Wednesday, September 16, 2015

3) Passages who show the enlightened qualities of those born in the Pure Land of Amida, and which can’t be found in the “here and now” samsaric bodies and minds of unenlightened followers


I have always wondered how can one say that the “Pure Land is here and now” or in “the mind” if he cannot actually manifest, here and now, the qualities of the Pure Land? Indeed, how can one be in the Pure Land, but continue to be impure in one’s mind and still unenlightened? This is clear evidence that such views do not belong to the Dharma Gate of the Pure Land, or to the simple faith oriented teaching of Jodo Shinshu.

In the Larger Sutra it is said:
“They are of noble and majestic countenance, unequaled in all the worlds, and their appearance is superb, unmatched by any being, heavenly or human. They are all endowed with bodies of Naturalness, Emptiness, and Infinity.”[1]

So, are those deluded scholars who claim that the Pure Land is “here and now” endowed with “bodies of Naturalness, Emptiness, and Infinity”? Shinran himself made reference to the same passage in the Larger Sutra, in his work Passages on the Pure Land Way [REALIZATION] :

“Their countenances are dignified and wonderful, surpassing things of this world. Their features, subtle and delicate, are not those of human beings or devas; all receive the body of naturalness or of emptiness, the body of boundlessness.”[2]


Do they have the color of pure gold, as promised to those born in the Pure Land in the 3rd Vow?

 “If, when I attain Buddhahood, humans and devas in my land[3] should not all be the color of pure gold, may I not attain perfect Enlightenment.”
(the 3rd Vow)

Do they have the same appearance, as promised in the 4th Vow?

“If, when I attain Buddhahood, humans and devas in my land should not all be of one appearance, and should there be any difference in beauty, may I not attain perfect Enlightenment.”
(the 4th Vow)
Unenlightened beings in samsara have various forms and shapes, color and beauty. They differ greatly from one another and this is due to the different types of karma they inherit from past lives. But once they are born in the Pure Land and become Buddhas they are liberated from the shackles of karma and go beyond form, color and any differences. This is what is meant by “all be of one appearance”. To be of the color of pure gold also means to have transcendent bodies of the qualities of Enlightenment.
So, again, are those deluded scholars in this situation?

More than this, in the 21st Vow it is promised that beings in the Pure Land are “endowed with the thirty-two physical characteristics of a Great Man”. Shakyamuni Buddha too, said the same in the Larger Sutra about those born in the Pure Land of Amida:

“Ananda, the sentient beings born there all fully posses the thirty two physical characteristics of a Great Man as well as perfect wisdom, with which they penetrate deeply into the nature of all dharmas and reach their subtle essence. Their supernatural powers know no obstruction and their physical senses are sharp and clear”.

Clearly if we check their samsaric bodies no one claiming that the Pure Land is “here and now” have the “thirty two physical characteristics of a Great Man”. But perhaps they have “perfect wisdom, with which they penetrate deeply into the nature of all dharmas and reach their subtle essence” or some kind of “supernatural powers” which they keep secret from us, ordinary guys with a simple faith?

Maybe they all have unlimited life-spans[4] (15th Vow), remember “all their previous lives” and know “the events which occurred during the previous hundred thousand kotis of nayutas of kalpas” (the 5th Vow) or they “possess the divine eye of seeing even a hundred thousand kotis of nayutas of Buddha-lands” ( 6th Vow), and “the faculty of knowing the thoughts of others” (the 8th Vow). They are probably  endowed with the body of the Vajra-god Narayana”[5] (26th Vow) or are able to go “anywhere in one instant, even beyond a hundred thousand kotis of nayutas of Buddha-lands” (9th Vow), have the “divine ear of hearing the teachings of at least a hundred thousand kotis of nayutas of Buddhas” and “remember all of them” (7th Vow), worship directly all Buddhas in all the ten directions (24th Vow) and make offerings to them (23rd Vow), hear spontaneously whatever teachings they may wish” (the 46th Vow), etc.

Perhaps they never “give rise to thoughts of self-attachment” (10th Vow) and they are “free of mental hindrances, pure in mind and without indolence.” Perhaps, as Shakyamuni said, “their samsaric bodies and evil passions have been extinguished together with their remaining karmic tendencies” [6]. Maybe “their wisdom is like the ocean, and their Samadhi, like the king of mountains”[7]…..

The enlightened qualities of those born in the Pure Land are described in length in the Larger Sutra, so I invite anyone having the illusion that he or she is “here and now” in the Pure Land to carefully read those passages and reflect on them. Next, I’ll show you more quotes from various Jodo Shinshu masters who themselves explained the Pure Land to be the realm where Enlightenment is attained.

“That Buddha-land is filled with innumerable means that lead us to take refuge,
And there are neither evil realms nor evil teachers.
One who is born there attains Enlightenment without fail.
Therefore, I pay homage to Amida Buddha, the most Honored One”.[8]
Bodhisattva Nagarjuna, Twelve Praises of Amida Buddha (Junirai)

*

“The stature of the heavenly beings is as high as the top of Gold Mountain. Many beautiful scenes welcome their approach. Those who are born into this country can see with their heavenly eyes across the universe without restrictions. The saints bow to them in welcome. The beings in this country have miraculous powers and knowledge of their destiny. Therefore they depend upon Buddha for life and they worship him.”[9]
Bodhisattva Nagarjuna as quoted by Master Genshin in his Ojoyoshu

*

“The land is filled with numerous kinds of fragrance.
Its pure sound[10] deeply enlightens beings far and wide.
Subtle and wondruous, it is heard throughout the ten quarters.
Amida, the perfectly Enlightened,
Who is its Dharma-king, fully sustains it.
The beings of this Tathagata’s pure lotus
Are born transformed from the lotus of perfect Enlightenment.
Enjoying the taste of the Buddha Dharma,
They partake of meditation and Samadhi as their food.
Forever free from physical and mental afflictions,
They constantly enjoy pleasure without interruption.
In the world of good of the Mahayana, all beings are equal.
And not even the words of disparagement exist.
Now is anyone born there as
A woman, or disabled, or one having the seeds of two vehicles.
All that sentient beings desire
Are perfectly fulfilled in that land
For this reason I aspire to be born
In the Buddha Land of Amida.”[11]
Bodhisattva Vasubandhu, Treatise on the Pure Land (Jodoron)

*

“We should know that the reward of the Pure Land is free from the defect of the two kinds of disparagement: one is the beings, and the other is their names. The three kinds of beings who do not exist there are: 1) those of the two vehicles, 2) women[12], and 3) the disabled. Since these three kinds of people do not exist there, it is said to be free of disparagement. There are also three kinds of disparaging terms. Since the three kinds of beings do not exist, likewise even those disparaging terms do not exist. Furthermore, three kinds of terms, such as those of the two vehicles, women, and the disabled, are unknown. This is why the land is said to be free of disparaging words. ‘Equal’ means being equal in appearance.”[13]
Bodhisattva Vasubandhu, Treatise on the Pure Land (Jodoron)

*

 “The fifth gate in the phase of ‘going out’ is to observe with great compassion all suffering beings, manifest accommodated and transformed bodies, and enter
the garden of birth and death and the forest of evil passions, where [bodhisattvas] play about, exercising supernatural powers; they thus dwell in the stage of teaching others through merit transference by [Amida’s] Primal Vow-Power.’”[14]
Bodhisattva Vasubandhu as quoted by Shinran Shonin in his Kyogyoshinsho, chapter IV

*

“Upon attaining birth in the Pure Land, people feel neither enmity nor forbearance.”[15]
Master T’an-luan, Ojoronchu

*

“Not even the names of the three realms of suffering are heard there, but only Nirvanic sounds of bliss. For this reason, that land is called ‘Peace and Bliss’.[16]
Master T’an-luan, Ojoronchu

*

“The Pure Land is the realm which is shared by its pure inhabitants.”[17]
Master T’an-luan, Ojoronchu

*

When ordinary human beings full of evil passions attain birth in the Pure Land, the karmic bonds of the three worlds will no longer affect them. Even without severing evil passions they will attain the state of Nirvana.[18]
Master T’an-luan as quoted by Shinran in his Kyogyoshinsho, chapter IV

*

“Question: To which of the three worlds does the Land of Peace and Bliss belong?

Answer: The Pure Land is supreme and excellent, its essential quality exceeding the worldly realms. The three worlds are the dark house of Samsara inhabited by ordinary people. Though there are different degrees of pleasure and pain and different lengths of lifespan of the inhabitants, the universal characteristic is that there are long 'ferries' of defilement everywhere. Fortune and misfortune alternate, continuing in endless cycles. Experiencing suffering in various modes of life, beings are long misled by four perverse views. Whether in causal acts or in resultant states, falsehood ensues. How detestable! For this reason, the Pure Land does not belong to the three worlds.”[19]
Master Tao-ch’o, An-le-chi (Anrakushu)

*

“The reward of the Pure Land is free of desires, so it does not belong to the world of desire.”[20]
Master Tao-ch’o quoting Great Wisdom Discourse in his An-le-chi (Anrakushu)

*
“It is comforting and refreshing, and there are no seasonal changes.”[21]
Master Tao-ch’o quoting Hymns on the Larger Sutra [Hymn in Praise of Amida Buddha] in his An-le-chi (Anrakushu)

*

“It is stated in the Pure Salvation Bodhisattva Sutra:

‘If a man is mindful of Amida Buddha for ten years or five years, or for many years, he will be born in the land of infinite life; namely, he will attain the Dharma-body in the Pure Land, which is as inexhaustible and inconceivable  as  the  sand-grains  of  the  Ganges River.’”[22]

In this defiled world, one's life-span is short; the karmic reward in this life soon ends. If you are born in Amida's Pure Land, your life-span[23] will be long and inconceivable. […]
Each one of you should weigh this great benefit and should aspire to go there.
Master Tao-ch’o, An-le-chi (Anrakushu)

*

“We urge people to turn to the West for refuge. Once born there, the three learnings spontaneously advance and ten thousand practices are completely accomplished. Hence, the Larger Sutra  states (adapted):

‘In Amida's Pure Land, there is not even a place, as small as a hair's breadth, where evil is committed.’”[24]
Master Tao-ch’o, An-le-chi (Anrakushu)

*

“After having reached the Pure Land, you will acquire the six supernatural powers, with which you enter Samsara and guide sentient beings in all future ages”.[25]
Master Shan-tao, Ojoraisan

*

“I wish to abandon the body enclosed in the womb
And attain birth in the Land of Peace and Bliss,
Where I will quickly behold Amida Buddha’s
Body of boundless merits and virtues
And see many Tathagathas
And holy sages as well.
Having acquired the six supernatural powers,
I will continue to save suffering sentient beings
Until all their worlds throughout the universe are exhausted.
Such will be my vow.
After having thus made a vow, I take refuge in Amida Buddha
with sincerity of heart”. [26]
Master Shan-tao, Ojoraisan

*

“All of the teachings that enable one to accomplish Buddhahood in this defiled world of suffering are called the Holy Gate. To realize Enlightenment through contemplating the true nature of all existence; to pursue purification of the six sensory organs through meditating exclusively on the Lotus Sutra; to aspire to the realization of Buddhahood in one’s very existent state through the observance of the three mystic practices; to pursue the four paths to achieve Nirvana; to aspire to attainment of the three transcendent faculties and the six transcendent faculties – these are called the difficult path.
In contrast, the teaching of the Pure Land gate begins with the attainment of birth in the Pure Land in the first place, followed by the realization of Enlightenment and Buddhahood there – this is called the easy path”.[27]
Honen Shonin, Wago Toroku

*

"If they are born into the Pure Land they are endowed with a superior wisdom and their clear power of mysterious communication reaches unto those who were formerly their benefactors and to those who were their acquaintances through many lives and generations, they can attract them freely. Endowed with a heavenly eye, they can see where they live, and with their heavenly ear they can hear their voice. Their wisdom of destiny enables them to remember the favors (of their former benefactors) and with their insight into others’ hearts they understand their hearts. Their mysterious powers of communication enable them to go where they are, and by changing their form they can adapt themselves to their needs and in various ways teach them and lead them in the way of salvation.

And again it is explained in the Byodokyo where we read: “Those who are born in the Pure Land of the West know for themselves where they lived in their previous lives, what was their state and by what causes they are now born into the Pure Land. Since they know everything about the present state of every being that goes and come to and from the Eight Directions and up and down, they understand what the various heavenly beings, birds, beasts and insects think in their minds and the language which they speak."[28]
Master Genshin, Ojoyoshu

*

“What is called the pleasures of the First Opening of the Lotus is this: When a believer is born into the realm of the Pure Land we speak of it as the time of the First Opening of his Lotus. All his pleasures are increased a hundred thousand times above what they were before. Such a one is like a blind man who has for the first time received his sight, or like a man from the country who has suddenly been transported to a palace. As he looks at his own body his skin becomes radiant with golden rays. His clothes are made of natural treasures. Gold rings, hair ornaments of beautiful feathers, a crown of gems, a necklace of most wonderful jewels and such ornaments beyond description in their beauty, cover his body. As he beholds the radiance of the Buddha, his eyes become purified and he is able to see the multitudes that assemble in the next world and to hear the voice of the various Laws. Everything of form and sound is mysterious and marvelous
to him. When he looks up into the spacious sky he beholds a wide radiance of sublimity so glorious that heart and words cannot express it, and his eyes lose themselves in the path of clouds. The mysterious voice of the honorable Law is heard and it fills this Land of Treasures.
[…] The believers, while they were still in this evil world, could only read or hear about these things, but now they can see them for themselves. How great, then, must be their joy!”[29]
Master Genshin, Ojoyoshu
*

“The various beings of The Pure Land have all the five mysterious communications whose marvelous nature cannot be comprehended. They live a life of freedom according to their heart’s desire. If, for example, they wish to look across the universe without taking a step they can do so. If they wish to hear the voice of anyone in the universe they can do so without moving
from their seats. Not only this, but they can hear also the things of the infinite past as if they were happening today. They know the inmost thoughts of the beings of the Six Realms as if they were reflected in a mirror. They can go and come freely as if all the lands of the Buddha in all the ten directions lay beneath their feet. They can do anything they please in the realm of infinite space and in the realm of endless time.

The forms of beings in this present evil wor1d are thirty-two in number, and who is there that can obtain even one of these? But as for the Five Mysterious Communications, what kind of being is there that has attained even one! For beings in our world it is impossible to see without sun light or lamp-light; and, without moving, it is impossible to approach an object. We cannot see through even one sheet of paper. We know nothing of the things in the past; we know merely the things of the present moment. We are still confined to the cage and obstructed in every direction. But as for the beings in the Pure Land there is not one which does not have this power (of mysteriously transcending space and time). Even though for a period of a hundred Great Kalpas they have not planted the seed (karma) of the Special Characteristic Forms and have not created the cause for the Mysterious Communications, during the Four Meditations, they still have this power as a natural consequence of having been born into the Pure Land. How happy, then, they must be!”[30]
Master Genshin, Ojoyoshu

*

“As they have power to understand their own destinies, they talk to each other about their former lives, namely, as to what country they lived in, how their mind became enlightened by this and that scripture when they were seeking the way of the Buddha, how they kept this and that precept,
and learned such and such teachings and thus developed the Good Root, and how they gave such and such alms. In this way they talk with one another about the virtues which they enjoyed, or they tell in detail the story from beginning to end of how they came to be born into the Pure
Land.”[31]
Master Genshin, Ojoyoshu

*

“They will recite the entire canon in a moment and explain most perfectly the most profound passages. Thus their enjoyment continues without any interruption. Their place is a place of incorruption, and in this pure Land of Pleasure they abide forever and thus have for all time escaped from the terrors of the Three Realms and the Eight Difficulties[32]. Life here is boundless and their state is not subject to birth and death, nor do they endure the four sufferings of birth, old age, sickness and death which characterize human life.

[…] Their body is as of diamond and so is not burned even though it is in fire. It does
not become tarnished even though it is in the mud. Their heart is not stained with the dust of their environment. Their marvelous body of purity and strength is not affected by the sufferings of any and all sufferings combined[33]. They are never injured even though attacked by ten times ten thousand numberless warriors armed with spears and arrows. They are not burned even though they may be in the midst of limitless flames; nor are they drowned though they are submerged in a fathomless ocean. Therefore they can go freely even into the eight Hot Hells and the eight Cold Hells in order to save their relatives from the Three Worlds and the Six Realms.

[…] There is nothing but suffering when we examine even the smallest parts of our bodies, not to mention the larger parts. But when we have been born into this Pure Land everything is like a diamond changeless, permanent, without increase or decrease, wonderful, and therefore there is no such suffering as in our fleshly body; yea, it is less than the finest particle of dust.”[34]
Master Genshin, Ojoyoshu

*

„The monks and laity of this latter age and the religious teachers of these times are floundering in concepts of ‚self-nature’ and ‚mind only’, and they disparage the true realization of Enlightenment in the Pure Land way”.[35]
Shinran Shonin, Kyogyoshinsho, chapter III

*

“It is stated in the Collection of Passages on the Land of Peace and Bliss (An le chi):
The Sutra on the Buddha-Contemplation Samådhi (Buddhadhyana- samadhi-sutra) says:
[Shakyamuni] urged his father, the king (Suddhodana), to practice the Nembutsu samadhi. His father, the king, asked the Buddha, “Why do you not recommend to me, your disciple, the practice of meditating on the ultimate virtue of the Buddha’s stage, which is identical with true Suchness, ultimate reality, or the highest principle of emptiness (Sunyata) ?”

The Buddha answered his father, the king, “The ultimate virtue of the Buddhas is the boundless and profoundly subtle state and is possessed of transcendent faculties and the wisdom of liberation. This is not a state fit to be practiced by ordinary people. So I urge you, the king, to practice the Nembutsu samadhi.”

His father, the king, asked the Buddha, “What are the characteristics of the merit of the Nembutsu?” The Buddha replied to his father, the king, “Suppose there is a forest of eranda trees, forty yojanas square, and there is in it a single cow-headed sandalwood tree, whose roots and sprouts are still underground. The eranda forest is full of a foul smell and completely devoid of pleasant scent. If someone bites a flower or fruit of the eranda tree, he will become insane and die. Later, when the sandalwood spreads its roots and buds and is about to grow into a tree, it emits luxuriant fragrance and finally transforms this forest into a sweet-smelling one. Those who see this are wonderstruck.”

The Buddha said to his father, the king, “A thought of the Nembutsu that all sentient beings hold in birth and death is like this. If only one concentrates one’s thought on the Buddha without interruption, one will surely be born in the presence of the Buddha. Once this person attains birth in the Pure Land, he will transform all the evils into great compassion, just as the fragrant sandalwood tree transforms the erada forest.”

Here the eranda tree symbolizes the three poisons and the three hindrances within sentient beings and the innumerable grave karmic evils they commit. The sandalwood tree represents the thought of the Nembutsu in sentient beings. “Is about to grow into a tree” shows that if only sentient beings keep practicing the Nembutsu without interruption, the karmic cause of their birth in the Pure Land is accomplished”[36].

*

“When ordinary beings reach the Western Land,
Their karmic evils, countless as particles, from long past
kalpas will perish.
Endowed with the six supernatural powers, they attain
unrestricted freedom in action;
Forever freed of old age and sickness, they are liberated from impermanence.”[37]
The hymns by Fa-chao, based on the Sutra in Praise of the Pure Land (Sukhavativyuha), quoted by Shinran in his Kyogyoshinsho, chapter II.

*

“In the Western Land one advances in the Way more
quickly than in this Saha world,
Because that land is free of the five desires and
Adversaries”.[38]
The hymns by Fa-chao based on the Sutra on the Life of the Buddha (Buddha-carita), quoted by Shinran Shonin in his Kyogyoshinsho, chapter II.

*

Foolish beings who have committed the ten evil acts and
the five grave offenses
Have been drowning in samsara for eternally long kalpas,
covered with the dust of evil passions.
When they reach Amida’s land by calling his Name even
once,
They will become one with the Dharma-nature body.[39]
The hymns by Fa-chao based on the Sutra on Contemplation of Amitayus (Contemplation Sutra), as quoted by Shinran Shonin in his Kyogyoshinsho, chapter II

*

It is stated in the Teaching Assembly of the Tathagata of Infinite Life:
‘The people in the Pure Land are sages, and the land is exquisite’.[40]

It is also stated:
In general, in order to make ordinary and inferior beings
increase their desire for birth, one should reveal the excellent
qualities of that land.[41]
Shinran Shonin, Kyogyoshinsho, chapter II

*

Master Yüan-chao says:
The way of destroying delusion and realizing true suchness
in this world, which is based on one’s self-power, is expounded
in various Mahayana and Hinayana sutras. The way of realizing
enlightenment after going to another land and hearing
the Dharma there is necessarily dependent on the Other-
Power, and so birth in the Pure Land is taught.[42]
Shinran Shonin, Kyogyoshinsho, chapter II

*

Upon reaching the Lotus-store world,
We will realize true Suchness and attain the Dharma body.
Then, playing in the forests of evil passions, we will display
supernatural powers;
Entering samsaric states, we will manifest accommodated
and transformed bodies to save beings.[43]
Shinran Shonin, Hymns of True Faith and Nembutsu (Shoshin nembutsu ge)
Kyogyoshinsho, chapter II

*

“Concerning birth in the Pure Land, the Larger Sutra says, ‘They are all endowed with bodies of naturalness, emptiness, and infinity’.  The Discourse on the Pure Land states, ‘The hosts of sages in the likeness of pure flowers surrounding the Tathagata are born there, transformed from within the flower of enlightenment’. Also the Commentary on Vasubandhu’s Discourse on the Pure Land says, ‘They are so born by one and the same path of the Nembutsu, and not by other paths. ‘ Also it is said, ‘Inconceivable birth.’”[44]
Shinran Shonin, Kyogyoshinsho, chapter V

*

“When a person realizes the mind of nondiscrimination,
That attainment is the ‘state of regarding each being as one’s only child’.
This is none other than Buddha-nature;
We will awaken to it on reaching the land of peace.

Tathagata is non other than Nirvana;
Nirvana is called Buddha-nature.
Beyond our ability to attain it in the state of foolish beings,
We will realize it on reaching the Land of Peace.”[45]
Shinran Shonin, Hymns of the Pure Land (Jodo Wasan)

*

“If not for the Buddha’s directing of virtue,
How could we realize Enlightenment in the Pure Land?”[46]
Shinran Shonin, Hymns of the Dharma- Ages (Koso Wasan)
*

In the Essentials of Faith Alone by Master Seikaku, it is said:
“’The Land of Bliss is the realm of Nirvana, the uncreated’.[47]

Here is the comment of Shinran:

“’The Land of Bliss’ is that Pure Land of happiness, where there are always countless joys and never any suffering mingled with them. It is known as the Land of Peace. It was Master T’an-luan who praised it and called it ‘Land of Peace’. Also, the Treatise on the Pure Land describes it as ‘the Lotus Repository World’ and as the uncreated.
‘The realm of Nirvana’ refers to the place where one overturns the delusion of ignorance and realizes the supreme Enlightenment. ‘Realm’ means ‘place’; know it as the place of attaining Enlightenment.’”[48]
Shinran Shonin, Notes on Essentials of Faith Alone

*

Commenting on the words of Honen, “Namo Amida Butsu: as the act that leads to birth in the Pure Land, the nembutsu is taken to be fundamental”, Shinran said:

“Know that these words proclaim the right cause of birth in the Pure Land of peace to be none other than the nembutsu. ‘Right cause’ is the seed for being born in the Pure Land and unfailingly attaining Buddhahood”.[49]
Shinran Shonin, Notes on the Inscriptions on Sacred Scrolls

*

“And so, as Shakyamuni has taught, at the very moment that we, possessed of ignorance and blind passions, are born into the Pure Land of peace, we attain the supreme fruit of Buddhahood.”[50]
Shinran Shonin, Lamp for the Latter Ages, Letter 2 – Response to an Inquiry from the Nembutsu People of Kasama.

*

„Nirvana is perfect Enlightenment. T’an-luan’s commentary tells of a tree called ’great firmness’. This tree lies buried underground for one hundred years, but when it sends forth shoots, it grows one hundred yards a day. Just as the tree spends one hundred years underground, we abide in this Saha world in the stage of the truly settled. And just as it grows one hundred yards in a single day, such is our attainment of Nirvana."[51]
Shinran Shonin, Lamp for the Latter Ages, Letter 14

*

"When a person has entered completely into the Pure Land of happiness, he or she immediately realizes the supreme Nirvana; he realizes the supreme Enlightenment. Although the terms differ, they both mean to realize the Enlightenment of the Buddha who is Dharma-body [ultimate Dharmakaya]. This is known as directing virtue for the sake of our going forth in Birth."[52]
Shinran Shonin, Lamp for the Latter Ages, Letter 21

*

"Pure, wondrous, without bound is Amida's land,
And possessed of great adornments;
The different virtues all reach fulfillment there -
It excels all Buddha-lands of the ten quarters."[53]
Shinran Shonin, Passages on the Pure Land Way

*

"The first is karmic power; [the land] has been fulfilled
By the karmic power of Dharmakara’s great Vow.
The second is the power of the good of Amida,
The perfectly enlightened Dharma-king, by which [the land] is embraced."

Unlike our world, which appeared due to the collective karma of beings born here, the Pure Land is the effect of the karmic power of Dharmakara’s great Vow. Thus, the Pure Land is not here and now, in this samsaric world.

"We necessarily attain birth in the Land of Happiness,
And thereupon realize that birth and death is itself great Nirvana.
This is the path of easy practice; it is termed Other Power.

On reaching the Land of Happiness, necessarily,
 by the spontaneous working of the Vow,
Such a person immediately attains the eternal bliss of dharma-nature."[54]
Shinran Shonin, Hymns of the Two Gateways

*
"Concerning the directing of virtue through the power of the Primal Vow, the Tathagata’s directing of virtue has two aspects: the directing of virtue in the aspect for our going forth to the Pure Land and the directing of virtue in the aspect for our return to this world."[55]
Shinran Shonin, Passages on the Two Aspects of the Tathagata's Directing of Virtue

*

"Because of the true cause – Amida Tathagata’s directing of virtue for our going forth – we realize the enlightenment of supreme Nirvana. This is the true intent of the Larger Sutra. Hence, it is termed “birth in accord with the Larger Sutra,” and also “birth that is inconceivable.”[56]
Shinran Shonin, A Collection of Passages on the Types of Birth in the Pure Land Sutras

*

“Question: Should we understand the state of being truly settled and that of Nirvana as one benefit, or as two?
Answer: The dimension of ‘the awakening of the one thought-moment of shinjin’  is that of joining the company of those truly settled’. This is the benefit we gain in the defiled world. Next, it should be understood that Nirvana is the benefit to be gained in the Pure Land. Hence we should think of them as two benefits”.[57]
Rennyo Shonin, Letters

*

“The human realm is a place of uncertainty. The Land of Utmost Bliss is one of eternity. Hence we should not make our abode in the uncertain human realm, but rather aspire to birth in the eternal Land of Utmost Bliss. In our tradition, therefore, the matter of faith is placed before all else; unless we are fully aware of the reason for this, everything is meaningless. We must promptly undergo a decisive settling of faith (anjin) and aspire to birth in the Pure Land.”[58]
Rennyo Shonin, Letters






[1] The Three Pure Land Sutras, translated by Hisao Inagaki in collaboration with Harold Stewart, revised second edition, Numata Center for Buddhist Translation and Research, Berkeley, California, 2003, p.31
[2] The Collected Works of Shinran, Shin Buddhism Translation Series, Jodo Shinshu Hongwanji-ha, Kyoto, 1997, p.300
[3] Beings born in the Pure Land are sometimes called “humans and devas (gods) in my land“, which doesn’t mean that in the Pure Land there are the six unenlightened realms of existence, namely the hells, hungry spirits, animals, humans, fighting spirits (demigods) and gods. Shakyamuni himself explains in the Larger Sutra that when the expression “humans and devas” in the Pure Land appears in this sacred discourse it is only in relation with the states of existence prior to their birth in the Pure Land:

“They are all of one form, without any differences, but are called 'heavenly beings'(devas) and 'humans' simply by analogy with the states of existence in other worlds. They are of noble and majestic countenance, unequaled in all the worlds, and their appearance is superb, unmatched by any being, heavenly or human. They are all endowed with bodies of Naturalness, Emptiness, and Infinity."
For a detailed explanation of all the 48 Vows of Amida Buddha, see my book The 48 Vows of Amida Buddha, Dharma Lion Publications, Craiova. 2013

[4] Those born in the Pure Land are beyond death, so their bodies of manifestations have unlimited life span.
[5] Vajra- god Narayana is in fact Vajrapani (from Sanskrit vajra, "thunderbolt" or "diamond" and pani, lit. "in the hand"), one of the most important Enlightened Bodhisattvas of Mahayana Buddhism. He is the protector of Buddha Dharma, and He represents the Power of all Buddhas. Just as Samantabhadra Bodhisattva, mentioned in the 22nd Vow, represents the endless saving activity of all Buddhas, Vajrapani represents the immense and all surpassing Power of the Buddhas. Those born in the Pure Land are exactly like these two Enlightened Bodhisattvas. Just like Samantabhadra they are always active in samsara, and like Vajrapani they are all-powerful. And because Vajrapani is a protector of the Dharma, beings in the Pure Land will forever protect it and destroy wrong understandings, which is clearly something those deluded scholars do not do “here and now”, but actually destroy the Dharma with their personal views.

[6] The Three Pure Land Sutras, translated by Hisao Inagaki in collaboration with Harold Stewart, revised second edition, Numata Center for Buddhist Translation and Research, Berkeley, California, 2003, p.44
[7] Ibid.
[8] The Pure Land Writings, vol I, The Indian Masters, general editor Tokunaga Michio, The Shin Buddhism Translation Series, Jodo Shinshu Hongwanji-ha, Kyoto, 2012, p.42.
[9] Genshin’s Ojoyoshu – Collected Essays on Birth into the Pure Land, translated from Japanese by A.K. ReischauerThe Transactions of the Asiatic Society of Japan, second series, volume VII, 1930, free online edition at http://www.amida-ji-retreat-temple-romania.blogspot.ro/2014/03/genshins-ojoyoshu-free-english-edition.html#more

[10] According to Master T’an-luan’s commentary, this indicated the name of Amida’s Pure Land – cf. The Pure Land Writings, vol I, The Indian Masters, general editor Tokunaga Michio, The Shin Buddhism Translation Series, Jodo Shinshu Hongwanji-ha, Kyoto, 2012, fn 1, p.47
[11] The Pure Land Writings, vol I, The Indian Masters, general editor Tokunaga Michio, The Shin Buddhism Translation Series, Jodo Shinshu Hongwanji-ha, Kyoto, 2012, p.47
[12] No women are to be found in the Pure Land in the sense that all beings born there go beyond womanhood and manhood, attaining supreme Enlightenment beyond any form or discrimination. See my explanation of the 35th Vow on the salvation of women from my book, The 48 Vows of Amida Buddha, Dharma Lion Publications, Craiova, 2013, p.51
[13] The Pure Land Writings, vol I, The Indian Masters, general editor Tokunaga Michio, The Shin Buddhism Translation Series, Jodo Shinshu Hongwanji-ha, Kyoto, 2012, p.56
[14] Kyogyoshinsho – On Teaching, Practice, Faith, and Enlightenment, translated by Hisao Inagaki, Numata Center for Buddhist Translation and Research, Kyoto, 2003, p. 195.
[15] Ojoronchu – T’an-luan’s Commentary on Vasubandhu’s Discourse on the Pure Land, a study and translation by Hisao Inagaki, Nagata Bunshodo, Kyoto, 1998, p.222
[16] Idem, p.227-228
[17] Idem, p.268
[18] Kyogyoshinsho – On Teaching, Practice, Faith, and Enlightenment, translated by Hisao Inagaki, Numata Center for Buddhist Translation and Research, Kyoto, 2003, p. 173
[19] Collection of Passages on the Land of Peace and Bliss -  AN LE CHI by Tao-ch’o, translated by Zuio Hisao Inagaki, Horai Association International, Singapore, 2015, p 30-31.
[20] Idem, p 31.
[21] Idem, p 32
[22] Idem, p.122
[23] Lifespan in the Pure Land refers to the transcendent bodies of those born in the Pure Land. Such a body will have no end. Accordingly, he can manifest freely in all the worlds to save sentient beings.
[24] Collection of Passages on the Land of Peace and Bliss -  AN LE CHI by Tao-ch’o, translated by Zuio Hisao Inagaki, Horai Association International, Singapore, 2015, p.127
[25] Shan-tao’s Liturgy for Birth – Ojoraisan, compiled by Master Shan-tao, annotated translation by Zuio Hisao Inagaki, edited by Doyi Tan, Singapore, 2009, p.38
[26] Idem, 2009, p.68
[27] The Promise of Amida Buddha: Honen’s Path to Bliss – the first English translation of the Genko edition of the works of Honen Shonin composed in Japanese  - also known as Collected Teachings of Kurodani Shonin:  The Japanese Anthology (Wago Toroku), translated by Joji Atone and Yoko Hayashi, Wisdom Publications, Boston, 2011, p. 187-188
[28] Genshin’s Ojoyoshu – Collected Essays on Birth into the Pure Land, translated from Japanese by A.K. ReischauerThe Transactions of the Asiatic Society of Japan, second series, volume VII, 1930, free online edition at http://www.amida-ji-retreat-temple-romania.blogspot.ro/2014/03/genshins-ojoyoshu-free-english-edition.html#more
[29] Idem
[30] Idem
[31] Idem
[32] The Eight Difficulties are: 1. Blindness and Deafness, 2. Worldly Wisdom (because tempted by it), 3. Being born before or after a Buddha appears in the world, 4. Happiness in Hokurashu (a pleasant land in China. One becomes so engrossed with the pleasures in this land that one fails to listen to the Buddha and so misses eternal life, 5. the Happiness of long life on earth (since this keeps one from Buddha’s salvation), 6. Existence in Hell, 7. Existence in the Realm of Hungry Spirits, 8 Existence in the Realm of Beasts.
[33] Sufferings combined. This is the eight of the Eight Difficulties, namely: 1. Birth, 2. Old Age, 3. Sickness, 4. Death, 5. Hatred, 6. Separation, 7. Frustration of one’s desire, 8. The combination of the preceding seven sufferings.
[34] Genshin’s Ojoyoshu – Collected Essays on Birth into the Pure Land, translated from Japanese by A.K. ReischauerThe Transactions of the Asiatic Society of Japan, second series, volume VII, 1930, free online edition at http://www.amida-ji-retreat-temple-romania.blogspot.ro/2014/03/genshins-ojoyoshu-free-english-edition.html#more
[35] The Collected Works of Shinran, Shin Buddhism Translation Series, Jodo Shinshu Hongwanji-ha, Kyoto, 1997, p.77
[36] Kyogyoshinsho – On Teaching, Practice, Faith, and Enlightenment, translated by Hisao Inagaki, Numata Center for Buddhist Translation and Research, Kyoto, 2003, p. 29-30.
[37] Idem, p. 41-41.
[38] Idem, p. 42-43.
[39] Idem, p. 45.
[40] Idem, p. 47.
[41] Idem, p. 48.
[42] Idem, p. 65.
[43] Idem, p. 78.
[44] Idem, p. 231
[45] The Collected Works of Shinran, Shin Buddhism Translation Series, Jodo Shinshu Hongwanji-ha, Kyoto, 1997, p. 350.
[46] Idem, p. 411.
[47] Idem, p. 460.
[48] Idem, p. 460-461.
[49] Idem, p. 512.
[50] Idem, p. 526.
[51] Idem, p. 544.
[52] Idem, p. 555.
[53] Idem, p. 304.
[54] Idem, p. 628-629.
[55] Idem, p. 628-633.
[56] Idem, p. 628-639.
[57] Rennyo Shonin Ofumi: The Letters of Rennyo, translated from the Japanese (Taisho, Volume 74, Number 2668) by Ann T. Rogers and Minor L. Rogers, Numata Center for Buddhist Translation and Research, Berkeley, California, 1996, p.14
[58] Idem, p.115

0 comentarii: