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Meditation in Pureland Buddhism?

Site-Wide Activity Forums Shrine Room Buddhist Q&A Meditation in Pureland Buddhism?

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    • #423

      Just copying and pasting this from the activity feed, for future reference:

      I was just wondering; how large a role, if any, does sitting meditation play in Pureland Buddhism?

      Hi, the short answer is that lots of Pureland Buddhists practice sitting meditation. It’s seen as a supportive practice, a way of deepening our experience of nembutsu, either by showing us our foolishness, or opening our heart to the Buddha. We can also practice meditation from a spirit of gratitude, isn’t it wonderful we have been blessed with the capacity to do this, rather than practicing in order to improve.

      Dharmavidya has written some things about this, when I’m on my PC, rather than my tablet, I’ll try to find them.

      Thank you so much for your reply, it has been very helpful.


    • #1052
      Ven. Ren Ko

      It depends upon the branch of Pureland Buddhism. Traditional Chinese Pureland is actually a combination with Zen practices (called Chan). The newer forms of Chinese Pureland seem to be mostly chanting nienfo and sutras. In Jodo Shin Shu it has been mostly chanting, but in recent times they have added silent meditation. For Jodo Shu the otsutome is mostly about chanting. Jodo Shu stresses the recitation of nembutsu more than Jodo Shin Shu. Thus the idea is to be constantly reciting nembutsu, walking, standing, lying down, or sitting. While the form of nembutsu recitation has a few formal patterns during otsutome, there are no restrictions that I am aware of otherwise. And historical records seem to bear this out. One popular method is illuminating recitation which is similar to shikantaze. You basically allow Amida Buddha to guide you into the awareness of sunyata, or the light within, or whatever you want to call it.

    • #1857

      Are the visualizations described in The Visualization of Immeasurable Life Sutra meditated upon by any PL communities? I practiced Chan for many years and PL teaching was taught during English Dharma school. And we did a lot of chanting. But I only recently have been closely reading the three PL sutras and came across these visualizations which the Buddha tells queen Vaidehi future sentient beings should meditate upon to see Amida Buddha and the Land of Ultimate Beatitude.

    • #1858

      Hi @dennyflowers,

      We occasionally use them on retreat days and such like. Our primary practice is reciting the Buddha’s name, but this kind of visualisation can be a good support to that practice and enable a deepening of refuge.

      In the sutra Vaidehi has a spontaneous vision of all the Pure Lands and chooses Amitabha’s for her rebirth. This kind of vision is a grace, a gift, the real deal. The visualisation that the Buddha gives to Ananda is like the painting by numbers version, it can go some way towards giving a sense of what the Pure Land is like, but not the whole way. Sometimes these practices do take on a life of their own and become visionary experiences, but either way it’s a good supportive practice to do.

    • #1862

      Thank you for your input Rev. Kaspalita. Since moving to Kansas City I am attending a Rime Tibetan Temple. Rime apparently means non-sectarian so we have guest speakers from several Tibetan schools. All are welcome but the primary practice is meditation. I would love to visit one of the UK PL communities someday and attend a retreat.

    • #1872

      Sounds like a good place to be going to. And do let us know when you might be travelling, we’ll be here I imagine 🙂

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