Genshin, Ojoyoshu and Pure Land

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rory
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Genshin, Ojoyoshu and Pure Land

Post by rory » Wed Mar 14, 2018 6:15 pm

I've started a new thread. For those who would like to read Genshin's Ojoyoshu Rev. Josho Cirlea researched and found an old translation by E.Reichauer and kindly posted it on academia.edu for free download here:
https://www.academia.edu/6310675/Ojoyos ... by_Genshin

I also have Robert F. Rhodes new work on Genshin Genshin's Ojoyoshu and the Construction of Pure Land Discourse in Heian Japan out from the uni library. R. Rhodes is a professor at Otani University, a Jodo Shinshu affiliated institutions. So here is what he has to say:
Honen is certainly correct in claiming that Genshin understood the nenbutsu to be the fundamental Pure Land practice. However, unlike Honen, Genshin did not consider the other non-nenbutsu practices to be inessential in achieving the goal of birth in the Pure Land. The opposite is rather the case.As noted above, Genshin stressed the need to undertake various auxiliary practices in order to augment the efficacy of the nenbutsu. In his view, even though the nenbutsu is the primary practice, it is still one element in a complex network of mutually supporting practices leading to the Pure Land. p.292
And:
...Genshin held what may be called an inclusive conception of Pure Land practice in contrast to Honen's exclusive conception of the nenbutsu. p.296
In the conclusion Rhodes also mentions that during the Heian period many people - monks and laypeople recited nenbutsu for their own salvation as well as for their dead family members. p. 298
However, as noted several times in this volume,the understanding of the nenbutsu underwent radical transformation with the appearance of Honen's exclusive nenbutsu movement in the early Kamakura period. p.299
Genshin's Tendai understanding of Amida's Pure Land is that it simultaneously 'empty' and also provisionally real. Meaning when you purify your mind you will see this Saha world as the Pure Land and yes there is a Pure Land in the West. Both are true at the same time. It is not either/or.

The founder of the Tiantai sect Zhiyi (Jp. Chigi) died " exclusively reciting (the names of) Amida, prajna, and Kannon. p.22" . Ennin the 3rd head (zasu) of Tendai shu and a great esoteric master :
This final point suggests that Ennin's deathbed practice consisted of an amalgamation of esoteric buddhism and devotion to Amida. This may be considered only natural, both because Ennin was a noted esoteric master and because Amida Buddha not only is associated with Pure Land Buddhism but is also a major figure in the esoteric Buddhist pantheon.p.57.
Before the radical break of the Kamakura period nenbutsu was embedded in many supportive practices in a wholistic manner. We see this clearly with Kakuban, the great head (zasu) of the Shingon school who practiced with nenbutsu hijiri and incorporated Pure Land practices into esoteric buddhism, which to this day are practiced in Shingon shu and Tendai shu. Here is an interesting MA thesis on this:
https://scholarspace.manoa.hawaii.edu/b ... s_2013.pdf
Before the Tokugawa period, the Japanese buddhist schools were like university faculties and the monks travelled and studied with various great Buddhist masters.
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: Genshin, Ojoyoshu and Pure Land

Post by Admin_PC » Wed Mar 14, 2018 7:50 pm

Ojoyoshu wrote:Genshin (942-1017), also called Eshin Sozu, wrote the Ojoyoshu in 985, at the age of forty-four. Honen wrote four commentaries on the Ojoyoshu, an index to the importance he placed upon this work. The Ojoyoshu, in ten chapters, consists of a collection of passages from sutras and commentaries regarding birth in the Pure Land. It urges rejection of the present defiled world and aspiration for the Pure Land and discusses a variety of practices including the nembutsu for attaining birth in the Pure Land. The final section addresses questions concerning birth in the Pure Land. The Ojoyoshu is noted for its descriptions of the six realms of transmigration and of the marvels of the Pure Land. Among these, the description of the horrors, of the various hells, and of the wonders of the Pure Land are especially vivid and compelling. This immensely popular work seems to have done much to inspire longing for the Pure Land in order to avoid rebirth in the realms of suffering, particularly the hells, and to promote Pure Land practices, notably in connection with the time of death.(Ishida, 125-158) Of the ten joys of the Pure Land described in the Ojoyoshu, one is that the nembutsu practitioner will, at the moment of death, be welcomed by Amida Buddha and his attendant bodhisattvas and be escorted by them to the Pure Land. In the Pure Land, one will be able to see Amida Buddha face to face, practice under his direct teaching, and thus be assured of eventual enlightenment.(Ishida, 158-70) Dying persons were often encouraged to meditate on a statue or painting of Amida in their final moments. The descent of Amida Buddha and his attendants to welcome a dying person was frequently depicted in a genre of Pure Land painting known as raikozu.1 Such paintings became extremely popular in the century following Genshin's death. The influence of the Ojoyoshu on Heian aristocratic culture can be seen in the literature of the times, for example, in the Eiga monogatari, an account of the Chief Minister Fujiwara Michinaga (966-1027) under whom Fujiwara power reached its zenith.2 It also had an impact on Buddhist architecture, in particular the famous Byodo-in in Uji near Kyoto. Originally a villa built by Michinaga, it was transformed in 1052 by Michinaga's son Yorimichi into a temple depicting the splendors of the Pure Land.

On the one hand, for Genshin, the nembutsu still chiefly meant meditative practice aimed at visualizing Amida Buddha and the Pure Land rather than recitation of Amida Buddha's name. Of the five practices for attaining birth in the Pure Land set forth in the Treatise on the Sutra of Immeasurable Life (Wang-sheng-lun), a central Pure Land treatise, the Ojoyoshu stresses in particular the practice of visualizing Amida Buddha. On the other hand, however, Genshin referred to himself as "an ignorant person" and, though his primary emphasis was on visualized meditation, he set forth simplified forms of practice, including the verbal nembutsu.

Honen shared in common with Genshin his self-identification as an ignorant, deluded person; his concern for an accessible form of nembutsu practice; and his focus on the salvific power of Amida Buddha's original vow (hongan). All three of these elements would undergo further development in Honen's thought. Honen wrote three commentaries on the Ojoyoshu. (SHZ.3-26) The Ojoyoshu was Honen's introduction to the Pure Land teachings, the starting point of a journey that would lead him to the teaching of the Chinese Pure Land master Shan-tao.

Notes:
1. A famous example, the Haya Raiko (Speedy Salvation by Amida and His Bodhisattvas) is preserved at Chion-in in Kyoto. See also Murayama Shoichi, Jodokyo Geijutsu to Mida Shinko (Tokyo: Shibundo, 1966).
2. Translated by William H. and Hellen Craig McCullough as A Tale of Flowering Fortunes : Annals of Japanese Aristocratic Life in the Heian Period. (Stanford California: Stanford University Press, 1980).

References:
-Andrews, Allan The Teachings Essential for Rebirth (Tokyo: Sophia University Press, 1973).[a study of the Ojoyoshu]
-Ishida Mizumaro, Gokuraku Jodo e no izanai (Tokyo: Hyoronsha, 1676).
-Kikuchi Yujiro, "Kurodani Bessho to Genku", Genku to Sono Monka (Hozokan: Kyoto, 1985).
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: Genshin, Ojoyoshu and Pure Land

Post by Admin_PC » Wed Mar 14, 2018 7:56 pm

Buddhist Hells are Frighteningly Human wrote:Popularly known as Genshin (942-1017), the high-ranking Buddhist prelate Eshin Sozu was said to have been born following his devout mother’s prayers to the Kannon of Takaoji Temple in Taima, Nara Prefecture.

Genshin began the road to monkhood in youth, studying at Kyoto’s Enryakuji Temple on Mount Hiei, the center for Tendai teachings. His 1,000th memorial anniversary along with the pictorializing of distinctively dualistic Buddhist afterlives are the themes of the Nara National Museum’s present exhibition.

While formalized pictorial vocabularies existed earlier, Genshin is said to be responsible for amalgamating and popularizing the Pure Land Buddhist iconography of death and rebirth that remains with us today. A celebrated achievement was his promotion of the belief that Amida Buddha would appear to the faithful in their final moments, welcoming them to paradise.

The exhibition is a National Treasure trove of famous paintings illustrating Amida Buddha and his entourage of attending Boddhisattvas descending from clouds to lead believers into paradisiacal rebirth. Concrete images of salvation provided visual reassurances of what stood to be gained. This imagery was evermore poignant given the period belief that theirs was the degenerate age of the Final Stage of Dharma (mappō) that could only look forward to a future reflowering of Buddhism.

Genshin’s doctrinal contribution was his descriptions in his “Essentials of Rebirth in the Pure Land Paradise” (985), published when he was 43. It was a guide to the fundamental Tendai belief of rebirth in the paradise of Amida compiled from previous bodies of Buddhist scriptural knowledge. He explained the Six Realms of Transmigration people were said to traverse through according to their deeds in life, how to achieve potentially better rebirth and how to obtain release from the continued suffering of transmigration. The attention of the Heian Period (794-1185) aristocracy was especially attracted.

But it is Genshin’s descriptions engendering new pictorial forms showing the ugliness of the human world and the terrors of the numerous hells that are most engrossing. Disease and deformity in the “Scroll of Afflictions” (12th century) is both sordid and colorfully entertaining. A man shaves his pubic hair because he has lice. A woman squats and squirts choleric excrement from a platform whilst a dog below greedily laps it up. Other characters in the fragmented narrative endure dwarfism, rickets and halitosis. Alarmingly, a woman is disfigured by a blemish.

The choreography of death provides further indignity and disgust, as in “The Illustrated Scroll of the Nine Stages of Decay” (14th century). Initially, the corpse of a kimono-clad court woman is abandoned in a landscape. Successively, the body bloats, putrefies and has its flesh stripped away by wild animals. The end result is a desolate scene of scattered bones.

Dominions of condemned afterlife include the “Scroll of Hungry Ghosts” (12th century) in which the accursed are compelled to compulsively feast on human feces, without ever being satiated. Hell is compartmentalized into eight greater ones, ringed by 16 lesser ones, as illustrated in the “Hell Scroll” (12th century). These include persecutions in the damnable realms of “Excrement,” “The Five Prongs,” “Starvation,” “Searing Thirst” and “Pus and Blood.” And if the hell of “The Single Bronze Cauldron” was insufficient, the hell of the “Many Bronze Cauldrons” could await.

So, if the summer seems to have both dragged in length and soared in temperature, there are other uncomforting realms into which sufferers can imaginatively resituate to induce alternative perspectives
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: Genshin, Ojoyoshu and Pure Land

Post by rory » Wed Mar 14, 2018 9:55 pm

Rhodes teaches at Otani a Shinshu sect University, he also critiques Andrews reading and understanding of Genshin, in his book pp. 138-9 and more.

Finally from Ojoyoshu:
Even while remaining mindful (of the buddha) by reciting his name and seeking the Pure Land, contemplate (it in the following way ): {Amida's) body and land are ultimately empty, like mirages or dreams. (Although )they are identical with their substance, they are empty. While empty, they exist. They are neither existent nor empty. To realize this non-duality and truly enter the supreme truth - this is called the markless nenbutsu. This is the supreme samadhip. 136
The above is Tendai philosophy; the truth of the Middle - all phenomena are empty, all phenomena are simultaneously provisionally real married to Pure Land. This is the understanding of Pure Land today.
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: Genshin, Ojoyoshu and Pure Land

Post by Admin_PC » Thu Mar 15, 2018 1:12 am

rory wrote:
Wed Mar 14, 2018 9:55 pm
Rhodes teaches at Otani a Shinshu sect University, he also critiques Andrews reading and understanding of Genshin, in his book pp. 138-9 and more.
Interesting, I've been meaning to get that book.

Been trying to track down this description of Genshin's elaborate Pure Land ceremonies that aristocrats often took part in. Lost it when my hard drive crashed recently. There's some mention of it in Living Buddhist Statues in Early Medieval and Modern Japan By S. Horton, p 66.
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Re: Genshin, Ojoyoshu and Pure Land

Post by rory » Thu Mar 15, 2018 4:29 am

Admin_PC wrote:
Thu Mar 15, 2018 1:12 am

Been trying to track down this description of Genshin's elaborate Pure Land ceremonies that aristocrats often took part in. Lost it when my hard drive crashed recently. There's some mention of it in Living Buddhist Statues in Early Medieval and Modern Japan By S. Horton, p 66.
Do you mean the Mukaeko of the Kedai'in? He discusses it on p.163-4 with short passages as there is no detailed description of how it was performed in Genshin's day. Why not get Rhodes's book from library loan, I'm sure that a uni near you has it and Ch 11 Honen's Appropriation of the Ojoyoshu would of course be of great interest to you.
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: Genshin, Ojoyoshu and Pure Land

Post by Admin_PC » Thu Mar 15, 2018 4:35 am

Found some of what I was thinking of:
"Ch 2 - With the Help of 'Good Friends' - Deathbed Ritual Practices in Early Medieval Japan by Jacqueline I. Stone (this should've been my first thought).

Stumbled across this too:
Preparing for the Pure Land in Late Tenth-Century Japan - by Richard Bowring - Japanese Journal of Religious Studies 1998 25/3-4
It goes into a lot more detail about the various rituals, but here's an interesting excerpt related to Genshin:
Devotion to Amida during the Nara period was only sporadic and it was
not until the mid-Heian that his cult became firmly established and linked
to the idea of salvation for the individual. This somewhat late arrival is
due to the fact that Amidism in Japan did not emerge directly from
Amidism in China but rather indirectly via the use of Amida as an object
of meditation by Tendai monks. Considerable light can be thrown on the
early development of this cult by a study of a vow, together with two
covenants, signed in 986 by twenty-five founding members of a group dedicated
to helping each other reach the Pure Land by preparing meticulously
for the final moment before death. The Tendai monk Genshin, known primarily
as the author of the influential Ojdydshu, played a leading role in
this group.
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Re: Genshin, Ojoyoshu and Pure Land

Post by Admin_PC » Thu Mar 15, 2018 4:46 am

rory wrote:
Thu Mar 15, 2018 4:29 am
Do you mean the Mukaeko of the Kedai'in?
Yeah I think that's the one.
rory wrote:Why not get Rhodes's book from library loan, I'm sure that a uni near you has it and Ch 11 Honen's Appropriation of the Ojoyoshu would of course be of great interest to you.
My problem is that I have a ridiculous backlog of books that I need to catch up on. This problem is compounded by the fact that I've been stuck on "The Daily Practices of Western Pureland Buddhism" for about a year. The book is from the viewpoint of Vietnamese Pure Land and it details a mixture of Pure Land and Esoteric Buddhism. It's a massive tome, sitting at over 650 pages, and its encyclopedic nature make it a really tough read. About to give up on it actually (still around half way through). Once I catch up a little more, I'll see if the local uni library has Rhodes' book.

BTW - Thanks for all the good info on this thread!
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: Genshin, Ojoyoshu and Pure Land

Post by Wicked Yeshe » Sun Apr 15, 2018 11:55 am

This is a really good scripture. I read this a lot when i was looking for the roots of pure land faith. Most intresting indeed. Especially good are the descriptions of hell and the way to avoid and get out of them through the nembutsu. I recommend this to anyone who is serious about pure land rebirth.

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