- Thank you; THIS is the type of discussion I'd originally subscribed
to this list for!
Doreen/Shaku ni Myo Jun
--- In firstname.lastname@example.org, Ame-Tsuchi <tariki@g...> wrote:
> While I find the reductio ad absurdum of "why would one drink poison
> just because one has the antidote?" satisfying, perhaps the matter
> be investigated further.
> We should consider what it is that one is expressing gratitude for.
> Dennis Hirota writes:
> One is not saved simply because of a relationship with Amidaâ¦ but
> because the realization of shinjin is Amida's giving his pure mind
> beings, and therefore is itself the emergence of buddha nature in
> them. (Toward a Contemporary Understanding of Pure Land Buddhism,
> Unlike the Zen schools that postulate an innate presence of the
> Nature from beyond birth, in Shin the Buddha-nature can only be
> acquired through being gifted from Amida through the union of mind
> shinjin. As in the Hymns on the Pure Land: "Great shinjin is itself
> Buddha-nature; Buddha-nature is none other than Tathagata."
> I'm going to quote two somewhat lengthy sections of the KGSS here,
> please bear with me.
> *** Let us consider what exactly shinjin means:
> KGSS III (partially through 28):
> Why? Because when the Tathagata was performing bodhisattva
> there was not a moment - not an instant - when his practice in the
> three modes of action was tainted by the hindrance of doubt. Because
> this mind is the Tathagata's mind of great compassion, it
> becomes the truly decisive cause of attaining the fulfilled land.
> Tathagata, turning with compassion toward the ocean of living beings
> in pain and affliction, has given unhindered and vast pure shinjin
> the ocean of sentient beings. This is called the "true and real
> shinjin that is [Amida's] benefiting of others."
> 29 The passage on the Vow's fulfillment that reveals the shinjin of
> the Primal Vow states:
> All sentient beings, as they hear the Name, realize even one
> thought-moment of shinjin and joy.
> 30 Further, [the corresponding passage from the Sutra of the
> of Immeasurable Life] states:
> When, upon hearing the Name of the Tathagata of immeasurable life,
> sentient beings of the Buddha-lands of other quarters awaken one
> thought-moment of pure shinjin, rejoice.
> 31 The Nirvana Sutra states:
> Good sons! Great love and great compassion are called Buddha-nature.
> Why? Because great love and great compassion always accompany the
> bodhisattva, just as shadows accompany things. All sentient beings
> will without fail ultimately realize great love and great
> Therefore it is taught, "All sentient beings are possessed of
> Buddha-nature." Great love and great compassion are Buddha-nature.
> Buddha-nature is Tathagata.
> Great joy and great even-mindedness are called Buddha-nature. Why?
> Because if a bodhisattva-mahasattva were incapable of the twenty-
> forms of existence, he could not attain the supreme, perfect
> enlightenment. All sentient beings will ultimately attain great joy
> and great even-mindedness. Therefore it is taught, "All sentient
> beings are possessed of Buddha-nature." Great joy and great
> even-mindedness are none other than Buddha-nature. Buddha-nature is
> Buddha-nature is great shinjin. Why? Because through shinjin the
> bodhisattva-mahasattva has acquired all the paramitas from charity
> wisdom. All sentient beings will without fail ultimately realize
> shinjin. Therefore it is taught, "All sentient beings are possessed
> Buddha-nature." Great shinjin is none other than Buddha-nature.
> Buddha-nature is Tathagata.
> Buddha-nature is called "the state of regarding each being as one's
> only child." Why? Because through the conditions of the state of
> regarding each being as one's only child, the bodhisattva has
> the mind of equality concerning all sentient beings. All sentient
> beings will without fail ultimately attain the state of regarding
> being as one's only child. Therefore it is taught, "All sentient
> beings are possessed of Buddha-nature." The state of regarding each
> being as one's only child is none other than Buddha-nature.
> Buddha-nature is Tathagata.
> 32 Further, it states:
> Also it is taught, concerning the supreme, perfect enlightenment,
> shinjin is its cause. Although the causes of enlightenment are
> number, when shinjin has been presented, they have already been
> exhaustively included.
> 33 Further, it states:
> There are two kinds of shinjin: one arises from hearing and the
> from thought. This person's shinjin has arisen from hearing but not
> from thought. Therefore it is called "imperfect realization of
> Again, there are two kinds of shinjin: one is to believe that there
> enlightenment, and the other, to believe that there are people who
> have attained it. This person's shinjin is belief only that
> enlightenment exists and not that there are people who have attained
> it. Therefore it is called "imperfect realization of shinjin."
> *** Following that, we can see how shinjin manifests in this life:
> 36 Further, it states:
> Shinjin is the source of enlightenment, the mother of virtues;
> It nurtures all forms of goodness.
> It cuts away the net of doubt and breaks free from the currents of
> It unfolds the supreme enlightenment of nirvana.
> Shinjin harbors no defiled thoughts, it is pure,
> Eradicating all arrogance; it is the root of reverence
> And the foremost treasure of the dharma-store.
> It is the hand of purity, holding all practices within itself.
> Shinjin gives freely and ungrudgingly;
> Shinjin rejoices and enters the Buddha-dharma;
> Shinjin makes wisdom and virtues increase;
> Shinjin unfailingly reaches the stage of Tathagata.
> Shinjin purifies the faculties, makes them clear and sharp;
> Its power is firm and steadfast, nothing can destroy it.
> Shinjin sunders forever the root of blind passions;
> Shinjin leads one to seek the virtues of Buddha alone.
> Shinjin knows no attachment to objects;
> It separates one from the adversities, so that one attains the realm
> free of them.
> Shinjin transcends the domain of maras
> And manifests the path of unexcelled emancipation.
> Shinjin keeps the seeds of virtues from destruction;
> Shinjin nurtures the tree of enlightenment.
> Shinjin makes supreme wisdom grow.
> Shinjin makes all the Buddhas manifest.
> For this reason, the process of enlightenment is taught in stages
> Shinjin* is foremost, and is extremely difficult to realize...
> If one constantly entrusts to and reveres the Buddhas,
> That in itself is to perform great offerings.
> When one performs great offerings,
> One entrusts to the inconceivable working of the Buddhas.
> If one constantly entrusts to and reveres the precious dharma,
> One never tires of listening to the Buddha's teaching.
> If one never tires of listening to the Buddha's teaching,
> One entrusts to the inconceivable working of the dharma.
> If one constantly entrusts to and reveres the undefiled Sangha,
> One attains the point where shinjin never retrogresses.
> If one attains the point where shinjin never retrogresses,
> One's power of shinjin is immovable.
> If one's power of shinjin is immovable,
> One's faculties are purified and become clear and sharp.
> If one's faculties are purified and become clear and sharp,
> One is able to approach true teachers.
> If one becomes able to approach true teachers,
> One devotes oneself to practicing the vast, supreme good.
> If one practices the vast, supreme good,
> One acquires the immense causal power [that leads to Buddhahood].
> If one acquires the immense causal power,
> One attains the peerless, decisive understanding.
> If one attains the peerless, decisive understanding,
> One is protected by all the Buddhas.
> If one is protected by all the Buddhas,
> One is able to awaken the mind aspiring for enlightenment.
> If one awakens the mind that aspires for enlightenment,
> One diligently practices the virtues of the Buddhas.
> If one diligently practices the virtues of the Buddhas,
> One is born into the home of the Tathagatas.
> If one is born into the home of the Tathagatas,
> One performs good and practices skillful means.
> If one performs good and practices skillful means,
> One attains the pure mind of shinjin.*
> If one attains the pure mind of shinjin,*
> One realizes the unsurpassed supreme mind.
> If one realizes the unsurpassed supreme mind,
> One constantly practices the paramitas.
> If one constantly practices the paramitas,
> One fulfills all the practices of the Mahayana.
> If one fulfills all the Mahayana practices,
> One makes offerings to the Buddhas in accord with the dharma.
> If one makes offerings to the Buddhas in accord with the dharma,
> The mind of thinking on the Buddhas is immovable.
> If the mind of thinking on the Buddhas becomes immovable,
> One constantly sees the countless Buddhas.
> If one constantly sees the countless Buddhas,
> One sees that the body of Tathagata is eternal.
> If one sees that the body of Tathagata is eternal,
> One realizes that the dharma is everlasting and imperishable.
> If one realizes that the dharma is everlasting and imperishable,
> One attains unhindered powers of speech.
> If one attains unhindered powers of speech,
> One can expound the boundless teachings.
> If one expounds the boundless teachings,
> One saves sentient beings by loving and caring for them.
> If one saves sentient beings by loving and caring for them,
> One attains the steadfast mind of great compassion.
> If one attains the steadfast mind of great compassion,
> One rejoices in the most profound dharma.
> If one rejoices in the most profound dharma,
> One is free from the faults of the created world.
> If one is free from the faults of the created world,
> One rids oneself of arrogance and self-indulgence.
> If one rids oneself of arrogance and self-indulgence,
> One benefits all sentient beings as well as oneself.
> If one benefits all sentient beings as well as oneself,
> One dwells in the realm of birth-and-death without fatigue or
> ***Now, let's think about it.
> All this seems to point to the idea that the goal is SHINJIN, not
> Pure Land. It is through renunciation of self effort in spiritual
> practices that shinjin is acquired, with shinjin being the union of
> mind with Amida and the acquiring of Buddha-nature, which is great
> love, great joy, great compassion, and great even-mindedness.
> manifests by fulfilling all the Mahayana practices of the paramitas,
> rejoicing in the profound Dharma, and fulfilling the Mahayana ideal
> the Bodhisattva by working towards benefiting all sentient beings.
> That's how I interpret this section of the KGSS, and I think that it
> is a very important understanding. Too often the goal of Shin
> becomes striving for something in the next life, being born into
> place and staying there. Shinran, being highly dedicated to the
> Bodhisattva ideal, could not have conceived of the Pure Land as some
> sort of permanent dwelling. The goal of all Buddhist practice is to
> eradicate suffering, and the goal of the Mahayana school is to
> renounce ultimate extinction, instead seeking to return to the realm
> of birth-and-death to work for the liberation of all beings. KGSS
> II:84-100 is focused on praise of and exhortation to follow the
> Vehicle of the Mahayana Bodhisattva ideal: "However, when I consider
> the ocean of the One Vehicle of the Primal Vow, I see it is the
> teaching that is perfect, complete, instantaneous, unhindered,
> absolute, and incomparable."
> It is SHINJIN that is the goal. I am going to make a comparison here
> but I do not intend it to be revisionist: in Zen, Hakuin greatly
> emphasizes the importance of post-satori practice, the point where
> after initial enlightenment one can deepen that enlightenment
> continued practice and come to fulfill the Bodhisattva ideal. It's
> that one simply stops sitting zazen and abandons penetrating into
> most difficult koans after a single satori. While the nembutsu is
> a religious practice (rather an expression of gratitude), shinjin
> seems to be comparable in introducing a radical shift in being such
> satori envisions. It is this shift: the attainment of _being
> to fulfill the Bodhisattva ideal. In Zen this occurs through
> actualizing the Buddha-nature in the first breakthrough, but it is
> post-satori practice in this life and in future lives that makes one
> into a Bodhisattva. In Shin it is shinjin that instills one with
> Buddha-nature gifted by Amida, but it is the severing of karmic
> at death and subsequent rebirth into and action within the world of
> samsara that makes one into a Bodhisattva.
> It is useless to speculate what exactly the Pure Land is, but
> of the systemization of Shinran's thought we can acquire some
> ideas as to the context that the Pure Land fits in. The most
> thing that must be understood is that if Shin is honestly Mahayana
> Buddhist than the Pure Land is naught but a stop on the way. It may
> beautiful and full of splendor, but to make the Pure Land itself a
> goal is to fall prey to the individualistic ego-centeredness,
> neglecting the great suffering of all beings. Ultimately, the final
> destination is simply this reality. It is the fulfillment of the
> Mahayana understanding that Samsara is Nirvana, and Nirvana is
> Samsara. All this is made possible through Amida's compassion that
> gifts us SHINJIN.
> After shinjin there is still opportunity in this life: to teach and
> expound the Shin way to the people we have been karmically bound to
> through our whole life, to work and do good â" not in the futile
> of jiriki seeking enlightenment, but in the simple sense of acting
> a compassionate individual. Through the gifting of Amida's mind one
> able to act with jinen, or naturalness. Jinen seems to be what
> the one thought-moment of shinjin and perhaps also what governs
> conduct post-shinjin. Of course, to make things complicated, Shinran
> refused to elaborate much on jinen for fear of turning naturalness
> into contrivance. I think that from this understanding that we can
> that suicide simply misses the point of the whole Shin endeavor. It
> seems to misunderstand the role of shinjin and birth in the Pure
> and is rooted in ego-centeredness. Isn't entrusting in Amida simply
> living this life? The only gift we can refuse is shinjin: the Pure
> Land will certainly come after that. As stated above: "If one
> all sentient beings as well as oneself, one dwells in the realm of
> birth-and-death without fatigue or revulsion." This ability to
> sentient beings all stems from shinjin and has nothing to do with
> having to go to the Pure Land first!
> I think that the great task of contemporary Shin Buddhism is in
> to understand how this all manifests in our present life. I know
> some here have called for some sort of return to simplicity, but
> is a danger of engaging in oversimplifications. Shinran put a great
> amount of thought into his understanding, compiling quotes from
> numerous Buddhist texts and fusing his intellect with his own life
> experience of the Primal Vow. While the Shin path is attainable by
> all, it is a profound and nuanced understanding. That is why Shinran
> spent his life teaching, writing, and ministering to his people;
> is why texts such as the TannishÅ are venerated for exhorting
> followers to correct understanding; that is why the reforms and
> further systemizations of RennyÅ are highly important. That is why
> even though Shin is called the easy path, it is difficult to attain.
> Indeed, the four main Bodhisttva vows are all about attaining the
> unattainable! Amida may be at the end of that delicate path between
> the rivers of water and fire, but we must still walk down that path
> ourselves. As Amida assists the monk with confidence and the ability
> to walk down that seemingly impossible path, shinjin gifts us with
> ability to proceed down the seemingly impossible path of
> You ask "How does the Nirvana of life compare to the Nirvana of Pure
> Land"? Do you understand now that this question is rooted in a
> misunderstanding of what the Pure Land's role is? It is not a Heaven
> of any sort; it cannot be, for then it would be selfishness. I'm
> if I come off strong here, but I want to emphasize the essential
> importance of this understanding. Nirvana is the cessation of
> suffering. Without delving too much into Buddhist philosophy, let me
> say that such a goal is attained through adopting a radically
> different interpretation and experience of all being and reality.
> says that this can be done in this life; Shin says that it can't.
> this idea of Nirvana is simply itself; there is no separate Nirvana
> this and Nirvana of that. Because of the motion of Nirvana not as a
> static absolute but rather as the fluid expression of Buddha-nature,
> it is realized in Samsara. Samsara becomes Nirvana through the power
> of a Bodhisattva's attainment, through his or her great Wisdom and
> Compassion â" not by virtue of being in some other place or
> is the goal of the Bodhisattva to work in establishing this
> in all persons, just as it was Amida's goal to gift us shinjin, the
> capability of attaining Bodhisttvahood, and to create for us the
> Land, a place where we can practice the True Dharma free of the
> of the defiled age. The Pure Land lends those that dwell in it to
> easy, pure practice, but it is not Nirvana. Rather, it is more akin
> the ultimate monastery, inhabited by the most gifted teachers. As to
> whether this is a literal place or not is subject to debate, but
> is its stated purpose.
> I hope that you will forgive my ranting. I have a number of thoughts
> here and perhaps they are not well organized. But I hope that it has
> been useful somehow. My understanding is limited, but I try anyways.
> In gasshÅ,