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Re: [shinlist] what is Amida to you?

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  • Richard St. Clair
    ... I think you are right in saying that the sutras represent a transcendent reality. I m not sure about your pure land as original enlightened buddha nature.
    Message 1 of 34 , May 14, 2002
      >I just read "Naturalness: A Classic of Shin Buddhism" by
      >Kenryo Kanamatsu (which I enjoyed very much and highly
      >recommend btw) in which he implies the story of Amida in
      >the 3 Pure Land Sutras is a myth or written in the "language
      >of dream" or words to that effect. Are the sutras then a
      >mere symbol of a reality we are unable to describe directly?
      >What does that make Amida to you personally? I like the
      >idea (my own speculation) the pure land symbolizes our
      >already enlightened Buddha nature which we are
      >temporarily unable to recognize because of erroneous
      >beliefs to the contrary. It is these wrong beliefs which
      >make up our "sinful" ego-centric delusions. In this view,
      >relying on Amida is equal to relying on our own original but
      >as yet unrealized Buddha nature. Is this anything at all like
      >orthodox Jodo Shinshu interpretation?
      >
      >all the best,
      >
      >-A

      I think you are right in saying that the sutras represent
      a transcendent reality. I'm not sure about your pure land
      as original enlightened buddha nature. I would prefer to
      think of the pure land as shinjin, the mind of endowed
      trust in Amida Buddha. As to whether it is "orthodox" Shin
      interpretation, why fret over that - isn't it more important
      what is meaningful to you now? Shinran said, "I follow the
      words of my teacher, 'Just say the Nembutsu and be saved
      by Amida'". That seems like the bottom line to me.
      in gassho,
      Richard
      (Shaku Egen)
    • Richard St. Clair
      Message 34 of 34 , Feb 6, 2003
        <<...Shin Buddhism. Initially it reminded me too much
        of my fundamentalist Christian background (I went to Bible school
        myself as someone else on this board). However, the truth of
        suchness is very, very powerful. There is great faith involved in
        the truth of suchness and allowing for what is to be just that...what
        is.

        Thank you again.

        Gassho,
        Shawn>>

        Shawn,
        I also reacted to the Christian flavor of some of the English terms
        used in Shin Buddhism, such as "faith," "salvation," but remember
        that the original Japanese terms really don't have an exact English
        equivalent. "Faith" in Shin is represented by the Japanese term
        "shinjin", which means "endowed trust", i.e. trust in Amida Buddha, a
        trust which is 'endowed' by Amida and not through our personal "self
        power." "Salvation" does not, of course, refer to a Christian style
        heaven/hell duality. It really means enlightenment, realization of
        "suchness" by letting our self-power calculation fall away from us
        and letting the Other Power of Amida bring us to that awakened state
        in the Pure Land, or nirvana. Thankfully English-speaking Shin
        Buddhists use the term "Pure Land", an exact rendering of the term
        "jodo", rather than "heaven"!!! Glad to see you posting here. :)
        be well,
        in gassho,
        Richard St. Clair
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