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Pure land buddhism is based on expedient means for foolish beings in a time of little dharma. In ancient times it was much easier for people to find religious/spiritual connections. nowadays that is definitely not so. we are fettered by many negative distractions and systems. the Japanese use the word "bombo," spiritual idiots.
Amida Buddha is a shortcut for me to achieve peace and happiness. the other night i lit incense before my altar and meditated with mala beads. very formal, counting my beads, kept trying to go back to the breath. i just got agitated, frustrated, and sad. my mind did not settle and it was painful as the more i wanted it to calm the more uncontrollable it became... so I started thinking of the nembutsu, counting my beads. then i ditched the beads and began chanting and bowing to the buddha statue. i was able to step out of myself and join something larger. maybe that is shinijn. in pure land text it is said that when we "do" the nembutsu we should think of amida buddha's mind and our mind as one.
amida is also known as inifnite life and light. he is all around us, he is everything and everyone. the beautiful thing about pure land is no matter who i am or where i am all i have to do is open myself up to what is already there for me, and i will be accepted.
this is another path for me that has helped me at my worst and i have found numerous benefits from it. it is largely based on the trikaya, which you know, is coincidentally another holy trinity. but what is the problem with that?
no one path is better than another. but different paths can be better for individual persons. all paths have helped thousands upon thousands of people, each have their own traditions, and all lead back to the root of buddhism: wisdom and compassion.
also, happy thanksgiving!
In therapy I was discussing my "life script" and how it has lead to a self-fulfilling cycle of subjugation and self hatred. It was relieving to talk about. There are a few giant boulders keeping me from finally believing in myself. But I'm just chipping away at them day by day. I never had any experiences standing up for myself when I was young so I honestly do not know how to do it.
I feel a lot better. I know I can do great things and there's a lot out there for me. It's just the first step into that process that is so daunting. I want to do things to further myself, but I just can't get past the initial fear and confusion... I guess I don't know what to do so I do nothing. I don't blame myself anymore, I just know it is a fact. Courage is not the absence of fear; it's overcoming fear.
I am very interested in the Pure Land term "bombo" which in harsh words is "spiritual idiot." We are all bombo, we will never not be bombo, and despite that we can still find shinjin (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shinjin). In shinjin, bombo and Amida Buddha co-exist as one. The nembutsu (NAMU AMIDA BUTSU) is me, bombo, calling out to Amida Buddha. Amida answers immediately, because that is the power of his Primal Vow. If I keep the nembutsu in mind Amida is always with me. And even when I do not keep him in mind, he is still waiting for me in the Pure Land. All I must do is open my arms to him and listen closely.
I think bombo is the greatest equalizer. We are all bombo, whether rich or poor or genius or stupid. Amida also lets everyone into his pure land, regardless of their karma or condition. Everyone is the same to Amida, no one is better or worse than another...if Amida feels that way, and I do the nembutsu, then I will slowly learn that too.
I am going to take time for myself and try to work on my esteem and self love. I think if I did this (improving my bombo condition) and also heightened my practice (shinjin) I would believe in Amida and myself enough to do anything... It seems wistful now but I will get there
I searched for God and found only myself. I searched for myself and found only God.
@Kerome your mention of Universalists is interesting. There is a church in my area I want to check out. Upon reading their website they very much seem to be more concerned with compassion and embracing our differences rather than ignoring them or at worst substantiating them. I think it would be good to put the (Buddhist?) intellectual work I've been doing to practice with this church (multi faith Sangha?).
I think all these issues stem from teachings being lost in translation due to societal influences. When you cut that away as the Universalists have tried a purer form of love is very obvious. Isn't this what all original religious intent comes down to? Due to religions larger than life aspects there is a certain awe and beauty from which love naturally grows. The core teachings which focus on looking outside of ourselves all ring the same.
"My religion is very simple. My religion is kindness." - Dalai Lama
I will pray to medicine buddha and dedicate merit. He has 12 yaksha warriors to help. Send compassion and support. I empathise with you and hope everything goes well. I hope you find comfort in family And friends. And I will send gratitude to the nurses and doctors. Medicine works miracles every day now. But the greatest miracle will always be the strength and capacity of the human body.
good energy encourages healing physically. I always tell myself other humans have faced worse than this and survived. If I am also human just like them, then I too can survive.
“To the Bhagawan with equal compassion for all
Whose name when just heard dispels lower realms’ suffering
Dispeller of disease and the three poisons
I prostrate to Medicine Buddha Lapis Light.”
tayatha om bekandze bekandze maha bekandze radza samudgate soha"
Namo Amida Butsu