The Interpenetration of Principle & Phenomena

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Dharma Flower
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The Interpenetration of Principle & Phenomena

Post by Dharma Flower » Sun May 28, 2017 6:20 am

The Avatamsaka Sutra teaches the interpenetration of principle and phenomena:
"Interpenetration" of all phenomena: the ultimate principle of all things is emptiness; every
individual thing fully manifests the ultimate principle of everything else. Developed in Huayan
school. Indra's Net.
http://www2.kenyon.edu/Depts/Religion/F ... na-360.pdf
The Avatamsaka Sutra influenced the Huayan school of Buddhism, which in turn influenced Cha'an:
Chinese Chán was profoundly influenced by it, though Chán also defined itself by distinguishing itself from Huayan.[12] Tsung-mi, the Fifth Patriarch of the Hua-yen school, also occupies a prominent position in the history of Chán. During the Song, the Hua-yen metaphysics were completely assimilated by the Chán-school.[13]
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Huayan
When Chinese Pure Land Buddhism became fused with Ch'an, it incorporated the Huayan teaching of the interpenetration of principle and phenomena:
Master Ou-i also reflects upon Amitabha's Land of Ultimate Bliss from the perspective of Hua-yen Buddhism, where the interpenetration of infinite arrays of worlds is the basic medium of the enlightening being's perception. Master Ou-i stresses this in his comments on the passage in the sutra describing the inhabitants of Amitabha's Pure Land returning from their regular journeys to other worlds...

Master Ou-i comments: "This passage shows that in the Pure Land every sound, every sense-object, every moment, and even every step and every snap of the fingers, interpenetrates without obstruction the Three Jewels of all the worlds of the ten directions. It also shows that in our mundane world the defilements and obstructions are so serious that our world is separated off from the Land of Ultimate Bliss, even though it is not really separated from it...

The word "Buddha" is also used to refer to the inherent potential for enlightened perception that all people share. According to Great Vehicle Buddhism, we all have "Buddha-nature", and the one great mission of all forms of Buddhism is to bring this to light, to make us aware of our Buddha-nature, and enable us to function by means of it in our daily lives. In this context, remembering Buddha, Buddha-remembrance, means remembering our own true nature, the capacity for lucid wisdom and selfless compassion that is our birthright. By becoming mindful of Buddha (i.e. reciting the Buddha-name), we are just regaining our real identity.
http://www.ymba.org/books/mind-seal-bud ... abha-sutra
We can also go back further into the history of Pure Land Buddhism, before the influence of Chinese Ch'an, to see the above teaching.

The earliest scriptural mention of Amitabha Buddha is in Pratyutpanna Samādhi Sūtra, whose intent is to experience Amitabha and other Buddhas as one's true nature:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pratyutpa ... S%C5%ABtra

Also, the teaching of the interpenetration of Amitabha Buddha and ourselves can be found in the Contemplation Sutra, one of the three canonical Pure Land sutras:
17. '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. Therefore you should apply your thought with an undivided attention to a careful meditation on that Buddha Tathagata, Arhat, the Holy and Fully Enlightened One.
http://web.mit.edu/stclair/www/meditationsutra.html
Whether Amitabha Buddha is a literal flesh and blood Buddha from ten kalpas ago, or is symbolic of Dharma-body, the underlying idea is the name: In reciting the name of Amida Buddha, we are calling the name of our true nature, awakening the Buddha within. This is due to the interpenetration of principle and phenomena.

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Re: The Interpenetration of Principle & Phenomena

Post by Dharma Flower » Sun May 28, 2017 7:47 am

Another thing worth adding is that, according to the Pure Land/Ch'an masters, the interpenetration of principle and phenomena is a worthless concept unless we actually make the effort to recite the Buddha's name:
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.
http://purelanders.com/2011/12/11/mind- ... ha-buddha/
The purpose of this thread, then, is not to simply engage in mental masturbation. It's instead to help give others motivation for reciting the Nianfo, if they are drawn to the Nianfo as a Buddhist practice.

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Re: The Interpenetration of Principle & Phenomena

Post by Dharma Flower » Sun May 28, 2017 10:15 am

Anonymous X wrote:You can only stay on the surface of things without any real familiarity with practice.
For a Pure Land Buddhist, practice need not go beyond reciting the Nembutsu.

There are various motivations for reciting the Nembutsu, whether to be reborn into the Pure Land after death, or to live in the Pure Land here and now, but the simple practice of the Nembutsu is the same:
Buddhist authors in late-medieval China and Vietnam frequently describe Pure Land Buddhism’s practice of reciting the Buddha’s name in terms of three levels:

Mundane, regular level: reciting the Buddha’s name to achieve rebirth in the Pure Land.
Middle-level: reciting the Buddha’s name to “bring out” the Buddha within the practitioner.
High-level: reciting the Buddha’s name with the understanding that there is no Buddha outside the mind.
https://klingonbuddhist.wordpress.com/2 ... -buddhism/
I am thinking or reciting out loud the Nembutsu every hour of the day. It makes me happy if others may be find happiness in the Nembutsu too.

May you be happy and well. :anjali:

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Re: The Interpenetration of Principle & Phenomena

Post by Dharma Flower » Tue May 30, 2017 11:47 pm

If Amida is a literal Buddha from ten kalpas ago, he is also our true nature, since his infinite light extends in all directions:
The next passage gives two explanations of the name “Amitabha” – as “infinite light” and as “infinite life”. The literal translation of “Amitabha” is “infinite”…
Infinite light extends through space in all directions; infinite life extends through time and reaches through past, present, and future. The dimensions of space and time interpenetrating are the body of the universe. This body as a whole is the body and land of Amitabha, and this body as a whole is the name of Amitabha.
Thus, the name of Amitabha is the inherently enlightened true nature of sentient beings, and reciting the name of Amitabha (Namu-Amida-Butsu) reveals this enlightenment…
We must realize that there is no name of Amitabha apart from the mind of infinite light and infinite life that is before us now at this moment, and there is no way for us to penetrate the mind of infinite light and infinite life that is before us now at this moment apart from (reciting) the name of Amitabha.
http://www.ymba.org/books/mind-seal-bud ... s-amitabha
It is not either/or, that Amida is either a literal Buddha from ten kalpas ago or our own Buddha-nature. This is due to the interpenetration of principle of phenomena.

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Re: The Interpenetration of Principle & Phenomena

Post by Dharma Flower » Sat Jun 03, 2017 4:37 am

Because of the interpenetration of principle and phenomena, Amida's compassion becomes our own compassion, as we recite his name:
It is the same with those who practice concentration on the name of Amitabha - they develop within their minds Amitabha's spirit of compassion toward all sentient life...

My devotion to reciting the name of Amitabha had no other purpose than to return to my original nature of purity and by it I attained to the state of non-rebirth perseverance.
http://www.mountainrunnerdoc.com/surangama.html

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Re: The Interpenetration of Principle & Phenomena

Post by Dharma Flower » Mon Feb 26, 2018 7:14 am

The interpenetration of principle and phenomena is an important concept on Chinese Pure Land Buddhism:
The reason the Pure Land and the purified mind can be the same thing is due to the interpenetration of Principle and Phenomena. The mind-ground is the basis of reality itself, and both the underlying principle of the universe as well as its manifestations are woven into the fabric of what we call reality. It isn't necessary to try and reconcile both, particularly through logic and reason. This dual nature must be directly realized and has little to do with the discursive mind. Simply practice whatever Pure Land practice you may decide to practice (assuming you want to to this) and all will be well. Amitabha!
http://www.cloudwater.org/index.php/ask ... -pure-mind

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Astus
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Re: The Interpenetration of Principle & Phenomena

Post by Astus » Tue Feb 27, 2018 9:09 am

If it were as you stated, why cannot reciting "bodhi, bodhi" make one awakened? Also, how come that those millions of Pure Land practitioners were/are not all enlightened beings despite regularly reciting the name? Even such well known Amitabha devotees like Honen remained deluded beings all their lives, furthermore, it is a basic point of the Pure Land teachings that one should recognise being ignorant and sinful.
Dharma Flower wrote:
Sun May 28, 2017 6:20 am
In reciting the name of Amida Buddha, we are calling the name of our true nature, awakening the Buddha within. This is due to the interpenetration of principle and phenomena.
True nature, the principle, is just the absence of self-nature, while the phenomenal aspect, the conventional nature, is the name, the concept. So, while people have names, there is no person behind the name, there is nobody to call. Therefore, calling the name of true nature is no different from shouting in an empty house. There is none to answer.
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: The Interpenetration of Principle & Phenomena

Post by Sentient Light » Tue Feb 27, 2018 6:52 pm

Astus wrote:
Tue Feb 27, 2018 9:09 am
If it were as you stated, why cannot reciting "bodhi, bodhi" make one awakened? Also, how come that those millions of Pure Land practitioners were/are not all enlightened beings despite regularly reciting the name? Even such well known Amitabha devotees like Honen remained deluded beings all their lives, furthermore, it is a basic point of the Pure Land teachings that one should recognise being ignorant and sinful.
I'm not sure about the point you're trying to make here, but there are plenty of Pure Land practitioners known to have awakened in their lifetime. Here's a documentary on Hai Xian, an awakened Pure Land hermit:

Yin Kuang is said to have been an awakened Pure Land master.

Master Doan Minh Huyen (mid-1800s) is considered to be an awakened dual-practice Pure Land/Thien master.

Lay Master Nguyen Minh Tri (late-1800s/early 1900s) is considered an awakened Pure Land master.

Nguyen Kim Muong (early 20th century) is also considered an awakened Pure Land master.

Thich Thien Tam is also said to have awakened through the Pure Land method.

Most of these are well known figures in Vietnamese Buddhism, so I can only imagine it's a small subset of accomplished practitioners; surely in Chinese Buddhism, many more are known as well.
:buddha1: Nam mô A di đà Phật :buddha1:
:bow: Nam mô Quan Thế Âm Bồ tát :bow:
:bow: Nam mô Đại Thế Chi Bồ Tát :bow:

:buddha1: Nam mô Bổn sư Thích ca mâu ni Phật :buddha1:
:bow: Nam mô Di lặc Bồ tát :bow:
:bow: Nam mô Địa tạng vương Bồ tát :bow:

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Re: The Interpenetration of Principle & Phenomena

Post by Astus » Tue Feb 27, 2018 9:03 pm

Sentient Light wrote:
Tue Feb 27, 2018 6:52 pm
the point you're trying to make here
It is simply that recitation in itself is insufficient as a method for liberation in this life. The biography of Hai Xian shows that he practised many virtues and lived a renunciate life, and that is already a lot more than simply intoning the six syllables a few times in one's living room every day.
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: The Interpenetration of Principle & Phenomena

Post by Sentient Light » Tue Feb 27, 2018 9:59 pm

Astus wrote:
Tue Feb 27, 2018 9:03 pm

It is simply that recitation in itself is insufficient as a method for liberation in this life. The biography of Hai Xian shows that he practised many virtues and lived a renunciate life, and that is already a lot more than simply intoning the six syllables a few times in one's living room every day.
Solid point, but afaik, only Shinran explicitly teaches only recitation. Honen was well-practiced in many additional methods. Many of the masters I listed also practiced Chan/Thien and some Tantra.

It is taught, however, that the Buddha-recitation Samadhi results in the quiescence of the mind, and that the quiescence of the mind results in direct perception of one's Buddha-nature and penetrating insight into the nature of phenomena. At least within my own tradition, awakening through the practice of recitation is impossible without the attainment of samadhi, and the attainment of samadhi necessitates a solid foundation of virtue, observing the precepts, making offerings to the sangha, etc.
:buddha1: Nam mô A di đà Phật :buddha1:
:bow: Nam mô Quan Thế Âm Bồ tát :bow:
:bow: Nam mô Đại Thế Chi Bồ Tát :bow:

:buddha1: Nam mô Bổn sư Thích ca mâu ni Phật :buddha1:
:bow: Nam mô Di lặc Bồ tát :bow:
:bow: Nam mô Địa tạng vương Bồ tát :bow:

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Re: The Interpenetration of Principle & Phenomena

Post by Astus » Wed Feb 28, 2018 12:04 pm

Sentient Light wrote:
Tue Feb 27, 2018 9:59 pm
Solid point, but afaik, only Shinran explicitly teaches only recitation. Honen was well-practiced in many additional methods.
Honen was the one who started the teaching of senju nenbutsu in Japan, where simply the oral recitation of the name is sufficient for attaining birth. The four auxiliary practices are subordinate to nenbutsu and their application is conditional.
Many of the masters I listed also practiced Chan/Thien and some Tantra.
In other words, they practised buddha remembrance within the larger framework of the six paramitas.
the quiescence of the mind results in direct perception of one's Buddha-nature and penetrating insight into the nature of phenomena.
Even non-Buddhists can attain the various dhyanas, so a quiet mind is insufficient for liberation.
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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