This is the Pure Land

Discussion in 'Buddhism' started by Tariki, Feb 19, 2007.

  1. Tariki

    Tariki New Member

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    Eckhart:- They do Him wrong who take God in just one particular way;they have the way rather than god.

    Or, as per a comment on the Dhammapada by Thomas Cleary, speaking of a "classical zen text" of a path that....."no celestial beings can see to strew flowers upon, and no demons or outsiders can see to spy upon."

    However, just linking this with the Merton thread, and of Merton's early - in his monastic life - words.....But it certainly is a wonderful thing to wake up suddenly in the solitude of the woods and look up at the sky and see the utter nonsense of everything, including all the solemn stuff given out by professional asses about the spiritual life: and simply to burst out laughing, and laugh and laugh, with the sky and the trees because God is not in words, and not in systems, and not in liturgical movements, and not in "contemplation" with a big C, or in asceticism or in anything like that, not even in the apostolate. Certainly not in books. I can go on writing them, for all that, but one might as well make paper airplanes out of the whole lot.

    ....and of his words much later in his monastic life quoted by Snoopy/bhaktajan.....No writing on the solitary, meditative dimensions of life can say anything that has not already been said better by the wind in the pine trees. These pages seek nothing more than to echo the silence and peace that is “heard” when the rain wanders freely among the hills and forests. . . .

    Seemingly no movement at all, yet in between them, in Merton's unfolding life, a deep commitment to the Monastic Vows of Obedience, and obedience to a Faith and a Tradition that Merton took seriously. As is evident from his Journals.

    (And, seattlegirl, sorry, I have no comprehension at all of exactly what the post of etu malku is alluding to!)
     
  2. I was thinking of starting a Pure Land thread, but found this thread which I opened in my previous "incarnation" as Tariki. So I post here to bring it back to the top for anyone interested.
     
  3. I see one explanation of the Pure Land not on the thread are some words from Alfred Bloom, a westerner who has been much involved in making the Pure Land way (particularly that expounded by Shinran) better known. Here it is, another cut and paste job.....


    According to Shinran, salvation is entirely a matter of the Vow (Grace). It does not hang on events and conditions of time and space, or the imposition of man and society. Salvation cannot rest on chance factors. Shinran makes it clear that the reality of Grace requires nothing from the side of man, including the act of faith, as the causal basis for birth in the Pure Land. Otherwise the emphasis on the Vow (Grace) would be devoid of meaning and significance. Our residual karmic bondage may influence the point in our experience when we become aware of Amida's compassion, but it is not a factor in determining whether or not we actually receive that compassion.


    We are suggesting that from the standpoint of Grace (the Vow) all are equally saved even now, despite the presence or absence of the experience of faith itself. The reason for this is that salvation depends on Grace and not on any finite condition.



    Someone may ask then what is the point of being religious, if we are saved in any case? This is an important question. However, it reflects the virtually universal notion that religion is a means to an end. We get the benefit of salvation from being religious. For Shinran, however, religion becomes the way to express gratitude for the compassion that supports all our life. It is not a tool for ego advancement or gaining benefits.


    The point of being religious for Shinran is that when we come to have faith in the Original Vow (Grace) and live in its light, we truly become free to live a full and meaningful existence in this life.


    Shinran's perspective permits a person to see deeply into their life to detect the springs of compassion which sustains it; it allows them to participate and associate with all types of people despite their unattractiveness or difficulty because they understand the potentiality that works in their very being. In perceiving the compassion that embraces all life, the person of faith can themselves become an expression of that compassion touching the lives of others.


    Anyway, I shall leave it there.
     
  4. Thomas

    Thomas Super Moderator Staff Member

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    I would say that's a very Christian outlook ... or corresponds to how I understand Christianity ... and the question of why then live a 'religious life' is particularly relevant to the west at the moment ...
     
  5. Nicholas Weeks

    Nicholas Weeks Bodhicitta

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    Not getting as much attention, but the Tibetans also realize Dewachen, the Pure Land of Amitabha Buddha. This 2005 book by Tulku Thondup is a very inspiring guide to the Blissful Realm. He makes clear that even non-Buddhists can seek and find such a state of mind, after death.

    "If we cultivate the awareness of peace and joy, have positive perception, and strengthen these good habits in our mindstream, this awareness will transform our life and mental character. Unhappy situations will have little effect on us, and the strength of peace and joy will prevail. But if we don’t take advantage of our life right now, in the future we could fall into the misery of confusion, fear, and pain.

    To attain the goal, we must pursue a spiritual path. It can be any path that generates awareness of peace and joy, loosens the grip of our mental grasping, purifies emotional afflictions, and refines our words and deeds. This is the only way to change our negative habits into meritorious karmas and realize inner wisdom."

    page 41
     
  6. steveb1

    steveb1 New Member

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    About ten years ago I converted to Jodo Shinshu/Shin Buddhism. My karmic destiny is fully entrusted to Amida/Amitabha/Amitayus Buddha. No more striving for a salvation and an Enlightenment that I cannot procure by self power. No more failed attempts at meditation and good works, but only total reliance on the Buddha's merit and grace, the only practice being non-practice, namely, recitation of the Nembutsu: Namo Amida Butsu: I take refuge in Amida Buddha". An expression of gratitude, not a prayer, not a meditation. Simple thankfulness that the Buddha has sent his "raft from the Other Shore" to his adherents. Namo Amida Butsu!
     
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  7. Cino

    Cino Big Love! (Atheist mystic)

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    Welcome, @steveb1 ! Hope you like it here.
     
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  8. steveb1

    steveb1 New Member

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    Aw, how nice - thanks, Cino. I've only just begun, but this looks like a nice place for civil and informed discussion.
    :)
     
  9. Nicholas Weeks

    Nicholas Weeks Bodhicitta

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    PRAYER FOR REBIRTH IN SUKHAVATI

    by Manjushri via Je Tsongkhapa

    Your deeds exalted, you grant endless splendor to all. Once remembered, you cast out all fear of the Lord of Death. With constant love, you look on all beings as your children. Amitayus, Teacher of Gods and Men, I bow before you!

    Swayed by compassion, I write as best I can, a few prayerful words for birth in Sukhavati, land of bliss, often praised by the mighty Buddha as the highest of realms.

    All knowledge of right and wrong befogged by ignorance, all future life in higher realms murdered by the weapons of anger, lying chained by craving in the prison of samsara, I am carried helplessly into the ocean of existence by rivers of karma. There I am tossed by endless storms of aging, sickness, and unwanted sorrows, then thrown again into the jaws of that savage monster, the Lord of Death.

    Without protector and with anguished cries, I devoutly invoke, as witness to the yearnings of my mind, Amitabha, Leader, sole friend of the deprived. Also may powerful Bodhisattvas Avalokiteshvara and Vajrapani with their entourage, not forget their vows of supreme bodhicitta made over countless eons for our sakes. Like mighty Garudas swooping through the sky, they appear before me by their miraculous great compassion.

    When the energies of this life are released, may I clearly behold Amitabha encircled by his vast entourage and may my mind be filled with faith and compassion. Once the bardo visions have appeared, may I be shown the path by the eight bodhisattvas, and be born in Sukhavati. By manifestation may I become a spiritual guide for those in impure realms.
     

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