Are all saved regardless?

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doublerepukken
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Are all saved regardless?

Post by doublerepukken » Tue Oct 10, 2017 11:48 am

Hey all,

Was reading living in amidas light by Alfred bloom and having some issues with one of the essays:

"We are suggesting that from the standpoint of the Vow all are equally saved even now, despite the presence or absence of the experience of faith itself. The reason for this is that salvation depends on the Vow and not on any finite condition. Someone may ask then what is the point of being religious, if we are saved in any case? This is an important question. However, it reflects the virtually universal notion that religion is a means to an end. We get the benefit of salvation from being religious. For Shinran, however, religion becomes the way to express gratitude for the compassion that supports all our life. It is not a tool for ego advancement or gaining benefits."

I understand what he is saying, but am kind if confused. if all are saved by Amida without even them knowing, why do we practice? I can't wrap my head around this concept
南無阿弥陀仏
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Namu Amida Butsu

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Re: Are all saved regardless?

Post by Admin_PC » Tue Oct 10, 2017 12:41 pm

Sometimes what Alfred Bloom says doesn't square well with the Sutras or the words of Shinran or Honen. This appears like it might be one of those instances.

The Larger Sutra states:
18. After I become a Buddha, in worlds in the ten directions, there will be sentient beings that, with earnest faith and delight, wish to be reborn in my land, even if by only thinking ten thoughts [of that wish]. If they should fail to be reborn there—excepting those who have committed any of the five rebellious sins or maligned the true Dharma—I would not attain the perfect enlightenment.
Both Honen and Shinran taught the 3 Minds described by Shan-Tao.
Kyogyoshinsho Chapter on Shinjin, Q&A wrote:Question: In the Primal Vow, the Vow of “sincere mind, entrusting, and aspiration for birth” has been established. Why does Vasubandhu, the author of the Treatise, speak of “the mind that is single”?

Answer: In order to make the matter easily comprehensible for ignorant and foolish sentient beings. Although Amida Tathagata discloses three minds, the true cause of attaining nirvana is shinjin alone; it appears to be for this reason that Vasubandhu takes the three together as one.

20 Looking into the literal meanings of the three minds, I find that the three should be taken as one. Why? In “sincere mind” (shishin), shi means truth, reality, sincerity; shin means seed, kernel. In “entrusting” (shingyo), shin means truth, reality, sincerity, fullness, ultimacy, accomplishment, reliance, reverence, discernment, distinctness, clarity, faithfulness; gyo means aspiration, wish, desire, exultation, delight, joy, gladness, happiness. In “aspiration for birth” (yokusho), yoku means wish, desire, awakening, awareness; sho means accomplishment, fulfillment, performance, establishment.

We see clearly that sincere mind is the mind that is the seed of truth, reality, and sincerity; hence, it is completely untainted by the hindrance of doubt. Entrusting is the mind full of truth, reality, and sincerity; the mind of ultimacy, accomplishment, reliance, and reverence; the mind of discernment, distinctness, clarity, and faithfulness; the mind of aspiration, wish, desire, and exultation; the mind of delight, joy, gladness, and happiness; hence, it is completely untainted by the hindrance of doubt. Aspiration for birth is the mind of wish, desire, awakening, and awareness; the mind of accomplishment, fulfillment, performance, and establishment. It is the mind of great compassion directing itself to beings; hence, it is completely untainted by the hindrance of doubt.

Here, in considering the literal meanings of the terms for them, we find that the three minds are the mind of truth and reality, free of any taint of falsity; they are the mind right and straightforward, free of any taint of wrong and deceit. Truly we know, then, that this is called shinjin* because it is untainted by the hindrance of doubt. Shinjin* is the mind that is single. The mind that is single is shinjin that is true and real. Therefore, the author of the Treatise states, at the outset, “With the mind that is single.” Reflect on this.
Birth without faith sounds more like Ippen than Shinran, Honen, or the Sutras.
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Monlam Tharchin
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Re: Are all saved regardless?

Post by Monlam Tharchin » Tue Oct 10, 2017 2:48 pm

And even Ippen practiced constant nembutsu, so he also didn't appear to think there was a universal salvation, let alone outside of Amida.

Also, with great respect to the late Dr. Bloom, I take issue with the idea of a 'compassion that supports our lives.' What sustains this realm (and all realms of samsara) is fundamental ignorance, which leads beings to endlessly produce karmas and take new births. Even the compassion of other ordinary beings, although it makes our human lives possible, has not and will not free us from affliction. That is why this is world is "defiled" and the various Pure Lands aren't. The compassion of the buddhas, including Amitabha's, aims to wake us up from this ignorance by first leading us to take refuge in the sources of true refuge, i.e. the Three Jewels. That way, we can become free from all suffering, not merely survive by taking refuge in this world. Presumably we've already been doing that for a very long time.

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Re: Are all saved regardless?

Post by Empty Desire » Tue Oct 10, 2017 5:37 pm

What he means is - On Amida's side, the path is complete. On our side, pre Attainment of Faith we have to follow the Call, which takes the form of Aspiration for Birth in the Pure Land.

This means we have to follow the two dynamics of Amida and our Karmic Evil.

Until we reach the point of Accepting the Name of Other Power within us with complete Trust.

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Re: Are all saved regardless?

Post by Empty Desire » Tue Oct 10, 2017 5:40 pm

Monlam Tharchin wrote:
Tue Oct 10, 2017 2:48 pm
And even Ippen practiced constant nembutsu, so he also didn't appear to think there was a universal salvation, let alone outside of Amida.

Also, with great respect to the late Dr. Bloom, I take issue with the idea of a 'compassion that supports our lives.' What sustains this realm (and all realms of samsara) is fundamental ignorance, which leads beings to endlessly produce karmas and take new births. Even the compassion of other ordinary beings, although it makes our human lives possible, has not and will not free us from affliction. That is why this is world is "defiled" and the various Pure Lands aren't. The compassion of the buddhas, including Amitabha's, aims to wake us up from this ignorance by first leading us to take refuge in the sources of true refuge, i.e. the Three Jewels. That way, we can become free from all suffering, not merely survive by taking refuge in this world. Presumably we've already been doing that for a very long time.
When you have Faith in Amida you are supported by Great Compassion and the working of. It is like a Ground/Foundation also a dynamic that is part of the fabric of your whole life. It is deeper than Ignorance although Ignorance is still there, but the light has broken through.

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Re: Are all saved regardless?

Post by Monlam Tharchin » Tue Oct 10, 2017 6:52 pm

Greetings, Empty Desire! What you say is different from this Saha world being sustained by compassion, isn't it? Unless I missed Dr. Bloom's point.

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Re: Are all saved regardless?

Post by Empty Desire » Tue Oct 10, 2017 7:59 pm

Monlam Tharchin wrote:
Tue Oct 10, 2017 6:52 pm
Greetings, Empty Desire! What you say is different from this Saha world being sustained by compassion, isn't it? Unless I missed Dr. Bloom's point.
Emptiness is the Ultimate Reality whether in the Pure Land or in the Saha World. Ignorance is the Obscuration Mind with Dependent Arising and the Cause of Suffering, preventing realisation of Nirvana whilst that cause persists and sustaining the manifestation of Samsara.

In the case of Jodo Shinshu of the 18th Vow, we develop an Adamantine relationship with Great Compassion or Amitabha/Amida which in the Saha World manifests as the Nembutsu of Other Power and realisation of our own Ignorance/Karmic Evil.

Once Faith is Settled in our Mindstream we say the Nembutsu of Other Power from the Amitabha Samadhi you could say. We Trust that Working. No Working is True Working. So we Trust the Matter of Birth based on that.

So from Bloom's perspective, he can say the Saha World is sustained by Great Compassion, because for him in his Awakening he saw it was. Although it isn't for many. Ultimately though Samsara and Nirvana aren't separate. But we, of course, see the pervasive influence of Avijja everywhere.

The Ground to seek is Amitabha for Pure Land practitioners and the Reality is it is Amitabha that is calling so we can develop that relationship to Great Compassion that Bloom had realised. It's really a process before practice. Once Self Power gives up in the Matter of Birth, like an exhaustion. It is easy to understand. Before then it is difficult.

Amitabha is running that process so we don't need to worry it's the same route for all.

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Re: Are all saved regardless?

Post by Monlam Tharchin » Wed Oct 11, 2017 3:01 am

In what way is accepting Amitabha's assistance equivalent to a samadhi? The buddha-remebrance samadhi as described in Chinese Pure Land is something quite specific, and I don't believe it figures at all in Honen's teaching. I'm not as familiar with Shinran's but maybe PorkChop can chime in on the other points of your post?

I would also like to hear your take on how seeing samsara as nirvana jives with an easy practice for the learned and unlearned alike. It sounds like a lofty teaching for those with high capacity, to my ears. Full disclosure: most of my time was in Jodo Shu.

Thank you :smile:

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Re: Are all saved regardless?

Post by rory » Wed Oct 11, 2017 5:01 am

Monlam Tharchin wrote:
Wed Oct 11, 2017 3:01 am
In what way is accepting Amitabha's assistance equivalent to a samadhi? The buddha-remebrance samadhi as described in Chinese Pure Land is something quite specific, and I don't believe it figures at all in Honen's teaching. I'm not as familiar with Shinran's but maybe PorkChop can chime in on the other points of your post?

I would also like to hear your take on how seeing samsara as nirvana jives with an easy practice for the learned and unlearned alike. It sounds like a lofty teaching for those with high capacity, to my ears. Full disclosure: most of my time was in Jodo Shu.

Thank you :smile:
Ah, reading this thread I think the problem boils down to understanding the intellectual history of Tendai, the time period and that both Honen and Shinran were Tendai priests and Ippen studied at Mt. Hiei.

"Samsara is Nirvana" is a famous quote and comes from Chih-I (Chigi, Zhiyi) the famous founder of the Tiantai school in China. Tendai shu in Japan and all the subsequent breakaway sects: Jodo Shu, Jodo Shinshu, Soto and Rinzai Zen and Nichiren all broke away from Tendai and were heavily influenced by the Lotus Sutra and Tendai philosophy: among which theories are 3,000 worlds in one thought moment (ichinen sanzen which is where Samsara is Nirvana comes from.

By Honen's day the theory that we are originally enlightened and that we just need to recognize it to be enlightened is called Original Enlightenment hongaku and was firmly part of Tendai thinking and at that time period that with the concept of Samsara is Nirvana led some to say it wasn't even necessary to do practices, since you are already enlightened.

Now Honen and Shinran rejected Hongaku thought but you can see that it did influence Shinran to a degree and of course Ippen. Tendai today still adheres to Original Enlightenment but not in the extreme form, meaning you have to practice!
I hope this is helpful in untangling the various strands of this discussion
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: Are all saved regardless?

Post by Admin_PC » Wed Oct 11, 2017 3:34 pm

Cliff's notes on the thread:
- The idea that Alfred Bloom had an Awakening is somewhat antithetical to Jodo Shinshu
- "Buddhahood in this very body" is refuted (as a Pure Land teaching) in the Tannisho and differentiated from Pure Land teachings in "Gutoku's notes". Ref 1, Ref 2.
- The idea that Shinran's teachings bear the influence of Hongaku thought is a misunderstanding of Shinran. I know there is at least one academic who espouses this theory, but they are incorrect. Shinran was very clear that we are foolish beings and that awakening/enlightenment in this lifetime is not part of Pure Land teachings. Innate awakening/enlightenment would not be part of those teachings either - he directly refutes the idea in the Kyogyoshinsho but the wording used in the translation on shinranworks.com makes it difficult to track down.
- Samsara is Nirvana is also a paraphrasing of Nagarjuna, but it is not the main teaching of Nagarjuna's that Shinran embraced
- Shinran's take on the Pure Land teachings comes from Nagarjuna's teachings on the Easy Path and I believe this is the reason people think Shinran was influenced by Hongaku thought.
- Shinran said he is always embraced by Great Compassion. This is a result of the Vow and Nembutsu (mentioned throughout the sutras). So it is not really against Pure Land teachings to say that one is supported by compassion even while blinded by kleshas (煩悩 - translated as "blind passions") in the midst of samsara.
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Re: Are all saved regardless?

Post by Empty Desire » Thu Oct 12, 2017 12:47 am

Admin_PC wrote:
Wed Oct 11, 2017 3:34 pm
Cliff's notes on the thread:
- The idea that Alfred Bloom had an Awakening is somewhat antithetical to Jodo Shinshu
- "Buddhahood in this very body" is refuted (as a Pure Land teaching) in the Tannisho and differentiated from Pure Land teachings in "Gutoku's notes". Ref 1, Ref 2.
- The idea that Shinran's teachings bear the influence of Hongaku thought is a misunderstanding of Shinran. I know there is at least one academic who espouses this theory, but they are incorrect. Shinran was very clear that we are foolish beings and that awakening/enlightenment in this lifetime is not part of Pure Land teachings. Innate awakening/enlightenment would not be part of those teachings either - he directly refutes the idea in the Kyogyoshinsho but the wording used in the translation on shinranworks.com makes it difficult to track down.
- Samsara is Nirvana is also a paraphrasing of Nagarjuna, but it is not the main teaching of Nagarjuna's that Shinran embraced
- Shinran's take on the Pure Land teachings comes from Nagarjuna's teachings on the Easy Path and I believe this is the reason people think Shinran was influenced by Hongaku thought.
- Shinran said he is always embraced by Great Compassion. This is a result of the Vow and Nembutsu (mentioned throughout the sutras). So it is not really against Pure Land teachings to say that one is supported by compassion even while blinded by kleshas (煩悩 - translated as "blind passions") in the midst of samsara.
- The idea that Alfred Bloom had an Awakening is somewhat antithetical to Jodo Shinshu

No it's not the point of Shin Buddhism is to awaken to both inherent Karmic Evil and the Reality of Amida/Original Vow

- "Buddhahood in this very body" is refuted (as a Pure Land teaching) in the Tannisho and differentiated from Pure Land teachings in "Gutoku's notes".

Nobody said that, according to all Pure Land Teaching, Buddhahood takes place in the Pure Land, Entrusting is an integral part of the process here in this life, namely Non-Retrogression. Entrusting to Amida means both Awakening to that Working and having Faith in that Reality. But Entrusting must be Other Power.

- The idea that Shinran's teachings bear the influence of Hongaku thought is a misunderstanding of Shinran. I know there is at least one academic who espouses this theory, but they are incorrect. Shinran was very clear that we are foolish beings and that awakening/enlightenment in this lifetime is not part of Pure Land teachings. Innate awakening/enlightenment would not be part of those teachings either - he directly refutes the idea in the Kyogyoshinsho but the wording used in the translation on shinranworks.com makes it difficult to track down.

Ultimate Reality is and always will be the Foundation of all Existence/Phenomena, nobody is 'Originally' Enlightened if there are Obscurations. But our True Nature is Deep within. The Nembutsu and reliance on Other Power is one pathway/vehicle to realise it, but no Self-Power is required. In the case of Jodo Shinshu we battle with Self Power, pre Faith. So there are two Realities at play. Both Karmic Evil and Amida. So No Working is True Working.

The Reality of Amida is Non-Dual not a Self Power Attachment to an External. This is a hindrance to Faith.

Samsara and Nirvana as not separate is standard Mahayana Teaching

Great Compassion is another name for the working of Amida or Hongan same thing. It is underpinning and manifesting in daily life. That is why I used the term Amitabha Samadhi.

In terms of Jodo Shinshu. The important point is our Experience the scriptures and texts can help as we journey forwards. But nothing I have said is outside of the scope of that. Apart from semantics and translations. We should rely on our own lived experience of Faith and Nembutsu as that is the Reality which will Save individuals ultimately. It is a dynamic reality called Other Power to awaken to.

Nembutsu is the substance of Faith. That is Other Power Nembutsu.

Thanks

With Respect

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Re: Are all saved regardless?

Post by doublerepukken » Thu Oct 12, 2017 3:12 am

Empty Desire wrote:
Thu Oct 12, 2017 12:47 am
Admin_PC wrote:
Wed Oct 11, 2017 3:34 pm
Cliff's notes on the thread:
- The idea that Alfred Bloom had an Awakening is somewhat antithetical to Jodo Shinshu
- "Buddhahood in this very body" is refuted (as a Pure Land teaching) in the Tannisho and differentiated from Pure Land teachings in "Gutoku's notes". Ref 1, Ref 2.
- The idea that Shinran's teachings bear the influence of Hongaku thought is a misunderstanding of Shinran. I know there is at least one academic who espouses this theory, but they are incorrect. Shinran was very clear that we are foolish beings and that awakening/enlightenment in this lifetime is not part of Pure Land teachings. Innate awakening/enlightenment would not be part of those teachings either - he directly refutes the idea in the Kyogyoshinsho but the wording used in the translation on shinranworks.com makes it difficult to track down.
- Samsara is Nirvana is also a paraphrasing of Nagarjuna, but it is not the main teaching of Nagarjuna's that Shinran embraced
- Shinran's take on the Pure Land teachings comes from Nagarjuna's teachings on the Easy Path and I believe this is the reason people think Shinran was influenced by Hongaku thought.
- Shinran said he is always embraced by Great Compassion. This is a result of the Vow and Nembutsu (mentioned throughout the sutras). So it is not really against Pure Land teachings to say that one is supported by compassion even while blinded by kleshas (煩悩 - translated as "blind passions") in the midst of samsara.
- The idea that Alfred Bloom had an Awakening is somewhat antithetical to Jodo Shinshu

No it's not the point of Shin Buddhism is to awaken to both inherent Karmic Evil and the Reality of Amida/Original Vow

- "Buddhahood in this very body" is refuted (as a Pure Land teaching) in the Tannisho and differentiated from Pure Land teachings in "Gutoku's notes".

Nobody said that, according to all Pure Land Teaching, Buddhahood takes place in the Pure Land, Entrusting is an integral part of the process here in this life, namely Non-Retrogression. Entrusting to Amida means both Awakening to that Working and having Faith in that Reality. But Entrusting must be Other Power.

- The idea that Shinran's teachings bear the influence of Hongaku thought is a misunderstanding of Shinran. I know there is at least one academic who espouses this theory, but they are incorrect. Shinran was very clear that we are foolish beings and that awakening/enlightenment in this lifetime is not part of Pure Land teachings. Innate awakening/enlightenment would not be part of those teachings either - he directly refutes the idea in the Kyogyoshinsho but the wording used in the translation on shinranworks.com makes it difficult to track down.

Ultimate Reality is and always will be the Foundation of all Existence/Phenomena, nobody is 'Originally' Enlightened if there are Obscurations. But our True Nature is Deep within. The Nembutsu and reliance on Other Power is one pathway/vehicle to realise it, but no Self-Power is required. In the case of Jodo Shinshu we battle with Self Power, pre Faith. So there are two Realities at play. Both Karmic Evil and Amida. So No Working is True Working.

The Reality of Amida is Non-Dual not a Self Power Attachment to an External. This is a hindrance to Faith.

Samsara and Nirvana as not separate is standard Mahayana Teaching

Great Compassion is another name for the working of Amida or Hongan same thing. It is underpinning and manifesting in daily life. That is why I used the term Amitabha Samadhi.

In terms of Jodo Shinshu. The important point is our Experience the scriptures and texts can help as we journey forwards. But nothing I have said is outside of the scope of that. Apart from semantics and translations. We should rely on our own lived experience of Faith and Nembutsu as that is the Reality which will Save individuals ultimately. It is a dynamic reality called Other Power to awaken to.

Nembutsu is the substance of Faith. That is Other Power Nembutsu.

Thanks

With Respect
So, when you use the word samadhi what you really mean is not the word in its traditional sense, but an 'awakening to faith' and the experience of the Other-Power working in one's life? Just to make sure I'm following

Gassho
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なむ あみだ ぶつ
Namu Amida Butsu

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Re: Are all saved regardless?

Post by Admin_PC » Thu Oct 12, 2017 5:30 am

Empty Desire wrote:
Thu Oct 12, 2017 12:47 am
- The idea that Alfred Bloom had an Awakening is somewhat antithetical to Jodo Shinshu

No it's not the point of Shin Buddhism is to awaken to both inherent Karmic Evil and the Reality of Amida/Original Vow
Realizing the Profound Mind (of the 3 minds) is not really an Awakening. Awakening has a very specific meaning in Buddhist context.
Empty Desire wrote:- "Buddhahood in this very body" is refuted (as a Pure Land teaching) in the Tannisho and differentiated from Pure Land teachings in "Gutoku's notes".

Nobody said that, according to all Pure Land Teaching, Buddhahood takes place in the Pure Land, Entrusting is an integral part of the process here in this life, namely Non-Retrogression. Entrusting to Amida means both Awakening to that Working and having Faith in that Reality. But Entrusting must be Other Power.
I was referring to Hongaku and the idea of any sort of Awakening, both were mentioned in the thread.
Empty Desire wrote:Ultimate Reality is and always will be the Foundation of all Existence/Phenomena, nobody is 'Originally' Enlightened if there are Obscurations. But our True Nature is Deep within. The Nembutsu and reliance on Other Power is one pathway/vehicle to realise it, but no Self-Power is required. In the case of Jodo Shinshu we battle with Self Power, pre Faith. So there are two Realities at play. Both Karmic Evil and Amida. So No Working is True Working.
There is no realizing our True Nature in this lifetime according to Shin, whether through Nembutsu/reliance on Other Power, or otherwise.
Empty Desire wrote:The Reality of Amida is Non-Dual not a Self Power Attachment to an External. This is a hindrance to Faith.
There is no realization of non-duality in Shin. This is imported from elsewhere. Pure Land is the school that relies on "marks" (external). The accusation that it is a hindrance to Faith, sounds like Chan rhetoric. It's not Shin or Jodo Shu.
Empty Desire wrote:Samsara and Nirvana as not separate is standard Mahayana Teaching
Yes, but they are not fundamental to Shin or Pure Land presentations of Dharma.
Empty Desire wrote:Great Compassion is another name for the working of Amida or Hongan same thing. It is underpinning and manifesting in daily life. That is why I used the term Amitabha Samadhi.
Nembutsu Samadhi is something entirely different than recognition of Great Compassion.
Empty Desire wrote:In terms of Jodo Shinshu. The important point is our Experience the scriptures and texts can help as we journey forwards. But nothing I have said is outside of the scope of that.
On the contrary, you've said a number of things that run contrary to Shin doctrine.
Empty Desire wrote:Apart from semantics and translations. We should rely on our own lived experience of Faith and Nembutsu as that is the Reality which will Save individuals ultimately. It is a dynamic reality called Other Power to awaken to.
As long as it is agreed that it is Buddhas and Bodhisattvas who save sentient beings. Saying there are no Buddhas and Bodhisattvas is tantamount to Dharma slander according to Shinran.
Empty Desire wrote:With Respect
I realize who you are now.
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