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Buddhahood and/ or Bodhisattva-hood

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  • toraginus
    As I mentioned in an earlier email, my interest in Buddhism began in 1975. Now, I seem to have ended up in Jodo Shinshu. However, to be honest, I don t really
    Message 1 of 3 , Mar 4, 2006
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      As I mentioned in an earlier email, my interest in Buddhism began in 1975.

      Now, I seem to have ended up in Jodo Shinshu.

      However, to be honest, I don't really have the desire to be a Buddha. I am not sure about being a Bodhisattva, eventually.

      To me Buddhas are not a great multitude of beings. They are very special. Shakyamuni was one with all the physical as well as spiritual marks of a great awakened one.

      Surely, the rank and file of mankind cannot end up as Buddhas of the rank and sublimity of  Gotama.  And, certainly not equal to Amida.

      Yes, I would like enlightenment, liberation, salvation or whatever other term is used, but I cannot seem to aspire to being a Buddha. I don't seem to fit the part now or ever.

      toraginus.
    • Mark
      Namaste Toraginus! So, if you do not aspire to Bodhisattva-hood or Buddha-hood, then what do you get out of a Buddhist practice? Especially, now that you
      Message 2 of 3 , Mar 7, 2006
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        Namaste Toraginus!

        So, if you do not aspire to Bodhisattva-hood or Buddha-hood, then what
        do you "get" out of a Buddhist practice?

        Especially, now that you have "ended up" in Jodo Shinshu, if I might
        ask?

        Mark
      • toraginus
        Gassho, Hanuman. I suppose we are not supposed to think in terms of getting or grasping for some goal. However, I know what you mean. I am seeking joy,
        Message 3 of 3 , Mar 8, 2006
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          Gassho, Hanuman.

          I suppose we are not supposed to think in terms of "getting" or grasping
          for some goal. However, I know what you mean.

          I am seeking joy, peace, liberation, awakening, enlightenment.


          In Mahayana the end spot is becoming a Bodhissatva. I suppose I don't
          see myself as being willing to undergo great suffering or intense
          hardships to save all beings. This is an honest answer. And, actually, I
          wonder how many other Mahayanists really are. Maybe that disposition is
          achieved once one become a bodhisattva. . It is very easy to assent to
          teachings or beliefs, and then to declare that a list of these
          represents one's real, honest, deeply felt feelings.

          One reason I left the Catholic Church is that saying The Creed made me
          feel very hypocritical.

          I see Amida Buddha as a spiritual being, a representation or investment
          of the wisdom/compassion core which is at the heart of reality.

          There is only one Amida. The rest of us are not going to become
          additional Amidas.

          Can we become Buddhas? Is attaining Buddhahood the same as become equal
          to Shakyamuni? Is Buddhahood a state with a spectrum of degrees of
          Buddhahood?

          My personal opinions are---

          � We all possess Buddha Nature

          � I don't know whether there are ranks of Buddhas as there is
          thought to be ranks of angels in Catholicism.

          � If the orthodox teaching of Jodo Shinshu is that all those
          who realize shinjin will eventually after going to the Pure Land after
          death---end up as Buddhas------well, this is hard for me to accept, if
          one means equal to Shakyamuni or Amida

          Because of all the spiritual paths I've studied, and sometimes
          practiced, it is hard for me to be "pure" i.e. Pure Shin Buddhist; Pure
          Soto Zen Buddhist; Pure Kagyu Vajrayana Buddhist. I am whatever I am.

          I have tried at times to be a "pure" this or that, but often this means
          dry and rigid.

          I have read quite a few times that we must dig our well and dig it deep.
          This statement, it seems to me, assumes that there are various well
          fields:
          Zen (various sects, teachers), Tibetan (four schools, teachers) and we
          must choose a certain well field which is atop a certain spiritual
          "aquifer".

          Taitetsu Unno in his book, Shin Buddhism, Bits of Rubble Turn into
          Gold," specifically advises the reader to settle into one tradition, one
          path.

          On the other hand, when one digs his/her well, it has to be a subjective
          matter, involving the total person, as he/she is at the moment of
          digging. If one is constantly worried whether this is exactly the
          "right" spot to dig the well---then one is distracted, not single
          minded, and the result may be unproductive.

          For the first conversation I had with a Shin priest I brought with me a
          piece of paper on which I had typed certain questions for which I sought
          answers.

          For some reason, the priest (an Anglo, as we say in the Southwest)
          talked about his days in Japan, and----then began a mini discourse on
          unorthodoxy in Jodo Shinshu, I have no idea why he wanted to discuss
          this topic. I had not brought it up, nor had I been given the
          opportunity to talk enough that he might sense I was not one easily
          plugged into the proper sized opening.

          He even gave me a pamphlet by Erdmann, an Anglo Shin priest on the very
          subject.

          The point both he and Erdmann seem to make is that it is OK to hold
          unorthodox views in Jodo Shinshu. Shinran himself stated that his views
          were HIS views. He objected to his son teaching a group of Shin
          Buddhists, in a way contrary to Shinran's beliefs--because his son
          represented these teachings as those of his Shinran.

          if you are a priest or Shin leader who expresses her/his own divergent
          views to a group of Shin Buddhists --without telling them that these are
          his personal views---not the official position or teaching of the
          Hongwanji ---this priest or leader would be reprimanded, and if he
          continued could be expelled.

          According to what I heard in my meeting and what is in the
          pamphlet---the problem of personal views is only in the context of
          claiming that these view represent the official or orthodox teachings of
          the Hongwanji.


          You can see I tend to digress. At 74 one has to accept some
          peculiarties.

          The simple answer to your question is as stated above:

          I am seeking joy, peace, liberation, awakening, enlightenment.

          I do seek entry into the Pure Land. Not infrequently I feel that I
          am dwelling even now in the Pure Land, i.e. within the compassionate
          embrace of Amida. I hope to enter more fully into the Pure Land at my
          death.
          I do not seek to become a Buddha if by this is meant a being on par
          with Shakyumuni.
          I would welcome becoming a Bodhisattva, but this is not something
          essential for me.
          My chief goal, if we dare use this word, is to merge with Amida.

          toraginus

          Namo Amida Butsu

          P.S.
          Among many Shin books, I have benefitted in a special way from these
          two:
          > Naturalness by Kenryo Kanamatsu

          > A Life of Awakening: The Heart of the Shin Buddhist Path,
          Takamaro Shigaraki, c.2005


          --- In shinlist@yahoogroups.com, "Mark" <HANUMAN1960@...> wrote:
          >
          > Namaste Toraginus!
          >
          > So, if you do not aspire to Bodhisattva-hood or Buddha-hood, then what
          > do you "get" out of a Buddhist practice?
          >
          > Especially, now that you have "ended up" in Jodo Shinshu, if I might
          > ask?
          >
          > Mark
          >
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