Are Pure Land and Nichiren Buddhisms Compatible With Each Other?

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Are Pure Land and Nichiren Buddhisms Compatible With Each Other?

Yes
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No
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Total votes: 17

ItsRaining
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Re: Are Pure Land and Nichiren Buddhisms Compatible With Each Other?

Post by ItsRaining » Tue Feb 13, 2018 8:59 am

Queequeg wrote:
Tue Feb 13, 2018 2:18 am
narhwal90 wrote:
Mon Feb 05, 2018 5:43 pm
DGA wrote:
Mon Feb 05, 2018 4:35 pm

1. What were Nichiren's thoughts on Pure Land practice and doctrine?
Nichiren asserted nembutsu as at best ineffective and at worst, destructive, and focus on Amida as an emmanation vs Sakyamuni is incorrect. I think the bulk of his polemical writings were directed at Pure Land. That said, he was a man of his time writing about issues of the day, it may be some of his language is more about personalities and a literal reading is misleading. I think Q can better address this point.
That about covers it.
DGA wrote:
Mon Feb 05, 2018 4:35 pm
2. Is it possible to practice Nichiren's Buddhism adequately if one doesn't approve of Nichiren's teachings on particular topics, such as the appropriateness of various practices?
IMHO sure- note the various Nichiren schools. Some of the practices have evolved since Nichiren's time with the requisite skullduggery and politics, so appropriateness is often a relative thing anyhow. Adequately is an interesting term; I think that might mean the practitioner starts seeing transformation in their lives as a result of the practice. If thats happening, the SGI response would probably be "yes, adequate"- I would be surprised if the other schools would say something different though perhaps there would be disagreement related to the individual's practices eg Nichiren Shoshu would not approve of the use of an SGI gohonzon & so on.
Sure, one can practice Daimoku without forming any opinion on Pure Land. Most people have no particular first hand opinion of Pure Land, certainly outside Japan and even in Japan. And whatever people know as Pure Land now is a long way from whatever was the case in the 13th c.

I'd even argue that criticism is a provisional practice - a function of the Relative Sublime, something to be abandoned when the circumstances don't demand it any longer. Some in the Nichiren community would disagree. Many will agree.

No offense to anyone, but in the scheme of things, Buddha Dharma doesn't matter anymore. Most people are indifferent to it. What's the point in critiquing something when it has become little more than a social artifact in the vast majority of circumstances? Critiquing something that no one cares about is the definition of the pejorative sense of 'academic'. And all it does is bring ill repute to the Dharma.

In a robust Buddhist environment, there is a place for critical discussion. These days, it's great if someone sees a Buddha image and for a moment conceives an instant of appreciation, let alone joy or something more.
DGA wrote:
Mon Feb 12, 2018 3:05 pm
Malcolm wrote:
Sat Feb 10, 2018 9:17 pm


I don't think that Nichiren was telling people to ignore Sukhavati.
This is an interesting topic. I don't know if he did or if he did not.

I do know that many of the contemporary Nichiren Buddhists I have engaged with do not view an aspiration for rebirth in Sukhavati as a good way to use the current lifetime one has. (Am I off base here?)
While Malcolm's take on Nichiren is odd in referring to Gotoba and Wuzong, he's basically correct. The problem Nichiren found was the exclusivist Pure Land teachings. Some might think it ironic that he taught the exclusive Daimoku in response. This is a complex subject related to the discussion of Daimoku as definitive teaching. Simply put, Daimoku is the teaching and practice accessible to all people. It is on the continuum of the Perfect and Sudden teaching in Tiantai. It actually embraces all teachings as opened by the Sudden and Perfect. Another discussion.

There is no aspiration for Sukhavati because we have no affinity for it. That's probably where we ought to leave it. Anything more and emotions get stoked.
What is the intent of chanting Daimoku? The Sudden and Perfect teachings in Tiantai are to bring about the attainment of the 1st abiding of the Perfect teaching in one life which is equivalent to 1st Bhumi or Buddhahood in the Separated and Shared teachings respectively. So does chanting Daimoku bring about the same effect?

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Queequeg
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Re: Are Pure Land and Nichiren Buddhisms Compatible With Each Other?

Post by Queequeg » Tue Feb 13, 2018 5:01 pm

ItsRaining wrote:
Tue Feb 13, 2018 8:59 am
The Sudden and Perfect teachings in Tiantai are to bring about the attainment of the 1st abiding of the Perfect teaching in one life which is equivalent to 1st Bhumi or Buddhahood in the Separated and Shared teachings respectively.
Discussing the intent of daimoku is probably more appropriate for the Nichiren sub. But, I'm curious about the basis for this statement above. Do you mind elaborating?
Those who, even with distracted minds,
Entered a stupa compound
And chanted but once, “Namo Buddhaya!”
Have certainly attained the path of the buddhas.

-Lotus Sutra, Expedient Means Chapter

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Re: Are Pure Land and Nichiren Buddhisms Compatible With Each Other?

Post by Queequeg » Tue Feb 13, 2018 5:54 pm

Admin_PC wrote:
Tue Feb 13, 2018 2:58 am
"And whatever people know as Pure Land now is a long way from whatever was the case in the 13th c."

Actually I've been fairly surprised at just now much documentation there still is available in regards to rituals and practices - both internal documents and statements by contemporaries. We have a pretty good idea about what was practiced, when, and how. Of course; if this is in relation to accusations of antinomianism, we have records showing that the most egregious culprits were kicked out of the movement before they did their thing. Furthermore, dated letters show that the 7 article pledge (mandating proper behavior) wasn't just reactionary.
The reason I first asked about what we mean by Pure Land is because its a very complicated subject.

Your reference to "movement" and expelling antinomian wrong doers suggests you have a specific definition of "Pure Land" in mind. There is, of course, the Honen lineage with the Shinran lineage branching off of it - the Jodoshu and Jodoshinshu. But Pure Land was much more than that. Where did those antinomians go? They didn't disappear - they dispersed out and continued to be their antinomian selves. Maybe they no longer could be considered members of the Jodo or Jodoshinshu sects, but they were out there, promulgating their messages, practicing as they saw fit. And we're still not considering the many different Pure Land groups and Pure Land sensibilities within other established schools like Shingonshu and Tendaishu which had crossover and cross pollination.

I stand by what I wrote in terms of Pure Land now not being what was the case in the 13th c. The historical, social, political, etc. etc. etc. conditions of 13th c. Japan and contemporary Japan, let alone the rest of the world, are so different that comparison is only superficial. No Buddhist institution wields the kind of power that they wielded in the 13th c. The government is not sponsoring the construction of temples and supporting monastics and clergy - even lay support is not what it once was. Even the architecture of contemporary belief systems are arguably different... partly because of evolution, partly because the circumstances in which we live are different.

To the extent that we can draw historical connections between then and now, that is obvious - I have a vague understanding that the descendants of Shinran still the head Jodoshinshu - is that right? But that doesn't mean Pure Land thought carries any kind of comparable weight in contemporary Japan. Hello Kitty is invested with more charisma than any Buddha these days.

I don't think there is a disagreement here... I guess I'm just clarifying my perspective...
Those who, even with distracted minds,
Entered a stupa compound
And chanted but once, “Namo Buddhaya!”
Have certainly attained the path of the buddhas.

-Lotus Sutra, Expedient Means Chapter

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Re: Are Pure Land and Nichiren Buddhisms Compatible With Each Other?

Post by Admin_PC » Tue Feb 13, 2018 7:25 pm

Queequeg wrote:
Tue Feb 13, 2018 5:54 pm
But Pure Land was much more than that.
Prior to those movements, it was mainly just random itinerant monks and collected teachings under the umbrella of other schools like Tendai.
Queequeg wrote:
Tue Feb 13, 2018 5:54 pm
Where did those antinomians go? They didn't disappear - they dispersed out and continued to be their antinomian selves.
A number of them were beheaded. Others exiled. Kosai's Single-calling school was probably the largest of the schools kicked out of the more mainstream movement and was restricted almost exclusively to Shikoku (only 2 of Kosai's writings survive). If you're talking Ikko-Ikki, that was much, much later.
Queequeg wrote:
Tue Feb 13, 2018 5:54 pm
No Buddhist institution wields the kind of power that they wielded in the 13th c.
I'm not sure what you're talking about here, they were one of the most widely suppressed movements at the start of the 1200s (public executions and at least 2 exiles of prominent monks). Pure Land didn't really start getting any sort of official support till Toyotomi. The majority of the Pure Land "temples" in the 1200s were privately-sponsored mausoleums and meeting halls. Granted, other Buddhist institutions had official government backing that hasn't been seen since the Meiji.
Queequeg wrote:
Tue Feb 13, 2018 5:54 pm
To the extent that we can draw historical connections between then and now, that is obvious - I have a vague understanding that the descendants of Shinran still the head Jodoshinshu - is that right? But that doesn't mean Pure Land thought carries any kind of comparable weight in contemporary Japan. Hello Kitty is invested with more charisma than any Buddha these days.
Yah, the family is still prominent. Their institutional roots actually began when they built the mausoleum commemorating Shinran. Shin started as a very small movement and didn't pick up steam until Rennyo came along in the 1400s.
Queequeg wrote:
Tue Feb 13, 2018 5:54 pm
I don't think there is a disagreement here... I guess I'm just clarifying my perspective...
I may be starting to understand where you're coming from, so I'm sorry if any of my replies above are misdirected.
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Re: Are Pure Land and Nichiren Buddhisms Compatible With Each Other?

Post by narhwal90 » Wed Feb 14, 2018 1:33 pm

I vaguely recall a discussion of Pure Land on DW related to several interpretations about the "Pure Land", ranging from a literal rebirth there to recognition of this life itself being the Pure Land. Personally I could see the latter being a compatible practice, in the sense of using the practice to transform awareness etc. The former might be tricky because from a strictly Nichiren standpoint we are following Sakyamuni himself as the original buddha and the daimoku is the most effective method of doing so; Amida/Sukavati is considered provisional. I apologize in advance if I'm mis-characterizing variations within the tradition.

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Re: Are Pure Land and Nichiren Buddhisms Compatible With Each Other?

Post by Admin_PC » Wed Feb 14, 2018 1:57 pm

Not a mischaracterization so much as the latter interpretation is more in line with Humanistic Buddhism rather than traditional Pure Land, the latter requiring the vow to be born in Sukhavati (as part of faith, vows, and practice) and the former being based more on Yin Shun's interpretation of the Vimalakirti Sutra.
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Re: Are Pure Land and Nichiren Buddhisms Compatible With Each Other?

Post by narhwal90 » Wed Feb 14, 2018 2:57 pm

Is there a diversity of position among Pure Land achools on those points, eg on the "literal rebirth" question?

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Re: Are Pure Land and Nichiren Buddhisms Compatible With Each Other?

Post by Admin_PC » Wed Feb 14, 2018 4:57 pm

narhwal90 wrote:
Wed Feb 14, 2018 2:57 pm
Is there a diversity of position among Pure Land achools on those points, eg on the "literal rebirth" question?
Not as much as is made out in modern/western discussion and on online forums. The entire idea of "literal rebirth" as a question rather than a given, is a modern/western thing. Half of the support for rejections of "literal rebirth" comes from the polemics made by other schools. The entire idea of rejecting the Pure Land as a postmortem destination doesn't really factor anywhere in traditional Pure Land teachings.
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Re: Are Pure Land and Nichiren Buddhisms Compatible With Each Other?

Post by Sentient Light » Wed Feb 14, 2018 10:51 pm

narhwal90 wrote:
Wed Feb 14, 2018 2:57 pm
Is there a diversity of position among Pure Land achools on those points, eg on the "literal rebirth" question?
The idea that there's a difference between "literal rebirth" and "figurative rebirth" isn't really held in Pure Land schools. Even the traditional Chan schools would claim there is no difference. It's only been within western audiences that the Chan interpretation becomes misinterpreted to mean that the Pure Land being the Pure Mind means that the Pure Land is just a metaphor.
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Re: Are Pure Land and Nichiren Buddhisms Compatible With Each Other?

Post by ItsRaining » Wed Feb 14, 2018 11:15 pm

Queequeg wrote:
Tue Feb 13, 2018 5:01 pm
ItsRaining wrote:
Tue Feb 13, 2018 8:59 am
The Sudden and Perfect teachings in Tiantai are to bring about the attainment of the 1st abiding of the Perfect teaching in one life which is equivalent to 1st Bhumi or Buddhahood in the Separated and Shared teachings respectively.
Discussing the intent of daimoku is probably more appropriate for the Nichiren sub. But, I'm curious about the basis for this statement above. Do you mind elaborating?
It seems in Tiantai the different teachings are taught to have different levels of relaisation despite being nominally at the same level, for example, Buddhahood in the Shared is First Bhumi in the Separate (This is what I read from some Dharma teachers and the Collected Tendai Works from BDK). The Perfect teaching was said to bring about the first abiding in one life which is equivalent to Buddhahood in the shared teaching and so on. I was wondering if Nichiren taught that with Daimoku.

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Re: Are Pure Land and Nichiren Buddhisms Compatible With Each Other?

Post by Zhen Li » Thu Feb 15, 2018 7:03 am

Sentient Light wrote:
Wed Feb 14, 2018 10:51 pm
narhwal90 wrote:
Wed Feb 14, 2018 2:57 pm
Is there a diversity of position among Pure Land achools on those points, eg on the "literal rebirth" question?
The idea that there's a difference between "literal rebirth" and "figurative rebirth" isn't really held in Pure Land schools. Even the traditional Chan schools would claim there is no difference. It's only been within western audiences that the Chan interpretation becomes misinterpreted to mean that the Pure Land being the Pure Mind means that the Pure Land is just a metaphor.
Sorry but Admin_PC is right here. The Pureland = Puremind and "Pureland in this world" teaching has been propagated among Humanistic Buddhism and many other Buddhists in Taiwan. Master Hsing Yun advocates building the Pureland on earth as the "Fo Guang Pureland," though there are still traditional approaches and retreats at Fo Guang Shan for nianfo. There are also many books on the topic, such as "Pure Land Pure Mind" and "Pure Land Zen/Zen Pure Land" which are by Chinese or Vietnamese teachers. Unfortunately, it's rare at Fo Guang Shan to even hear or see a lecture on the pureland which is not pushing this institutional approach to pureland, and the kind of straightforward, traditional pureland, which takes the sutras and masters of the past on their word, are rare, if not non-existent. Frankly, a lot of this is about branding their own take on Buddhism, setting it aside from the others and reinforcing the kind of this-worldly charity work, education, publication and broadcasting that they do, but for someone who is exposed to other traditions it is idiosyncratic and modernist to say the least.

In the west, outside of Buddhist Churches of America/Canada, pureland seems to get very little mention at all. But certainly in some North American Jodo Shinshu temples you find people who are not so much saying that Pureland is a metaphor or something, as much as you find people who simply say it is not really the teaching of the Buddha. This is probably because people end up in some of these temples either because their parents brought them up into them or because there are no temples nearby that suit their doctrinal temperament, which definitely makes it a different case from that of Humanistic Buddhism as that is certainly not (as far as I know) a take on the tradition that is in line with Nishi Hongwangji.

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Re: Are Pure Land and Nichiren Buddhisms Compatible With Each Other?

Post by Queequeg » Fri Feb 16, 2018 4:11 pm

ItsRaining wrote:
Wed Feb 14, 2018 11:15 pm
Queequeg wrote:
Tue Feb 13, 2018 5:01 pm
ItsRaining wrote:
Tue Feb 13, 2018 8:59 am
The Sudden and Perfect teachings in Tiantai are to bring about the attainment of the 1st abiding of the Perfect teaching in one life which is equivalent to 1st Bhumi or Buddhahood in the Separated and Shared teachings respectively.
Discussing the intent of daimoku is probably more appropriate for the Nichiren sub. But, I'm curious about the basis for this statement above. Do you mind elaborating?
It seems in Tiantai the different teachings are taught to have different levels of relaisation despite being nominally at the same level, for example, Buddhahood in the Shared is First Bhumi in the Separate (This is what I read from some Dharma teachers and the Collected Tendai Works from BDK). The Perfect teaching was said to bring about the first abiding in one life which is equivalent to Buddhahood in the shared teaching and so on. I was wondering if Nichiren taught that with Daimoku.
I disagree with that interpretation of the Sudden and Perfect. The S&P is a complete teaching (Perfect) that encompasses all beings from the depths of ignorance to annuttara samyaksambodhi. To the extent that the achievements of the different teachings are compared, the point is to show how those paths are incomplete and the S&P complete.

The Daimoku relates to the stage of hearing the name of the Dharma in Zhiyi's Six Stages of the S&P.
Those who, even with distracted minds,
Entered a stupa compound
And chanted but once, “Namo Buddhaya!”
Have certainly attained the path of the buddhas.

-Lotus Sutra, Expedient Means Chapter

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