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Re: [shinlist] definition of no definition

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  • Richard St. Clair
    ... That is wonderful to hear! ... A, You are right, we cannot calculate becoming uncalculating. It is the deep conundrum of Shin Buddhism. As Ty Unno recently
    Message 1 of 27 , May 16, 2002
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      >Hi,
      >
      >I have trouble believing Sakyamuni said the things attributed to him in the
      >Pure Land Sutras and think it far more likely the Sutras were authored by
      >unknown Mahayanists three hundred years after he died. None the less, I have
      >even more trouble with my own efforts to achieve enlightenment!

      That is wonderful to hear!

      >While it is doubtless true that all that is needed is to "discard the deluded
      >mind of calculation" this seems completely impossible for "ME" to do as the
      >very effort would be premised on and inspired by the exact thing to be
      >discarded. Somehow something besides me and my effort must
      >accomplish what I cannot and I have no doubt the Primal Vow has
      >accomplished this for
      >generations of Shin Buddhists.

      A,
      You are right, we cannot calculate becoming uncalculating.
      It is the deep conundrum of Shin Buddhism. As Ty Unno
      recently said, the teaching of Shin Other Power comes
      down to "I can do nothing." This is the existential moment
      where we realize our powerlessness to attain enlightenment or
      to even lead an enlightened life. Turning over our life to
      the Other Power is none other than shinjin. It is that moment
      that the Nembutsu becomes truly real for us.

      >I want the same thing but wonder how their faith is possible for me when, as
      >Dr. Haneda puts it, "...Amida is a fictional character like Hamlet or Faust.
      >[...] Since Amida is a fictional character, he is (1) *not* a god (or divine
      >being) and (2) *not* a historical person."
      >
      >How, I wonder, can a "fictional character" DO anything whatsoever?

      Unfortunately not everything Shin scholars and priests
      say and write is accurate or helpful. We are all foolish beings.
      We must never lose sight of that fact.
      An attempt to dismiss Amida as fictional is as deluded
      as an attempt to reify Amida as an existing 'spirit'
      living in a physically 'real' pure land off in the West.
      Amida is beyond us.
      From what I understand (and I admit my poor
      understanding is limited by my bonno nature), the
      middle path through this is to think of Amida as
      great compassion which transcends reality as we
      know it.

      >It seems necessary for poor fools like myself to be able to believe Amida
      >symbolizes something real AND capable of functioning AS IF it were a divine
      >being like Amida. I read today Shinran considers the details of Amida and
      >the Pure Land as being "expedient" while the "true" form is identical with
      >the absolute, described variously in Buddhism as emptiness, complete Nirvana,
      >Buddha-nature, the unconditioned, the immeasurable, the inconceivable, etc.
      >
      >Terrific! I can't get started with absurdly large lotus petals but "the
      >unconditioned" and "the inconceivable" sound very promising (to me).

      That works for me too!

      >Assuming the inconceivable absolute is interested and capable of bringing
      >about my salvation I would have liked to take the assumed offer on faith but
      >still doubted I had the REAL faith. Lucky for me and as I understand it,
      >Shinran defines the real faith as being without definition (Gi naki o gi to
      >su) and I breathed a sigh of relief. If the required faith is not defined
      >then my compulsively doubting analytical mind has nothing to vivisect and the
      >working of my salvation can proceed unhindered (by that doubting mind).

      Excellent.

      >I therefore resign myself to the hopefully merciful ministrations of the
      >unknown absolute -- happy to no longer be my own problem. If the absolute
      >(Amida) "saves" me that is very good, if not, there's nothing much I can do
      >anyway. It might be worth a trip to hell just to not have to try to save
      >myself anymore! :-)

      If I may be so bold, it sounds like you are very close to
      shinjin. Keep studying Shinran. The Tannisho is probably
      the best source, the simplest statement of Shinran's
      revelation of the Pure Land path of Other Power. Hang in
      there,
      in gassho,
      Namu Amida Butsu
      Rick S.
      (Shaku Egen)
    • Anon
      Dear Rick, ... thanks for the encouragement but I have to confess flattery works all too well on me so I instantly jumped to the conclusion I was way ahead of
      Message 2 of 27 , May 16, 2002
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        Dear Rick,

        >
        > If I may be so bold, it sounds like you are very close to
        > shinjin. Keep studying Shinran. The Tannisho is probably
        > the best source, the simplest statement of Shinran's
        > revelation of the Pure Land path of Other Power. Hang in
        > there,
        > in gassho,
        > Namu Amida Butsu
        > Rick S.
        > (Shaku Egen)
        >
        >

        thanks for the encouragement but I have to confess flattery works all too
        well on me so I instantly jumped to the conclusion I was way ahead of myself.
        Considering how ingrained habits like this are in me could be pretty
        discouraging if it wasn't also a little comical !

        I ordered a copy of the Collected Works of Shinran which I'm looking forward
        to. I've not actually read the whole Tannisho yet except for Dr.Bloom's
        "Resource for Modern Living". I'm also really interested in Dr.Uno's next
        book (due out in a couple of months) because the last one was so good -- the
        only book I ever read 3 times.

        but ya, I'm hangin' in there all right -- bobbing up and down somewhere in
        the ocean of samsara with a grin starting to form ...

        all the best,

        -A
      • Anon
        Being imperfect we find ourselves unacceptable. Being Buddha Amida accepts us unconditionally. Who do you think is right? -A
        Message 3 of 27 , May 19, 2002
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          Being imperfect
          we find ourselves unacceptable.
          Being Buddha
          Amida accepts us unconditionally.

          Who do you think is right?

          -A
        • Clifton Ong
          Being imperfect, Amida accepts us unconditionally. Being Buddha, There is no need for Amida to accept us! Gassho, Clifton ... ===== Gassho, Clifton Ong (Shaku
          Message 4 of 27 , May 20, 2002
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            Being imperfect,
            Amida accepts us unconditionally.
            Being Buddha,
            There is no need for Amida to accept us!

            Gassho,
            Clifton


            --- Anon <now@...> wrote:
            > Being imperfect
            > we find ourselves unacceptable.
            > Being Buddha
            > Amida accepts us unconditionally.
            >
            > Who do you think is right?
            >
            > -A
            >


            =====
            Gassho,
            Clifton Ong (Shaku Do Tatsu)

            Email: sanath_sg@...

            Homepage: http://honganmission.cjb.net/

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          • Anon
            ... I don t understand your last two lines. Can you help me with them? -A
            Message 5 of 27 , May 20, 2002
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              On Monday 20 May 2002 12:32, you wrote:
              > Being imperfect,
              > Amida accepts us unconditionally.
              > Being Buddha,
              > There is no need for Amida to accept us!
              >


              I don't understand your last two lines. Can you help me with them?

              -A
            • Richard St. Clair
              ... A, The complete text of Tannisho is at this website (Dr. Unno s translation): http://www.livingdharma.org/Tannisho/TannishoContents.html It is a short
              Message 6 of 27 , May 20, 2002
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                >
                >I ordered a copy of the Collected Works of Shinran which I'm looking forward
                >to. I've not actually read the whole Tannisho yet except for Dr.Bloom's
                >"Resource for Modern Living". I'm also really interested in Dr.Uno's next
                >book (due out in a couple of months) because the last one was so good -- the
                >only book I ever read 3 times.
                >
                >but ya, I'm hangin' in there all right -- bobbing up and down somewhere in
                >the ocean of samsara with a grin starting to form ...
                >
                >all the best,
                >

                A,
                The complete text of Tannisho is at this website (Dr. Unno's translation):

                http://www.livingdharma.org/Tannisho/TannishoContents.html

                It is a short work, but the wisdom on those few pages is very
                concentrated. If I was on a desert island and could have only one
                book, this is the one I'd choose.
                in gassho,
                Rick
                (Shaku Egen)
              • Anon
                ... Thanks for the link but I dislike reading online and I don t think they offer a printable download of the whole thing. The collected works of Shinran
                Message 7 of 27 , May 20, 2002
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                  > The complete text of Tannisho is at this website (Dr. Unno's translation):
                  >
                  > http://www.livingdharma.org/Tannisho/TannishoContents.html
                  >
                  > It is a short work, but the wisdom on those few pages is very
                  > concentrated. If I was on a desert island and could have only one
                  > book, this is the one I'd choose.
                  > in gassho,
                  > Rick
                  > (Shaku Egen)
                  >


                  Thanks for the link but I dislike reading online and I don't think they offer
                  a printable download of the whole thing. The collected works of Shinran
                  online has the same problem I think. I'll wait for my hardcopy version...

                  -A.

                  btw, thanks for the essay on your site (even though it too is multi-part with
                  no complete printable version for download that I could see) written by the
                  Ryukoku university guy. it was as good as anything I've read so far. the
                  part on "lateral transcendence" prompted the following...

                  being embraced by Amida
                  I am finally free (not enlightened)
                  to be as I am, "warts and all" !
                • Richard St. Clair
                  ... Dear Anon, You can order a printed copy of the Taitetsu Unno translation of TANNISHO. It is available on Amazon.com, but you d be better off (takes much
                  Message 8 of 27 , May 21, 2002
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                    > > The complete text of Tannisho is at this website (Dr. Unno's translation):
                    >>
                    >> http://www.livingdharma.org/Tannisho/TannishoContents.html
                    >>
                    >> It is a short work, but the wisdom on those few pages is very
                    >> concentrated. If I was on a desert island and could have only one
                    >> book, this is the one I'd choose.
                    >> in gassho,
                    >> Rick
                    >> (Shaku Egen)
                    >>
                    >
                    >
                    >Thanks for the link but I dislike reading online and I don't think they offer
                    >a printable download of the whole thing. The collected works of Shinran
                    >online has the same problem I think. I'll wait for my hardcopy version...
                    >
                    >-A.
                    Dear Anon,
                    You can order a printed copy of the Taitetsu Unno translation of
                    TANNISHO. It is available on Amazon.com, but you'd be better off
                    (takes much less time) ordering it through the Honpa Hongwanji
                    Mission of Hawai'i bookstore, telephone 808-522-9200. Remember,
                    Hawai'i is on standard time, one our earlier than zones observing
                    daylight time. Make sure you specify the Unno translation, there may
                    be one or two others. I think his is the best. It goes by the full
                    title, TANNISHO: A SHIN BUDDHIST CLASSIC. Good luck! :)
                    in gassho,
                    Rick S.
                    (Shaku Egen)
                  • Anon
                    ... I just realized Tannisho is probably *not* going to be included in the Complete Works of Shinran (which I d hoped) because the author is actually a
                    Message 9 of 27 , May 21, 2002
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                      On Tuesday 21 May 2002 11:01, you wrote:
                      >I think his is the best. It goes by the full
                      > title, TANNISHO: A SHIN BUDDHIST CLASSIC. Good luck! :)
                      >

                      I just realized Tannisho is probably *not* going to be included in the
                      Complete Works of Shinran (which I'd hoped) because the author is actually a
                      disciple recollecting the words of Shinran, right?

                      I read something today by Kiyozawa Manshi and thought it was real "two
                      fisted" stuff ! WoW! I loved it but a subsequent internet search didn't
                      turn up much for me. Can anyone recommend English translations and where I
                      can get them?

                      much thanks,

                      -A
                    • Jerome Ducor
                      ... Tanni-sho is included: http://www.shinranworks.com/relatedworks/tannisho1.htm ... Otani University has published some of his articles:
                      Message 10 of 27 , May 21, 2002
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                        --- Anon <now@...> wrote:
                        > I just realized Tannisho is probably *not* going to
                        > be included in the
                        > Complete Works of Shinran (which I'd hoped) because
                        > the author is actually a
                        > disciple recollecting the words of Shinran, right?

                        Tanni-sho is included:
                        http://www.shinranworks.com/relatedworks/tannisho1.htm

                        > I read something today by Kiyozawa Manshi and
                        > thought it was real "two
                        > fisted" stuff ! WoW! I loved it but a subsequent
                        > internet search didn't
                        > turn up much for me. Can anyone recommend English
                        > translations and where I
                        > can get them?

                        Otani University has published some of his articles:
                        http://www.pitaka.ch/shinbib.htm#2001

                        cheers
                        Jerome Ducor

                        =====
                        Jerome Ducor
                        http://www.ville-ge.ch/musinfo/ethg/ducor/

                        __________________________________________________
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                      • Clifton Ong
                        Hi Anon, the Tannisho IS inside the Collected Works of Shinran under the heading - A Lament on Divergences. Gassho, Clifton ... ===== Gassho, Clifton Ong
                        Message 11 of 27 , May 22, 2002
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                          Hi Anon,
                          the Tannisho IS inside the Collected Works of Shinran
                          under the heading - A Lament on Divergences.
                          Gassho,
                          Clifton

                          --- Anon <now@...> wrote:
                          > On Tuesday 21 May 2002 11:01, you wrote:
                          > >I think his is the best. It goes by the full
                          > > title, TANNISHO: A SHIN BUDDHIST CLASSIC. Good
                          > luck! :)
                          > >
                          >
                          > I just realized Tannisho is probably *not* going to
                          > be included in the
                          > Complete Works of Shinran (which I'd hoped) because
                          > the author is actually a
                          > disciple recollecting the words of Shinran, right?
                          >
                          > I read something today by Kiyozawa Manshi and
                          > thought it was real "two
                          > fisted" stuff ! WoW! I loved it but a subsequent
                          > internet search didn't
                          > turn up much for me. Can anyone recommend English
                          > translations and where I
                          > can get them?
                          >
                          > much thanks,
                          >
                          > -A
                          >
                          >


                          =====
                          Gassho,
                          Clifton Ong (Shaku Do Tatsu)

                          Email: sanath_sg@...

                          Homepage: http://honganmission.cjb.net/

                          __________________________________________________
                          Do You Yahoo!?
                          LAUNCH - Your Yahoo! Music Experience
                          http://launch.yahoo.com
                        • -A
                          Dear Jerome, ... thanks for this... I m glad I checked your site -- my goodness! there is a LOT of stuff there! cheers indeed, -A.
                          Message 12 of 27 , May 22, 2002
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                            Dear Jerome,

                            >
                            > Otani University has published some of his articles:
                            > http://www.pitaka.ch/shinbib.htm#2001
                            >

                            thanks for this... I'm glad I checked your site -- my goodness! there is a
                            LOT of stuff there!

                            cheers indeed,

                            -A.
                          • -A
                            I read somewhere the Shin Buddhist is to experience shinjin and then help explain it or help lead others to experience it too, so please dear friends, share
                            Message 13 of 27 , May 22, 2002
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                              I read somewhere the Shin Buddhist is to experience shinjin and then help
                              explain it or help lead others to experience it too, so please dear friends,
                              share whatever you can with me about shinjin from your own experience and
                              understanding in your own words.

                              -A.
                            • Richard St. Clair
                              ... Dear Anon, I m not sure what to tell you. I ll just relate my views on this. The whole thing to avoid is calculation. There is no way to calculate or
                              Message 14 of 27 , May 24, 2002
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                                >I read somewhere the Shin Buddhist is to experience shinjin and then help
                                >explain it or help lead others to experience it too, so please dear friends,
                                >share whatever you can with me about shinjin from your own experience and
                                >understanding in your own words.
                                >
                                >-A.

                                Dear Anon,
                                I'm not sure what to tell you. I'll just relate my views on this.

                                The whole thing to avoid is calculation. There is no way to calculate
                                or manipulate our way into shinjin. It comes about naturally when we
                                allow our ego's to shut up and simply accept the Name of Amida as our
                                refuge. Our egos constantly try to disrupt this process, so we need
                                to be vigilant and make sure we are not slipping into self-power,
                                whether actual self-power practices or self-power states of mind.
                                Even the vigilance can be self-power, so let it be natural and
                                unforced.

                                The biggest challenge of Shin is to let all our delusions of ego and
                                self-power to dissolve, to really let go and let the ocean of the
                                Primal Vow carry us as we float on its surface. People who thrash
                                about in the ocean will drown. It is easy to float on the ocean -
                                just relax and let it happen. The water - and the Vow - will buoy us
                                up.

                                Shinran said it is easy to go to the Pure Land but few actually go
                                there. Even if we are stubborn and refuse to let go of self power
                                completely, we will still be reborn in the "border land" for those
                                who doubt, after which we will go to the Pure Land, according to the
                                sutras. The border land is a half-way house for people of doubt on
                                the way to shinjin. Even in that half-way house there is complete
                                hope for us to be born in the Pure Land. Our enlightenment is assured
                                even if our trust in Amida is tainted by self power. It just may take
                                us a little longer and be a little more unpleasant. :)
                                Hope this means something and hope it may help,
                                in gassho,
                                Richard
                                (Shaku Egen)
                              • -A
                                Dear Richard, ... I removed Anon from the mail header and prefer my initial -A. thanks. ... yes, this means something and helps . As I mentioned before,
                                Message 15 of 27 , May 24, 2002
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                                  Dear Richard,

                                  > Dear Anon,
                                  > I'm not sure what to tell you. I'll just relate my views on this.
                                  >

                                  I removed "Anon" from the mail header and prefer my initial -A. thanks.

                                  > The whole thing to avoid is calculation. There is no way to calculate
                                  > or manipulate our way into shinjin.
                                  >

                                  yes, this "means something" and "helps". As I mentioned before, I am greatly
                                  relieved to know I can't possibly do it wrong because I can't do it all. If
                                  there were a way for me to begin then I would fail but as there is no way
                                  (for me) I am truly grateful. Namo Amida Butsu!


                                  > The biggest challenge of Shin is to let all our delusions of ego and
                                  > self-power to dissolve, to really let go and let the ocean of the
                                  > Primal Vow carry us as we float on its surface. People who thrash
                                  > about in the ocean will drown. It is easy to float on the ocean -
                                  > just relax and let it happen. The water - and the Vow - will buoy us
                                  > up.
                                  >

                                  I was reading today that "our life" is actually Amida's life and I liked that
                                  a lot because it makes me unafraid of drowning. Sink, swim, whatever... I'm
                                  never beyond the working of Great Compassion because NO ONE is beyond it.
                                  I read about Amida's "enlightenment of the union of the rescuer and the
                                  rescued" and concluded true entrusting already exists in the very depths of
                                  us all just waiting to be discovered. Do you think so too?

                                  I do know when pushed beyond ourselves we spontaneously cry out and that cry
                                  IS answered. Unless there is more than one "Great Compassion" then I
                                  already know the heart-mind of Amida more certainly than I know anything. As
                                  the Anjin Ketsujo Sho says, "with pity Amida fixes his attention on us so
                                  that his mind-and-heart penetrates as deep as the marrow of our bones and
                                  stays there. It is like a piece of charcoal that has caught fire. We cannot
                                  pluck the fire from the burning charcoal however much we try. The embracing
                                  light of his mind-and-heart shines on us right through to the core of our
                                  flesh and bones".

                                  When this kind of thing happens it is impossible to miss or doubt -
                                  like a microcircuit getting hit by lightning - there's an intimate and
                                  familiar relation but out of all proportion. But then again, maybe there is
                                  more than one "Great Compassion" ? :-) Whatever it was occured about five
                                  years ago and I didn't say "Namuamidabutsu" so could it really be shinjin?
                                  I'm going to tell myself it is because it anchors my faith. Of course this
                                  could be a big delusion but I don't care anymore. If THAT came to kill me
                                  I'd gladly die and if Amida is something better, then so much the better.
                                  Namu Amida Butsu!

                                  > Shinran said it is easy to go to the Pure Land but few actually go
                                  > there. Even if we are stubborn and refuse to let go of self power
                                  > completely, we will still be reborn in the "border land" for those
                                  > who doubt, after which we will go to the Pure Land, according to the
                                  > sutras. The border land is a half-way house for people of doubt on
                                  > the way to shinjin. Even in that half-way house there is complete
                                  > hope for us to be born in the Pure Land. Our enlightenment is assured
                                  > even if our trust in Amida is tainted by self power. It just may take
                                  > us a little longer and be a little more unpleasant. :)
                                  > Hope this means something and hope it may help,
                                  >

                                  I'm happy to settle for second rate if that's all I deserve but my current
                                  delusion is there is no "self power" if that means independently existing.
                                  Are not ALL our powers literally DERIVED from mysterious source(s) beyond our
                                  comprehension or control? What, for example, is the source of thought?
                                  Fluctuations of quantum fields perhaps? But each quantum field, by
                                  definition, is actually determined by every other quantum field so you have
                                  ONE infinitely interpenetrating mystery that is ALIVE and apart from this we
                                  have no life at all, not for one instant.

                                  Namo Amida Butsu !

                                  -A.
                                • -A
                                  oh, I forgot to add previously about meditating one night during the sleep state (yes, if you apply yourself dilligently you CAN remain aware during the sleep
                                  Message 16 of 27 , May 25, 2002
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                                    oh, I forgot to add previously about meditating one night during the sleep
                                    state (yes, if you apply yourself dilligently you CAN remain aware during the
                                    sleep state - it's a common occurence among Theravadan monks during
                                    meditation retreats) ...

                                    well, I was meditating during the sleep state one night paying attention to
                                    what seemed to be the junction between sleep, dream and waking states of
                                    consciousness when a light seemingly brighter than the sun flashed for a
                                    moment. It was not at all painful, quite the opposite really, and seemed
                                    thick almost like liquid. I hesitate to call it white because it was a
                                    superabundance of all colours - very beautiful, giving tremendous physical
                                    energy and well being.

                                    So, unless there is more than one unbounded light out there in "samadhi land"
                                    I may have actually SEEN Amida already too!

                                    I was relating some of this to a Shin reverend recently and they didn't
                                    bother replying which I suppose says something in itself -- but before
                                    anyone gets embarassed further I'll offer the following...

                                    Whether we are advanced practitioners having already experiened direct
                                    insight into the nature of reality or simple minded souls (or even raving
                                    lunatics like myself!) we are ALL equally embraced by Amida's compassion and
                                    wisdom. In that context it makes no difference what we experience provided
                                    we truly entrust ourselves to the truth which is Amida (or is symbolized by
                                    Amida). In my opinion, the presumption of any person's enlightenment is
                                    almost always a delusion but one which can be perfectly remedied by relying
                                    on the absolute enlightenment of Amida. Such reliance is perfectly
                                    appropriate for the greatest of Bodhisatvas and the very simplest of souls.
                                    I'm in there somewhere with the rest of you -- and so it is.

                                    Namu Amida Butsu!

                                    -A.
                                  • Richard St. Clair
                                    ... Now that you mention it, yes, I do think so, A. Shinjin would be awakening to this true entrusting. The point is, I think, that Amida s constant activity
                                    Message 17 of 27 , May 28, 2002
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                                      >
                                      >I was reading today that "our life" is actually Amida's life and I liked that
                                      >a lot because it makes me unafraid of drowning. Sink, swim, whatever... I'm
                                      >never beyond the working of Great Compassion because NO ONE is beyond it.
                                      >I read about Amida's "enlightenment of the union of the rescuer and the
                                      >rescued" and concluded true entrusting already exists in the very depths of
                                      >us all just waiting to be discovered. Do you think so too?

                                      Now that you mention it, yes, I do think so, A. Shinjin would be
                                      awakening to this true entrusting. The point is, I think, that
                                      Amida's constant activity to save all suffering beings is constantly
                                      projected 24/7, we all - even Nichiren Buddhists who detest the
                                      nembutsu! - we all are enfolded in Amida's compassion. The difference
                                      is, do we awaken to and embrace this enfoldment? When we do, there is
                                      shinjin. For people immersed in self-power their attachment to it
                                      obstructs Amidsa's vow-power.

                                      >maybe there is
                                      >more than one "Great Compassion" ? :-) Whatever it was occured about five
                                      >years ago and I didn't say "Namuamidabutsu" so could it really be shinjin?

                                      I don't know. I'm not a "shinjin expert", I just have some ideas about it. :)

                                      >I'm going to tell myself it is because it anchors my faith. Of course this
                                      >could be a big delusion but I don't care anymore. If THAT came to kill me
                                      >I'd gladly die and if Amida is something better, then so much the better.
                                      >Namu Amida Butsu!

                                      A healthy attitude, I'd say. :)

                                      >
                                      >> Shinran said it is easy to go to the Pure Land but few actually go
                                      >> there. Even if we are stubborn and refuse to let go of self power
                                      >> completely, we will still be reborn in the "border land" for those
                                      >> who doubt, after which we will go to the Pure Land, according to the
                                      >> sutras. The border land is a half-way house for people of doubt on
                                      >> the way to shinjin. Even in that half-way house there is complete
                                      >> hope for us to be born in the Pure Land. Our enlightenment is assured
                                      >> even if our trust in Amida is tainted by self power. It just may take
                                      >> us a little longer and be a little more unpleasant. :)
                                      >> Hope this means something and hope it may help,
                                      >>
                                      >
                                      >I'm happy to settle for second rate if that's all I deserve but my current
                                      >delusion is there is no "self power" if that means independently existing.
                                      >Are not ALL our powers literally DERIVED from mysterious source(s)
                                      >beyond our comprehension or control? What, for example, is the
                                      >source of thought?
                                      >Fluctuations of quantum fields perhaps? But each quantum field, by
                                      >definition, is actually determined by every other quantum field so you have
                                      >ONE infinitely interpenetrating mystery that is ALIVE and apart from this we
                                      >have no life at all, not for one instant.
                                      >
                                      >Namo Amida Butsu !
                                      >
                                      >-A.

                                      I like your way of putting things. Keep talking!
                                      in gassho,
                                      Richard
                                      (Shaku Egen)
                                    • Richard St. Clair
                                      ... A, What did the light say to you? Did you get any impressions? I think this is worth exploring. ... Agreed most enthusiastically! ... Well said. Please
                                      Message 18 of 27 , May 28, 2002
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                                        >oh, I forgot to add previously about meditating one night during the sleep
                                        >state (yes, if you apply yourself dilligently you CAN remain aware during the
                                        >sleep state - it's a common occurence among Theravadan monks during
                                        >meditation retreats) ...
                                        >
                                        >well, I was meditating during the sleep state one night paying attention to
                                        >what seemed to be the junction between sleep, dream and waking states of
                                        >consciousness when a light seemingly brighter than the sun flashed for a
                                        >moment. It was not at all painful, quite the opposite really, and seemed
                                        >thick almost like liquid. I hesitate to call it white because it was a
                                        >superabundance of all colours - very beautiful, giving tremendous physical
                                        >energy and well being.
                                        >
                                        >So, unless there is more than one unbounded light out there in "samadhi land"
                                        >I may have actually SEEN Amida already too!
                                        >
                                        >I was relating some of this to a Shin reverend recently and they didn't
                                        >bother replying which I suppose says something in itself -- but before
                                        >anyone gets embarassed further I'll offer the following...

                                        A,
                                        What did the light say to you? Did you get any impressions? I think
                                        this is worth exploring.

                                        >
                                        >Whether we are advanced practitioners having already experiened direct
                                        >insight into the nature of reality or simple minded souls (or even raving
                                        >lunatics like myself!) we are ALL equally embraced by Amida's compassion and
                                        >wisdom. In that context it makes no difference what we experience provided
                                        >we truly entrust ourselves to the truth which is Amida (or is symbolized by
                                        >Amida).

                                        Agreed most enthusiastically!

                                        > In my opinion, the presumption of any person's enlightenment is
                                        >almost always a delusion but one which can be perfectly remedied by relying
                                        >on the absolute enlightenment of Amida. Such reliance is perfectly
                                        >appropriate for the greatest of Bodhisatvas and the very simplest of souls.
                                        >I'm in there somewhere with the rest of you -- and so it is.
                                        >
                                        >Namu Amida Butsu!

                                        Well said. Please keep sharing!
                                        in gassho,
                                        Richard
                                        (Shaku Egen)
                                      • Shawn Strout <sstroutdc@yahoo.com>
                                        Hi There, Here s a statement that seems to hold some of the sentiment that I ve heard from some of the messages on the post: I m happy to settle for second
                                        Message 19 of 27 , Feb 6, 2003
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                                          Hi There,

                                          Here's a statement that seems to hold some of the sentiment that I've
                                          heard from some of the messages on the post:

                                          "I'm happy to settle for second rate if that's all I deserve but my
                                          current
                                          delusion is there is no "self power" if that means independently
                                          existing."

                                          This concerns me. It is kind of a "woe is me" humility. I remember
                                          it quite well in evangelical Christianity. "I'm such a lowly sinner
                                          saved by grace."

                                          This seems to me to extend the delusion that there is some kind
                                          of "I" who can be either lowly or exalted, humble or proud, evil or
                                          good. If Amida Buddha fully encompasses us with his compassion, then
                                          where is this "I" that is so undeserving?

                                          Gassho,
                                          Shawn
                                        • Richard St. Clair
                                          ... Excellent point, Shawn. Grace is another of those Christian terms that seems to creep into English language Shin literature. In Christianity it suggests
                                          Message 20 of 27 , Feb 6, 2003
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                                            >Hi There,
                                            >
                                            >Here's a statement that seems to hold some of the sentiment that I've
                                            >heard from some of the messages on the post:
                                            >
                                            >"I'm happy to settle for second rate if that's all I deserve but my
                                            >current
                                            >delusion is there is no "self power" if that means independently
                                            >existing."
                                            >
                                            >This concerns me. It is kind of a "woe is me" humility. I remember
                                            >it quite well in evangelical Christianity. "I'm such a lowly sinner
                                            >saved by grace."
                                            >
                                            >This seems to me to extend the delusion that there is some kind
                                            >of "I" who can be either lowly or exalted, humble or proud, evil or
                                            >good. If Amida Buddha fully encompasses us with his compassion, then
                                            >where is this "I" that is so undeserving?
                                            >
                                            >Gassho,
                                            >Shawn

                                            Excellent point, Shawn. "Grace" is another of those Christian terms
                                            that seems to creep into English language Shin literature. In
                                            Christianity it suggests that God saves according to his own design
                                            and not through the efforts of the "sinner." Buddhism, including
                                            Shin, does not subscribe to a judging deity concept. I looked at the
                                            statement you discussed. I don't find Shin Buddhists saying "I'm
                                            happy to settle for second rate if that's all I deserve." Shinjin, or
                                            the mind of endowed trust by Amida, has nothing to do with whether we
                                            deserve it or not. The object of Amida's compassion, in fact, is
                                            directed at those who look the least deserving, if it had anything to
                                            do with deserving. Amida does not enter the hearts of people who
                                            follow the traditional self-power Dharma paths like Zen, Tibetan and
                                            Nichiren, since such people are convinced that they can attain
                                            enlightenment through their own design and effort. Thus they block
                                            Amida's light. In a sense, Shin - rather, Amida - is for those who
                                            'have nothing to lose.' Our founder, Shinran, saw himself in just
                                            this light. He said, in the TANNISHO, "Even though I say the Nembutsu
                                            and fall into hell, it is my only home", meaning that he trusted the
                                            Nembutsu come hell or high water. Naturally, this is an expression of
                                            profoundest trust in Amida Buddha.
                                            in gassho,
                                            Richard
                                          • BomBu
                                            On Thu, 06 Feb 2003 21:52:13 -0000 ... ah yes, delusions extend everywhere it seems. alas... :-) welcome Shawn, I am the infamous -A , -Anon , and now -Bombu
                                            Message 21 of 27 , Feb 6, 2003
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                                              On Thu, 06 Feb 2003 21:52:13 -0000
                                              "Shawn Strout <sstroutdc@...>" <sstroutdc@...> wrote:

                                              >
                                              > This seems to me to extend the delusion that there is some kind
                                              > of "I" who can be either lowly or exalted, humble or proud, evil or
                                              > good. If Amida Buddha fully encompasses us with his compassion, then
                                              > where is this "I" that is so undeserving?
                                              >

                                              ah yes, delusions extend everywhere it seems. alas... :-)

                                              welcome Shawn, I am the infamous -A , -Anon , and now -Bombu

                                              at your service
                                            • Shawn Strout <sstroutdc@yahoo.com>
                                              Hi Richard, First, thank you for your replies. I appreciate the dialogue! You said, The object of Amida s compassion, in fact, is directed at those who look
                                              Message 22 of 27 , Feb 7, 2003
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                                                Hi Richard,

                                                First, thank you for your replies. I appreciate the dialogue!

                                                You said,

                                                "The object of Amida's compassion, in fact, is
                                                directed at those who look the least deserving, if it had anything to
                                                do with deserving. Amida does not enter the hearts of people who
                                                follow the traditional self-power Dharma paths like Zen, Tibetan and
                                                Nichiren, since such people are convinced that they can attain
                                                enlightenment through their own design and effort. Thus they block
                                                Amida's light. In a sense, Shin - rather, Amida - is for those who
                                                'have nothing to lose.'"

                                                This seems to indicate an intelligent agency that is somehow separate
                                                from the rest of phenemona and makes distinctions between who "he"
                                                will enter and who "he" will not enter. Is this truly Shin
                                                teachings? I thought Amida's light was available to all regardless
                                                of how they practice. If they choose not to see that light and
                                                reflect upon the light of their own practices instead, then that is
                                                different than saying the light is not available to them IMO.

                                                Also, I would not so quickly presume that Zen, Tibetan and Nichiren
                                                practices are about "self-power". I really find this concept to be
                                                bewildering as one of the core teachings of Buddhism is non-self.
                                                Any school that truly advocated such a thing as "self-power" would
                                                not be a Buddhist school. Zen is very much about seeing through this
                                                delusion of "self". Nichiren Buddhism is very much about devotion to
                                                the Eternal Shakyamuni Buddha of the Lotus Sutra. Again, there is
                                                no "self" doing the power. I am less familiar with the Tibetan
                                                traditions, but I strongly suspect that they also fall back on this
                                                core teaching.

                                                The Japanese schools are the only schools that emphasize this self
                                                vs. other power duality. The Korean and Chinese schools have no
                                                problem mixing Zen and Pure Land practices, for example. Of course,
                                                Nichiren and Tibetan practices are particular to their countries of
                                                origin. Its really quite fascinating to explore! :)

                                                Gassho,
                                                Shawn
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