Pure Land teachings from a Zen perspective

Dharma Flower
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Re: Pure Land teachings from a Zen perspective

Post by Dharma Flower » Thu May 25, 2017 9:21 pm

Can someone please tell me about their personal experience with Pure Land practice from a Zen perspective? I really appreciate it.

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Re: Pure Land teachings from a Zen perspective

Post by Dharma Flower » Mon May 29, 2017 9:05 am

Reading the articles and books suggested in this thread helped me to realize that I don't believe in traditional Jodo Shinshu teachings, even though I have been attending services at a Jodo Shinshu temple for the last two years.

My beliefs are closer to the Ch'an interpretation of Pure Land Buddhism, and I will soon be visiting services at the local Vietnamese Buddhist monastery temple for this purpose, since Vietnamese temples incorporate both Ch'an and Pure Land practices.

I visited the temple already for Vesak, and it was a very nice temple with nice people. Even though services are held in Vietnamese, maybe I can learn Buddhism from one of the English-speaking monks after services.

Thank you for your help, in helping me to find my way in the Buddhist path.

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rory
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Re: Pure Land teachings from a Zen perspective

Post by rory » Tue May 30, 2017 7:40 pm

Dharma Flower wrote:Reading the articles and books suggested in this thread helped me to realize that I don't believe in traditional Jodo Shinshu teachings, even though I have been attending services at a Jodo Shinshu temple for the last two years.

My beliefs are closer to the Ch'an interpretation of Pure Land Buddhism, and I will soon be visiting services at the local Vietnamese Buddhist monastery temple for this purpose, since Vietnamese temples incorporate both Ch'an and Pure Land practices.

I visited the temple already for Vesak, and it was a very nice temple with nice people. Even though services are held in Vietnamese, maybe I can learn Buddhism from one of the English-speaking monks after services.

Thank you for your help, in helping me to find my way in the Buddhist path.
That's a very good choice: Practicing Ch'an and Pure Land is normal, I was going to suggest a Chinese temple too. I went to one and the people and the nuns were extremely welcoming; on your part you need to be open to learning Vietnamese and culture, which is great:) Here I found Vietnamese chanting of the Heart Sutra with text so you can learn to chant with everyone:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_eX-IcL00Gg
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: Pure Land teachings from a Zen perspective

Post by Dharma Flower » Tue May 30, 2017 11:12 pm

rory wrote:
Dharma Flower wrote:Reading the articles and books suggested in this thread helped me to realize that I don't believe in traditional Jodo Shinshu teachings, even though I have been attending services at a Jodo Shinshu temple for the last two years.

My beliefs are closer to the Ch'an interpretation of Pure Land Buddhism, and I will soon be visiting services at the local Vietnamese Buddhist monastery temple for this purpose, since Vietnamese temples incorporate both Ch'an and Pure Land practices.

I visited the temple already for Vesak, and it was a very nice temple with nice people. Even though services are held in Vietnamese, maybe I can learn Buddhism from one of the English-speaking monks after services.

Thank you for your help, in helping me to find my way in the Buddhist path.
That's a very good choice: Practicing Ch'an and Pure Land is normal, I was going to suggest a Chinese temple too. I went to one and the people and the nuns were extremely welcoming; on your part you need to be open to learning Vietnamese and culture, which is great:) Here I found Vietnamese chanting of the Heart Sutra with text so you can learn to chant with everyone:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_eX-IcL00Gg
gassho
Rory
Thank you for your help. Is it unusual for someone to start going to a temple where the Dharma talks are in a foreign language? My hope is to eventually get to know one of the monks, so that he will teach me how to practice at home.

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Re: Pure Land teachings from a Zen perspective

Post by Sentient Light » Wed May 31, 2017 5:37 pm

Dharma Flower wrote:
Thank you for your help. Is it unusual for someone to start going to a temple where the Dharma talks are in a foreign language? My hope is to eventually get to know one of the monks, so that he will teach me how to practice at home.
I'm Vietnamese and barely understand the language anymore, so only manage to catch about half of what is said during a lot of dharma talks, particularly if the one speaking has an accent or speaks in a dialect that makes it more difficult for me.

Vietnamese temples are pretty hospitable though. After the service, there's normally a vegetarian lunch served, and you can socialize with the monks and nuns. Some of them will speak English and there may even be a western monastic living with the community. That's a prime opportunity to field some questions, so long as you ask politely and respectfully.

Just consider attending the dharma talk, for the time being, as a devotional service, being exposed to the dharma even if you can't understand it. A few Vietnamese temples, even catering the ethnic community, are starting to do English and Vietnamese dharma talks now, cause they know those of us who were born outside of Vietnam can't speak the language well. lol. So it wouldn't be uncommon for there to be a 20-30 minute English talk and then a 45-60 minute Vietnamese talk.

My tradition doesn't really push the Amitabha angle much. There are devotional acts and we're encouraged to chant and all the views of realms and rebirth and whatnot are taught, but most talks focus more on the Thien side of things. Basically, Pure Land practice is expected to be your daily practice, your at-home practice, and you come to the monastics to learn meditation, theory, and tantra, as well as additional devotional practices.

I would be wary of misinterpreting the Thien teachings as saying the Pure Land only exists within the mind or is simply a state of mind. Attaining the Pure Land can be stated as such, but we do believe in the teaching that all things are manifest of mind, that this world and all other abodes are created by the mind. So the Pure Land isn't "out there", but it also isn't a figure of speech. Having been assured of birth in the Pure Land for our next lives, we practice the Thien method to expedite progress on the path of dharma, understanding that there is no Amitabha outside of the mind, that Amitabha is manifest of our own Buddha-nature and the closer we can reach signless perception in this lifetime -- the closer we can get to perfectly seeing the true nature of reality, wiped clean of all the signifiers the mind imbues into phenomena, the closer we are to manifesting enlightened action and thought in this very life and this very world, emanating pure mind and pure consciousness as an abode to others. And we can introduce Amitabha into others' spheres of influence.
: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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Re: Pure Land teachings from a Zen perspective

Post by Dharma Flower » Wed May 31, 2017 5:42 pm

Sentient Light wrote: Attaining the Pure Land can be stated as such, but we do believe in the teaching that all things are manifest of mind, that this world and all other abodes are created by the mind. So the Pure Land isn't "out there", but it also isn't a figure of speech. Having been assured of birth in the Pure Land for our next lives, we practice the Thien method to expedite progress on the path of dharma, understanding that there is no Amitabha outside of the mind, that Amitabha is manifest of our own Buddha-nature and the closer we can reach signless perception in this lifetime -- the closer we can get to perfectly seeing the true nature of reality, wiped clean of all the signifiers the mind imbues into phenomena, the closer we are to manifesting enlightened action and thought in this very life and this very world, emanating pure mind and pure consciousness as an abode to others. And we can introduce Amitabha into others' spheres of influence.
Thank you for sharing these teachings. I like it.

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rory
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Re: Pure Land teachings from a Zen perspective

Post by rory » Fri Jun 02, 2017 3:49 am

Dharma Flower wrote:
Sentient Light wrote: Attaining the Pure Land can be stated as such, but we do believe in the teaching that all things are manifest of mind, that this world and all other abodes are created by the mind. So the Pure Land isn't "out there", but it also isn't a figure of speech. Having been assured of birth in the Pure Land for our next lives, we practice the Thien method to expedite progress on the path of dharma, understanding that there is no Amitabha outside of the mind, that Amitabha is manifest of our own Buddha-nature and the closer we can reach signless perception in this lifetime -- the closer we can get to perfectly seeing the true nature of reality, wiped clean of all the signifiers the mind imbues into phenomena, the closer we are to manifesting enlightened action and thought in this very life and this very world, emanating pure mind and pure consciousness as an abode to others. And we can introduce Amitabha into others' spheres of influence.
Thank you for sharing these teachings. I like it.
Yes, Sentient Light gives the classic teaching on Pure Land: as a Tiantai Buddhist I'd say the Pure Land exists in the West and it also exist in this world in our purified minds: it is empty and it exists provisionally.

I'd also take his good advice and stick with your Vietnamese Temple. Do NOT MAKE EXCUSES for any sensei/master's etc bad behavior!! I had a Zen temple in NYC and the sensei created an immense scandal. When I visited there a few times the senior students warned me in rather vague terms never to go to the sesshins in the country. https://www.theatlantic.com/national/ar ... en/281475/
I didn't and moved to the safe and good Jodo Shinshu Temple, despite having a more multipractice mindset.
https://www.theatlantic.com/national/ar ... en/281475/
there are a number of scandals in the US with badly behaving monks/lamas coercing their female/male students into believing they'll get enlightened after having sex with them : NEVER.
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: Pure Land teachings from a Zen perspective

Post by Dharma Flower » Sat Jun 03, 2017 12:21 am

Thank you for your advice and encouragement.

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Re: Pure Land teachings from a Zen perspective

Post by Dharma Flower » Sat Jun 03, 2017 3:56 am

Here is a practical guide on Pure Land teachings from a Zen perspective, reciting the Buddha-name to awaken the Buddha-nature within:
http://www.buddhanet.net/pdf_file/monkeym.pdf

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Re: Pure Land teachings from a Zen perspective

Post by Dharma Flower » Sun Jun 04, 2017 7:28 am

Now that I am no longer limiting myself to Jodo Shinshu, I've long felt more of a karmic affinity to Avalokitesvara, who is greatly revered in Zen Buddhism for teaching the Heart Sutra, and as a model in our Bodhisattva path.

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Re: Pure Land teachings from a Zen perspective

Post by Dharma Flower » Fri Jul 21, 2017 12:25 pm

I appreciate the help that I've received in this thread. What you've shared goes to show that, whether Pure Land or Zen, they are not so different. They are different ways of reaching and expressing the same Ultimate Truth.

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Bruce
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Re: Pure Land teachings from a Zen perspective

Post by Bruce » Thu Nov 16, 2017 4:32 am

The Sixth Patriarch's Dharma Jewel Platform Sutra



Chapter 3

The Magistrate asked further, "Your disciple has often seen the Sangha and laity reciting 'Amitabha Buddha,' vowing to be reborn in the West. Will the High Master please tell me if they will obtain rebirth there, and so dispel my doubts?"

The Master said, "Magistrate, listen well. Whai-Nung will explain it for you. When the World Honored One was in Shravasti City, he spoke of being led to rebirth in the West. The Sutra text clearly states, 'It is not far from here.' If we discuss its appearance, it is 108,000 miles away, but in immediate terms, it is just beyond the ten evils and the eight deviations within us. It is explained as far distant for those of inferior roots and as nearby for those of superior wisdom."

"There are two kinds of people, not two kinds of Dharma. Enlightenment and confusion differ, and seeing can be quick or slow. The deluded person recites the Buddha's name, seeking rebirth there, while the enlightened person purifies his own mind. Therefore the Buddha said, 'As the mind is purified, the Buddhaland is purified.'"

"Magistrate, if the person of the East merely purifies his mind, he is without offense. Even though one may be of the West, if his mind is impure he is at fault. The person of the East commits offenses and recites the Buddha's name, seeking rebirth in the West. When the person of the West commits offenses and recites the Buddha's name, in what country does he seek rebirth?"

"Common, deluded people do not understand their self-nature and do not know that the Pure Land is within themselves. Therefore they make vows for the East and vows for the West. To enlightened people, all places are the same. As the Buddha said, 'In whatever place one dwells, there is constant peace and happiness.'

"Magistrate, if the mind-ground is only without unwholesomeness, the West is not far from here. If one harbors unwholesome thoughts, one may recite the Buddha's name, but it will be difficult to attain that rebirth.

"Good Knowing Advisors, I now exhort you all to get rid of the ten evils first and you will have walked one hundred thousand miles. Next get rid of the eight deviations and you will have gone eight thousand miles. If in every thought you see your own nature and always practice impartiality and straightforwardness, you will arrive in a finger-snap and see Amitabha.

"Magistrate, merely practice the ten wholesome acts; then what need will there be for you to vow to be reborn there? But if you do not rid the mind of the ten evils, what Buddha will come to welcome you?"

"If you become enlightened to the sudden dharma of the unproduced, you will see the West in an instant. Unenlightened, you may recite the Buddha's name seeking rebirth, but since the road is so long, how can you traverse it?

"Whai-Nung will move the West here in the space of an instant so that you may see it right before your eyes. Do you wish to see it?"

The entire assembly bowed and said, "If we could see it here, what need would there be to vow to be reborn there? Please, High Master, be compassionate and make the West appear so that we might see it."

The Master said: "Great assembly, the worldly person's own physical body is the city, and the eye, ear, nose, tongue, and body are the gates. Outside there are five gates and inside there is the gate of the mind. The mind is the 'ground' and one's nature is the 'king'. The 'king' dwells on the mind 'ground.' When the nature is present, the king is present, but when the nature is absent, there is no king. When the nature is present, the body and mind remain, but when the nature is absent, the body and mind are destroyed. The Buddha is made within the self-nature. Do not seek outside the body. Confused, the self-nature is a living being: enlightened, it is a Buddha."

"'Kindness and compassion' are Avalokiteshvara and 'sympathetic joy and giving' are Mahasthamaprapta. 'Purification' is Shakyamuni, and 'equanimity and directness' are Amitabha. 'Others and self' are Mount Sumeru and 'deviant thoughts' are ocean water. 'Afflictions' are the waves. 'Cruelty' is an evil dragon. 'Empty falseness' is ghosts and spirits. 'Defilement' is fish and turtles, 'greed and hatred' are hell, and 'delusion' is animals.

"Good Knowing Advisors, always practice the ten good practices and the heavens can easily be reached. Get rid of others and self, and Mount Sumeru topples. Do away with deviant thought, and the ocean waters dry up. Without defilements, the waves cease. End cruelty, and there are no fish or dragons. The Tathagata of the enlightened nature is on your own mind-ground, emitting a great bright light which outwardly illuminates and purifies the six gates and breaks through the six desire-heavens. Inwardly, it illuminates the self-nature and casts out the three poisons. The hells and all such offenses are destroyed at once. Inwardly and outwardly there is bright penetration. This is no different from the West. But if you do not cultivate, how can you go there?"

On hearing this speech, the members of the great assembly clearly saw their own natures. They bowed together and exclaimed, "This is indeed good! May all living beings of the Dharma Realm who have heard this awaken at once and understand!"

The Master said, "Good Knowing Advisors, if you wish to cultivate, you may do so at home. You need not be in a monastery. If you live at home and practice, you are like the person of the East whose mind is good. If you dwell in a monastery but do not cultivate, you are like the person of the West whose mind is evil. Merely purify your mind; that is the 'West' of your self-nature."


chapter 4
.................The Master instructed the assembly: "Good Knowing Advisors, the Single Conduct Samadhi is the constant practice of maintaining a direct, straightforward mind in all places, whether one is walking, standing, sitting, or lying down. As the Vimalakirti Sutra says, 'The straight mind is the Bodhimandala; the straight mind is the Pure Land.'

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Re: Pure Land teachings from a Zen perspective

Post by Bruce » Thu Nov 16, 2017 4:44 am

This translation has many problems; however, you get a good idea of Zen perspective of Pure Land teaching. Moreover, there was a small zen lineage of BAO TANG SI, they do pure land practice of chanting amitabha buddha, however, they have a special practice of using chanting amitabha buddha to help one realize the unborn Buddha nature, the ultimate pure land. ( pure land teaching teaches that there are three level of pure land, the unborn Buddha nature is the highest form of pure land.)

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Re: Pure Land teachings from a Zen perspective

Post by Bruce » Thu Nov 16, 2017 4:48 am

Actually, the western translation of the lineage is Pao tang chan. Here is a reading relating its practice. Interesting thing to note that this also relate to Atiyoga. https://terebess.hu/zen/Chan-Atiyoga.pdf

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Re: Pure Land teachings from a Zen perspective

Post by KeithA » Thu Nov 16, 2017 5:19 am

DGA wrote:
Mon Feb 13, 2017 2:29 pm
Dharma Flower wrote:As many have pointed out in the past, when Zen monks silently meditate and perform various austerities, and when Pure Land grandmothers with no knowledge of sutras or meditation recite the Nianfo, they are really working toward the same goal, since Amida and Big Mind are just different ways of describing or understanding the same reality. Dharma-body is one and the same, no matter how one approaches it, explains it, or attains to it.
what is "Big Mind"?
A ginormous can of worms...

edit: and nothing to do with Zen

Further edit: It's possible that Dharma Flower means to use the term in generic way. Anyway, I have a direction, but not a goal.
You make, you get.

New Haven Zen Center

shaunc
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Re: Pure Land teachings from a Zen perspective

Post by shaunc » Thu Nov 16, 2017 7:40 am

I've been reading this thread again this afternoon after work. At the moment it's spring in Australia and last week I just planted up the vegetable garden and today we're receiving rain. The rain will be good for the young plants but they also need the sun to help them grow.
Before I planted up the vegetable garden I mucked out the chook house and used their manure as fertilizer. This is also good for the young plants but I've also penned the chooks up and they'll now spend most of their time confined to the chook house as they can also do a lot of damage to a young garden.
The point that I'm trying to make is that there's always two sides to a coin. Maybe the pureland is like that as well. It is a real place in another world or universe but it's also in our mind
Good luck and best wishes.
Namu Amida Butsu.
Shaun.

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Re: Pure Land teachings from a Zen perspective

Post by HePo » Thu Nov 16, 2017 11:03 am

KeithA wrote:
Thu Nov 16, 2017 5:19 am
DGA wrote:
Mon Feb 13, 2017 2:29 pm
Dharma Flower wrote:As many have pointed out in the past, when Zen monks silently meditate and perform various austerities, and when Pure Land grandmothers with no knowledge of sutras or meditation recite the Nianfo, they are really working toward the same goal, since Amida and Big Mind are just different ways of describing or understanding the same reality. Dharma-body is one and the same, no matter how one approaches it, explains it, or attains to it.
what is "Big Mind"?
A ginormous can of worms...

edit: and nothing to do with Zen

Further edit: It's possible that Dharma Flower means to use the term in generic way. Anyway, I have a direction, but not a goal.
edit: and nothing to do with Zen
Perhaps you are thinking of Genpo's Big Mind™ process?


Shunryu Suzuki on Big Mind
Shunryu Suzuki
This afternoon I want to make the relationship between our big mind and everyday activity. In everyday life, how the big mind reveal itself will be the point I will talk [about] right now—or the function of—you may say the function of the great mind.

Dōgen-zenji explained this mind in his Tenzo Kyōkun.[1] Tenzo Kyōkun is the instruction for the monks who works in the kitchen. Those who work in the kitchen must have this mind. And work in the kitchen is the extended practice of zazen, or their way should be—their way working in the kitchen should be based on our pure practice or big mind. Especially [for] those who work in kitchen, it is necessary to have big mind because they will have various difficulties.
You can easily find translations of the Tenzo Kyōkun online.

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Re: Pure Land teachings from a Zen perspective

Post by DGA » Fri Nov 17, 2017 3:12 am

KeithA wrote:
Thu Nov 16, 2017 5:19 am
DGA wrote:
Mon Feb 13, 2017 2:29 pm
Dharma Flower wrote:As many have pointed out in the past, when Zen monks silently meditate and perform various austerities, and when Pure Land grandmothers with no knowledge of sutras or meditation recite the Nianfo, they are really working toward the same goal, since Amida and Big Mind are just different ways of describing or understanding the same reality. Dharma-body is one and the same, no matter how one approaches it, explains it, or attains to it.
what is "Big Mind"?
A ginormous can of worms...

edit: and nothing to do with Zen

Further edit: It's possible that Dharma Flower means to use the term in generic way. Anyway, I have a direction, but not a goal.
Yes, I was being a bit Socratic and a bit puckish with a former member here at DW when I posed that question.

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Re: Pure Land teachings from a Zen perspective

Post by zengarten » Mon Nov 20, 2017 12:27 pm

I recommend the work of Hanshan Deqing whom I just have translated into German with a selection of his work. You will find English texts online where he describes the relationship of Zen and Pure Land. He is quite a good read, a very talented writer.

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