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 » Tue Jan 16, 2018 4:52 am

Thank you for the suggestions for different texts and teachings. The more I learned about Ch'an/Zen, the more appreciation I developed for the Nembutsu.

The Buddha’s last words were to be a lamp unto yourself, seeking no external refuge. How do we square this with the Nembutsu, since Namu-Amida-Butsu means “I take refuge in Amida Buddha”?

Ch'an/Zen traditionally teaches that Amida, rather than an external refuge, is the boundless light of our own Buddha-nature. In reciting the Nembutsu, we awaken to the True Self, the lamp within. The name Amida means “boundless light.”

Rather than a literal flesh and blood man who attained Buddhahood ten kalpas ago, billions of Buddha-lands to the west, Amida is Dharma-body itself or the Buddha-nature in all things and beings.

While Jodo Shinshu teaches that we are embraced and saved by Amida's compassion just as we are, Zen teaches that we're already enlightened in our true nature, just as we are. This makes perfect sense if, ultimately, Amida is the same as our true self.

As it says in the Vimilakirti Sutra, "Though he honors Buddhas by the millions, he sees no distinction between them and himself."

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Re: Pure Land teachings from a Zen perspective

Post by Dharma Flower » Tue Jan 16, 2018 5:13 am

KeithA wrote:
Thu Nov 16, 2017 5:19 am
A ginormous can of worms...

edit: and nothing to do with Zen
The "One Mind" or "Big Mind" is a term used in Ch'an/Zen for Dharma-body or Buddha-nature:

All Buddhas and All Living Beings are Just This One Mind
Teachings of the Buddhas and Zen Ancestors on Mind-Only, Buddha Nature, and Nonduality collected by Kokyo Henkel


The One Mind – The Zen Teaching of Huang Po
https://essenceofbuddhism.wordpress.com ... -huang-po/

As Shunryu Suzuki says in Zen Mind, Beginners Mind, "You must put confidence in the big mind which is always with you. You should be able to appreciate things as an expression of big mind. This is more than faith. This is ultimate truth which you cannot reject."

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Re: Pure Land teachings from a Zen perspective

Post by KeithA » Tue Jan 16, 2018 7:52 pm

Dharma Flower wrote:
Tue Jan 16, 2018 5:13 am
KeithA wrote:
Thu Nov 16, 2017 5:19 am
A ginormous can of worms...

edit: and nothing to do with Zen
The "One Mind" or "Big Mind" is a term used in Ch'an/Zen for Dharma-body or Buddha-nature:

All Buddhas and All Living Beings are Just This One Mind
Teachings of the Buddhas and Zen Ancestors on Mind-Only, Buddha Nature, and Nonduality collected by Kokyo Henkel


The One Mind – The Zen Teaching of Huang Po
https://essenceofbuddhism.wordpress.com ... -huang-po/

As Shunryu Suzuki says in Zen Mind, Beginners Mind, "You must put confidence in the big mind which is always with you. You should be able to appreciate things as an expression of big mind. This is more than faith. This is ultimate truth which you cannot reject."
Thanks for that, D-F. _/|\_

The "can of worms" I was referring to is this.

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Re: Pure Land teachings from a Zen perspective

Post by Dharma Flower » Wed Jan 17, 2018 1:49 pm

From the perspective of the dual practice of Ch'an and Pure Land, Amida and the One Mind are one and the same. In reciting the name, we come to the realization that the One Mind is also our true nature.

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Re: Pure Land teachings from a Zen perspective

Post by SunWuKong » Sat Jan 20, 2018 11:38 pm

Don’t worry about offending people, just practice good manners and hope others will do likewise. When you are in someone else’s teaching space, investigate their teachings not someone else’s. Like wise if they are in your teaching space. But if you are in a neutral space it’s not rude to offer what you have, is it?
"We are magical animals that roam" ~ Roam

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Re: Pure Land teachings from a Zen perspective

Post by Dharma Flower » Sun Feb 04, 2018 8:05 pm

I will soon be reading The Lankavatara Sutra. This sutra is famous for saying that all things are mind-only, that Buddhist practice is for the purpose of awakening to Buddha-nature, and that all Buddhist teachings are a finger pointing to the moon of enlightenment, rather than ultimate truths in and of themselves.

The Lankavatara Sutra has been influential on the Ch'an/Zen understanding of Pure Land practice, that the Pure Land is mind-only, that the purpose of reciting the Buddha-name is to awaken the Buddha within, and that Amida Buddha is a finger pointing to the moon of enlightenment, rather than an external being.

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Re: Pure Land teachings from a Zen perspective

Post by Sentient Light » Mon Feb 05, 2018 5:10 pm

Dharma Flower wrote:
Sun Feb 04, 2018 8:05 pm
I will soon be reading The Lankavatara Sutra. This sutra is famous for saying that all things are mind-only, that Buddhist practice is for the purpose of awakening to Buddha-nature, and that all Buddhist teachings are a finger pointing to the moon of enlightenment, rather than ultimate truths in and of themselves.

The Lankavatara Sutra has been influential on the Ch'an/Zen understanding of Pure Land practice, that the Pure Land is mind-only, that the purpose of reciting the Buddha-name is to awaken the Buddha within, and that Amida Buddha is a finger pointing to the moon of enlightenment, rather than an external being.
I practice in a Pure Land / Thien tradition, and I would caution interpreting this in any kind of literal sense, at least reading "The Pure Land is mind-only" as opposing to the idea that this world is any more or less real than the Pure Land itself. Amitabha does exist, insofar as anything exists, and the Pure Land is a place of birth. But rebirth in the Pure Land -- specifically receiving affirmation of rebirth -- is a thing that truly happens. Affirmation of birth coincides with the realization that Amitabha is our own Buddha-nature, that the Pure Land is the purified mind. It is equivalent to the awakening of bodhicitta, and satori in other Zen traditions... just because this realization occurs does not mean that the work has been completed. Direct insight to our own Buddha-nature is both a purification of mind, an abiding within the Pure Land at all times, and affirmation of rebirth in the Pure Land after death.

To read it all as metaphor is to miss the point. Amitabha is not external to us, not external to the mind, but the Pure Land teachings do not assert anything else, and has always been firmly entrenched in Mind-Only thought, since the time of Vasubandhu... and technically, even since the time of Nagarjuna, if you read through his treatises. Ultimately, Pure Land is Thien and Thien is Pure Land. Self-Power is Other-Power; Other-Power is Self-Power. The mind is Buddha-mind; the mind is the Pure Land; the samsaric world is the mind.
: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 » Tue Feb 06, 2018 4:45 am

Sentient Light wrote:
Mon Feb 05, 2018 5:10 pm
Affirmation of birth coincides with the realization that Amitabha is our own Buddha-nature, that the Pure Land is the purified mind.
I believe that Amida Buddha is our own Buddha-nature, and the Pure Land is the innately pure mind, that's been temporarily obscured by the deluded ego.
Sentient Light wrote:
Mon Feb 05, 2018 5:10 pm
To read it all as metaphor is to miss the point.
To say that something is a metaphor is lazy and uninteresting when there isn't something compelling to which the metaphor points.

The Buddha referred to his teachings as a raft to the other shore, a finger pointing at the moon, and as various forms of skillful means. In this sense, Amida Buddha is a metaphor of what Zen calls the True Self.

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Re: Pure Land teachings from a Zen perspective

Post by Monlam Tharchin » Tue Feb 06, 2018 4:14 pm

DF, why are you a buddha but Amitabha isn't? Said another way, why does having the same nature as Amitabha mean your nature is not a symbol but Amitabha's is?
namu amida butsu
OṂ  HRIYADHE  SARWA  TATHĀGATA  HRIDAYA  GARBHE / DZOLA  DHARMADHATU  GARBHE  /  SANG  HARANA  ĀYUḤ  SANGŚHODHAYA  /  PĀPAṂ  SARWA  TATHĀGATA  SAMENDRA  UṢHṆĪKHA  BIMALE  BIŚHUDDHE  SWĀHĀ

The Buddhas and Bodhisattvas have unobstructed vision in all directions.
Everything is in their presence; and I stand in front of them. -- Shantideva

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Re: Pure Land teachings from a Zen perspective

Post by Dharma Flower » Wed Feb 07, 2018 4:48 am

Monlam Tharchin wrote:
Tue Feb 06, 2018 4:14 pm
DF, why are you a buddha but Amitabha isn't? Said another way, why does having the same nature as Amitabha mean your nature is not a symbol but Amitabha's is?
The point isn't whether Amida Buddha literally exists or does not exist as an external being. The point is whether or not reciting the name of Amida Buddha brings one closer to realizing our true Buddha-self.

This passage from Sekkei Harada’s The Essence of Zen summarizes the ultimate point of Pure Land practice from a Zen perspective:
During the forty-nine years that Shakyamuni Buddha expounded the Dharma, he never once said, “Believe in me.” Rather he always said, “Believe in the Dharma. Believe in yourself.” This is something you must believe resolutely. If you don’t, the objective of your practice will not be clear…

The practice of Amida Butsu, or Amitabha, is widespread in Japan. This involves chanting “Namu Amida Butsu” while prostrating oneself. In Zen Buddhism, a person who chants “Namu Amida Butsu” is already Amida Butsu. The object toward which prostrations are made, namely, Amida Butsu, and the person making the prostrations are one…

If you have made the resolution to believe, then it isn’t good for the belief to remain. To believe means that there is someone (“you”) who is believing. In other words, if something is truly believed in, then the belief must disappear. I would like you to understand clearly that you must let go of that which is believed in.

The condition of pure belief is absolute. It is a condition where doubts and belief in a dualistic sense have disappeared. Belief and doubt or belief and disbelief are, in the end, the ideas of people. The condition where belief and doubt have disappeared is what we call “The Dharma,” or “The Way,” or “Now.“
https://books.google.com/books?id=obuxd ... &q&f=false
The ultimate purpose of Pure Land practice is not belief and disbelief in a dualistic sense, but instead to realize Amida Buddha as our “true self” (Buddha-nature). Symbolic language has been used to convey a higher truth from the beginning of Buddhism.

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Re: Pure Land teachings from a Zen perspective

Post by Monlam Tharchin » Wed Feb 07, 2018 8:42 pm

I'm not sure you answered my questions.

I didn't ask if Pure Land leads to buddhahood, or what you think the ultimate purpose is, or about symbolic language. I asked why, if you have buddha-nature, Amitabha doesn't. Why are you a buddha but Amitabha isn't?

Buddhas arise in relation to sentient beings. There aren't only buddhas or only sentient beings. So understanding and having confidence in Amitabha's buddha nature as taught by Pure Land teachers, not other schools, is very important. Shandao's teachings on the profound heart explain this.

From what I can tell, you see Amitabha as a type of praxis instead of a buddha. The point I'm trying to make is that he's both, but when I bring this up, you say Amitabha doesn't "literally exist", which is a bit of a non sequitur. I don't understand the distinction made by adding "literally" in quotes.

Amitabha is both praxis and buddha in dual cultivation as well. This is a nut you're going to have to crack.

Otherwise why mix methods with Amitabha when you could just practice the direct seeing of Zen? Although I'm not sure Zen denies the conventional existence of buddhas either.
namu amida butsu
OṂ  HRIYADHE  SARWA  TATHĀGATA  HRIDAYA  GARBHE / DZOLA  DHARMADHATU  GARBHE  /  SANG  HARANA  ĀYUḤ  SANGŚHODHAYA  /  PĀPAṂ  SARWA  TATHĀGATA  SAMENDRA  UṢHṆĪKHA  BIMALE  BIŚHUDDHE  SWĀHĀ

The Buddhas and Bodhisattvas have unobstructed vision in all directions.
Everything is in their presence; and I stand in front of them. -- Shantideva

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Re: Pure Land teachings from a Zen perspective

Post by Astus » Wed Feb 07, 2018 10:38 pm

Dharma Flower wrote:
Wed Feb 07, 2018 4:48 am
The point is whether or not reciting the name of Amida Buddha brings one closer to realizing our true Buddha-self.
Mere recitation of words may facilitate achieving a concentrated mind, but that is as far as it can bring oneself.

"People say, “Your own mind is the Pure Land, so you cannot be born in the Pure Land; your own nature is Amitābha, so Amitābha cannot be seen.” These words seem to be correct and yet are wrong. That buddha has no craving or anger, so do I also have no craving or anger? That buddha transforms hell into lotus flower (realms) as easily as turning over his hands, yet I always fear falling into hell because of the power of karma, so how can there be this transformation into a lotus flower (realm)? That buddha contemplates the endless worlds as if they were in front of his eyes, but I still do not even know matters beyond the intervening wall, so how can I see the worlds of all directions as if they are in front of my eyes? Therefore, even though everybody’s nature is Buddha, since in practice they are sentient beings, if we refer to their attributes and functions, they are as far different as heaven and earth."
(Hyujeong: Seonga Gwigam, in Collected Works of Korean Buddhism, vol 3, p 123-124)
1 Myriad dharmas are only mind.
Mind is unobtainable.
What is there to seek?

2 If the Buddha-Nature is seen,
there will be no seeing of a nature in any thing.

3 Neither cultivation nor seated meditation —
this is the pure Chan of Tathagata.

4 With sudden enlightenment to Tathagata Chan,
the six paramitas and myriad means
are complete within that essence.


1 Huangbo, T2012Ap381c1 2 Nirvana Sutra, T374p521b3; tr. Yamamoto 3 Mazu, X1321p3b23; tr. J. Jia 4 Yongjia, T2014p395c14; tr. from "The Sword of Wisdom"

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Re: Pure Land teachings from a Zen perspective

Post by Dharma Flower » Thu Feb 08, 2018 4:05 am

Monlam Tharchin wrote:
Wed Feb 07, 2018 8:42 pm
Otherwise why mix methods with Amitabha when you could just practice the direct seeing of Zen?
The Ch'an/Zen understanding of Pure Land practice has been taught for centuries:
http://www.cloudwater.org/index.php/pur ... d-practice

In this form of koan practice, one recites the Buddha-name while asking oneself, "Who is the one doing the reciting?" This is for ultimately realizing Amida Buddha as our "original face" from before our parents were born.
Monlam Tharchin wrote:
Wed Feb 07, 2018 8:42 pm
Although I'm not sure Zen denies the conventional existence of buddhas either.
As Sekkei Harada explained above, the Zen understanding of Pure Land practice is where "doubts and belief in a dualistic sense have disappeared." It is not about believing or disbelieving in a dualistic sense. It's about attaining the non-dual experience of Amida as our "true self."

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Re: Pure Land teachings from a Zen perspective

Post by Dharma Flower » Thu Feb 08, 2018 4:18 am

Astus wrote:
Wed Feb 07, 2018 10:38 pm
Mere recitation of words may facilitate achieving a concentrated mind, but that is as far as it can bring oneself.
This is from the Surangama Sutra, one of the foundational texts of Ch'an/Zen Buddhism:
It is the same with those who practice concentration on the name of Amitabha - they develop within their minds Amitabha's spirit of compassion toward all sentient life. Moreover, whoever recites the name of Amitabha Buddha, whether in the present time or in the future time, will surely see the Buddha Amitabha and never become separated from him. By reason of that association, just as one associating with a maker of perfumes became permeated with the same perfumes, so he will become perfumed by Amitabha's compassion, and will become enlightened without any other expedient means...

Blessed Lord! My devotion to reciting the name of Amitabha had no other purpose than to return to my original nature of purity (Buddha-nature) and by it I attained to the state of non-rebirth perseverance.
http://www.mountainrunnerdoc.com/surangama.html
According to the above passage, those who recite the name of Amida Buddha can, in the present time or in the future time, attain Buddhahood "without any other expedient means." This is to say that the Nembutsu itself is sufficient for seeing into and realizing our own Buddha-nature.

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Re: Pure Land teachings from a Zen perspective

Post by Astus » Thu Feb 08, 2018 3:36 pm

Dharma Flower wrote:
Thu Feb 08, 2018 4:18 am
This is from the Surangama Sutra
That is not a reliable translation. See the new BTTS version (p 232-233; cf. another translation):

"The basis of my practice was mindfulness of the Buddha. I became patient with the state of mind in which no mental objects arise. Now when people of this world are mindful of the Buddha, I act as their guide to lead them to the Pure Land. The Buddha has asked us how we broke through twenty-five sages speak of enlightenment to enlightenment. In order to enter samādhi, I chose no other method than to gather in the six faculties while continuously maintaining a pure mindfulness of the Buddha."

Two things should be specifically noted. The first one is that in the sutra this method is not selected as the best one. The second is that it talks about how one establishes a connection with a buddha, and it is used in the Pure Land school as a reference about how one can gain birth in Sukhavati. What is used as the Chan/Zen method is that of Avalokitesvara, not Mahasthamaprapta.
According to the above passage, those who recite the name of Amida Buddha can, in the present time or in the future time, attain Buddhahood "without any other expedient means." This is to say that the Nembutsu itself is sufficient for seeing into and realizing our own Buddha-nature.
It says only mindfulness of buddha, not recitation. Mindfulness of buddha in Zen is not recitation by mouth, nor even focusing on thoughts, but as Daoxin said:

"the mind which is "thinking on Buddha" is called thinking on no object ... Why is this? Consciousness is without form. The Buddha lacks any outer appearance. When you understand this truth, it is identical to calming the mind"
(Early Ch’an in China and Tibet, p 108, tr David Chappell; see more)
1 Myriad dharmas are only mind.
Mind is unobtainable.
What is there to seek?

2 If the Buddha-Nature is seen,
there will be no seeing of a nature in any thing.

3 Neither cultivation nor seated meditation —
this is the pure Chan of Tathagata.

4 With sudden enlightenment to Tathagata Chan,
the six paramitas and myriad means
are complete within that essence.


1 Huangbo, T2012Ap381c1 2 Nirvana Sutra, T374p521b3; tr. Yamamoto 3 Mazu, X1321p3b23; tr. J. Jia 4 Yongjia, T2014p395c14; tr. from "The Sword of Wisdom"

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Re: Pure Land teachings from a Zen perspective

Post by Monlam Tharchin » Thu Feb 08, 2018 3:50 pm

The Ch'an/Zen understanding of Pure Land practice has been taught for centuries:
http://www.cloudwater.org/index.php/pur ... d-practice

In this form of koan practice, one recites the Buddha-name while asking oneself, "Who is the one doing the reciting?" This is for ultimately realizing Amida Buddha as our "original face" from before our parents were born.
So you do practice Chan then? Using nembutsu as a koan to attain awakening in this lifetime is a Chan approach, which would mean you should seek out a teacher. This is the self-power way.

The dual cultivation approach is a bit different, which is what I was trying to describe above. One relies on the merit and power of Amitabha to try to awaken in this lifetime and goes to the Pure Land at death to fully awaken or to stabilize one's awakening. This way uses both self-power and other-power. It still requires an understanding that Amitabha exists just as much as we and this human realm do, otherwise there is no other-power to rely on.

Masters Shandao, Honen, and Shinran of course advocated for establishment of faith and birth as the work for this lifetime, with awakening happening in the Pure Land after death.
namu amida butsu
OṂ  HRIYADHE  SARWA  TATHĀGATA  HRIDAYA  GARBHE / DZOLA  DHARMADHATU  GARBHE  /  SANG  HARANA  ĀYUḤ  SANGŚHODHAYA  /  PĀPAṂ  SARWA  TATHĀGATA  SAMENDRA  UṢHṆĪKHA  BIMALE  BIŚHUDDHE  SWĀHĀ

The Buddhas and Bodhisattvas have unobstructed vision in all directions.
Everything is in their presence; and I stand in front of them. -- Shantideva

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Re: Pure Land teachings from a Zen perspective

Post by Sentient Light » Thu Feb 08, 2018 4:13 pm

Dharma Flower wrote:
Thu Feb 08, 2018 4:05 am

The Ch'an/Zen understanding of Pure Land practice has been taught for centuries:
http://www.cloudwater.org/index.php/pur ... d-practice

In this form of koan practice, one recites the Buddha-name while asking oneself, "Who is the one doing the reciting?" This is for ultimately realizing Amida Buddha as our "original face" from before our parents were born.

As Sekkei Harada explained above, the Zen understanding of Pure Land practice is where "doubts and belief in a dualistic sense have disappeared." It is not about believing or disbelieving in a dualistic sense. It's about attaining the non-dual experience of Amida as our "true self."
There's a difference between "Pure Land from a Zen perspective" and Pure Land/Zen dual practice traditions, so I think this is the confusion that is happening here. Buddhism of Wisdom and Faith does a good job of discussing the differences, describing the Zen approach as approaching the Dharma Gate of Signlessness.

In Mainland Mahayana Buddhism, Pure Land and Chan/Thien are practiced together. Amitabha is recognized as our true self, our Buddha-nature, sure, but the first realization of this is more like satori -- it is a sudden form of awakening that necessitates further and continued practice. It is not supreme awakening in and of itself, but the assurance of rebirth in the Pure Land. The mind has been purified, so the Pure Land is manifest in the here-and-now. Upon break-up of the body, the practitioner is reborn among any of the grades of birth in Sukhavati, for continued practice and study under Amitabha Buddha. But, as Tan-luan would note, this birth is no-birth, as anatma has been already been realized.

After assurance of birth in the Pure Land, the Pure Land/Thien practitioner cultivates in the Thien manner, to cultivate both merit and insight and to progress as far along the dharma path as possible before this bodily form declines.
: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 » Fri Feb 09, 2018 5:22 am

Monlam Tharchin wrote:
Thu Feb 08, 2018 3:50 pm
It still requires an understanding that Amitabha exists just as much as we and this human realm do, otherwise there is no other-power to rely on.
I am currently reading the Lankavatara Sutra, which teaches that the distinction between self and other is ultimately illusory. In the Zen/Ch'an understanding of Pure Land practice, the duality between Amida and ourselves is also illusory.

Insisting that Amida either exists or does not exist, when seen in light of the Lankavatara Sutra, is an unnecessary dualistic distinction. The One Mind in all things just is, no matter what name or form we ascribe to it.

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Re: Pure Land teachings from a Zen perspective

Post by Dharma Flower » Fri Feb 09, 2018 5:34 am

Astus wrote:
Thu Feb 08, 2018 3:36 pm
Dharma Flower wrote:
Thu Feb 08, 2018 4:18 am
This is from the Surangama Sutra
That is not a reliable translation...
I am sorry if I quoted an unreliable translation. This is from Master Chin Kung speaking on the Surangama Sutra:
The “Chapter of the Perfect and
Complete Realization of Mahasthamaprapta” in the
Surangama Sutra tells us how Mahasthamaprapta and
fifty-two fellow bodhisattvas single-mindedly
concentrated on being mindful of Amitabha Buddha
and on chanting his name from the time they took
refuge until the time they attain Buddhahood. All they
relied on was the name of Amitabha Buddha—[as the
sutra says] “without the aid of any other expedient, the
mind will be opened.”
In other words, Pure Land practitioners do not
need to rely on any other method. From their initial
determination to seek enlightenment until their
attainment of Buddhahood, they only need to
concentrate on Buddha-name chanting—on being
mindful of Amitabha Buddha and on chanting his
name.
http://www.abrc.org.au/In%20One%20Lifet ... ddhism.pdf
According to Master Chin Kung above, the Surangama Sutra teaches that we can attain Buddhahood, in this lifetime, from mindfully reciting the name of Amida Buddha.

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Re: Pure Land teachings from a Zen perspective

Post by Dharma Flower » Fri Feb 09, 2018 5:45 am

Sentient Light wrote:
Thu Feb 08, 2018 4:13 pm
In Mainland Mahayana Buddhism, Pure Land and Chan/Thien are practiced together. Amitabha is recognized as our true self, our Buddha-nature, sure, but the first realization of this is more like satori -- it is a sudden form of awakening that necessitates further and continued practice. It is not supreme awakening in and of itself, but the assurance of rebirth in the Pure Land. The mind has been purified, so the Pure Land is manifest in the here-and-now. Upon break-up of the body, the practitioner is reborn among any of the grades of birth in Sukhavati, for continued practice and study under Amitabha Buddha. But, as Tan-luan would note, this birth is no-birth, as anatma has been already been realized.

After assurance of birth in the Pure Land, the Pure Land/Thien practitioner cultivates in the Thien manner, to cultivate both merit and insight and to progress as far along the dharma path as possible before this bodily form declines.
Thank you for sharing these things. I don't disagree with anything you are saying. The only thing I would add is that, in this body and in this lifetime, I would rather seek the non-dual experience of Amida as our true self than worry about what might or might not happen after we die.

These are the words of Rinzai master Hakuin, who encouraged lay people to recite the Nembutsu for realizing Amida as our true self:
All beings by nature are Buddha,
As ice by nature is water.
Apart from water there is no ice;
Apart from beings, no Buddha…
The Pure Land itself is near.
Those who hear this truth even once
And listen with a grateful heart,
Treasuring it, revering it,
Gain blessings without end…
Nirvana is right here, before our eyes,
This very place is the Lotus Land,
This very body, the Buddha.
I would rather seek the experience of this very place as the Lotus Land, and this very body as the Buddha, than worry about what might or might not happen after we die. This is not intended, however, to deny the existence of a Pure Land after death. It's simply a matter of one's personal focus, intent, and temperament.

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