Showing posts with label AMIDA BUDDHA. Show all posts
Showing posts with label AMIDA BUDDHA. Show all posts

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.

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 18 Euro or 20 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, September 22, 2015

My 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 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



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”.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

The two aspects of the Pure Land

The Pure Land of Amida Buddha has two main aspects: 1) the ultimate Dharmakaya aspect, and 2) the manifestation or Sambhogakaya (recompense) aspect.

1) The first aspect (Dharmakaya) means that the Pure Land is Nirvanic in its essence, as it was stated in the Larger Sutra:

My land, being like Nirvana itself,
Will be beyond comparison.”[1]

This means that all the manifestations of the Pure Land are grounded in the perfect Enlightenment of Amida Buddha, and are conducive to Enlightenment. We ourselves will attain Enlightenment when we are born in the Pure Land, because the essence of the Pure Land is Enlightenment/Nirvana/Dharmakaya itself. Otherwise, if the Pure Land was not an enlightened realm, it would produce only sensorial attachments, like other Samsaric realms do, but Shakyamuni Buddha[2] and our Masters were very clear that this is not the case.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

The relation between the doctrine of the “Two Buddha bodies” and the “Three Buddha bodies” (Trikaya) of Amida Buddha

last update - 5th August 2015

The doctrine of the Two Buddha-Bodies (aspects) - Nishu Hosshin:

         This doctrine was much explained by Master T’an-luan in his Ojoronchu[1]. According to him, all Buddhas, including  Amida, have two Bodies/Aspects:

1. Dharmakaya of Dharma-nature (Hossho Hosshin)
2. Dharmakaya of Expediency (Hoben Hosshin), which is also called „Dharmakaya of Compassionate means”.

The first is the ultimate, unconditioned reality beyond form, which is equally shared by all Buddhas[2], while the second is the specific and particular manifestation of each Buddha for the sake of saving sentient beings.

The relation between the two is described as follows:

„From the Dharmakaya of Dharma-nature originates the Dharmakaya of Expediency; through the Dharmakaya of Expediency, the Dharmakaya of Dharma nature is revealed. These two Dharmakayas are different, but inseparable; they are one but not the same.”

Sunday, May 24, 2015

The three bodies (aspects) of Amida Buddha

           
Amida Buddha
  1. Dharmakaya (Hosshin) or Dharma-Body
This is the aspect of ultimate Reality or the Absolute Truth. It is beyond forms, unchanging, inconceivable, without beginning and no end. All Buddhas share the same Dharmakaya when they attain perfect Enlightenment; this is why it is said that all Buddhas, including Amida, have the same essence. Not only Amida Buddha, but His Pure Land too, has the same Dharmakaya aspect. This is evident from this and many other similar passages in the sacred texts:

My land, being like Nirvana itself,
Will be beyond comparison.”[1]

  1. Sambhogakaya (Hojin) or Recompensed Body
This is Amida Buddha and His Pure Land in transcendental form, as a result of Dharmakara’s practices and Vows. It is called, the “Body of Recompense” because it is the effect, or the “recompense” of His practices and virtues. Thus, when Dharmakara became Amida Buddha, His 48 vows have become effective methods of salvation, and His Pure Land came into existence. To Amida in Sambhogakaya form, did Shakyamuni refer to when He said to Ananda:

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”.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

The story of Amida Buddha as told by Shakyamuni Buddha


           
Shakyamuni Buddha teaching about Amida Buddha
and his Pure Land
Because we are unenlightened, we cannot fully comprehend with our limited minds everything that is related with Amida Buddha and his Pure Land. But because we were given a teaching and guidance on how to look at them and how to accept them, I think it is good if we know these instructions, so that we can never be misguided by others.

            Shakyamuni Buddha’s main teaching about Amida Buddha can be found in the Three Pure Land Sutras[1], among which the Larger Sutra is the most important. In fact, Shinran thought that teaching this sutra was the main reason for Shakyamuni’s appearance on earth[2]. He was also convinced that the Larger Sutra is the true teaching of the Buddha Dharma, while all other methods and teachings Shakyamuni preached during his lifetime, are provisory. Here are just a few important passages from his Kyogyoshinsho that support this vision:

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Trees of Enlightenment



Samsaric or unenlightened beings are like seeds dropped in an infertile soil. Although the potentiality of any seed is to become a tree, if you place it in a poor soil, devoid of any good nutrients, and in the  presence of various bad weeds, the seed will not grow.

Just like the seed, the potentiality of any being is to become a Buddha (this is what is meant by all beings have Buddha-nature), but because we live in this samsaric world, itself the effect and echo of our own evil karma, we cannot grow and transform ourselves into Buddhas.

This is exactly why we need to let Amida take us to His Pure Land. That Land is the best soil for seeds like us to quickly develop their natural potential and become Buddhas. Unlike the various Samsaric planes of existence, the Pure Land is the soil (realm) of Enlightenment, the perfect garden manifested by Amida Buddha where everything is conducive to Enlightenment. So, we should all simply entrust to Him and wish to be planted/reborn there, where by receiving all the necesary nutrients and not being  obstructed by any bad weeds, we’ll naturally transform ourselves into Trees of Enlightenment.  


Namo Amida Butsu 

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Master T’an-luan on Amida Buddha and the Pure Land (the doctrine of the two Buddha bodies)


                                      - based on his teachings in the Ojoronchu[1] -



Master T’an-luan (476-542)
According to T’an-luan, all Buddhas, including Amida, have two bodies (aspects):

„1. Dharmakaya of Dharma-nature and 2. Dharmakaya of Expediency.”
The first is the ultimate, unconditioned reality beyond form, which is equally shared by all Buddhas[2], while the second is the specific and particular manifestation of each Buddha for the sake of saving sentient beings.

The relation between the two is described as follows:

„From the Dharmakaya of Dharma nature originates the Dharmakaya of Expediency; through the Dharmakaya of Expediency, the Dharmakaya of Dharma nature is revealed. These two Dharmakayas are different, but inseparable; they are one but not the same.”[3]

This is a very important aspect that is not properly understood by those who don’t accept the existence of the many transcendent Buddhas in Mahayana[4]. While the true reason for such an attitude is their materialistic vision of the universe, they often use the formless Dharmakaya 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, T’an-luan did not shared such distorted views when he clearly said that exactly because Dharmakaya is formless, there is no form which it cannot manifest”:

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Question: What part of our mind goes to the Pure Land?



Question: What part of our mind goes to the Pure Land? Is it the mind we currently have, in others words is it who we are now that goes to be born in the Pure Land?”

Answer: What we know for sure is that birth in the Pure Land takes place after physical death. This is what the Masters of our tradition clearly said, so we accept it.

At death, what we call ‘mind stream’ leaves the physical body and instead of passing through bardo (intermediary state) and then to other states of existence, it goes directly to the Pure Land where Enlightenment happens immediately. At that very moment, the delusions of our ‘mind stream’ are naturally melt like ice meeting fire, and our true enlightened nature will appear. So, we may say that we go to the Pure Land as we are, but once born there, in the safe and enlightened realm of Amida, ‘we’ transform into something completely different, that is, fully Enlightened Buddhas.

But all these things are inconceivable and beyond conceptual understanding, so I cannot enter into further analysis. Some aspects are imposibile to understand at the level we are now as unenlightened beings. Now all we need to do is to simply entrust to Amida. Jodo Shinshu is the path of simple faith, not of profound understanding in this life of the ultimate nature of mind.

Monday, January 27, 2014

The safe enlightened realm of Amida Buddha

Question: Why are we urged to aspire to birth in the Pure Land, and why not try to attain Enlightenment here, in this world?

Answer: The environment in which we now live is the product of our karma and the inter-related karma of all beings. This impure common karma gave rise to an impure environment which also influences us and in which it is hard to have a true spiritual evolution. We ourselves are sick, our fellow beings are sick and the environment is also sick. This is why we are urged to aspire to be born after death, in the Pure Land. This land is the healthy enlightened realm of Amida, a suitable environment which is not the product of evil karma but of His pure karmic merits. Once born in such a sane environment our insanity is cured instantly, our delusions are naturally melt like ice meeting fire, and our true enlightened nature will appear.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Amida is not an abstract concept, but a living Buddha

It is very important to understand that a Buddha like Amida is not an abstract concept, nor a symbol or metaphor, but a living Buddha who has a transcendent body with multiple manifestations for the sake of sentient beings. This body and his Pure Land are the result of his vows which, upon his Enlightenment, were fulfilled and transformed into useful tools for delivering sentient beings.

It is a grave mistake to speak about Amida Buddha only in terms of his ultimate reality beyond form (Dharmakaya as suchness) and forget his transcendent manifestation (Sambhogakaya or Dharmakaya as compassionate means[1]) in form and Name, because without the form and Name of Amida there would be no possibility for us, sentient beings, to attain Buddhahood. We simply cannot have access to ultimate Dharmakaya or Buddha nature just like that, as we are in this present life and with this very body. So we need a transcendent bridge from this world of birth and death (Samsara) to Buddhahood. This transcendent bridge is Amida Buddha and his Pure Land. We first entrust in Amida Buddha as an Enlightened Person, go in his Pure Land after death and there we become Buddhas ourselves.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

The Pure Land of Amida reveals in its Light all the Buddha-lands - short explanation of the 31st Vow of Amida-



 “If, when I attain Buddhahood, my land should not be resplendent, revealing in its light all the immeasurable, innumerable and inconceivable Buddha-lands, like images reflected in a clear mirror, may I not attain perfect Enlightenment.” 
                                        the 31st Vow

This Vow is linked with the 12th Vow where Dharmakara, the actual Amida Buddha, promises that his light as a Buddha will be infinite, capable to illuminate all the Buddha-lands[1]. Thus, the 31st Vow shows the unity between Amida as an Enlightened Person and his Pure Land, which is his own manifestation. The Light of Amida is also the Light of his Pure Land.

Upon birth in the Land of Amida, all the lands of the Buddhas, as numerous as the sands of the Ganges, are revealed to us and we understand the specific characteristics of each one of them. The things that are now inconceivable for our unenlightened minds will be known when we attain Buddhahood in the Pure Land. “Like images reflected in a clear mirror”, means that in the Pure Land there is no obstruction caused by karmic evil and blind passions. Everything is seen and revealed in its true nature and the ultimate nature (Dharmakaya) of all the Buddhas and Buddha-lands is the same, even if their manifestations and conditions are different. By becoming Buddhas upon birth in the Pure Land we understand this Dharmakaya unity between all Buddhas and their lands.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

The manifestations of the Pure Land – short explanation of the 32nd Vow of Amida Buddha


(last revised: June 1st 2012)
If, when I attain Buddhahood, all the myriads of manifestations in my land, from the ground to the sky, such as palaces, pavilions, ponds, streams and trees, should not be composed of both countless treasures, which surpass in supreme excellence anything in the worlds of humans and devas, and of a hundred thousand kinds of aromatic wood, whose fragrance pervades all the worlds of the ten quarters, causing all bodhisattvas who sense it to perform Buddhist practices, then may I not attain perfect Enlightenment.” 
                                                                                                                 the 32nd Vow

The wonderful manifestations of Amida’s Land are also presented in the Smaller Amida Sutra (Amida-kyo)[1] where Shakyamuni describes them to Shariputra in an ecstatic manner not even giving time to his listener to ask questions. He starts preaching that sutra without being asked and he says on and on something like: “Shariputra, it is wonderful, that place is supreme in beauty…. Shariputra, in that land there are so and so places and so and so precious treasures…. Shariputra …….Shariputra…”. It seems that Shakyamuni doesn’t even allow himself time to breathe when he speaks about the beauties of the Pure Land, such is his enthusiasm in presenting them.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Short explanation of the 13th Vow - the Infinite Life of Amida Buddha


 “If, when I attain Buddhahood, my life-span should be limited, even to the extent of a hundred thousand kotis of nayutas of kalpas[1], may I not attain perfect Enlightenment.” - the 13th Vow


This vow simply means that his transcendent manifestation (Sambhogakaya body)[2] will last forever for the benefit of all beings.

It is very important to understand that a Buddha like Amida is not an abstract concept, nor a symbol or metaphor, but a living Buddha having a transcendent body with multiple manifestations for the sake of living beings. This body and his Pure Land are the result of his vows which, upon his Enlightenment, were fulfilled and transformed into useful tools for delivering sentient beings. 

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Short explanation of the 12th Vow - the Infinite Light of Amida Buddha


 
If, when I attain Buddhahood, my light should be limited, unable to illuminate at least a hundred thousand kotis of nayutas of Buddha-lands, may I not attain perfect Enlightenment.
                                                                                                            the 12th Vow

This is the Vow in which Dharmakara, the future Amida Buddha promises that his Light as a Buddha will be infinite.
This infinite Light embraces, protects and brings the wisdom of faith (shinjin) into the hearts and minds of people who are open to Amida’s message of salvation. 
In the Contemplation Sutra, chapter 17, it is said:

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Those who deny the existence of Amida don’t have shinjin – some simple explanations

Check my new book on the topic
of modern divergences
- click here for the Portughese version - 

Unfortunately, there are many false teachers in the international Jodo Shinshu community who support wrong interpretations of the nembutsu Dharma - the so called modern and progressive interpretations - but which are in evident contradiction with the teaching of the sutras and the sacred texts. One of the most widely distributed is the theory that Amida is a symbol, a metaphor or a fictional character.

Such interpretations prove the absence of the genuine shinjin from the hearts of those who support them. It is simply impossible to have the experience of faith in Amida and in the same time to consider him a fictional character or a metaphor. On the contrary, such a shinjin is false or fictional like how fictional the object of faith is. I have never heard or read in the sacred texts about such presentations of Amida Buddha. Not Shakyamuni, nor Shinran Shonin or other masters of our tradition ever spoke in like that about Amida and His Pure Land. This is why I always say that those who present Amida as a fictional character, metaphor, symbol or something similar to these terms, don’t have the experience of faith and salvation.

Monday, August 1, 2011

The reason for the western location of the Pure Land and its wonderful description in the sutras


Question: „Why the Pure Land of Amida Buddha is called „the Western Pure Land” or „the Pure Land of the West”? Why the „west” is so much emphasized in many of the sacred writings related with Amida? And also why the Pure Land is described in such a fantastic way in the sutras?”

Answer: In order to show that Amida’s Pure Land is not a metaphor, but a real place in which people can actually aspire to be born after death, the land is given a direction and is described in great details in the sutras.
Some say that the direction „west” and the marvelous descriptions of the Pure Land are a proof for its non-existence or for its existence  as a symbol or metaphor only.

But the truth is that by making the effort to describe in many words the wonders of the Pure Land and by pointing to a direction where to face the Pure Land when worshipping Amida, Shakyamuni Buddha wants to emphasize its actual existence as a place where sentient beings should aspire to be born without worry and doubt.
It is like I speak to you about a beautiful park which I would like you to visit. If I tell you, „its there, in the west of the town” and I start describing it to you, then you will have no doubt about its existence and you will wish to see it. Its the same with the expression „Pure Land of the West”.

The exaltation with which Shakyamuni describes the Pure Land of Amida in the Smaller Amida Sutra (Amida-kyo) without even being asked to do it[1], or the radiant light that emanated from his body when he delivered the Larger Sutra in which he expounded the story of Amida and his 48th vows[2], are both an indication that his words were true and his listeners should accept Amida as a living Buddha and his Pure Land as a real place.





[1] The Smaller Amida Sutra (Amida-kyo) is a sutra spontaneously delivered, not in response to a question, which is a proof of the importance of the teaching about Amida Buddha. In this discourse, Shakyamuni begins every description with great enthusiam, repeating the name of his main listener, Shariputra, telling him the wonders of the Pure Land and the uniqueness of Amida Buddha among all Buddhas.
[2] It is recorded in the Larger Sutra on Amida Buddha that when Shakyamuni was about to deliver it“all the senses of the World-Honored One radiated joy, his entire body appeared serene and glorious, and his august countenance looked most majestic.” After Ananda asks him which is the reason of these wonderful manifestations, Shakyamuni reveals to him the true goal of his coming to this world, by presenting the story of Amida Buddha, the 48th Vows and encouraging sentient beings to aspire for birth in the Pure Land. In the same sutra, the whole gathering listening to the discourse, including Ananda, had a vision with Amida Buddha and his Pure Land, which is another proof that Shakyamuni speaks about real things, not symbols or fictions.