Showing posts with label DIVERGENCES FROM THE JODO SHINSHU TEACHING. Show all posts
Showing posts with label DIVERGENCES FROM THE JODO SHINSHU TEACHING. Show all posts

Saturday, September 24, 2016

On the wrong view of regarding one's teacher as a manifestation of a Buddha or a Master

I have just found these words (see left photo), writen on September 21st, by a Dharma friend, member of Horai Association of Jodo Shinshu on another friend's Facebook page: "Zuiken Sensei was also known to be a manifestation of Kassapa Buddha in Japan". I decided to take a print screen and give some quick comments.

With all due respect for the good things Zuiken Sensei and his son, Zuio Inagaki Sensei, did for the Sangha, I publicly ask my Nembutsu friends to stop this idol worshipping attitude. No modern teacher should be placed on equal status with Shinran Shonin and Rennyo Shonin, and nobody should be considered or treated as a manifestation of a Buddha. This is clearly NOT the Jodo Shinshu way of relating with a teacher. If we allow such idolizing of our priests and teachers, we open a very dangerous gate. Thus, everything a teacher sais or writes will not be checked anymore through the filter of reason and no more compared with what Shakyamuni, Shinran and Rennyo said, because..... that teacher is "the manifestation of a Buddha".....

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Nobody is beyond criticism - an example of Rennyo criticizing a Hongwanji family member


Rennyo Shonin, the eight Monshu (Patriarch)
of Hongwanji 
"Rennyo's criticism of divergent views and beliefs reached into the interior of Hongwanji.  In particular, in a letter dated the ninth month of 1473 (Bunmei 5), he severely admonishes the laziness of 'a certain young person' who was holding himself out as a member of the 'first family of the Hongwanji in Kyoto'. The content of the letter indicates that this person was likely one of Rennyo's sons who had been assigned to a temple in Kaga. The young man would always declare to others,

'I understand about the settled mind (anjin). I recite the nembutsu often. Also, I have never performed anything like the miscelaneous practices, nor worshipped other Buddhas or Bodhisattvas. I am, in particular, a member of the first family of Kyoto. Everyday I eat whatever I want to eat and if then feel like sleeping, I can lie back and sleep whenever and for as long as I like. No one can ever complain. I am not especially concerned about the Buddha-Dharma. Besides, I can learn about it through listening to what others say about any temple matter. As for the benevolence of the Master Shinran, I only think about it from time to time.'
(Other Letters, in SSS, P. 157)

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Amidaji is strictly a Jodo Shinshu temple - short discussion between me and Zuio Inagaki Sensei

the altar of Amidaji Temple
I was recently asked by Rev Zuio Hisao Inagaki (June 22nd 2016):

"I wonder if your temple is purely Jodo Shinshu or Zen or combination of both. I am in favor of seeing a combination of both, or a new way of Buddhism".

This was my answer:

My temple is strictly Jodo Shinshu. I am strongly against any combination between Jodo Shinshu and Zen or Jodo Shinshu and anything else.

As Shinran or Rennyo did not make any combination, I myself will make none. We are ignorant, unenlightened beings and so we do not have the authority nor the wisdom to play with various Dharma gates  or create a "new way of Buddhism", as you say. I even think that this is very dangerous and leads people into confusion. We, as priests and teachers should try to be as simple as possible, so that even illiterate can understand the Call of Amida, and have a simple faith in Him. We live in times of great confusion in the international sangha with various clerics and scholars teaching many wrong views, like the "Pure Land is here and now" or "in our minds", or describing Amida as a metaphor, fictional character, etc, and this makes ordinary people to depart from true birth in the Pure Land. To add another obstacle to this big mountain of confusion, like mixing Jodo Shinshu with Zen, is something I will never do.

My goal is to escape Samsara as quickly as possible, and to help others escape it as quickly as possible. Without the Primal Vow, there is no chance of doing this, and in the Primal Vow there is no mention of anything else than entrusting ourselves to Amida Buddha, say His Name in faith and wish to be born in His Pure Land. Thus, Amidaji is a temple which limits itself to the Primal Vow. 

***
Here is another short question and answer between me and Inagaki Sensei:

Monday, May 23, 2016

Rights versus Dharma Responsability

- fragment from a letter to a priest who embraced wrong views -
  
Recently, a priest wrote to me:
"I have the right to my own views. What you do in your books and on your website is to judge others because you do not agree with them. This is outrageous".

My answer:
From the legal or juridical point of view, you have the right to do everything you want with Amida Dharma. This is because we are fortunate to live in countries where freedom of speech is guaranteed.  But from the moral and Buddhist point of view, you do not have the right to change Amida Dharma, and the reason for this is very simple -  you are not a Buddha. 

As a priest and teacher you do not have rights, but responsabilities toward the Amida Dharma and sentient beings who come in contact with it. This is not a matter of you and me agreeing with each other. The sangha is not a social club, but a place where we should be in harmony with the Dharma. Please bear this in mind.

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Why do I call myself an orthodox priest


Before reading Dharma texts we raise them to the forehead.
This signifies the Dharma is supreme and above personal
views and opinions.
I was recently asked how I dare to consider myself an orthodox Jodo Shinshu Buddhist priest and say that some other nowadays teachers/priests are mistaken...

My answer is that I do NOT dare anything in relation with Jodo Shinshu! On the contrary, I am very "frightened" when I think to Amida Dharma. Since I have become a priest and started to wear the kesa of Nembutsu faith I am constantly under a great fear. It is the fear that I can make a mistake and somehow misguide people with personal ideas. And it is because I have this fear that I stick to the words of the sutras and the Masters of our lineage.
Because I am stupid and they are all-wise, because I am nothing and they are supreme, because I am unenlightened while Shakyamuni who told the story of Amida Buddha was Enlightened. This is why I am an orthodox Jodo Shinshu follower.

I am an orthodox Jodo Shinshu priest because I am responsible and I know my place and limitations. Just like I do not dare to behave like a surgeon and operate people on open heart, I also do not dare to behave like a Buddha and change His Dharma. This unique Dharma (Amida Dharma) can save beings from birth and death only if it is followed as prescribed by the Buddha and the Masters, so I do not dare changing it.  

I am an orthodox Jodo Shinshu follower and priest because I have abandoned any idea of personal authority over the Amida Dharma. It is because I humble myself at the feet of Shakyamuni and the Masters of our tradition, not teaching what they did not teach, and not transmitting to others what they did not transmit, that I call myself an orthodox Jodo Shinshu follower. 

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Pure Land as a state of consciousness or a real place?


Question: I was told that the Pure Land is a state of consciousness and not a real place with forms and manifestations. What do you think?

Answer:
States of consciousness do not exclude forms and manifestations. In fact, depending on the states of consciesness one dwells in, various forms appear. Thus, for unenlightened beings, samsaric bodies and realms come into existence as effects of their specific karmic obscurations. When one becomes a Buddha, transcendental manifestations arise (see the article on Three Bodies/Aspects of Amida Buddha) as the effect of Enlightenment and the wish to save all beings.

Friday, February 5, 2016

Compassion as the motivation for correcting wrong views



“What is 'Great Compassion'? Those who continue solely in the Nembutsu without any interruption will thereby be born without fail in the Land of Happiness at the end of life. If these people encourage each other and bring others to say the Name, they are all called "people who practice Great Compassion."

(Shinran Shonin, KGSS)

  
Amida Buddha loves all beings unconditionally, both those who entrust to Him, and those who spread wrong views about Him. We should know this, and also try our best to never hate those who slander the right Dharma, but continue to look to them as our mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters, because in fact, we are ALL karmically related. Even Maras, the celestial demons and their followers are our brothers and sisters, mothers and fathers. There was indeed a time, in one of the previous lives, when they cared about us and loved us as parents, friends or relatives. We should not forget this and strive to repay their benevolence by offering to them the gift of the true Dharma, and by coming after them after we are born in the Pure Land.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Dharma Discussions versus Debates


One cannot posses the Amida Dharma.
This is what those who try to accommodate it to
 their own opinions fail to understand.
Please, do not approach the Amida Dharma 
with a possessive mind, 
but with the humbleness of receiving the most 
precious medicine.
If people have different religious standards they cannot have a true Dharma discussion.
For me the words of the sutras and the Masters are supreme, the story told by Shakyamuni about Amida is the true Dharma, while for others the 'Dharma' is a continuous process of change and adaptation to their unenlightened minds, personal beliefs or opinions. So, what can we talk or debate about here? I accept the actual and literal existence of Amida Buddha and His Pure Land, while they think of them as metaphors, symbols or even compare Amida with a fictional character. It is like we live on different planets. What can we really discuss about? 

The truth is that unless one is ready to empty his cup of personal interpretations, there is no reason to talk with him or her about Amida Dharma. The karma of some fake followers is simply  not ripe for true listening as even when they read or hear the Dharma they listen only to the noise of their own minds. They have no devotion and treat the Dharma like property, not like the supreme medicine given by the Buddha. So what can we talk or debate about?

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

The "Western Mind" Excuse for Slandering the Amida Dharma


“Even if a great fire were to fill the universe of a thousand million worlds, you should pass through it to hear this sutra, to arouse joyful faith, to uphold and chant it, and to practice 
in accordance with its teachings”
Shakyamuni Buddha, Larger Sutra on Amida Buddha


Amida Buddha compasionately waiting for
deluded scholars to surrender their "western"
mind  to Him :)
I bet you all heard that slogan which is so much used in many American, European and even Asiatic temples and centers - "we must adapt Jodo Shinshu to the West" or to the "Western mind"..... Whenever I hear such statements, I'm like, "oh, no, not that nonsense again "....  So, I'll say it from the very start of this article. There is NO "Western mind" or "Asiatic mind" to which we must accomodate the Amida Dharma. There is only an opened mind and a closed mind; a mind of faith and a doubting mind. Some simply accept the teaching of Shakyamuni on Amida Buddha while others don't. This "western mind" idea is nothing but a delusion and a mental fabrication to hide the lack of faith (shinjin) and to justify the alteration and slander of Amida Dharma by those who fancy themselves as "progressive" or "modern" Buddhists.
I mean, come on guys, just read the story of Amida Buddha as told by Shakyamuni, read some of Rennyo's letters or a selection of Shinran's simple instructions in Tannisho or Mattosho. What is there so hard to understand? Or, perhaps.... the difficulty rests not with intelectual understanding, but with accepting those teachings and explanations in faith...

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

The printed edition for sale of The True Teaching on Amida Buddha and His Pure Land

I am glad to give you the good news that the printed edition of my new book
THE TRUE TEACHING ON AMIDA BUDDHA AND HIS PURE LAND is now available for sale.

You can order a copy at this link (first item in the list):

The price is 15 Euro or 16 US Dollars (shipment included)

Please also check the 2nd item in that list - ”Amidaji temple pack” - where you can buy all my four books at the reduced price of 47 euro (shipment included).

As you know, if you buy this or any of my books you support me and my Dharma activities, especially the construction of Amidaji Temple.

But if you can't afford it or you simply don't want to buy it, you can download it for free at this link:
”Support Amidaji temple” pack


Here is a fragment from the Preface, so that you can make an idea of what this book is all about:

”This book is a long term project which has begun a few years ago as a reaction to the appearance in the international sangha of some divergent views which threaten to destroy the chances of many people to listen to the genuine Amida Dharma. It is also a work in progress, and the reader can expect that I will come back again, sooner or later, with new editions and improvements.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

A Standard of Shinshu Faith (complete free online edition)

A Standard of Shinshu Faith by Dr Ryosetsu Fujiwara was first published in 1963 by the Buddhist Churches of America and it contains a digest of the Anjin Rondai - Topics for Discussions on Faith, which is the doctrinal standard of the Nishi Hongwanji branch of Jodo Shinshu school. As the author himself said in the first part of the book:

"For the better understanding of Shinshu and for the prevention of unorthodox faith, the Nishi Hongwanji selected a certain number of special topics for discussion of Doctrine and of Faith. The latter, including 30 topics, is called 'Anjin Rondai' or 'Topics for Discussion on Faith.' The original is not so easy to understand because of its classical terminology and expressions. So the writer has tried to sum up the main points of these topics and rearranged them with the hope that it would become a helpful guide for those voluntarily working for the spreading of Shinshu in the West".

As this book is now out of print, I thought that it is very important to  make it available online to readers, especially in our difficult times when so many divergences from the Jodo Shinshu teachings prevail in the international sangha.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

My new book - The True Teaching on Amida Buddha and His Pure Land (free online edition)


I am happy to share with you the free online edition of my new book, The True Teaching on Amida Buddha and His Pure Land.
This is a long term project which has begun a few years ago as a reaction to the appearance in the international sangha of some divergent views which threaten to destroy the chances of many people to listen to the genuine Amida Dharma. It is also a work in progress, and the reader can expect that I will come back again, sooner or later, with new editions and improvements.

Here are the links where you can download it for free:



If you have difficulties in downloading it, please write to me at josho_adrian@yahoo.com, and I will send you a copy myself.

If you can afford, please consider a small DONATION (click here to donate) to support me and my Dharma activities, and especialy the construction of Amidaji Temple (click here to see all articles and photos related with the temple).

Namo Amida Butsu

UPDATE November 16th 2015
The printed edition of this book is now available for sale at this link (first item in the list):

http://amida-ji-retreat-temple-romania.blogspot.ro/2010/12/buddhist-books-for-sale.html



Wednesday, September 16, 2015

A collection of passages on the true meaning of birth in the Pure Land of Amida Buddha


Unfortunately, many people nowadays do not correctly understand the meaning of birth in thePure Land of Amida Buddha, and explain it in terms that are alien to our school, like  being “here and now”, or in our mind, etc, thus denying its actual existence as an Enlightened place and of birth there after death.

The collection of passages from the sacred texts that I am going to present to you in the posts bellow proves the falsity of such claims and helps us understand the true teaching on birth in the Pure Land. They do not recquire special explanations as they are not hard to understand.

To make the lecture easier to follow, I divided the passages in three categories:


Please also refer to some of my articles on this topic:






1) Passages who show that birth in the Pure Land takes place after death


When their lives are about to end, Amida Buddha will appear before them with a host of sages. When they die, their minds will not fall into confusion and so they will be born in his land.”[1]
Shinran Shonin, quoted the Smaller Amida Sutra, in his Kyogyoshinsho


“It is like a wax seal impressed on the clay; as the wax seal is destroyed, the letter is formed. When one’s life ends, one is born in the Land of Peace and Bliss.”[2]
Master Tao-ch’o, An-le-chi (Anrakushu)

*

“If one wholeheartedly places faith in the Buddhist teachings and aspires to be born in the Pure Land, one is born there as soon as one’s life—whether short or long—ends. […]
I now urge you to turn to the Land of Utmost Bliss for refuge. If you dedicate all your practice toward it with sincerity of heart, you will be born there, without fail, after the end of your life.[3]
Master Tao-ch’o, An-le-chi (Anrakushu)

2) Passages who show that birth in the Pure Land takes place after death and it means the attainment of Nirvana (Enlightenment/Buddhahood)


“However hard you may practice in this life, it can only be for a short while. In the life to come you will be born in the land of Amitayus (Amida) and enjoy endless bliss there. Being forever in accord with the Way, you will no longer be subject to birth and death and be free of the afflictions caused by greed, anger and ignorance.”[1]
Shakyamuni Buddha, The Larger Sutra

*

“If sentient beings in the three realms of suffering see His (Amida’s) light they will all be relieved and freed from affliction. At the end of their lives, they all reach liberation.”[2]
The Larger Sutra as quoted by Shinran Shonin in his Kyogyoshinsho, chapter V

Here to “see the Light” means to receive faith in Amida Buddha.

*

“If at the end of life one obtains birth into this country (the Pure Land) then one has boundless virtues. I, therefore, do nothing but offer my life to Amida and desire to enter the Pure Land.”[3]
Bodhisattva Nagarjuna as quoted by Master Genshin in his Ojoyoshu

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]

Friday, August 7, 2015

The grave karmic consequence of denying the transcendent reality of Amida Buddha


- based on Master T’an-luan’s Ojoronchu -

Master T'an-luan (476-542)
The Three Buddha Bodies (aspects) and the Two Buddha Bodies doctrines are usually not properly understood by those who don't accept the existence of the many transcendent Buddhas in Mahayana[1]. While the true reason for such an attitude is their materialistic vision of the universe, they often use the formless Dharmakaya (Dharmakaya of Dharma-nature) as an excuse and argument to reduce all transcendent manifestations to mere symbols or metaphors, or even go so far as to blame „folk Buddhism” for their presence in the canonical writings.
But surely, Master T’an-luan did not share such distorted views when he clearly said that exactly because Dharmakaya is formless, there is no form which it cannot manifest”:

„Unconditioned Dharmakaya is the body of Dharma-nature. Because Dharma-nature is Nirvanic, Dharmakaya is formless. Because it is formless, there is no form which it cannot manifest. Therefore, the body adorned with the marks of excellence is itself Dharmakaya”.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

If nembutsu is true and real

“… in this fleeting world - this burning house - all matters without exception are empty and false, totally without truth and sincerity. The nembutsu alone is true and real." (Shinran Shonin, Tannisho)

If Namo Amida Butsu (nembutsu) is true and real, then Amida Butsu is true and real. This is something that even children can understand. Namo means to entrust and take refuge in Amida Butsu (Buddha). This refuge (Namo) is real and effective because the object of refuge – Amida Butsu – is true and real. Refuge in metaphors, symbols or fictional characters is not true refuge, but an intelectual gymnastic.

Those deluded scholars who repeat “Namo Amida Butsu” but do not accept the transcendent reality and existence of Amida Butsu are like parrots who recite sounds without knowing their meaning. Please, do not be fooled by them. 



related article:


Saturday, May 16, 2015

If Amida’s Primal Vow is true…



Shinran Shonin
Shinran Shonin said:

“If Amida’s Primal Vow is true, Shakyamuni’s teaching cannot be false. If the Buddha’s teaching is true, Shan-tao’s commentaries cannot be false. If Shan-tao’s commentaries are true can Honen’s words be lies? If Honen’s words are true, then surely what I say cannot be empty.”

The Primal Vow is true. This is the basis of our faith and of the entire Amida Dharma which was taught by Shakyamuni and the succeeding Masters. Everything starts with this – the Primal Vow is true. If we accept that the Primal Vow is true and we rely on it without any doubt, then we are saved; if not, this life in human form is wasted:

“if in this lifetime still you are entangled in a net of doubt, then unavoidably you must pass once more in the stream of birth-and-death through myriads of kalpas”.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Belief in a creator god is an obstacle to shinjin


Please, read carefully the other articles in this category:


Question[1]:
“A lot of folks who end up in Shin Buddhism here in the West have a lot of vestigial concepts from our Abrahamic background - whether or not they were ever "believers" [in God] themselves.  And they carry those vestigial ideas with them when they start in as Buddhists. Some don't do that of course - particularly the ones who are given to serious study, and really consider it important to know what Shakyamuni actually taught.  But as you know from your time in both the Zen and Shin Sanghas, such study is often not the primary focus - or even as great a focus as it is in the Theravada and Tibetan Buddhist Sangha groups. […]

So, in your opinion, based on your own reading and contemplating, is it possible for an ignorant, yet well meaning person to come to settled shinjin (faith) if he or she has never actually studied the subject[2], and has some mixed up ideas about eternalism stuck in his mind stream? Or is the presence of such thoughts a necessary karmic obstacle that must directly be addressed and removed before the person can receive Amida's gift of shinjin?”