Interesting phenomena occurring during Nembutsu

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rory
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Re: Interesting phenomena occurring during Nembutsu

Post by rory » Thu Feb 22, 2018 7:29 pm

SonamTashi wrote:
Fri Feb 09, 2018 9:42 am
I had an interesting experience recently. So I've bounced around a bit between different Buddhist traditions (first Theravada, then Zen and Mahayana in general including a reading of the Lotus Sutra that I wasn't ready for yet and almost caused me to leave Buddhism behind (at some point I need to re-read that. I remember there was a line at the time that struck me the wrong way)). There was something about Pure Land that struck a chord with me right away. I've spent a while studying different Pure Land traditions--Chinese, Shin, Jodo Shu, Vietnamese and I've also had an interest in how Pure Land fits into Tibetan Buddhism. I'm still not sure where I fit in the Pure Land Buddhist landscape. As much as I like Shin and Jodo-Shu, I still think it is a good idea to do other practices, not for rebirth in the Pure Land, but to make as much progress in this life as possible before going to the Pure Land. This seems to be how it is usually viewed in mainland Pure Land, .
This is why I am happy in Tendai; there are a variety of practices to help you progress in this life to buddhahood as well as Pure land. Meditation, study, esoteric, you name in and In fact there are Pure Land practices geared toward enlightenment in this life in Tendai as well as deathbed ones. Chigi ( Zhiyi, Chih-I) the founder of Tiantai promoted both.. Honen left Tendai as he disagreed with this attitude and this is where modern day single practice Japanese Pure Land schools depart from Tendai. I love Pure Land and I put lots of effort into getting enlightened in this life.
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: Interesting phenomena occurring during Nembutsu

Post by DGA » Thu Feb 22, 2018 10:19 pm

rory wrote:
Thu Feb 22, 2018 7:29 pm
SonamTashi wrote:
Fri Feb 09, 2018 9:42 am
I had an interesting experience recently. So I've bounced around a bit between different Buddhist traditions (first Theravada, then Zen and Mahayana in general including a reading of the Lotus Sutra that I wasn't ready for yet and almost caused me to leave Buddhism behind (at some point I need to re-read that. I remember there was a line at the time that struck me the wrong way)). There was something about Pure Land that struck a chord with me right away. I've spent a while studying different Pure Land traditions--Chinese, Shin, Jodo Shu, Vietnamese and I've also had an interest in how Pure Land fits into Tibetan Buddhism. I'm still not sure where I fit in the Pure Land Buddhist landscape. As much as I like Shin and Jodo-Shu, I still think it is a good idea to do other practices, not for rebirth in the Pure Land, but to make as much progress in this life as possible before going to the Pure Land. This seems to be how it is usually viewed in mainland Pure Land, .
This is why I am happy in Tendai; there are a variety of practices to help you progress in this life to buddhahood as well as Pure land. Meditation, study, esoteric, you name in and In fact there are Pure Land practices geared toward enlightenment in this life in Tendai as well as deathbed ones. Chigi ( Zhiyi, Chih-I) the founder of Tiantai promoted both.. Honen left Tendai as he disagreed with this attitude and this is where modern day single practice Japanese Pure Land schools depart from Tendai. I love Pure Land and I put lots of effort into getting enlightened in this life.
gassho
Rory
It would be worthwhile (in another thread probably) to probe just what it was that prompted Honen to part ways with Tendai and take his inspiration from Shan-dao.

for Sonam Tashi:

viewtopic.php?t=27333

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Re: Interesting phenomena occurring during Nembutsu

Post by rory » Fri Feb 23, 2018 3:10 am

DGA wrote:
Thu Feb 22, 2018 10:19 pm


It would be worthwhile (in another thread probably) to probe just what it was that prompted Honen to part ways with Tendai and take his inspiration from Shan-dao
Been there, done that. What interests me is pre-Honen Pure Land as a popular cross school movement with a variety of practices and philosophical underpinnings.
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: Interesting phenomena occurring during Nembutsu

Post by Admin_PC » Fri Feb 23, 2018 7:21 am

DGA wrote:
Thu Feb 22, 2018 10:19 pm
It would be worthwhile (in another thread probably) to probe just what it was that prompted Honen to part ways with Tendai and take his inspiration from Shan-dao.

The official version.
http://www.jsri.jp/English/Honen/LIFE/training.html
http://www.jsri.jp/English/Honen/LIFE/conversion.html
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

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Re: Interesting phenomena occurring during Nembutsu

Post by shaunc » Fri Feb 23, 2018 8:59 am

Admin_PC wrote:
Fri Feb 23, 2018 7:21 am
DGA wrote:
Thu Feb 22, 2018 10:19 pm
It would be worthwhile (in another thread probably) to probe just what it was that prompted Honen to part ways with Tendai and take his inspiration from Shan-dao.

The official version.
http://www.jsri.jp/English/Honen/LIFE/training.html
http://www.jsri.jp/English/Honen/LIFE/conversion.html
Thank you for that.
Namu Amida Butsu.

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Re: Interesting phenomena occurring during Nembutsu

Post by SonamTashi » Fri Feb 23, 2018 2:08 pm

SonamTashi wrote:
Fri Feb 09, 2018 9:42 am
I had an interesting experience recently. So I've bounced around a bit between different Buddhist traditions (first Theravada, then Zen and Mahayana in general including a reading of the Lotus Sutra that I wasn't ready for yet and almost caused me to leave Buddhism behind (at some point I need to re-read that. I remember there was a line at the time that struck me the wrong way)). There was something about Pure Land that struck a chord with me right away. I've spent a while studying different Pure Land traditions--Chinese, Shin, Jodo Shu, Vietnamese and I've also had an interest in how Pure Land fits into Tibetan Buddhism. I'm still not sure where I fit in the Pure Land Buddhist landscape. As much as I like Shin and Jodo-Shu, I still think it is a good idea to do other practices, not for rebirth in the Pure Land, but to make as much progress in this life as possible before going to the Pure Land. This seems to be how it is usually viewed in mainland Pure Land,
Ever since I posted this I've wanted to clarify what I meant. It hasn't seemed to yet, but I could see what I wrote causing someone to think I'm taking a shot at single-practice, starting an argument, or it could end up misleading someone (which seems pretty common when it comes to dual practice--certain posts about Zen-Pure Land come to mind). At the risk of being a little off topic, I'll try to clarify what I meant.

I absolutely agree with Shandao, Honen and Shinran that faith, Amida's vows, and the nembutsu are all that is necessary for rebirth in the Pure Land. This seems to be the minimum necessary, and thus it applies well to beings of low-capacity (I don't mean this as an insult, just as the term is usually used in Buddhism), which is probably a higher percentage of sentient beings than in the past, so I think this method is particularly potent for sentient beings today. Because this is the Pure Land forum, I think this is important to emphasize.

But part of what I think is fascinating about Pure Land is that it is suitable for beings of all capacities. Part of the premise of single-practice and its view is that during Mappo beings are unable to benefit from high-capacity practices. I don't want to speak for Admin_PC, but he's mentioned before something about viewing the teaching of Mappo as being useful as a measuring stick to hold yourself up against, and not necessarily a statement on all sentient-beings today (this is in my own words and from my own memory. If I have this wrong, please correct me). This seems reasonable to me. In addition, the Pure Land sutras and nembutsu practice aren't the only sutras and practices that make this kind of claim. Off of my head I can think of at least two other similar claims: namely Lotus practices like Nichiren and other practices like Vajrayana. All of these schools make similar claims about being particularly useful in the Dharma Ending Age.

I don't want to analyze these claims in relation to one another, and I don't mean to start an argument about which one is better, or to claim that any of these are wrong. Rather, unless Sakyamuni either contradicted himself or lied about any of these practices, I think all of these practices are particularly useful for sentient beings today, and it is up to the sentient being to figure out which one (or other practices. I'm not trying to exclude Zen or any other school. I don't know if they make similar claims about Mappo) is a suitable fit for them. So I think people should be careful to determine what tradition/practice they have a close connection with and what level of capacity they are at. After that it is just practicing according to karmic conditions. This brings up another point: whether it is possible for a sentient being, especially one of low-capacity, to determine what their capacity is, or whether you would just fall prey to bias. So perhaps karmic conditions are the best way to tell (I'll get back to that).

In the context of this forum for example, if you determine you are a low-capacity practitioner with a connection to Amitabha, then single-practice Pure Land is probably the best fit. But because Pure Land is suitable for beings of all capacities, if you are a being of medium or high-capacity, then your practice might reflect that in some way. That doesn't mean you need to start doing dual-practice of any kind if you think you are a medium or high capacity practitioner. But it might mean that you should try to make as much progress towards enlightenment as possible before going to the Pure Land. What that would look like probably comes down to your karmic connections and conditions. Perhaps it is impossible for a being to determine their capacity without bias, so maybe it is best to just go with karmic connections and conditions, or perhaps karmic connections and conditions are the best way to determine capacity.

For me, I have a Nyingma center a 15 minute drive from me, and the next closest group to me is a Jodo Shinshu temple 2 hours away. I don't know what level-of capacity I am and I'm not sure I could determine it without bias, but my karmic conditions place me in a position to practice Tibetan Buddhism with a strong affiliation with Amitabha and a desire to go to his Pure Land.

:focus:
Last edited by SonamTashi on Fri Feb 23, 2018 2:12 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Interesting phenomena occurring during Nembutsu

Post by SonamTashi » Fri Feb 23, 2018 2:09 pm

rory wrote:
Fri Feb 23, 2018 3:10 am
DGA wrote:
Thu Feb 22, 2018 10:19 pm


It would be worthwhile (in another thread probably) to probe just what it was that prompted Honen to part ways with Tendai and take his inspiration from Shan-dao
Been there, done that. What interests me is pre-Honen Pure Land as a popular cross school movement with a variety of practices and philosophical underpinnings.
gassho
Rory
Tendai seems extremely interesting to me. If I had access to a group/teacher anywhere near me I definitely would have gone and checked it out.
:bow: :buddha1: :bow: :anjali: :meditate:

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Re: Interesting phenomena occurring during Nembutsu

Post by Admin_PC » Fri Feb 23, 2018 2:38 pm

No worries. I didn't take it as you taking a shot. Different people feel connected to different practices and/or different approaches to practice.
SonamTashi wrote:
Fri Feb 23, 2018 2:08 pm
I don't want to speak for Admin_PC, but he's mentioned before something about viewing the teaching of Mappo as being useful as a measuring stick to hold yourself up against, and not necessarily a statement on all sentient-beings today (this is in my own words and from my own memory. If I have this wrong, please correct me). This seems reasonable to me.
This is definitely where I'm coming from, so it's a fair statement. I see it in quotes from Honen where he says things like "Upon introspection, I realize that I have not observed a single precept, nor have I succeeded in a moment of meditation." - Yet we know for a fact that he kept Mahayana precepts and the precepts of Sudden and Perfect Awakening his entire life. Not only that, but he achieved Nembutsu Sanmai (Buddha anusmrti Samadhi).

"Realizing one's bombu nature" as part of the 2nd of the 3 Minds of Entrusting (ie the Profound Mind) is a process by which one takes a good harsh look at one's motivations & capacities - I feel statements regarding Mappo are related to this, because there's a good chance we're not going to like what we see.
SonamTashi wrote:
Fri Feb 23, 2018 2:08 pm
So I think people should be careful to determine what tradition/practice they have a close connection with and what level of capacity they are at. After that it is just practicing according to karmic conditions.
That's good advice!
SonamTashi wrote:
Fri Feb 23, 2018 2:08 pm
This brings up another point: whether it is possible for a sentient being, especially one of low-capacity, to determine what their capacity is, or whether you would just fall prey to bias. So perhaps karmic conditions are the best way to tell (I'll get back to that).
I think capacities become apparent when one practices honestly/genuinely and takes a good, hard look at oneself. This is why the Genuine Heart (1st of 3 Minds of Entrusting - being genuine in one's efforts) and the Profound Heart (2nd of 3 Minds of Entrusting mentioned above) go hand-in-hand.
SonamTashi wrote:
Fri Feb 23, 2018 2:08 pm
In the context of this forum for example, if you determine you are a low-capacity practitioner with a connection to Amitabha, then single-practice Pure Land is probably the best fit. But because Pure Land is suitable for beings of all capacities, if you are a being of medium or high-capacity, then your practice might reflect that in some way. That doesn't mean you need to start doing dual-practice of any kind if you think you are a medium or high capacity practitioner. But it might mean that you should try to make as much progress towards enlightenment as possible before going to the Pure Land. What that would look like probably comes down to your karmic connections and conditions. Perhaps it is impossible for a being to determine their capacity without bias, so maybe it is best to just go with karmic connections and conditions, or perhaps karmic connections and conditions are the best way to determine capacity.
Ultimately, you have to practice what you have an affinity for, or you're not going to stick with it. The point I was trying to make above is that PL has a method of self reflection that exposes ones capacities, rather than making a rough estimate that could be affected by biases. Part of that process is definitely reflecting on karmic connections and conditions.
SonamTashi wrote:
Fri Feb 23, 2018 2:08 pm
For me, I have a Nyingma center a 15 minute drive from me, and the next closest group to me is a Jodo Shinshu temple 2 hours away. I don't know what level-of capacity I am and I'm not sure I could determine it without bias, but my karmic conditions place me in a position to practice Tibetan Buddhism with a strong affiliation with Amitabha and a desire to go to his Pure Land.
Rather than spit-balling your capacities and trying to use that to determine which group to practice with, the better advice is probably to pick the group that clicks with you. I think whichever you pick, you're going to have to do some self reflection regarding your thoughts, words, and deeds - so your capacities will become something that are clearly laid out before you and not something you'll have to guess at. Try not to "put the cart before the horse" with assessing your capacities and just go with what works for you.
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Re: Interesting phenomena occurring during Nembutsu

Post by SonamTashi » Fri Feb 23, 2018 3:10 pm

Admin_PC wrote:
Fri Feb 23, 2018 2:38 pm
Rather than spit-balling your capacities and trying to use that to determine which group to practice with, the better advice is probably to pick the group that clicks with you. I think whichever you pick, you're going to have to do some self reflection regarding your thoughts, words, and deeds - so your capacities will become something that are clearly laid out before you and not something you'll have to guess at.
This is kind of what I was thinking by the time I got to the end of my post and is what I meant by both conditions and connections. At the end, all you can do is try out what you have available to you (conditions), that you feel a connection with both at the time and long term (connections), and watch your progress as time goes on.
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Re: Interesting phenomena occurring during Nembutsu

Post by DGA » Fri Feb 23, 2018 3:29 pm

SonamTashi wrote:
Fri Feb 23, 2018 3:10 pm
Admin_PC wrote:
Fri Feb 23, 2018 2:38 pm
Rather than spit-balling your capacities and trying to use that to determine which group to practice with, the better advice is probably to pick the group that clicks with you. I think whichever you pick, you're going to have to do some self reflection regarding your thoughts, words, and deeds - so your capacities will become something that are clearly laid out before you and not something you'll have to guess at.
This is kind of what I was thinking by the time I got to the end of my post and is what I meant by both conditions and connections. At the end, all you can do is try out what you have available to you (conditions), that you feel a connection with both at the time and long term (connections), and watch your progress as time goes on.
:good:

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Re: Interesting phenomena occurring during Nembutsu

Post by DGA » Sat Feb 24, 2018 2:15 am

Admin_PC wrote:
Fri Feb 23, 2018 7:21 am
DGA wrote:
Thu Feb 22, 2018 10:19 pm
It would be worthwhile (in another thread probably) to probe just what it was that prompted Honen to part ways with Tendai and take his inspiration from Shan-dao.

The official version.
http://www.jsri.jp/English/Honen/LIFE/training.html
http://www.jsri.jp/English/Honen/LIFE/conversion.html
Super helpful, thank you

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Re: Interesting phenomena occurring during Nembutsu

Post by Ricky » Sun Feb 25, 2018 2:45 am

SonamTashi wrote:
Fri Feb 23, 2018 2:08 pm
SonamTashi wrote:
Fri Feb 09, 2018 9:42 am
I had an interesting experience recently. So I've bounced around a bit between different Buddhist traditions (first Theravada, then Zen and Mahayana in general including a reading of the Lotus Sutra that I wasn't ready for yet and almost caused me to leave Buddhism behind (at some point I need to re-read that. I remember there was a line at the time that struck me the wrong way)). There was something about Pure Land that struck a chord with me right away. I've spent a while studying different Pure Land traditions--Chinese, Shin, Jodo Shu, Vietnamese and I've also had an interest in how Pure Land fits into Tibetan Buddhism. I'm still not sure where I fit in the Pure Land Buddhist landscape. As much as I like Shin and Jodo-Shu, I still think it is a good idea to do other practices, not for rebirth in the Pure Land, but to make as much progress in this life as possible before going to the Pure Land. This seems to be how it is usually viewed in mainland Pure Land,
Ever since I posted this I've wanted to clarify what I meant. It hasn't seemed to yet, but I could see what I wrote causing someone to think I'm taking a shot at single-practice, starting an argument, or it could end up misleading someone (which seems pretty common when it comes to dual practice--certain posts about Zen-Pure Land come to mind). At the risk of being a little off topic, I'll try to clarify what I meant.

I absolutely agree with Shandao, Honen and Shinran that faith, Amida's vows, and the nembutsu are all that is necessary for rebirth in the Pure Land. This seems to be the minimum necessary, and thus it applies well to beings of low-capacity (I don't mean this as an insult, just as the term is usually used in Buddhism), which is probably a higher percentage of sentient beings than in the past, so I think this method is particularly potent for sentient beings today. Because this is the Pure Land forum, I think this is important to emphasize.

But part of what I think is fascinating about Pure Land is that it is suitable for beings of all capacities. Part of the premise of single-practice and its view is that during Mappo beings are unable to benefit from high-capacity practices. I don't want to speak for Admin_PC, but he's mentioned before something about viewing the teaching of Mappo as being useful as a measuring stick to hold yourself up against, and not necessarily a statement on all sentient-beings today (this is in my own words and from my own memory. If I have this wrong, please correct me). This seems reasonable to me. In addition, the Pure Land sutras and nembutsu practice aren't the only sutras and practices that make this kind of claim. Off of my head I can think of at least two other similar claims: namely Lotus practices like Nichiren and other practices like Vajrayana. All of these schools make similar claims about being particularly useful in the Dharma Ending Age.

I don't want to analyze these claims in relation to one another, and I don't mean to start an argument about which one is better, or to claim that any of these are wrong. Rather, unless Sakyamuni either contradicted himself or lied about any of these practices, I think all of these practices are particularly useful for sentient beings today, and it is up to the sentient being to figure out which one (or other practices. I'm not trying to exclude Zen or any other school. I don't know if they make similar claims about Mappo) is a suitable fit for them. So I think people should be careful to determine what tradition/practice they have a close connection with and what level of capacity they are at. After that it is just practicing according to karmic conditions. This brings up another point: whether it is possible for a sentient being, especially one of low-capacity, to determine what their capacity is, or whether you would just fall prey to bias. So perhaps karmic conditions are the best way to tell (I'll get back to that).

In the context of this forum for example, if you determine you are a low-capacity practitioner with a connection to Amitabha, then single-practice Pure Land is probably the best fit. But because Pure Land is suitable for beings of all capacities, if you are a being of medium or high-capacity, then your practice might reflect that in some way. That doesn't mean you need to start doing dual-practice of any kind if you think you are a medium or high capacity practitioner. But it might mean that you should try to make as much progress towards enlightenment as possible before going to the Pure Land. What that would look like probably comes down to your karmic connections and conditions. Perhaps it is impossible for a being to determine their capacity without bias, so maybe it is best to just go with karmic connections and conditions, or perhaps karmic connections and conditions are the best way to determine capacity.

For me, I have a Nyingma center a 15 minute drive from me, and the next closest group to me is a Jodo Shinshu temple 2 hours away. I don't know what level-of capacity I am and I'm not sure I could determine it without bias, but my karmic conditions place me in a position to practice Tibetan Buddhism with a strong affiliation with Amitabha and a desire to go to his Pure Land.

:focus:
Good post. As another "low capacity" guy I am grateful to have found the path of Pure Land.

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