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

Friday, October 4, 2019

The 48 vows of Amida Buddha – commentary on section 7 of the Larger Sutra


the cover of the first edition of
 my book on the 48 Vows

At the moment Dharmakara became Amida Buddha, His 48 vows and His Pure Land became real and effective methods for the salvation of sentient beings. For a better understanding, I arranged them in four categories. The highlighted numbers represent a vow that has been revised. Click on it to read the revised explanations. 

1. Vows about Amida Buddha and His Pure Land
(vows 12, 13, 31, 32)

2. Vows related to the salvation of all sentient beings
     (vows 11, 17, 18,  19, 20, 22, 33, 35)

 3.   Vows explaining the characteristics, the capacities and activities of beings who attained Enlightenment in the Pure Land after being born there. These beings are sometimes called humans and devas in my land, shravakas in my land or bodhisattvas in my land.

  1. Vows related to bodhisattvas in other lands (not yet born in the Pure Land                          (vows 34, 36, 37, 41, 42, 43, 44, 45, 47, 48)

When explaining these vows I will sometime mention the passages in the sutra that, according to Shinran, prove they were brought to fulfillment after Dharmakara attained Buddhahood and became Amida Buddha.



Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Vows related with bodhisattvas in other lands (not yet born in the Pure Land)




The following vows refer mainly to highly advanced bodhisattvas in aspiration from various worlds who entrust to Amida Buddha and say His Name in faith, wishing to be born in His Land.  They are already on one of the ten bodhisattva stages (bhumis) and very close to Enlightenment, but still not enlightened. Because they entrust to Amida and are in accord with His Primal Vow - in their case, hearing the Name of Amida means to hear and entrust, to hear with faith and to say Amida’s Name in faith, they will too be born in His Pure Land by transformation (“true fulfilled land/”center” of the Pure Land) where they will attain perfect Enlightenment[1]. The difference between them and us is that they are already very advanced on the Buddhist path and very close to Enlightenment while we are the lowest of the low in terms of spiritual evolution and the similarity is that we both entrust to Amida and dwell in the stage of non-retrogression for entering the Pure Land and attainment of Enlightenment there. However, because their spiritual capacities are already extremely high in comparison with ours and their senses very much purified, when they entrust to Amida and say His Name in faith they automatically receive more benefits than us, ordinary people. These benefits are explained in this category of vows.

Saturday, September 28, 2019

Vows explaining the characteristics, the capacities and activities of beings who attained Enlightenment in the Pure Land after being born there


 As I previously explained, beings born in the Pure Land are sometimes called “humans and devas (gods) in my land “, which doesn’t mean that in the Pure Land there are the six unenlightened realms of existence, namely the hells, hungry spirits, animals, humans, demigods (asuras) and gods. Shakyamuni himself explained in section 17 of this sutra that when the expression “humans and devas” in the Pure Land appears in this sacred discourse it is only in relation with the states of existence prior to their birth in the Pure Land:

Friday, September 27, 2019

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 of the Buddha.

“If, when I attain Buddhahood, bodhisattvas in the Buddha-lands of other directions who come and are born in  my land[1] 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 armour of great vows, accumulate merits, deliver all beings from birth and death, visit Buddha-lands to perform the bodhisattva practices, make offerings to Buddha 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”.[2]
the 22nd Vow

Sunday, September 22, 2019

Vows made for those who still cling to their own power - explanation of the 19th Vow and 20th Vows of Amida Buddha



“If, when I attain Buddhahood, sentient beings in the lands of the ten directions, who awaken aspiration for Enlightenment, do various meritorious deeds and sincerely desire to be born in my land, should not, at their death, see me appear before them surrounded by a multitude of sages, may I not attain perfect Enlightenment.”[1] 
 (19th Vow)

“If, when I attain Buddhahood, sentient beings in the lands of the ten directions who, having heard my Name, concentrate their thoughts on my land, plant roots of virtue, and sincerely transfer their merits towards my land with a desire to be born there, should not eventually fulfil their aspiration, may I not attain perfect Enlightenment.”[2]
 (20th Vow)

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

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

The Primal Vow of Amida Buddha is inconceivable



"Tathagata's Primal Vow surpasses conceptual understanding; it is a design of the wisdom of Buddhas. It is not the design of foolish beings. No one can fathom the wisdom of Buddhas, which surpasses conceptual understanding."[1]

"Further, with regard to Other Power, since it is inconceivable Buddha-wisdom, the attainment of supreme Enlightenment by foolish beings possessed of blind passions comes about through the working shared only by Buddhas; it is not in any way the design of the practicer. Thus, no working is true working. 'Working' that is negated refers to the calculation of the person of self-power. Concerning Other Power, then, no working is true working."[2]

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

The One Vehicle of the Primal Vow - the ultimate teaching of Shakyamuni and all Buddhas

click here to download this article in pdf:
    
Shakyamuni Buddha teaching the Larger Sutra on Amida Buddha
- the Supreme Turning of the Wheel of Dharma
It is very important to understand that Shinran Shonin did not consider the Primal Vow and the teaching explaining it, to be just a path among the many Mahayana methods, but the supreme Buddhist vehicle, the One Vehicle[1] of the Primal Vow (Universal Vow), the most important teaching of all Buddhas, the true, hidden reason for their coming to this world.
He said:

 "Respectfully I proclaim to all aspirants of Birth: The ocean of the One Vehicle of the Universal Vow"[2]

„When I ponder the ocean of the One Vehicle of the Primal Vow, I see that it is the all-merging, perfect, unhindered, absolute, and unparalleled teaching that brings about the quickest effect"[3].

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Summary of the Primal Vow of Amida Buddha



            Now, after so many pages in which I tried my best to explain in detail the elements of the Primal Vow, I would like to make a summary, so that you keep in mind its essentials.
Click on the highlighted words to go to the specific part of the Primal Vow related to them.

Basically, what Amida promised is this:

"If you sincerely and exclusively entrust yourself to me, say my Name in a relaxed manner, without being obsessed with numbers and special states of mind, and wish to be born in my land, then you will go there after death. If this will not happen, then it means I do not deserve to be called a Buddha, but you should not worry, because a Buddha always keeps His promises.

However, the fact that I save you so easily, does not mean that I agree with your evil deeds, so please try your best not to do the five gravest offences. Don’t worry, I will save you anyway, no matter what you do, but please try your best to avoid them.

Also, please notice that I really can’t save you if you slander the right Dharma, that is, if you deny my existence, and the existence of my Pure Land. If you do that, you are not actually entrusting yourself to me and do not wish to be born in my land, and the saying of my Name is false. Nobody can go to a place which he thinks it doesn’t exist and can’t be saved by someone whom he considers being an imaginary person. It’s logical, isn’t it? So, please entrust yourself to me as to a real, existing Buddha who manifested a Pure Land especially for you, wish to be born there after death, and say my Name.
I am awaiting you! Please come as you are!"

Monday, February 26, 2018

A detailed explanation of the Primal Vow of Amida Buddha



In this category of articles I intend to offer you a somewhat new and more in-depth explanation of the Primal Vow of Amida Buddha, besides the one I already did many years ago.

"If, when I attain Buddhahood, sentient beings of the ten quarters who sincerely entrust themselves to me, desire to be born in my land, and say 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." (The Primal Vow of Amida Buddha)



3) The meaning of "sincerely entrust themselves to me, desire to be born in my land, and say my Name perhaps even ten times"

4) The so called "exclusion" in the Primal Vow - "excluded are those who commit the five grave offenses and those who slander the right Dharma"

The so called “exclusion” in the Primal Vow: „excluded are those who commit the five grave offenses and those who slander the right Dharma."


-  updated and revised on September 22nd 2019 - 


"If,when I attain Buddhahood, sentient beings of the ten quarters who sincerely entrust themselves to me, desire to be born in my land, and say 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."
(The Primal Vow of Amida Buddha)

Many people that come in contact with the Primal Vow of Amida Buddha experience two types of reactions: they are happy when reading the all-inclusive message in the first part, but they get unsure right after reading the last sentence: "excluded are those who commit the five grave offenses[1] and those who slander the right Dharma”.

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.

NEW! Audio version can be listened here! 

(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

If you wish to support my temple and my Dharma activities please consider a small donation,


Saturday, December 29, 2012

The peace and happiness of faith (shinjin) - explanation of the 33rd Vow of Amida Buddha


last revised September 26th 2019 

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 directions, 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”.[1] (33rd Vow)

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Beings who have faith in Amida dwell in the definitely assured state and immediately attain Nirvana after birth in the Pure Land - explanation of the 11th Vow -



last revised September 25th 2019

“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.”[1]
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 (perfect Enlightenment/Buddhahood).

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-





last revised and updated September 21st 2019

“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.”[1] 
the 31st Vow

This Vow is linked with the 12thVow where Dharmakara, the actual Amida Buddha, promises that His light as a Buddha will be infinite, capable to illuminate all the Buddha-lands[2]. 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.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

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



revised and updated September 21st 2019 

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 both of 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.[1]
the 32nd Vow

The wonderful manifestations of the Pure Land are described at length in sections 14 to 21 as well as in other parts of the Larger Sutra. Especially, this passage from section 16 shows the fulfilment of the 32nd Vow:

Sunday, April 15, 2012

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


 
last revised September 19th 2019

“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.”[2]
the 13th Vow

This vow simply means that His transcendent manifestation (Sambhogakaya body or Dharmakaya as compassionate means)[3] 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 who has a transcendent body (Sambhogakaya) with multiple manifestations (multiple Nirmanakayas or transformation/adaptation bodies) for the sake of sentient beings. This body (Sambhogakaya aspect) 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


 last revised September 18th 2019


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.[1]
the 12th Vow

This is the Vow in which Dharmakara, the actual 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, section 17, it is said:

Friday, February 24, 2012

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



 last revised September 24 2019

“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.”[1]
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 18thVow (the Primal Vow) in which the saying of Amida’s Name in faith and aspiration to be born in His Pure Land are mentioned. As Shinran said in Notes on Essentials of Faith Alone:  

Thursday, December 15, 2011

No discrimination of women in the salvation of Amida Buddha - explanation of the 35th Vow



revised on September 23rd 2019

If one reads the 35th Vow of Amida Buddha without carefully understanding its meaning, he might come to the conclusion that there is a prejudice against women:   

“If, when I attain Buddhahood, women in the immeasurable and inconceivable Buddha-lands of the ten directions 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.”[1]
“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. With birth in the Pure Land we become Buddhas and go beyond the limitations of being a woman or a man. So, this Vow does not look down on women, but it shows that women are equally treated by the salvation of Amida Buddha.

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