Are there any resources that teach visualisation practice?

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ItsRaining
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Are there any resources that teach visualisation practice?

Post by ItsRaining » Fri Aug 25, 2017 11:02 am

Most of us practice simply chanting the Buddha's name but I'm also interested in the visualisation practices like that in the Meditation Sutra. This sutra has quite a lot of practices but the way to go about employing them seem a little more than "Visualise a Sun". Are there any more comprehensive instructions on the practice of visualisations?

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rory
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Re: Are there any resources that teach visualisation practice?

Post by rory » Sat Sep 02, 2017 1:15 am

ItsRaining wrote:Most of us practice simply chanting the Buddha's name but I'm also interested in the visualisation practices like that in the Meditation Sutra. This sutra has quite a lot of practices but the way to go about employing them seem a little more than "Visualise a Sun". Are there any more comprehensive instructions on the practice of visualisations?
Tendai Shu has a wealth of Pure Land visualization practices as well as esoteric ones. The person to ask about this is Rev. Jikai or you can try here:
https://www.tendai-usa.org/
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/

ItsRaining
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Re: Are there any resources that teach visualisation practice?

Post by ItsRaining » Sat Sep 02, 2017 1:39 am

rory wrote:
ItsRaining wrote:Most of us practice simply chanting the Buddha's name but I'm also interested in the visualisation practices like that in the Meditation Sutra. This sutra has quite a lot of practices but the way to go about employing them seem a little more than "Visualise a Sun". Are there any more comprehensive instructions on the practice of visualisations?
Tendai Shu has a wealth of Pure Land visualization practices as well as esoteric ones. The person to ask about this is Rev. Jikai or you can try here:
https://www.tendai-usa.org/
gassho
Rory
Thanks! I'll look into it.

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Admin_PC
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Re: Are there any resources that teach visualisation practice?

Post by Admin_PC » Fri Sep 08, 2017 1:43 am

Sorry for taking so long to get back to you on this.

We started a Visualization Study group a while back, but it kind of fell off back in February. There are some cool resources on the thread:
https://dharmawheel.net/viewtopic.php?f=60&t=24559

There is also the Kannenbomon (THE MERIT OF THE SAMADHI OF CONTEMPLATION ON THE OCEAN-LIKE FIGURE OF AMIDA BUDDHA) from Shan-tao (3 pdfs):
https://web.archive.org/web/20100707004 ... /07KAN.pdf
https://web.archive.org/web/20100707053 ... /12HI2.pdf
https://web.archive.org/web/20100707072 ... /12KN3.pdf
(or 1 html link):
https://web.archive.org/web/20160522115 ... nbomon.htm

Shan-tao's Commentary on the Visualization Sutra is the authoritative text for most Pure Land schools, but it's not currently available in English translation. Another commentary on the Visualization Sutra is the one by Hui Yuan, it was the first one and very influential on Zhiyi Tientai:
https://smile.amazon.com/Dawn-Chinese-P ... 0791402983
Google Books Preview
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

ItsRaining
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Re: Are there any resources that teach visualisation practice?

Post by ItsRaining » Fri Sep 08, 2017 8:00 am

Admin_PC wrote:Sorry for taking so long to get back to you on this.

We started a Visualization Study group a while back, but it kind of fell off back in February. There are some cool resources on the thread:
https://dharmawheel.net/viewtopic.php?f=60&t=24559

There is also the Kannenbomon (THE MERIT OF THE SAMADHI OF CONTEMPLATION ON THE OCEAN-LIKE FIGURE OF AMIDA BUDDHA) from Shan-tao (3 pdfs):
https://web.archive.org/web/20100707004 ... /07KAN.pdf
https://web.archive.org/web/20100707053 ... /12HI2.pdf
https://web.archive.org/web/20100707072 ... /12KN3.pdf
(or 1 html link):
https://web.archive.org/web/20160522115 ... nbomon.htm

Shan-tao's Commentary on the Visualization Sutra is the authoritative text for most Pure Land schools, but it's not currently available in English translation. Another commentary on the Visualization Sutra is the one by Hui Yuan, it was the first one and very influential on Zhiyi Tientai:
https://smile.amazon.com/Dawn-Chinese-P ... 0791402983
Google Books Preview
Thanks! I didn't expect Shan Tao would have written about visualisation practices, he seems to be portrayed as promoting pure other power a lot. Hui Yuan's commentary also sounds good. IRC his pureland seemed to involve much more meditating and trying to attain Pratyupanna Samadhi so I hope its got some good stuff in it.

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Re: Are there any resources that teach visualisation practice?

Post by Admin_PC » Fri Sep 08, 2017 1:42 pm

ItsRaining wrote:Thanks! I didn't expect Shan Tao would have written about visualisation practices, he seems to be portrayed as promoting pure other power a lot. Hui Yuan's commentary also sounds good. IRC his pureland seemed to involve much more meditating and trying to attain Pratyupanna Samadhi so I hope its got some good stuff in it.
Absolute Other Power as it is usually presented is really only associated with Shin, and arguably only modern Shin. For Honen & Shan Tao, Amitabha oriented practices with the goal of birth in the Pure Land are only effective because of Other Power. Shinran devotes an entire chapter of the Kyogyoshinsho to Nembutsu as the Right Practice, so the current Shin teaching that regular Nembutsu practice is a Self Powered act is a little... inconsistent imo.

Here's Shan Tao's take on Visualization from the preface of his Ojoraisan liturgy:
It is stated in the Prajnaparamita Sutra Expounded by Manjushri, "I wish to expound the Single-practice Samadhi. I only encourage you to dwell alone in a quiet place, concentrate on one Buddha without visualizing his countenance, and exclusively recite his name. Then, while in the recitative practice, you will be able to see Amida and all other Buddhas."

Question: Why do you teach me to recite the name exclusively instead of urging me to practice visualization? What is your intention?
Answer: Sentient beings have heavy karmic hindrances, the objects of contemplation are subtle but the contemplating mind is coarse, and their consciousness is agitated and their mind is distracted; therefore, it is difficult to accomplish contemplation.
For this reason, the Great Sage, out of compassion, straightforwardly encourages people to recite the name exclusively. Since the recitative practice is easy to follow, they can attain birth in the Buddha-land through continuous practice of it.

Question: Why do many objects appear when only one Buddha's name is recited? Is this not a mixing of the right object of practice and wrong ones and also a confusion of one and many objects?
Answer: Buddhas have attained the same enlightenment, and their forms are indistinguishable. Even if you visualize many Buddhas by concentrating on one Buddha, this does not create any breaching of the Great Principle, does it?
So for Shan-Tao the samadhi and the visions manifest naturally through recitation.

This was apparently true for Honen as well:
http://www.jsri.jp/English/Honen/WRITINGS/sanmai.html

It does make some logical sense though. These men knew the 3 Pure Land sutras. The images detailed in them would've been almost second nature considering how many times they read & recited them (especially the Shorter Sutra - which each was said to have recited many hundreds of times). Every Nembutsu would have had a mental association with these sutras - like a shorthand or a keyword referencing a much larger body of information. I don't think it's farfetched at all that the samadhi and the visions would arise almost effortlessly out of Nembutsu.

That being said, Shan Tao and Honen most assuredly had experience with practicing the visualizations as a separate practice, whether or not they experienced the samadhi as a direct result. Shan Tao wrote about them in the earlier work (Kannenbomon came first, Commentary on the Visualization Sutra was later, and Ojoraisan last).
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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PemaK
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Re: Are there any resources that teach visualisation practice?

Post by PemaK » Mon Sep 11, 2017 8:45 pm

Greetings!

I am New to the "Pure Land" Path as I was a follower of Tibetan Buddhism/Vajrayana/Mahayana, but one of the Admins posted a link regarding "Pure Land," practice and when I read this I thought of your query.

"34) Uninterrupted Recitation

Reciting the Buddha's name without interruption is visualization, and visualization is the cause of wisdom. The previous utterance of the Buddha's name has gone, the next one has not come, the present utterance is not static. (17) Practice visualization in this manner -- clearly but without attachment, without attachment but clearly. Proceeding continuously in this way, you will arrive at the truth that "everything is made from Mind alone" -- Buddha is Mind, Mind is Buddha."

Namu-Amida-Butsu :bow:

Pema

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rory
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Re: Are there any resources that teach visualisation practice?

Post by rory » Thu Sep 28, 2017 10:31 pm

Hmm, from my experience, I asked a few Jodo Shu priests about visualization and the most they had for me was to meditate on the Setting sun. I don't think Jodo Shu really teaches visualization practices. T

I do know Tendai Shu does; Genshin the famous Pure Land practitioner has this esoteric visualization that Rev. Jikai posed on fb:
https://dharmawheel.net/viewtopic.php?f=64&t=25310
And there are many many others...Tendai has a lot of visualization practices for Pure Land! It's kind of incredible but you need a Tendai Shu priest to instruct you. So here is a link to find a priest: https://www.tendai-usa.org/

And this is I think a problem of posting and doing visualization without a master, as a Pure Land master may not be doing those sutra visualizations the same way today. The sutra ones may be just impossible and there are practicable one that evolved later.

So for sure it exists, there is still a continuous tradition in Tendai Shu of Pure Land visualization (maybe some in Shingon too, don't know), you just need to connect.
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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