Pure Land Buddhism

ในห้อง 'Buddhism' ตั้งกระทู้โดย WebSnow, 12 มกราคม 2009.

  1. WebSnow

    WebSnow ผู้ก่อตั้งเว็บพลังจิต ทีมงาน Administrator

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    Pure Land Buddhism

    Pure Land Buddhism offers a way to enlightenment for people who can't handle the subtleties of meditation, endure long rituals, or just live especially good lives.
    The essential practice in Pure Land Buddhism is the chanting of the name of Amitabha Buddha with total concentration, trusting that one will be reborn in the Pure Land, a place where it is much easier for a being to work towards enlightenment.
    Pure Land Buddhism adds mystical elements to the basic Buddhist teachings which make those teachings easier (and more comforting) to work with.
    These elements include faith and trust and a personal relationship with Amitabha Buddha, who is regarded by Pure Land Buddhists as a sort of saviour; and belief in the Pure Land, a place which provides a stepping stone towards enlightenment and liberation.
    Pure Land Buddhism is particularly popular in China and Japan.


    History

    Pure Land Buddhism as a school of Buddhist thinking began in India around the 2nd century BCE.
    It spread to China where there was a strong cult of Amitabha by the 2nd century CE, and then spread to Japan around the 6th century CE.
    Pure Land Buddhism received a major boost to its popularity in the 12th century with the simplifications made by Honen.
    A century later Shinran (1173-1262), a disciple of Honen, brought a new understanding of the Pure Land ideas, and this became the foundation of the Shin (true) sect.
    Pure Land Buddhism took off in Japan when the monk Honen (1133-1212) simplified the teachings and practices of the sect so that anyone could cope with them.
    He eliminated the intellectual difficulties and complex meditation practices used by other schools of Buddhism.
    Honen taught that rebirth in the Pure Land was certain for anyone who recited the name with complete trust and sincerity. Honen said that all that was needed was...
    saying "Namu Amida Butsu" with a conviction that by saying it one will certainly attain birth in the Pure Land.
    The result was a form of Buddhism accessible to anyone, even if they were illiterate or stupid.
    Honen didn't simplify Buddhism through a patronising attitude to inferior people. He believed that most people, and he included himself, could not achieve liberation through any of their own activities. The only way to achieve buddhahood was through the help of Amitabha.


    The Shin Sect

    A century after Honan, one of his disciples, Shinran (1173-1262) brought a new understanding of the Pure Land ideas. Shinran taught that what truly mattered was not the chanting of the name but faith. Chanting on its own had no value at all.
    Those who follow the Shin school say that liberation is the consequence of a person achieving genuine faith in Amitabha Buddha and his vow to save all beings who trusted in him.

    Amitabha in context

    The Pure Land sect emphasises the important role played in liberation by Amitabha (which means Immeasurable Light) who is also called Amitayus (which means Immeasurable Life).
    People who sincerely call on Amitabha for help will be reborn in Sukhavati - The Pure Land or The Western Paradise - where there are no distractions and where they can continue to work towards liberation under the most favourable conditions.
    The nature of Amitabha is not entirely clear. Encyclopedia Britannica describes him as "the great saviour deity worshiped principally by members of the Pure Land sect in Japan." Another writer says "Amitabha is neither a God who punishes and rewards, gives mercy or imposes tests, nor a divinity that we can petition or beg for special favours".
    The mystical view of Amitabha regards him as an eternal Buddha, and believes that he manifested himself in human history as Gautama, or "The Buddha".
    Amitabha translates as "Amito-fo" in Chinese and "Amida" in Japanese.


    The story of Amitabha

    Once there was a king who was so deeply moved by the suffering of beings in the world that he gave up his throne and became a monk named Dharmakara.
    Dharmakara was heavily influenced by the 81st Buddha and vowed to become a Buddha himself, with the aim of creating a Buddha-land that would be free of all limitations.
    He meditated at length on other Buddha-lands and set down what he learned in 48 vows. Eventually he achieved enlightenment and became Amitabha Buddha and established his Buddha-land of Sukhavati.
    His most important vow was the 18th, which said:
    "If I were to become a Buddha, and people, hearing my Name, have faith and joy and recite it for even ten times, but are not born into my Pure Land, may I not gain enlightenment."
    Since he did gain enlightenment, it follows that those who do have faith and joy and who recite his name will be born into the Pure Land.
     
  2. WebSnow

    WebSnow ผู้ก่อตั้งเว็บพลังจิต ทีมงาน Administrator

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    Nembutsu

    This means concentration on Buddha and his virtues, or recitation of the Buddha's name.
    No special way of reciting the name is laid down. It can be done silently or aloud, alone or in a group and with or without musical accompaniment. The important thing is to chant the name single-mindedly, while sincerely wishing to be reborn in the Pure Land.


    Scripture

    The Pure Land scriptures include The Infinite Life Sutra, The Contemplation Sutra and The Amitabha Sutra.


    Chanting

    Chanting the name of Amitabha Buddha does not do anything at all to help the person to the Pure Land. Chanting is nothing more than an expression of gratitude to Amitabha Buddha and an expression of the chanter's faith.
    But it's not possible to do away with the chanting: Shinran wrote "the True Faith is necessarily accompanied by the utterance of the Name".


    Faith

    Shin Buddhists say that faith in Amitabha Buddha is not something that the believer should take the credit for since it's not something that the believer does for themselves. Their faith is a gift from Amitabha Buddha.
    And in keeping with this style of humility, Shin Buddhists don't accept the idea that beings can earn merit for themselves by their own acts; neither good deeds, nor performing rituals help.
    This has huge moral implications in that it implies (and Shinran quite explicitly said) that a sinner with faith will be made welcome in the Pure Land - even more welcome than a good man who has faith and pride.


    Popularity

    The sect's teachings brought it huge popularity in Japan, since here was a form of Buddhism that didn't require a person to be clever, or a monk, and that was open to the outcasts of society.
    It remains a popular group in Buddhism - and the reasons that made it popular 700 years ago are exactly the same ones that make it popular today.


    Is this a new understanding of Buddhism?

    On the surface Pure Land Buddhism seems to have moved a very long way from the basic Buddhist ideas, and it's important to see how it might actually fit in. The way to do this is to tackle each issue and see what's really going on.


    Amitabha Buddha is treated as if he were God

    On the surface, yes. But perhaps chanting Amitabha Buddha's name is not praying to an external deity, but really a way of calling out one's own essential Buddha nature. However some of Shinran's writings do speak of Amitabha Buddha in language that a westerner would regard as describing God.


    The Pure Land appears to be a supernatural place

    On the surface, yes. But perhaps the Pure Land is really a poetic metaphor for a higher state of consciousness. Chanting the name can then be seen as a meditative practice that enables the follower to alter their state of mind. (This argument is quite hard to sustain in the face of the importance given to chanting the name in faith at the moment of death - when some supernatural event is clearly expected by most followers. And the chanting is not regarded solely as a meditative practice by most followers. However gaps between populist and sophisticated understanding of religious concepts are common in all faiths.)


    There is no reliance on the self to achieve enlightenment

    On the surface, yes. But in fact this is just a further move in the direction that Mahayana Buddhism has already taken to allow assistance in the journey to liberation. And the being still has much work to do when they arrive in the Pure Land. (Shinran however taught that arriving in the Pure Land was actually the final liberation - the Pure Land was nirvana.)

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/religions/buddhism/subdivisions/pureland_1.shtml
     
  3. rockshok

    rockshok สมาชิกใหม่

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    like it

    Hey...this is a wonderful website buddy and an informative post!!! i am new here and i found this site very interesting and informative ,, you are a professional blogger i think i have a great interest in such things...thank you for the post buddy and keep on posting nice stuff like this :)
     
  4. WebSnow

    WebSnow ผู้ก่อตั้งเว็บพลังจิต ทีมงาน Administrator

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    Welcome to PaLungjit forum and thank you for your message.
    Where do you come from ?
     

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