Some questions

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doublerepukken
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Some questions

Post by doublerepukken » Tue Jan 23, 2018 10:36 am

hey all,

these questions have been tossing around in my head for a long time now, and I'm not even sure if they totally make sense or are valid, but nonetheless, I figured you all could help me get them sorted out.

1.) I remember reading that the Larger Sutra was not revealed until later because beings were 'not ready' to receive such a teaching... how were they 'not ready'??

2.) After the teachings of the basic foundation of the Dharma (the four noble truths, eightfold path etc), why was the sutras on Amida not revealed right away? Could it have been, ie is there a chronology of what sutras were revealed by the Buddha in what succession? It seems like, if Shakyamuni's reason for coming into this world was to reveal the saving path of Amida as Shinran and Honen believe, he probably should have gotten right to the point, no?

I think I am just highly confused, perhaps I am reading too much. If anyone could sort this out for me, I would greatly appreciate it.

Namu Amida Butsu _/|\_
南無阿弥陀仏
なむ あみだ ぶつ
Namu Amida Butsu

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Admin_PC
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Re: Some questions

Post by Admin_PC » Tue Jan 23, 2018 2:52 pm

doublerepukken wrote:
Tue Jan 23, 2018 10:36 am
1.) I remember reading that the Larger Sutra was not revealed until later because beings were 'not ready' to receive such a teaching... how were they 'not ready'??
This is usually spoken about the Lotus Sutra and the Prajnaparamita sutras, not the Larger Sutra. The comment about the Larger Sutra was that steps had been taken to ensure that it outlived the other sutras by 100 years.
doublerepukken wrote:
Tue Jan 23, 2018 10:36 am
2.) After the teachings of the basic foundation of the Dharma (the four noble truths, eightfold path etc), why was the sutras on Amida not revealed right away? Could it have been, ie is there a chronology of what sutras were revealed by the Buddha in what succession? It seems like, if Shakyamuni's reason for coming into this world was to reveal the saving path of Amida as Shinran and Honen believe, he probably should have gotten right to the point, no?
Actually, according to some they were revealed right away. According to others, the teachings naturally evolved from the earliest "Mindfulness of the Buddha" (aka Nembutsu) teachings given to householders. In fact, it's not Honen or Shinran that make up such statements - it's the Larger Sutra itself:
At that time all the senses of the World-honored One radiated joy, his entire
body appeared serene and glorious, and his august countenance looked most
majestic. Having perceived the Buddha’s holy intention, Venerable Ānanda
rose from his seat, bared his right shoulder, prostrated himself, and joining his
palms in reverence, said to the Buddha, “World-honored One, today all your
senses are radiant with joy, your body is serene and glorious, and your august
countenance is as majestic as a clear mirror whose brightness radiates outward
and inward. The magnificence of your dignified appearance is unsurpassed
and beyond measure. I have never seen you look so superb and majestic as
today. With respect, Great Sage, this thought has occurred to me: ‘Today, the
World-honored One dwells in the rare and marvelous Dharma; today, the World
Hero dwells in the Buddha’s abode; today, the World Eye concentrates on the
performance of the leader’s duty; today, the World Valiant One dwells in the
supreme bodhi; today, the One Most Honored in Heaven realizes the Tathāgata’s
virtue. The buddhas of the past, present, and future contemplate each other.
How can this present buddha not contemplate the other buddhas?’ For what
reason does his countenance look so majestic and brilliant?”


Then the World-honored One said to Ānanda, “Tell me, Ānanda, whether
some god urged you to put this question to the Buddha or whether you asked
about his glorious countenance from your own wise observation.”
Ānanda replied to the Buddha, “No god came to prompt me. I asked
you about this matter of my own accord.”

The Buddha said, “Well said, Ānanda. I am very pleased with your question.
You have shown profound wisdom and subtle insight in asking me this
wise question out of compassion for sentient beings.
As the Tathāgata, I
regard beings of the three worlds with boundless great compassion. The
reason for my appearance in the world is to reveal teachings of the Way and
save multitudes of beings by endowing them with true benefits.
Even in
countless millions of kalpas it is difficult to come upon and meet a tathāgata.
It is as difficult as seeing an uḍumbara flower, which blooms very rarely.
Your question is of great benefit and will enlighten all heavenly and human
beings.
Ānanda, you should realize that the Tathāgata’s perfectly enlightened
wisdom is unfathomable, capable of leading innumerable beings to liberation,
and that his penetrating insight cannot be obstructed. With just one meal, he
is able to live for a hundred thousand koṭis of kalpas, or an incalculable and
immeasurable length of time, or beyond. Even after that lapse of time, his
senses will still be radiant with joy and show no signs of deterioration; his
appearance will not change and his august countenance will look just the
same. The reason for this is that the Tathāgata’s meditation and wisdom are
perfect and boundless and he has attained unrestricted power over all dharmas.
Ānanda, listen carefully. I shall now expound the Dharma.”

Ānanda replied, “Yes, I will. With joy in my heart, I wish to hear the
Dharma.”
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

Sentient Light
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Re: Some questions

Post by Sentient Light » Tue Jan 23, 2018 4:47 pm

doublerepukken wrote:
Tue Jan 23, 2018 10:36 am

1.) I remember reading that the Larger Sutra was not revealed until later because beings were 'not ready' to receive such a teaching... how were they 'not ready'??

2.) After the teachings of the basic foundation of the Dharma (the four noble truths, eightfold path etc), why was the sutras on Amida not revealed right away? Could it have been, ie is there a chronology of what sutras were revealed by the Buddha in what succession? It seems like, if Shakyamuni's reason for coming into this world was to reveal the saving path of Amida as Shinran and Honen believe, he probably should have gotten right to the point, no?
The Larger Sutra is one of the oldest known Mahayana sutras--and among the oldest known Buddhist scriptures period--and is among those Mahayana sutras that take place here on Earth. It was not protected or sealed away, and while scholars have some ideas of "when it first appeared", the case for that operates under the assumption that the Mahayana sutras *did* come later, which is a contentious viewpoint (later than what? The Vinayas weren't even finalized until long after the Mahayana sutras were in wide circulation, and there's a lot of debate as to what even constitutes a Mahayana text, and whether or not texts from the Agamas or Avadanas or other very early sources with Mahayana elements qualify).

More than that, while there aren't many examples, we know that statues of Amitabha appear around the same time as statues of Sakyamuni appearing, so at least by the time that iconography won out over aniconography, knowledge of Amitabha already existed... we cannot be sure of anything earlier than this, so the jury is still out as far as *if* Amitabha was taught later on, when those teachings first appeared.

At least among our traditions, I believe the general consensus and narrative is that the Pure Land teachings were taught from the very start, and have always been propagated along with the rest of the dharma. As of yet, archaeology and historical scholasticism has yet to contradict this in any explicit manner, if even they have their own theories on the matter.
: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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doublerepukken
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Re: Some questions

Post by doublerepukken » Mon Jan 29, 2018 7:20 am

Hey guys,

this completely answered my questions, thank you so much!

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

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