Tuesday, June 28, 2016

My answer to a comment comparing Zen with Jodo Shinshu

Faith, saying of the Name and wish to be born
 in the Pure Land are the only three elements
 of Amida's Primal Vow. 
A person wrote to me recently as a comment to my article, "Faith is simple, nothing special", comparing Zen with Jodo Shinshu. Here are some ideas that he expressed:

"I just want to add that in other traditions to "gain mind" is also deprecated. In Soto Zen the ideal state is the Mushotoku (no gain mind), achieved by growing Bodaishin / Boddhichita. The practice of Shikantaza in Soto Zen is not successful if not "just sit". There is no  egoic intent to achieve something in Shikantaza".

He also compared the koan in Rinzai Zen with what Shinran called, giving up to any calculations. Then he mentioned this: "I would say that any practitioner of any Mahayanist school who is practicing with an obsessive mind for results, is in error". 

This was my answer:
As long as they are not enlightened, sentient beings will always have an obssesive mind. Only a Buddha can just sit in shikantaza; any other person is just an immitator. Also, only the Buddha can be without ego, sit without ego, and do whatever He wants without any personal goal. Thus, only a Buddha is trully Mushotoku.

My advice to unenlightened sentient beings is to not lose their time in vain with useless talks about shikantaza, mushotoku, etc, but entrust themselves to Amida Buddha, and wish to be born in His Pure Land. Yes, they should wish to be born there - they should have this goal in mind! In Jodo Shinshu we do not start with the end of the journey, but with what we are here and now. Here and now, in this human form so hard to obtain, we cannot escape desires, so we should simply desire birth in that realm of Amida. Here and now we should embrace the duality of the Savior (Amida Buddha) who manifested a Pure Land out of Compassion for us (while still dwelling in Mushotoku as He does not need anything for Himself), and those to be saved - that is us, unenlightened beings.

Only after we reach that enlightened realm, we will understand shikantaza and mushotoku. In this life we can sit all day long, and have a good posture, but we will never "just sit". Amida's helping hand (His Primal Vow) has being here since He became a Buddha, many eons ago, but some people prefer to keep talking about things beyond their knowing like mushotoku, shikantaza, etc, when they should just accept Amida's help and entrust their karmic destiny to Him. 

The Nembutsu of faith should not be compared with "just sitting", "mushotoku" or whatever it is said on the Zen Path. However, this Nembutsu is the only way for ordinary people like us to reach the state of no desire, no personal goal, no ego, and the complete  capacity to help all beings. One can have faith but still remain an ego centered person until one is actually born in the Pure Land, and attain Buddhahood there, which is perfectly normal and acceptable on the Nembutsu path. So, people of faith are NOT mushotoku here and now, as they have various desires, delusions and blind passions. They also have worldly goals, and might make various errors in both their daily and religious lives.

What Shinran said by "no calculation" means that he gave up to any idea of merit in attaining birth in the Pure Land. This does not mean that he himself did not wish to be  born there. In fact, he had this goal in mind (he didn't pretend to be mushotoku in this life). He wished to be born in the Pure Land, just he knew he will not go there by his own understanding or by his own "practice".

I am absolutely against making any comparison between the Zen Dharma Gate and the Pure Land Dharma gate. This is why any discussion/debate on Zen vs Jodo Shinshu will not be encouraged here. Amidaji website is a place dedicated exclusively for the Pure Land Dharma Gate as taught by Shinran and Rennyo.

If you truly wish to understand Jodo Shinshu you have to empty your cup (mind) of words and concepts like "mushotoku", "just sitting", etc. Abandon them and simply entrust to Amida, say His Name in faith and wish to be born in His Land. Then, after you are born there, you can truly sit as much as you want, while also go everywhere in many forms to help all beings. You will be able to go without actually moving, as true Buddhas do. But as long as you are not a Buddha yet, you cannot play with both the Zen Path and the Nembutsu (Pure Land) Path. Your unenlightened mind will gain no benefit from comparing them. Only a Buddha can understand the myriad Dharma gates.

1 comentarii:

Anonymous said...

A Jodo Shinshu follower must focus on Amida Buddha and not be hopping from one kind of practice to the next.

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