Pure Land Study Group Thread

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Re: 31 Day Pure Land Study Group - Day 17

Post by Admin_PC » Fri Dec 16, 2016 3:20 am

Day 17 - Easy Practice for Birth in the Pure Land

There are many implications in the recitation of Nembutsu. However, the simple vocalization of the six characters of the name of Buddha Amitabha, Na Mu A Mi Da Butsu, encompasses the merit of all religious practices. We merely need to believe in the Essential Vow in our mind, to utter the name of Buddha Amitabha by mouth, and to hold a string of prayer beads in hand. To think of the attainment of birth in the Pure Land at all times is in itself a practice toward the certain attainment of Ojo.

The practice of Nembutsu does not discriminate among one who is walking, standing, sitting, or lying down; time, place, or condition; and the impurity of one's body and mouth; therefore, this practice of Nembutsu is called the "Easy Practice for Ojo."

Nevertheless, it is said that reciting Nembutsu with purity of one's heart is referred to as the foremost practice. It is my wish that you encourage others to recite Nembutsu in this manner, but more important is my desire that you strengthen your own faith in the vocalization of Nembutsu.

- This passage is based on quotations from the Honen-shonin Gyojo-ezu (An Illustrated Biography of Honen-shonin), Chapter 25
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Re: 31 Day Pure Land Study Group - Day 18

Post by Admin_PC » Sat Dec 17, 2016 3:58 am

Day 18 - Tranquility of the Heart

To live this life means to create the manner in which one is able to recite Nembutsu in a natural way. Anything that impedes the recitation should be loathed and abandoned.

If staying in one place makes the vocal Nembutsu impossible, go on a pilgrimage and practice Nembutsu. Contrarily, if Nembutsu is difficult on a pilgrimage, stay in one place and practice Nembutsu. If one cannot observe Nembutsu as a monk, one should observe it as a noncleric. And if practice is impossible in the secular world, one should renounce that world to live in seclusion to perform Nembutsu. If the practice of Nembutsu in seclusion is impossible, practice it with other Nembutsu devotees. Conversely, if practice with other devotees is impossible, recite in seclusion. If poverty hampers the recitation, seek help and exercise Nembutsu. If the practice of Nembutsu is impossible in spite of help, depend on your own resources to repeat Nembutsu.

Life with family and attendants makes practicing Nembutsu easier. However, if kinship becomes a hindrance, one should abandon family and attendants. If wealth and property become auxiliary assets in support of Nembutsu, they are valuable. If they become a hindrance, one should renounce them. In short, if all acts and conditions mentioned above truly promote the recitation of Nembutsu with a tranquil heart, they are regarded as auxiliary elements for the practice of Nembutsu.

If a man, destined for return to the three evil worlds of hell, starving spirits, and beasts in his future life, does not desire to forsake his physical self, he should instead nurture it. If you recite Nembutsu to attain birth in the Pure Land, you should nurture and take care of your physical selves that much more. If your life-style is a deterrent in the cultivation of the auxiliary elements for Nembutsu, and if you waste away your precious life for meaningless pleasures in this world, they will be the cause of your fall into the three evil worlds.

To attain birth in the Land of Ultimate Bliss and to design one's life-style in order to meet that goal - they indeed become the auxiliary conditions for Ojo.

- This passage is based on quotations from the Honen-shonin Gyojo-ezu (An Illustrated Biography of Honen-shonin), Chapter 45
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: 31 Day Pure Land Study Group - Day 19

Post by Admin_PC » Sun Dec 18, 2016 4:44 am

Day 19 - In Accordance with the Essential Vow

There are two conditions in accordance with the Essential Vow which expound on the attainment of birth in the Pure Land by total reliance on Buddha Amitabha. There are also two conditions which are not in accordance with the Essential Vow.

What are these two conditions which are not in accord with the Essential Vow? The first condition is when one is engaged in committing an evil. This is because one entertains doubts about attaining birth in the Pure Land while he is engaged in an evil, even though he recites Nembutsu.

The second condition is when one awakens the heart to enlightenment. This is due to the fact that one is convinced that birth in the Pure Land becomes possible only through Nembutsu bassed upon the heart aspiring for enlightenment, and that birth in the Pure Land becomes impossible without this aspiring heart seeing enlightenment, even though one recites Nembutsu. That is, when one regards aspiration for enlightenment as primary, and accord with the Essential Vow as secondary, one cannot achieve Ojo through the Essential Vow.

What are the two conditions which are in accord with the Essential Vow? The first condition is when one is engaged in committing an evil. That is because one finds great joy and happiness when he believes that he will achieve birth in the Pure Land with certainty through reciting Nembutsu of the Essential Vow, all the while knowing that a karmically evil man is destined for commitment to hell.

The second condition is when one awakens the heart aspiring for enlightenment. This is due to the fact that one is convinced that the heart aspiring for enlightenment is not sufficient for birth in the Pure Land. That is, one believes that he is not yet able to separate himself from the delusive worlds of birth-and-death, although he may have entertained such an aspiration many times from the beginningless past.

Consequently, whether or not one possesses the heart aspiring for enlightenment or is burdened by the gravity of one's karmic evils is not the main issue. Accord with the Essential Vow by the compassion of Buddha Amitabha becomes possible only when one firmly believes that the power of the recitation of Nembutsu without cessation for life taught in the Essential Vow assures the attainment of Ojo.

- This passage is based on quotations from the Honen-shonin Gyojo-ezu (An Illustrated Biography of Honen-shonin), Chapter 21
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: 31 Day Pure Land Study Group - Day 20

Post by Admin_PC » Mon Dec 19, 2016 5:02 am

Day 20 - The Difficulty of Contemplation

It is not necessary for a Buddhist practitioner today to practice contemplation. Try as you may, it is impossible for anyone to visualize the physical features of a buddha so magnificently conceptualized by the sculptors Unkei and Kokei.

You may meditate on the majestic adornments of the Land of Ultimate Bliss; yet, it would be impossible to visualize splendor surpassing the beauty of the cherry blossoms, plum, peach, and apricot blooms in this world.

Master Shan-tao stated, "Buddha Amitabha did indeed attain buddhahood and resides in the Pure Land at present. It should be known that His Essential Vow was not made in vain. If sentient beings recite His name, they will, with certainty, attain Ojo."

You must have faith in the statement of Master Shan-tao, have total reliance on the Essential Vow, and with utmost intensity repeat the name of Buddha Amitabha. If you recite His name, you will embody the Threefold Devotional Heart as a matter of course.

- This passage is based on quotations from the Honen-shonin Gyojo-ezu (An Illustrated Biography of Honen-shonin), Chapter 21
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: 31 Day Pure Land Study Group - Day 21

Post by Admin_PC » Tue Dec 20, 2016 3:34 am

Day 21 - Endeavor

Some waste away long spring days staring at flowers in surroundings as splendid as those of the Golden Glen. Some while away autumn nights gazing at a moon as beautiful as the one visible from the Southern Mansion.

The years fly for others who spend time in pursuit of food on cloud-covered mountains; still others float on the ocean looking for bounties of the deep. Some live through crushing ice in the severe winter, while others toil for gainful living by the sweat of their brows. Some are encumbered by the ties of affection for families and relatives, while others are unable to rid themselves of the fire of hatred for those who have wronged them.

Thus goes the life of people, dawn to dusk, day and night, whether they are walking, standing, sitting, or lying down. They exist for themselves, and their desires accumulate unwholesome karma, which will certainly lead them to the three evil worlds of hell, starving spirits, and beasts and the Eight Difficulties in their future life. A passage describes, "Eighty hundred and forty million thoughts come and go every day in the heart of man, and each of these thoughts is karma that will condemn him to the Three Evil Worlds."

Thus, did night fall yesterday; and so, purposeless, the morning dawns today. How many more empty days and night await us?

- This passage is based on quotations from the Honen-shonin Gyojo-ezu (An Illustrated Biography of Honen-shonin), Chapter 32
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: 31 Day Pure Land Study Group - Day 21

Post by Admin_PC » Tue Dec 20, 2016 3:39 am

re: Day 21

I think I'm going to quote this any time someone says that Honen's other-worldly emphasis equates to procrastination in this life in regards to practice.

The Golden Glen and the Southern Mansion were famous places to visit for beautiful views, well-known since the Heian period.

The Eight Difficulties (eight conditions in which one neither sees a Buddha nor hears the teachings of a Buddha):
1. Hell
2. Hungry ghosts
3. Beasts (animal realm)
4. the Heaven of Long Life
5. Living in Uttakuru
6. Deficient sensory organs
7. Being knowledgeable in worldly affairs
8. Being in the age of non-presence of a Buddha
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Re: 31 Day Pure Land Study Group - Day 22

Post by Admin_PC » Wed Dec 21, 2016 3:09 am

Day 22 - Life is Fleeting

The petals of the beautiful flower that blooms in the morning are lightly scattered by the breeze of nightfall. Dew drops of the evening disappear in the light of the morning sun. Unaware of the impermanence of life, man always seeks to prosper, and unaware of the frailty of life, man hopes for longevity.

Once the winds of impermanence blow, life disappears permanently as if it were a dew drop, and man's mortal body is left in the wilderness or in some distant mountaintop. Eventually, moss gathers over the dead body while the soul continues to wander solitary in the sky. The family and attendants who remain in the home do not accompany him, and his storehouse filled with his seven precious jewels and ten thousand treasures are of no avail. He takes with him only bitter tears of regret.

In time, the soul of this man appears before the judgment seat of King Yama, the lord of the realm of the dead, who evaluates the degree of guilt and karma of the departed and determines his future. King Yama asks, "Having been born in a world where the teachings of Buddha Shakyamuni prevailed, why did you come back without having practiced them?"

How can you respond? I implore you, here and now, to embark upon your search for the way to deliverance from the delusive worlds; never return to the three evil worlds.

- This passage is based on quotations from the Honen-shonin Gyojo-ezu (An Illustrated Biography of Honen-shonin), Chapter 32
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Re: 31 Day Pure Land Study Group - Day 22

Post by Admin_PC » Wed Dec 21, 2016 5:59 am

re Day 22:
My friend from another board really came through for me on this one.
I was trying to find out if the terms translated as "soul" really had such non-Buddhist connotations in the original text.
From what I can tell, from what he provided below, the "soul" probably matches up better to the conscious mind or the vijñāna.
http://www.d7.dion.ne.jp/~choumei/001/h ... hounin.htm
魂は、一人旅の空に、迷う。
http://www.buddhism-dict.net/ddb/

Basic Meaning: spiritual or heavenly part of the soul
Senses:

The part of the soul that is unattached to material things; it develops in the latter part of one's life after the po 魄 soul has been developed. [Charles Muller]

The mind, the soul, conscious mind, vijñāna; also 魂神. [Charles Muller; source(s): Soothill]
I'm also going to be using the above link for researching the original text in the future.
This passage in the original looks more like:
それ、あしたに、開くる、栄花は、夕べの、風に、散り易く、夕べに結ぶ命露は、明日の日に、消え易し。
これを、知らずして、常に、栄えんことを思い、これを、悟らずして、久しく、あらん事を、思う。
しかる間、無常の風、一度吹きて、憂いの露長く、消えぬれば、これを広野にに捨て、これを、遠き山に送る。
屍は、常に、苔の下に、埋もれ、魂は、一人旅の空に、迷う。
妻子眷属は、家に有れども、伴わず、七珍萬宝は、くらに満てれども、益も無し。
只身に従うものは、後悔の涙也。
遂に閻魔の庁に、到りぬれば罪の浅深を定め、業の軽重を、考えらる。
法王罪人に問いて曰く、
汝佛法流布の、世に生まれて、なんぞ修行せずして、悪戯に、帰り来たるやと。
その時には我ら、如何応えんとする。
速やかに、出要を、求めて、虚しく、三途に帰る事なかれ。
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Re: 31 Day Pure Land Study Group

Post by shaunc » Wed Dec 21, 2016 6:51 am

I hate to disagree here, but from what I read, soul seems to be a fair terminology. King yama, sounds much like a Buddhist/shinto St Peter. No disrespect intended.
Namu Amida Butsu.

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Re: 31 Day Pure Land Study Group

Post by Admin_PC » Wed Dec 21, 2016 3:33 pm

Well, for me it's an issue when teachings depart from a Buddhist frame of reference. There's no soul in Buddhism - at least not in the Atman sense. Even "How Buddhism Picked Up a Soul On It's Way to China" overstates its case imho, because Buddhism has a long history of hijacking & redefining terms in a Buddhist context. There are plenty of examples of this before Buddhism even left India. Redefining the term for soul in Chinese 魂 to represent the Buddhist idea of an ever-changing stream of consciousness that is based in ignorance is not really that outrageous (especially when they actually do so in other areas of the Taisho Canon).

King Yama, on the other hand, is explicitly mentioned in the Pali Canon even (MN 130, AN 3.35).

On a side note, I double checked with my source for the above and he said that my original source is the original, it's just a bit harder to navigate.
He gave me the relevant passage:
0000_,31,209a15(00):それあしたにひらくる榮花はゆふべの風にちりやすく、ゆうべにむすぶ命露はあしたの日にきえや
0000_,31,210a01(00):すし。これをしらずしてつねにさかえん事をおもひ、これをさとらずしてあらん事をおもふ。しか
0000_,31,210a02(00):るあいだ無常の風ひとたびふけば、有爲のつゆながくきえぬれば、これを曠野にすて、これをとを
0000_,31,210a03(00):き山にをくる。かばねはついにこけのしたにうづもれ、たましゐはひとりたびのそらにまよふ。妻
0000_,31,210a04(00):子眷屬は家にあれどもともなはず、七珍萬寳はくらにみてれども益もなし、ただ身にしたがふもの
0000_,31,210a05(00):は後悔の涙也。ついに閻魔の廳にいたりぬれば、つみの淺深をさだめ業の輕重をかんがへらる。法
0000_,31,210a06(00):王罪人にとひていはく、なんぢ佛法流布の世にむまれて、なんぞ修業せずしていたづらに歸りきたる
0000_,31,210a07(00):や。その時にはわれらいかがこたえんとする、すみやかに出要をもとめて、むなしく歸る事なかれ
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Re: 31 Day Pure Land Study Group - Day 23

Post by Admin_PC » Thu Dec 22, 2016 2:47 am

Day 23 - Single-Sheet Covenant

The Nembutsu I preach is not meditation as taught by the learned men of China and Japan; neither is it recitation through scholarly endeavors in order to master its profound meanings. To realize birth in the Land of Ultimate Bliss, nothing is required but the implicit faith that the mere recitation of Namu Amida Butsu (meaning "I take refuge in Buddha Amitabha") causes the certain attainment of birth in the Pure Land.

The teachings of the Three-fold Devotional Heart and the Four Modes of Exercise are encompassed in the firm belief that Ojo is assured by the recitation of Namu Amida Butsu.

If I further expound on any thought other than this, I would be excluded from the compassionate mercy of the two venerable buddhas (Buddha Shakyamuni and Buddha Amitabha) and be in discordance with the Essential Vow of Buddha Amitabha.

One who believes in the vocal Nembutsu, although he may have learned the entire teachings of Buddha Shakyamuni, should consider himself an ignorant person who knows not a single letter. He should conduct himself as if he were as unschooled as the men and women who shave their heads and observe religious discipline without foundation. Refrain from flaunting knowledge and devote yourself to the recitation of Nembutsu.

In testimony hereof, I seal this covenant with both my hands.

The issues of the faith and practice concerning Jodo Shu are fully explained in this one sheet. I (Genku) have no comment other than this. To prevent the emergence of heretical teachings after my death, I present this covenant.

On the twenty-third of January in the second year of Kenryaku (1212)
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Re: 31 Day Pure Land Study Group - Day 23

Post by Admin_PC » Thu Dec 22, 2016 3:00 am

re Day 23:

Today's passage is also known as Honen's Ichimai Kishomon.
The Ichimai Kishomon is chanted regularly in Jodo Shu. This is my favorite version of the ones I've found on youtube, it's from the Seizan Branch of Jodo Shu (Chinzei is considered the main branch these days):
phpBB [video]


Rev Kosen Ishikawa did a wonderful video series breaking down the information in this passage:
phpBB [video]


Four Modes of Exercise - This term refers to the four modes of religious practice advocated by Shan-tao in his Hymns in Praise of Birth (Wang-sheng-li-tsan ). The first is reverence shown to Amida Buddha and bodhisattvas in the Pure Land in the form of prostrations before their images and other similar acts of honor. The second is exclusive practice, which means wholehearted and exclusive recitations and meditation on Amida Buddha alone. The third is uninterrupted practice, especially as regards the recitation of the Nembutsu. The fourth is the long-term practice. That is, that one pursue this kind of practice throughout the whole of one's life. These four modes of practice are discussed by Honen in Chapter Nine of the Senchakushu. (from http://www.jsri.jp/English/Honen/TEACHINGS/zendo.html )
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Re: 31 Day Pure Land Study Group

Post by Admin_PC » Fri Dec 23, 2016 2:23 am

Day 24 - A Special Nembutsu Retreat

Occasionally, it is important to perform a special Nembutsu retreat for a fixed period of time for self-validation and to nurture one's mind and body.

To repeat the name of Buddha Amitabha sixty or seventy thousand times every day would suffice. However, our minds tend to be remiss in our efforts because our eyes and ears become accustomed to the mundane; our minds become restless due to daily activities pressing us from morning to night, and we become inattentive toward the practice of Nembutsu. In order to reinforce our spirit, we should often observe the special practice of Nembutsu for a fixed period of time.

For this reason, Master Shan-tao, in his benevolence, encouraged us to observe the practice, and also the Eminent Monk Eshin expounded on the procedure in detail.

The Nembutsu hall should be prepared as immaculately as possible with offerings of flowers and incense. The practitioner should purify his body before entering the hall, and Nembutsu is to be repeated during three periods in a day (morning, mid-day, and sunset) or six periods in a day (sunset, early evening, the beginning of the night, the end of the night, morning, and mid-day).

If there are many devotees of the same practice, they may take turns in entering the hall, making certain that the Nembutsu recitation continues without interruption. This practice should be observed as the occasion dictates.

- This passage is based on quotations from the Honen-shonin Gyojo-ezu (An Illustrated Biography of Honen-shonin), Chapter 21
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Re: 31 Day Pure Land Study Group - Day 25

Post by Admin_PC » Sat Dec 24, 2016 3:56 am

Day 25 - In Praise of the Virtues of Master Shan-tao

Upon reflection, the Commentary on the Meditation Sutra composed by Master Shan-tao is the guidebook to the Western Pure Land, and is regarded as the eyes and feet of Nembutsu practitioners. All practitioners aspiring for birth in the Western Pure Land should value it with reverence.

It is state in the Commentary that a monk appeared nightly in Master Shan-tao's dreams in order to instruct him in the essentials of the Meditation Sutra. This monk was most likely the transformation of Buddha Amitabha Himself. If this is so, the teaching of this Commentary must be the instruction of Buddha Amitabha. In addition, according to the Great T'ang Biographies of Eminent Monks edited in China, Master Shan-tao is said to be the incarnation of Buddha Amitabha. This is verification that the teaching of the Commentary came directly from Buddha Amitabha.

The concluding remarks in the commentary state, "It should be known that anyone who desires to make a copy of this Commentary may do so, regarding it with as much reverence as if it were the Meditation Sutra." This statement tells us what profound teaching the Commentary expounds.

If we deliberate on the quintessence of Master Shan-tao, we find him to be the sovereign of the Dharma (i.e., Buddha Amitabha) who fulfilled His 48 vows. Ten kalpas (eons) ago, Buddha Amitabha realized enlightenment; therefore, birth in the Pure Land is assured through reciting Nembutsu. Pursuing the question of the incarnation of Buddha Amitabha further, that form is none other than that of Master Shan-tao, who advocated the exclusive practice of Nembutsu. Since Master Shan-tao is one who reached the state of samadhi (tranquility full of insight), his instruction for Ojo is unquestionable. Although the form of Buddha Amitabha differs from His incarnation, the guidance expounded is one and the same.

I (Honen), an ordinary monk, read the Commentary and grasped its general idea. I then abandoned immediately practices other than reciting Nembutsu and immersed myself exclusively in the recitation. From that time on, I have practiced the vocal Nembutsu by myself and taught others the practice of Nembutsu only.

To those who seek emancipation from this world of suffering, I have preached the path to birth in the Western Pure Land. To those who asked about the means toward Ojo, I have taught the special practice of Nembutsu. Multitudes of people believe in my teaching; a few remain unbelievers.

Those who desire Ojo through Nembutsu should value the Commentary on the Meditation Sutra of Master Shan-tao.

- This passage is based on quotations from the Honen-shonin Gyojo-ezu (An Illustrated Biography of Honen-shonin), Chapter 18
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Re: 31 Day Pure Land Study Group - Day 25

Post by Admin_PC » Sat Dec 24, 2016 4:08 am

re Day 25:
Admin_PC wrote:Upon reflection, the Commentary on the Meditation Sutra composed by Master Shan-tao is the guidebook to the Western Pure Land, and is regarded as the eyes and feet of Nembutsu practitioners. All practitioners aspiring for birth in the Western Pure Land should value it with reverence.
It's a shame that English speakers don't yet have a viable translation of this work.
Admin_PC wrote:I (Honen), an ordinary monk, read the Commentary and grasped its general idea. I then abandoned immediately practices other than reciting Nembutsu and immersed myself exclusively in the recitation. From that time on, I have practiced the vocal Nembutsu by myself and taught others the practice of Nembutsu only.
Some academics would say this statement is false because we know that Honen kept the monastic precepts, he recited the sutras, he went on retreat, he administered precepts, he performed Shan-tao's 5 Right practices, and he dedicated the merit towards the liberation of all sentient beings. Also, given the accounts of his visions of the Pure Land, some insist that he must have done the visualizations in the Meditation Sutra. Again, I fall back to my earlier point about a statement of priorities. His exclusive priority was recitation of Nembutsu for birth in the Pure Land. Everything else served merely to support that. Also, there is at least one statement in one of his biographies that says that the visions arise naturally through Nembutsu. In fact, Honen praised one of his disciples Ku Amida Butsu, who by most accounts couldn't read the sutras and merely diligently recited the Nembutsu.
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Re: 31 Day Pure Land Study Group - Day 26

Post by Admin_PC » Sat Dec 24, 2016 5:27 pm

Day 26 - The Light of Buddha Amitabha Embraces the Nembutsu Devotee

The Meditation Sutra states, "Each ray of light of Buddha Amitabha shines over the worlds of the ten quarters; those who practice reciting Nembutsu, embraced by that light, are never to be abandoned."

This passage means that the light of Buddha Amitabha shines over the devotees of Nembutsu; it seems not to shine over those who engage in any other practice. Nevertheless, the light actually shines upon and embraces the latter if they aspire for birth in the Land of Ultimate Bliss.

Why does Buddha Amitabha's light shine selectively only upon devotees of Nembutsu? Master Shan-tao explained, "The color of the rays of light emanating from His physical features shine over the ten quarters. However, the light illuminates and embraces only the practitioners of Nembutsu. It should be known that this is where the influence of the Essential Vow is most evident."

Since the vocal Nembutsu is the practice of the Essential Vow of Buddha Amitabha, the light emitted by that Buddha shines upon those who practice Nembutsu of the Essential Vow. All other practices are not in accord with the Essential Vow; therefore, the light of Buddha Amitabha makes a distinction and does not shine upon practitioners other than the Nembutsu devotee.

Those who now desire birth in the Land of Ultimate Bliss must practice Nembutsu of the Essential Vow and must wish to be illuminated by His all-encompassing light. Nembutsu is the most important practice for achieving Ojo. We must recite it often.

- This passage is based on quotations from the Honen-shonin Gyojo-ezu (An Illustrated Biography of Honen-shonin), Chapter 25
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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Re: 31 Day Pure Land Study Group

Post by Admin_PC » Sat Dec 24, 2016 5:47 pm

re Day 26:

I have to wonder if this passage is a little bit of upaya (skillful means).
Honen's famous poem states:
月影の 
いたらぬ里は 
なけれども 
眺むる人の 
心にぞすむ

'The light of the moon illuminates the whole world
Leaving no corner in darkness
Although the light will only permeate the heart
Of those who gaze upon the moon.'
I feel like this poem better describes the nuance of Master Shan-dao's passage and the spirit of the sutras. In other words, I don't think that Amida's light makes distinction, the distinction is made in the hearts of the followers who turn towards that light through Nembutsu.
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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Re: 31 Day Pure Land Study Group

Post by shaunc » Sat Dec 24, 2016 8:15 pm

Yes. The poem certainly does make things easier to understand.
Thank you for all of the work you are doing
Namu Amida Butsu.

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Re: 31 Day Pure Land Study Group - Day 27

Post by Admin_PC » Mon Dec 26, 2016 6:31 am

Day 27 - An Intimate Karmic Relationship

Master Shan-tao interpreted the intimate karmic relationship within the three kinds of karmic relationships with Buddha Amitabha as follows:
Shan-tao wrote:"When sentient beings worship Buddha Amitabha, He sees them.
When they recite the name of Buddha Amitabha, He listens to them.
When they are mindful of Buddha Amitabha, He is also mindful of them.
Accordingly, the three categories (physical, verbal, and mental) of
acts exercised by both Buddha Amitabha and the Nembutsu devotee unite
into one. Since this karmic relationship between Buddha Amitabha and
the Nembutsu devotee is like that between parents and their children,
it is called the 'intimate karmic relationship.'"
In the same way, when the Nembutsu devotee holds a string of prayer beads in his hand, Buddha Amitabha sees him. When he wishes to recite Nembutsu, Buddha Amitaba is also mindful of that desire. Thus, we must strive to be seen and to be within the awareness of Buddha Amitabha in order to benefit from His benevolence.

To achieve this karmic relationship one must recite Nembutsu continually in order to bring harmony between Buddha Amitabha and the three categorical acts of a practitioner.

You should consider vocalization of Nembutsu to be essential because the recitation of Nembutsu is in accord with the Essential Vow. If you can hear your own recitation, that suffices as "reciting Nembutsu in a loud voice."

- This passage is based on quotations from the Honen-shonin Gyojo-ezu (An Illustrated Biography of Honen-shonin), Chapter 23
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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Re: 31 Day Pure Land Study Group - Day 27

Post by Admin_PC » Mon Dec 26, 2016 6:35 am

re Day 27:

Wow, this one kind of relates to the cooperative relationship I was mentioning in the comment on the previous passage.

The three types of karmic relationships between Buddha Amitabha and the Nembutsu devotee are:
1. The intimate karmic relationship
2. The familiar karmic relationship
3. The dominant karmic relationship
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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