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Re: [shinlist] The Putz trys again...

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  • Shin02143@aol.com
    ... Actually, I think the Zen saying is Little doubt, little awakening - great doubt, great awakening. My memory is getting fuzzier. gassho, Rick
    Message 1 of 5 , Apr 4, 2006

      In a message dated 4/4/06 9:52:34 PM, Shin02143@... writes:


      There is a Zen saying, "Little doubt, little faith - great doubt, great
      faith".


      Actually, I think the Zen saying is "Little doubt, little awakening -
      great doubt, great awakening." My memory is getting fuzzier.

      gassho,
      Rick
    • toraginus
      Aaron, I hardly know where to begin. You remind me somewhat of myself---or the way I used to be. When one reaches 74 --- a kind of natural wisdom sets in --
      Message 2 of 5 , Apr 6, 2006
        Aaron,

        I hardly know where to begin.  You remind me somewhat of myself---or the way I used to be. When one reaches 74 --- a kind of natural wisdom sets in -- based the lack of energy to be  obsessively-compulsive, as well as "literal" as I used to be.

        First, I recommend a book, the reading of which, I believe would do you a world of good. It certainly helped me: "You Don't Have to Sit on the Floor: Making Buddhism Part of your Everyday Life" by Jim Pym, c. 2002.

        It is, e.g. available for $9.97 from amazon.com. It covers  a wide selection of Buddhist topics. He  gives his personal experiences. Shows that as Westerners we cannot transform ourselves into someone who "grew up" being a Buddhist, e.g. I was a Catholic and an Episcopalian for 44 years. For better or worse, some of Western "culture" has rubbed off on me. He is writing his book for Westerners trying to come to grips with Buddhism.  And, amazingly enough there is a chapter on Pure Land Buddhism. the type of Buddha Dharma he chiefly practices now.  On the back cover, there is a recommendation from Dr. Taitetsu Unno, the author of "River of Fire, River of Water," and "Shin Buddhism: Bits of Rubble Turn into Gold." Dr. Unno says
        "This unpretentious little book opens wide the gates of Buddhism to invite all who seek a path of liberation and freedom."

        Second, to  try to discover "true" Buddhism by an excessive use of literalism and logic is very difficult. Personally, I think, impossible.  The essence of Buddhism cannot be grasped in concepts. Often conceptualization is based on our desire to be absolutely sure, to be perfect in making a choice.

        Third: my quick answers to your questions:

        1.(Buddhism is not based on "faith". Buddhism is based on proven reality. )
        Shin is absolutely dependent or based on Faith. In Tibetan Buddhism where I took formal refuge vows --- Faith is extremely important. In Theravada you are asked to "trust" that  taking refuge and then proceeding with practices e.g. samatha or vipassana meditation ---  is simply an acceptance that these practices may lead to experiences of reality which confirm the teaching. However, in Tibetan Buddhism, IMO, it is essential that one generate faith Before proceeding with the multitude of practices from which one can choose. When I took refuge vows from Tana Tulku of the Kagyu School, I was asked to see him with eyes of Faith as the actual Buddha. In Soto Zen one sits with the Faith that one is in actually a Buddha.

        2. (The Buddha's actual words are recorded in the Tripitaka)
        I do Not believe that we can be in any way be Sure that these words  are the Actual Words of Buddha. Buddha probably did not record any of his own words.  His sermons were committed to  memory. Ananda was supposed to have had the ability to remember every word from every sermon the Buddha gave.  We take this on Faith.

        3. (The Mahayana sutras were written centuries after the Buddha passed away.)
        I am not sure about being written but they were created. Legend has it that they were kept at the bottom of the oceans by the naga,  serpents that safeguarded them until the time was ripe for them to be disclosed. Some of Mahayana sutras may contain some of Shakyamuni's actual words. There is one belief that holds the Mahayana Sutras were held in secret and passed on by his followers until the time was appropriate
        for  them to be made public. Personally, I like the "naga" story. However, probably these sutras were composed by later monks, but these monks were no doubt deeply devout, who practiced profound meditations, perhaps, even had "revelations". We should not discount these Mahayana sutras even if we believe they are not the words of Shakyamuni. The originators of these sutras were enlightened person.  I remember one time in Taos  visiting a young lama to have a mala blessed. He was staying in the home of two sangha members. The woman made the comment that: "In Tibetan Buddhism Shakyamuni is practically absent." That is an exaggeration, but there is some truth in it. Although Vajrayana (Tibetan) is founded on the Pali Teachings of Shakyamuni----it is a development of great beauty, truth, and some complexity from that early point. And the focus is Not on Shakyamuni, IMO.

        Joseph Campbell said:

        "Read myths with the eyes of wonder:
        the myths transparent to their universal meaning,
        their meaning transparent to its mysterious source."

        4. ( The Buddha (himself) never spoke of any other Buddha's or Bodhisattva's. They are products of Mahayana scriptures.)
        I am not sure of the answer. It seems to me that the Pali scriptures to some extent accept the existence of some Hindu deities. For example, either Indra or Brahma were supposed to have urged the Buddha not to keep his discovery of liberation to himself, but to share it with mankind through preaching and example. I once read a book (now out of print) by Helmuth Von Glasenapp, "Buddhism: a non-Theistic Religion". This study of "original" Buddhism, or the Southern School, those whose writings are in the Pali Language reached the conclusion that although there is no belief evident in a supreme eternal  God who created the world---within the world of the Pali teachings--there is a definite acceptance of  "gods" some from the Hindu Pantheon. However, these gods though real --- are still subject to the Law of Impermanence (annica).



        5.(The Primal Vow comes from a Mahayana sutra.)
        The  myth of the Primal Vow is found in the Larger Pure Land Sutra---true

        toraginus

        --- In shinlist@yahoogroups.com, "Aaron \(Shoren\) Boone" <shoren108@...> wrote:
        >
        > Ok I am trying to understand but I'm having a terrible time finding any peace. I composed the following to try and clearify my questions. I hope you'll bear with me.
        >
        > The facts as I far as I can tell:
        >
        > 1. Buddhism is not based on "faith". Buddhism is based on proven reality. He said to test everything for ourselves and not just believe because we have read it or been told it.
        > 2. The Buddha's actual words are recorded in the Tripitaka.
        > 3. The Mahayana sutras were written centuries after the Buddha passed away.
        > 4. The Buddha (himself) never spoke of any other Buddha's or Bodhisattva's. They are products of Mahayana scriptures.
        > 5. The Primal Vow comes from a Mahayana sutra.
        >
        > My questions:
        >
        > 1. Is the Nembutsu still real and if so, how do I approach it? Do I have faith in it even though I do not know if it's power is true? I cannot prove it.
        >
        > I learned of the power of the Nembutsu through writings by people who felt such deep gratitude to the Amida and his Primal Vow. I read how Shinran, after twenty years of study realized even he cannot enlighten. It was by discovering the sutra of the Pure Land that he found a way for himself to be saved.. I agree with Shinran that I too cannot save myself from anything.
        >
        > I have also heard Buddhism does not rely on faith in a god. Amida is not a god according to all I have read yet in almost every way he seems exactly like a god. He is eternal, he worked tirelessly for eons to fulfill his vow to save all sentient beings. His powers are beyond human understanding and reach out to countless worlds. He created his very own world from which he reaches out to all sentient beings so that they may be born there. Those are all god-like powers.
        >
        > 2. If Amida is not a god then is he is like one? I have heard that Amida is the embodiment of Wisdom & Compassion. Can Wisdom & Compassion make Vows? I have heard we cannot think of Amida as a person like Shakyamuni Buddha. Then if Amida is not a person, who made the Primal Vow?
        >
        > 3. Can I still be saved by the Primal Vow even if I am not certain of it's truth? Shinran says over and over one must have absolute certainty of faith in the Primal Vow (Shinjin). I personally cannot be certain of anything, I can only have hope that it is so. Does this mean my attempts are in vain and that the Nembutsu is not for me?
        >
        > I hear modern Shin scholars say that the story of Dharmakara is just a myth. I have also been told myth does not have to mean false and that it explains things in a way humans can understand. Does that negate what I perceive as the Vow? The merit transferred to me by Amida out of his deep compassion to save me from the cycle of death?
        >
        > 4. Is it possible to believe in Amida as a personality that manifested itself in this form? That he did this so that I can have someone to look to for salvation? That salvation being that I entrust to the power of his name?
        >
        > 5. Even if the story is a myth, the truth of Amida's compassion remains even if I cannot prove he exists or that the name has any power? Does this go against Buddhism?
        >
        > I am becoming so confused it pains me deeply. I want to entrust to Amida's power. But I am confused. I cannot prove Amida is real or that he did anything at all. I only know about it from the sutras and writings of other Buddhists and Shinran himself.
        > In the Kalama Sutra Buddha tells the people, "Do not believe it because it was written down, told to you by teachers, seems right to you, or is what your culture says is so." He said to test it and prove its worthiness. Everything he said not to base a belief on is all I have. How do I proceed?
        >
        > Many Buddhist thinkers cast Amida as only a symbol of something beyond understanding yet it cannot be proved. Is having faith in Amida Buddha wrong? I thought Buddhism was not about relying on faith. Faith isn't "certain" it cannot be proven, only felt.
        >
        > Can you help me find my way to understanding?
        >
        > Thank you for your time.
        > Gassho,
        > Aaron
        >
        >
        >
        > The Primal Vow was established out of deep compassion for us who cannot become freed from the bondage of birth-and-death through any religious practice, due to the abundance of blind passion. Since its basic intention is to effect the enlightenment of such an evil one, the evil person who is led to true entrusting by Other Power is the person who attains birth in the Pure Land. Thus, even the good person attains birth, how much more so the evil person!
        >
        > Shinran Shonin
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        > ---------------------------------
        > Yahoo! Messenger with Voice. PC-to-Phone calls for ridiculously low rates.
        >
      • Shin02143@aol.com
        ... Hisao Inagaki has written about this. He put forward the theory that the Buddha taught from different samadhis, i.e. in different meditative states. It is
        Message 3 of 5 , Apr 6, 2006

          In a message dated 4/6/06 6:29:28 PM, toraginus@... writes:


          Some of Mahayana sutras may contain some of Shakyamuni's actual words. There is one belief that holds the Mahayana Sutras were held in secret and passed on by his followers until the time was appropriate
          forĀ  them to be made public. Personally, I like the "naga" story. However, probably these sutras were composed by later monks, but these monks were no doubt deeply devout, who practiced profound meditations, perhaps, even had "revelations". We should not discount these Mahayana sutras even if we believe they are not the words of Shakyamuni.

          Hisao Inagaki has written about this. He put forward the theory that
          the Buddha taught from different samadhis, i.e. in different meditative
          states. It is in the "Nembutsu Samadhi" that he received illumination
          about "the infinite" Amita, though it was some time before Buddhists
          were later able to translate this samadhi into verbal/mythic form as the Amida
          sutras. The same applies to the Lotus, Avatamsaka, and other major
          Mahayana sutras. It is an interesting theory, though there is no way
          to substantiate it, of course.
          gassho,
          Rick
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