Christianity or Pure Land?

Site-Wide Activity Forums Shrine Room Buddhist Q&A Christianity or Pure Land?

This topic contains 5 replies, has 4 voices, and was last updated by  Andrew Cheffings (temple host) 3 months ago.

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  • #3167


    Hello all. In the same way Pure Land mirrors Zen, I think it mirrors Christianity well, which I believe attests to Pure Lands spiritual breadth and Western/Eastern accessibility. I’ve had a very rough time in my life recently and struggled with my pure land practice. After talking to many people who are Christians I decided to give it a shot. I have read the book of John, some psalms, and pray a lot. While I do believe I am communicating with something, I do not know if it is strictly Christian. I entered this new practice hoping for a more apparent faith – a revelation I lacked from Amida per se. And while Christianity had helped me open up to a wider spiritual perspective, the deeper I go the more I find myself yearning for Pure Land simplicity. I also do not enjoy the exclusivity Christianity has. While I enjoy the figure of Jesus and what he represents I am turned off by the religions larger esoteric knowledge.

    Both paths have helped me. I continue to pray and say the nembutsu. While I generally find Pure Land a better fit, I think I find something in Jesus I could only find in Him. Culturally, Christisnity is easier to practice as well. However, I do not like to make such huge claims on metaphysics, morality, and judgement which Christianity begets.

    I like Pure Lands view of bombo but I find it hard to really connect with Amida personally. I need help, we all do, and I know Amida can help me but I just don’t know how to reach out. If he is a celestial Buddha is he capable of intervening in our lives? And are is Bodhisattvas capable too, like Avalokiteshvara?

    I think I find good things in both practices, but worry it is a matter of “only one right answer” and I will have to pick Jesus or Amida over the other… I have looked up interpretations of Jesus as a buddha/Bodhisattva which helps in some ways


    Thank you

  • #3169

    Richard Ollier

    Hi Xavier,

    Thanks for posting this. It is so relevant to many of us.

    I’m no expert, and not in any position to pontificate, but my (very personal!) view and sincere advice (for what it’s worth) would be ‘Just love Jesus and Amida and any embodiment of goodness without worrying too much about what to “believe” or what they might “mean”.’ In my experience, if you practice like this, the difficulties just drop away. Concentrate on ‘just loving’ as your core practice (this is what nembutsu can be) rather than on thinking or believing etc. You can love Jesus and Amida and Kuan Yin etc whether or not they ‘exist’: it’s your loving their ‘otherness’ that will make them real in your life! Love is not either or but both.

    Love and Namo Amida Bu,


    • #3172


      Thank you. This did help. I read in a Pure Land story somewhere of a practioner who brought his statue of Amida outside to enjoy the breeze; that enlightenment knows no personification or non-personification.


      I got this pertinent article today from Tricycle and I think the last quote is the principle Amida’s vows rest on.

      “If it were not possible to free the heart from entanglement, I would not teach you to do so. Just because it is possible to free the heart, there arise the teachings of the dharma of liberation, offered open-handedly for the welfare of all beings.”

      I am also beginning to read Kant’s Religon, it helps to bring these concepts to practical and reasonable terms, such as with his version Summum Bonum. I think it is interesting his ideas are not incumbent on a legalistic God, and I think are equally applicable to enlightenment and Buddha nature.

  • #3170

    Johnathan Robertson

    Thank you Richard. Well said! Namo Amida Bu!

    • #3173


      Namo Amida Butsu indeed

  • #3186

    Jesus did say some wondrous things. Prayers of the Cosmos by Neil Douglas-Klotz is a lovely book with translations of key Jesus texts from the original Aramaic rather than from Greek translations. I know Jesus has been interpreted in the orthodox Christian faith in a deeply metaphysical way but I don’t get that in Jesus’ words myself, rather than in words about Jesus’ words. I certainly wonder if I’m on the right path or heading towards perdition myself. Some seem sure of the answer, others can’t say, a few tell me it doesn’t matter, it can all just dissolve away, and maybe it can. Namo/u Amida Bu/tsu… om amideva hrih… may the Lord make me truly thankful… the ‘what?’ (that’s Daishin Morgan of the OBC)

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