Benefits of Nembutsu In This Very Life

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Re: Benefits of Nembutsu In This Very Life

Post by Serenity509 » Fri Oct 09, 2015 6:13 pm

Three important things the Nembutsu encourages are humility, self-acceptance, and compassion. I am a foolish being, incapable of attaining Buddhahood by my own power alone (and foolish for many other reasons as well.) There is this great ocean of compassion which accepts me just as I am. I will then go on to be compassionate and accepting toward others out of gratitude for this great compassion. Every time I say the Nembutsu, I am reminded of these truths.

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Re: Benefits of Nembutsu In This Very Life

Post by steveb1 » Fri Oct 09, 2015 8:15 pm

Just a brief note of thanks - thanks, PorkChop for all the citations you provided on this subject.

:)

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Re: Benefits of Nembutsu In This Very Life

Post by Admin_PC » Sat Oct 10, 2015 3:41 pm

Meditation on death (Right Mindfulness)

To me, Pure Land practice is a form of meditation on impermanence and death. It involves radically reframing our concept of death. According to many modern psychologists this can be very beneficial to us while still alive. I'd like to point out some of these examples, but as the articles are quite long, I won't be able to quote all the good stuff.

Here's an article from the Huffington Post that talks about "How Changing The Way You Think About Death Can Transform The Way You Live". It talks about the benefits of changing the way we think about death and it even gives some Buddhist examples.

Here's an article from Psychologist Paul Wong that talks about "Meaning Making and the Positive Psychology of Death Acceptance". It basically points out the potential positives of accepting death. Here's an excerpt:
According to terror management theory (TMT), avoidance of death anxiety is the primary motive, and the quest for meaning is secondary, because it is triggered by the terror of death. According to MMT, the quest for meaning is a primary motive, because we are meaning-seeking and meaning-making creatures living in a world of meanings. Meaning is important for both survival and resilience. We need to understand and comprehend what is going on in order to adapt and survive, but we also need reasons for living when the situations become very difficult.

Both avoidance and approach systems are necessary, but an approach life orientation sets us free to love and work, while an avoidance life orientation condemns us to the prison of fear. When we learn to focus on the positives, and accept the inevitable negatives, we are free to take risks and live vitally. Regardless of the circumstances, a positive bias always connects us with the forces of life.
Here's an article in Psychology Today from Dr Robert Firestone that talks about "Life-Affirming Death Awareness". Here's an excerpt from the conclusion of this article:
All people are faced with the same existential dilemma (link is external). We are all separate and alone, cursed with the consciousness of our own eventual demise and must overcome the same obstacles to maintaining our independence, our spirit, and our integrity. By acknowledging death as a reality instead of resorting to defensive denial, we can best meet these challenges and embrace life more fully. People everywhere confront the same essential problems and struggle for survival. Therefore, we are all brothers and sisters, and there is no room for indifference to those people suffering from starvation and poverty, and in addition, there cannot be resignation to manifestations of prejudice, ethnic strife or actual warfare.
Here is an article from S. Zisook and K. Shear that appeared in World Psychiatry - the Official Journal of the World Psychiatric Association that talks about "Grief and bereavement: what psychiatrists need to know". It talks about coping with the loss of close loved ones and (for the psychiatrists) the loss of patients. It reads a lot like the First Noble Truth and lists some of the drawbacks of not being able to cope with grief. I think Pure Land practice not only gives us a mechanism to cope with and accept the loss of our own life, but the lives of those around us as well.
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Re: Benefits of Nembutsu In This Very Life

Post by Serenity509 » Sun Oct 11, 2015 12:51 am

Life is impermanent. If we do not express gratitude for today, even in the midst of suffering, when will we be grateful? As Shinran wrote, at the age of nine-years-old, "Like the cherry blossom, the heart planning on tomorrow is ephemeral indeed --what sudden storm may not arise in the middle of the night?" The Nembutsu of gratitude is the greatest Nembutsu of all.

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Re: Benefits of Nembutsu In This Very Life

Post by Admin_PC » Mon Oct 12, 2015 2:39 pm

Humility

One of the key concepts in Pure Land Buddhism is the 3-fold mind of entrusting. The idea comes form the Visualization sutra:
The Visualization Sutra wrote:Those who wish to achieve a high rebirth in the high rank in that land must invoke three minds in order to succeed. What are these three? First, an earnest mind; second, a profound mind; and third, a mind wishing for rebirth in the Pure Land as one transfers one’s merits to other sentient beings. Those with these three minds will definitely be reborn in that land.

This concept takes center-stage in Shan-Tao's teachings on the Pure Land.

The first mind: the Earnest Mind (also known as the "Genuine Mind" - 至誠心 "shijoshin") entails being honest about one's capacities and practices. This means not saying you practice when you don't, not saying you're high level when you aren't. Of this mind, Honen has this to say:
Honen on the 3 Minds wrote:“There are four distinctions to be made in regard to having an ‘utterly sincere mind.’ Firstly, there are some people who outwardly appear sincere, but inwardly are not. Secondly there are some who are false both within and without. Thirdly, there are those who do not appear outwardly to be sincere, but inwardly are; and fourthly, there are those who are sincere both in inward reality and in outward appearance. Of these four, the first two are lacking in this 'utterly sincere mind,' and are to be rejected and called false. The other two classes are possessed of an 'almost sincere mind,' and deserve the name of genuine followers. In a word, I think that the all-important thing is to have a true mind, whether one's outward appearance is good or bad.”
In order to cultivate this mind, it requires a great deal of humility in evaluating oneself to determine if one is truly being honest.

The second mind: the Profound Mind (深心 "jinshin") is divided into 2 parts. The first part means the profound realization of one's foolish (凡夫 "bonbu") nature, the realization that one is full of defilements (kleshas - 煩悩 "bonno"), incapable of attaining Supreme Perfect Awakening completely alone, solely through one's own efforts. The second part means that we come to see (信奉 "shinpo" lit "have faith") that Amida Buddha by his 48 vows can guide all sentient beings if they call upon him, that relying on Amida's 18th Vow, each will be certain of Birth in the Pure Land as long as they do not give rise to doubts. In its root, this mind has the meaning of "Shinjin" 信心 (such as in Shin Buddhism). Thus, it also means a sincere entrusting in the 18th Vow of Amida.

Both aspects of the Profound Mind involve great humility - both in realizing one's own shortcomings and by coming to rely on the 18th Vow of Amida as an antidote for the Three Poisons and an escape from suffering. It must be noted that neither of these is a blind belief. The first aspect must be realized through intense personal evaluation. The second aspect arises naturally out of the first.

In one of the 12 stanzas of the Maha Mangala Sutta, the Pali Canon has this to say about humility:
Maha-mangala Sutta: Blessings wrote:To be respectful, humble, contented and grateful; and to listen to the Dhamma on due occasions — this is the greatest blessing.
The benefits of humility are easily seen in day-to-day life.

Dr Jeremy Dean lists 8 Psychological Benefits of Being Humble. The last 3, to me, seem to be the most important:
6. Less prejudice

One of the characteristics of being humble is having a low sense of entitlement.

Humble people don’t think they are owed things.

This leads to a less prejudiced view of the world, encouraging them to be tolerant to others and less defensive about their own beliefs.

7. More helpful

Humble people are, on average, more helpful than people who are conceited or egotistical.

In a study by LaBouff et al. (2011), participants who were more humble, were more likely to offer help, and offered more of their time, to those in need.

Unsurprisingly, humble people have also been found to be more generous.

8. Better relationships

Humble people may have better relationships because they accept other people for who they are.

A study by Davis et al. (2012) of groups of people found that humility helped to repair relationships and built stronger bonds between people.
The Association for Psychological Science lists 5 major benefits of humility. One of the most surprising to me, was this one:
Measuring Humility and Its Positive Effects wrote:Fifth, higher levels of humility may be related to better health outcomes. We call this the Health Hypothesis. If humility involves self-regulation in situations that generally lead to egotism or conflict, then it ought to be related to long-term health outcomes. Namely, relationship conflict is stressful. This conflict should amplify stress to the degree that people struggle to practice humility across relationships and contexts. People low in humility may struggle to form and repair strong social bonds, leading to lower social support and weakened coping. In the fall 2012 issue of the Journal of Psychology and Theology, Neal Krause of the University of Michigan provided preliminary evidence for this hypothesis in his research on older adults. He found that older adults who were more humble also rated their health more favorably over time. Our research team is currently working to link humility to reactivity and recovery from stress.
It turns out that the benefits of humility even extend to business, as we can see from this article from Entrepeneur Magazine.
Scientific inquiry into the power and effectiveness of humility in the workplace has shown that it offers a significant “competitive advantage” to leaders.

According to a study from the University of Washington Foster School of Business, humble people tend to make the most effective leaders (that’s right, the most) and are more likely to be high performers in both individual and team settings, according to associate professor Michael Johnson.
As we can see, the humility cultivated by our Pure Land practice is beneficial both in this life and the next.
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Re: Benefits of Nembutsu In This Very Life

Post by Admin_PC » Wed Oct 14, 2015 1:55 pm

Gratitude

It is said that gratitude and deep listening for the workings of Amida Buddha are the only two practices in the Shin school of Pure Land Buddhism (ref). Gratitude for Amida's Vows is common to all forms of Pure Land Buddhism.

In the Kataññu Suttas of the Anguttara Nikaya of the Pali Canon, the Buddha says:
Kataññu Suttas wrote:"Monks, I will teach you the level of a person of no integrity and the level of a person of integrity. Listen & pay close attention. I will speak."

"As you say, lord," the monks responded.

The Blessed One said, "Now what is the level of a person of no integrity? A person of no integrity is ungrateful & unthankful. This ingratitude, this lack of thankfulness, is advocated by rude people. It is entirely on the level of people of no integrity. A person of integrity is grateful & thankful. This gratitude, this thankfulness, is advocated by civil people. It is entirely on the level of people of integrity."

{II,iv,2} "I tell you, monks, there are two people who are not easy to repay. Which two? Your mother & father. Even if you were to carry your mother on one shoulder & your father on the other shoulder for 100 years, and were to look after them by anointing, massaging, bathing, & rubbing their limbs, and they were to defecate & urinate right there [on your shoulders], you would not in that way pay or repay your parents. If you were to establish your mother & father in absolute sovereignty over this great earth, abounding in the seven treasures, you would not in that way pay or repay your parents. Why is that? Mother & father do much for their children. They care for them, they nourish them, they introduce them to this world. But anyone who rouses his unbelieving mother & father, settles & establishes them in conviction; rouses his unvirtuous mother & father, settles & establishes them in virtue; rouses his stingy mother & father, settles & establishes them in generosity; rouses his foolish mother & father, settles & establishes them in discernment: To this extent one pays & repays one's mother & father."
The Maha-mangala Sutta (Blessings) quoted earlier also lists gratitude as one of the highest blessings.

Forbes Magazine lists 7 Scientifically Proven Benefits Of Gratitude That Will Motivate You To Give Thanks Year-Round. To summarize:
1. Gratitude opens the door to more relationships
2. Gratitude improves physical health.
3. Gratitude improves psychological health.
4. Gratitude enhances empathy and reduces aggression.
5. Grateful people sleep better.
6. Gratitude improves self-esteem.
7. Gratitude increases mental strength.

As we can see, just learning to be grateful for the light of Amida and the ability to escape the 3 poisons of greed, anger, and ignorance that define Samsara brings in itself great benefits.
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Re: Benefits of Nembutsu In This Very Life

Post by gordtheseeker » Wed Oct 14, 2015 2:30 pm

Serenity509 wrote:Three important things the Nembutsu encourages are humility, self-acceptance, and compassion. I am a foolish being, incapable of attaining Buddhahood by my own power alone (and foolish for many other reasons as well.) There is this great ocean of compassion which accepts me just as I am. I will then go on to be compassionate and accepting toward others out of gratitude for this great compassion. Every time I say the Nembutsu, I am reminded of these truths.
Beautifully put! :namaste:

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Re: Benefits of Nembutsu In This Very Life

Post by smcj » Wed Oct 14, 2015 4:03 pm

gordtheseeker wrote:
Serenity509 wrote:Three important things the Nembutsu encourages are humility, self-acceptance, and compassion. I am a foolish being, incapable of attaining Buddhahood by my own power alone (and foolish for many other reasons as well.) There is this great ocean of compassion which accepts me just as I am. I will then go on to be compassionate and accepting toward others out of gratitude for this great compassion. Every time I say the Nembutsu, I am reminded of these truths.
Beautifully put! :namaste:
+1 :namaste:
I support Mingyur R and HHDL in their positions against Lama abuse.

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Re: Benefits of Nembutsu In This Very Life

Post by Admin_PC » Thu Oct 15, 2015 2:21 pm

Naikan

According to wiki:
Naikan wrote:Naikan (Japanese: 内観, lit. “inside looking” or “introspection”) is a structured method of self-reflection developed by Yoshimoto Ishin (1916–1988) a businessman and devout Jodo Shinshu Buddhist who, as a young man, had engaged in an ascetic 'contrition' (mishirabe) practice involving sensory deprivation through dwelling in a dark cave without food, water or sleep. Wishing to make such introspection available to others he developed Naikan as a less difficult method which he first introduced to young people who had been incarcerated for committing crime and social disturbances. Later the practice was introduced to the general public. Naikan practitioners claim that Naikan helps people understand themselves and their relationships.

Naikan practice is based on three questions:
What have I received from (person x)?
What have I given to (person x)?
What troubles and difficulties have I caused to (person x)?

A related fourth question, "What troubles and difficulties has (person x) caused me", is purposely ignored in Naikan. (Naikan) presupposes that we're all naturally good at seeing answers to this fourth question, and that too much focus on this question is responsible for much of one's misery in day-to-day life.
There are many forms of Naikan practice, all focusing on these three questions. The most rigorous form of Naikan is practiced in one week Naikan retreats. Naikan retreats start by focusing on the three questions on the individual's relationship to their mother. The questions can then later be expanded outwards to other relationships. During the sessions a guide comes and listens to the participant from time to time allowing them to put into words what they have discovered.

...

Mishirabe practices from which Naikan is derived are also still conducted in a religious context within some Jodo Shinshu temples and communities but the harsh, ascetic nature of Yoshimoto Ishin's original practice is unusual given the Jodo Shinshu rejection of self-power practice.

The family-relationship focus of traditional Naikan may sometimes be less appropriate to those with fragmented or seriously dysfunctional family backgrounds. However, as with Buddhist metta meditation (mettā bhāvanā), there is no reason why Naikan practice need necessarily take family relationships as starting point. The benefit of looking at family relationships is that these are often most emotionally complex and connected with our sense of 'self'.
Here's an article from The Sun magazine on Naikan.

Here's an article from the New York Times on Naikan.

The Psych Central site also recommends the practice and the associated literature.

The benefits of Naikan practice are being seen well outside of the Buddhist world. Outside of Japan, many doctors are now offering Naikan therapy, such as the Hakomi Institute and the Todo Institute.

-----

In regards to some of the statements in the wiki:
  • Naikan practice is very good at generating gratitude for the compassion one receives in one's life. This is integral to Shin Buddhism even if it does seem somewhat like "self power".
  • The questions asked in Naikan practice are precisely the type of self-evaluation required for generating the Genuine Mind and the Profound Mind (of the Threefold Mind of Entrusting), helping one realize one's nature as a bonbu (凡夫 - deluded being), filled with bonno (煩悩 - kleshas, defilements).
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Re: Benefits of Nembutsu In This Very Life

Post by DGA » Thu Oct 15, 2015 2:28 pm

I've had an introduction to Naikan practice, and found it remarkable. A friend of mine has practiced it seriously and has found it highly rewarding. Part of the process had him calculating the number of meals his mother made for him over the years--and his best estimated total came to well over 20,000. This had him weeping with gratitude.

Potent stuff.

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Re: Benefits of Nembutsu In This Very Life

Post by Admin_PC » Fri Oct 16, 2015 7:00 pm

Process Driven Life

Pure Land practice generally takes the emphasis off of goals, or at least goals to realize in this life. Instead, we learn to appreciate the process: the process of chanting the Buddha's Name, the process of relying on the Primal (18th) Vow of Amida, the process of learning to be accepted just as the deluded beings we are...

This idea of a process driven life is currently being recognized by modern thinkers.
Here's a video of a TED talk discussing the Science of Willpower and the benefits of a process driven life:
phpBB [video]


Here is the first video in a series based around a Shin Buddhist class on a Process Driven Life, which draws greatly from the video above.
phpBB [video]


Sorry if this is a little bit short, but I think these videos can explain the benefits of a process driven life (as opposed to a goal driven life) and their importance to Pure Land Buddhism better than I ever could. So please watch them and I hope you enjoy.
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Re: Benefits of Nembutsu In This Very Life

Post by Serenity509 » Sat Oct 17, 2015 2:31 am

i took my two year old daughter on the bus today to her physical therapy appointment. i was holding her close to me and saying the nembutsu the whole way. that's what the nembutsu meant to me in that moment, my buddha-nature connecting to hers. i told a sensei about this, and he said it's one of the best explanations of why we say the nembutsu he's ever heard.

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Re: Benefits of Nembutsu In This Very Life

Post by Admin_PC » Mon Oct 19, 2015 5:47 pm

In this post, I'd like to discuss some benefits I've seen in my life...

I came to Pure Land Buddhism through a few gates and a number of different encounters.

I started out really with Medicine Buddha Mantra. At the time I was studying Lam Rim with a Tibetan Vajrayana group. Two of the members were a husband and wife who had each recently had extensive hospital stays and used the Medicine Buddha Mantra to great effect. I had really started getting serious about Buddhism and Buddhist practice because I was having some medical issues. I was training for a competition, losing a bunch of weight, pushing my body very hard, until I got hit by a series of staph infections (MRSA). I couldn't go more than a month without a recurrence, it took me almost a year before the infections stopped coming back. The first bout was the worst. I eventually developed a protocol for dealing with the infections, but it still hurt a lot. I went from spending most of my time in the gym, training 6 days a week, to a life of total agony, barely even able to sit down. My theory to this day is that my car was infested with a species of spider (yellow-sac spider) that is like a miniature brown recluse and whose bites have been reportedly linked to staph infections. I was in a lot of pain, recurring about every month. I was unable to pursue my goals. My life was a sad state of watching everything I worked for slip away. Meditation was making me hypersensitive, even when I wasn't dealing with a bout of the painful infections. The Medicine Buddha mantra helped me deal with it. To this day, I still find the Medicine Buddha long mantra very powerful.

While practicing the Medicine Buddha mantra, I repeatedly read the Medicine Buddha sutra. In the Medicine Buddha Sutra there is a line about helping practitioners who seek rebirth in Amida's Pure Land to get there, by sending 8 bodhisattvas to greet them. My first formal introduction to the Pure Land of Amitabha was my teacher at the Tiantai temple (which I'd started just before the Lam Rim group) and the book he gave me: Buddhism of Wisdom and Faith (though I'd actually said the occasional "Amitoufo" since high school). To be honest, I didn't like Pure Land very much when I read that book. It was a tough book for me to get through. The passage in the Medicine Buddha Sutra really opened me up to giving it a shot. I can't really say why I decided to make the switch. I guess it felt like Medicine Buddha mantra was a strong medicine for a short term situation and that Amitabha's name was more of a life-long practice.

I've wrestled with a bunch of interpretations of the Buddhas and the Pure Lands. I think it's part of the process. I think our selfish, calculating mind refuses to process the stories at the simplest level; that would mean giving up too much control, so the calculating selfish mind makes up these stories of complex theories to rationalize and keep control. I don't have a problem with people working through these various interpretations, only when people bully others into accepting their interpretation as the only valid one - or when they put words into the mouths of the respected masters contradicting the real teachings, thus slandering the Dharma. I can say for myself, the more I read/recite the sutras and call the Name, the more profoundly deep the teachings become and the more simple the theories become.

I've had a few episodes over the last couple of years that really showed me how I really am. A few "OH $#!+!!" moments hit and the first words on my lips were "Namo Amida Buddha". I couldn't say if there was any intervention in those moments, but the Name itself intervened for sure. It kept my mind from completely spinning out of control. The Name gave me a life raft to cling to as the rough waters of Samsara continued to rage.

I'm still not perfect. I've got a temper that rears its ugly head no matter how much I try to work on it. My cravings have ravaged me to the point that if I continue indulging in some of them that my life as I know it will probably be over. My delusion/ignorance is so bad that I can scarcely tell good from bad, right from wrong, up from down... When everything's spinning out of control, it's comforting to know that the first words on my lips are the Name. It's all I got, but at least it's something.
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Re: Benefits of Nembutsu In This Very Life

Post by Admin_PC » Mon Oct 19, 2015 5:57 pm

Sorry it took me so long to finally get around to commenting on what you shared.
A few things really struck home for me and I just wanted to say a few words.
Monlam Tharchin wrote:For myself, without Pure Land Buddhism, I would not be a Buddhist today.
This rings so true for me. After trying out other Dharma gates, it's Pure Land that I always come back to. Some of the other paths I just cannot reconcile with my life and my lifestyle. Some of the other paths feel very foreign to me, like hearing an alien tongue. With Pure Land, there is something very familiar about it - even in my initial phase of gagging on the teachings. Something about Pure Land feels like home.

Your description of your battles with depression brings up a lot of memories. Someone said "depression is anger turned inwards" and I've dealt with bouts of both of them most of my life. That's amazing that nembutsu brought you back from your low point. I had a couple of my worst incidents this summer after a lapse in recitation and they sent me scurrying back home.
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Re: Benefits of Nembutsu In This Very Life

Post by Admin_PC » Mon Oct 19, 2015 6:20 pm

Again, sorry I'm so late in commenting, was trying to get through all the other material first...
Hope you don't mind...
steveb1 wrote:A feeling of peaceful immersion in the infinite sea of perfection and grace that is Amida Buddha.
Such a beautiful way of describing this feeling... It's interesting that you mention an infinite sea, as I think that's an apt metaphor. Recitation for me sometimes evokes a memory of a similar feeling, sitting on the beach (seawall actually) listening to Mazzy Star's Fade Into You, as I watch the waves crash, feeling the summer-night breeze blow, knowing that the perfect moment would be over very soon, holding onto it, and bathing in it as long as I could....
(FYI, here's the song...)
phpBB [video]

steveb1 wrote:A sense of contact with the Buddha, that "it is no longer I, but the Buddha" who is primarily present in the recitation, because the Buddha himself issues the call to recite, and answers and/or echoes the call in the recitation.
I read similar quotes from Saichi. I don't know that I've experienced this yet. I wonder what it must be like.
steveb1 wrote:Recitation serves as reminder that Amida is transcendent to all the samsaric "bombuhood", life, actions, feelings and thoughts that swarm around, but do not impede, the Nembutsu.
Another beautiful quote. Thanks. Letting go of all of the crap of samsara for the gentle embrace of great compassion... Like the embrace of a mother...
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Re: Benefits of Nembutsu In This Very Life

Post by Admin_PC » Mon Oct 19, 2015 6:30 pm

DGA wrote:I've had an introduction to Naikan practice, and found it remarkable. A friend of mine has practiced it seriously and has found it highly rewarding. Part of the process had him calculating the number of meals his mother made for him over the years--and his best estimated total came to well over 20,000. This had him weeping with gratitude.

Potent stuff.
I've done a few different gratitude type practices: from the Stoic "before bed" practice of imagining everything you love in your life and then imagine losing it, to gratitude notebooks, and even a simple gratitude Gassho before the Butsudan most mornings. I have not done a formal Naikan session. It's something I'd really like to do one day.
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Re: Benefits of Nembutsu In This Very Life

Post by steveb1 » Mon Oct 19, 2015 9:29 pm

PorkChop wrote:Again, sorry I'm so late in commenting, was trying to get through all the other material first...
Hope you don't mind...
steveb1 wrote:A feeling of peaceful immersion in the infinite sea of perfection and grace that is Amida Buddha.
Such a beautiful way of describing this feeling... It's interesting that you mention an infinite sea, as I think that's an apt metaphor. Recitation for me sometimes evokes a memory of a similar feeling, sitting on the beach (seawall actually) listening to Mazzy Star's Fade Into You, as I watch the waves crash, feeling the summer-night breeze blow, knowing that the perfect moment would be over very soon, holding onto it, and bathing in it as long as I could....
(FYI, here's the song...)
phpBB [video]

steveb1 wrote:A sense of contact with the Buddha, that "it is no longer I, but the Buddha" who is primarily present in the recitation, because the Buddha himself issues the call to recite, and answers and/or echoes the call in the recitation.
I read similar quotes from Saichi. I don't know that I've experienced this yet. I wonder what it must be like.
steveb1 wrote:Recitation serves as reminder that Amida is transcendent to all the samsaric "bombuhood", life, actions, feelings and thoughts that swarm around, but do not impede, the Nembutsu.
Another beautiful quote. Thanks. Letting go of all of the crap of samsara for the gentle embrace of great compassion... Like the embrace of a mother...
PorkChop, thank you for your kind words and for the Mazzy Star video which I had not seen/heard before ..."Letting-go" for me is Shin's essence, since in my experience, self-power thinking and acting creates a constriction or knot in consciousness that requires ever more energy to sustain. It's "all about me" and all about my struggles to be a better person, a better meditator, a better Buddhist, etc.

But with Amida's sheer grace, all of that angst is wiped away. There's nothing I need to do, and best news of all, there's nothing I can do, at least as regards the spiritual goals of attaining enlightenment and becoming a Buddha, because Amida has done, and is doing, all the work...!

:)

dsaly1969
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Re: Benefits of Nembutsu In This Very Life

Post by dsaly1969 » Mon Oct 19, 2015 10:34 pm

PorkChop wrote:In this post, I'd like to discuss some benefits I've seen in my life...

I came to Pure Land Buddhism through a few gates and a number of different encounters.

.... until I got hit by a series of staph infections (MRSA). I couldn't go more than a month without a recurrence, it took me almost a year before the infections stopped coming back. The first bout was the worst.... I was in a lot of pain, recurring about every month. I was unable to pursue my goals. My life was a sad state of watching everything I worked for slip away. Meditation was making me hypersensitive, even when I wasn't dealing with a bout of the painful infections. The Medicine Buddha mantra helped me deal with it. To this day, I still find the Medicine Buddha long mantra very powerful.

...I'm still not perfect. I've got a temper that rears its ugly head no matter how much I try to work on it. My cravings have ravaged me to the point that if I continue indulging in some of them that my life as I know it will probably be over. My delusion/ignorance is so bad that I can scarcely tell good from bad, right from wrong, up from down... When everything's spinning out of control, it's comforting to know that the first words on my lips are the Name. It's all I got, but at least it's something.
Wow! This sounds like you ripped a page out of my biography. I developed MRSA after having multiple deep cancerous melanomas removed from my body. It took almost a year to clear the infections went out. Then my kidneys started deteriorating in function - first with huge uric kidney stones in both kidneys which cause them to swell to twice their normal size (they almost burst) that had to be blasted with lithotripsy (one kidney at a time 2 weeks apart - doing both would cause kidney failure). Now I also have severe chronic gout (and a damaged back from scoliosis, being hit by a bus and then obesity from overeating and lack of mobility).

And yep a working husband and father. I have supervised child abuse and neglect investigations for the past 20 years occasionally including torture and murder. So yep the anger, the cravings (fortunately I gave up smoking years ago and drinking alcohol causes gout flare ups), and the delusions that go with it. That is why Buddhism "for the masses" has appealed to me and why I keep coming back to Pure Land practice.

gordtheseeker
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Re: Benefits of Nembutsu In This Very Life

Post by gordtheseeker » Sat Oct 24, 2015 5:22 am

Serenity509 wrote:i took my two year old daughter on the bus today to her physical therapy appointment. i was holding her close to me and saying the nembutsu the whole way. that's what the nembutsu meant to me in that moment, my buddha-nature connecting to hers. i told a sensei about this, and he said it's one of the best explanations of why we say the nembutsu he's ever heard.
Beautiful

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Re: Benefits of Nembutsu In This Very Life

Post by Admin_PC » Sun Jan 22, 2017 4:34 am

Just wanted to bump this thread in response to recent accusations that Pure Land somehow doesn't address this life and that practitioners merely resign themselves to the next life. The Shorter Sukhavativyuha Sutra is also called "The Sutra of Protection by All Buddhas". The Nembutsu practitioner is embraced and protected by the light of Amida Buddha - this is the meaning of my signature in fact. Pure Land Buddhism is not merely some suicide cult, practitioners find great comfort and support in the Nembutsu.
Shinran's Hymn for Tan Luan wrote:Through the benefit of the unhindered light,
We realize shinjin of vast, majestic virtues,
And the ice of our blind passions necessarily melts,
Immediately becoming water of enlightenment.

Obstructions of karmic evil turn into virtues;
It is like the relation of ice and water:
The more the ice, the more the water;
The more the obstructions, the more the virtues.
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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