Shantideva and Other Power

Shantideva and Other Power

Postby Illuminaughty » Tue Nov 13, 2012 11:55 pm

Hey all, I'm new here. Just wanted to share a quote from the great Madhyamika philosopher poet Shantideva that seems to be a beautiful expression of other power. It reminded me of the teachings of Shinran.

As when a flash of lightening rends the night,
And in its glare shows all the dark black clouds had hid,
Likewise rarely, through the Buddhas power,
Virtous thoughts rise, brief and transient, in this world.
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Re: Shantideva and Other Power

Postby Zenshin 善心 » Wed Nov 14, 2012 12:30 am

I love Shantideva! thanks for sharing (oh, and welcome bty!) It reminds me of Shinran Shonin's words from the Shoshinge for some reason -

Amida Buddha is the sun, illuminating all,
And has already broken through the darkness of our ignorance.
Still the clouds and mists of greed and desire, anger and hatred,
Cover as always the sky of pure shinjin.

But even when the sun, moon, and stars in their constellations
Are veiled by smoke, mist, clouds, or fog,
Beneath mist and cloud there is brightness, not dark.
I realize now that Amida's beneficent light surpasses even sun and moon.
All beings since their first aspiration till the attainment of Buddhahood are sheltered under the guardianship of Buddhas and Bodhisattvas who, responding to the requirements of the occasion, transform themselves and assume the actual forms of personality.

Thus for the sake of all beings Buddhas and Bodhisattvas become sometimes their parents, sometimes their wives and children, sometimes their kinsmen, sometimes their servants, sometimes their friends, sometimes their enemies, sometimes reveal themselves as devas or in some other forms.


- Ashvaghosa, The Awakening of Faith

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Re: Shantideva and Other Power

Postby Illuminaughty » Wed Nov 14, 2012 12:30 am

Something as simple and seemingly mundane as a single virtuous thought is brought about by the power of the Buddha. If even something that basic requires the power of Buddha it shows how dependent we are on Other Power. I liked the symbolism of the lightning strike in the black clouds too. I take the clouds to be the blind passions. They aren't destroyed when the lighting strike happens but it still allows us to see the things that were previously hidden. In fact it would allow us to see just how black and ominous the clouds are and would cause us to lean even more on the power of Buddha.

A lot of the books I've read on Pure Land, especially the teaching of Shinran, stress what a break those teachings were with traditional Buddhism but the more I read the more I find that nearly all his teachings are already in the older writings in seed form just waiting to be taken to their logical conclusions.
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Re: Shantideva and Other Power

Postby Illuminaughty » Wed Nov 14, 2012 12:33 am

dumbbombu wrote:I love Shantideva! thanks for sharing (oh, and welcome bty!) It reminds me of Shinran Shonin's words from the Shoshinge for some reason -

Amida Buddha is the sun, illuminating all,
And has already broken through the darkness of our ignorance.
Still the clouds and mists of greed and desire, anger and hatred,
Cover as always the sky of pure shinjin.


But even when the sun, moon, and stars in their constellations
Are veiled by smoke, mist, clouds, or fog,
Beneath mist and cloud there is brightness, not dark.
I realize now that Amida's beneficent light surpasses even sun and moon.


Hello. The fact that the clouds are still there when the lighting strike happens reminded me of that aspect of Shinrans teaching as well (the part I bolded). Thanks for posting that.
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