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Have You Liked Stonepeace Sayings? Realisation: Can 'Buddhists' Not Believe In Rebirth?
If you do not believe
in unenlightened rebirth,
what are you seeking liberation from?
[to be continued...]
There are some who do not believe in the Buddha's teachings on rebirth, who nevertheless consider themselves to be Buddhists. Some do not consider them to be Buddhists though, while others feel that it is alright, and the rest ambivalent. Given that the doctrines on rebirth, which are connected to the workings of karma spanning life to life form no minor part of Buddhism, how should we look at this issue? When we study the Kalama Sutta, at its end is a neat self-contained teaching. As summarised, the Buddha says that one whose mind is purified of aversion wins four assurances in this life. First, if there is afterlife and karma, one will have a good rebirth as one is good. Second, if there is no afterlife or karma, one will live happily now, as one is free of ill will. Third, if evil befalls the evil due to karma, it will not affect one as one does no evil. Fourth, if evil does not befall the evil due to no karma, as one does no evil and does good instead, one is pure both ways.
This teaching should not be taken to mean that belief in rebirth is arbitrary in Buddhism, especially since the Buddha did not say so. What it implies is that whether one believes in rebirth and karma or not, it always makes great sense to free oneself from hatred. This is not enough for liberation though. We have to remember that the Kalama Sutta is the very first teaching that the Buddha delivered to the Kalamas. It is a preliminary teaching, that concluded with encouragement to do good; it was definitely not their final lesson. That said, the Kalamas took refuge in the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha right after that teaching. Assuming there might be some among them, who were skeptical about the truth of rebirth, does that make them any less Buddhist? Well, anyone who is diligent to learn, like the Kalamas, is already a good Buddhist in the moment. To be a Buddhist does not mean one must be a perfect one straightaway. There is after all a journey to take to become a Buddha!
The Kalamas were first open-minded enough to approach the Buddha to enquire about his teachings. After resolving their initial doubts, of course, their minds remained open, albeit now better guided with the Buddha's wise guidelines. So long as even those uncertain about the reality of rebirth or any other truths continue to learn from the Buddha with an open mind, surely, they are proper Buddhists training to be Buddhas. Those, however, whose minds are stubbornly closed, opposite from the Kalamas, are to that extent not exactly Buddhists, or are self-limiting ones, who cannot grow in understanding the bigger picture of many other interconnected truths taught by the Buddha. The very essence of Buddhahood is the complete liberation from rebirth, while being able to re-manifest rebirth out of immeasurable compassion to share boundless wisdom. If this central theme of rebirth is mistaken as of arbitrary importance, how can Buddhists become Buddhas?!
If you do not believe
in enlightened rebirth,
where will liberation lead you to?
[... as continued]
The Very Assuring Four Assurances
The Kalama Sutta
Share Articles: tde@... Excerpt: The Zen In Pure Land Practice
The supreme power is
when Self-Power and Other-Power
via mindfulness of Buddha.
Those who practice Zen or Pure Land should all understand this truth: "all Dharma methods are equal and none is superior or inferior." No one who really understands the deep meaning of the Dharma can have the kind of obstinate prejudice that sees inferiority and superiority between the various Buddhist methods. No one with that kind of obstinate prejudice can gain any real benefit from the Dharma.
For example, the Zen school teaches meditation on a "hua-t'ou" (mondo). Hua-t'ou means "before words," before a single thought rises up in one's mind. What is there before a single thought rises up? It is No Thought. No thought is one's own Pure Mind, one's own Buddha-Nature, one's own Original Face. Meditating on a hua-t'ou does not mean repeating it, because the repetition of a hua-t'ou is also a great false thought. Rather, to recognize one's own Original Face is the purpose of a hua-t'ou.
The Pure Land school teaches Buddha Recitation — the repetition of Amitabha Buddha's name (Amituofo). However, it does not teach merely to recite by mouth, like a parrot mindlessly squawking out words. Buddha Recitation centered on the mind is real Buddha Recitation. This is because Mind is Buddha, Buddha is Mind. As the sutras state: "The Mind, Buddhas and Sentient Beings are undifferentiated and equal." Outside of Mind, there is no Buddha, outside of Buddha, there is no Mind. Buddha is Mind, Mind is Buddha. If a practitioner recites the Buddha's name in this manner, he will gradually arrive at the stage where there is neither Mind as subject nor Buddha as object. And there is neither a subject reciting nor an object of recitation. This is the stage before the arising of a single thought. This is the hua-t'ou and this is one's own Original Face. If the practitioner can really understand the Dharma as transcending subject and object, what difference is there between Zen and Pure Land? - Introduction (Master Lok To)
Understanding Amituofo Via the Amitabha Sutra (11th Run)
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Pure Land Of The Patriarchs:
Zen Master Han-Shan On Pure Land Buddhism
Translated By Dharma Master Lok To
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