Pure Land teachings from a Zen perspective

Dharma Flower
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Pure Land teachings from a Zen perspective

Postby Dharma Flower » Tue Jan 03, 2017 5:55 am

I am wondering what books or articles on Pure Land practice you might recommend from a Zen perspective. I've read several books along these lines, but not one that an actual Zen Buddhist recommended for me to read. I really appreciate any help or guidance that you're able to provide, as this is a type of Buddhist literature that I find very interesting.

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Astus
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Re: Pure Land teachings from a Zen perspective

Postby Astus » Tue Jan 03, 2017 1:00 pm

Pure Land, Pure Mind, Mind-seal of the Buddhas, Pure Land of the Patriarchs are all representatives of mainstream Chinese Buddhism where it makes little sense to talk about PL and Zen as if they were separate traditions. It is more a question of emphasis in one's own practice. More on that read here.
1 Myriad dharmas are only mind.
Mind is unobtainable.
What is there to seek?

2 If the Buddha-Nature is seen,
there will be no seeing of a nature in any thing.

3 Neither cultivation nor seated meditation —
this is the pure Chan of Tathagata.

4 With sudden enlightenment to Tathagata Chan,
the six paramitas and myriad means
are complete within that essence.


1 Huangbo, T2012Ap381c1 2 Nirvana Sutra, T374p521b3; tr. Yamamoto 3 Mazu, X1321p3b23; tr. J. Jia 4 Yongjia, T2014p395c14; tr. from "The Sword of Wisdom"

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Re: Pure Land teachings from a Zen perspective

Postby Meido » Tue Jan 03, 2017 4:57 pm

Not a written resource, but a nice talk by the late Chan master Sheng-yen that may serve as a jumping off point:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m9vxoMMUmEU

A number of other videos on related topics may be found in that YouTube channel.
It is relatively easy to accomplish the important matter of insight into one's True Nature, but uncommonly difficult to function freely and clearly (according to this understanding), in motion and in rest, in good and in adverse circumstances. Please make strenuous and vigorous efforts towards this end, otherwise all the teachings of Buddhas and patriarchs become mere empty words. - Torei

明道禅徹
Korinji Rinzai Zen Monastery [臨済宗 • 祖的山光林禅寺] - http://www.korinji.org
The Rinzai Zen Community - http://www.rinzaizen.org
Madison, WI Rinzai Zen Community - http://www.madisonrinzaizen.org

Dharma Flower
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Re: Pure Land teachings from a Zen perspective

Postby Dharma Flower » Thu Jan 05, 2017 5:23 am

Thank you for these recommendations. Are there Zen Buddhists in the West who read and put into practice these Pure Land-related materials explained from a Zen perspective? It seems that Zen in the West might not always be in tune with the devotional practices found in Zen as practiced in Asia, even including Japan.

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Re: Pure Land teachings from a Zen perspective

Postby crazy-man » Thu Jan 05, 2017 10:01 am

Honen Shonin (Jodo-Shu), Shinran Shonin (Jodo-Shin-Shu), Myōan Eisai (Rinzai-Shu), Dogen Zenji (Soto-Shu) and Nichiren Daishonin (Nichiren-Shu) were former monks of the Tendai-Shu and i think that they took some elements from the teaching of the Tendai-Shu into their own teachings.

Zen & Sukhavati by Patriarche Yin Kouang
https://www.amazon.com/Zen-Sukhavati-Pa ... B001UB44GE

The Lotus Sutra as a Source for Dogen's Discourse Style
http://www.thezensite.com/ZenEssays/Dog ... ource.html

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zen_scriptures

ZEN PURE-LAND Letters from Patriarch Yin Kuang
http://www.buddhanet.net/pdf_file/yin_kuang.pdf

History of Meditative Pure Land Practice
http://www.cloudwater.org/index.php/pur ... d-practice

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Re: Pure Land teachings from a Zen perspective

Postby shaunc » Thu Jan 05, 2017 10:43 am

There was also a famous zen monk in the west named Suzuki, sorry but I can't remember his first name, who in his later years changed over to shin.

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Re: Pure Land teachings from a Zen perspective

Postby Astus » Thu Jan 05, 2017 10:51 am

crazy-man wrote:Honen Shonin (Jodo-Shu), Shinran Shonin (Jodo-Shin-Shu), Myōan Eisai (Rinzai-Shu), Dogen Zenji (Soto-Shu) and Nichiren Daishonin (Nichiren-Shu) were former monks of the Tendai-Shu and i think that they took some elements from the teaching of the Tendai-Shu into their own teachings.


Honen established and Shinran followed the teaching of exclusive nenbutsu, so they have practically nothing to do with Tendai or Zen. Eisai had no heirs and he led a sort of ecumenical temple. Dogen rejected the Pure Land path, while Nichiren rejected both Pure Land and Zen.
1 Myriad dharmas are only mind.
Mind is unobtainable.
What is there to seek?

2 If the Buddha-Nature is seen,
there will be no seeing of a nature in any thing.

3 Neither cultivation nor seated meditation —
this is the pure Chan of Tathagata.

4 With sudden enlightenment to Tathagata Chan,
the six paramitas and myriad means
are complete within that essence.


1 Huangbo, T2012Ap381c1 2 Nirvana Sutra, T374p521b3; tr. Yamamoto 3 Mazu, X1321p3b23; tr. J. Jia 4 Yongjia, T2014p395c14; tr. from "The Sword of Wisdom"

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Re: Pure Land teachings from a Zen perspective

Postby Astus » Thu Jan 05, 2017 10:53 am

Dharma Flower wrote:Thank you for these recommendations. Are there Zen Buddhists in the West who read and put into practice these Pure Land-related materials explained from a Zen perspective? It seems that Zen in the West might not always be in tune with the devotional practices found in Zen as practiced in Asia, even including Japan.


Mostly those who follow traditional Chinese and Vietnamese schools.
1 Myriad dharmas are only mind.
Mind is unobtainable.
What is there to seek?

2 If the Buddha-Nature is seen,
there will be no seeing of a nature in any thing.

3 Neither cultivation nor seated meditation —
this is the pure Chan of Tathagata.

4 With sudden enlightenment to Tathagata Chan,
the six paramitas and myriad means
are complete within that essence.


1 Huangbo, T2012Ap381c1 2 Nirvana Sutra, T374p521b3; tr. Yamamoto 3 Mazu, X1321p3b23; tr. J. Jia 4 Yongjia, T2014p395c14; tr. from "The Sword of Wisdom"

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Re: Pure Land teachings from a Zen perspective

Postby Dharma Flower » Sat Feb 11, 2017 10:30 am

As many have pointed out in the past, when Zen monks silently meditate and perform various austerities, and when Pure Land grandmothers with no knowledge of sutras or meditation recite the Nianfo, they are really working toward the same goal, since Amida and Big Mind are just different ways of describing or understanding the same reality. Dharma-body is one and the same, no matter how one approaches it, explains it, or attains to it.

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Re: Pure Land teachings from a Zen perspective

Postby rory » Sun Feb 12, 2017 5:42 am

Dharma Flower wrote:As many have pointed out in the past, when Zen monks silently meditate and perform various austerities, and when Pure Land grandmothers with no knowledge of sutras or meditation recite the Nianfo, they are really working toward the same goal, since Amida and Big Mind are just different ways of describing or understanding the same reality. Dharma-body is one and the same, no matter how one approaches it, explains it, or attains to it.


Shaun made a great suggestion D.T. Suzuki a famous Zen master wrote this excellent book: Buddha of Infinite Light all about Pure Land
https://www.amazon.com/Buddha-Infinite-Light-Teachings-Compassion/dp/1570624569

I read this book many years ago and it was just great he really helped me to understand Pure Land when I didn't get it at all....(now a devout Pure Lander:)
gassho
Rory
Namu Kanzeon Bosatsu
Chih-I:
The Tai-ching states "the women in the realms of Mara, Sakra and Brahma all neither abandoned ( their old) bodies nor received (new) bodies. They all received buddhahood with their current bodies (genshin)" Thus these verses state that the dharma nature is like a great ocean. No right or wrong is preached (within it) Ordinary people and sages are equal, without superiority or inferiority
Paul, Groner "The Lotus Sutra in Japanese Culture"eds. Tanabe p. 58

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Re: Pure Land teachings from a Zen perspective

Postby Dharma Flower » Mon Feb 13, 2017 7:18 am

In Heart of the Shin Buddhist Path, Takamaro Shigaraki presents Pure Land teachings in terms that a Zen Buddhist can appreciate, yet without being a Zen Buddhist himself, and while grounding his book in the writings of Shinran.

In his Heart of the Shin Buddhist Path, Takamaro Shigaraki examines Shin Buddhism anew as a practical path of spiritual growth and self-transformation, challenging assessments of the tradition as a passive religion of mere faith. Shigaraki presents the core themes of the Shin Buddhist path in fresh, engaging, down-to-earth language, considering each frankly from both secular and religious perspectives. Shigaraki discloses a nondual Pure Land that finds philosophical kinship with Zen but has been little discussed in the West. With its unassuming language and insights drawn from a life of practice, Heart of the Shin Buddhist Path dispels the fog of misconception that has shrouded Western appreciation of Shin traditions to reveal the limitless light of Amida Buddha that reaches all.
http://www.wisdompubs.org/book/heart-shin-buddhist-path


While Rev. Shigaraki is not very well known in the West, he was a well-respected priest and scholar in Japan.

Takamaro Shigaraki is a Buddhist priest and scholar, recognized as one of the leading Shin Buddhist thinkers in the world today. His innovative approach to traditional Shin Buddhist ideas via comparative religious scholarship and rational analysis has made him a cause celebre in the Shin Buddhist world. He has served as president of Ryukoku University, one of Japan's oldest and most prestigious universities, where he received his PhD in literary studies and is a Professor Emeritus of Shin Buddhist studies. Dr. Shigaraki has also served as Chairman of the Bukkyo Dendo Kyokai, the largest Shin Buddhist organization in the world.
http://www.simonandschuster.com/authors ... /451425870

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Re: Pure Land teachings from a Zen perspective

Postby DGA » Mon Feb 13, 2017 2:28 pm

I liked Thich Nhat Hanh's book on Pure Land practice: Finding Our True Home.

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Re: Pure Land teachings from a Zen perspective

Postby DGA » Mon Feb 13, 2017 2:29 pm

Dharma Flower wrote:As many have pointed out in the past, when Zen monks silently meditate and perform various austerities, and when Pure Land grandmothers with no knowledge of sutras or meditation recite the Nianfo, they are really working toward the same goal, since Amida and Big Mind are just different ways of describing or understanding the same reality. Dharma-body is one and the same, no matter how one approaches it, explains it, or attains to it.


what is "Big Mind"?

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Re: Pure Land teachings from a Zen perspective

Postby Dharma Flower » Tue Feb 14, 2017 6:04 pm

DGA wrote:
Dharma Flower wrote:As many have pointed out in the past, when Zen monks silently meditate and perform various austerities, and when Pure Land grandmothers with no knowledge of sutras or meditation recite the Nianfo, they are really working toward the same goal, since Amida and Big Mind are just different ways of describing or understanding the same reality. Dharma-body is one and the same, no matter how one approaches it, explains it, or attains to it.


what is "Big Mind"?


I'd rather let the Zen Buddhists in this thread answer that question. It's a term commonly used by Zen masters.

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Re: Pure Land teachings from a Zen perspective

Postby DGA » Tue Feb 14, 2017 8:27 pm

Dharma Flower wrote:
DGA wrote:
Dharma Flower wrote:As many have pointed out in the past, when Zen monks silently meditate and perform various austerities, and when Pure Land grandmothers with no knowledge of sutras or meditation recite the Nianfo, they are really working toward the same goal, since Amida and Big Mind are just different ways of describing or understanding the same reality. Dharma-body is one and the same, no matter how one approaches it, explains it, or attains to it.


what is "Big Mind"?


I'd rather let the Zen Buddhists in this thread answer that question. It's a term commonly used by Zen masters.


Is it?

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Re: Pure Land teachings from a Zen perspective

Postby Dharma Flower » Tue Feb 14, 2017 8:45 pm

DGA wrote:
Dharma Flower wrote:
DGA wrote:
what is "Big Mind"?


I'd rather let the Zen Buddhists in this thread answer that question. It's a term commonly used by Zen masters.


Is it?


In Zen Buddhism, One Mind or Big Mind are terms used to describe Dharma-body, the original enlightenment, etc. This is Shunryu Suzuki, from the book Zen Mind, Beginners Mind, basing his teaching on the writings of Dogen:

The only way to study pure mind is through practice. Our inmost nature wants some medium, some way to express and realize itself. We answer this inmost request through our rules, and Patriarch after Patriarch shows us his true mind.

In this way we will have an accurate, deep understanding of practice. We must have more experience of our practice. At least we must have some enlightenment experience. You must put confidence in the big mind which is always with you. You should be able to appreciate things as an expression of big mind. This is more than faith. This is ultimate truth which you cannot reject. Whether it is difficult or easy to practice, difficult or easy to understand, you can only practice it. Priest or layman is not the point. To find yourself as someone who is doing something is the point—to resume your actual being through practice, to resume the you which is always with everything, with Buddha, which is fully supported by everything. Right now! You may say it is impossible. But it is possible! Even in one moment you can do it! It is possible this moment! It is this moment! That you can do it in this moment means you can always do it. So if you have this confidence, this is your enlightenment experience. If you have this strong confidence in your big mind, you are already a Buddhist in the true sense, even though you do not attain enlightenment.

That is why Dogen-zenji said, "Do not expect that all who practice zazen will attain enlightenment about this mind which is always with us." He meant if you think that big mind is somewhere outside yourself, outside of your practice, then that is a mistake. Big mind is always with us. That is why I repeat the same thing over and over when I think you do not understand. Zen is not just for the man who can fold his legs or who has great spiritual ability. Everyone has Buddha nature. We each must find some way to realize our true nature. The purpose of practice is to have direct experience of the Buddha nature which everyone has. Whatever you do should be the direct experience of Buddha nature.
http://www.obooksbooks.com/2015/4317_20.html


Pure Land masters would traditionally agree with Suzuki that "the purpose of practice is to have direct experience of the Buddha nature which everyone has." The Buddha-nature which everyone has is the one Buddha-nature that is equally shared by all beings, which some describe as Amida and others describe as Big Mind.

Hsuan Hua was a Chinese Zen master who encouraged his lay followers to recite the Nianfo, with the same goal that Zen monks have in realizing the One Mind:

Considering the four Dharma Realms, and speaking from the standpoint of our self-nature, we and Amitabha Buddha are united in one, and therefore we have the qualifications to realize Buddhahood. Amitabha Buddha is the Amitabha Buddha within the minds of all living beings, and living beings are the living beings within the mind of Amitabha Buddha. Due to this interconnection, there are phenomena and the noumenon. However, you must believe in this principle and energetically practice it by reciting the Buddha's name; you cannot get lazy. Your recitation of the Buddha's name should increase day by day, not decrease.
http://online.sfsu.edu/repstein/Buddhis ... lness.html

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Re: Pure Land teachings from a Zen perspective

Postby DGA » Tue Feb 14, 2017 9:22 pm

Dharma Flower wrote:
Pure Land masters would traditionally agree with Suzuki that "the purpose of practice is to have direct experience of the Buddha nature which everyone has." The Buddha-nature which everyone has is the one Buddha-nature that is equally shared by all beings, which some describe as Amida and others describe as Big Mind.



OK.

I don't think this is a controversial point at all. Who would disagree with this? who are you disagreeing with, and what are you trying to prove?

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Re: Pure Land teachings from a Zen perspective

Postby Dharma Flower » Tue Feb 14, 2017 9:28 pm

DGA wrote:
Dharma Flower wrote:
Pure Land masters would traditionally agree with Suzuki that "the purpose of practice is to have direct experience of the Buddha nature which everyone has." The Buddha-nature which everyone has is the one Buddha-nature that is equally shared by all beings, which some describe as Amida and others describe as Big Mind.



OK.

I don't think this is a controversial point at all. Who would disagree with this? who are you disagreeing with, and what are you trying to prove?


I am not disagreeing with anyone, but some Zen Buddhists and some Pure Land Buddhists don't like being compared to each other. I don't want to offend them.


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