Questions on Heart of the Shin Buddhist Path by Takamaro Shigariki

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Questions on Heart of the Shin Buddhist Path by Takamaro Shigariki

Post by doublerepukken » Tue Sep 12, 2017 11:20 pm

Hey all,

I have been checking this book out, and am really liking Dr. Shigaraki's work. I do have one question though, A couple times in the beginning, Shigaraki states or rather implies that Amida might not actually have been a real person/being, but rather is a notion(his words)

"...This view of Gautama Buddha was adopted by lay householders. It slowly moved in the direction from the historical to the abstract, wherein Gautama Buddha came to be viewed more as a symbol of transcendence and eternity. Finally, it gave rise to the idea of Amida Buddha as an autonomous buddha, one of immeasurable light and immeasurable life that transcended even the human Gautama. These were the historical circumstances that led to the formation of the notion of Amida Buddha. We might say that Amida Buddha arose within the sincerity of the hearts and minds of people who praised and revered Gautama Budha after his death."

- pg. 26

Thoughts? Is this correct?


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Re: Questions on Heart of the Shin Buddhist Path by Takamaro Shigariki

Post by byrneklay » Wed Sep 13, 2017 4:00 am

If I say, "This is my hat" The sounds that come out of my mouth are not the hat I'm talking about but you'll understand me perfectly and not give a second thought to the reality pr symbolism of the words I used. The Sutras are the means which the Sangha has passed down many different teachings and methods. They are the words we rely on if we've taken refuge in the Triple Gem. The Larger Sutra prescribes the easy path to Buddhahood. If we rely on it we must do so as instructed and without doubt. Otherwise the method will not work. No need to prove anything that can't be proven. That isn't in the prescription. Listen to the Dharma and accept or reject.

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Re: Questions on Heart of the Shin Buddhist Path by Takamaro Shigariki

Post by Admin_PC » Wed Sep 13, 2017 5:39 am

There's an audio link from the Institute of Buddhist Studies for a series of lectures featuring 3 speakers, one of which is Takamaro Shigaraki (I posted it on another thread). In it, Shigaraki admits that he and his teachers were often accused of heresy by the doctrinal authorities of the Nishi Hongwanji. His interpretation can be taken with a grain of salt and should be viewed as insights achieved through experience rather than official points of doctrine.

For what it's worth, saying there is no Buddha and there is no Pure Land was explicitly pointed out by Shinran as an understanding that falls outside the bounds of the 18th Vow. Reference

Whether it's true or not, the Pure Land method depends on the idea that there is an Amitabha in the west. Once he is abstracted out to some vague concept, the method loses much of its effectiveness imho. The Pratyutpanna Samadhi Sutra tackles this subject the best. It says that while focusing on that Buddha we fashion a Buddha in our minds, the Buddha representing the perfection of the mind, our minds not recognizing their perfected state slowly learn to, and yet we are able to see that Buddha and his land precisely because of the power of that Buddha.
The Pratyutpanna Samadhi Sutra wrote:The Buddha said, “If Bodhisattvas hear of a Buddha’s name and wish to see Him, they will be able to see Him by constantly thinking of Him and His land. For example, a bhikṣu visualizes before him the bones of a corpse, turning blue, white, red, or black. The colors are not brought by anyone, but are imagined by his mind. Likewise, by virtue of Buddhas’ awesome spiritual power, Bodhisattvas who skillfully abide in this samādhi can see, as they wish, a Buddha of any land. Why? Because they are able to see Him by virtue of three powers: the power of Buddhas, the power of the samādhi, and the power of their own merit.

“As an analogy, a handsome young man dressed in fine clothes wants to see his own face. He can see his reflection by looking into a hand mirror, pure oil, clear water, or a crystal. Does his reflection come from the outside into the mirror, oil, water, or crystal?”

Bhadrapāla replied, “No, it does not. God of Gods, it is because of the clarity of the mirror, oil, water, or crystal, that the man can see his reflection. His reflection comes from neither the inside [of the medium] nor the outside.”

The Buddha said, “Very good, Bhadrapāla. Because the medium is clear, the reflection is clear. Likewise, if one wishes to see a Buddha, one with a pure mind will be able to see. When one sees Him, one can ask questions, and He will give a reply. Having heard the teachings, one will be exultant and think: ‘Where does this Buddha come from and where am I going? As I think of this Buddha, He comes from nowhere and I am going nowhere. As I think of the desire realm, the form realm, and the formless realm, these three realms are formed by my mind. I can see what I think of. The mind forms a Buddha for itself to see; the mind is the Buddha mind. As my mind forms a Buddha, my mind is the Buddha; my mind is the Tathāgata; my mind is my body.’

“Although the mind sees a Buddha, the mind neither knows itself nor sees itself. The mind with perceptions is saṁsāra; the mind without perceptions is nirvāṇa. Dharmas as perceived are not something pleasurable. They are empty thoughts, nothing real. This is what Bodhisattvas see as they abide in this samādhi.”
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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