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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
Same @paulyso. I try to to lots of little things during my day to help people. I hand out compliments like candy. Compassion motivates me a lot more than liberation.
Many Pure Land Buddhists believe once they take refuge in Amida they will achieve liberation after this life. In all honesty I don't concern myself with that... the afterlife is unknowable. I guess I'll know if I'm liberated or not once I die. But I wouldn't bet on it. I believe Amida is with me always as per the sutras say. So he/she/they will be with me in death. Ispo facto.
If it ends up not being that way, I still wouldn't consider it a waste to focus on a compassionate figure.
Thoughts by themselves do not seem to cause any trouble. But when emotions are thrown in, the mind starts to bother us.
I would disagree. I have experienced intrusive thoughts which have no basis in my current personal reality. They intrude into the mind unprompted, extremely negative and violent. In these instances my thoughts are the basis of my emotion...arising from a psychological imbalance. I was taken to the ER once because of them.
my mental illness is still there no matter what I do. It is difficult because many problems of thought and emotion are rooted in psychological/chemical issues outside of my control. I work hard and get marginal results that never add up
I have been frustrated lately. It is hard to conflate practice with mental illness. I feel at times I am too mentally ill to follow the dharma. I know this isn't true, but it is what I feel nonetheless.
I am going to look for Dharma pertaining to depression in particular. This might be a start
"art comforts the disturbed
and disturbs the comfortable"
Now that I have a stronger grasp of Buddhist basics I am thinking about different concentrations. Of course I want to learn from all. But I want to find one which gives me a visceral experience, something which resonates deep inside of me. I feel like I will be ready for this moment soon, but I need the final push.
A few months ago in therapy I said I felt ready to do a lot of things, but something invisible was holding me back. She said it was my subconscious. After a lot of reflection I know this can only be true. I see my subconscious pain lined up before me.
With a past of mental illness I would like something more grounding than scripture or meditation. I have always been attracted to the devotional practice of pure land. Today was my day off. I watched several YouTube videos on pure land sutras and ideas. I felt very calm and at peace, especially when I listed to someone describe their experience of nembutsu.
I feel like I am ready to take another step in my life. Every few years is benchmarked with another crisis; this time I want to start with a good foundation. I believe a focus on Amida Buddha would help me love and accept everything, like an instrument of sorts. Plus I am relieved at the idea of a practice made specifically for times of "dharmic decline"
I have never much looked into Zen or any other sect (too lazy ) but I would like to hear your thoughts on a devotional practice. As far as I am aware many here are Zen or Non Affiliated Buddhists