Some unique passages from Lokaksema's Longer Sutra

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Sentient Light
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Some unique passages from Lokaksema's Longer Sutra

Post by Sentient Light » Tue Jan 15, 2019 8:31 pm

From this paper: http://www.academia.edu/3724261/New_Lig ... Nari_Stele

This version explicitly states no women are born there:
Vow No. 2: When I become a Buddha, may there be no women in my realm. If women wish to come and be born in my realm, then they will turn straightaway into men. All the innumerable gods and humans and even small flying and wriggling things who take rebirth in my realm will all be born magically within lotus flowers in pools of the seven treasures. They will grow up and all become bodhisattvas and arhats22 totally beyond numbering. If I fulfill this vow then I shall become a Buddha. If I do not fulfill this vow I will never become a Buddha. (T 362, 12: 301a27–b3; no equivalent in T 361)
Arhats are a prominent feature in Lokaksema's version, and their role is downplayed in later versions:
Vow No. 9: When I become a Buddha, may all the bodhisattvas and arhats [i.e. sravakas] in my realm have appearances which are handsome, pure and excellent, may they all share the one colour and all be of the same type, just like the people of the sixth heaven [i.e. ParanirmitavaĞavartins]. If I fulfil this vow then I shall become a Buddha. If I do not fulfil this vow I will never become a Buddha. (T 362, 12: 301c10–13; cf. T 361, 12: 281a20–21 [Vow 3])
More attention is given to Avalokitesvrara and Mahasthamaprapta:
“The bodhisattvas and arhats [= sravakas] all have their own haloes, which have different illumination ranges. Among the bodhisattvas, there are two bodhisattvas who are most revered, always seated to the left and right of the Buddha, attending upon him in the discussion of the truth [?]. The Buddha is always seated facing these two bodhisattvas, discussing matters past, present and future in all eight directions, up above and down below. If he wishes to have these two bodhisattvas go to the countless Buddhas in all eight directions, up above and down below, then they fly off right away, arriving wherever they wish to go. Their flight is as swift as the Buddha’s, their valour is peerless. One of the bodhisattvas is called AvalokiteĞvara, one of the bodhisattvas is called MahƗsthƗmaprƗpta. Their radiance and insight is supreme, their haloes illuminate the thousand-Sumeru Buddha-realms in other directions, so that they are always brightly lit. The [other] bodhisattvas’ haloes each illuminate a thousand million myriad li, the arhats’ haloes each illuminate seven zhang.”

The Buddha said: “If the people of the world, be they good men or good women, should be in dire straits and in fear of the actions of officials, they have only to take refuge in these bodhisattvas AvalokiteĞvara and MahƗsthƗmaprƗpta and they will all be saved, without exception.” (T 362, 12: 308b9–22; cf. T 361, 12: 290a12–28)
Amitabha's parinirvana is dicussed:
The Buddha said, “When the Buddha AmitƗbha subsequently undergoes parinirvana, the bodhisattva AvalokiteĞvara will then become a Buddha, in command of the wisdom of the way, master of the teaching. The gods, humans and species that flit and wriggle that he liberates in the world, the eight directions, above and below, will all be made to attain the way of nirvana of the Buddha. His excellences and merits will again be like the great teacher, the Buddha AmitƗbha’s, and he will remain for innumerable kalpas, for kalpas more incalculable than innumerable kalpas, on the same model as the great teacher [?], and only then will he undergo parinirvana. In his turn the bodhisattva MahƗsthƗmaprƗpta will then become a Buddha, in command of the wisdom of the way, master of the teaching. Those he liberates and his merits will again be like the great teacher, the Buddha AmitƗbha’s, and he will remain for innumerable kalpas, and still not undergo parinirvƗna, transmitting from one to the other in succession the exceedingly bright way of the scriptures (dharma) and the most excellent realm, his [their?] dharma being in this way forever uninterrupted and boundless.” (T 362, 12: 309a14–24; cf. T 361, 12: 291a3–13)
MOre attention is paid to how the bodhisattvas and sravakas of Sukhavati interact with and learn from each other:
All the countless gods and human beings ... who have achieved rebirth in the Buddha AmitƗbha’s realm gather together in a great assembly, coming together amid the waters of the pools of the seven treasures. Each and every person sits atop a single large lotus blossom. They all declare their own merits and virtuous practices. Each person tells what precepts he kept or good dharmas he practised when pursuing the way in the past, during his former lives, and the details of whence he came to be born, the scriptures which he delighted in, his wisdom and knowledge of the scriptures, and the merit from his practices. ... The host regard each other with decorum and harmony. Happy and jubilant one and all, in wisdom and valour they are all a match for each other. (T 362, 12: 311b14–24; cf. T 361: 12: 293b2–12).
And these grades are discussed, which the authors did not quote because of length concerns, but summarized as follows:
There is a much more systematic tripartite classification of those reborn in SukhƗvatƯ, with different
practice requirements for each of the three classes. In brief—because the relevant passages are far
too long to give here—the distinctions are as follows:

1st class: Renunciants (members of the Sa۪gha)
Requirements: bodhisattva status (i.e., following the MahƗyƗna), upholding MahƗyƗna
snjtras, moral purity, plus singleminded aspiration to SukhƗvatƯ (no minimum time period
specified)

Results: vision of AmitƗbha in dreams; at death, encounter with AmitƗbha in person and
lotus rebirth in SukhƗvatƯ in close proximity to AmitƗbha

Apparently no problems with doubt in this class.

2nd class: Laypeople
Requirements: merit-making (mostly forms of gift-giving and pnjjƗ), moral purity, plus
singleminded aspiration (for at least 1 day & night)

Results: vision of AmitƗbha in dreams; at death, vision of a nirmƗ۬a of AmitƗbha, lotus
rebirth in SukhƗvatƯ

Those in this class who fall prey to doubt, however, must endure 500 years in a jewelled
borderland city or fortress after their lotus birth before being able to join AmitƗbha’s
congregation.

3rd class: Laypeople
Requirements: moral purity, plus singleminded aspiration (for at least 10 days & nights)

Results: vision of SukhƗvatƯ in dream at death, lotus rebirth in SukhƗvatƯ

Those in this class who fall prey to doubt must also endure 500 years of imprisonment.25
Without going into all the details, it can be seen that this schema envisages a hierarchy of blessings,
with status being marked by access to AmitƗbha himself. Also of interest is the relevance of the
: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:
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Sukurun
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Joined: Tue Feb 19, 2019 8:04 pm

Re: Some unique passages from Lokaksema's Longer Sutra

Post by Sukurun » Tue Feb 19, 2019 8:17 pm

Off topic question but why would Amitabha retire when he made parinirvana?Do all Bodhisattvas retire from action when they attain parinirvana?don't Bodhisattvas stay helping sentient beings forever?

Sentient Light
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Joined: Thu Sep 15, 2016 8:40 pm
Location: Pacifica, California

Re: Some unique passages from Lokaksema's Longer Sutra

Post by Sentient Light » Thu Feb 21, 2019 12:28 am

Some bodhisattvas never enter parinirvana due to their vows. But in general, the way to save all beings is to become a Buddha, attain the dharmadhatu, light the World Lantern, and enter parinirvana. So the intention of a bodhisattva is always to become a Buddha. No manifestation of a Buddha can be eternal, because only the Dharmakaya is eternal--only that which is unconditioned.

The power of Amitabha’s vow however is always accessible, provided sentient beings hear it, know it, and can direct their minds to Amitabha to fulfill it. My assumption is that he only enters parinirvana after the last of beings who could possibly hear of him and practice toward him as been reborn in his world, and then Avalokitesvrara’s pure land takes its place. But it could also be that people are simply reborn in Avalokitesvrara’s pure land, even taking vows on Amitabha, and he enters parinirvana earlier. That seems less likely to me.

Also, parinirvana means ‘final extinction.’ It refers to the death of the body of an awakened being, so by definition, it refers to an awakened being leaving the phenomenal world. Nirvana is the awakening that precedes parinirvana, and may be closer to what you’re asking about? Either way, Buddhas post-parinirvana are not inaccessible in Mahayana Buddhism, their accessibility just simply takes on a different form.
: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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