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66Re: [shinlist] Many Questions!!!!

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  • Clifton Ong
    Jan 2, 2001
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      Hello Wynn,
      glad to answer your questions. I am not really learned so i will try my best to answer them as much as i can. I will also forward this to some of my Senseis in America n Japan and see whether they can answer them.
      1) Although outwardly Mahayana Buddhism may look in certain aspects like Christianity, yet they are poles apart. Mahayana like Theravadin Buddhism also recognises the 4 Noble Truths and Noble 8-fold Path to be the Central belief of Buddhism, and likewise, the denial of the existence of an All-knowing Creator God. While there are some points in which Mahayana Buddhism "converges" with christianity, yet their beliefs, practices and theology are not the same.
      The site makes an error on the term "Zhen Yan" or "Shingon". The term actually refers to Mantras used during esoteoric practices such as the Fire Pujas, Initiations etc. And on "baptism", i should point out that it was the christians who actually took this form of rite from the Indian practice. In Hinduism, it was customary for the Hindus to bathe in the Ganges River. In Shingon Buddhism, the act of "pouring water over the head" is a symbolic sign of one entering the Mandala or being One with the Honzon - or "Spiritual Diety". The actual practice was for ancient Indian kings on their coronations, where water acquired from the "Four Seas" would be sprinkled over their head, symbolising them to be great rulers.
      2) The Dharmakaya Body of the Buddhas (Buddhas have 3 Bodies or Manifestations - Dharmakaya, Sambhokaya and Nirmanakaya). The Dharmakaya is taken to be the Manifestation of Absolute Truth, while the Sambhokaya is taken as the Manifestation of Spiritual Pleasure, and the Nirmanakaya is the Bodily or Mortal Manifestation. Dainichi Nyorai )aka Vairocana Buddha) is looked upon as the Manifestation of the Absolute Truth, and in Shingon they believe that all the other Buddhas originate from this Buddha Vairocana.
      3) In Shinshu as in other Buddhist sects birth in heaven is not the ultimate, because heavenly beings are still subject to Birth and Death. The difference between the Pure Land and Heaven is that the Pure Land is not some place for us to enjoy "eternal life and happiness", but rather a place for us to cultivate the Buddha-Dharma, and associate with the other Great Beings (Ku-e Issho), and then come back to this Saha World to teach other Sentient Beings (Genso-eko, or the Merit [of Amida] to return to this world). Nirvana is a state of Bliss, and unfortunately, since i am not Buddha, i can't answer this, because only Buddha knows since He is the one who has attained Nirvana.
      4) It is guranteed that women can also attain Birth in the Pure Land. Actually to me (personally), it makes no diff whether you're a man or woman in this life, because when one attains Shinjin (Faith), one will definetly be born in Amida Buddha's Pure Land. And, since there is no distinction in the Pure Land, one attains the same body, there is no distinction btw rich or poor, young or old, male or female. In the Pure Land, since it is an Inconceivable Place, all this distinctions btw sexes cease.
      5) I am not really sure of the Chinese sects now, but there have been cases in the past and now that women were reborn in the Pure Land, there were even cases of animals too, but since i am not so sure of this, i will not elaborate here. Sorry.
      6) In the Sutras, it is said that women are unable to become Buddhas, and this happens because of the 32 Great Marks and 80 Minor Signs of a Samyak-sam Buddha (A Fully Enlightened Being like Shakamuni Buddha), and one of the 32 Marks is "a penis hidden behind a sheath". Also, women have greater barriers to gaining enlightenment. BUT, women are as capable of teaching Buddhism as men, in Taiwan, Hongkong and Singapore, there are more nuns than monks, in Shinshu, there are also a sizeable number of women priests who are also able to teach, in fact, the "Resident Priest" of the Shinshu Dojo in Hong Kong is a Taiwanese Nun (a convert from Chinese Zen to Shinshu, but she still retains her Bhikkuni (Fully-ordained Nun) image, it's easier for them to spread Shinshu there (HK) that way). Like i said in answer (4), women are also able to be reborn in the Pure Land.
      Hope this answers your queries, if you have some more, dun hesitate to add in.
      In gassho,
      Clifton (Shaku Do Tatsu)
      BTW, i see that you're Malaysian, wishing you "Selamat Tahun Baru". Care to share which State you're from?
      ----- Original Message -----
      From: wynn
      Sent: Tuesday, January 02, 2001 11:20 AM
      Subject: [shinlist] Many Questions!!!!

      I am a seeker of truth.
      I have many questions!!!
      Take your time to answer them. No need to hurry.
      Question 1
      Is it true that Mahayana Buddhism is influence by Christianity as alleged by this three websites?
      Question 2
      Is the statement below correct?
      >"I have always maintained that the Dharmakaya of Mahayana
      >Buddhism is one and the same God of Christianity, though the concept
      >was not yet fully developed. It did become more developed in Chen-yen
      >Buddhism and Shingon Buddhism under Kukai... In this case, the
      >Shingon Buddhists see the Dharmakaya as Personified in the form of
      >Dainichi Nyorai."
      Question 3
      Other sects of Buddhism have many heavens. What about Shin Buddhism? What is the difference between heaven and Pure Land and also Nirvana? What is the difference between Pure Land and Christian's heaven?
      Question 4
      Is this statement corect?
      > Rather, the vow of Amitabha is that if women, upon hearing of Amitabha, wish to  > renounce their womenhood so they can come to the Pure Land, but for whatever
      > metaphysical reason, are unable to do so, then he would refuse to accept           > enlightenment.

      Question 5

      The sects that actually have a heaven that
      is similiar to our ideas in the West are the Pure Land sects, and
      there is no doubt that the Chinese Sects did not believe that women
      or animals could go to heaven.

      Question 6
      How do you explain this?
      From The Aparimitayur Sutra

      35. When I obtain the Buddhahood, women of boundless and inconceivable
      Buddha-worlds of the ten quarters after having heard my name thereby
      awakened in faith and joyful aspiration, and turning their minds towards
      Bodhi, therefore dislike their own female lives, when they be born again, in
      their next life should not be incarnated into a masculine body, then may I
      not attain the enlightenment.


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