I have a copy of the BDK "Three Pure Land Sutras" and have read those, but I recently came across a different version online which is used by the group Amida-Shu. It seems similar to the translation done by Max Mueller with some word changes. One of the major differences with this translation is the slight change to the 18th Vow...
http://issuu.com/dharmavidya/docs/twopu ... 28/2840170
The Max Mueller version: http://www.amidausa.org/styled-7/"Oh Blessed One, may I not come to the complete awakening if, when I have done so, living beings inhabiting other worlds who conceive a longing for awakening, who listen to my Name, who set their heart upon being reborn in my Pure Land, and who keep in mind with settled faith, are not assured of meeting me standing before them in full retinue and glory at the time of their death, such death thus being completely free of anxiety."
Compared to the BDK translation: http://www.bdk.or.jp/pdf/bdk/digitaldl/ ... s_2003.pdf"O Bhagavat, if those beings who have directed their thought towards the highest perfect knowledge in other worlds, and who, after having heard my name, when I have obtained Bodhi, have meditated on me with serene thoughts; if at the moment of their death, after having approached them, surrounded by an assembly of Bhikkhus, I should not stand before them, worshipped by them, that is, so that their thoughts should not be troubled, then may I not obtain the highest perfect knowledge."
The largest difference being the Meuller and Amida-Shu version leaves off the part regarding exclusion. Now according to the head of the Amida-Shu, David Brazier on his Amidatrust website, http://amidatrust.typepad.com/dharmavid ... ctive.html made a comment regarding this tranlation:"If, when I attain buddhahood, sentient beings in the lands of the ten
directions who sincerely and joyfully entrust themselves to me, desire to be
born in my land, and think of me even ten times should not be born there,
may I not attain perfect enlightenment. Excluded, however, are those who
commit the five grave offenses and abuse the Right Dharma."
All that being said, I am too new to Buddhism, especially Pure Land that I am wondering what everyone's thoughts are on this? I currently have no preference so I am not here to argue anything, merely get practical information that I can use. Is the opinion of Brazier correct, valid, or is there an issue with his logic? Is there anything you could give me to help figure this out?"...[T]here are about seven extant versions of the supposedly "original" sutra. The one that has become standard in East Asia and is used by, for instance, Jodoshinshu almost certainly is not the original Indian version. About a third or more of the text originated in China at a later date. Also, much of the "original" material is, in fact, extremely confused. The main point is that the craving to get a pure orthodox text is a Western obsession that has its roots in Western religious history and the persecution of heresies. The Buddhists of the past were not bothered about this. What they wanted was a text that would work as a vehicle for conveying the Dharma. Texts are tools, not criteria. The teacher Shinran, for instance, takes huge liberties with the texts that he quotes in his works. This is in order to convey the Dharma. This is why there are so many versions. Teachers of old thought nothing of redrafting a passage if the old version was not working for their disciples...
The point in question is the exclusion verse. In the Jodoshinshu version there is a passage at the end of the faith vow that excludes all those who have committed the most grievous sins. This is a doctrinal problem for Jodoshinshu because all of us must have committed them at some time in our many lives so the implication is that the vow is non-functional. This would mean that salvation by faith did not work and the whole Jodoshinshu doctrine would collapse. Various scholars have tried to get round this in various ways. However, not every early version of the sutra has this exclusion phrase situated in this vow. It makes much more sense that this exclusion goes with the vow on salvation by perfecting all virtues. This is logical. The sutra then makes sense and supports the essential Pureland position (whether Amida-shu, Jodoshin, or Jodo) that perfecting all virtues works in principle but is unattainable in practice so that salvation by faith is the only practical gate. This was the position of Honen and Shinran. This is why the Amida-shu version has it this way."
Thank you all in advance. I sincerely appreciate it.