Supreme Buddha is formless,” just as Amida Buddha “attained Buddhahood in the infinite past.” 

This is because Shinran went beyond the sutras’ literal descriptions of Amida as a flesh and blood Buddha from ten kalpas (eons) ago, galaxies away: 

“It is taught that ten kalpas have now passed since Amida attained Buddhahood, but he seems a Buddha more ancient than kalpas countless as particles.”
http://www.georgegatenby.id.au/jw55.htm

Is the Pure Land a Buddhist heaven?

matthewsatori:

The popular conception of the Pure Land as a Buddhist heaven, where we’ll someday meet our deceased relatives, has perhaps more to do with Chinese ancestor worship, with its emphasis on filial piety, than with Buddhism itself.  

Shinran, like Tan-luan and Shandao, understood the Pure Land as the formless realm of Nirvana, rather than a heaven, and therefore referred to it as “the birth of no-birth,” just as the Buddha described Nirvana as “the unborn.”

Buddhism was not immediately accepted in China, because the doctrines of non-self, rebirth, and Nirvana challenged traditional Chinese beliefs about the spirits of dead relatives, that good deeds should be done in their honor. 

If there is no permanent, unchanging self, but instead a stream of consciousness from one lifetime to the next, what good is there in dedicating merit to one’s ancestors? The answer to this question might be unsettling for many.

Chinese folk religion therefore came to produce an image of the Pure Land as a Confucian-like and Taoist-like paradise, as an accommodation of Buddhism to traditional Chinese values and customs. 

Shinran said that he never recited the Nembutsu out of filial piety. Nonetheless, Shinran had compassionate understanding for those who, however misguided, clung to the notion of a permanent self that will meet our deceased ancestors.

As the realm of Nirvana, the true Pure Land is inconceivable. The heaven-like language we use to describe it is a finger pointing to the moon, making the Ultimate Truth accessible to ordinary beings like ourselves:

Meaning itself is beyond debate of such matters as like against dislike, evil against virtue, falsity against truth. Hence, words may indeed have meaning, but the meaning is not the words. Consider, for example, a person instructing us by pointing to the moon with his finger. The person would say, ‘I am pointing to the moon with my finger in order to show it to you. Why do you look at my finger and not the moon?’ Similarly, words are the finger pointing to the meaning; they are not the meaning itself. Hence, do not rely upon words.
http://shinranworks.com/the-major-expositions/chapter-on-transformed-buddha-bodies-and-lands/

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NAMU-AMIDA-BUTSU

As the realm of Nirvana, the true Pure Land is inconceivable. The heaven-like language we use to describe it is a finger pointing to the moon, making the Ultimate Truth accessible to ordinary beings like ourselves…