Sukhavati & Heaven: The Difference?

Sukhavati & Heaven: The Difference?

Postby plwk » Thu Dec 27, 2012 2:21 am

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Re: Sukhavati & Heaven: The Difference?

Postby Nosta » Thu Dec 27, 2012 2:46 am

I really enjoy listening to him :)

You can follow the link of the video on youtube, open the channel and acess lots of videos of Venerable Sheng-yen.
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Re: Sukhavati & Heaven: The Difference?

Postby zamotcr » Mon Jan 07, 2013 5:47 pm

Great video!

But still I can't get it. We talk about Pure Land beyond heavens, beyond Samsara and beyond rebirth, but still in existence in this physical world, just in another galaxy far far away? Heavens seems more realistic in the sense that we can't see them because they are more subtle, not of physical material like us.

I like the idea of Pure Land, but this is my big trouble with them :(
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Re: Sukhavati & Heaven: The Difference?

Postby Nosta » Mon Jan 07, 2013 11:18 pm

Pure Land, at the phenomenon level (I will not speak now at the noumenon level), is real.

By real here, I mean something you can experience fully as you experience your normal things now, while awake. Pure Land is real in the sense that you will feel things (objects, yourself, other beings, etc) there as you experience here: its something so real as real life, more "real" and vivid than a simple dream.

That doesnt mean that Pure Land is made of atoms like a rock, your hand or the sun. About that we cant be sure, but probably Pure Land is something more subtle, like the nature of light (so to say).

Heaven is also real, but in heaven there is suffering, even if at a subtle (and sometimes not perceivable) level. In heaven you will find the 3 marks of existence and you can back to lower levels of existence. In Pure Land thats impossible: you can only go up.
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Re: Sukhavati & Heaven: The Difference?

Postby Zenshin 善心 » Tue Jan 08, 2013 4:17 pm

zamotcr wrote:Great video!

But still I can't get it. We talk about Pure Land beyond heavens, beyond Samsara and beyond rebirth, but still in existence in this physical world, just in another galaxy far far away? Heavens seems more realistic in the sense that we can't see them because they are more subtle, not of physical material like us.

I like the idea of Pure Land, but this is my big trouble with them :(


hi zamotcr. i sympathise, because it is something i think many struggle with (myself included). part of the problem is, imo, this teaching is rooted in experience. the question becomes then, how to share in the experience? a good teacher and samgha are invaluable (i can not, speaking from my own experience, stress this enough). i've also found considering and reflecting on the Asvagosa quote (see sig) alongside the 17th vow, and considering Shan Tao's Parable of the White Path helps shed some light on the matter, especially if we consider each in relation to our own life.

Gassho,
Jon
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: Sukhavati & Heaven: The Difference?

Postby Nosta » Tue Jan 08, 2013 5:58 pm

I said that Pure Land is real in my last post, but many times i get "weak" and ask myself "Is it real? Can really exist an holy space, out of space and time, created by a Buddha, where anyone can achieve Budahood at his own pace?". Such place, incredibly beautiful, powerful and free, looks like an impossibility, specially for rational minds like mine, thats why I will read, sometimes, storys of sucessful rebirths on Pure Land. Thats why I get happy, when I have prophetic dreams after Nembutsu (dream with high detail,about things that will happen right in the next morning; its very rare to have such dreams) because they are like signals that there is a Pure Land.
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Re: Sukhavati & Heaven: The Difference?

Postby sinweiy » Wed Jan 09, 2013 1:31 am

Are the Mind-only Pure Land and the Self-nature Amitabha the same as or different from the Western Pure Land and Amitabha in the Pure Land?

It is because the Mind-only Pure Land exists that we are reborn in the Pure Land of the West. If the mind is not pure, it is impossible to achieve rebirth in the Pure Land. Even when those who have committed cardinal transgressions achieve rebirth through ten recitations, such rebirth is due to their reciting the Buddha’s name with a pure mind, thus eliciting a response from Amitabha Buddha. Ordinary people generally think that if the Pure Land is Mind-Only, then it does not exist. This is the understanding of demons and externalists. Such a deluded view, which appears correct but is in reality wrong, affects more than half of all people and causes practitioners to forfeit true benefits.

It is precisely because of the Self-Nature Amitabha that the practitioner must recite the name of Buddha Amitabha of the West seeking rebirth in the Pure Land – so as to achieve the Self-Nature Amitabha through gradual cultivation. If he merely grasps at the Self-Nature Amitabha but does not recite the name of Buddha Amitabha of the West, he cannot achieve immediate escape from Birth and death – not even if he is truly awakened, much less if (like most people who ask this question) he is pretentious and just indulges in empty talk without engaging in practice.

Thus the answer to your question [are the mind-Only Pure Land and the Self-Nature Amitabha the same as or different from the Western Pure Land and Amitabha in the Pure Land?] is that they are one yet two before Buddhahood is attained, two yet one after Buddhahood is attained.

Quoted from Pure-Land Zen ,Zen Pure-Land Letters from Patriarch Yin Kuang. Page 108 – 111


http://amtb.co.uk/pure-land-buddhism/pure-land
_/\_
Amituofo!

"Enlightenment is to turn around and see MY own mistake, Other's mistake is also my mistake. Others are right even if they are wrong. i'm wrong even if i'm right. " - Master Chin Kung
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Re: Sukhavati & Heaven: The Difference?

Postby sinweiy » Wed Jan 09, 2013 1:45 am

two yet one after Buddhahood is attained.


if one's mind is as pure as the Buddha, the place you are siting or located is Pureland. what the mind see outward is forever the pureland. there's no suffering, no duality, no what so ever as stated in Heart sutra. Everything that's positive is positive. Everything that's negative is also positive/pure. Everything is the way it's suppose to be. yet you see that all are pure. the table, the computer, the floor, the sky etc...all are pure!
this is what i understand by the stanza. Impermanence is Permanent. Affiliction is Bodhi. Existence/samsara Is Pureland/Nirvana. Two yet one.
_/\_
Amituofo!

"Enlightenment is to turn around and see MY own mistake, Other's mistake is also my mistake. Others are right even if they are wrong. i'm wrong even if i'm right. " - Master Chin Kung
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Re: Sukhavati & Heaven: The Difference?

Postby zamotcr » Thu Jan 10, 2013 6:30 pm

It is true to say that the Amitabha's Pure Land is pure, because the people born there, living there have pure minds, because they are pure?
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Re: Sukhavati & Heaven: The Difference?

Postby Son of Buddha » Thu Jan 10, 2013 8:15 pm

zamotcr wrote:It is true to say that the Amitabha's Pure Land is pure, because the people born there, living there have pure minds, because they are pure?



they are not enlightenened yet so ignorance toward enlightenment still resides in their mind.

but they dont have greed,anger hatered ect.
its the closest to pure an unenlightened being can be.
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Re: Sukhavati & Heaven: The Difference?

Postby zamotcr » Fri Jan 18, 2013 6:37 pm

I was thinking and studying a lot these days and I concluded that if the Pure Land is completely physical or is in another dimension, it doesn't change anything.
The thing is, Pure Land is real, wherever it is located, and we should strive to get there.

Another thing is, the original term for Pure Land is Buddhaksetra, which mean Buddhaland, which is very very long in extension, maybe our completely galaxy or more, this Saha World is a Buddhaland, the Buddhaland of Shakyamuni, so like this one, there are infinite ones in the cosmos.

And for the descriptions of the Pure Land, maybe they symbolize something pure, maybe it's not literal, maybe it alludes to something higher. What is gold or lapis lazuli to a enlightened being? Nothing! They are not attach to forms.

:namaste:
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Re: Sukhavati & Heaven: The Difference?

Postby PLB » Tue Feb 05, 2013 10:25 pm

I found this book quite clear about:
-the difference between Pure Land and heavens
-reasons to believe that Pure Land is a real place. Actually, the author says ' as real as the physical world you exist in now' :)

http://www.amazon.com/Sukhavati-Western-Paradise-Heaven-Taught/dp/9834087934/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1360099131&sr=8-3&keywords=sukhavati

I like a lot the video series of Master Sheng-yen, always clear. :smile:
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Re: Sukhavati & Heaven: The Difference?

Postby PorkChop » Thu Feb 07, 2013 8:53 pm

PLB wrote:I found this book quite clear about:
-the difference between Pure Land and heavens
-reasons to believe that Pure Land is a real place. Actually, the author says ' as real as the physical world you exist in now' :)

http://www.amazon.com/Sukhavati-Western-Paradise-Heaven-Taught/dp/9834087934/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1360099131&sr=8-3&keywords=sukhavati

I like a lot the video series of Master Sheng-yen, always clear. :smile:


Wow, I'm surprised to see Wong Kiew Kit writing a book on Buddhism.
I've known about him for a long, long time from the kung fu world, where his reputation is somewhat mixed, though mostly positive.
My curiosity's piqued, adding it to my wishlist in case it gets back in stock.
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Re: Sukhavati & Heaven: The Difference?

Postby sinweiy » Fri Feb 08, 2013 2:24 am

19. Comparison between heavens and the Pure Land

[Chinese Source Text]
佛告阿難。汝言是也。計如帝王。雖人中尊貴形色端正。比之轉輪聖王。甚爲鄙陋。猶彼乞人在帝王邊。轉輪聖王威相殊妙天下第一。比忉利天王。又復醜惡不得相喻。萬億倍也。假令天帝比第六天王。百千億倍不相類也。設第六天王。比無量壽佛國菩薩聲聞。光顏容色不相及逮。百千萬億不可計倍

The Buddha said to Ānanda, "What you say is true. Even though a king is the noblest of all men and has a regal countenance, if he is compared with a wheel-turning monarch, he will appear as base and inferior as a beggar beside a king. Likewise, however excellent and unrivaled the majestic appearance of such a monarch may be, [272a] if he is compared with the lord of the Heaven of the Thirty-three Gods, he will also appear incomparably inferior, even ten thousands koṭīs of times more so. Again, if this heavenly lord is compared with the lord of the Sixth Heaven, he will appear a hundred thousand koṭīs of times inferior. If the lord of the Sixth Heaven is compared with a bodhisattva or a śrāvaka dwelling in the land of Amitāyus, his countenance and appearance will be far from matching those of the bodhisattva or śrāvaka, being a thousand million koṭīs of times or even incalculable times inferior."


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

20. Pleasures in the Pure Land

[Chinese Source Text]
佛告阿難。無量壽國其諸天人。衣服飮食華香瓔珞。諸蓋幢幡微妙音聲。所居舍宅宮殿樓閣。稱其形色高下大小。或一寶二寶。乃至無量衆寶。隨意所欲應念卽至。又以衆寶妙衣遍布其地。一切人天踐之而行。無量寶網彌覆佛上。皆以金縷眞珠百千雜寶奇妙珍異。莊嚴絞飾周匝四面。垂以寶鈴。光色晃曜盡極嚴麗。

The Buddha said to Ānanda, "devas and humans in the land of Amitāyus are each provided with robes, food and drink, flowers, perfume, ornaments, silken canopies and banners, and are surrounded by exquisite sounds. Their abodes, palaces, and pavilions are exactly in accordance with the size of their bodies. One, two or even innumerable jewels appear before them, as soon as they wish. In addition, beautiful jeweled fabric covers the ground where all the devas and humans walk. In that Buddha-land there are innumerable jeweled nets, all adorned with skeins of gold thread, pearls, and a hundred thousand kinds of rare and marvelous treasures. All around the nets hang jeweled bells of the utmost beauty, which shine brilliantly."

[Chinese Source Text]
自然德風徐起微動。其風調和不寒不暑。溫涼柔軟不遲不疾。吹諸羅網及衆寶樹。演發無量微妙法音。流布萬種溫雅德香。其有聞者塵勞垢習自然不起。風觸其身皆得快樂。譬如比丘得滅盡三昧。

When a natural breeze of virtue arises and gently blows, it is moderate in temperature, neither cold nor hot, refreshing and soft to the senses, and moves neither too slowly nor too quickly. When the breeze wafts over the nets and the various jeweled trees, countless excellent sounds of the Dharma are heard, and ten thousand kinds of delicate fragrances of virtue are diffused. If one smells those fragrances, one's impurities and passions spontaneously cease to arise. If touched by the breeze itself, one enjoys the same pleasure as a monk who has entered the samādhi of Extinction.


http://www.fodian.net/world/0360ce.htm#div-19
_/\_
Amituofo!

"Enlightenment is to turn around and see MY own mistake, Other's mistake is also my mistake. Others are right even if they are wrong. i'm wrong even if i'm right. " - Master Chin Kung
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Re: Sukhavati & Heaven: The Difference?

Postby PLB » Fri Feb 08, 2013 10:58 pm

PorkChop wrote:
Wow, I'm surprised to see Wong Kiew Kit writing a book on Buddhism.
I've known about him for a long, long time from the kung fu world, where his reputation is somewhat mixed, though mostly positive.
My curiosity's piqued, adding it to my wishlist in case it gets back in stock.


While I can't say anything really useful about Wong Kiew Kit as a kung fu/qigong teacher, I find his book about Pure Land quite interesting. His approach seemed genuine to me and this book played a significant role in my conversion to Pure Land Buddhism as he makes an effort to show how there may be good reasons to think that Pure Land is not just an imaginary object of blind faith. When one is sometimes disconcerted by the way the Mahayana traditional literature ( Sutras and commentaries) talks about Pure Land because one's cultural and religious background is totally different ( which is really the case for me), Wong Kiew Kit 's book is helpful in so far it uses modern language and references so that it can make sense.

As far as I know, the book will be published again in 2013.
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Re: Sukhavati & Heaven: The Difference?

Postby PorkChop » Sun Feb 10, 2013 5:31 am

PLB wrote:
PorkChop wrote:
Wow, I'm surprised to see Wong Kiew Kit writing a book on Buddhism.
I've known about him for a long, long time from the kung fu world, where his reputation is somewhat mixed, though mostly positive.
My curiosity's piqued, adding it to my wishlist in case it gets back in stock.


While I can't say anything really useful about Wong Kiew Kit as a kung fu/qigong teacher, I find his book about Pure Land quite interesting. His approach seemed genuine to me and this book played a significant role in my conversion to Pure Land Buddhism as he makes an effort to show how there may be good reasons to think that Pure Land is not just an imaginary object of blind faith. When one is sometimes disconcerted by the way the Mahayana traditional literature ( Sutras and commentaries) talks about Pure Land because one's cultural and religious background is totally different ( which is really the case for me), Wong Kiew Kit 's book is helpful in so far it uses modern language and references so that it can make sense.

As far as I know, the book will be published again in 2013.


Definitely going to have to check that one out!
Thanks. :thumbsup:
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Re: Sukhavati & Heaven: The Difference?

Postby zamotcr » Sun Feb 17, 2013 6:03 pm

I am wondering about the Big Bang theory as origin of the universe and the Pure Lands. If the pure lands started eons of eons ago, wouldn't this mean that some pure lands existed before the big bang?
Or they all started after the big bang? Remember that science thinks that the universe has 13.700.000.000 year of existence.
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Re: Sukhavati & Heaven: The Difference?

Postby hornets » Sun Feb 17, 2013 6:55 pm

Hi Porkchop,

I found http://www.amazon.com/Sukhavati-Western ... =sukhavati
much easier to read than other Chinese Pure Land books I've read. I actually finished it and have dipped back in several times.

Lots of general Mahayana stuff in it too that I found really helpful as well as a breakdown of the Amitabha Sutra and lots of references to modern particle physics, etc. No pictures though!

sukhavati is still available on Amazon.Uk to the best of my knowledge.
Best wishes Paul
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Re: Sukhavati & Heaven: The Difference?

Postby Nosta » Sun Feb 17, 2013 11:36 pm

zamotcr wrote:I am wondering about the Big Bang theory as origin of the universe and the Pure Lands. If the pure lands started eons of eons ago, wouldn't this mean that some pure lands existed before the big bang?
Or they all started after the big bang? Remember that science thinks that the universe has 13.700.000.000 year of existence.



I believe Pure Land is out of our realm of existence, not in this universe. So, the laws of big bang wouldnt apply.
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Re: Sukhavati & Heaven: The Difference?

Postby PorkChop » Sun Feb 17, 2013 11:59 pm

zamotcr wrote:I am wondering about the Big Bang theory as origin of the universe and the Pure Lands. If the pure lands started eons of eons ago, wouldn't this mean that some pure lands existed before the big bang?
Or they all started after the big bang? Remember that science thinks that the universe has 13.700.000.000 year of existence.


If you're going to follow the cosmology, you might want to start with the first one that was introduced:
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/ptf/dham ... /loka.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buddhist_cosmology
Now someone can correct me if I'm wrong, but the Pure Lands to me always seemed to be on the same level as the Pure Abodes (Śuddhāvāsa), which are not supposed to be destroyed at the contraction and expansion of the universe - thus a big bang is no big deal.
In fact, the Buddha said that the Pure Abodes was the one birth he had never experienced, because if he had he would never have returned.
That being said, those born in the Pure Abodes can operate as protectors of Buddhism.
With the Buddha of Infinite Light, also the Buddha Infinite Life, plus the ability of bodhisattvas in the Pure Land to see other Buddhalands & travel to them to help, I'm thinking the analogy holds - it's just that Mahayana says that those born in the Pure Lands can become full Buddhas.
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