Bodhisattva Veneration and Kamakura Era Japanese Buddhist Branches

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ylee111
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Bodhisattva Veneration and Kamakura Era Japanese Buddhist Branches

Post by ylee111 » Sun Sep 11, 2016 9:38 am

A few years back, I wrote of how I was surprised when I visited the New York Buddhist Church, a member temple of Josho Shinshu Nishi Honganji, and there was no statue of Bodhisattva Kannon. Coming from a Chinese Buddhist background, I thought all Buddhist temples, let alone Chinese and Japanese ones, would hold special places of devotion for Bodhisattva such as Kannon (Guan Yin) and Jizo (Dizang). I have since learned that numerous Kamakura Era branches of Buddhism ("the popular movement" Zen, Pure Land, and NIchiren schools) have limited the veneration of Bodhisattva, such as the 5 "major" bosatsu of Miroku, Kannon, Fugen, Monju, and Jizo. In this thread, my friends, I am trying to learn about the variation in levels of this practice from your experiences. In D.T. Suzuki's Manual of Zen, he does a basic diagram of an altar where Bodhisattva statues are placed. But how prevalent would say Miroku appear at a Soto or Rinzai Zen place of practice? My Nichiren Shu sangha colleagues, would you see a statue of Kannon in your temples? If possible, I would like input from my Joshu Shu and Nichiren Shoshu sangha friends as well. Thank you folks in advance.

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kirtu
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Re: Bodhisattva Veneration and Kamakura Era Japanese Buddhist Branches

Post by kirtu » Sun Sep 11, 2016 8:01 pm

In Zen places it is common to see Kannon and not uncommon to see Jizo (sometimes in folk forms too), and Monju. It is relatively uncommon to see Fugen or Miroku although most people would not really distinguish the Japanese iconography of Fugen from Shaka Nyorai. When you see Miroku at Zen places, it is the standing form and again most people wouldn't recognize Miroku as separate from Shaka Nyorai or Jizo. So this could mostly be a Japanese style iconography recognition problem in the West more than anything.

I have not been to Japan but I have seen many videos of temples on pilgrimage routes and most of them have at least one bosatsu in addition to the main image, even the very small ones.

In Hawai'i on O'ahu there is a very famous temple that is a replica of a Pure Land temple in Japan. It has a single Amida Nyorai statue and no other obvious statues although from memory I'm pretty sure Kannon is also on the grounds, just not in the temple per se, because one of my sisters said she saw a Mary image and of course this is a common confusion.

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Last edited by kirtu on Sun Sep 11, 2016 8:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Kirt's Tibetan Translation Notes

"Even if you practice only for an hour a day with faith and inspiration, good qualities will steadily increase. Regular practice makes it easy to transform your mind. From seeing only relative truth, you will eventually reach a profound certainty in the meaning of absolute truth."
Kyabje Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche.

"Only you can make your mind beautiful."
HH Chetsang Rinpoche

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Meido
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Re: Bodhisattva Veneration and Kamakura Era Japanese Buddhist Branches

Post by Meido » Sun Sep 11, 2016 8:27 pm

Actually, the most common honzon found in Zen buddha halls is the Shaka Sanzon i.e. a trio of Shaka Nyorai flanked by Fugen and Monju.

The figure commonly found on the altar in Zen meditation halls is Monju in the form of a meditating monk (Monju Shoso).

As noted, aside from these it is also very common to find images of Kannon, Jizo etc.

~Meido
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

The Rinzai Zen Way: A Guide to Practice

Korinji Rinzai Zen Monastery [臨済宗 • 祖的山光林禅寺] - http://www.korinji.org

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Meido
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Re: Bodhisattva Veneration and Kamakura Era Japanese Buddhist Branches

Post by Meido » Sun Sep 11, 2016 9:43 pm

RE veneration, forgot to mention of course that the 25th chapter of the Lotus as well as Enmei Jukku Kannon Gyo are generally chanted in the daily morning ceremony at Rinzai places.

Haven't seen anywhere that veneration of any Bodhisattva was "limited" in Japanese Zen. Naturally, Zen sometimes has its own understanding of the purposes of such things.

~ Meido
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

The Rinzai Zen Way: A Guide to Practice

Korinji Rinzai Zen Monastery [臨済宗 • 祖的山光林禅寺] - http://www.korinji.org

markatex
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Re: Bodhisattva Veneration and Kamakura Era Japanese Buddhist Branches

Post by markatex » Sun Sep 11, 2016 11:03 pm

In Nichiren Shu, they are considered "provisional" bodhisattvas, so you generally won't see statues of them in temples or on home altars. Statues of Kishimojin are very common, however.

I have some experience with Zen (primarily Soto), and have found statues of Kannon, Jizo, and Monju to be very common.

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Re: Bodhisattva Veneration and Kamakura Era Japanese Buddhist Branches

Post by Fortyeightvows » Mon Sep 12, 2016 5:04 am

kirtu wrote:In Hawai'i on O'ahu there is a very famous temple that is a replica of a Pure Land temple in Japan.
I think you mean this one... one cool thing was that there was priests from several traditions, even Nichiren priests who contributed and participated in the dedication.
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12345 (640x360).jpg (193.67 KiB) Viewed 1030 times

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kirtu
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Re: Bodhisattva Veneration and Kamakura Era Japanese Buddhist Branches

Post by kirtu » Mon Sep 12, 2016 5:51 am

Fortyeightvows wrote:
kirtu wrote:In Hawai'i on O'ahu there is a very famous temple that is a replica of a Pure Land temple in Japan.
I think you mean this one... one cool thing was that there was priests from several traditions, even Nichiren priests who contributed and participated in the dedication.

20160530_120600 (450x800).jpg
12345 (640x360).jpg
Yes, Byodo-In Temple, a close replica of Byodo-In in Uji, Japan.

Kirt
Kirt's Tibetan Translation Notes

"Even if you practice only for an hour a day with faith and inspiration, good qualities will steadily increase. Regular practice makes it easy to transform your mind. From seeing only relative truth, you will eventually reach a profound certainty in the meaning of absolute truth."
Kyabje Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche.

"Only you can make your mind beautiful."
HH Chetsang Rinpoche

Fortyeightvows
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Re: Bodhisattva Veneration and Kamakura Era Japanese Buddhist Branches

Post by Fortyeightvows » Mon Sep 12, 2016 6:00 am

It's a great place

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