Deliverance while still living

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This topic contains 9 replies, has 3 voices, and was last updated by Profile photo of Rev. Satya Robyn (temple host) Rev. Satya Robyn (temple host) 3 weeks, 1 day ago.

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  • #1804
    Profile photo of Kim
    Kim
    Participant

    Master Huijing’s Dharma Words about Faith in and Acceptance to Amitabha’s Deliverance:

    “We depend on Amitabha Buddha, not ourselves, for aspiration for rebirth in the Land of Bliss, as well as for reaching the realm of the Land of Bliss. We merely do in accordance with Amitabha Buddha’s wish – Amitabha advises us to recite his name, so do we. Therefore, our responsibility is to recite, and Amitabha’s responsibility is to receive and guide us for rebirth in the Land of Bliss. Being reborn in the Land of Bliss and attaining Buddhahood there, we depend solely on the power of Amitabha Buddha.”

    Can someone suggest where I could find teachings of the PL masters where deliverance during this lifetime instead of rebirth after passing away is adressed? What does that mean in PL buddhism?

    PL buddhism is based on mahayana view and bodhicitta. Still I wonder how is it exactly how perceptional shifts, i.e. insights into selflessness are viewed in PL.

    Thank you. Namo Amitabha.

     

     

    #1812

    Hello Kim, thank you for this question. I have forwarded it to Dharmavidya and will let you know if he responds, and also if anyone else has any ideas please do add them below.

    My own take on this isn’t derived from PL teachers but from my own experience – I always ask myself, ‘does this allow me to be more kind/give me more faith?’ and if so I deduce that it is a helpful thing to do. I don’t find it personally helpful to focus on my own deliverance as who knows what that would look like/feel like or whether I’ll ever achieve it, but I do trust that in the LONG run everything will be okay – Amitabha will look after me – and so I can rely on this settled faith and continue going out into the world and offering what I can. I like the idea of creating little Purelands around us right now – the garden here in the temple, our services, the way we arrange objects on our shrines… I’ll leave the rest in the Buddha’s hands. Hope you are well _/\_

    #1815
    Profile photo of Kim
    Kim
    Participant

    My two cents.

    I’m trying to figure out what PL buddhists believe or how they view things, here in relation to attainments or insights. I’d guess “deliverance” in buddhism at large would have the meaning of extinquishing dukkha, confusion caused by a belief of a self-entity, not merely getting to some heavenly realm after death.

    Pure Land is a branch of (mahayana) buddhism which is largely based on insight into the selfless nature of mind. Here sudden awakening was discussed. So if insights (shinjin, such as the initial awakening of realising that our self or “me” is an illusion) are part of PL buddhism, is there somesort of a map of consecutive insights after the initial one? Does PL buddhism use path maps or some other similar system?

    Another thing I am trying to figure out what bompu actually is and how it mixes with the mentioned attainments.

    Thanks. Namo Amitabha.

     

    #1821
    Profile photo of David Brazier
    David Brazier
    Participant

    Buddhas create Pure Lands. Amitabha is a Buddha. Amitabha’s Pure Land is called Sukhavati. Those who have faith in that Buddha hope to be received into that Pure Land. As Amitabha has promised to receive all who have faith, as soon as one does turn to Amitabha, whether in this or any other life, one is already received as a citizen of Sukhavati, even if one cannot go there immediately. As Pureland Buddhists, therefore, we live as citizens of Sukhavati whatever realm we may be travelling in. This is our version of the bodhisattva path. We have our spiritual passport.  Thus we naturally live to the best of our ability in accordance with that identity, helping all Buddhas to generate Pure Lands wherever we happen to be.

    A Pure Land is a domain where the conditions for awakening are optimum. We hope to have such conditions and we hope that the Buddhas will use us in their great work of creating such conditions for others. Awakening does not eliminate dukkha, it transforms the way that it is experienced so that it becomes a doorway onto the eightfold path rather than an obstruction. There is no particular fixed map of consecutive insights. Where these exist in Buddhism they are upaya – skilful means – within the framework of this or that self-power approach. However, we trust that the Buddhas will open our eyes in whatever way is best for us according to our need, as and when. This means that each person’s path is unique. We all have the same faith but we experience it each according to our need.

    Since we rely upon the Buddhas and especially upon Amitabha, we do not need to understand such abstruse concepts as the selfless nature of mind and so on, though we take it that all Buddhist teachings do indicate reality. It is not by we ourselves mastering such doctrines that salvation comes. Rather it is a grace, a free gift, that comes especially to bombu beings such as ourselves. It is thus more useful to become directly aware of one’s bombu nature – one’s vulnerability to uncontrollable impulses, proneness to error, and general foolishness – than to seek for philosophical understanding. There is nothing wrong with such understanding, but , on the one hand, one needs to guard against falling into arrogance and, on the other, there is a danger of being sidetracked into intellectualism as a substitute for real practice.

    The fundamental practice is to call the name of Amitabha and to hear Amitabha’s call. All other practices are auxilliary to that. This calling is also a way of “making offerings to all Buddhas”. To call one Buddha is to call all Buddhas. Those who live in the Pure Land spend their time making offerings to innumerable Buddhas. Thus our activity as citizens of Sukhavati is to call the Buddha’s name and make offerings to all Buddhas. These are two ways of saying the same thing.

    On the Pureland path, insights are by-products, gifts of the Buddhas. We do not seek them. There are no techniques for attaining them. When they happen one is grateful, but they bring responsibility. We trust that we will be given what we need at the right time.

    The correct basic attitude in Pureland is gratitude. The Dharma is already in the world. The Buddhas are doing their work. Our rebirth is already fortunate. When we say Namo Amida Bu we are saying thank you. Namo Amida Bu.

     

     

     

    #1823
    Profile photo of Kim
    Kim
    Participant

    Hello David, and others who might reply.

    Thanks for pitching in 🙂

    >David: As Pureland Buddhists, therefore, we live as citizens of Sukhavati whatever realm we may be travelling in. This is our version of the bodhisattva path. We have our spiritual passport.

    – That is a nice way of putting it.

    >one is already received as a citizen of Sukhavati, even if one cannot go there immediately… A Pure Land is a domain where the conditions for awakening are optimum.

    – So if we say this in another way… If one “cannot go there immediately” means that one does not have the conscious recognition of actually being in Amitabha or his Pure Land, while being in connection with him/field of awareness that has the name “Amitabha” (after chanting nembutsu or praying to him)?

    >Awakening does not eliminate dukkha, it transforms the way that it is experienced so that it becomes a doorway onto the eightfold path rather than an obstruction. There is no particular fixed map of consecutive insights.

    – All right.

    >Since we rely upon the Buddhas and especially upon Amitabha, we do not need to understand such abstruse concepts as the selfless nature of mind and so on, though we take it that all Buddhist teachings do indicate reality. It is not by we ourselves mastering such doctrines that salvation comes.

    – I certainly don’t think that realising ourselves to be buddhas can be done through doctrinal study alone but not to take an extreme stand, understanding basic concepts of buddhism, such as selflessness (anatman, sunyata) can only be helpful. I know that good explanations of what “emptiness” actually means are scarce but with understanding what absence of self means as an actual experience, that is the core of PL buddhism as well…

    >A Pure Land is a domain where the conditions for awakening are optimum.

    – …I think that understanding this point, the basic buddhist view of no-self, actually assists us deluded beings to receive the help and grace of Amitabha and other buddhas for us to have that first or consecutive insights. Right?

    >There is nothing wrong with such understanding, but , on the one hand, one needs to guard against falling into arrogance and, on the other, there is a danger of being sidetracked into intellectualism as a substitute for real practice.

    – Oh certainly. My point is that theory, combined with practice, can and does help.

    >On the Pureland path, insights are by-products, gifts of the Buddhas. We do not seek them.

    – Buddhism grew out of hinduism (or whatever it was called back in the day) because of understanding of the insight/vipashyana-principle. I would like to ask a pragmatical question: How common are insights with PL practitioners? How often awakenings do occur? Here it is important to distinquish other, all kinds of experiences from insights which are not the same. If we think of full deliverance, realising our own innate buddhahood, then of course insights into the selfless nature of our mind are signposts along the path and not the ultimate thing but they make a difference because through awakening insights, we can be sure we are on the right track. Perhaps that is something a PL-buddhist, a bompu is not concerned or interested about.

    >insights…There are no techniques for attaining them.

    – With all due respect, this is not the case. There are definite techniques and practices to produce a whole range of insights, from sudden awakening onwards.

    >…it is a grace, a free gift…we trust that the Buddhas will open our eyes in whatever way is best for us according to our need, as and when. This means that each person’s path is unique. We all have the same faith but we experience it each according to our need…The fundamental practice is to call the name of Amitabha and to hear Amitabha’s call… This calling is also a way of “making offerings to all Buddhas”.

    – Beautiful*

     

    #1825

    Namo Amida Bu, thanks Dharmavidya, thanks Kim for this conversation.

    Kim – as you are new to this community I just wanted to make sure you knew that Dharmavidya (David) is the founder and head of the Order of Amida Shu and so his view is also (broadly) concurrent with the view of Order members within the Order.

    Speaking for myself, I may occasionally have a different view, but I respect Dharmavidya’s lifetime of spiritual experience and learning, and I am deeply grateful for his insights which always lead me in the right direction.

    Deep bow _/\_

     

    #1826
    Profile photo of Kim
    Kim
    Participant

    Hey Satya.

    Yes, I know who David is. I actually invited him to speak at a local meditation festival planned for this Summer because I felt he is a wonderful person, teacher and speaker (the event unfortunately got cancelled). I think the spirit in the Amida-shu is exceptionally great, open minded and allowing based on what I have seen here and at online videos.

    I hope my message/s are not seen as controversial. I am a pragmatical buddhist which means that to me there are no taboos, all questions and views, even those that differ, are allowed and welcome. By saying what I say I do not mean disrespect in any way 🙂

    I am not saying that you, Satya, said that differing views aren’t allowed here but I felt like clarifying this anyway.

    Namo Amitabha

     

    #1827

    Thank you Kim – that’s helpful – yes, all questions and views allowed & welcome. We do have a tradition within Amida Shu (and of course within most of Buddhism) of treating our seniors and teachers with respect and so I wanted to make sure that you knew of the hierarchy within the Shu and of this valuable part of our culture. Dharmavidya is certainly not averse to some robust debate! Namo Amida Bu, deep bow. (any news on the job?)

    #1829
    Profile photo of Kim
    Kim
    Participant

    I was raised in Japanese martial and fine arts, plus have lived in a few temples in Japan so I know and appreciate sensei/sempai-kohai, senior-junior-hierarchy very well. Having said that I think it is common sense and a responsibility always to express helpful information. As a teacher myself I always recommend students to do this. The moment I stopped my students speak openly (which enables me to learn as well), would be the moment I started growing in love and wisdom.

    No news yet, fingers crossed!

    #1830

    Yes, censorship or a lack of openness is never a good thing. In that spirit, glad we could have this conversation.

    Will keep my fingers crossed too – let us know when you hear!

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