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How do buddhas contact people?

Posted: Mon Oct 24, 2016 9:36 pm
by Luke
If we assume for a moment that Buddhas like Amitabha, Akshobya, etc. exist in different parallel universes, what is the mechanism through we which they can contact us and we can contact them?

It's clearly some faster-than-light mechanism...

Re: How do buddhas contact people?

Posted: Mon Oct 24, 2016 9:43 pm
by Fortyeightvows
jiao bei

Re: How do buddhas contact people?

Posted: Mon Oct 24, 2016 9:46 pm
by Virgo
Luke wrote:If we assume for a moment that Buddhas like Amitabha, Akshobya, etc. exist in different parallel universes, what is the mechanism through we which they can contact us and we can contact them?

It's clearly some faster-than-light mechanism...
Universes only appear to arise, my friend.

Kevin

Re: How do buddhas contact people?

Posted: Mon Oct 24, 2016 10:33 pm
by Luke
Virgo wrote: Universes only appear to arise, my friend.
That's an interesting comment. Could you expand upon it or give a recommendation what to read to follow up on this type of thinking of yours?

Re: How do buddhas contact people?

Posted: Mon Oct 24, 2016 10:51 pm
by Malcolm
Luke wrote:If we assume for a moment that Buddhas like Amitabha, Akshobya, etc. exist in different parallel universes, what is the mechanism through we which they can contact us and we can contact them?

It's clearly some faster-than-light mechanism...

I think email works pretty well.

Re: How do buddhas contact people?

Posted: Mon Oct 24, 2016 11:04 pm
by Virgo
Luke wrote:
Virgo wrote: Universes only appear to arise, my friend.
That's an interesting comment. Could you expand upon it or give a recommendation what to read to follow up on this type of thinking of yours?
Probably works on Madhayamaka.

Kevin

Re: How do buddhas contact people?

Posted: Mon Oct 24, 2016 11:08 pm
by Virgo
I probably couldn't be more vague... I am searching for an old thread with recommendations but I cannot seem to pinpoint it's location.

Kevin

Re: How do buddhas contact people?

Posted: Tue Oct 25, 2016 12:41 am
by AlexMcLeod
Luke wrote:If we assume for a moment that Buddhas like Amitabha, Akshobya, etc. exist in different parallel universes, what is the mechanism through we which they can contact us and we can contact them?

It's clearly some faster-than-light mechanism...
The mind transcends time and space.

Re: How do buddhas contact people?

Posted: Tue Oct 25, 2016 12:47 am
by Admin_PC
From the Pratyutpanna Samadhi Sutra:
Pratyutpanna Samadhi Sutra Chapter 1 wrote:The Buddha told Bhadrapāla, “There is a samādhi called Buddhas from Worlds in the Ten Directions All Standing before One. If you can do this dharma, you will have the answers to all your questions.”

Bhadrapāla said to the Buddha, “I pray that You will pronounce it. What the Buddha will now pronounce is all-encompassing. It will give peace to [sentient beings in worlds in] the ten directions and provide great illumination to Bodhisattvas.”

The Buddha told Bhadrapāla, “There is a samādhi called Concentrated Mind. Bodhisattvas should constantly guard, learn, and uphold it, never to follow other ways. Of all virtuous ways, this is the foremost one.”
...
Pratyutpanna Samadhi Sutra Chapter 2 wrote:The Buddha told Bhadrapāla, “If Bodhisattvas aspire to attain this samādhi quickly, they should stand in great faith. Those who train themselves in accordance with the Dharma can attain this samādhi. Do not raise any doubts, even as slight as a hair. This Dharma of Concentrated Mind is also called the Bodhisattva Way Surpassing All Other Ways.”
...
Pratyutpanna Samadhi Sutra Chapter 2 wrote:The Buddha told Bhadrapāla, “One who trains in this way will attain the samādhi in which present Buddhas all stand before one. If, among bhikṣus, bhikṣuṇīs, upāsakas, and upāsikās, there are those who want to train according to this Dharma, they should fully observe their precepts and live alone in a place to think of Amitābha Buddha, who now is in the west. According to the teachings heard, one should also think of His land called Sukhāvatī, which is ten million koṭi Buddha Lands away from here. One should single-mindedly contemplate for one day and one night, or even seven days and seven nights. After the seventh day, one will see Him. By analogy, one sees things in a dream, not knowing whether it is day or night, indoors or outdoors, and one’s sight is impervious to darkness or obstructions.

“Bhadrapāla, Bodhisattvas should do this contemplation. Then huge mountains, Sumeru Mountains, and dark places in the intervening Buddha Lands will all fall away, not posing any obstruction. These Bodhisattvas will see across without having the God-eye, hear across without having the God-ear, and travel to that Buddha Land without possessing transcendental powers. It is not that they have died here and been reborn there, but that they can sit here and see everything there.

“As an analogy, a man hears that in the kingdom of Vaiśālī lives a prostitute named Sumanā; a second man hears of a prostitute called Āmrapālī; and a third man hears that Utpalavarṇā has become a prostitute. These three men have never seen those three women, but they have heard of them and their lust is ignited. They all live in Rājagṛha, and they have lustful thoughts concurrently. Each of them goes, in a dream, to the woman he thinks of and spends the night with her. When they wake up, they all remember their own dreams.”

The Buddha told Bhadrapāla, “The three women I have mentioned serve as an analogy. You may use this story to expound the sūtras, enabling others to unfold their wisdom so that they will arrive at the Ground of No Regress on the unsurpassed true Way. When they eventually attain Buddhahood, they all will be called Superb Enlightenment.”

The Buddha said, “Bodhisattvas in this land can see Amitābha Buddha by thinking intently only of Him. When they see Him, they can ask, ‘What Dharma should I uphold in order to be reborn in Your land?’ Amitābha Buddha will reply, ‘Those who wish to be reborn in my land should think of my name. If they can continue without rest, they will succeed in being reborn here.’”

The Buddha said, “Because of intent thinking, one will be reborn there. One should always think of Amitābha Buddha’s body with the thirty-two physical marks and the eighty excellent characteristics, unequaled in its majesty, radiating vast bright light to illuminate everywhere. He teaches, in the assembly of Bodhisattvas and bhikṣus, that dharmas [in true reality] are empty and, therefore, indestructible. Why? Because indestructible are all dharmas, such as form, pain, itch, thinking, perception, birth, death, consciousness, spirit, earth, water, fire, wind, the human world, and the heaven world, including Great Brahma Heaven. By thinking of a Buddha, one attains the Samādhi of Emptiness.”

The Buddha told Bhadrapāla, “Who have attained this Bodhisattva samādhi? My disciple Mahākāśyapa, Indraguṇa Bodhisattva, the god-son Good Virtue, and those who already know this samādhi, have attained it through training. Hence, Bhadrapāla, those who wish to see present Buddhas [in worlds] in the ten directions should think of their lands single-mindedly, without other thoughts. Then they will be able to see them. As an analogy, one travels to a distant land and thinks of family and kin in one’s hometown. In a dream, one returns home, sees one’s family and relatives, and enjoys talking to them. After waking, one tells one’s dream to friends.”

The Buddha said, “If Bodhisattvas hear of a Buddha’s name and wish to see Him, they will be able to see Him by constantly thinking of Him and His land. For example, a bhikṣu visualizes before him the bones of a corpse, turning blue, white, red, or black. The colors are not brought by anyone, but are imagined by his mind. Likewise, by virtue of Buddhas’ awesome spiritual power, Bodhisattvas who skillfully abide in this samādhi can see, as they wish, a Buddha of any land. Why? Because they are able to see Him by virtue of three powers: the power of Buddhas, the power of the samādhi, and the power of their own merit.

“As an analogy, a handsome young man dressed in fine clothes wants to see his own face. He can see his reflection by looking into a hand mirror, pure oil, clear water, or a crystal. Does his reflection come from the outside into the mirror, oil, water, or crystal?”

Bhadrapāla replied, “No, it does not. God of Gods, it is because of the clarity of the mirror, oil, water, or crystal, that the man can see his reflection. His reflection comes from neither the inside [of the medium] nor the outside.”

The Buddha said, “Very good, Bhadrapāla. Because the medium is clear, the reflection is clear. Likewise, if one wishes to see a Buddha, one with a pure mind will be able to see. When one sees Him, one can ask questions, and He will give a reply. Having heard the teachings, one will be exultant and think: ‘Where does this Buddha come from and where am I going? As I think of this Buddha, He comes from nowhere and I am going nowhere. As I think of the desire realm, the form realm, and the formless realm, these three realms are formed by my mind. I can see what I think of. The mind forms a Buddha for itself to see; the mind is the Buddha mind. As my mind forms a Buddha, my mind is the Buddha; my mind is the Tathāgata; my mind is my body.’

“Although the mind sees a Buddha, the mind neither knows itself nor sees itself. The mind with perceptions is saṁsāra; the mind without perceptions is nirvāṇa. Dharmas as perceived are not something pleasurable. They are empty thoughts, nothing real. This is what Bodhisattvas see as they abide in this samādhi.”

Then the Buddha spoke in verse:
The mind does not know itself; the mind does not see itself.
The mind that fabricates perceptions is false; the mind without perceptions is nirvāṇa.
Dharmas are not firm, only founded upon thinking.
Those who see emptiness with this understanding are free from perceptions and expectations.

Re: How do buddhas contact people?

Posted: Tue Oct 25, 2016 1:28 am
by kirtu
Luke wrote:If we assume for a moment that Buddhas like Amitabha, Akshobya, etc. exist in different parallel universes, what is the mechanism through we which they can contact us and we can contact them?
Through karmic connection. And through sutras, tantras, practice, and the purification of our mind streams. There is a scholar who asserted recently that the Sambogakaya (by inference) Buddhas actually reside in our minds because the mind is ultimately Dharmakaya .... so they are *REALLY* not far away ....

Kirt

Re: How do buddhas contact people?

Posted: Tue Oct 25, 2016 5:19 am
by Caoimhghín
I don't claim to be a doctor of Dharma, but I'd say interpenetration.

The existences of multiple Pure Lands and Buddha Realms is something I've always struggled with, probably due to my Presbyterian upbringing (One God theology, etc), it seems so unnecessary and Byzantine in complexity, but who I am I judge what obviously works for throngs of Buddhists out in the real world living in real Buddhist societies?

Whether or not this is advisable or actionable for you I cannot say, but I honestly generally conceptually treat all Buddhas as the same Buddha, and all Pure Lands as the same Pure Land. I don't know if people more schooled than I would object to this though.

Re: How do buddhas contact people?

Posted: Tue Oct 25, 2016 12:37 pm
by Admin_PC
While it's true that to praise one Buddha is to praise all Buddhas or “All Buddhas are One Buddha” as the Avatamsaka Sutra says (referring to the Dharmakaya); mindstreams & awakening are an individuated experience. One of the only differentiating features of Buddhas are the vows they make when embarking on the Bodhisattva path toward Buddhahood. As a result their Buddhafields (Buddha Ksetra aka "Pure Lands") are different. Just like different people have different capacities for practice, different Buddhafields have different adornments. The Sukhavati Buddhafield of Amitabha/Amitayus/Amida is usually singled out because of how easy it is to get to and the fact that from that Buddhafield, one can travel to any other Buddhafield to make offerings. The Buddhafield of Akshobhya is much more difficult to be born into, for example. There are also other Buddhas who have Buddhafields, but whose vows stress other things like helping practitioners in their daily lives - such as Medicine Buddha. Just as working with different Bodhisattvas helps practitioners in different ways, so too Buddhas and Buddhafields.

Re: How do buddhas contact people?

Posted: Tue Oct 25, 2016 12:53 pm
by Astus
Here is some explanation from Kumarajiva on meeting buddhas:

"There are three types of samādhi for seeing the Buddhas (jianfo sanmei 見佛三昧): (1) A Bodhisattva might attain the divine eye or the divine ear, or perhaps fly throughout the ten directions to where the Buddhas reside, see them, ask questions about their difficulties, and have their snare of doubts cut off. (2) Even without supernatural powers, they contemplate (nian 念) Amitābha and all the Buddhas of the present, and with their mind residing in one place, they can attain a vision of the Buddhas and ask about their doubts. (3) They can study and practice nianfo with or without having abandoned their desires. Alternatively, they may gaze at a Buddha image, or contemplate his earthly Buddha-body, or see all of the Buddhas of the past, present, and future. All three of these are called “nianfo samādhi.”"
(Charles B. Jones: Was Lushan Huiyuan a Pure Land Buddhist?)

Re: How do buddhas contact people?

Posted: Tue Oct 25, 2016 4:22 pm
by Sentient Light
I think this part of the Avatamsaka Sutra is also relevant:
Without discerning any coming from anywhere on the part of the buddhas, without discerning any going on the part of my own body, knowing the buddhas as like a dream, knowing my own mind as dreamlike thought, knowing the buddhas as like a reflection, knowing my own mind as like a vessel of clear water, knowing the buddhas as like magically produced forms, knowing my mind as like magic, knowing the nature of voices of the buddhas as the reverberation of the sound of echoes in the mountains, knowing my own mind as like an echo, I realize, I am mindful, that all enlightenment principles of enlightening beings are based on one’s own mind, that all their purification of buddha-lands, all enlightening practices, all development and guidance of sentient beings, all undertaking of the vows of enlightening beings, all attainment to the ocean of omniscience, roaming in the inconceivable liberation of enlightening beings, attainment of the enlightenment of buddhas, spiritual communion with the cosmos, and knowledge of subtle communion with all ages, all are based on one’s own mind.
I think confining the 'movement' of the Buddhas and bodhisattvas across world systems to the parameters of physical space-time (i.e. the Realm of Form) is a bit off. All things are manifest of mind. All is the Dharmakaya. And our Buddha-nature is nothing other than Mind, obscured and tethered by the aggregates. When it is cleared of obscurity, it is the luminous Dharmakaya. So it is through the practice of the dharma--the practice of clearing Mind of obscurities--that we open ourselves and forge connections with the Buddhas and bodhisattvas. Their actions, their powers, manifest through our Buddha-nature.

The Contemplation Sutra makes this explicit http://www.hermeticsource.info/amitayur ... sutra.html :
'When you have perceived this, you should next perceive Buddha himself. Do you ask how? Every Buddha Tathagata is one whose spiritual body is the principle of nature (Darmadhatu-kaya), so that he may enter into the mind of any beings. Consequently, when you have perceived Buddha, it is indeed that mind of yours that possesses those thirty-two signs of perfection and eighty minor marks of excellence which you see in a Buddha. In conclusion, it is your mind that becomes Buddha, nay, it is your mind. that is indeed Buddha. The ocean of true and universal knowledge of all the Buddhas derives its source from one's own mind and thought.
We even see this in the Nikayas, such as the account of Aniruddha's awakening, when the Buddha miraculously appeared before him. The narrative implies it was a kind of teleportation, but Aniruddha's verse (which we can be sure is older than the narrative bit and may even be Aniruddha's own words) makes very explicit how the Buddha appeared http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html :
Knowing my thoughts,
the Teacher, unexcelled in the cosmos,
came to me through his power
in a body made of mind.
He taught in line with my thoughts,
and then further.
The Buddha,
delighting in non-objectification,
taught non-objectification.
Knowing his Dhamma,
I kept delighting in his bidding.
The three knowledges
have been attained;
the Buddha's bidding,
done.

Re: How do buddhas contact people?

Posted: Tue Oct 25, 2016 8:02 pm
by Luke
Sentient Light wrote: I think confining the 'movement' of the Buddhas and bodhisattvas across world systems to the parameters of physical space-time (i.e. the Realm of Form) is a bit off. All things are manifest of mind. All is the Dharmakaya. And our Buddha-nature is nothing other than Mind, obscured and tethered by the aggregates. When it is cleared of obscurity, it is the luminous Dharmakaya. So it is through the practice of the dharma--the practice of clearing Mind of obscurities--that we open ourselves and forge connections with the Buddhas and bodhisattvas. Their actions, their powers, manifest through our Buddha-nature.
Okay, I thank you and the others for the interesting info, but here is the key question I have left:

How does one distinguish between actually contacting a buddha mentally and one's own wishful thinking/fantasies/delusions?

Re: How do buddhas contact people?

Posted: Tue Oct 25, 2016 8:16 pm
by Admin_PC
Luke wrote:Okay, I thank you and the others for the interesting info, but here is the key question I have left:
How does one distinguish between actually contacting a buddha mentally and one's own wishful thinking/fantasies/delusions?
There really isn't a dichotomy between the two...
Pratyutpanna Samadhi Sutra Chapter 2 wrote:The Buddha said, “Very good, Bhadrapāla. Because the medium is clear, the reflection is clear. Likewise, if one wishes to see a Buddha, one with a pure mind will be able to see. When one sees Him, one can ask questions, and He will give a reply. Having heard the teachings, one will be exultant and think: ‘Where does this Buddha come from and where am I going? As I think of this Buddha, He comes from nowhere and I am going nowhere. As I think of the desire realm, the form realm, and the formless realm, these three realms are formed by my mind. I can see what I think of. The mind forms a Buddha for itself to see; the mind is the Buddha mind. As my mind forms a Buddha, my mind is the Buddha; my mind is the Tathāgata; my mind is my body.’

“Although the mind sees a Buddha, the mind neither knows itself nor sees itself. The mind with perceptions is saṁsāra; the mind without perceptions is nirvāṇa. Dharmas as perceived are not something pleasurable. They are empty thoughts, nothing real. This is what Bodhisattvas see as they abide in this samādhi.”

Then the Buddha spoke in verse:
The mind does not know itself; the mind does not see itself.
The mind that fabricates perceptions is false; the mind without perceptions is nirvāṇa.
Dharmas are not firm, only founded upon thinking.
Those who see emptiness with this understanding are free from perceptions and expectations.

Re: How do buddhas contact people?

Posted: Tue Oct 25, 2016 9:25 pm
by Sentient Light
Luke wrote:
How does one distinguish between actually contacting a buddha mentally and one's own wishful thinking/fantasies/delusions?
First, I think "contact" is a weird verb choice here -- it sounds like you're trying to think of this as divine intercession, which it is not (or, at least, not quite).

In the case of, say, Asanga going up to the Tusita Heaven to learn from Maitreya, that is certainly a kind of divine intercession, but one that requires quite a bit of meditative attainment: you need to be able to construct a mind-manifest body and are practiced in manuevering it through this reality before being able to use it to traverse another realm entirely. I think that should be fairly obvious then: if you have attained mastery over the dhyanas and can travel in a mind-manifest body at will, there's no reason to doubt what is being experienced.

But in the case of a Buddha appearing before you, it is still very much the same thing: do you have a clear mind? Have you cultivated pure sight? If not, then when you conjure the Buddha in your mind, it is obviously just a mental image, a projection--it is unstable; it flits in and out of the attention; when you look away, you lose parts of the visualization; it is not solid; it is powered wholly by the effort of the mind itself. But if you have cultivated pure sight, if you have attained stability of mind, if you abide in the sublime samadhi of Buddha-mindfulness, then the apparition is stable; it does not flit in and out of the attention; the appearances do not depend on the willful effort of the conceptual mind.

tldr; when you know the mind and how it works, then you can distinguish between a mere conjuration of the mind and the experience of the Buddha manifesting before you. However, there is no real distinction between the two--the former and the latter are merely the same experience at different points in training the path, so neither is any more real than the other. The former is only delusion insofar as the mind is deluded--it is not the Buddha that is a delusion, it is the mind that obscures the Buddha from appearing in clarity that is the delusional element.

Re: How do buddhas contact people?

Posted: Wed Oct 26, 2016 1:07 am
by AlexMcLeod
Luke wrote: How does one distinguish between actually contacting a buddha mentally and one's own wishful thinking/fantasies/delusions?
Through experience.

Re: How do buddhas contact people?

Posted: Wed Oct 26, 2016 8:41 am
by tingdzin
Luke wrote:How does one distinguish between actually contacting a buddha mentally and one's own wishful thinking/fantasies/delusions?
This is not something one has to worry about. Better to practice more -- then there's some kind of chance that there will be genuine contact.

Re: How do buddhas contact people?

Posted: Wed Oct 26, 2016 10:13 am
by Soma999
You can contact them in many ways, dreams, spiritual experiences etc... but you know the value of your experience in considering how it changed your life, how it elevates your consciousness, how it heals, how it let love and compassion grow, how your perception of the universe change.

If you really contact the Buddha of compassion, you should really develop some compassion, and feel different.

So, i guess the best things to do is to practice, without expectations - as an offering - and resonnating with the idea of the "Source", all that vibrate with this idea in the universe will be closer to you in the internal realms. Then, a spiritual alchemy can manifest.