Question on Pureland Buddhism and Japanese pureland sects

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Question on Pureland Buddhism and Japanese pureland sects

Post by Sonrisa » Sat Jan 18, 2014 11:06 pm

I recently began reading about Jodo Shinshu and wonder why in the world it took me this long to come across the teachings of Shinran. I am aware of the historical origins of Jodo Shu and Jodo Shinshu that shape the schools to what they are today and in there beliefs.

However, I just have a question. I find Shinran's writings inspirational but I dont really agree with some of the teachings of the Jodo Shinshu school. While I respect their beliefs, I view them as an expedient means to the same goal. I came across the Dharma via the Chinese culture and made Chinese Buddhism (for lack of a better term) my practice. My question is, if I go to, let's say to a Jodo Shinshu temple, will I still be welcomed even though I believe in self-power AND other-power? Would I be looked at as heretical? I certainly wouldn't expound my beliefs and practices upon other people because we all have different affinities. The way I see it is that whether we are Jodo Shinshu or non-Jodo Shinshu and recite the Buddha name, we are still creating karmic affinities with Amitabha Buddha. I make offerings to Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva, recite his sutra, and meditate, as well as the religious practices of my native cultural traditions. I understand that in Shinran's time, ordinary people did not have time to do these kinds of things so thus they relied on the power of Amitabha entirely. I understand that in the Jodo Shinshu school, the thought is that one cannot gain buddhahood in this lifetime due to us being drowned in the three poisons and such but I think differently; I think we can make at least some realizations in this lifetime that come from our buddhanature as I have learned from the teachings of Chinese masters.

Is it something that is up to personal matters? I respect Shinran but if I were to go into a Jodo Shinshu place, I certainly wouldnt want to be looked as heretical lol

Amitabha _/\_
Namo Amitabha
Namo Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva
Namo Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva

May I continue to practice loving-kindness and compassion for sentient beings. May my friends and loved ones be free from suffering. May those who have hurt me also be free from suffering.

Hatred is like throwing cow dung at someone else. You get dirty first before throwing it to someone else.

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Re: Question on Pureland Buddhism and Japanese pureland sect

Post by ylee111 » Sun Jan 19, 2014 5:09 pm


I too, being Chinese, come from a Chinese Pure Land background. When I visited the New York Buddhist Church, a temple of Jodo Shinshu NIshi Hoganji, I was treated courteously. When I asked about the absent Kanzeon Bozatsu (Guan Yin Pusa), I had some blank looks from some of the Church attendees but when I questioned the Abbot, he said amiably that I would need to go to Chinatown temples. I learned later on through Wiki and these here forums that only Amida Buddha is observed at a Shin temple.

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Re: Question on Pureland Buddhism and Japanese pureland sect

Post by rory » Mon Jan 20, 2014 12:08 am

As someone who practiced Jodo Shu in the past and went to the same Jodo Shinshu temple the ylee talks about, I'd say you can do it but don't become a member or broadcast your beliefs as Jodo Shinshu is very strongly oriented to only Amitabha and they really don't believe in a celestial Sukhavati, nor do they worship Kannon, Jizo, etc and their philosophy is entirely centered around Shinran...though I think they do meditation now to calm the mind.
hope this is helpful
Namu Kanzeon Bosatsu
The Tai-ching states "the women in the realms of Mara, Sakra and Brahma all neither abandoned ( their old) bodies nor received (new) bodies. They all received buddhahood with their current bodies (genshin)" Thus these verses state that the dharma nature is like a great ocean. No right or wrong is preached (within it) Ordinary people and sages are equal, without superiority or inferiority
Paul, Groner "The Lotus Sutra in Japanese Culture"eds. Tanabe p. 58

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Re: Question on Pureland Buddhism and Japanese pureland sect

Post by Admin_PC » Mon Jan 20, 2014 3:29 am

I'm kind of in the same boat.
First temple I really started going to is Vietnamese. Some of our most prominent statues are for Guanyin (Quan Âm). The 3 statues in our shrine room are the Buddha flanked by Ksitigarbha (Địa Tạng) and Bodhidharma (Bồ-đề-đạt-ma). At the back of the room are Manjushri (Văn-thù-sư-lợi) and what I think is either Yamantaka or Mahakala. A big part of our service is invoking the major Bodhisattvas. I can't really imagine doing away with them.

A lot of what Shinran says really speaks to me. At the same time, a lot of Jodo Shinshu doctrine can be hard to digest. Personally, when I read Shinran's writings, I don't get the sense that they're doctrinal assertions, more like lessons learned through subjective, personal experience. I will say that the school closer to the teaching of Shinran's teacher Honen (Jodo Shu) is a bit more approachable, coming from a more general East Asian Mahayana background. I think Honen's writings may help to put some of Shinran's statements in perspective as well. On the other hand, you may want to keep doing what you're doing: practicing with a Chinese group, and just read Shinran's writings for inspiration & guidance along the path (especially concerning faith). I think the best idea is to find what fits and it sounds like adding a dash of Shinran to your current practices might fit better than trying to convert to Jodo Shinshu.
月影の いたらぬ里は なけれども 眺むる人の 心にぞすむ

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Re: Question on Pureland Buddhism and Japanese pureland sect

Post by plwk » Mon Jan 20, 2014 7:43 am

Unless you are intent on becoming one of them or topple the Amida statue, they won't have any reason to bother about you...

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