Huifeng wrote:Lazy_eye wrote:Hi,
This came up in an earlier thread but it was a bit of a tangent so I would like to raise it again here.
Buddha name recitation, on the surface, sounds like the simplest of methods, except that it should be supported by 信心/shinjin. Otherwise, isn't it just a method for calming the mind, no different than counting breaths or even repeating some nonsense syllables? It's 信心 which makes the difference.
But how does one develop this? I'd be interested in hearing how both the Chinese and Japanese Pure Land schools approach this question.
Since, as I understand it, in Jodo Shinshu the nembutsu is seen more as an expression of gratitude, I might also ask: how does gratitude come about? I am asking this as someone who is neither very grateful nor devout by nature.
On a related note, what is the link between Other Power and sunyata? Could Amitabha be seen as a personification of sunyata -- or to ask it differently, would contemplation of Amitabha be a way to develop realization of sunyata? Again I would be interested in responses from across the traditions.
On the easiest ways is to immerse yourself in the tradition. Once one sees how many people have had success through practicing what are essentially the same practices that you are doing now (though perhaps rather more intensely!), it will certainly inspire one with great faith and confidence.
On the other hand, it is best to avoid those naysayers and skeptics who always like to cast doubt on such practices. Such company is like poison in one's ears.
So, read all those old stories, from the story of the Buddha himself - my favorite! - through the likes of Arya Nagarjuna, Arya Asanga and Arya Vasubandhu, the great masters of China like Master Huiyuan and Master Shandao. (Or whatever tradition you wish to develop faith in.)
Last point: Whenever the voice arises saying "But it is my nature to question! It is my nature to be skeptical!", without going overboard and falling into blind faith, remember that this "my nature" stuff is just ego, ultimately all these things are conditioned. We can condition them to faith in the Triple Jewel, which leads towards liberation, or we can condition them towards doubt, which leads to ongoing samsara. Every conditioned thing can change, we just have to condition it in the most beneficial direction.
Hi Huifeng, do you know of any monks or lay people personally who have showed auspicious signs at death?