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Pure Land Buddhism

BunksBunks Australia Veteran

Virtually unknown in the West, Pure Land Buddhism is the most practiced form of Buddhism in East Asia.

The tradition arose based on the three sutras below.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Longer_Sukhāvatīvyūha_Sūtra
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amitayurdhyana_Sutra
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shorter_Sukhāvatīvyūha_Sūtra

Worth a look if you’re interested. I find the chanting very soothing and energising.

http://www.purelandbuddhism.org/

ShoshinコチシカlobsteradamcrossleyNerida
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Comments

  • コチシカコチシカ Berlin, Germany Veteran

    Hey @Bunks

    So in a nutshell.. Pure Land Buddhism is a practice that guarantees you rebirth at the Pure Land where you will be able to meditate and live peacefully until reaching Nirvana. No? No chance of going back to any of the previous realms?

    Bunks
  • BunksBunks Australia Veteran

    @コチシカ said:
    Hey @Bunks

    So in a nutshell.. Pure Land Buddhism is a practice that guarantees you rebirth at the Pure Land where you will be able to meditate and live peacefully until reaching Nirvana. No? No chance of going back to any of the previous realms?

    Correct.

    According to the Sutras, The Buddha said that in this dharma declining age it is the only practIce beings can use in order to guarantee enlightenment.

    It’s too difficult for us to do it using self power so we can hook into the karma of Amitabha Buddha who is a Buddha living in the Western land of bliss.

    Easy to practice, difficult to believe!

    コチシカ
  • BunksBunks Australia Veteran

    Can easily be added to any practice you’re already undertaking.....

  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    Easy to practice, difficult to believe!

    Those who practice diligently find the Purelands come to them in this lifetime.

    I find the chanting very soothing and energising.

    eh ... yes! <3

    I likes easy.

    BunksVastmind
  • howhow Veteran Veteran

    Is there some other moment existing beyond this immediate one in which to do any practice?

    ShoshinBunks
  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran

    Deep but true...^^

  • BunksBunks Australia Veteran

    @how said:
    Is there some other moment existing beyond this immediate one in which to do any practice?

    No there isn’t.

  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran

    @Bunks said:
    I'm thinking it's time to change course again and choose the easy path as taught in the sutras I mentioned in the initial post.....I don't have the time and / or energy for hours of meditation etc required each day to make progress on the Theravadan path.

    Wish me luck...

    Is this a major change in direction @bunks ? It seems to me that in choosing ones next step on the path one is benefitted by looking at what works, ie what brings peace, equanimity. In the beginning almost any buddhist path brings progress, later on it becomes more difficult.

    But I don’t know very much about the Pure Land. I will have a look at the sutras when I have a chance.

    Bunks
  • BunksBunks Australia Veteran

    @Kerome said:

    @Bunks said:
    I'm thinking it's time to change course again and choose the easy path as taught in the sutras I mentioned in the initial post.....I don't have the time and / or energy for hours of meditation etc required each day to make progress on the Theravadan path.

    Wish me luck...

    Is this a major change in direction @bunks ? It seems to me that in choosing ones next step on the path one is benefitted by looking at what works, ie what brings peace, equanimity. In the beginning almost any buddhist path brings progress, later on it becomes more difficult.

    But I don’t know very much about the Pure Land. I will have a look at the sutras when I have a chance.

    It’s a realisation that self power isn’t enough. Other power may be required to find enlightenment 🙏🙏🙏

    Alex
  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran
    edited August 21

    @Bunks said:
    It’s a realisation that self power isn’t enough. Other power may be required to find enlightenment 🙏🙏🙏

    Its something I can certainly sympathise with. I often get the impression that our minds are supported and maintained through sleep by outside agencies. But best of luck with the pure land, I hope what you find enriches you and that you may also bring a little of it back here.

    I suppose it will mean changes to your practice, less meditation, more recitation. Perhaps also less searching and more devotion?

    Bunks
  • howhow Veteran Veteran

    from one zen perspective....
    Faith/ devotion and meditation each have their inherent practice pros & cons. Almost all the weaknesses found in any one of these solo practice forms can be tracked back to the degree to which a practitioner focuses on any one form to the exclusion of the others.

    A couple of common examples would be a meditation form that tends to allow a practitioner to become attached to some degree to self effort when selflessness is actually what is being called for...or
    a faith/devotional form that tends to allow a practitioner to become mired within selflessness when some self effort is really what is being called for.

    I think that the faults lie not with the practice forms in themselves but with teachers mistakenly thinking that any disclosure of the respective limitation of their practice amounts to a personal criticism of their practice form.

    Bunkslobsterコチシカ
  • VastmindVastmind Memphis, TN Veteran

    @Bunks 'Wish me luck...'

    Sending lots of luck your way.
    We're all just trying to take a hard life easy....find what works for you!! =)

    ShoshinBunks
  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran

    In times of crises Dukkha waves can rise up creating choppy seas making our raft journey somewhat unsteady...

    @Bunks whatever floats your raft and gets you safety to the other side...... doing no harm ....

    You don't need luck, just self motivation & dedication... May you find the skillful means to do so ...🙏 🙏🙏

    Bunks
  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    I found what @how said very useful. Practice above form. Practice without form may be too Tao for the average un-disciplinarian.

    It is as @Vastmind reminds us, we work or we flounder.

    Bunks
  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran

    I had a look at the links of the sutras which you posted @bunks, very interesting. It’s curious that out of so many thousands of sutras there are three like this, and that a whole popular tradition would grow up about them.

    Let us know how you get on, will you?

  • BunksBunks Australia Veteran

    @Kerome said:
    I had a look at the links of the sutras which you posted @bunks, very interesting. It’s curious that out of so many thousands of sutras there are three like this, and that a whole popular tradition would grow up about them.

    Let us know how you get on, will you?

    Yeah I agree. Some practitioners have stated that the Buddha encouraged folk in the Dhamma ending age (2000+ years after his death) to use this method to gain enlightenment as circumstances have slowly become more and more difficult for us to practice as time has gone on.

  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran

    It does seem to be a very much easier path than the Theravada way of meditation. Ten recitations of a name versus many years of internal effort for hours every day, hmm. But I’m not tempted, my path is the one of gradual steps, where each step adds a little more peace and insight.

    Bunkslobster
  • VimalajātiVimalajāti Whitby, Ontario Veteran
    edited August 23

    @Kerome said:
    It does seem to be a very much easier path than the Theravada way of meditation. Ten recitations of a name versus many years of internal effort for hours every day, hmm. But I’m not tempted, my path is the one of gradual steps, where each step adds a little more peace and insight.

    The easier it is to get into the Pure Land, the later the Pure Land Buddhism, they say. Late-stage Pure Land Buddhism, especially Japanese, is very similar to Protestant Christianity with its doctrines of salvation via irresistible grace and faith-alone (other-power only). Older Pure Land Buddhism is more similar to the Catholic and Eastern Orthodox notion of "co-energism," which is to say that you must work with God (i.e. "with" the other-power), as God (the other) cannot save you "against your will," so to speak.

  • BunksBunks Australia Veteran

    The three Pure Land Sutras explained

  • BunksBunks Australia Veteran

    Master Chin Kung speaks of the Dharma Ending Age in which we currently live...

  • ChoephalChoephal UK Explorer

    I wonder whether it isn’t “particle and wave”?
    Whether “self power” and “other power” in the end are not dual.
    It might come down to temperament and personality which route in we take..?

  • BunksBunks Australia Veteran

    @Choephal said:
    I wonder whether it isn’t “particle and wave”?
    Whether “self power” and “other power” in the end are not dual.
    It might come down to temperament and personality which route in we take..?

    Yeah, the Buddha provided many paths to enlightenment and I think the fact that we in the West can pick and choose is both a blessing and a curse.

    As you say, whatever appeals to us. And perhaps different paths will appeal at different stages of the journey.

    ChoephalhowlobsterNerida
  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran

    @lobster I always thought the Tibetans were particularly good at mumbling mantras... or is it a kind of deep singing, I can’t be sure.

  • ChoephalChoephal UK Explorer

    There is a whole Pure Land School within Tibetan Buddhism.
    Just as Zen was established first in the West before Chinese and Japanese Pure Land, in the same way way Tibetan “self power” schools arrived first (because they were Not Like Christianity).
    In fact Tibetan Pure Land is yet to reach these shores in any major way.
    Someone could be a pioneer.🙂

    BunksKerome
  • BunksBunks Australia Veteran

    There has been a surge in recent times of English speaking pure land students interpreting a lot of the masters teachings into English online.

    I’ll be interested to see how the West responds. Will the perceived similarity with Christianity be an advantage or not?

  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran
    edited September 2

    I didn’t know that @choephal, thank you. Do you know how Tibetan Pure Land fits within their four big schools, is it its own school?

  • ChoephalChoephal UK Explorer
    edited September 2

    Not so much a separate school @Kerome, as a practice which has adherents within all four main schools. Some Lamas teach it as their main practice.
    As yet it is little known among western Vajrayana students, as I suggested above I think this is because “faith” in “other power” is still seen as too close to theistic paths. I think this is a mistaken perception at several levels. But in terms of Buddhism, western Dharma is still in its infancy really.

    lobsterBunksコチシカNerida
  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran

    @Choephal said:
    But in terms of Buddhism, western Dharma is still in its infancy really.

    That’s interesting. Some time ago we had some discussions about western Buddhism, there were a few different views. Maybe you’d like to tell us how you see things evolving?

    lobster
  • ChoephalChoephal UK Explorer

    Well I suspect that everyone’s guess is as good as mine..🙂 But I imagine that those elements that are purely cultural, whether Tibetan, Chinese, Japanese, Thai, Korean, Sri Lankan, etc etc will lessen over several generations. What will remain is the essence.
    We already see some Buddhist groups using Buddha rupas with western features. This is not a surprise, nor is it racist.. western features could well include Afro American Buddha Rupas. Ancient Chinese rupas had Chinese features. Rupas from Ghandarva had ancient Greek faces.
    Facial features are fairly superficial, but symbolic of a search for meaning in a different cultural setting..maybe.

    Keromelobster
  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran

    Thanks @choephal... most of what I observe around me is Buddhist temples which serve the communities of emigrant easterners. Movements like Thich Nhat Hanh’s Wake Up are more aimed at young people but seem to have more westerners involved, and in some places there is a mixture. These aren’t really temples though, more meditation spaces where people come together.

    But I think streams such as secular Buddhism still have some ways to go to define themselves. I feel Buddhism is a rich beginning from which different things will sprout, whenever it has come to a new country it has adapted itself into something slightly different. Chinese Buddhism is different from Korean Buddhism which is different from Vietnamese Buddhism.

    The danger I believe for western Buddhism is to lose the heartful feel that the eastern flavours have brought. There is tremendous freedom to adapt, but that means we can find ourselves going in the direction of an even more dry scientific direction.

    ChoephalBunkslobster
  • ChoephalChoephal UK Explorer

    Good points...

  • BunksBunks Australia Veteran

    Who is Amitabha Buddha?

    “I like to answer that question with another question: who are you?

    And I think it’s a question that many of us need to ask in our Buddhist journey. Who are we? What are we here for? What is our main purpose?

    And if we can plumb the depths of that question, then we begin to meet Amitabha in our lives. And I think we would be surprised to find that we....you!....are Amitabha. I am Amitabha. Amitabha (nature) is each and every one of us.....”

    Venerable Zhi Sheng

    Namo Amitoufo 🙏🏻🙏🏻🙏🏻❤️❤️❤️☀️☀️☀️

    Shoshin1lobsterChoephal
  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran

    I have heard from others that the Pure Land can be quite a deep path, even though it appears superficially simple.

  • BunksBunks Australia Veteran

    @Kerome said:
    I have heard from others that the Pure Land can be quite a deep path, even though it appears superficially simple.

    I am slowly discovering this to be true @Kerome

    https://buddhaweekly.com/profound-simplicity-of-amituofo-why-nianfo-or-nembutsu-is-a-deep-complete-practice-with-innumerable-benefits-and-cannot-be-dismissed-as-faith-based-w-full-amitabha-sutra/

    lobster
  • howhow Veteran Veteran
    edited September 14

    I don't view some particular paths as deep or others as shallow. ......only that any of us, in any fleeting moment, can make whatever path that we are treading upon, as deep or as shallow a practice as we are presently willing to.

    lobsterBunksChoephalコチシカ
  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran

    I prefer to reserve judgment, when others who I know to be practised and knowledgeable say that it is a deeper practice then it looks then I am inclined to believe them. What I know of faith is that it can be simple (my grandfather) or deep (many Christian mystics).

    I’m not sure if any of us can make a path infinitely variable, most paths do seem to have a certain degree of intellectual depth, and a certain focus on practice (or lack thereof). So in some dimensions they seem to be limited.

  • howhow Veteran Veteran

    Unfortunately all paths have their detractors and cheerleaders.
    The three main divisions of pathways...Intellectual/ practice based and faith- devotional.... will appeal to each of us according to our respective inclinations and yet a where a good student seems to be able to thrive within any of them, a poor student will not.

    KeromelobsterBunksChoephal
  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran
  • There is some things I think you should know about the Pure Land School.
    The patriarchs of this school divided Shakyamuni Buddha's teachings into two categories. The first category is the Pure Land teachings. The Pure Land teachings consist of the three Pure Land sutras called "the Buddha Infinite Life", "Meditation on the Buddha Infinite Life", and "Amida Sutras".
    The second category is the Sacred Way teachings. The Sacred Way teachings are all other Buddhist sutras.
    The Pure Land teachings are said to be the easy to practice way. The Sacred Way teachings are said to be the difficult to practice way. The Pure Land teachings are considered to be a way to gain salvation through Amida's power, and Sacred Way teachings are salvation through personal power. Pure Land practitioners consider the easy to practice way teachings to be superior to the Sacred Way teachings. They consider the Sacred Way teachings to be inferior.
    Practitioners are encouraged to abandon, discard, and ignore the sacred way teachings.
    There is one important thing you must understand.
    Shakyamuni Buddha expounded five periods of doctrines. The Buddha divided his teachings into two categories. These categories are the provisional teachings, and the true teachings. The patriarchs of this school only embrace the provisional teachings and ignore the true ones which were taught later. Because of this, most people have been led to only believe in one Buddha. Only Amida. All other Buddhas are cast aside and only the three Pure Land Sutras are read.
    Something else that you must know is that we are in a age called the latter day of the law. The last of the three periods following Shakyamuni's death. A time when his teachings have fallen into confusion and will lose its power to help people gain enlightenment.
    Great Collection Sutra sutra predicts that it will be an “age of quarrels and disputes,” when monks will disregard the precepts and feud constantly among themselves, when erroneous views will prevail, and when Shakyamuni’s teachings will “be obscured and lost.”
    When this school's patriarchs urged people to abandon the Sacred Way teachings, he lead people astray. They turned their back on passage in the three Pure Land Sutra's that involves Amida's vow to save people except for those who slander the law.

  • Seems like a plan @Bunks

    Bunks
  • BunksBunks Australia Veteran

    The Sutra on the Buddha of Infinite Life Part 1

    Nerida
  • BunksBunks Australia Veteran

    The Sutra on the Buddha of Infinite Life Part 2

    Nerida
  • BunksBunks Australia Veteran

    The Sutra on the Visualisation of the Buddha of Infinite Life

    Nerida
  • BunksBunks Australia Veteran

    The Buddha speaks of Amitabha Sutra

    Nerida
  • NeridaNerida Denmark Explorer

    Thanks for these links @Bunks

    Bunks
  • BunksBunks Australia Veteran

    The 18th vow of Amitabha Buddha is the most important

  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran
    edited October 23

    I’ve listened to parts of these, and thought they had a somewhat mythological flavour. The language it uses calls up a certain devotional impulse... say when all the Buddhas are said to be protective of something, obviously we are meant to follow their example and see this thing as precious. There is a certain motivational quality to the speech, but whether it makes sense is something you can only tell with insight.

    To me, they don’t immediately give that sense of recognition that I had when I started to read Papaji for instance, but that’s just me, obviously your mileage may vary. What I am trying to say is you will know what is right when you see it, as long as you don’t ignore what your heart is telling you.

    BunksAlex
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