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Not yet? Break 'the self' regularly!
“If you want to kill yourself, kill what you don’t like. I had an old self that I killed. You can kill yourself too, but that doesn’t mean you got to stop living" -- Vargas
I generally use writing and art to explore my self and mind. Both are usually violent, grotesque, and self-sabotaging. Even as I currently work through my mental illness and try to get better my style of art hasn't changed... It's just plain fun. I am reminded of Tarantino... and Tantric deities
It is hard for lots of people to accept dark parts of themselves. So we separate and abstract those things...blow them out of proportion so we can look at them clearly and recognize their futility
@Kerome significant insight can be found through spirits. I think you are missing the point. It it not a mind issue but a heart issue. Buddhism is not just about the mind. It is also about loving kindness. My mind is not loving or kind. I can't tame a mind affected by something literally out of my control. So I focus on the heart. I let go of myself and find love in Amida Buddha, who is known as a cosmic Buddha. Infinite light and love. That is his name; that is what he is. Is he real? Guatama Buddha said Amida was a monk named Dharmakara. Guatama also said he himself was not the first Buddha. Another Mahayana distinction is the idea of the Trikaya. Which Amida and Gautama represent.
When you reach the end of what you should know, you will be at the beginning of what you should sense. -- Kahlil Gibran
Not sure about robes. Pure Land is for the common people, lay and monk, foolish and wise alike. I've never been to any Buddhist temple. A dress code would surprise me. But if you have robes already, why not wear them? I'm sure many temple websites have info.
@seeker242 thanks for the reference material
@vinlyn I have heard quite a few Buddhists purport that Buddhism is a more scientific religion than Christianity. Okay, then let's be scientific about it. Otherwise, like another thread asked -- is Buddhism just like all the rest?
Religiosity is declining at a rapid pace. Especially with technology as it is nowadays. But do the two have to be mutually exclusive? I read the Scientific American, the Astronomy magazine, and watch tons of documentaries. I like knowledge and learning and knowing...but when it comes to the universe as a whole and my part in it, my vehicle of choice is the nembutsu.
Just because the F-word has a bad rap in Christianity does not mean it is totally harmful. It can be utilized mindfully. Based on my own experience this practice does generate merit, just in different forms. Amida Buddha is real and present throughout the whole universe. He is in me and you and everything is in him.
Lifted from the book "Just As You Are" by Kaspalita Thompson and Satya Robin.
Buddhism appeals to the scientific minds in the West as it can be intellectual, analytical, and rational in approach but this is only one side of the coin. Buddhism is not only head, it has a heart. The Pureland school celebrates and studies the heart of the Buddha which is wise, emotional, creative, and kind. Some styles of Buddhism run the risk of overemphasizing the practice of meditation which can reinforce concepts of self-power and hierarchy.
This heart is what the nembutsu taps into. Pureland Buddhism is an acceptance of our inherently limited nature as human beings. We will never know everything; we will always be ignorant to the workings of this universe. So it doesn't matter how much we know; instead it is how we feel. And I feel very calm within the nembutsu.
I am not attempting to advocate; just offering insight from the tradition I have found home in
@Carlita I replied on my phone earlier so kept it short. Avalokiteshvara (how long it took to memorize that spelling!) is the original Sanskrit name of the bodhisattva.
It is interesting that deities take on different forms in Buddhism, as compared to Christianity where things remain pretty constant. Yet Buddhism has proliferated in different cultures and countries, whereas Christianity was monopolized/canonized by a select few. In Buddhism, the deities were interpreted differently to serve the needs of the people and culture. Is this bad? Maybe. But without 2500 years of cultural influence Buddhism would not have survived today. Everything needs revitalization and acclimation or it will not subsist. Of course, it may be a matter of Mahayana versus Theravada.
Buddhist deities are real in what they represent and in their merit. How do we measure ourselves in this ephemeral existence? By the merit of our actions, not the conditions of the self. I know the merits of Avalokiteshvara/Kannon/Kwan Yin, though I do not know their conditions of self; but that is regardless. I know the merits of Amida, though I do not know his condition of self. This ignorance is put aside in Pureland practice; don't focus on what you do/do not know, focus on what you feel intrinsically.
I feel love.
I just got a book today. "Just As You Are: Buddhism For Foolish Beings"
It is a Pure Land book. I have just started reading but much of the content is related to this discussion. Whether or not Buddhism is a religion, whether or not it has room for God(s), whether or not spirits are real, whether or not any of it matters, or helps, at all.
Whatever helps us to love ourselves and love others is enough.
Is Buddhism just like the others? If we use it as an excuse to feel like we are on a higher, better, more right path, then yes it is indeed.
If we use it to generate love and peace, then yes it is indeed also.
Buddhism isn't just an ontological debate....it is all around the world. For good and bad.
Superiority, clarity, morality. It means nothing. How can we assume Buddhism is "better than" when right now thousands of Muslims are being ejected and killed in the Buddhist majority country of Myanmar? http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2017/09/buddhist-protesters-block-aid-muslim-rohingya-170921062521668.html
What does it matter who is right and who is wrong? As long as we are secure in our own practices, that is enough.
Namo Amida Butsu
As a Pure Lander I cannot say much but I will tell you the hindrances I've found in my practice:
Balancing my relationship with Amida
Keeping my moment of shinjin
Mis/understanding the 3 sutras
Not letting certain parts bleed into my every day concept of reality
These hindrances are also my greatest gains from Pure Land.
With all due respect Zen has always felt picky to me. That is why I respond to Pure Land so well. I recently ordered a book for "foolish" practioners and will be getting it tomorrow. So excited.
It depends on your nature. Some people need more structure and regimine and thus reap gainful benifits. Others see the suffering in this and exit the cycle of self perfection altogether; yet we in the Pure Lands can be lazy cushioned by Amida
NAMO AMIDA BUDDHA