Do Pure Land practitioners go to the court of Yama?

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Jingang
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Do Pure Land practitioners go to the court of Yama?

Post by Jingang » Wed Jan 31, 2018 6:30 pm

I've been reading a few accounts of Tibetan delogs, most of all who record that Yama Dharmaraja, the Lord of Death, meets and judges every sentient being without exception on their merits prior to rebirth.

I have found very few accounts of how the primal vow operates in relation to that. In Pure Land literature it seems Amitabha receives beings prior to them entering the bardo. However in Tibetan accounts those who accumulate millions and millions of mani recitations normally only go to the Pure Land after being judged worthy by Yama.

Anyone point me in the right direction on how this works?

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Re: Do Pure Land practitioners go to the court of Yama?

Post by Monlam Tharchin » Wed Jan 31, 2018 6:40 pm

It seems to depend on your school.

I've read that Amida comes at the moment of death, thus no bardo. This is reflected in Japanese Pure Land and the vows listed in Buddhism of Wisdom and Faith (Vietnamese).

But in Chinese Pure Land one often does good deeds and dedicates the merit to a deceased person for 49 days after their death, as that's the maximum time it can take to be reborn. The idea being if they haven't yet followed Amida, that they need all the help they can get lest they fall back into samsara.

And in another account from Buddhism of Wisdom and Faith, a Chinese Chan master heard a line from the Amitabha Sutra in passing once. He didn't practice Pure Land, but one day he stood before Yama. Yama asked what did he learn during all his time with the Dharma. The sutra line was all that came to mind and Yama bowed in respect.

I guess that doesn't answer the question really. :shrug:

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Re: Do Pure Land practitioners go to the court of Yama?

Post by Ricky » Wed Jan 31, 2018 6:40 pm

I've never heard of that in any east asian schools of pure land. Practitioners are said to go straight to it when receiving a revelation of Amitabha before death.

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Re: Do Pure Land practitioners go to the court of Yama?

Post by Jingang » Wed Jan 31, 2018 6:43 pm

Wonderful, thanks. I'll shift my focus away from manis and back toward Amitabha mantra accumulations.

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Re: Do Pure Land practitioners go to the court of Yama?

Post by Admin_PC » Wed Jan 31, 2018 6:49 pm

I believe whether Yama is seen or not may depend on the tradition (Chinese, Japanese, etc). Seeing King Yama is not mentioned in the sutras, in fact they mention seeing Amida on the deathbed, as life is ending, even for the lowest of the low births.
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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Re: Do Pure Land practitioners go to the court of Yama?

Post by sth9784 » Wed Jan 31, 2018 7:38 pm

In the Japanese traditions I am familiar with, it is usually stressed that immediately upon death, within the time it takes to snap ones finger, or turn on ones heels, one will be reborn in the Pure Land. I have never encountered anything about appearing before Lord Yama, but there are some passages in the Larger Sutra, I think in the sections dealing with the 5 evils about certain deities taking account of a sentient beings deeds, but I can not recall any elaboration of such passages in my studies.
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Re: Do Pure Land practitioners go to the court of Yama?

Post by sth9784 » Wed Jan 31, 2018 7:57 pm

I stand corrected in my earlier statement. In the 'Statement Sent to Mount Hiei' by Master Honen, the story of Hsiung-chun is quoted. Taken from The Promise of Amida Buddha pages 329-330.

"Hsiung-chun of China was a villain who renounced his monastic ordination and returned to secular life seven times. When his life ended, a demon guardian of hell took him to King Yama and described him as 'Hsiung-chun, the top villian in the world of sentient beings, who returned to secular life seven times.' Hsiung-chun then shouted with a loud voice, shouted, 'I read the Meditation Sutra while I had life, and I am certain that there I learned that a person who has committed the five grave offenses may attain birth in the Pure Land of Ultimate Bliss by reciting the name of Amida Buddha ten times. Although I returned to secular life seven times, I have not committed the five grave offenses; although my virtuous roots are few, I have recited Nembutsu more than ten times. If I am condemned to hell, it would mean that various Buddhas in the past, present, and the future have transgressed the commitment against falsehood.' The King was impressed by this logic, tipped his jeweled crown, and bowed in reverence. Then as he had avowed, Amida Buddha placed Hsiung-chun on the golden lotus platform and received him into the Pure Land."

There is also a shorter statement regarding Lord Yama in the same text, but it doesn't directly deal with the Pure Land directly. It is very brief and is just about a man who appears before Lord Yama and is asked why he refused to practice the Dharma when born during a time when the teachings of Buddha Shakyamuni were in the world.
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Re: Do Pure Land practitioners go to the court of Yama?

Post by Sentient Light » Wed Jan 31, 2018 8:19 pm

Monlam Tharchin wrote:
Wed Jan 31, 2018 6:40 pm

But in Chinese Pure Land one often does good deeds and dedicates the merit to a deceased person for 49 days after their death, as that's the maximum time it can take to be reborn. The idea being if they haven't yet followed Amida, that they need all the help they can get lest they fall back into samsara.
We do this in Vietnamese Pure Land too. Three day funeral, dedications of merit, 49 days of virtuous practices and another dedication of merit. But part of the dedication of merit through this process is not directed solely at the deceased, but also to adorn Sukhavati with all manner of expedient means through which the bodhisattvas there can learn, study and teach dharma. So even if they went to Sukhavati immediately after death, there's still good reason to practice funeral rites.

EDIT: But the answer to the question, I don't know. I've never heard anything of the kind, but it's also possible it's just because I didn't understand it if I did hear it, not knowing Yama's name in Vietnamese anyhow.
Last edited by Sentient Light on Wed Jan 31, 2018 8:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Do Pure Land practitioners go to the court of Yama?

Post by Malcolm » Wed Jan 31, 2018 8:22 pm

Jingang wrote:
Wed Jan 31, 2018 6:43 pm
Wonderful, thanks. I'll shift my focus away from manis and back toward Amitabha mantra accumulations.
Sentient beings are fickle.
Buddhahood in This Life
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔


[A]nything at all that is well spoken is the word of the Buddha.

-- Ārya-adhyāśaya-sañcodana-nāma-mahāyāna-sūtra

The different sūtras in accord with the emptiness
taught by the Sugata are definitive in meaning;
One can understand that all of those Dharmas in
which a sentient being, individual, or person are taught are provisional in meaning.

-- Samadhirāja Sūtra

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Re: Do Pure Land practitioners go to the court of Yama?

Post by Tenma » Thu Feb 01, 2018 6:55 pm

Malcolm wrote:
Wed Jan 31, 2018 8:22 pm
Jingang wrote:
Wed Jan 31, 2018 6:43 pm
Wonderful, thanks. I'll shift my focus away from manis and back toward Amitabha mantra accumulations.
Sentient beings are fickle.
You got that right.

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Re: Do Pure Land practitioners go to the court of Yama?

Post by Jingang » Thu Feb 01, 2018 9:42 pm

Tenma wrote:
Thu Feb 01, 2018 6:55 pm
Malcolm wrote:
Wed Jan 31, 2018 8:22 pm
Jingang wrote:
Wed Jan 31, 2018 6:43 pm
Wonderful, thanks. I'll shift my focus away from manis and back toward Amitabha mantra accumulations.
Sentient beings are fickle.
You got that right.
With the greatest respect, you know nothing about me. I practiced a rigorous daoist art as my sole and exclusive focus for 12 years, with nothing to show at the end of it. A lack of "fickleness" was what took so many years from me. I am very cautious about what I practice now and won't dedicate myself to something without knowing with full certainty where it will lead me.

As an aside to the above I didn't say I was going to abandon my mani accumulations, but instead shift the focus to Amitabha related practices.

Sometimes when I read this forum I'm reminded of a line from Buddhism of Wisdom and Faith:

"Moreover, Buddhist sutras mention the five periods of consolidation, from the True Dharma Time to the Dharma Fighting Time (during which monks and laity alike would engage in endless rivalry instead of cultivation)."

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Re: Do Pure Land practitioners go to the court of Yama?

Post by marting » Thu Feb 01, 2018 10:13 pm

Jingang, OK about searching for some kind of 'certainty' in your life, but I can't help but notice that you're attempting to do that from advice on the internet. That's very odd to me.

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Re: Do Pure Land practitioners go to the court of Yama?

Post by Jingang » Thu Feb 01, 2018 10:40 pm

Marting (great name BTW - also a Martin), I wouldn't say I'm asking for advice on the internet, per se. More asking pure land practitioners on a dedicated forum if they are aware of any textual sources from their tradition which say one way or another. I would say I have received some pretty helpful replies here with good sources quoted.

I am sorry if I have offended you or anyone else here, and I wish you the best in your own path toward certainty.

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Re: Do Pure Land practitioners go to the court of Yama?

Post by Monlam Tharchin » Thu Feb 01, 2018 10:41 pm

We should rather rejoice that Amitabha is there to help beings not only be free from samsara but realize the bodhisattva vows for others.

If anything, wanting to go to Amitabha's Pure Land specifically shows a lack of fickleness. Adjusting course according to one's conditions and capacities on the way there is normal, I think :shrug:

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Re: Do Pure Land practitioners go to the court of Yama?

Post by marting » Thu Feb 01, 2018 10:44 pm

Jingang wrote:
Thu Feb 01, 2018 10:40 pm
Marting (great name BTW - also a Martin), I wouldn't say I'm asking for advice on the internet, per se. More asking pure land practitioners on a dedicated forum if they are aware of any textual sources from their tradition which say one way or another. I would say I have received some pretty helpful replies here with good sources quoted.

I am sorry if I have offended you or anyone else here, and I wish you the best in your own path toward certainty.
Great name, huh? :twothumbsup:

I'm not on a path for certainty (gave it up years ago), but thanks for the best wishes! :cheers:

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Re: Do Pure Land practitioners go to the court of Yama?

Post by Tenma » Thu Feb 01, 2018 11:26 pm

Jingang wrote:
Thu Feb 01, 2018 9:42 pm
Tenma wrote:
Thu Feb 01, 2018 6:55 pm
Malcolm wrote:
Wed Jan 31, 2018 8:22 pm


Sentient beings are fickle.
You got that right.
With the greatest respect, you know nothing about me. I practiced a rigorous daoist art as my sole and exclusive focus for 12 years, with nothing to show at the end of it. A lack of "fickleness" was what took so many years from me. I am very cautious about what I practice now and won't dedicate myself to something without knowing with full certainty where it will lead me.

As an aside to the above I didn't say I was going to abandon my mani accumulations, but instead shift the focus to Amitabha related practices.

Sometimes when I read this forum I'm reminded of a line from Buddhism of Wisdom and Faith:

"Moreover, Buddhist sutras mention the five periods of consolidation, from the True Dharma Time to the Dharma Fighting Time (during which monks and laity alike would engage in endless rivalry instead of cultivation)."
I was associating this with myself.

Tenma
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Re: Do Pure Land practitioners go to the court of Yama?

Post by Tenma » Thu Feb 01, 2018 11:33 pm

Jingang wrote:
Thu Feb 01, 2018 9:42 pm
Tenma wrote:
Thu Feb 01, 2018 6:55 pm
Malcolm wrote:
Wed Jan 31, 2018 8:22 pm


Sentient beings are fickle.
You got that right.
With the greatest respect, you know nothing about me. I practiced a rigorous daoist art as my sole and exclusive focus for 12 years, with nothing to show at the end of it. A lack of "fickleness" was what took so many years from me. I am very cautious about what I practice now and won't dedicate myself to something without knowing with full certainty where it will lead me.

As an aside to the above I didn't say I was going to abandon my mani accumulations, but instead shift the focus to Amitabha related practices.

Sometimes when I read this forum I'm reminded of a line from Buddhism of Wisdom and Faith:

"Moreover, Buddhist sutras mention the five periods of consolidation, from the True Dharma Time to the Dharma Fighting Time (during which monks and laity alike would engage in endless rivalry instead of cultivation)."
Either way, I ended up in a similar path myself(Wicca, Golden Dawns, Goetia, Chaos Magick, etc. including gyalpo) until I came here where I learned that such things are not to be done. Look through all my forums, you'll find most going over a similar situation to yours(but more "worldly, mundane, and immature").

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Re: Do Pure Land practitioners go to the court of Yama?

Post by Grigoris » Fri Feb 02, 2018 9:15 am

Malcolm wrote:
Wed Jan 31, 2018 8:22 pm
Jingang wrote:
Wed Jan 31, 2018 6:43 pm
Wonderful, thanks. I'll shift my focus away from manis and back toward Amitabha mantra accumulations.
Sentient beings are fickle.
I disagree. Practices are like tools, you wouldn't use a screwdriver to hammer in a nail would you? So would you consider it fickle to put down the screwdriver and pick up the hammer?
"My religion is not deceiving myself."
Jetsun Milarepa 1052-1135 CE

"Butchers, prostitutes, those guilty of the five most heinous crimes, outcasts, the underprivileged: all are utterly the substance of existence and nothing other than total bliss."
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The Fundamental Tantra of Dzogchen Semde

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Re: Do Pure Land practitioners go to the court of Yama?

Post by Jingang » Fri Feb 02, 2018 11:17 pm

Thanks, thats a wonderful analogy!

Just finished 'Delog: Journey to the Realms Beyond Death' by Dawa Drolma and found my original question answered by King Yama himself:

"And bear a message to all worldly folk: Having been born in a higher realm, turn your minds to the dharma. Keep prayer wheels and malas in your hands without cease. Pursue the recitation of the mani and siddhi mantras as the essence of your speech. Those of you who have noble motivation and great compassion will not meet me but will go to the pure Realm of Supreme Bliss."

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