Benefits of Nembutsu In This Very Life

Dharma Flower
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Re: Benefits of Nembutsu In This Very Life

Post by Dharma Flower » Sat May 27, 2017 11:37 am

One of the most beautiful benefits of the Nembutsu is that it teaches people to be humble.

Instead of it being all about me and how great my attainments are, it's instead about recognizing my weaknesses and being honest about them.

This humility actually causes a person to become more Buddha-like than they otherwise would be, as evidenced by all the myokonin stories:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Myokonin

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Re: Benefits of Nembutsu In This Very Life

Post by Dharma Flower » Sat May 27, 2017 11:48 am

Monlam Tharchin wrote: Please share your experiences with the benefits of Pure Land practice in your daily lives.
How has Amida touched you as the person you are right now?
I am happy that we are able to come together and share how the Nembutsu has benefited our daily lives, even with our different backgrounds and interpretations of what Pure Land teachings might be.

I am sorry for any time in the past in which I was a butthead on this sub-forum. Whatever angle I might have been pushing at the time, whatever I might have thought was the "correct" understanding of the teaching, was worthless if I was being unkind in advocating it.

May you be happy and well. :namaste:

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Re: Benefits of Nembutsu In This Very Life

Post by Dharma Flower » Sun May 28, 2017 8:11 am

Monlam Tharchin wrote: Master Shinran famously wrote of the ten benefits a nembutsu devotee receives in this very life. It's quite long, but here's a link: http://amida-ji-retreat-temple-romania. ... butsu.html
Thank you for sharing this. I used to keep a copy of the Ten Benefits in my briefcase, and it gave me great encouragement whenever I needed it.

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Re: Benefits of Nembutsu In This Very Life

Post by 9-petalled lotus » Thu Jun 01, 2017 1:49 pm

There are many YouTube videos of positive spiritual responses from people chanting Amitabha Buddha.
My mother passed away on 7 May 2017,of pancreatic cancer.Once we knew it was that very aggressive sort of cancer,at its fourth stage,we told her to chant Amitabha Buddha in her heart at the hospital,and later at the hospice.We did the same for her.She had never chanted before her very sudden illness.She had always been well and physically active.During the two weeks in the wards,she never had any pain,only occasional breathlessness which was alleviated by two oxygen tubes inserted into the nostrils.She had to sit upright while sleeping though,lying supine aggravating her breathlessness.
I was chanting Amitabha,and other mantras to help her recover.Unknown to me,my two sisters were chanting Amitabha to help her pass over quickly,to avoid any lingering pain from the terminal,incurable cancer which had spread to her liver and lungs.On 7 May,at about 7.55 a.m.the nurse from the hospice called to inform my elder sister that my mother was panting terribly,and wanted us to go down immmediately.Five minutes later,at around 8 a.m.she called again to inform that she had passed away.
We rushed down to see her.Her face was very peaceful,her lips still red,as though she was sleeping.
Following Chinese Pure Land spiritual advice,we refrained from touching her body and took turns chanting Amitabha aloud for the next 8 hours.
We kept asking her about any pain.She said "no" each time.The day before she passed on, she even joked with a relative.
I believe it was her,and our chantings of the name of Amitabha in her last days,that caused her to be free from any cancer pain.

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Re: Benefits of Nembutsu In This Very Life

Post by Dharma Flower » Fri Jul 21, 2017 9:18 pm

In the words of Shinran Shonin, "To entrust oneself to the Nembutsu is to already have become a person who realizes wisdom and will attain Buddhahood." This is the greatest benefit of the Nembutsu of all.

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Re: Benefits of Nembutsu In This Very Life

Post by steveb1 » Fri Jul 21, 2017 10:33 pm

Yes, that's the greatest benefit: Shinjin, adamantine faith, given by Amida's grace itself. The Raft From The Other Shore, experienced in this very life.

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Re: Benefits of Nembutsu In This Very Life

Post by Dharma Flower » Fri Jul 21, 2017 10:35 pm

It's interesting how Zen master Dogen taught that zazen is an expression of our already enlightened nature, rather than a method of "earning" our enlightenment, similar to how Shinran taught that the Nembutsu is an expression of gratitude for our already assured enlightenment.

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Re: Benefits of Nembutsu In This Very Life

Post by steveb1 » Sat Jul 22, 2017 12:32 am

Isn't that an interesting parallel between the two schools...surprising information for me - thanks.

:)

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Re: Benefits of Nembutsu In This Very Life

Post by rory » Sat Jul 22, 2017 1:44 am

Dharma Flower wrote:It's interesting how Zen master Dogen taught that zazen is an expression of our already enlightened nature, rather than a method of "earning" our enlightenment, similar to how Shinran taught that the Nembutsu is an expression of gratitude for our already assured enlightenment.
It's not surprising at all Shinran and Dogen both were Tendai monks and exposed to Tendai hongaku thought, I suggest you read J. Stone's "Original Enlightenment: The transformation of Medieval Japanese Buddhism" She discusses Dogen, Shinran and Nichiren, it's a brilliant work and very informative and dense.
gassho
Rory
Namu Kanzeon Bosatsu
Chih-I:
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
https://www.tendai-usa.org/

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Re: Benefits of Nembutsu In This Very Life

Post by steveb1 » Sat Jul 22, 2017 2:57 am

Thanks for the J. Stone ref - I'll look her up.
:)

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Re: Benefits of Nembutsu In This Very Life

Post by narhwal90 » Sat Jul 22, 2017 3:33 am

rory wrote:
Dharma Flower wrote:It's interesting how Zen master Dogen taught that zazen is an expression of our already enlightened nature, rather than a method of "earning" our enlightenment, similar to how Shinran taught that the Nembutsu is an expression of gratitude for our already assured enlightenment.
It's not surprising at all Shinran and Dogen both were Tendai monks and exposed to Tendai hongaku thought, I suggest you read J. Stone's "Original Enlightenment: The transformation of Medieval Japanese Buddhism" She discusses Dogen, Shinran and Nichiren, it's a brilliant work and very informative and dense.
gassho
Rory

Agree 100%- I'm half-way thru. I would propose it as essential reading for a Nichiren practitioner, it has lots to say about Dogen & Shinran antecedents as well, and how things evolved in their respective schools post-founding. I'm in the "pre-kamakura" Tendai organizational dynamics now, its a fascinating and detailed look into the era.

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Re: Benefits of Nembutsu In This Very Life

Post by rory » Sat Jul 22, 2017 4:10 am

Narhwal:
Agree 100%- I'm half-way thru. I would propose it as essential reading for a Nichiren practitioner, it has lots to say about Dogen & Shinran antecedents as well, and how things evolved in their respective schools post-founding. I'm in the "pre-kamakura" Tendai organizational dynamics now, its a fascinating and detailed look into the era.
Agreed!, frankly it should be essential reading for anybody practicing Tendai or a school coming from Tendai. The intellectual history is invaluable. Additionally her earlier discussion of Hua-yen, Tiantai philosophy is fantastic, over in the Tendai forum I briefly explained via quotes the difference between the Avatamsaka and Tiantai schools. She also explains ichinen sanzen so well....

I've read it over and over to assimilate different topics as it's a complex read
gassho
Rory
Namu Kanzeon Bosatsu
Chih-I:
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
https://www.tendai-usa.org/

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Re: Benefits of Nembutsu In This Very Life

Post by Coëmgenu » Fri Jul 28, 2017 7:55 pm

DGA wrote:
Serenity509 wrote:There is one last thing I would please like to share: The most refreshing kind of Nembutsu is when you don't care if Amida is a literal Buddha or not. Ultimate Reality is compassionately accepting you just as you are, and your own nature is one and the same as Ultimate Reality. Think of that for a second and then say the Nembutsu again. It feels good, doesn't it? Whether Amida is a literal Buddha or not, I take refuge in Infinite Light.
What is the difference between Ultimate Reality as you define it here and literal Buddha? It seems to me that ultimate reality is, literally, Buddha.
I wouldn't claim to speak on Serenity's behalf, (s)he can do so h(is/er)self.

But how I interpreted their response, it was the general sentiment that it is refreshing simply to engage in practice without heavy intellectual proliferation. I can sympathize, as I am particularly prone to that.
並畢竟空。並如來藏。並實相。非三 而三三而不三。非合非散而合而散。非非合非非散。不可一異而一異。
All three truths are ultimately empty, all are tathāgatagarbha, all are true aspect. Not three, they are three; three, they are not three. Neither combined nor separated, neither uncombined nor unseparated. Neither same nor different, yet in a sense same, and in a sense different.

夫三諦者。 天然之性徳也。 中諦者。 統一切法。 眞諦者。 泯一切法。 俗諦者。 立一切法。
The three truths. Heaven-sent natural characteristics. The middle truth unifies all dharmas. The ultimate truth demolishes all dharmas. The conventional truth establishes all dharmas.

摩訶止観始終心要Móhēzhǐguān, Shǐzhōngxīnyào.

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Re: Benefits of Nembutsu In This Very Life

Post by Dharma Flower » Sat Jul 29, 2017 7:01 am

Coëmgenu wrote:
DGA wrote: What is the difference between Ultimate Reality as you define it here and literal Buddha? It seems to me that ultimate reality is, literally, Buddha
Thank you for your question. Please let me explain.

This is from Kosho Uchiyama:
The teaching of the Pure Land school looks completely different from the Zen school, in which one realizes satori from one's own zazen practice... However, even Amitabha Buddha of the Pure Land school is just another name for universal self, here given the name of a buddha. Of course, Amitabha, also known as Amitayus, isn't the name of a person who actually existed historically. In Sanskrit, amitabha and amitayus mean "infinite light" and "immeasurable life." In other words, Amitabha Buddha is that life which connects all things.
https://books.google.com/books?id=vNSRQ ... 22&f=false
From this perspective, Amida is the universal self or universal Buddha-nature or universal Dharma-body, rather than a literal person who appeared in history. This is similar to how Shinran wrote "supreme Buddha is formless," and that Amida attained Buddhahood "in the infinite past."

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Re: Benefits of Nembutsu In This Very Life

Post by Dharma Flower » Sat Jul 29, 2017 5:34 pm

What I like most about Pure Land Buddhism, and especially Jodo Shinshu, is that it recognizes, from the beginning, that we are foolish beings of blind passions. Because of this, Pure Land Buddhists are less likely to pretend that they have special spiritual attainments that others don't have. If Buddhism is about letting go of the ego-self, it's good if we're honest about our limitations from the beginning.

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Re: Benefits of Nembutsu In This Very Life

Post by Coëmgenu » Sat Jul 29, 2017 5:54 pm

Dharma Flower wrote:
Coëmgenu wrote:
DGA wrote: What is the difference between Ultimate Reality as you define it here and literal Buddha? It seems to me that ultimate reality is, literally, Buddha
Thank you for your question. Please let me explain.

This is from Kosho Uchiyama:
The teaching of the Pure Land school looks completely different from the Zen school, in which one realizes satori from one's own zazen practice... However, even Amitabha Buddha of the Pure Land school is just another name for universal self, here given the name of a buddha. Of course, Amitabha, also known as Amitayus, isn't the name of a person who actually existed historically. In Sanskrit, amitabha and amitayus mean "infinite light" and "immeasurable life." In other words, Amitabha Buddha is that life which connects all things.
https://books.google.com/books?id=vNSRQ ... 22&f=false
From this perspective, Amida is the universal self or universal Buddha-nature or universal Dharma-body, rather than a literal person who appeared in history. This is similar to how Shinran wrote "supreme Buddha is formless," and that Amida attained Buddhahood "in the infinite past."
I think perhaps you meant to quote someone else?
並畢竟空。並如來藏。並實相。非三 而三三而不三。非合非散而合而散。非非合非非散。不可一異而一異。
All three truths are ultimately empty, all are tathāgatagarbha, all are true aspect. Not three, they are three; three, they are not three. Neither combined nor separated, neither uncombined nor unseparated. Neither same nor different, yet in a sense same, and in a sense different.

夫三諦者。 天然之性徳也。 中諦者。 統一切法。 眞諦者。 泯一切法。 俗諦者。 立一切法。
The three truths. Heaven-sent natural characteristics. The middle truth unifies all dharmas. The ultimate truth demolishes all dharmas. The conventional truth establishes all dharmas.

摩訶止観始終心要Móhēzhǐguān, Shǐzhōngxīnyào.

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Re: Benefits of Nembutsu In This Very Life

Post by steveb1 » Sat Jul 29, 2017 6:07 pm

Of course Pure Land affects this life, as does the Nembutsu. It's the Raft from the Other Shore which Amida has sent to us across samsara's stormy ocean. That in itself blesses this life. Then there's Shinjin - Amida's sheer gift of true, adamantine faith - the solid rock, pillar, and cornerstone which supports us in everyday life, and when crises emerge. When we recite the Nembutsu, we are consciously immersed in Amida's Mind and sharply aware of his gifts - which certainly enhances life.

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Re: Benefits of Nembutsu In This Very Life

Post by Dharma Flower » Sat Jul 29, 2017 6:50 pm

steveb1 wrote:When we recite the Nembutsu, we are consciously immersed in Amida's Mind...
Yes, exactly. As it says in Shinran's Kyogyoshinsho, "There is no Buddha apart from the mind."

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Re: Benefits of Nembutsu In This Very Life

Post by Dharma Flower » Wed Aug 02, 2017 10:10 am

In the Jodo Shinshu tradition, because pretense and self-importance is usually avoided, there’s a rich history of unlearned and ordinary men and women who end up becoming amazing saints:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Myokonin

D. T. Suzuki wrote extensively regarding the myokonin, and compared them to Zen masters in terms of their level of spiritual insight.
Dharma Flower wrote:What I like most about Pure Land Buddhism, and especially Jodo Shinshu, is that it recognizes, from the beginning, that we are foolish beings of blind passions. Because of this, Pure Land Buddhists are less likely to pretend that they have special spiritual attainments that others don't have. If Buddhism is about letting go of the ego-self, it's good if we're honest about our limitations from the beginning.

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Re: Benefits of Nembutsu In This Very Life

Post by Monlam Tharchin » Mon Aug 21, 2017 4:14 am

Amitabha positions himself constantly above the heads of those who recite his name and protects them day and night. He does not let their enemies approach them easily. Reciters enjoy peace and security in the present life. When they die, they are reborn as a matter of course in the Pure Land.
-- Master Lianchi (蓮池大師), Notes and Commentary on the Amitabha Sutra (阿彌陀經疏鈔)

All a sentient being needs to do is to make an aspiration and chant the name of Amitabha Buddha or recite the mantra of this Buddha and he will receive the following benefits: -
1. Amitabha Buddha will always be over him, day and night, to bless him with safety and peace as well as to protect him from harm that his adversaries may want to cause him; at the time of his passing on, he will be able to take rebirth in the Blissful Pure Land of the West at will.
2. He will be able to lower his chances of meeting with calamities, reduce his bad karma, increase his prosperity and happiness, and lengthen his life.
3. He will be able to liberate those who have passed away and help them to take rebirth in the Blissful Pure Land of the West.
-- Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche

The compassion of the Buddhas is inconceivable, and the merits of their names are also inconceivable. Therefore, once you hear a Buddha-name, no matter whether you are mindful or not, or whether you believe in it or not, it always becomes the seed of an affinity with the truth. Moreover, when the Buddhas bring salvation to sentient beings, they do not sort out friends and enemies: they go on working tirelessly for universal salvation. If you hear the Buddha-name, Buddha is bound to protect you. How can there be any doubts about this? Even those who have just heard the Buddha-name once share in the essential true nature of phenomena; hearing the Buddha-name means they have a basis to work from, and have found what will be the cause of their enlightenment in the long run, which they will never lose.
-- Patriarch Ou-i, Mind Seal of the Buddhas

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