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

Friday, April 5, 2013

My book - The 48 Vows of Amida Buddha (free online edition)

*

Click on these links for free download:

My page on Scribd.com
Link on Archive.org

If you experience problems with the download, write to me at josho_adrian@yahoo.com and I will send it to you by e-mail.


(Printed editions of my books can be ordered here)


To people in special circumstances and difficulties I will try to send free printed copies, on my own expanse. If you are in this category, please  write to me at josho_adrian@yahoo.com

Saturday, December 29, 2012

The peace and happiness of shinjin - explanation of the 33rd Vow


I think the 33rd Vow can be linked with the first part of the 11th Vow because it refers to the present life of a nembutsu devotee when he entrusts to Amida Buddha and immediately enters the stage of being assured of Nirvana (the “definitely assured state”):

If, when I attain Buddhahood, sentient beings in the immeasurable and inconceivable Buddha-lands of the ten quarters, who have been touched by my light, should not feel peace and happiness in their bodies and minds surpassing those of humans and devas, may I not attain perfect Enlightenment. (33rd Vow)

Sentient beings touched by the Light of Amida are those who entrust to His Primal Vow. They accept this Light, that is, his method of salvation. To be touched by Amida’s Light means to be opened to him, to hear Amida’s call of “come as you are”. Such sentient beings, although remaining ordinary people until their birth in the Pure Land, they feel the happiness of knowing that they are free from birth and death, which is a freedom that not even devas (gods) experience. Indeed, what they received from Amida Buddha through faith (shinjin) cannot be compared with any attainment of unenlightened beings, no matter what high place they occupy in samsara.  

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Vows related with the 22nd Vow of Amida Buddha (the Enlightened Bodhisattvas of the Pure Land)



 The following vows are an elaboration of various aspects already promised in the 22nd Vow. Thus, in the 23rd Vow and the 24th, it is promised again, that beings who attain Buddhahood in the Pure Land of Amida, and will forever manifest themselves as Bodhisattvas[1], can go everywhere in the ten direction of the universe to make offerings to all Buddhas, praise them and worship them, out of gratitude for their benevolence and guidance[2]:

If, when I attain Buddhahood, bodhisattvas in my land, in order to make offerings to Buddhas through my transcendent power, should not be able to reach immeasurable and innumerable kotis of nayutas of Buddha-lands in as short a time as it takes to eat a meal, may I not attain perfect Enlightenment. (23rd Vow)

If, when I attain Buddhahood, bodhisattvas in my land should not be able, as they wish, to perform meritorious acts of worshiping the Buddhas with the offerings of their choice, may I not attain perfect Enlightenment. (24th Vow)

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Returning from the Pure Land (explanation of the 22nd Vow of Amida Buddha)

Section from the Larger Amida Sutra Mandala.
 Samantabhadra is seen near the Shakyamuni
Buddha on his white elephant.Maitreya and Manjushri are 

also depicted in the right and left ofthe Buddha.


“If, when I attain Buddhahood, bodhisattvas in the Buddha-lands of other directions who come and are born in  my land should not ultimately and unfailingly reach the Stage of Becoming a Buddha after One More Life, may I not attain perfect Enlightenment. Excepted are those who wish to teach and guide sentient beings in accordance with their original vows. For they wear the armor of great vows, accumulate merits, deliver all beings from birth and death, visit Buddha-lands to perform the bodhisattva practices, make offerings to Buddhas, Tathagatas, throughout the ten directions, enlighten uncountable sentient beings as numerous as the sands of the River Ganges, and establish them in the highest, perfect Enlightenment. Such bodhisattvas transcend the course of practice of the ordinary bodhisattva stages and actually cultivate the virtues of Samantabhadra”.
the 22nd Vow

At my first reading of this great vow I wrongly thought that it is referring to two categories of beings born in the Pure Land, one that will reach the stage of a Buddha after some time spent in the Pure Land (one more life) while the others, those who wish to teach and guide sentient beings in accordance with their original vows return immediately to samsara to save all beings. But when I deeply contemplated this vow I realized that it is referring to only one category of people - those born in the Pure Land attain Buddhahood and also return to save all beings. Please follow my explanations carefully.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Beings who entrust in Amida dwell in the definitely assured state and immediately attain Nirvana after birth in the Pure Land (explanation on the 11th Vow of Amida Buddha)


 “If, when I attain Buddhahood, humans and devas in my land should not dwell in the Definitely Assured State and unfailingly reach Nirvana, may I not attain perfect Enlightenment.”

                                                the 11th Vow

According to  Shinran Shonin, the 11th Vow has many names, “the great Vow of necessary attainment of Nirvana”, “the Vow of the realization of great Nirvana.", "the Vow of realization, which is Amida's directing of virtue for our going forth.", etc.

Also “the Definitely Assured State”  appears under many names like the “stage of the truly settled”, “the truly settled of the Mahayana”, “the stage of non-retrogression”, “the stage equal to perfect Enlightenment”, “assured of Nirvana”, “assured of birth in the Pure Land”, etc.

This vow offers two chronologically distinct benefits:
  1. attainment of the definitely assured state and
  2. attainment of Nirvana or Buddhahood.
 According to Shinran Shonin the first benefit is received in this life, at the very moment faith (shinjin) arises in the heart of the follower, while the second happens upon birth in the Pure Land[1]. The next two passages from Shinran’s work explain the first benefit of the 11th Vow:  

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:

Friday, February 24, 2012

All Buddhas praise Amida's Name (short explanation of the 17th Vow of Amida Buddha)


“If, when I attain Buddhahood, innumerable Buddhas in the lands of the ten directions should not all praise and glorify my Name, may I not attain perfect Enlightenment.” 
-the 17th Vow

In this vow Dharmakara promised that when he becomes Amida Buddha his Name will be praised by all Buddhas so that sentient beings are encouraged to entrust to it and say it in faith. Thus, the 17th Vow supports the 18th Vow (the Primal Vow) in which the saying of Amida’s Name in faith and with aspiration to be born in his PureLand is mentioned:

Thursday, December 15, 2011

No discrimination of women in the salvation of Amida Buddha (comments on the 35th Vow)


 If one reads the Thirty-fifth Vow of Amida Buddha without carefully understanding its meaning, he might come to the conclusion that there is a disesteem against women:

“If, when I attain Buddhahood, women in the immeasurable and inconceivable Buddha-lands of the ten quarters who, having heard my Name, rejoice in faith, awaken aspiration for Enlightenment and wish to renounce womanhood, should after death be reborn again as women, may I not attain perfect Enlightenment.”
"Womanhood", like "manhood" is just a limited form for us living in samsara or the world of delusion and suffering. In reality, our true nature or Buddha nature is not of women or men, so upon birth in the Pure Land of Amida where we attain Buddhahood, we naturally “renounce” our womanhood or manhood, that is we do not define ourselves by these terms. By birth in the Pure Land we become Buddhas and go beyond woman or man limitations.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Three vows of salvation (commentary on the 18th, 19th and 20th Vows)


Generally speaking, Buddhist practices taught by Shakyamuni can be classified into two groups:

1.      meditative practices
2.      non-meditative practices

Meditative practices include various types of meditation and visualizations that we can find in all schools of Buddhism from Theravada to Mahayana and Esoteric Vajrayana.

Non-meditative practices include chanting sutras, observing the precepts, abstaining from wrong doing or doing various good acts, etc. These non-meditative practices are said to generate merits or positive karmic energy that help the practitioner attain higher rebirths or spiritual states. They can also be transferred or directed by the practitioner toward various goals, including his future Enlightenment.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

The so called “exclusion” in the Eighteenth Vow


Until now I haven’t presented to you the Primal Vow in its entirety, especially avoiding the last sentence, because I wanted to offer it a special chapter:

“If, when I attain Buddhahood, the sentient beings of the ten quarters, with sincere mind entrusting themselves, aspiring to be born in my land, and saying my Name perhaps even ten times, should not be born there, may I not attain the supreme enlightenment. Excluded are those who commit the five grave offenses and those who slander the right Dharma.”

Many people that come in contact with the Primal Vow of Amida Buddha experience two types of reactions: they are happy in finding the message that is full of hope in the first part, but they get unsure right after reading the last sentence: "excluded are those who commit the five grave offenses and slander the right Dharma”.