Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Three grades of aspirants to birth in the Pure Land - commentary on sections 23 to 25 of the Larger Sutra


“The Buddha said to Ananda, ‘Devas and humans in the worlds of the ten directions who sincerely aspire to be born in that land can be classified into three grades. ‘“[1]

As we can clearly see, these grades are not related to beings who are now in the Pure Land, but who aspire to be born there. Practitioners still living in samsara are not equal when it comes to their spiritual achievements, but Amida’s salvation is offered freely to all, without discrimination, so both virtuous people, as well as those who lack any virtue, are assured of birth in the Pure Land if they entrust to Him.

It is not an obligatory condition that only the evilest and corrupt beings should entrust to Amida; even the wise and virtuous should do that. There are high-level Bodhisattvas in various universes who also have faith in Amida and aspire to be born there. Also long-living gods as well as other beings, humans and non-humans, who are more spiritually advanced, some of them acting as unenlightened Dharma protectors, entrust to Amida, too. Such beings, while still not enlightened, are part of the higher grade of aspirants:

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Assurance of attaining Nirvana in the Pure Land through faith and the praising of Amida’s merits by all Buddhas - commentary on section 22 of the Larger Sutra




“The Buddha said to Ananda, ‘Sentient beings who are born in that Buddha land all reside among those assured of Nirvana. The reason is that in that land there are neither beings who are destined to adverse conditions nor those whose destinies are uncertain.

‘All Buddha Tathagatas in the ten directions, as numerous as the sands of the Ganges River, together praise the inconceivable, supernal virtue of Amitayus. All sentient beings who, having heard His Name, rejoice in faith, think of Him even once, and sincerely transfer the merit of virtuous practices to that land, aspiring to be born there, will attain birth and dwell in the stage
of non-retrogression. But excluded are those who have committed the five grave offenses and abused the Right Dharma.’”

Friday, March 8, 2019

The Nirvanic features of the Pure Land and its inhabitants – commentary on sections 14-21 of the Larger Sutra (part 2)



As I mentioned earlier, the five senses of samsaric beings (seeing, hearing, touching, tasting, smelling) lead to delusion, attachment, dissatisfaction and suffering, but when the inhabitants of the Pure Land see, hear, touch, smell or taste things belonging to that realm, - because those are enlightened manifestations and their own minds and sense organs are also enlightened, - the states of mind they experience are themselves enlightened and pure.
ANY element in samsara can be both useful or an obstacle to our life and practice, but in the Pure Land EVERYTHING there is conducive to perfect Enlightenment and is a manifestation of perfect Enlightenment.   

We already talked about the effects of seeing the Bodhi Tree or hearing the Dharma sounds produced by the gentle breeze which wafts through its branches and leaves. However, Dharma sounds are not limited to the Bodhi Tree. They are also produced by the seven jeweled trees:

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

The Nirvanic features of the Pure Land and its inhabitants – commentary on sections 14-21 of the Larger Sutra (part 1)


Amida Buddha and His Pure Land

Why did Shakyamuni spend so much time and effort to describe the wonders of the Pure Land? Why did He offer so many detailed explanations of the jeweled trees and their fruits, the Bodhi tree, the bathing pounds, the monasteries, palaces, pavilions, the flowers with their exquisite aromas, the sounds, and so on? The reason is very simple. Because He wanted us to wish to go there! If you know about a nice resort, you would encourage your friends to visit it, wouldn’t you? It’s the same with the Pure Land! Shakyamuni wants us to go there and He makes a lot of publicity to it. Of course, no one ever makes publicity to something which does not exist, and especially Shakyamuni would never praise and describe in so much detail the Pure Land if that place was not real. Please bear this in mind as it is of extreme importance. By making the efforts to describe the Pure Land, Shakyamuni transmits us a double message:

1) the Pure Land exists; it is a real enlightened place, and
2) you should go there.

Sunday, February 24, 2019

The first teaching assembly of Amida Buddha – commentary on section 13th of the Larger Sutra


In the center of this image Amida sits on a glorious
lotus-throne and His hands are in the mudra of
Dharmacakra-pravartana (mudra of turning the
Wheel of Dharma). Source of image:
http://web.mit.edu/stclair/www/horai/large-ex.htm

“The Buddha said to Ananda,  ‘The number of Sravakas at the first teaching assembly of that Buddha was incalculable;

so was the number of Bodhisattvas. Even if an immeasurable and countless number of humans multiplied by millions of koṭis should all become like Mahamaudgalyayana and together reckon their number during innumerable nayutas of kalpas, or even until they attain Nirvana, they still could not know that number. Let us suppose that there is a great ocean, infinitely deep and wide, and that one takes a drop of water out of it with a one-hundredth part of a split hair. How would you compare that drop of water with the rest of the ocean?’

Ananda replied, ‘When the drop of water is compared with the great ocean, it is impossible even for one skilled in astronomy or mathematics to know the proportion, or for anyone to describe it by any rhetorical or metaphorical expression.’
           
The Buddha said to Ananda,  ‘Even if people like Mahamaudgalyayana were to count for millions of koṭis of kalpas, the number of the Sravakas and Bodhisattvas at the first teaching assembly who could be counted would be like a drop of water, and the number of sages yet to be counted would be like the rest of the ocean.’”

Saturday, February 23, 2019

Algunas nociones generales sobre el Budismo Jodo Shinshu


La rueda de la vida y la muerte exponiendo 
los estados samsáricos de existencia
traducido del inglés por 
Sebastian Lopez

     1.      Samsara y Nirvana (Budeidad/Iluminación)

Samsara es el ciclo de repetidas muertes y renacimientos. Debido a que es el efecto del karma[1] personal y colectivo (Interrelacionado) de los seres no-iluminados[2], no tiene ningún otro creador[3] mas que nuestros propios engaños, apegos y deseos. Hay muchos estados Samsáricos de existencia, entre los cuales podemos mencionar los infiernos, espíritus hambrientos, Asuras o espíritus bélicosos, y dioses. Todos los seres nacen, mueren y renacen en estos respectivos reinos de acuerdo a su karma, y su existencia viene acomañada de diferentes tipos de sufrimiento, obscuraciones e ignorancia[4].

NEW poems by Gansen John Welch