Worry and incarnational faith

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janpeterotto
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Worry and incarnational faith

Post by janpeterotto » Sun Apr 10, 2016 12:55 pm

During a talk with a Christian theologian at a Carthusian monastery, we discovered that my Amitabha faith dispenses with the incarnational project that is at the core of the Christian faith. 

Or does it? Hard to say.

We found out, anyway,  that by mere transcendence through the Vow and the saying of the Name, we are free of all the complicated and also very exciting consequences of God incarnate in Christ. We simply are sinful creatures trusting Amitabhas oceanic compassion through his Vow. That is, we agreed, a very much simpler "locus fidei" than the Christian. My brother monk envied us in this simplicity and saw very well why this faith is so congenial and egalitarian to peasants, artisans, country people and simple folks.

I pointed out that the Christian faith seems to grow very fast in China, the homeland for Pure Land faith. But he answered: it is a very pure-land-like form of Christian faith ! However with one big difference: they cry over their sins. In Pure Land you don't seem to do that. For example, Rennyo says ( and he paraphrased the swedish translation of Ofumi ) that what is meant by "tariki shinjin" is to fully and earnestly rely on only Amitabha without even worrying about our grievous sins. Most Christians do worry about them.

I agreed. Incarnational theology makes you worry. If you, however, believe in a wonderful promise and the power of abundant Compassion, which saves everyone, including heavy sinners and incorrigible persons, you don't have to worry.

Amitabha in His grace, in fact elevates our meager thoughts to His level. As Rennyo writes: "It is because of this that we say that the Buddha's heart and the heart of man joins."

Anyone been into these dialogue affairs?

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Admin_PC
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Re: Worry and incarnational faith

Post by Admin_PC » Sun Apr 10, 2016 3:33 pm

Chinese Pure Land practice has traditionally conducted daily repentance and has held repentance ceremonies on special days. So it's literally a different kind of Pure Land. Incidentally, such repentance is part & parcel of the teachings of ShanTao and Honen. Just look at the Ojoraisan, and see ShanTao explaining the 3 kinds of repentance (principle, short, and extensive), giving different rituals for each. The Ojoraisan is part of the greater Shin canon, but probably holds more significance in Jodo Shu.

As an admin, I'm obligated to point out that this is not a comparative religion site, as per the Terms of Service. Please try to keep the focus on explaining Pure Land ideas rather than spending much time explaining Christianity & finding similarities/differences.
月影の いたらぬ里は なけれども 眺むる人の 心にぞすむ
法然上人

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Monlam Tharchin
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Re: Worry and incarnational faith

Post by Monlam Tharchin » Wed Sep 05, 2018 5:16 am

Admin_PC wrote:
Sun Apr 10, 2016 3:33 pm
Chinese Pure Land practice has traditionally conducted daily repentance and has held repentance ceremonies on special days. So it's literally a different kind of Pure Land. Incidentally, such repentance is part & parcel of the teachings of ShanTao and Honen. Just look at the Ojoraisan, and see ShanTao explaining the 3 kinds of repentance (principle, short, and extensive), giving different rituals for each. The Ojoraisan is part of the greater Shin canon, but probably holds more significance in Jodo Shu.
Sorry to bump an old thread but the link doesn't work anymore. Can someone post more about the repentance rituals in Jodoshu?
Amitābha!
OM PADMO USHNISHA VIMALE HUM PHAT (Lotus Pinnacle of Amoghapasha)
OM HANU PHASHA BHARA HE YE SVAHA ("Just by Seeing" Mantra)
AH AAH SHA SA MA HA (Six Syllables of Clairvoyance Mantra)


The Buddhas and Bodhisattvas have unobstructed vision in all directions.
Everything is in their presence; and I stand in front of them. -- Shantideva

steveb1
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Re: Worry and incarnational faith

Post by steveb1 » Fri Sep 07, 2018 12:16 am

Interesting conversational topic.

Yes, unlike Christianity, in the form Amidism I practice - Shinran's Jodo Shinshu/Shin Buddhism - there are no soteriological requirements in the sense of "Works". Nor did Amida Buddha - unlike Jesus -undergo a bloody sacrificial/"atoning" crucifixion and triumphant resurrection. (Amida did, of course, struggle through many kalpas in order to create the perfect Pure Land which is uniquely His own labor.)

Therefore, as you said, in Shin-type spirituality, there is no incarnational suffering and rising-again, there is no repentance for "sins" committed against a creator deity and there are no christological quarrels over the Founder's true nature (divine? semi-divine? Spirit-filled human being?) myth?), etc.

There is also no sin-guilt, and no punishment for bad behavior. Moreover, there is no reward for good behavior. More "Pauline" than Paul and even Luther, Jodo Shinshu teaches that we cannot earn our own salvation through any act whatsoever (other than, obviously, becoming aware of Amida and consenting to the echo of His Call in us).

Good works don't aid in our salvation, which in Shin is our ultimate redemption from ego and Samsara, and Enlightenment immediately upon death. Birth into the Pure Land is not a reward for good works or better-performed self power practices such as meditation, attention, visualization, Vipassana, etc. Amida Buddha, and Amida Buddha alone, saves us. There is no other factor involved than the Buddha's all-encompassing grace, from which emerges the gift of perfect faith, or Shinjin. A gift that we do not acquire as a reward, but which comes to us unbidden, and functions as our "Raft from the Other Shore" in which we sail over Samsara's stormy sea and which safely conducts us to the shore of the Pure Land.

However, there may be one parallel of Shin-type spirituality and New Testament christology:

Paul cites a christological hymn in:

Philippians 2:7-10 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

7 ...but He emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men.
8 Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.


Certainly Amida Buddha emptied himself for us, and in a sense continues to expend Himself for all sentient beings. The NT term for "emptying" is kenosis, and there seems to be a "kenotic" element in Amida's showering of infinite compassion on all creatures. To perhaps stretch an analogy, Amida's kalpas of effort spent in creating the perfect Pure Land might be seen as a form of "cross" borne for humanity's benefit.

And there is also Amida's human origination in the unnamed prince who, like Shakyamuni, abandoned "the Good Life", and traveled as the Monk Dharmakara, until he met a Buddha, who encouraged the monk to undertake the Bodhisattva Vow. The Monk's human act resulted in his eventual Bodhisattvahood and His ultimate Buddhahood. Like the New Testament Jesus, Dharmakara undertook a great labor not chiefly for himself, but for others. And like Jesus - at least in in certain buddhalogical speculations - it is conceived that perhaps Dharmakara himself was a kind of "incarnation" of the eternal primordial Buddha.

Be all this as it may, it is certain that Jodo Shinshu/Shin Buddhism is "the Easy Path", contrasted with Christianity's "Way of the Cross", even though the two faiths might have certain parallels and points of contact.

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如傑優婆塞
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Re: Worry and incarnational faith

Post by 如傑優婆塞 » Fri Sep 07, 2018 2:09 am

往生礼讃 ōjō rai san

As an admin, I'm obligated to point out that this is not a comparative religion site, as per the Terms of Service. Please try to keep the focus on explaining Pure Land ideas rather than spending much time explaining Christianity & finding similarities/differences.
:thumbsup:
Last edited by anjali on Fri Sep 07, 2018 3:27 am, edited 1 time in total.

vikas113
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Re: Worry and incarnational faith

Post by vikas113 » Fri Sep 07, 2018 11:22 am

Christian god is nothing more than a diety in the desire heaven and hence is still stuck in samsara, no matter how powerful he is.
Being heaven it is impermanent and subjected to change and decay. Even gods in heavens die and are born in hell and other realms.
So even if a person by practice and faith goes to any heaven is still bound in samsara and is not free from old age, sickness, death and innumerable other sufferings.

Pureland on the other hand is the way of the Buddha, The gateway of the mindfulness of the Buddha, The way of being born among Buddhas, The way of attaining Buddhahood.
Amitabha Buddha's fundamental vow is unfailable. It doesn't gives you birth in heaven but grants you birth in purelands of the Buddha which is more majestic and beautiful than heavens. The people born there are more beautiful than gods and are endowed with majestic supernatural powers are unimpeded wisdom.

So don't mistake Pureland practice of the Buddha with heavens which are impermanent and even gods are not free from desire, hatred, anger and birth.
While the pureland of the Buddha is free from hatred, anger, decit, jealously, even the name of suffering and dukkha is not heard there.

People born in Amitabha's pureland are secure from birth in lower realms and have a very long life as compared to gods. Plus they dwell in non-retrogression are guaranteed to become Buddha in next life. They are not attached to anything at all and enjoy limitless bliss all the time.

So Pureland >>>> Heaven (christian/Hindu/Buddhist/any religion) >>> human realm.

Pureland is not an ordinary practice. It is the practice of the Bodhisattvas. Buddhas are themselves born from this practice.
It looks simple but has the potential to unlock the limitless wisdom of the Buddha in the mind of the practioner in this very life and in this very body if practised with full sincerity and faith.

So please don't confuse it with heavens and gods which are nothing but fancy houses but all impermanent.

Namo Amitabha Buddha !!!

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