Showing posts with label QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS. Show all posts
Showing posts with label QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS. Show all posts

Monday, December 13, 2010

On returning from the Pure Land

“Do you think all beings who are born in the Pure Land will return to this world in order to help others? Or only some great teachers like Honen and Shinran? If all beings return, would they have some knowledge on this (that they came from the Pure Land?) It seems Honen, for example, only realized this (or mentioned it to his students) when he was about to die. Also, I wonder what the difference is between returning to this world from The Pure Land and returning to this world for an ordinary next life (without achieving Ojo[1] first). I you have any thoughts on this, I'd be happy if you share them with me.”

Not all beings who are born in the Pure Land will immediately return to this world to help others. Those who have faith mixed with doubts will stay a period in the border land of the Pure Land. They are those born in the Pure Land through the 19th and the 20th Vows[2]. But those who enter the Pure Land through the gate of the Primal Vow (18th Vow) will immediately become Buddhas and they will be able to quickly return to this world in various forms, to help others.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

How can one know that he received shinjin if he has no access to a temple or priest?

“Because nothing physical happens, or is done, to the person receiving shinjin (baptism /Dharma transmission etc.) how can that seeker know he/she has indeed received shinjin and attained the rightly established state?
This question above assumes that the person or persons referred to has no physical access to a Shinshu Buddhist Temple or priest, which is a sad reality in much of the eastern USA. “

Fortunately, in our school there are neither gurus nor masters who can give or confirm the receiving of faith in the heart of the practitioner.
Jodo Shinshu is a personal and exclusive relation between Amida Buddha (a real and living Buddha) and the person who has faith in him. They are like mother and child.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

About petitionary prayers

In the Kyosho (Essentials of Jodo Shinshu) it is said:

"..we shall live expressing our gratitude without depending on petitionary prayer and superstition. "

Here we see that petitionary prayer is linked to superstition as both are put in the same category of the things we, as Jodo Shinshu followers, should not do.

But what does it mean to use nembutsu as a petitionary prayer or superstition? Simply stated it is to say the Name of Amida in order to receive worldly benefits, like wealth, possessions, success in love affairs, etc. Or to think that by reciting it in a certain manner this will bring good luck and good fortune.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Question: are gay and lesbians welcomed in the dojo or temple?

I was asked this kind of question from time to time so I thought is good to post an answer here:

All people without exception are welcomed in the dojo or temple if their reason for being there is to listen to Amida Dharma and receive shinjin (faith). This should be very well understood.

But if you come to the dojo and tell me „I am gay”, I will reply, „did I asked you something?”
If you also come to the dojo and tell me, „I am heterosexual”, I will give you the same reply, „did I asked you something?”

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Amida as the eternal Buddha and the Buddha described in the Larger Sutra


“….how can Amida Buddha be the primordial (eternal) Buddha if he is Dharmakara who practiced aeons ago and had a starting point of existence in an other world? Is Dharmakara a manifestation of Primordial Buddha as Amida, like Saka Nyorai (Shakyamuni) is a manifestation of Amida in this world? I am a bit confused...”

My answer:
Dharmakara becoming Amida Buddha is the description in terms of cause and effect of the salvation work of Amida as eternal Buddha. It is how the eternal and supreme Buddha or Dharma body of Dharma nature, indescribable and beyond any form, becomes Dharma body of compassionate means with form and Name.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Methods for the visualisation of Amida and shinjin (a question and answer)

“I was reading about the practice described in the Pratyutpanna Samadhi Sutra and I was really impressed by the idea of experiencing the presence of Amida Nyorai and the other Buddhas. I also read that this sutra contains one of the earliest mentions of Amida Tathagata so I would like to ask you about such practices.

It is true for me that some times I feel my faith becoming strong and settled in my mind while some other times it becomes weaker so there is still work for me till I experience true and pure shinjin in Amida Nyorai and the Vow.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Shinjin and Buddha nature

“In some writings of Shinran Shonin it is said that shinjin is itself Buddha-nature. How do you explain this?”


First, even if we say it in conventional language that we have shinjin (faith in Amida Buddha), in reality this is not our propriety, but what Amida Buddha awakes in us.

Second, Amida is a Buddha, which means he is one who has became awakened to his Buddha nature. His Buddha nature is the same with our Buddha nature, as all beings have the same innate Buddha nature (Buddhahood) or the same potential to become a Buddha.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Does the Pure Land really exist?

Here are the words of Zuio Inagaki Sensei:
Question: Does the Pure Land really exist?

Answer: Yes it does. 

In our world of experience, everything we feel and perceive with our senses is ephemeral, ­ only momentarily existent and deceptive. As the Buddha admonished:
"All conditioned things are impermanent." (sarva­samskaaraa anityaah)

Friday, October 3, 2008

Why do we need discipline in a dojo or temple?

Somebody who knows that I insist very much on discipline, recently asked me why do we need discipline in a dojo or temple.I think the answer is very simple: Because we are crazy.

Being unenlightened persons, everybody has his or her level of sickness and madness. We have some rules of behavior in the dojo, because we must not allow our madness to enter it and influence the others.
At the dojo we don’t speak about our personal ideas or fantasies, we don’t express our everyday personalities, but concentrate on the single goal of listening the Dharma in order to receive shinjin and be born in the Pure Land. We don’t speak about politics or personal ideas about this or that, we don’t engage in personal debates and fights. We also don’t show interest in the private lives of our fellow practitioners. We don’t enter in their private lives to judge them. It really doesn’t matter what members of a dojo are in their private lives. We just try to leave aside ourselves and concentrate on the Dharma.

It is not good to enter in a temple where people are fighting about their personal lives. That is not a suitable atmosphere in which we can concentrate on the Dharma.

Everybody’s life is difficult and everybody has his/her own problems. We never know what truly happens in somebody’s heart. This is why we should always try not to disturb anybody with our own personality, ideas and judgments. We should all concentrate on the Dharma and help each other to do the same. We should create an atmosphere in which everybody, no matter their difficulties and differences, can easily concentrate on the Dharma.

We should not follow personal goals in coming to the dojo or temple. This means that we come to the dojo not in order to express ourselves, our opinion on such and such worldly matter, to have a chat or who knows what, but to listen to the Dharma.
We also don’t come to the dojo to make friends, find a wife or husband or to eat cookies.

We should come to the dojo or temple like to the hospital where the best medicine is given to all. We should take the medicine to ourselves and help others take it, without interfering or disturbing no one and of course, without changing the medicine.
This is the essence of discipline in the dojo or temple.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Pure Land is NOT here and now

updated: December 13th 2011
“1. I sometimes think the central theme of Buddhism is that it all comes from Avidya (ignorance) and this makes us view the world as samsara rather than Nirvana. I wish to know what some Buddhists mean when they say there is no distinction between the two.
Also, related to this and bringing it back to Jodo Shinshu: Is the Pure Land here and now, or not? Or is it to be reached after death when we become Buddhas? Personally, I think it has to be here and now or it is nowhere. For me this is what I thought was the essence of Shinran's teaching, and why I was attracted to it.”

2. As far as the nembutsu is concerned does it have a particular form? Or rather is it a door through which ignorance is cleared and we realize we have always been in the Pure Land?”

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Some discussions on the nature of Amida Buddha

I share with you here, a few passages from my discussions with some Jodo Shinshu practitioners about the nature of Amida Buddha. Please read the previous two articles in the category "Amida Buddha" from this blog, for a better understanding.

Anonymous: "The way a Buddha is seen in Mahayana definitely looks like a 'supernatural being' to someone outside of the Dharma without the knowledge necessary to differentiate the idea of a Buddha from a god and that may cause more problems of understanding than solving them for these people."

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Difference between Jodo Shu and Jodo Shinshu

I was asked about the difference between Jodo Shu and Jodo Shinshu (the school I belong to).
I myself asked Inagaki Sensei about this matter and here is his answer. I hope everybody will find it useful:

"Jodoshu (A) and Jodoshinshu (B)
by Zuio Hisao Inagaki
Feb. 27, 2008

◇ Though both A and B are based on the Primal Vow, A emphasizes recitation of the Name, whereas B stresses mental state of entrusting to Amida. It may be noted that those who say the Nembutsu do not necessarily place absolute faith in Amida but that those who have absolute faith in Amida unfailingly recite the Nembutsu.

◇ A tends to encourage voiced Nembutsu, whereas B accepts both voiced and soft Nembutsu. B speaks of 'natural' Nembutsu. A 'encourages' the followers to make great efforts to say the Nembutsu.

◇ The number of the Nembutsu recitations is often emphasized in A, but in B the number of the Nembutsu is not important. In B, even one Nembutsu is enough to receive Amida's merit, so long as absolute faith is securely established in one's mind.

◇ In A, even if one recites many Nembutsu all through life, one may not be able to attain peace of mind at the time of death. In B, as soon as one attains absolute faith, one dwells in complete peace of mind.

◇ It follows then that followers of A make great efforts to recite the Nembutsu until death when they expect to meet Amida's coming to welcome them to the Pure Land. Followers of B do not expect this, because they are peaceful and happy in Amida's embracing Light. 

related article - Peace and happiness of shinjin (faith)

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Enjoy the taste of nembutsu

I met people who were somehow afraid of reciting nembutsu for many times, or using a nenju of 108 beads as a help in their recitation, thinking that this might become a jiriki (1) effort. So, I thought of presenting to you a short and relaxed questions and answers dialogue in order to express my opinion about this, and to disperse their tensions and worries.

Question: It is said that in Jodo Shinshu the number of recitation is not important. So we do not need to say nembutsu many times in order to be born in the Pure Land.
Answer: Yes, it is true.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Question - discrimination in the saving activity of Amida?

"There is no heart far from Amida,
but a covered bowl of water cannot reflect the moon.

Once a friend asked me the following question:

"Why is that one person is ready for the nembutsu and others obviously not. And assumed the nembutsu comes only from the Buddha to us, as taught by Shinran, does the Buddha chose between those he wants to save now and those he does´nt want to save yet?"

NEW poems by Gansen John Welch