Pureland in Thailand

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doublerepukken
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Pureland in Thailand

Post by doublerepukken » Tue Dec 26, 2017 6:27 am

Hey all,

If this should be posted somewhere else please let me know, and I will. I recently moved to Thailand to start a new career, and was just basically popping back in to say I'm back :) I've discovered there actually is a rather healthy Mahayana community here (mostly from people with Chinese heritage) and I am now actively involved with a PureLand temple, where I am affectionately reffered to as "farang" (foreigner) lol, interestingly also Theravada temples here many times also have Amitabha statues as well as Guan Yin, the divide is definitely not as large as some would have you believe . Look forward to rejoining the discussion :)

Namu Amida Butsu
南無阿弥陀仏
なむ あみだ ぶつ
Namu Amida Butsu

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Kim O'Hara
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Re: Pureland in Thailand

Post by Kim O'Hara » Tue Dec 26, 2017 8:21 am

Welcome back :hi:

I'm a bit surprised you found a Pure Land temple as such but not at all surprised that you have seen a blurred boundary between Theravada and Mahayana. If you look around, you will also see Hindu deities in Theravada temples, and of course the ubiquitous 'spirit houses' are none of the above but animistic (or 'folk religion' if you prefer).
Where in Thailand are you?

:namaste:
Kim

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doublerepukken
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Re: Pureland in Thailand

Post by doublerepukken » Tue Dec 26, 2017 8:46 am

Hey Kim,

Yeah I have noticed quite a bit of Hindu deities (mostly Brahma, and Ganesha), the temple I go to is reffered to as a Chinese temple, and the main altar has a beautiful gold Amitabha, you're right there aren't many as far as I could find outside of Bangkok. I live in Lopburi, a city invaded by monkeys lol (no lie it's like Planet of the Apes here)

Namu Amida Butsu
南無阿弥陀仏
なむ あみだ ぶつ
Namu Amida Butsu

Sentient Light
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Re: Pureland in Thailand

Post by Sentient Light » Tue Dec 26, 2017 4:08 pm

In Viet Nam, this is commonplace... The line between Theravada and Mahayana is virtually non-existent (and Vajrayana, to boot). I imagine that the Theravada/Pure Land syncretism that occurs in southern Viet Nam has been bleeding over into Thailand for quite some time.
:buddha1: Nam mô A di đà Phật :buddha1:
:bow: Nam mô Quan Thế Âm Bồ tát :bow:
:bow: Nam mô Đại Thế Chi Bồ Tát :bow:

:buddha1: Nam mô Bổn sư Thích ca mâu ni Phật :buddha1:
:bow: Nam mô Di lặc Bồ tát :bow:
:bow: Nam mô Địa tạng vương Bồ tát :bow:

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cj39
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Re: Pureland in Thailand

Post by cj39 » Sun Feb 04, 2018 2:58 am

I actually saw this in Myamar of all places too. It was on Facebook. Someone had died and there was a picture of his deathbed and there at the head of it was an unmistakable poster of Amitabha Buddha. It looked like one of the ones given out by the Amitabha Society. I am guess maybe there had been some cross pollination of schools through charity work and humanitarian relief. Since I couldn't read the captions I can only guess but it definitely was Amitabha Buddha.

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rory
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Re: Pureland in Thailand

Post by rory » Sun Feb 04, 2018 7:27 pm

Sentient Light wrote:
Tue Dec 26, 2017 4:08 pm
In Viet Nam, this is commonplace... The line between Theravada and Mahayana is virtually non-existent (and Vajrayana, to boot). I imagine that the Theravada/Pure Land syncretism that occurs in southern Viet Nam has been bleeding over into Thailand for quite some time.
What an interesting thread! I've learned so much; thank you everyone who contributed. Can you explain how the Theravada/Pure Land syncretism started?
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/

shaunc
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Re: Pureland in Thailand

Post by shaunc » Sun Feb 04, 2018 11:29 pm

In the city nearest to me there's a Thai Theravada temple and a Vietnamese Mahayana temple.
The respective sanghas often go to the opposite temple to show support for things like special holy days and fetes etc.
In the Thai temple there's a kuan yin statue, my guess on how it got there is from a Chinese/Thai member of the sangha that is probably quite generous financially to supporting the temple, and as the old saying goes, whoever pays the piper calls the tune.
Sectarianism in buddhism seems to be something that westerners take far more seriously than Asians, Japanese of course being exceptions to this rule.

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Kim O'Hara
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Re: Pureland in Thailand

Post by Kim O'Hara » Mon Feb 05, 2018 12:38 am

shaunc wrote:
Sun Feb 04, 2018 11:29 pm
In the city nearest to me there's a Thai Theravada temple and a Vietnamese Mahayana temple.
The respective sanghas often go to the opposite temple to show support for things like special holy days and fetes etc.
In the Thai temple there's a kuan yin statue, my guess on how it got there is from a Chinese/Thai member of the sangha that is probably quite generous financially to supporting the temple, and as the old saying goes, whoever pays the piper calls the tune.
Sectarianism in buddhism seems to be something that westerners take far more seriously than Asians, Japanese of course being exceptions to this rule.
Why do you say that Japanese people are the exception, Shaun? The free integration of Buddhism with Shinto as discussed a couple of years ago here - viewtopic.php?t=24013 - doesn't suggest sectarianism would come naturally to them.

:namaste:
Kim

shaunc
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Re: Pureland in Thailand

Post by shaunc » Mon Feb 05, 2018 2:39 am

Mainly because of my exposure to SGI, very early on in my experience with buddhism.

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Kim O'Hara
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Re: Pureland in Thailand

Post by Kim O'Hara » Mon Feb 05, 2018 3:07 am

shaunc wrote:
Mon Feb 05, 2018 2:39 am
Mainly because of my exposure to SGI, very early on in my experience with buddhism.
Ah. That makes sense but I don't think you can generalise from it.
From what I know, SGI stands in a (very roughly!!) similar relationship to broader Japanese Buddhism as the Pentecostal Christians do to mainstream Christianity, as a relatively new group trying simultaneously to recruit from, and differentiate itself from, older traditions.

:namaste:
Kim

Sentient Light
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Re: Pureland in Thailand

Post by Sentient Light » Mon Feb 05, 2018 4:45 pm

rory wrote:
Sun Feb 04, 2018 7:27 pm

What an interesting thread! I've learned so much; thank you everyone who contributed. Can you explain how the Theravada/Pure Land syncretism started?
gassho
Rory
Western history doesn't document very much of this -- the earliest references I can find come from the 1950s, but that's when exclusively Theravada-aligned traditions started appearing in Saigon. I think the history stems much further back, since Vietnamese monastic records make frequent mention of Sravakayana-aligned monastics staying within the same temples. So I believe the syncretism was initially just a matter of monasteries being largely non-denominational--Pure Landers, Thien, Thien Thai (Tiantai), and Hoa Nghiem (Huayan) all practicing together. So the different schools were really regarded as different vocations, or like.. different "majors" in Buddha University... Those who studied in the Thien vocation teach and study meditation; those in the Phap (Dharma) vocation study doctrine through Thien Thai, or Pure Land, or Hoa Nghiem. And then there's a vinaya vocation I don't know the name of. The Sravakayanists were among this vocation too, but mostly situated in southern Viet Nam...

From the south, we got the Theravadin literature in Pali. From the north, the Mahayana sutras, and the Chinese Agamas, and the Tibetan Tantras. As far as I understand it, ancient VN was a port hub on the Silk Road, and many Indian Buddhists permanently settled there in order to translate texts into Chinese. And because of that, VN became a center for all Buddhist traditions. We took on a definitive Chinese slant due to a long history of Chinese imperialism, but our geography has always lent itself to being a bit of a mixture of all traditions.

Personally, I think it's more likely the distinctivness of the schools arose over time, and Viet Nam's a vestige of "extreme non-sectarianism", so to speak. But the distinctive admixture of Chinese-style Mahayana Buddhism and Theravada is a result of, mostly... the Theravadins coming to Viet Nam, seeing Buddhism already being here, and situating themselves in the Mahayana temples as another sub-school rather than trying to 'compete.'
:buddha1: Nam mô A di đà Phật :buddha1:
:bow: Nam mô Quan Thế Âm Bồ tát :bow:
:bow: Nam mô Đại Thế Chi Bồ Tát :bow:

:buddha1: Nam mô Bổn sư Thích ca mâu ni Phật :buddha1:
:bow: Nam mô Di lặc Bồ tát :bow:
:bow: Nam mô Địa tạng vương Bồ tát :bow:

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sth9784
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Re: Pureland in Thailand

Post by sth9784 » Thu Feb 08, 2018 8:39 pm

doublerepukken wrote:
Tue Dec 26, 2017 6:27 am
Hey all,

If this should be posted somewhere else please let me know, and I will. I recently moved to Thailand to start a new career, and was just basically popping back in to say I'm back :) I've discovered there actually is a rather healthy Mahayana community here (mostly from people with Chinese heritage) and I am now actively involved with a PureLand temple, where I am affectionately reffered to as "farang" (foreigner) lol, interestingly also Theravada temples here many times also have Amitabha statues as well as Guan Yin, the divide is definitely not as large as some would have you believe . Look forward to rejoining the discussion :)

Namu Amida Butsu
This reminds me of a statement in Master Honen's Senchakushu where he is giving his rationale for a certain position. He states that there are some temples where Theravada (literally Hinayana in the text) is practiced alone, some where it is mixed with Mahayana, and finally some that are exclusively Mahayana. This description is not original to Master Honen. I could be wrong, but I think this description comes from the Mahaprajnaparamita Sastra by Nagarjuna, or that is at least the earliest text that I have read that makes mention of it.

Completely off topic, but I must ask because of your user name. Does it refer to Geese?
Crom!

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