rory wrote:I'm sorry but I went to a Shinshu church and practiced primarily Pure Land as my main practice for over 10 years, and I stopped it as yes, in Japanese Pure Land Jodo and Shinshu, people make no effort whatsoever to practice Shakyamuni's teachings, and they don't practice nembutsu until they achieve samadhi either. I shocked the Pure Land priests I was acquainted with when I told them I routinely did 1,000 nembutsu nightly and had achieved small samadhi (via Tendai gyo). In Japanese Budddhism historically the goal was to attain in this life the Pure Land Samadhi, Genshin despaired that he had never attained it and it was only Honen and Shinran who radically changed the meaning of Pure Land practice. After them it became; 'I'm incapable' and let yourself go to Amida's compassion. Even at a Chinese Fo Guang temple which taught Ch'an and Pure Land most people (who were quite educated) would say "I'm incapable' and then chant nien-fo, counting on Amida to do the heavy lifting. Really they liked samsara.
Frankly people are naturally lazy (I am too) and we need to make an effort, study, examine our mind, think about suffering and leaving samsara, do various practices and see the results in our own life. After many years I now make a vow to be born in Mt. Potalaka but that's a part of my practice, I'm reading and studying Yogacara thought, applying it to my own mind, meditate, chant the Heart Sutra, mantras, etc. Really in this age, we are educated, have access to cheap scholarly texts, sutras, there is no reason to say 'I'm incapable.'
Pretty bold thing to say of Jodo Shu, of which you admittedly have limited experience (Jodo Shu != Jodo Shin Shu).
In Japan, Jodo Shu monks hosted an online 24-hour nembutsu marathon last month...
Honen's starting recommendation is 10,000 daily recitations:
Honen on Practice wrote:Daily Recitation
Q: How many repetitions of the nembutsu should one regard as a day's practice?
Honen: Well, the number of nembutsu repetitions may begin with ten thousand, and then go on to twenty, thirty, fifty, sixty or even a hundred thousand. Everyone should in their own heart and according to their own will determine the number within these limits.
Q: Even if we don’t fix the number of times for repeating the nembutsu as our daily practice, isn’t it OK to do it as often as one can?
H: It’s better to fix the number, otherwise you might get lazy.
Is that lazy?
Is it encouraging one to be lazy?
Are you working harder than that?
You've admitted in the past that you never really got Jodo Shin Shu. Regardless of your 10 year experience, attempting to speak as an authority for the entire organization is also pretty bold. The fallacy of this assertion becomes clear when one reads the accounts of the various Jodo Shin Shu Myokonin throughout the years. If anybody thinks Shinran said "don't recite the nembutsu" has totally missed the point. His actual statement was "when people recite, they don't necessarily have faith. when they have faith, they invariably recite". Yes, he did come to some conclusions that the faith involved in his recitations were more important than the actual number. To his defense, the Amitabha, Amitayus, and Visualization sutras actually put a higher priority on faith over number of repetitions or samadhi through repetition.
I don't think you quite get what is going on at FGS either.
FGS temples frequently hold 7 day Amitabha retreats:
http://www.fgs.org.tw/english/orgainzat ... tives.html
(under Fo Guang Shan Buddhist Practice)
http://www.orlandobuddhism.org/2012/11/ ... a-retreat/
Actually, most Chinese & Vietnamese Mahayana temples frequently hold such week-long Amitabha retreats.
Sounds like an awful lot of work for people to be doing if they're just letting someone else do the heavy lifting...
Furthermore, FGS's founder's from the Linzi Chan (Rinzai Zen) school too, so not an exclusive Pure Land school limited to Pure Land practices.
Chinese Pure Landers tend to fall into more general Mahayana, so many Pure Land practitioners also study Yogacara, Madhyamaka, the Lotus, the Avatamsaka, the Shurangama, the Lankavatara, the Mahayana Mahaparinirvana, and the Prajna Paramitas (especially the Heart Sutra). Certainly we're encouraged to study any and all of the above at the Vietnamese temple. Hsuan Hua was a staunch advocate of the Pure Land, as well as the Shurangama, and he was from the Ch'an school. Ven Chin Kung is another Linzi Chan master who advocates Pure Land, he was originally an expert in the Avatamsaka sutra but came to appreciate the Pure Land.
Care to source any of your Genshin info?
Sure doesn't sound like much of a failure to me...
Mido kanpakuki zenchushaku 御堂関白記全注釈. Ed. Yamanaka Yutaka 山中裕，4 vols. Tokyo: Koka Shoten, 1994. wrote:
Genshin was given the title Gon Shosozu 権小僧都（a prestigious imperially appointed monastic position, sometimes translated as Provisional Lesser Vicar) in 1004.
Kansai Digital Archives wrote:
Monk Genshin is said to have been born in Kashiba. Kashiba lies at the foot of Mt. Njio. According to legend, while watching a setting sun over the mountain, he attained the perception of Buddha Amida welcoming people to the Pure Land as Buddhism salvation. He is known as the author of Ojoyoshu, a compilation of writing on Buddhist teachings composed of three volumes. His name as the founder of Pure Land faith appears in most textbooks of Japanese history.
Hisao Inagaki's Amida Net wrote:
Genshin 源信 A Tendai monk and a great exponent of Pure Land thought; 942-1017; popularly called Eshin Sozu 恵心僧都 because he lived in Eshin-in 恵心院 at Yokawa 横川 on Mt. Hiei. He lost his father when young, and went up to Mt. Hiei to study Buddhism under Ryogen 良源. At the age of 15, he was appointed special lecturer on the Lotus Sutra (Hokke hako 法華八講); his intelligence and eloquence surprised all the audience. He could have enjoyed great reputation, but spent a secluded life in Yokawa, practicing the Pure Land way and writing discourses. His masterpiece, Collection of Essential Passages Concerning Birth (Ojoyoshu 往生要集), is a collection of the important passages pertaining to the matter of birth in the Pure Land. This is an encyclopedic work drawing from many sutras and commentaries from India and China. When he completed this work he sent a copy to China in 986; the monks there were very surprised, and praised him as the "little Sakyamuni of Japan." This work laid the foundation for Japanese Pure Land teaching. He is thus looked upon as the sixth patriarch in the tradition of the Jodoshin school. He is also known as the founder of the Eshin school of Tendai, which is based on the "original state of enlightenment" (hongaku 本覚) teaching, meaning that everybody, even the most wicked person, is originally enlightened. This is an alternative view to what has been called "entering upon enlightenment for the first time," (shikaku 始覚), in the sense of working one's way up to enlightenment from the beginning.
In his late years, he was conferred with the title of shosozu 少僧都 (minor second grade) but remained in obscurity, dedicating himself to the exploration of Buddhist truth. He left more than thirty works, including A Discourse Determining the Essentials of the One-Vehicle Teaching (Ichijo yoketsu 一乗要決), A Collection of Important Passages Briefly Discussing Contemplation of the Mind (Kanjin ryakuyoshu 観心略要集), the Mahayana versus Abhidharmakosa (Daijo-tai-Kusha 大乗対倶舎), and the Invocation on the Twenty-five Samadhis (Nijugo sanmai kisho 二十五三昧起請).
Genshin was likely the basis for a popular character in the Genji Monogatari (Tale of Genji), so he was probably doing something right.
The Influence of the Ojdydshu in Late Tenth- and Early Eleventh-Century Japan by Sarah Horton
Ryogen and Mount Hiei: Japanese Tendai in the Tenth Century By Paul Groner
Studies in Japanese Buddhism By August Karl Reischauer
=> check out page 103 for an understanding of why Genshin might've downplayed his attainments...
"Kechien" as Religious Praxis in Medieval Japan By Chieko Nakano
=> chapter starting on page 57 explains why Genshin played up his bombu (kechien) nature...
The truth of the matter is that the faith aspect & realizing one's own limitations is a way of letting go, very similar to the letting go of self that one does in Zen/Ch'an practice. If you think you can gut your way to Enlightenment, to infinite virtue, to infinite wisdom, to infinite compassion, more power to you. But that's not what this school's about and it never really was about that. It's about learning to let go of samsara through realizing one's defilements, practicing reliance, & learning appreciation for what one has been gifted, not through direct renunciation. Admitting to one's bombu nature leads to a certain amount of self-acceptance that is truly necessary for enacting real change.
Stating that Pure Land folks are ignoring the teachings of Shakyamuni is just ridiculous.
Shakyamuni had many teachings, not just on anapanassati (breath meditation), or physical renunciation.
All schools of Pure Land, except for Jodo Shin Shu are enthusiastic about encouraging precepts.
That is not to say that Jodo Shin Shu encourages anti-nomian behavior though; it just more about realizing one's own defiled nature in order to let go.
If Pure Land's not your dharma door, no biggie, there are 84,000 other ones out there. Continually passing judgement on a school that you never really seem to have gotten all that well is just coming off polemical. I understand if you don't like the 35th vow, but it was a mile-marker an ongoing process of changing the minds of a misogynistic culture. Just look at the Mahīśāsakas
if you want an example of what these schools originally thought of women; funny enough, they're related to the Dharmaguptakas - the last remaining lineage of Bhikkshunis.