Teachings of Honen Volume 2

User avatar
Admin_PC
Site Admin
Posts: 3956
Joined: Wed Sep 19, 2012 11:17 pm
Location: Texas, USA

Teachings of Honen Volume 2

Post by Admin_PC » Tue Jul 25, 2017 4:01 am

I've been procrastinating on this one for way too long, time to get started again.
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

User avatar
Admin_PC
Site Admin
Posts: 3956
Joined: Wed Sep 19, 2012 11:17 pm
Location: Texas, USA

Teachings of Honen Volume 2 - Day 1

Post by Admin_PC » Tue Jul 25, 2017 4:01 am

Day 1 - Difficult and Easy Paths

The Pure Land Gate teaches us the path to loathe and renounce this world of suffering and to be born speedily in the Land of Ultimate Bliss of Buddha Amitabha. Birth in that Land is achieved by the compassion of the Essential Vow of Buddha Amitabha, who does not discriminate between good and evil. Birth in the Pure Land is also determined by belief or non-belief in the Essential Vow of Buddha Amitabha.

Master Tao-ch'o (Jp. Doshaku, 562-645) therefore stated, "The Pure Land Gate is the sole teaching for the path leading to enlightenment." Accordingly, those who desire departure from the delusive worlds of the transmigration of birth-and-death of late should abandon the difficult Holy Gate and aspire Ojo through the easy Pure Land Gate.

The Holy Gate and the Pure Land Gate are referred to as the "Difficult Path" and the "Easy Path." To illustrate: the Difficult Path is akin to traversing a treacherous road on foot; the Easy Path corresponds to crossing the ocean on a ship. The lame and sightless are unable to travel an arduous route, but a ship will transport them with easy to the other shore.

Today, it is as if our vision of wisdom is impaired and our legs of religious discipline are paralyzed. There is no hope for trekking across the treacherous road, the Difficult Path of the Holy Gate. Only by the ship, the Essential Vow of Buddha Amitabha, are we able to cross the delusive ocean of the transmigration of birth-and-death to reach the shore of the Land of Ultimate Bliss.

------

This passage is based on quotations from the Jodo Shu ryaku-sho (An Outline of the Essentials of Jodo Shu) of the Wago Toroku (A Collection of the Teachings of Honen-shonin in Japanese).
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

User avatar
Admin_PC
Site Admin
Posts: 3956
Joined: Wed Sep 19, 2012 11:17 pm
Location: Texas, USA

Teachings of Honen Volume 2 - Day 1

Post by Admin_PC » Tue Jul 25, 2017 4:04 am

Day 1 Thoughts
I'm not sure I agree with some of the more sectarian statements in this passage. I do, however, feel that the assessment made by Honen and Tao-ch'o applies to me personally. The illustration of the ship is reminiscent of a passage in the Milindapanha about faith.
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

User avatar
Admin_PC
Site Admin
Posts: 3956
Joined: Wed Sep 19, 2012 11:17 pm
Location: Texas, USA

Re: Teachings of Honen Volume 2 - Day 2

Post by Admin_PC » Wed Jul 26, 2017 1:30 am

Day 2 - Realization of Birth in the Pure Land through Power Other than Self

Although there is more than one practice to extricate oneself from the delusive worlds of transmigration, you should first desire birth in the Land of Ultimate Bliss and repeat the name of Buddha Amitabha. This teaching is extensively expounded in the lifetime teachings of Buddha Sakyamuni.

Buddha Amitabha awakened the Essential Vow, saying, "If one recites my name but is unable to be born in the Pure Land, I will not realize enlightenment." He did indeed realize enlightenment. For this reason, those who recite His name will surely realize Ojo (birth in the Pure Land).

Upon your time of death, Buddha Amitabha, together with His host of celestial beings, is certain to come to receive you; therefore, your unwholesome karma will not become hindrances for birth in the Pure Land, and no evil condition may detain you. Without distinction between male and female, noble and humble, or good and bad, one who devotedly repeats the name of Buddha Amitabha will realize birth without fail.

It is like an ocean liner transporting a heavy load of boulders from afar over the sea without sinking. The burden of our evil karma may be like the heavy boulders, but if we should board the vessel of the Essential Vow, we will surely cross the delusive ocean of transmigration to reach birth in the Pure Land.

Never fear your evil karma relative to the transcendental power of the Essential Vow. This is called the "realization of Ojo through power other than self."

------

This passage is based on quotations from the Juni-kajo mondo (Dialogue on Twelve Issues) of the Wago Toroku (A Collection of the Teachings of Honen-shonin in Japanese)
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

User avatar
Admin_PC
Site Admin
Posts: 3956
Joined: Wed Sep 19, 2012 11:17 pm
Location: Texas, USA

Re: Teachings of Honen Volume 2

Post by Admin_PC » Wed Jul 26, 2017 1:32 am

Day 2 Thoughts
This time the metaphor of the vessel and the heavy boulders of our defiled intentional actions even more closely resembles a similar passage from the Milindapanha. Personally, I find Honen's words here very comforting. "Power other than self" is the Tariki that gets mentioned in Shin a lot.
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

User avatar
Admin_PC
Site Admin
Posts: 3956
Joined: Wed Sep 19, 2012 11:17 pm
Location: Texas, USA

Re: Teachings of Honen Volume 2 - Day 3

Post by Admin_PC » Thu Jul 27, 2017 2:01 pm

Day 3 - Teachings Commensurate with Potential
Honen-shonin asked Shinjaku-bo in the province of Harima, "Suppose there are two imperial edicts here. Should an imperial edict intended for the western provinces be delivered to the east in error, and one intended for the eastern provinces be delivered to the west, would the people comply with a command intended for another?"

Shinjaku-bo pondered the question for a while and replied, "Imperial edict notwithstanding, it would be impossible to comply with orders meant for another." Honen-shonin then stated:
"You are a reasonable man. The Imperial command is none other than the teachings of Buddha Sakyamuni. The two documents refer to the teachings of the three periods; that is, the period of the True Dharma, the period of the Imitative Dharma, and the period of the Decline of the Dharma.

The religious practice of the Holy Gate espouses the teachings of periods of both the True Dharma and of the Imitative Dharma, to be practiced only by the profoundly wise with great potential. It may be likened to the edict intended for the western provinces.

The practice of the Pure Land Gate is designed for the defiled period of the Decline of the Dharma for common people with little potential and wisdom. It may be likened to the edict intended for the eastern provinces. Consequently, it follows that there can be no error in the dispatch of the edict appropriate to the teachings of the three periods.

At the discussion on the Holy Gate and Pure Land Gate in Ohara, neither school was lesser in the essence of its teachings. However, I, Genku (Honen) emerged victorious in terms of the capability of the practitioners.

The teachings of the Holy Gate are indeed profound; yet, they do not suit the potential of the people of today. Conversely, the Pure Land Gate may seem overly simplistic, but it is appropriate for the potential of this generation."
Referral to the following passage convinced everyone of the validity of the instruction of Honen-shonin: "Although Buddhist teachings other than reciting Nembutsu will perish after the period of the Decline of the Dharma that lasts for ten thousand years, only the teaching of Buddha Amitabha will prevail and save people."

-----

Shinjakubo (d1244), a prominent disciple of Honen, secluded himself in a temple at the foot of Mount Asahi in Hyogo Prefecture. He wrote the Emyogi (Essence on the Life of Wisdom) to refute the Zaijarin (Smashing the Wheel of Heresy) of Myoe (1173-1232), who criticized the Nembutsu teaching of Honen.

The Ohara debate was held in Shorin-in Temple, Ohara, in 1186. Honen engaged in a public discussion on the Pure Land doctrines with several prominent monks of the schools of the Holy Gate, such as Kenshin (1131-1192), an abbot of the Tendai School, and Myohen (1142-1224), a Shingon master. It is said that Honen succeeded in defending his Pure Land thought and that approximately 300 people recited Nembutsu for three days and nights after the discussion.

This passage is based on quotations from the Honen-shonin Gyojo-ezu (An Illustrated Biography of Honen-shonin), Chapter 6.
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

User avatar
Admin_PC
Site Admin
Posts: 3956
Joined: Wed Sep 19, 2012 11:17 pm
Location: Texas, USA

Re: Teachings of Honen Volume 2 - Day 3

Post by Admin_PC » Thu Jul 27, 2017 2:05 pm

Day 3 Thoughts
I've probably said it before, I look at the 3 ages as more of a personal diagnosis of one's capacities, rather than a declaration for all living in a given time period. For me, the Dharma Ending age - the age where it is hard to go off into the forest, to truly hear & grasp the words of the Buddha, where distractions are numerous, where wise teachers that one trusts and can interact with are few and far between - feels about where I'm at. Hence, I feel it's the appropriate teaching for me.
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

User avatar
Admin_PC
Site Admin
Posts: 3956
Joined: Wed Sep 19, 2012 11:17 pm
Location: Texas, USA

Re: Teachings of Honen Volume 2 - Day 4

Post by Admin_PC » Tue Aug 01, 2017 3:32 am

Day 4 - Pure Land Teaching Alone Prevails

The second fascicle of the Larger Sutra states, "The sentient beings living even after the extinction of the Three Treasures (the Buddha, the Dharma, and the Sangha) will attain birth in the Pure Land by only a single utterance of Nembutsu."

Master Shan-tao interpreted this to mean, "Even after the period of the Decline of the Dharma that lasts ten thousand years, when the Three Treasures become extinct, only the Larger Sutra will endure another one hundred years. When listening to the teachings of the Larger Sutra, the people of that time will utter Nembutsu once and realize Ojo without fail."

It should be known through these two passages that the grace of the Essential Vow of Buddha Amitabha will continue to save the masses extensively and extend over an infinite length of time.

The evil will be saved and the virtuous, embraced by Buddha Amitabha; the bad will be saved and the good, embraced; those who live afar will be saved and those who live near, embraced; those who live long after Buddha Sakyamuni's entrance into Nirvana will be saved and those who live shortly after, embraced. The profundity and extensiveness of the great compassionate Essential Vow are beyond verbal description. Believe in them in the depth of your heart and validate their truth within yourself.

It is now indeed the period of the Decline of the Dharma;however, one hundred years have not elapsed. Our evil karma may be grave, yet we have not committed the Five Grave Offenses. Buddha Amitabha will save the masses one hundred years after the period of the extinction of the Dharma; how much more benevolence will there be for us living today?

Buddha Amitabha does not abandon the most vile of men who have committed the Five Grave Offenses; He most certainly would not abandon us. Hence, You, with the Three-fold Devotional Heart, should recite the name of Buddha Amitabha exclusively.

-----

The Five Grave Offenses are: 1. Killing one's mother. 2. Killing one's father. 3. Killing an Arhat. 4 Defiling (drawing) the blood of the Buddha and 5. destroying the harmony of the Sangha.

This passage is based on quotations from the Ojo taiyo-sho (An Outline of the doctrine for Ojo) of the Wago Toroku (A Collection of the Teachings of Honen-shonin in Japanese).
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

User avatar
Admin_PC
Site Admin
Posts: 3956
Joined: Wed Sep 19, 2012 11:17 pm
Location: Texas, USA

Re: Teachings of Honen Volume 2 - Day 4

Post by Admin_PC » Tue Aug 01, 2017 3:37 am

Day 4 notes:
The Larger Sutra literally says:
The Larger Sutra wrote: “In times to come, the Dharma will be annihilated. Out of lovingkindness and compassion, I will specially save this sūtra and make it stay for a hundred years more. Sentient beings that encounter this sūtra will all be delivered as they wish.”
So when Pure Land schools say that the teaching is appropriate for the Dharma Ending Age, there is actually scriptural support for this position.
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

User avatar
Admin_PC
Site Admin
Posts: 3956
Joined: Wed Sep 19, 2012 11:17 pm
Location: Texas, USA

Re: Teachings of Honen Volume 2 - Day 5

Post by Admin_PC » Wed Aug 02, 2017 4:02 am

Day 5 - Merit Unparalleled

It is said that if one is lacking in virtuous roots, he should practice reciting Nembutsu and receive unsurpassed merit.

Sume may believe that since they have cultivated great virtuous roots other than Nembutsu, they can attain birth in the Pure Land without Nembutsu. Master Shan-tao, however, exhorted us to rely on the Essential Vow and to repeat Nembutsu, believing that our virtuous roots are shallow and meager.

The Larger Sutra reads, "A single utterance of the name of Buddha Amitabha brings us enormous virtue, an unsurpassed merit." How much more merit can one receive through the continual vocalization of Nembutsu for life? It follows that we must not doubt the certainty of Ojo through Nembutsu, even if we do not cultivate the virtuous roots.

-----

This passage is based on quotations from the Nembutsu Ojo-gi (Essentials for Ojo through Nembutsu) of the Wago Toroku (A Collection of the Teachings of Honen-shonin in Japanese).
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

User avatar
Admin_PC
Site Admin
Posts: 3956
Joined: Wed Sep 19, 2012 11:17 pm
Location: Texas, USA

Re: Teachings of Honen Volume 2 - Day 5

Post by Admin_PC » Wed Aug 02, 2017 4:05 am

Day 5 Notes:
I think the passage from the Larger Sutra is this one:
“If there is a person who, having heard that Buddha’s name, is joyful and exuberant even for a single thought, know that he has acquired great benefits and unsurpassed merits.
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

User avatar
Admin_PC
Site Admin
Posts: 3956
Joined: Wed Sep 19, 2012 11:17 pm
Location: Texas, USA

Re: Teachings of Honen Volume 2 - Day 6

Post by Admin_PC » Thu Aug 03, 2017 7:30 am

Day 6 - Transmission of Nembutsu

Buddha Sakyamuni expounded on the meditative practices with a focused mind and a distracted mind described in the Meditation sutra. After these instructions, He entrusted to Ananda (JP Anan) the sole practice of the recitation of Nembutsu, without teaching the Three Meritorious Acts with a distracted mind or the thirteen objects of meditation with a focused mind taught in the Meditation Sutra.

The Meditation Sutra states, "Buddha Sakyamuni said to Ananda, 'Take these words to your heart. To take these words to your heart means to keep in mind the name of the Buddha of Infinite Life (Buddha Amitabha).'" Master Shan-tao then interpreted this passage to mean, "The meaning of the sentence after 'Buddha Sakyamuni said to Ananda, Take these words to your heart' is to clarify that Buddha Sakyamuni meant to entrust the name of Buddha Amitabha to Ananda for its transmission to posterity.

Buddha Sakyamuni expounded on the merits of the meditative practices with a focused mind and a distracted mind in the Meditation Sutra. In the final analysis, however, He exhorted us to recite Nembutsu intently and exclusively, relying on the Essential Vow of Buddha Amitabha."

Because these various meditative practices with both a focused mind and a distracted mind were not founded on the Essential Vow of Buddha Amitabha, Buddha Sakyamuni, when He entrusted the practice for Ojo to Ananda, did not teach the meditative practices. He chose and transmitted the Nembutsu only, which is in accordance with the Essential Vow of Buddha Amitabha, as the right practice of the Essential Vow.

Those who now seek birth in the Pure Land according to the teachings of Buddha Sakyamuni should concentrate on the practice of Nembutsu which was entrusted by Him to Ananda in compliance with His intent. Thus, you should recite Nembutsu to be in accord with the teaching entrusted upon Ananda by Buddha Sakyamuni.

-----

The three meritorious acts, cited in the Meditation Sutra. They are: 1. worldly meritorious acts such as filial piety and service to one's teachers and elders; 2. meritorious acts performed within the observance of the Buddhist precepts such as never taking any form of life and treating all with kindness; 3. meritorious acts performed within the practice of wholesome deeds.

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

User avatar
Admin_PC
Site Admin
Posts: 3956
Joined: Wed Sep 19, 2012 11:17 pm
Location: Texas, USA

Re: Teachings of Honen Volume 2 - Day 6

Post by Admin_PC » Thu Aug 03, 2017 7:56 am

Day 6 Notes:

A translation of the passage being referenced:
The Visualization Sutra wrote:The Buddha told Ānanda, “This sūtra is called Visualization of the Land of Ultimate Bliss, Amitāyus Buddha, Avalokiteśvara Bodhisattva, and Great Might Arrived Bodhisattva. It is also called Annihilating Karma Hindrances and Being Reborn before Buddhas. All of you should accept and uphold it, never forgetting or losing it. Those who train in this samādhi will, in their present life, succeed in seeing Amitāyus Buddha and the two Great Ones. If, among good men and good women, there are those who hear the names of that Buddha and the two Bodhisattvas, their sins which would entail innumerable kalpas of birth and death will all be expunged. Even more will their benefits be if they remember and think of them. Know that, if a person thinks of that Buddha, this person is a puṇḍarīka flower among men. Bodhisattvas Avalokiteśvara and Great Might Arrived will be his beneficent friends, and he will be reborn in Buddha family, to be seated in a bodhimaṇḍa.”

The Buddha told Ānanda, “Uphold well these words. To uphold these words is to uphold Amitāyus Buddha’s name.”
Alternatively:
BDK translation of the Visualization Sutra wrote:The Buddha answered, “Ānanda, this sutra is called the ‘Visualization
of the Land of Utmost Bliss of Buddha Amitāyus and of Bodhisattva Avalokiteśvara
and Bodhisattva Mahā sthāma prāpta.’ It is also called the ‘Purification
and Elimination of Karmic Hindrances for Attaining Birth in the Presence
of All Buddhas.’ Hold fast to this sutra and do not forget it. Those who
practice this samādhi will be able to see, during their lifetime, Buddha
Amitāyus and the two mahāsattvas. If good men or women simply hear the
Name of this buddha or the names of those two bodhisattvas, the evil karma
that would bind them to birth and death for innumerable kalpas will be extinguished.
And so, how much more merit will they acquire if they concentrate
on them! You should know that all who are mindful of that buddha are like
white lotus flowers among humankind; Bodhisattva Avalokiteśvara and
Bodhisattva Mahāsthāmaprāpta become their good friends. They will sit in
the seat of enlightenment and be born into the family of the buddhas.”

The Buddha further said to Ānanda, “Bear these words well in mind.
To bear these words in mind means to hold fast to the Name of Buddha
Amitāyus.”
If I'm not mistaken, the corresponding part in the Taisho is this:
佛告阿難。此經名觀極樂國土無量壽佛觀世音菩
薩大勢至菩薩。亦名淨除業障生諸佛前。汝
等受持無令忘失。行此三昧者。現身得見
無量壽佛及二大士。若善男子及善女人。但
聞佛名二菩薩名。除無量劫生死之罪。何況
憶念。若念佛者。當知此人即是人中芬陀
利花。觀世音菩薩大勢至菩薩。爲其勝友。
當坐道場生諸佛家

佛告阿難。汝好持是語。持是語者即是持
無量壽佛名。

The second section is the one I'm interested in.
佛告阿難 - The Buddha told Ananda
汝好持是語 - You should hold/have these words
持是語者即是持無量壽佛名 - Someone who holds these words is one who holds the name of The Buddha of Infinite Life.

"Uphold" as a translation term for 持 is a bit tricky.
It has a nuance of "to live up to".
If you try to "uphold" the name of Amida, you would try to be exactly like him.
That's not really what's intended here.

Actually, the translation of 持 in the Digital dictionary of Buddhism is a bit different
http://www.buddhism-dict.net/cgi-bin/xp ... =%E6%8C%81

Basic Meaning: to verify
Senses:
- To validate, confirm. Judge, decide. [Seishi Karashima]
- With; by means of; because of. Memorize, remember. [Charles Muller]
- Realm, world. [Charles Muller]
- Keep, preserve, maintain. Lay hold of, grasp, hold, control. [Charles Muller]
- To learn and retain exactly. [Charles Muller]
- Basis. A translation of dhātu in the sense of the eighteen sensory elements (aṣṭādaśa-dhātavaḥ) (Skt. dhātrī, dhāra, dhāraka, dhāraṇatā, dhāraṇā, dhāraṇī, dhārayati, dhāri, dhārikā, dhāritavat, dhārin, dhārya, dhṛta, [Charles Patton]
- Expanding, distending (Pāli vitthambhana/ vistambhana). Used in the Pāli Abhidhamma as a quality of the wind-element. 〔解脫道論 T 1648.32.439b09〕 [Nyanatusita]
- (Skt. dhṛ; dhara; dhāraṇa, ādhāra, dhṛti, adhiṣṭhāna, abhilagna, avadhāraṇa, ādāya, ādhāna, ādhāraka, ādhāra-bhūta, ānupâlya, ārādhita, āvaha, āharaṇa, udgṛhīta, udgrahaṇa, upajīvita, upaṣṭambhaka, upasaṃhareya, upasaṃhita, upastambha, upoṣtia, ūdhi, kārin, gṛhīta, gṛhya, grasta, graha, grāha, dharaṇa, dhriyate, niyukta, niścita, parigṛhīta, parigraha, parigrāhaka, parigṛhīta, parirakṣita, pāla, pratiṣṭhā, pratyuddhāratā, pradhāna, pradhāraṇa, yāpanā, vinyasta, saṃrakṣita, saṃgraha, saṃdhāraṇa, saṃdhārayati, saṃniśrita, hartavya, hāraka, hārika) [Charles Muller; source(s): Soothill, Hirakawa]
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

User avatar
Admin_PC
Site Admin
Posts: 3956
Joined: Wed Sep 19, 2012 11:17 pm
Location: Texas, USA

Re: Teachings of Honen Volume 2 - Day 7

Post by Admin_PC » Fri Aug 04, 2017 6:19 am

Day 7 - The Auxiliary Practices and the Rightly Established Practice

Concerning the teaching of Jodo Shu, Master Shan-tao thus stated:

"The practices for birth in the Pure Land are divided into two categories. One is the Right Practices; the other, the Miscellaneous Practices.

The Right Practices include many practices. The first is the right practice of reciting sutras. This comprises the recitation of the Triple Sutras of Pure Land Buddhism; that is, the Larger Sutra, the Meditation Sutra, and the Smaller Sutra. The second is the right practice of contemplation, which refers to meditation on Buddha Amitabha and the majestic adornments of the Pure Land. The third is the right practice of worship, which embraces the worship of Buddha Amitabha. The fourth is the right practice of reciting the name of Buddha Amitabha, which indicates the vocalization of Namo A-mi-t'o fo (meaning "I take refuge in Buddha Amitabha"). The fifth is the right practice of exalting and making offerings, which includes exaltation and making offerings to Buddha Amitabha.

These are called the Five Right Practices. When the practices of exaltation and making offerings are separated, the practices are referred to as the Six Right Practices."

Master Shan-tao further divided the Right Practices into two categories, stating, "The first is to recite single-heartedly and exclusively the name of Buddha Amitabha every moment, whether walking, standing, sitting, and lying down, day and night without interruption. The practice in which one repetes Nembutsu without cessation is called the 'Rightly Established Practice' because it is in accordance with the Essential Vow of Buddha Amitabha." Thus, he regarded the vocal Nembutsu as the Rightly Established Practice for birth in the Pure Land.

Master Shan-tao also said, "If one relies on the Right Practice of worship and of reciting sutras for birth in the Pure Land, these acts are called the 'Auxiliary Practices.'" The devotional practices; that is, worship, recitation, exalting and making offerings other than Nembutsu, are called the "Auxiliary Practices" which serve to enhance the practice of Nembutsu. The various Buddhist practice other than the Rightly Established Practice and the Auxiliary Practices are called the 'Miscellaneous Practices.'

-----

This passage is based on quotations from the Ogo no Taro Sanehide e tsukawasu gohenji (A Reply to Taro Sanehide in Ogo) of the Wago Toroku (A Collection of the Teachings of Honen-shonen in Japanese).
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

User avatar
Admin_PC
Site Admin
Posts: 3956
Joined: Wed Sep 19, 2012 11:17 pm
Location: Texas, USA

Re: Teachings of Honen Volume 2 - Day 7

Post by Admin_PC » Fri Aug 04, 2017 6:25 am

Day 7 Notes

I am pretty sure what's being translated here as "worship" is actually "prostrate". It'd take a while to track this down for sure, so I probably won't do it tonight - maybe another day if I have time.

I know the passages so far from this volume of the Teachings of Honen is a bit more sectarian. I think it's probably a good opportunity to reiterate that these teachings have a context: they are teachings towards a specific goal of being reborn in Sukhavati. If that's not one's goal, then most of these comments don't really apply. For attaining birth in Sukhavati, the Essential Vow is the standard and that's why such an importance placed on Nembutsu. Also, while the term 'auxiliary' may have a connotation of 'unnecessary', I do appreciate that the 'auxiliary' practices serve to enhance & support Nembutsu recitation. Honen elsewhere extends the idea of 'auxiliary' practices to all aspects of one's life - such that going about one's daily life is a practice that can enhance & support 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

User avatar
Admin_PC
Site Admin
Posts: 3956
Joined: Wed Sep 19, 2012 11:17 pm
Location: Texas, USA

Re: Teachings of Honen Volume 2 - Day 8

Post by Admin_PC » Tue Aug 08, 2017 3:04 am

Day 8 - The Steadfast Heart and Practice

If one desires to attain birth in the Pure Land, both his heart and practice must be in concert. Therefore, the interpretation of Master Shan-Tao reads: "Practice alone is not sufficient for the accomplishment of Ojo. Neither is aspiration (vow) alone. Realization occurs only when aspiration and practice are concomitant."

Both heart and practice must be a single discipline, not only to achieve birth in the Pure Land, but also to realize enlightenment in the Holy Gate. This is referred to as "observing practice by awakening the heart to enlightenment."

In Jodo Shu, Master Shan-tao called this the "Steadfast Heart and Practice."

-----

This passage is based on quotations from the Ojo taiyo-sho (An Outline of the doctrine for Ojo) of the Wago Toroku (A Collection of the Teachings of Honen-shonin in Japanese).
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

User avatar
Admin_PC
Site Admin
Posts: 3956
Joined: Wed Sep 19, 2012 11:17 pm
Location: Texas, USA

Re: Teachings of Honen Volume 2 - Day 9

Post by Admin_PC » Wed Aug 09, 2017 4:29 am

Day 9 - The Genuine Heart

Master Shan-tao commented on the Genuine Heart (Ch. chih-ch'eng-hsin), stating, "The Chinese term, chih, refers to truth and ch'eng is the quality of being genuine."

He interpreted the Genuine Heart to mean a truly genuine heart. Genuineness indicates the state of the heart in which there is an absence of any falsity and transitoriness. The heart which holds falsity and transitoriness refers to producing the unwholesome passions of greed and anger and to lose the rightly settled state of mind for birth in the Pure Land. All unwholesome passions rise out of greed and anger, which are considered to be the mother of these undesirable passions.

Concerning the issue of greed, there are two categories: 1. greed that may be satisfied with a small gratification, and 2. greed that may remain unsated even with enormous gratification. The Nembutsu practitioner should practice Nembutsu with this in mind. This is genuine Nembutsu.

Greed that may be satisfied with a small gratification is justifiable. The unwholesome passion of anger will be tolerated if one venerates his elders and nurtures his subordinates. The unwholesome passion of ignorance indicates an ignorant heart. We need to strive to nurture this ignorance in order to be wise.

If one loathes the delusive worlds of the transmigration of birth-and-death, longs for birth in the Pure Land, treasures his precious belief in birth and devotes himself to a life of service, then he can be free from the unwholesome passion of ignorance. Minimal ignorance will not be an obstacle in the attainment of birth in the Pure Land.

The cultivation of these attitudes will rid us of a heart filled with falsity and provisionalness based upon the unwholesome passions of greed and anger. The result will be the emergence of a truly genuine heart without difficulty. This is referred to as the heart that aspires enlightenment in Jodo Shu.

In short, to reduce the myriad unwholesome passions of the delusive worlds and to recite Nembutsu exclusively are referred to as the heart of genuineness.

-----

This passage is based on quotations from the Shichi-kajo no kisho-mon (Instruction in the Seven Articles) of the Wago Toroku (A collection of the Teachings of Honen-shonin in Japanese).
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

User avatar
Admin_PC
Site Admin
Posts: 3956
Joined: Wed Sep 19, 2012 11:17 pm
Location: Texas, USA

Re: Teachings of Honen Volume 2 - Day 9

Post by Admin_PC » Wed Aug 09, 2017 4:45 am

Day 9 Notes

Some interesting translation choices in this one:
- "Unwholesome passions" is how they translated 煩悩 - bonnou - kileshas or afflictions.
- "The heart that aspires enlightenment" is how they translated 菩提心 - bodaishin - bodhicitta.
- The phrase "nurture this ignorance" is somewhat problematic as in English it means to increase the ignorance, when he means to "nurture wisdom in order to abandon this ignorance."
- The phrase "loathes the delusive worlds of the transmigration of birth-and-death" doesn't seem to capture the idea that we transmigrate because of delusion, greed, and anger (the 3 poisons). That it's really the 3 poisons we should loathe - a loathing of the state of our subjective experience, rather than a loathing of objective reality. While I'm not exactly sure of the original terms used in this case, I think my take on it squares much better with the words of Honen elsewhere than the words here do.
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

User avatar
Admin_PC
Site Admin
Posts: 3956
Joined: Wed Sep 19, 2012 11:17 pm
Location: Texas, USA

Re: Teachings of Honen Volume 2 - Day 10

Post by Admin_PC » Wed Aug 09, 2017 3:20 pm

Day 10 - The Profound Heart

According to Master Shan-tao, first, we must believe that we are karmically evil mortals; second, we must believe in the Essential Vow of Buddha Amitabha.

This is because if only belief in the Essential Vow without the premise that we are karmically evil mortals is taught, many people who desire birth in the Pure Land would become perplexed and doubtful. Although people recite the name of Buddha Amitabha as taught in the Essential Vow, if they reflect on their unwholesome passions of greed and anger and on their commitment of the Ten Transgressions or the violations of the Buddhist Precepts, they would become self-denigrating and begin to doubt the teaching of the Essential Vow. They would logically conclude that even though the Essential Vow taught that birth in the Pure Land would be possible through ten recitations or just a single utterance of Nembutsu, this Nembutsu is not meant for common people.

Foreseeing the misconceptions of people in the future, Master Shan-tao preached the above dual beliefs. He also clarified the premise that we are karmically evil mortals burdened by weighty unwholesome passions; however, if we believe implicitly in the Essential Vow of Buddha Amitabha and recite Nembutsu just once, Ojo is, with certainty, assured.

I, Honen, believe that this teaching of Master Shan-tao is truly noble.

-----

The 10 transgressions are:
1. Taking any form of life
2. Stealing
3. Committing adultery
4. Telling a lie
5. Duplicity
6. Slandering
7. Equivocation
8. Greed
9. Wrath
10. Perverted views

This passage is based on quotations from the Honen-shonin Gyojo-ezu (An Illustrated Biography of Honen-shonin), Chapter 22
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

User avatar
Admin_PC
Site Admin
Posts: 3956
Joined: Wed Sep 19, 2012 11:17 pm
Location: Texas, USA

Re: Teachings of Honen Volume 2 - Day 11

Post by Admin_PC » Fri Aug 11, 2017 12:15 am

Day 11 - The Heart Aspiring Ojo through the Transference of Merit

The Heart Aspiring Ojo through the Transference of Merit means to transfer with a genuine heart all of one's own meritorious physical, verbal, and mental virtues cultivated in the past and also in this life, for the singular purpose of attaining birth in the Land of Ultimate Bliss of Buddha Amitabha.

This is called the "Heart Aspiring Ojo through the Transference of Merit." If one embodies the Three-fold Devotional Heart, birth in the Land of Ultimate Bliss is assured.

-----

The three-fold devotional heart described in the Meditation Sutra are the three aspects of faith indispensable for attaining birth in the Land of Ultimate Bliss. They are:
1. The Genuine Heart
2. The Profound Heart
3. The Heart Aspiring Ojo through the Transference of Merit

This passage is based on quotations from the Sanjin-gi (The significance of the three-fold devotional heart) of the Wago Toroku (A Collection of the Teachings of Honen-shonin in Japanese).
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

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 20 guests