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Chinese Pureland

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    • #2838
      Shoyo Fernandes

      I have been focussing on the unity of Buddhism rather than the difference. However, is there a difference between Chinese Pureland and Amida-shu?

    • #2839

      Hi Shoyo,

      Thanks for your question. I’m just commenting to say I have seen it and will give some time to it next week.

    • #2847

      Hi Shyoyo,

      I’m not a Chinese Pureland Buddhist – so do bear that in mind in my answer.

      In Amida Shu Buddhism we are not the Buddha. The Buddha is infinite in scope, and we are finite, fallible and vulnerable. The  Buddha is the moon, and we occasionally remember to look up at the moon and see that its light is already illuminating us.

      Sometimes, when our own ‘ego lights’ darken, others look at us and see the moonlight clearly reflected in our eyes, and we may be as Buddhas for them. In our own hearts we know that we are foolish beings. Our core foolishness is thinking of ourselves as more (or less, but usually more) than we are.

      Nembutsu then is sometimes a prayer to remind us to look up to the moon, and sometimes a thank you that we are already illuminated by it’s light.

      In Amida Shu nembutsu is not about the collection of merit or the transformation of karma, we are relying on the unending merit of the Buddha which is already lifting us into the Pure Land. Karma is often transformed, but the great awakening happens in the midst of karma, and does not free us completely from its grasp. The Buddha loves us just as we are.

      I sometimes have the impression that Chinese Pureland Buddhism is about working towards becoming Amida, and that the nembutsu is a cleansing or purifying act.

      Do let me know if you have any more questions,



      P.S. When I say ‘in Amida Shu’ what I really mean is, ‘this is my understanding of what Dharmavidya teaches’.



    • #3411

      It’s only in Japan that Pure Land split off into separate schools (Jodo Shu and Shinshu). In China and Korea (and presumably Vietnam as well), Pure Land Buddhism is simply incorporated into standard Buddhism (chan in China, seon in Korea, but better known by the Japanese pronuncation Zen). I think the teaching about becoming Amitabha is influenced by Zen.

      There were Chinese Pure Land Patriarchs such as Tanluan, Daochuo and Shandao, who are mentioned by Shinran Shonin in his Shoshinge (Hymn of the True Faith). I have not read their writings so I don’t know much about them.

      Here is a contemporary Chinese Pure Land school based on the teachings of Shandao.

      • This reply was modified 1 year, 2 months ago by Michael.
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