Pure Land as a meditation practice?

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Re: Pure Land as a meditation practice?

Post by Lazy_eye » Wed Apr 07, 2010 12:00 pm

Huifeng wrote: Well, kind of. The problem is, is that for even most Chinese Pureland practitioners, they'll still say that Buddha recitation is a form of samadhi, and so to have some real depth in it, one basically has to go along with a similar situation to that outlined by Master Zhiyi. (His outline is not really for a particular method, but is rather applicable to any method of meditation.)
I see. But the situation outlined by Master Zhiyi is basically that of a home-leaver. The "prerequisites" include cessation of livelihood, relationships, studies, and practically all other activities, as well as moving to a remote, quiet dwelling. I take this to mean one shouldn't embark on any form of samadhi practice without first severing all worldly attachments (permanently, I would think...not just for the duration of practice). Later meditation manuals, such as Ting Chen's, relax this a bit but Zhiyi seems clear and emphatic.

Pure Land teachers, by contrast, stress that Buddha recitation is "for everyone" -- whether you're a monastic living a quiet life in an easeful dwelling, or a peasant working in the fields. Aren't practices like the "Ten Recitation method" addressed to people engaged in busy, noisy lives with little time for cultivation?
You can also see from what he outlines, and this has been a common idea in most of Buddhist throughout it's history (with the possible exception of some more modern movements), is that depth of meditational attainment really requires full-time participation and application. Not too many short-cuts.
Though isn't there a key difference in that the Pure Land dharma door is much wider? That is, anyone can be reborn there -- whereas (as I understand it) failure to achieve deep samadhi in Ch'an can result in a bad rebirth.

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Re: Pure Land as a meditation practice?

Post by Huifeng » Wed Apr 07, 2010 2:11 pm

Sure, different methods.

But do you think that the results of Zhiyi's practice and that of "ten recitations" is going to be the same?

The door is only really wider in the sense that the door to high school is wider than graduate school.

It's like when people say: Holding the five precepts is enough to be a Buddhist, you don't need to meditate all day. Sure, "to be a Buddhist". But, "being a Buddhist" is not the aim of our practice, just the first step.

Keep one eye on what you can do, in the present situation. But keep the other eye on the final goal. If one only looks at the present situation, then one will stagnant, and ultimately never proceed further. If one only looks at the final goal, then one will be intimidated, and never begin. Some teaching focus more on one than the other, and it pays not to confuse the two.

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Re: Pure Land as a meditation practice?

Post by Astus » Wed Apr 07, 2010 3:43 pm

"Keep one eye on what you can do, in the present situation. But keep the other eye on the final goal. If one only looks at the present situation, then one will stagnant, and ultimately never proceed further. If one only looks at the final goal, then one will be intimidated, and never begin. Some teaching focus more on one than the other, and it pays not to confuse the two."

Wow, that was really a good one, Master Huifeng! Sadhu, sadhu! :applause:
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: Pure Land as a meditation practice?

Post by Lazy_eye » Thu Apr 08, 2010 12:47 am

I'll second that sadhu. :applause: Thank you for the very helpful advice, Venerable.

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Re: Pure Land as a meditation practice?

Post by Bodhi » Fri Jul 16, 2010 11:47 pm

Pure Land school believe that by reciting the name of Buddha Amitabha, one will take rebirth ins his land, but this is actually a form of meditation. The vow of Buddha Amitabha is that "recite his name with full concentration" will take rebirth in his land. The key word is full concentration and it is a form of meditation. Just different method suitable for different people.

Peace in Chan
Wherever you are, that is where the mind should be. Always be mindful, and be your own master. This is true freedom. - Grand Master Wei Chueh

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Re: Pure Land meditation practice

Post by Nicholas Weeks » Tue Aug 24, 2010 3:37 pm

Vasubandhu Bodhisattva gave an influential practice based on the Amitayus Sutra. After Vasubandhu Bodhisattvas summary of the sutra is his commentary. http://www.sutrasmantras.info/sutra26.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
The Stanzas of Wishing for Rebirth

World-Honored One,
I single-mindedly take refuge in
The Tathāgata [Amitāyus], whose hindrance-free light shines in the ten directions,
Wishing to be reborn in His Land of Peace and Bliss.
Following sūtras,
The appearances of true virtue,
I pronounce these all-encompassing stanzas of wishing,
In accord with the teachings of the Buddha [Śākyamuni].

I visualize the appearance of that land,
Which surpasses that of the path within the Three Realms of Existence.
It is ultimate, like the open sky,
Vast and boundless.
It is born from great lovingkindness and compassion on the right path,
And from supra-worldly roots of goodness.
It is full of pure radiance,
Like a mirror, the disk of the sun or the moon.
It is made of treasures and
Abounds with wonderful adornments.
The immaculate light glows,
Suffusing all lands with radiance and purity.
The grasses of virtue, made of treasures, are soft,
Twirling left and right.
They bring superb joy to those who touch them,
More than the kācalindi grass does.
Tens of millions kinds of jeweled flowers
Cover the ponds and streams.
As breezes stir the flower petals,
Interweaving beams of light freely whirl.
Palaces and towers
Command a hindrance-free view in the ten directions.
Surrounded by jeweled railings,
Diverse trees emit colorful beams of light.
Nets of innumerable interlaced jewels
Hover all over the open sky.
All kinds of bells
Chime wondrous Dharma tones.
As adornments, flowers and garments fall like rain;
Immeasurable fragrances waft everywhere.
Like the sun, Buddha wisdom is bright and pure,
And it dispels the darkness of the ignorance of the world.
Brahma tones reach far and wide,
Heard by all in the ten directions.
Amitāyus, the Samyak-Saṁbuddha,
Is the Dharma King who well presides there.
The pure multitudes who accompany that Tathāgata are
Miraculously reborn there from flowers of true enlightenment.
They delight in the flavors of the Buddha Dharma,
Taking dhyāna and samādhi as food.
Having forever left the troubles of body and mind,
They experience uninterrupted bliss.
The roots of goodness in the Mahāyāna domain
Are equal, with no scornful names,
Because no one is reborn there in female form, or with incomplete faculties,
Or as the character-type bent on riding the Two Vehicles.
All wishes and preferences of the sentient beings there
Are fulfilled.
Therefore, I wish to be reborn
In Amitāyus Buddha’s land.

Innumerable superb treasures
Adorn [His seat] the wonderful, pure flower-platform.
The radiance of His excellent appearance reaches the distance of one yojana.
His form surpasses those of all sentient beings.
That Tathāgata’s wondrous sounds are Brahma tones,
Heard by all in the ten directions.
As earth, water, fire, wind, and space make no differentiations,
So does He not make them.
There, gods and those who cannot be diverted [from the right path]
Are reborn from the ocean of pure wisdom.
Like Sumeru, king of mountains,
Their magnificence is unsurpassed.
Multitudes in male form, including gods,
Reverently surround Him and gaze at Him.
By virtue of the power of that Buddha’s original vows,
One’s encounter with Him will never be fruitless.
One will be enabled to fulfill
The great treasure ocean of virtues.

The Land of Peace and Bliss is pure,
Where the untainted Dharma wheel always turns.
Firm as Mount Sumeru, magically manifested Buddhas and Bodhisattvas
Abide there like the sun.
Their immaculate majestic radiance,
With one thought,
Simultaneously illuminates all Buddha assemblies
And benefits all sentient beings.
As an offering, they rain down
Celestial music, flowers, garments, and wonderful incense.
Without the discriminatory mind,
They praise Buddhas’ virtues.
In any land without
The Buddha Dharma, the jewel of virtues,
They wish to be reborn,
To impart the Buddha Dharma as do Buddhas.

I compose this treatise with stanzas,
Wishing to see Amitāyus Buddha and
To be reborn together with all sentient beings
In the Land of Peace and Bliss.
Thus, I have summarized in stanzas the words in the Sūtra of Amitāyus Buddha.
May all seek, find or follow the Path of Buddhas.

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Re: Pure Land as a meditation practice?

Post by Jechan » Tue Nov 09, 2010 3:12 am


Here is what Dharma Master Thich Thien Tam said on Buddha-name recitation as a meditative practice. This is from the Chinese style of Pure Land, by the way.
31) The Four Types of Samadhi
When Pure Land practitioners reach the highest stage, they all attain one state, called the Buddha Recitation Samadhi. This is the realm of all-illuminating still-emptiness, where deluded consciousness has disappeared and only the practitioner's mind continues to dwell on the auspicious features or the sacred name of Amitabha Buddha. However, although the mind is said to "dwell," it is really "non-dwelling," because sounds, forms and marks are illusory by their very nature -- they are really empty.
What are the marks of this samadhi? According to Elder Master Liu Yu, when the practitioner assiduously recites the Buddha's name with one-pointedness of mind, oblivious to body, mind and the external world, transcending time and space, and when he has exerted the utmost effort and reached the goal, right in the midst of present thought, worldly delusions suddenly disappear -- the mind experiences sudden Awakening, attaining the realm of "No-Thought, no No-Thought." That realm is like empty space, all clouds have dissipated, the sky is all blue, reciting is not reciting, not reciting is reciting, not seeing and knowing is truly seeing and knowing -- to see and to know is to stray towards worldly dusts. At this stage, the silver water and green mountains are all Ultimate Truth, the babbling brooks and singing birds all express the wonderful Dharma. The light of the Mind encompasses ten thousand phenomena but does not dwell on any single dharma, still-but-illuminating, illuminating-but-still, existing and lost at the same time -- all is perfect.

The realm of samadhi is, in general, as just described. It is difficult to express in words, and only when we attain it do we experience it. Buddha Recitation Samadhi is always the same state. However, the ancients distinguished four variants, based on the sutras and on different ways of cultivation. These variants are described below.

1. Pratyutpanna Samadhi
When practicing this samadhi, the cultivator has three powers to assist him: the power of Amitabha Buddha, the power of the samadhi and the power of his own virtues.
The unit of practice of this samadhi should be ninety days. In that span of time, day and night the practitioner just stands or walks around, visualizing Amitabha Buddha appearing as a body standing on the practitioner's crown, replete with the thirty-two auspicious marks and the eighty beautiful characteristics. He may also recite Amitabha Buddha's name continuously, while constantly visualizing Him. When practice is perfected, the cultivator, in samadhi, can see Amitabha Buddha and the Buddhas of the ten directions standing in front of him, praising and encouraging him.

Pratyutpanna is also called the "Constantly Walking Samadhi." As the practitioner walks, each step, each word is inseparable from the name of Amitabha Buddha. His body, speech and mind are always practicing Buddha Recitation without interruption, like a continuous flow of water.

This method brings very lofty benefits, but only those of high capacity have the endurance to practice it. Those of limited or moderate capacities or lacking in energy cannot pursue this difficult practice.

2. Single Practice Samadhi
"Single Practice" means specializing in one practice. When cultivating this samadhi, the practitioner customarily sits and concentrates either on visualizing Amitabha Buddha or on reciting His name. Although he actually cultivates only one practice, in effect, he achieves proficiency in all other practices; consequently Single Practice is also called "Perfect Practice."
This samadhi, as well as the following two samadhis, can be put into practice by people of all capacities.

3. Lotus Blossom Samadhi
This is one of sixteen samadhis explained in Chapter 24 of the Lotus ("Dharma Blossom") Sutra. According to the T'ien T'ai School, the "three truths" (emptiness, conditional existence, the Middle Way)[44] perfectly fused, are "Dharma," while the Expedient and the True, being non-dual, are "blossoms." For example, when the petals (the Expedient) of the lotus blossom are not yet opened, its seeds (the True) are already formed: the seeds and the petals exist simultaneously. Thus, in a single flower, the full meaning of the True and the Expedient is exemplified.
In Pure Land terminology, we would say, "recitation is Buddha," "form is Mind," and one utterance of the Buddha's name includes the "three truths," encompassing the True and the Expedient. If we recite the Buddha's name while understanding this principle, we are practicing the Lotus Blossom Samadhi. In cultivating this samadhi, the practitioner alternates between sitting and walking while visualizing Amitabha Buddha or reciting His name, to the point where he enters samadhi. This technique is somewhat easier than the Single Practice Samadhi described above.

4. Following One's Inclinations Samadhi
With this technique, we walk or stand, lie down or sit up as we wish, constantly focusing our thoughts and never abandoning the sacred name of Amitabha Buddha, attaining samadhi in the process. This practice is also called "Flowing Water Buddha Recitation." It is like water continuously flowing in a river; if it encounters an obstacle such as a rock or a tree, it simply bounces back and continues to flow around it.
Normally, the practitioner of this method, early each morning, bows forty-eight times to Amitabha Buddha, and seven times each to the Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara, the Bodhisattva Mahasthamaprapta and the Ocean-Wide Assembly. He then kneels down to seek repentance. From then on until nightfall, whether walking, standing, Lying down, or sitting up, he recites the Buddha's name, either fingering the rosary or simply reciting. Before going to bed, he bows once more to Buddha Amitabha and dedicates the merits of the whole day's practice toward rebirth in the Pure Land. If he is distracted during practice, he should resume recitation as soon as the circumstances of the distraction have passed.

This method is flexible and easy, but the cultivator should minimize distracting conditions and have a good deal of perseverance.
The above is from a very helpful book and should be required reading for Pure Land Buddhists: Buddhism of Wisdom & Faith: Pure Land Principles and Practice

Read the full online book here: :reading:

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Re: Pure Land as a meditation practice?

Post by Nosta » Wed Nov 10, 2010 12:03 am

I am reading (i mean, studying) that ebook.

Very, very good!

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