Some questions on Pure Land Buddhism

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Dharmic
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Some questions on Pure Land Buddhism

Post by Dharmic » Tue Feb 28, 2017 8:14 am

Hi all,

I am a new member.

Continuing from here
Admin_PC wrote:I would say the list of Buddhist Holidays might be a good start, but they're not a requirement. Some people take vegetarian days on new moon & full moon days each month
In the Buddhist holidays list the new and full moon days of observance are called Uposatha.
From : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uposatha
In Mahayana countries that use the Chinese calendar, the Uposatha days are observed ten times a month, on the 1st, 8th, 14th, 15th, 18th, 23rd, 24th and final three days of each lunar month. Alternatively, one can only observe Uposatha days six times a month; on the 8th, 14th, 15th, 23rd and final two days of each lunar month.[9] In Japan, these six days are known as the roku sainichi (六斎日 Six Days of Fasting?).

The Uposatha Day was instituted by the Buddha at the request of King Bimbisara, and the Buddha instructed the monks to give teachings to the laypeople on this day,

On each uposatha day, devout Upāsaka and Upāsikā practice the Eight Precepts,[15] perhaps echoing the Buddha's teaching that laypeople should "imitate" arhats on Uposatha days.[16]

For lay practitioners who live near a vihara, Uposatha is an opportunity for them to visit it, make offerings, listen to dhamma talks by monks and participate in meditation sessions.

For lay practitioners unable to participate in the events of a local monastery, the uposatha is a time to intensify one's own meditation and Dhamma practice,[18] for instance, meditating an extra session or for a longer time,[19] reading or chanting special Buddhist texts,[20] recollecting[21] or giving in some special way.[19]

Describing his experience of Uposatha day in Thailand, Khantipalo (1982a) writes:
"Early in the morning lay people give almsfood to the bhikkhus who may be walking on almsround, invited to a layman's house, or the lay people may take the food to the monastery. Usually lay people do not eat before serving their food to the bhikkhus and they may eat only once that day.... Before the meal the laity request the Eight Precepts [from the bhikkhus] ..., which they promise to undertake for a day and night. It is usual for lay people to go to the local monastery and to spend all day and night there.... [In monasteries where] there is more study, [lay people] will hear as many as three or four discourses on Dhamma delivered by senior bhikkhus and they will have books to read and perhaps classes on Abhidhamma to attend.... In a meditation monastery ..., most of their time will be spent mindfully employed – walking and seated meditation with some time given to helping the bhikkhus with their daily duties. So the whole of this day and night (and enthusiastic lay people restrict their sleep) is given over to Dhamma...."
Admin_PC wrote:Jodo Shinshu does not have monastics in the traditional Bhikkhu sense. They've always had married clergy, but the clergy does go through training. In the old days they would be celibate through this training, however these days it's not a requirement.
Hmm… is the clergy a substitution for monks in Jodo Shinshu? (Does Jodo Shu school have monks and monasteries?)

How does one join the clergy and what role does it play? After undergoing Buddhist training do the married clergy teach to other lay people? Do they give the eight precepts to lay followers and teach Dharma on Uposatha days?
As there is no Pure Land temple where I live how do I take the observance precepts?

Which old Japanese Pure Land Buddhist lineages exist today? Wikipedia mentions four schools : Jōdo-shū, Jōdo Shinshū, Yūzū-nembutsu-shū, and Ji-shū but there isn't much information about the last two.
Admin_PC wrote:Some chants like the Nembutsu, Medicine Buddha, and Oṃ maṇi padme hūṃ are considered "sutra" practices and don't require initiation or transmission.
I have another doubt which is somewhat related to the previous questions. We have online resources now but in the past there was no internet and only the monks (or clergy in the case of Jodo Shinshu) knew the Sutras. So a person interested in Dharma had to approach a Monk/clergyman to formally practice Pure Land Buddhism?

:namaste:

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Re: Some questions on Pure Land Buddhism

Post by Admin_PC » Tue Feb 28, 2017 2:01 pm

Dharmic wrote:
Admin_PC wrote:Jodo Shinshu does not have monastics in the traditional Bhikkhu sense. They've always had married clergy, but the clergy does go through training. In the old days they would be celibate through this training, however these days it's not a requirement.
Hmm… is the clergy a substitution for monks in Jodo Shinshu? (Does Jodo Shu school have monks and monasteries?)
The situation in Japanese Buddhism is kind of complex. Around the 9th century, due to the influence of Tendai, monks in Japan started following the Bodhisattva precepts from the Brahma Net sutra instead of the Vinaya. So at this point, while "monks", they were not officially Bhikkhus. In the 1800s (Meiji Era), following the persecution of Buddhism, the government dictated that temples should stay in control of familial lines and that these monks should marry. Prior to the 1800s, the monks that followed the rules were celibate. Jodo Shinshu clergy were never celibate (at least not for life) and they serve the function of the "spiritual friend" (kalyanamitra or zenchishiki 善知識). Jodo Shu has monks, but since the 1800s, they are not celibate. Both Jodo Shu and Jodo Shinshu have temples, many of these temples have on site living quarters.
Dharmic wrote:How does one join the clergy and what role does it play? After undergoing Buddhist training do the married clergy teach to other lay people?
Usually they train in a 2 to 4 year Tokudo program. This article explains it a little bit.
Dharmic wrote:Do they give the eight precepts to lay followers and teach Dharma on Uposatha days?
Not at Jodo Shinshu temples, however they usually do the 5 precepts. Perhaps sometimes at Jodo Shu temples. For Chinese, Korean, and Vietnamese temples I would say "yes" generally.
Dharmic wrote:As there is no Pure Land temple where I live how do I take the observance precepts?
Some monks offer them online, however I've never heard of doing Uposatha online.
Dharmic wrote:Which old Japanese Pure Land Buddhist lineages exist today? Wikipedia mentions four schools : Jōdo-shū, Jōdo Shinshū, Yūzū-nembutsu-shū, and Ji-shū but there isn't much information about the last two.
Yūzū-nembutsu-shū has some information available in English on their website, but in general is not practiced outside of Japan - being heavily based in group ritual. The founder of Ji-shū (Ippen) burned most of his writings and the sect is fairly small, I do not know of it being practiced outside of Japan.
Dharmic wrote:I have another doubt which is somewhat related to the previous questions. We have online resources now but in the past there was no internet and only the monks (or clergy in the case of Jodo Shinshu) knew the Sutras. So a person interested in Dharma had to approach a Monk/clergyman to formally practice Pure Land Buddhism?
Well, with Shin, the ministers were married and generally integrated with the local population. Shin temples are social centers where laypeople practice. So not like a monk that doesn't come out of the temple. Pure Land monks in other traditions tend to be pretty involved with the lay community as well. The lack of the social aspect is probably one of the hardest parts about practicing Pure Land as a solo practitioner.

In general, people learn Pure Land basics from their families and approach monks/clergy for tougher questions. Having only 3 sutras and fairly short daily services meant that a lot of people could actually study at home (even if many others were illiterate). For the people that couldn't read they had picture books and other artwork.
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Re: Some questions on Pure Land Buddhism

Post by Dharmic » Wed Mar 01, 2017 3:49 am

Admin_PC,
Thanks a lot for answering my questions. :namaste:

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Re: Some questions on Pure Land Buddhism

Post by cj39 » Sat Mar 11, 2017 5:17 pm

I would also suggest exploring the sangha in your area if you have such. I attend a Chinese temple here. I am Jodo Shu and Jodo Shin Shu but community is a big help. My Chinese friends know that my view of Buddhism is a little askew of theirs but we have no problem supporting each other in our practice.

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Re: Some questions on Pure Land Buddhism

Post by shaunc » Sat Mar 11, 2017 9:52 pm

cj39 wrote:I would also suggest exploring the sangha in your area if you have such. I attend a Chinese temple here. I am Jodo Shu and Jodo Shin Shu but community is a big help. My Chinese friends know that my view of Buddhism is a little askew of theirs but we have no problem supporting each other in our practice.
I am so glad to read this and know that I am not the only practitioner out there that mix and match Buddhist traditions. I occasionally attend a vietnamese temple and also a Thai temple. I just tend to keep my views to myself and practice in the same way as they are practicing.
Namu Amida Butsu.

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Re: Some questions on Pure Land Buddhism

Post by Dharmic » Sun Mar 12, 2017 7:46 am

cj39 wrote:I would also suggest exploring the sangha in your area if you have such. I attend a Chinese temple here. I am Jodo Shu and Jodo Shin Shu but community is a big help. My Chinese friends know that my view of Buddhism is a little askew of theirs but we have no problem supporting each other in our practice.
Hi,

I found a Theravadin temple in my region. I thought of checking it out though it is somewhat far away.But then I chanced upon media reports about some alleged scandals :jawdrop: .....

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Re: Some questions on Pure Land Buddhism

Post by thecowisflying » Tue Mar 14, 2017 8:54 am

Admin_PC wrote:
Dharmic wrote:
Admin_PC wrote:Jodo Shinshu does not have monastics in the traditional Bhikkhu sense. They've always had married clergy, but the clergy does go through training. In the old days they would be celibate through this training, however these days it's not a requirement.
Hmm… is the clergy a substitution for monks in Jodo Shinshu? (Does Jodo Shu school have monks and monasteries?)
The situation in Japanese Buddhism is kind of complex. Around the 9th century, due to the influence of Tendai, monks in Japan started following the Bodhisattva precepts from the Brahma Net sutra instead of the Vinaya. So at this point, while "monks", they were not officially Bhikkhus. In the 1800s (Meiji Era), following the persecution of Buddhism, the government dictated that temples should stay in control of familial lines and that these monks should marry. Prior to the 1800s, the monks that followed the rules were celibate. Jodo Shinshu clergy were never celibate (at least not for life) and they serve the function of the "spiritual friend" (kalyanamitra or zenchishiki 善知識). Jodo Shu has monks, but since the 1800s, they are not celibate. Both Jodo Shu and Jodo Shinshu have temples, many of these temples have on site living quarters.
Dharmic wrote:How does one join the clergy and what role does it play? After undergoing Buddhist training do the married clergy teach to other lay people?
Usually they train in a 2 to 4 year Tokudo program. This article explains it a little bit.
Dharmic wrote:Do they give the eight precepts to lay followers and teach Dharma on Uposatha days?
Not at Jodo Shinshu temples, however they usually do the 5 precepts. Perhaps sometimes at Jodo Shu temples. For Chinese, Korean, and Vietnamese temples I would say "yes" generally.
Dharmic wrote:As there is no Pure Land temple where I live how do I take the observance precepts?
Some monks offer them online, however I've never heard of doing Uposatha online.
Dharmic wrote:Which old Japanese Pure Land Buddhist lineages exist today? Wikipedia mentions four schools : Jōdo-shū, Jōdo Shinshū, Yūzū-nembutsu-shū, and Ji-shū but there isn't much information about the last two.
Yūzū-nembutsu-shū has some information available in English on their website, but in general is not practiced outside of Japan - being heavily based in group ritual. The founder of Ji-shū (Ippen) burned most of his writings and the sect is fairly small, I do not know of it being practiced outside of Japan.
Dharmic wrote:I have another doubt which is somewhat related to the previous questions. We have online resources now but in the past there was no internet and only the monks (or clergy in the case of Jodo Shinshu) knew the Sutras. So a person interested in Dharma had to approach a Monk/clergyman to formally practice Pure Land Buddhism?
Well, with Shin, the ministers were married and generally integrated with the local population. Shin temples are social centers where laypeople practice. So not like a monk that doesn't come out of the temple. Pure Land monks in other traditions tend to be pretty involved with the lay community as well. The lack of the social aspect is probably one of the hardest parts about practicing Pure Land as a solo practitioner.

In general, people learn Pure Land basics from their families and approach monks/clergy for tougher questions. Having only 3 sutras and fairly short daily services meant that a lot of people could actually study at home (even if many others were illiterate). For the people that couldn't read they had picture books and other artwork.
A followup question:

Are there monks in Japan who still follow the full monastic vinaya?

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Re: Some questions on Pure Land Buddhism

Post by Admin_PC » Tue Mar 14, 2017 2:29 pm

thecowisflying wrote:A followup question:

Are there monks in Japan who still follow the full monastic vinaya?
There are missionary Theravada monks teaching in Japan, so technically "yes".
Otherwise, it would be up to the 6 Nara schools or the Obaku school and as far as I can tell none of them still practice it.
Maybe Indrajala will be able to provide better information.
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Re: Some questions on Pure Land Buddhism

Post by rory » Wed Mar 15, 2017 1:42 am

Admin_PC wrote: There are missionary Theravada monks teaching in Japan, so technically "yes".
Otherwise, it would be up to the 6 Nara schools or the Obaku school and as far as I can tell none of them still practice it.
Maybe Indrajala will be able to provide better information.
I was told years ago that a Tendai priest went to Thailand, studied the Vinaya and received the precepts, the Tendai hierarchy were fine with him returning and doing that and encouraging it. It never took, in Japan celibacy among monks was rather famous for its non-observance and many abbots of various groups left their temples to their dharma heirs (aka their sons), so really this didn't have anything to do with the Vinaya vs Brahma Net...but culture.

Anyway there were and still are celibate monks and nuns, I know from reading temple literature that they can be found in Nichiren, Tendai, Zen etc it's their choice. There is still a very active Soto convent the Aichi Senmon Nisodo (I don't know if there re more) and their was a Jodo convent in Kyoto but it close a couple of years ago...which is sad.

Dharmawheel is a nice place but I'd say look for online sanghas for support. I know Jodo Shinshu has them and we were talking about Jodo Shu or go locally, I went to a local Chinese temple and it was great...
gassho
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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
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Re: Some questions on Pure Land Buddhism

Post by Admin_PC » Wed Mar 15, 2017 2:10 am

rory wrote:I was told years ago that a Tendai priest went to Thailand, studied the Vinaya and received the precepts, the Tendai hierarchy were fine with him returning and doing that and encouraging it. It never took,
I almost forgot about this guy:
http://www.onedhamma.com/?page_id=23
He's a Zen monk that ordained Theravada in Sri Lanka and studied Tibetan Vajrayana in Nepal, before returning to Japan. He also spent time at temples in Korea & Taiwan, and hosted Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche for a discussion on Zen at Koyasan (sounds random I know). He runs the One Dhamma forum and retreat center in Japan and still maintains Vinaya precepts as far as I can tell.
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Re: Some questions on Pure Land Buddhism

Post by rory » Wed Mar 15, 2017 5:01 am

Admin_PC wrote:h I almost forgot about this guy:
http://www.onedhamma.com/?page_id=23
He's a Zen monk that ordained Theravada in Sri Lanka and studied Tibetan Vajrayana in Nepal, before returning to Japan. He also spent time at temples in Korea & Taiwan, and hosted Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche for a discussion on Zen at Koyasan (sounds random I know). He runs the One Dhamma forum and retreat center in Japan and still maintains Vinaya precepts as far as I can tell.
Wow, AdminPC; fascinating,my head is honestly spinning over that! And it does sound kind of random, his forum is in Japanese does he write from a deep experience or is it Dharma-collecting? You and I are both big tent Tendai/Tiantai types but I really cannot imagine what kind of services they have etc..?
gassho
Rory
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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: Some questions on Pure Land Buddhism

Post by Admin_PC » Wed Mar 15, 2017 2:41 pm

It's not Dharma collecting from what I can tell. The practice sessions he leads are rooted in Zazen. He runs retreats all over Japan, including Sesshin in Okinawa's Kudaka Island. Every year he takes trips to India and Taiwan.
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Re: Some questions on Pure Land Buddhism

Post by rory » Wed Mar 15, 2017 10:42 pm

Admin_PC wrote:It's not Dharma collecting from what I can tell. The practice sessions he leads are rooted in Zazen. He runs retreats all over Japan, including Sesshin in Okinawa's Kudaka Island. Every year he takes trips to India and Taiwan.
Interesting, I saw he was Soto shu, which doesn't really seem to gel with is diverse interests, so I guess he's starting his own school maybe?
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: Some questions on Pure Land Buddhism

Post by Admin_PC » Wed Mar 15, 2017 11:04 pm

He calls group sessions "Zazenkai" and the bulk of the practice is still Zazen - which is still very Soto Zen. He also has interviews, again very Zen. From his retreat schedule, it just seems they mix in some yoga, some anapanasati, and some vipassana. He refers to himself as a "Bhikkhu" so that would imply he still keeps Vinaya precepts (Burmese if I'm reading that right).
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Re: Some questions on Pure Land Buddhism

Post by Indrajala » Sat Apr 01, 2017 10:15 pm

Admin_PC wrote:
thecowisflying wrote:A followup question:

Are there monks in Japan who still follow the full monastic vinaya?
There are missionary Theravada monks teaching in Japan, so technically "yes".
Otherwise, it would be up to the 6 Nara schools or the Obaku school and as far as I can tell none of them still practice it.
Maybe Indrajala will be able to provide better information.

Unless someone received the precepts outside a Japanese tradition, in which case they would be an isolated case of a Japanese monk with full vinaya precepts, the Dharmagupta vinaya precepts are basically not observed in Japan today.

On that note, until a few decades ago, full vinaya precepts were apparently rare among Chinese monastics as well. It was really only due to the revivalism of the vinaya by some leading Chinese monks during the 20th century that Chinese traditions came to emphasize the reception of vinaya precepts. The vinaya also became part of the new "Chinese Buddhist" identity (漢傳佛教), which sought to distance itself from Tibetan, Japanese and Theravadin traditions, while highlighting its own features and advantages. Japanese Buddhist traditions approached modernity from a very different angle.
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