Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

RE: New member, Jeff Brooks

Expand Messages
  • macdocaz1@aol.com
    A defense of Ecstatic Buddhism Please excuse my delay in replying, I fully expected to get back on to each and every Yahoo group that I posted my brief
    Message 1 of 23 , Nov 20, 2003
    • 0 Attachment
      A defense of Ecstatic Buddhism

      Please excuse my delay in replying, I fully expected to get back on to each
      and every Yahoo group that I posted my brief spiritual bio to, but I have had
      over 150 email messages on most days since I post that biography a week ago.
      And, I have endeavor to give each thoughtful message sent to me a personal and
      thoughtful response. Therefore, I have literally spent every moment from
      roughly 6 AM, after my morning meditation, to 9 PM before my evening meditation,
      reading and responding to these very thoughtful and tender responses to my
      simple contemplative biography. I do however take breaks for rest and meals, as
      well as a mid-day break to lead a meditation sit with my tiny sangha here in
      Tucson.

      Many apologies to all of you if my message last week caused any difficulties
      for anyone. I do certainly seek not to harm, but only to benefit all beings.
      I have found it is my work to validate, contextualize, authenticate through
      canonical support, and to generally support the ecstatic contemplative, who are
      sincere seekers, in their journey.

      It is interesting to note that most of the responses have been from ecstatic
      contemplatives who feel they either have had no support for their practice, or
      they have been dismissed by their meditation teachers and spiritual guides
      due to their various charismatic manifestations.

      I regret that a few small flaws in my writing implied that there was not
      ample and excellent support in many religions and traditions of the world. And,
      there is of course excellent support for the ecstatic contemplative here on
      Yahoo as well. And, no doubt that excellent support is most probably available
      on this very Yahoo list. I posted to this list because I felt it fit in a
      general way within the context of meditation and the various charismatic
      manifestations that can occur to some contemplatives.

      Perhaps 98% of the responses I have received to my simple bio have been
      positive. And, they have come from contemplatives in almost every tradition and
      religion. Remarkably there have been a small number of misguided people who
      claim to be teachers of the Buddha dhamma. I too often find I am being accused
      of "arhat practice" as though it is some kind of dirty word or misguided
      practice. My practice is "Arahant practice" as was the historic Buddha's, he was
      after all called "an Arahant, a fully enlightened being," by his students.

      Arahant (Pali) practice is intent on enlightenment (nibbana, Pali). If you
      read the original Buddhist canon of literature, which is now available in
      English, you may find that the historic Buddha was a Bodhisatta (Bodhisattva,
      Sanskrit) who attained nibbana (nirvana, Sanskrit) and became a fully enlightened
      Arahant (arhat Sanskrit). Therefore he taught "Arahant practice."

      I have found there is a remarkable degree of misinformation prevalent within
      the Buddhist community (sangha). And, I believe its origin is in too many
      Buddhist teachers who do not read the teachings of the Historic Buddha, but rely
      too heavily on latter-day commentary and apocrypha for their beliefs and
      practices.

      The Pali Canon is reputed to be a record of the spoken word of the historic
      Buddha, Sidharta Gotama, who was a native speaker of the Pali language. The
      Pali Canon is at least the oldest extant document of the words of the Buddha in
      the language he spoke. It was first written during the reign of King Ashoka
      in 250 BCE. Therefore no other canon of Buddhist literature has a better claim
      of authenticity.

      It may also be worth pointing out that most of the other canons of Buddhist
      literature are based on first century CE Sanskrit translations of the original
      Pali canon. It is also worth noting that some of the other Buddhist canons
      have additions that can only be of questionable origin, since these additions
      are not in the original Pali canon.

      Reading the Pali canon is an excellent way to come to understand the central
      concepts of the teachings of the historic Buddha. It is available in many
      languages including English. While the canon has a reputation for being a
      weighty tome, I have found it is readable and accessible. Much of it is even online
      at the websites listed below.

      In defense of my position that Buddhism was originally an ecstatic
      contemplative tradition, do consider reading the suttas that outline the Buddha's
      original discourses on meditation. There you will find Sidharta Gotama specifically
      instructed his students in what he called the jhanas, or eight ecstatic
      states of absorption. It is these ecstatic states that I have arrived at, and
      which are listed in my personal statement.

      I have received a few generous offers to become someone's disciple. It might
      be worth pointing out, based on my years of practice and my subjective
      experiences, that I am really not seeking guidance. I am however interested in
      developing an international ecumenical dialog on and about the ecstatic experience
      and practice. I am also interested in developing a community of peers who
      honor, respect, and validate each other's subjective experiences. So, those who
      are interested in participating as peers in that venture, then please join
      the Jhana Support Group where that dialog is going on today..

      Jhana Support Group
      A support group for ecstatic contemplatives
      website http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Jhanas/
      Subscribe: Jhanas-subscribe@yahoogroups.com

      Best regards,

      Jeff Brooks


      The Buddha's three discourses on meditation and the ecstatic states (jhanas)
      are available in these suttas at these URLs:

      Anapanasati Sutta (MN 118)
      http://www.accesstoinsight.org/canon/majjthis onea/mn118.html
      Maha-satipatthana Sutta (DN. 22)
      http://www.accesstoinsight.org/canon/digha/dn22.html
      Satipatthana Sutta (MN 10)
      http://www.accesstoinsight.org/canon/majjhima/mn010b.html

      Do consider examining the Buddha's original teachings at the following
      websites:

      S O U R C E S for the Tipitaka, P A L I Canon
      &&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&

      ACCESS TO INSIGHT
      http://www.accesstoinsight.org/canon/

      The Tipitaka and other valuable Pali sources
      http://www.palikanon.com/english/english_web.htm

      The PALI TEXT SOCIETY
      http://www.palitext.demon.co.uk/

      METTANET - LANKA
      http://www.metta.lk/


      The various volumes of the Pali Canon in English translation and where they
      can be purchased, or downloaded off the web for free are at these URLs:

      Digha Nikaya, DN (The Long Discourses).
      Translation by Maurice Walshe.
      Wisdom/Buddhist Publication Society BPS. 1996:
      http://www.pariyatti.com/book.phtml?prod_id=251033
      Thanissaro Bhikkhu' translations are at:
      http://www.accesstoinsight.org/canon/digha/index.html

      Majjhima Nikaya, MN (The Middle Length Discourses).
      Translation by Bhikkhu Nanamoli.
      Ed. Bhikkhu Bodhi. Wisdom/Buddhist Publication Society BPS
      http://www.pariyatti.com/book.phtml?prod_id=25072X
      Thanissaro Bhikkhu' translations are at:
      http://www.accesstoinsight.org/canon/majjhima/index.html

      Samyutta Nikaya, SN (The Connected Discourses of the Buddha)
      Translation by Bhikkhu Bodhi.
      Wisdom Publications. Or ATI www:
      http://www.pariyatti.com/book.phtml?prod_id=948507
      Thanissaro Bhikkhu' translations are at:
      http://www.accesstoinsight.org/canon/samyutta/index.html

      Anguttara Nikaya, AN (The Numerical Discourses of the Buddha)
      Translation by Bhikkhu Bodhi and Nyanaponika Thera. Or ATI www:
      Altamira Press, 1997
      http://www.pariyatti.com/book.phtml?prod_id=204050
      http://www.pariyatti.com/book.phtml?prod_id=132552
      Thanissaro Bhikkhu' translations are at:
      http://www.accesstoinsight.org/canon/anguttara/index.html
    • Jim
      The Buddha did not speak Pali that is a later language. The Pali text in written form may be older than the Sanskrit, that does not mean that the other sutras
      Message 2 of 23 , Nov 20, 2003
      • 0 Attachment
        The Buddha did not speak Pali that is a later
        language. The Pali text in written form may be older
        than the Sanskrit, that does not mean that the other
        sutras could not have stayed in oral form longer.

        jim
        --- macdocaz1@... wrote:
        > A defense of Ecstatic Buddhism
        >
        > Please excuse my delay in replying, I fully expected
        > to get back on to each
        > and every Yahoo group that I posted my brief
        > spiritual bio to, but I have had
        > over 150 email messages on most days since I post
        > that biography a week ago.
        > And, I have endeavor to give each thoughtful message
        > sent to me a personal and
        > thoughtful response. Therefore, I have literally
        > spent every moment from
        > roughly 6 AM, after my morning meditation, to 9 PM
        > before my evening meditation,
        > reading and responding to these very thoughtful and
        > tender responses to my
        > simple contemplative biography. I do however take
        > breaks for rest and meals, as
        > well as a mid-day break to lead a meditation sit
        > with my tiny sangha here in
        > Tucson.
        >
        > Many apologies to all of you if my message last week
        > caused any difficulties
        > for anyone. I do certainly seek not to harm, but
        > only to benefit all beings.
        > I have found it is my work to validate,
        > contextualize, authenticate through
        > canonical support, and to generally support the
        > ecstatic contemplative, who are
        > sincere seekers, in their journey.
        >
        > It is interesting to note that most of the responses
        > have been from ecstatic
        > contemplatives who feel they either have had no
        > support for their practice, or
        > they have been dismissed by their meditation
        > teachers and spiritual guides
        > due to their various charismatic manifestations.
        >
        > I regret that a few small flaws in my writing
        > implied that there was not
        > ample and excellent support in many religions and
        > traditions of the world. And,
        > there is of course excellent support for the
        > ecstatic contemplative here on
        > Yahoo as well. And, no doubt that excellent support
        > is most probably available
        > on this very Yahoo list. I posted to this list
        > because I felt it fit in a
        > general way within the context of meditation and the
        > various charismatic
        > manifestations that can occur to some
        > contemplatives.
        >
        > Perhaps 98% of the responses I have received to my
        > simple bio have been
        > positive. And, they have come from contemplatives
        > in almost every tradition and
        > religion. Remarkably there have been a small number
        > of misguided people who
        > claim to be teachers of the Buddha dhamma. I too
        > often find I am being accused
        > of "arhat practice" as though it is some kind of
        > dirty word or misguided
        > practice. My practice is "Arahant practice" as was
        > the historic Buddha's, he was
        > after all called "an Arahant, a fully enlightened
        > being," by his students.
        >
        > Arahant (Pali) practice is intent on enlightenment
        > (nibbana, Pali). If you
        > read the original Buddhist canon of literature,
        > which is now available in
        > English, you may find that the historic Buddha was a
        > Bodhisatta (Bodhisattva,
        > Sanskrit) who attained nibbana (nirvana, Sanskrit)
        > and became a fully enlightened
        > Arahant (arhat Sanskrit). Therefore he taught
        > "Arahant practice."
        >
        > I have found there is a remarkable degree of
        > misinformation prevalent within
        > the Buddhist community (sangha). And, I believe its
        > origin is in too many
        > Buddhist teachers who do not read the teachings of
        > the Historic Buddha, but rely
        > too heavily on latter-day commentary and apocrypha
        > for their beliefs and
        > practices.
        >
        > The Pali Canon is reputed to be a record of the
        > spoken word of the historic
        > Buddha, Sidharta Gotama, who was a native speaker of
        > the Pali language. The
        > Pali Canon is at least the oldest extant document of
        > the words of the Buddha in
        > the language he spoke. It was first written during
        > the reign of King Ashoka
        > in 250 BCE. Therefore no other canon of Buddhist
        > literature has a better claim
        > of authenticity.
        >
        > It may also be worth pointing out that most of the
        > other canons of Buddhist
        > literature are based on first century CE Sanskrit
        > translations of the original
        > Pali canon. It is also worth noting that some of
        > the other Buddhist canons
        > have additions that can only be of questionable
        > origin, since these additions
        > are not in the original Pali canon.
        >
        > Reading the Pali canon is an excellent way to come
        > to understand the central
        > concepts of the teachings of the historic Buddha.
        > It is available in many
        > languages including English. While the canon has a
        > reputation for being a
        > weighty tome, I have found it is readable and
        > accessible. Much of it is even online
        > at the websites listed below.
        >
        > In defense of my position that Buddhism was
        > originally an ecstatic
        > contemplative tradition, do consider reading the
        > suttas that outline the Buddha's
        > original discourses on meditation. There you will
        > find Sidharta Gotama specifically
        > instructed his students in what he called the
        > jhanas, or eight ecstatic
        > states of absorption. It is these ecstatic states
        > that I have arrived at, and
        > which are listed in my personal statement.
        >
        > I have received a few generous offers to become
        > someone's disciple. It might
        > be worth pointing out, based on my years of practice
        > and my subjective
        > experiences, that I am really not seeking guidance.
        > I am however interested in
        > developing an international ecumenical dialog on and
        > about the ecstatic experience
        > and practice. I am also interested in developing a
        > community of peers who
        > honor, respect, and validate each other's subjective
        > experiences. So, those who
        > are interested in participating as peers in that
        > venture, then please join
        > the Jhana Support Group where that dialog is going
        > on today..
        >
        > Jhana Support Group
        > A support group for ecstatic contemplatives
        > website http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Jhanas/
        > Subscribe: Jhanas-subscribe@yahoogroups.com
        >
        > Best regards,
        >
        > Jeff Brooks
        >
        >
        > The Buddha's three discourses on meditation and the
        > ecstatic states (jhanas)
        > are available in these suttas at these URLs:
        >
        > Anapanasati Sutta (MN 118)
        > http://www.accesstoinsight.org/canon/majjthis
        > onea/mn118.html
        > Maha-satipatthana Sutta (DN. 22)
        > http://www.accesstoinsight.org/canon/digha/dn22.html
        > Satipatthana Sutta (MN 10)
        >
        http://www.accesstoinsight.org/canon/majjhima/mn010b.html
        >
        > Do consider examining the Buddha's original
        > teachings at the following
        > websites:
        >
        > S O U R C E S for the Tipitaka, P A L I Canon
        > &&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&
        >
        > ACCESS TO INSIGHT
        > http://www.accesstoinsight.org/canon/
        >
        > The Tipitaka and other valuable Pali sources
        > http://www.palikanon.com/english/english_web.htm
        >
        > The PALI TEXT SOCIETY
        > http://www.palitext.demon.co.uk/
        >
        > METTANET - LANKA
        > http://www.metta.lk/
        >
        >
        > The various volumes of the Pali Canon in English
        > translation and where they
        > can be purchased, or downloaded off the web for free
        > are at these URLs:
        >
        > Digha Nikaya, DN (The Long Discourses).
        > Translation by Maurice Walshe.
        > Wisdom/Buddhist Publication Society BPS. 1996:
        > http://www.pariyatti.com/book.phtml?prod_id=251033
        > Thanissaro Bhikkhu' translations are at:
        >
        http://www.accesstoinsight.org/canon/digha/index.html
        >
        > Majjhima Nikaya, MN (The Middle Length Discourses).
        > Translation by Bhikkhu Nanamoli.
        > Ed. Bhikkhu Bodhi. Wisdom/Buddhist Publication
        > Society BPS
        > http://www.pariyatti.com/book.phtml?prod_id=25072X
        > Thanissaro Bhikkhu' translations are at:
        >
        http://www.accesstoinsight.org/canon/majjhima/index.html
        >
        > Samyutta Nikaya, SN (The Connected Discourses of the
        > Buddha)
        > Translation by Bhikkhu Bodhi.
        > Wisdom Publications. Or ATI www:
        > http://www.pariyatti.com/book.phtml?prod_id=948507
        > Thanissaro Bhikkhu' translations are at:
        >
        http://www.accesstoinsight.org/canon/samyutta/index.html
        >
        > Anguttara Nikaya, AN (The Numerical Discourses of
        > the Buddha)
        > Translation by Bhikkhu Bodhi and Nyanaponika Thera.
        > Or ATI www:
        > Altamira Press, 1997
        > http://www.pariyatti.com/book.phtml?prod_id=204050
        > http://www.pariyatti.com/book.phtml?prod_id=132552
        > Thanissaro Bhikkhu' translations are at:
        >
        http://www.accesstoinsight.org/canon/anguttara/index.html
        >
        > ------------------------ Yahoo! Groups Sponsor
        >
        > To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:
        > shinlist-unsubscribe@egroups.com
        >
        >
        >
        > Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to
        > http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
        >
        >


        =====
        Jim Davis
        Ozark Bioregion, USA

        "The great are great only because we are on our knees. Let us rise! "(Max Stirner).
        "The more corrupt the state, the more numerous the laws" - Tacitus

        "Waking up After a Night on the Town With the Mead of Inspiration & Eros Insurgent"
        http://www.iuniverse.com/bookstore/book_detail.asp?&isbn=0-595-18213-5

        __________________________________
        Do you Yahoo!?
        Free Pop-Up Blocker - Get it now
        http://companion.yahoo.com/
      • Richard St. Clair
        ... Hi, Jeff, My understanding is that ecstasy is not the goal of Buddhism, though there may be ecstatic experiences in some forms of Buddhist meditation. To
        Message 3 of 23 , Nov 21, 2003
        • 0 Attachment
          >A defense of Ecstatic Buddhism
          ><snip>

          Hi, Jeff,
          My understanding is that ecstasy is not the goal of Buddhism, though
          there may be ecstatic experiences in some forms of Buddhist
          meditation. To me, ecstasy implies pleasure, and pleasure is
          fleeting and impermanent (though it may linger on for a long period).
          In Pure Land buddhism, the "goal" is said to be birth in the Pure
          land, also called "Sukhavati" or the "Realm of Happiness." But even
          that is not the end of the nembutsu life - one returns to samsara to
          help other beings reach enlightenment through Amida Buddha. At least
          that is how I understand it.

          I try to be mindful of how the Buddha advised us not to invest
          attachment to impermanent things, including (one would conclude)
          ecstatic states. Shakyamuni Buddha is said to have spent a very long
          time in a blissful realm called Tushita, but that came to an end.

          I would say that ecstasy is perhaps more a Hindu or Christian
          mystical experience. At present, I have no interest in it. If I wake
          up ecstatic, however, I may post my experience here! :)

          There is, incidentally, a book (by Jack Kornfield, I believe) titled
          "After the Ecstasy, the Laundry." The title of the book sounds very
          practical, though I admit I haven't read it (yet).
          best wishes, and smooth sailing,
          in gassho,
          Rick

          PS: I have heard it said that the uppermost 4 jhanas do not involve
          ecstasy, but I am in no position to defend that.

          >In defense of my position that Buddhism was originally an ecstatic
          >contemplative tradition, do consider reading the suttas that outline
          >the Buddha's
          >original discourses on meditation. There you will find Sidharta
          >Gotama specifically
          >instructed his students in what he called the jhanas, or eight ecstatic
          >states of absorption. It is these ecstatic states that I have arrived at, and
          >which are listed in my personal statement.
          >
          >I have received a few generous offers to become someone's disciple. It might
          >be worth pointing out, based on my years of practice and my subjective
          >experiences, that I am really not seeking guidance. I am however
          >interested in
          >developing an international ecumenical dialog on and about the
          >ecstatic experience
          >and practice. I am also interested in developing a community of peers who
          >honor, respect, and validate each other's subjective experiences.
          >So, those who
          >are interested in participating as peers in that venture, then please join
          >the Jhana Support Group where that dialog is going on today..
          >
          >
          >Jeff Brooks
          >
        • Jeffrey S. Brooks
          Hello Peter, thank-you for your kind interest. many apologies for my late response, I ve been busy responding to inquiries regarding my biography. What brings
          Message 4 of 23 , Dec 9, 2003
          • 0 Attachment
            Hello Peter, thank-you for your kind interest. many apologies for my
            late response, I've been busy responding to inquiries regarding my
            biography.

            What brings me to your list is your interest in Buddhism. I assume
            anyone interested in Buddhism has studied some of the teachings of the
            Buddha. And, since he was a contemplative, and he taught
            contemplative practices, then I assumed the members of your list are
            also contemplative, and would therefor value hearing about the journey
            of a Buddhist contemplative. And, in hearing about my journey, maybe
            some of your members might have had similar experiences and would like
            a friendly and supportive person and place to share and discuss those
            experiences.

            Best regards,

            Jeff Brooks

            --- In shinlist@yahoogroups.com, Peter Skye (Shaku Kyobo) <kyobo@a...>
            wrote:
            > Fascinating stuff, Jeff. But what brings you to a list devoted to Shin
            > Buddhism?
            >
            > Gassho
            > Peter (Shaku Kyobo)
          • Jeffrey S. Brooks
            Hello Rick, and thank-you for your kind interest. I have had many people that I might have become addicted to ecstasy . I have been saying no all along,
            Message 5 of 23 , Dec 9, 2003
            • 0 Attachment
              Hello Rick, and thank-you for your kind interest. I have had many
              people that I might have become addicted to ecstasy . I have been
              saying no all along, because ecstasy requires dispassion and
              equanimity for it to emerge and deepen. And, some have come out and
              stated that ecstatic contemplatives (jhana yogis) are addicted to
              ecstasy.

              What I find most interesting about the accusation that I am addicted
              to the ecstatic contemplative experience is we live in a culture that
              is addicted to many substances, such as alcohol, nicotine and
              caffeine, not to mention all of the prescription medications people
              are on and the illegal narcotics millions of Americans buy every year.

              Well, in the Buddha's own words, yes, ecstatic contemplatives (jhana
              yogis) are addicted to ecstasy, worse, pleasure seeking. But, since
              it is a pleasure "not of the senses" it is a pleasure worthy of
              seeking for one who seeks Buddhahood, Arahantship, full enlightenment,
              nibbana.

              Please see below.

              Digha Nikaya 29
              Pasadika Sutta
              The Delightful Discourse
              a translation from the Pali by
              Maurice Walshe, Wisdom Publications, Boston 1987, 1995

              24.2 There are, Cunda, these four kinds of life devoted to pleasure
              which are conducive to disenchantment, to dispassion, to cessation, to
              tranquillity, to realization, to enlightenment, to Nibbana. What are
              they? First a monk detached from sense-desires, detached from
              unwholesome mental states, enters and remains in the first jhana,
              which is with thinking and pondering, born of detachment, filled with
              delight and happiness. And, with the subsiding of thinking and
              pondering, by gaining inner tranquillity and oneness of mind, he
              enters and remains in the second jhana, which is without thinking and
              pondering, born of concentration, filled with delight and happiness.
              Again, with the fading of delight, remaining imperturbable, mindful
              and clearly aware, he experiences in himself that joy of which the
              Noble Ones say; "Happy is he who dwells with equanimity and
              mindfulness," he enters and remains in the third jhana. Again, having
              given up pleasure and pain, and with the disappearance of former
              gladness and sadness, he enters and remains in the fourth jhana, which
              is beyond pleasure and pain, and purified by equanimity and mindfulness.

              These are the four kinds of life devoted to pleasure which are
              entirely conducive to disenchantment, to cessation, to tranquillity,
              to realization, to enlightenment, to Nibbana. So, if wanderers from
              other sects should say that the followers of the Sakyan are addicted
              to these four forms of pleasure seeking, they should be told: "Yes,"
              for they would be speaking correctly about you, they would not be
              slandering you with false or untrue statements.

              25. Then such wanderers might ask: "Well then, those who are given to
              these four forms of pleasure-seeking - how many fruits, how many
              benefits can they expect?" And, you should reply: "They can expect
              four fruits, four benefits. What are they? The first is when a monk
              by destruction of three fetters has become a Stream-Winner, no more
              subject to rebirth in lower worlds, firmly established, destined for
              full enlightenment; the second is when a monk by the complete
              destruction of three fetters and the reduction of greed, hatred and
              delusion, has become a Once-Returner, and having returned once more to
              this world, will put an end to suffering; the third is when a monk, by
              the destruction of the corruptions in this very life has, by his own
              knowledge and realization, attained Arahantship, to the deliverance of
              heart and through wisdom. Such are the four fruits and the four
              benefits that one given to these four forms of pleasure-seeking can
              expect."

              Blessings to you,

              Jeff Brooks

              Ecstatic Buddhism
              A newsletter for ecstatic Buddhists
              website: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Ecstatic_Buddhism/
              Subscribe: Ecstatic_Buddhism-subscribe@yahoogroups.com

              --- In shinlist@yahoogroups.com, "Richard St. Clair" <stclair@m...> wrote:
              > >A defense of Ecstatic Buddhism
              > ><snip>
              >
              > Hi, Jeff,
              > My understanding is that ecstasy is not the goal of Buddhism, though
              > there may be ecstatic experiences in some forms of Buddhist
              > meditation. To me, ecstasy implies pleasure, and pleasure is
              > fleeting and impermanent (though it may linger on for a long period).
              > In Pure Land buddhism, the "goal" is said to be birth in the Pure
              > land, also called "Sukhavati" or the "Realm of Happiness." But even
              > that is not the end of the nembutsu life - one returns to samsara to
              > help other beings reach enlightenment through Amida Buddha. At least
              > that is how I understand it.
              >
              > I try to be mindful of how the Buddha advised us not to invest
              > attachment to impermanent things, including (one would conclude)
              > ecstatic states. Shakyamuni Buddha is said to have spent a very long
              > time in a blissful realm called Tushita, but that came to an end.
              >
              > I would say that ecstasy is perhaps more a Hindu or Christian
              > mystical experience. At present, I have no interest in it. If I wake
              > up ecstatic, however, I may post my experience here! :)
              >
              > There is, incidentally, a book (by Jack Kornfield, I believe) titled
              > "After the Ecstasy, the Laundry." The title of the book sounds very
              > practical, though I admit I haven't read it (yet).
              > best wishes, and smooth sailing,
              > in gassho,
              > Rick
              >
              > PS: I have heard it said that the uppermost 4 jhanas do not involve
              > ecstasy, but I am in no position to defend that.>>
            • DAC Crowell
              ... Well, I in fact have experienced some of these things. I try to pay as little attention to them as possible. Ecstatic experience, like any other thing, can
              Message 6 of 23 , Dec 9, 2003
              • 0 Attachment
                --- In shinlist@yahoogroups.com, "Jeffrey S. Brooks"
                <macdocaz1@a...> wrote:
                >And, in hearing about my journey, maybe some of your
                >members might have had similar experiences and would like
                >a friendly and supportive person and place to share and
                >discuss those experiences.

                Well, I in fact have experienced some of these things. I try to pay
                as little attention to them as possible.

                Ecstatic experience, like any other thing, can lead to attachment.
                And while it is true that Sakyamuni Buddha taught contemplative
                methods, one _very important_ thing taught by him was to avoid
                attachment. In fact, I would tend to think that avoiding attachment
                is more significant than a 'sideshow issue' such as ecstatic
                states of consciousness. If I, in my practice, were to constantly
                seek out experiences that led to such things, it would be my
                opinion that it would be a total betrayal of my practice because of
                this point. It would predispose me to seeking experiences that
                were of this specific quality...rather than the total experience of
                life itself, irrespective of how ecstatic or mundane my life
                experience would be.

                If the ultimate goal of Buddha Dharma is to point out the way to
                reach the true, actual self...then this is a true, actual self that
                must occupy this mundane world in which we exist today, here
                and now. To pursue actions which sought to do this through an
                avoidance....deliberate or accidental...of this actual world would
                be akin to believing one could build a house with only a hammer.
                This is the trap of attachment, in this case to a certain tool, but it
                is not dissimilar to attachment to any other 'tools', either physical
                or metaphysical.

                There is, to be sure, contemplative practice in Jodo Shinshu. But
                it is ONE practice, and certainly an adjunct practice to the
                experience of Buddha Dharma in the course of life itself. Seeking
                to experience Dharma in the course of ones' own existance is
                the goal of much of the teaching in this sect...not submergence
                in a set of proscribed actions or methods that takes one away
                from the life experience.

                Namoamidabutsu,
                DAC
              • Richard St. Clair
                ... Actually, Jeff, Japanese Pure Land Buddhism veered away from contemplative practices beginning with Honen, who reputedly achieved all the 13 contemplations
                Message 7 of 23 , Dec 10, 2003
                • 0 Attachment
                  >Hello Peter, thank-you for your kind interest. many apologies for my
                  >late response, I've been busy responding to inquiries regarding my
                  >biography.
                  >
                  >What brings me to your list is your interest in Buddhism. I assume
                  >anyone interested in Buddhism has studied some of the teachings of the
                  >Buddha. And, since he was a contemplative, and he taught
                  >contemplative practices, then I assumed the members of your list are
                  >also contemplative, and would therefor value hearing about the journey
                  >of a Buddhist contemplative. And, in hearing about my journey, maybe
                  >some of your members might have had similar experiences and would like
                  >a friendly and supportive person and place to share and discuss those
                  >experiences.
                  >
                  >Best regards,
                  >
                  >Jeff Brooks

                  Actually, Jeff, Japanese Pure Land Buddhism veered away from
                  contemplative practices beginning with Honen, who reputedly achieved
                  all the 13 contemplations in the Meditation Sutra (Kan Muryoju
                  Ching). However, Honen rejected these contemplative practices as
                  beyond the ability of most people, and settled on the Nembutsu
                  (recitation of the Name) as the sole practice of his new sect. I
                  don't believe Shinran had much of anything to say about
                  contemplation. His emphasis, as I'm sure you know, was that the
                  saying of the Nembutsu was but an act of gratitude to Amida for the
                  assurance of birth in the Pure Land.

                  In a separate message you quoted a portion of Digha Nikaya 29.
                  Although this would seem inspirational, it is tied to what we call
                  self-power practices, as is the Theravada tradition in general (I
                  don't want to stri up a hornet's nest in saying this, so I will not
                  respond to any flaming). It is a bit risky to take Pali suttas out
                  of context to support one's personal views. I have done it, and for
                  me it has ended up being a dead end - I keep coming back to the Pure
                  Land Sutras of the Mahayana canon and, of course, the writings of
                  Shinran. I am not advising you as to what to read or do, just
                  stating where I am at.

                  I don't relate to contemplation. It strikes me as being a self-power
                  practice, though I can concede that it not be so with all people,
                  depending on innate personalities, capacities and inclinations. If
                  pressed as to whether it is a viable pureland practice, I would
                  probably advise against it, but no one is pressing me. So I'll let it
                  rest at that.

                  But I just wanted to emphasize that contemplation is not usually
                  associated with Jodo Shinshu (or Jodo Shu for that matter). It is
                  not forbidden by either, of course, so do as you wish.

                  in gassho,
                  Rick
                  --
                • macdocaz1@aol.com
                  Hello DAC, it seems you neglected to provide canonical support for your beliefs. At least I provided canonical support for mine Best regards, Jeff Brooks
                  Message 8 of 23 , Dec 16, 2003
                  • 0 Attachment
                    Hello DAC, it seems you neglected to provide canonical support for
                    your beliefs. At least I provided canonical support for mine

                    Best regards,

                    Jeff Brooks

                    --- In shinlist@yahoogroups.com, "DAC Crowell" <dacc@s...> wrote:
                    > --- In shinlist@yahoogroups.com, "Jeffrey S. Brooks"
                    > <macdocaz1@a...> wrote:
                    > >And, in hearing about my journey, maybe some of your
                    > >members might have had similar experiences and would like
                    > >a friendly and supportive person and place to share and
                    > >discuss those experiences.
                    >
                    > Well, I in fact have experienced some of these things. I try to pay
                    > as little attention to them as possible.
                    >
                    > Ecstatic experience, like any other thing, can lead to attachment.
                    > And while it is true that Sakyamuni Buddha taught contemplative
                    > methods, one _very important_ thing taught by him was to avoid
                    > attachment. In fact, I would tend to think that avoiding attachment
                    > is more significant than a 'sideshow issue' such as ecstatic
                    > states of consciousness. If I, in my practice, were to constantly
                    > seek out experiences that led to such things, it would be my
                    > opinion that it would be a total betrayal of my practice because of
                    > this point. It would predispose me to seeking experiences that
                    > were of this specific quality...rather than the total experience of
                    > life itself, irrespective of how ecstatic or mundane my life
                    > experience would be.
                    >
                    > If the ultimate goal of Buddha Dharma is to point out the way to
                    > reach the true, actual self...then this is a true, actual self that
                    > must occupy this mundane world in which we exist today, here
                    > and now. To pursue actions which sought to do this through an
                    > avoidance....deliberate or accidental...of this actual world would
                    > be akin to believing one could build a house with only a hammer.
                    > This is the trap of attachment, in this case to a certain tool, but it
                    > is not dissimilar to attachment to any other 'tools', either physical
                    > or metaphysical.
                    >
                    > There is, to be sure, contemplative practice in Jodo Shinshu. But
                    > it is ONE practice, and certainly an adjunct practice to the
                    > experience of Buddha Dharma in the course of life itself. Seeking
                    > to experience Dharma in the course of ones' own existance is
                    > the goal of much of the teaching in this sect...not submergence
                    > in a set of proscribed actions or methods that takes one away
                    > from the life experience.
                    >
                    > Namoamidabutsu,
                    > DAC
                  • macdocaz1@aol.com
                    Hello Rick, it seems since the Buddha was a contemplative and your sect is desidedly not, that it seems worthy of questioning whether your sect is Buddhist or
                    Message 9 of 23 , Dec 16, 2003
                    • 0 Attachment
                      Hello Rick, it seems since the Buddha was a contemplative and your
                      sect is desidedly not, that it seems worthy of questioning whether
                      your sect is Buddhist or not.

                      Additionally, my biography here clearly indicates your progenitor,
                      Honen, is quite wrong when he said, "contemplative practices as beyond
                      the ability of most people," because I am just a common man and yet I
                      have had some small success in my contemplative practice that has lead
                      to a freedom form suffering in the here and now, not a faith in a
                      future pure land who's existence is questionable. Don't you think?

                      Best regards,

                      Jeff Brooks

                      --- In shinlist@yahoogroups.com, "Richard St. Clair" <stclair@m...> wrote:
                      > >Hello Peter, thank-you for your kind interest. many apologies for my
                      > >late response, I've been busy responding to inquiries regarding my
                      > >biography.
                      > >
                      > >What brings me to your list is your interest in Buddhism. I assume
                      > >anyone interested in Buddhism has studied some of the teachings of the
                      > >Buddha. And, since he was a contemplative, and he taught
                      > >contemplative practices, then I assumed the members of your list are
                      > >also contemplative, and would therefor value hearing about the journey
                      > >of a Buddhist contemplative. And, in hearing about my journey, maybe
                      > >some of your members might have had similar experiences and would like
                      > >a friendly and supportive person and place to share and discuss those
                      > >experiences.
                      > >
                      > >Best regards,
                      > >
                      > >Jeff Brooks
                      >
                      > Actually, Jeff, Japanese Pure Land Buddhism veered away from
                      > contemplative practices beginning with Honen, who reputedly achieved
                      > all the 13 contemplations in the Meditation Sutra (Kan Muryoju
                      > Ching). However, Honen rejected these contemplative practices as
                      > beyond the ability of most people, and settled on the Nembutsu
                      > (recitation of the Name) as the sole practice of his new sect. I
                      > don't believe Shinran had much of anything to say about
                      > contemplation. His emphasis, as I'm sure you know, was that the
                      > saying of the Nembutsu was but an act of gratitude to Amida for the
                      > assurance of birth in the Pure Land.
                      >
                      > In a separate message you quoted a portion of Digha Nikaya 29.
                      > Although this would seem inspirational, it is tied to what we call
                      > self-power practices, as is the Theravada tradition in general (I
                      > don't want to stri up a hornet's nest in saying this, so I will not
                      > respond to any flaming). It is a bit risky to take Pali suttas out
                      > of context to support one's personal views. I have done it, and for
                      > me it has ended up being a dead end - I keep coming back to the Pure
                      > Land Sutras of the Mahayana canon and, of course, the writings of
                      > Shinran. I am not advising you as to what to read or do, just
                      > stating where I am at.
                      >
                      > I don't relate to contemplation. It strikes me as being a self-power
                      > practice, though I can concede that it not be so with all people,
                      > depending on innate personalities, capacities and inclinations. If
                      > pressed as to whether it is a viable pureland practice, I would
                      > probably advise against it, but no one is pressing me. So I'll let it
                      > rest at that.
                      >
                      > But I just wanted to emphasize that contemplation is not usually
                      > associated with Jodo Shinshu (or Jodo Shu for that matter). It is
                      > not forbidden by either, of course, so do as you wish.
                      >
                      > in gassho,
                      > Rick
                      > --
                    • Richard St. Clair
                      ... Hi, Jeff, Well, I guess it all depends on how you define contemplative. If you read writings by prominent Shin Buddhists you will, I m sure, detect a
                      Message 10 of 23 , Dec 16, 2003
                      • 0 Attachment
                        >Hello Rick, it seems since the Buddha was a contemplative and your
                        >sect is desidedly not, that it seems worthy of questioning whether
                        >your sect is Buddhist or not.
                        >
                        >Additionally, my biography here clearly indicates your progenitor,
                        >Honen, is quite wrong when he said, "contemplative practices as beyond
                        >the ability of most people," because I am just a common man and yet I
                        >have had some small success in my contemplative practice that has lead
                        >to a freedom form suffering in the here and now, not a faith in a
                        >future pure land who's existence is questionable. Don't you think?
                        >
                        >Best regards,
                        >
                        >Jeff Brooks

                        Hi, Jeff,
                        Well, I guess it all depends on how you define "contemplative." If you read
                        writings by prominent Shin Buddhists you will, I'm sure, detect a strongly
                        contemplative tone. Some good examples would be the writings ofShinran,
                        or poems of Saichi. Shin Buddhism is also called "deep hearing" or monpo,
                        which is a contemplation of reality-as-it-is (tathata). This is very much
                        in line with the central import of Shakyamuni Buddha's teachings. If
                        you mean, by "contemplation," a set of exercises to attain specific states
                        defined canonically, no, Shin is not contemplative, but I think that states
                        the case much too narrowly.

                        There is one point I wish to dispute - Honen was referring to the structured
                        contemplations in the so-called Contemplation Sutra (Kan Muryoju Kyo).
                        In it there are 13 contemplations consisting of visualizations of the Pure
                        Land, attributes of the Amida Buddha, and so on. I would strongly
                        question (as did Honen) whether most people could achieve these very
                        complex visualizations. Honen said it took him many years to achieve
                        them, and he was an extraordinary person. I tried the first and found it
                        impossible. The other 12 were out of the question. Have you tried them?

                        As to what you call the "questionable" future pure land, it is the pure land of
                        the here and now that I am interested in, and that is through simple
                        trust in Amida Buddha's Primal Vow. I realize many people have a problem
                        with this. That is fine. The Nembutsu way may not be for everyone, at
                        least not in this round of births. I wish the very best to you in your
                        practice, whatever that is and wherever it takes you.

                        best,
                        in gassho,
                        Rick
                        (Shaku Egen)
                        --
                        Richard St. Clair
                        Office Assistant
                        Information Services & Technology
                        W92-110
                        tel.: 617 - 253-1514
                        fax: 617 - 258-8736
                      • Jim
                        Jeff, On needs to keep in mind that the comman man of Honen/Shinran s time was a peasant who worked long backbreaking hours in the fields. Lived in a society
                        Message 11 of 23 , Dec 16, 2003
                        • 0 Attachment
                          Jeff,

                          On needs to keep in mind that the "comman man" of
                          Honen/Shinran's time was a peasant who worked long
                          backbreaking hours in the fields. Lived in a society
                          where death could come suddenly and unexpected.
                          Leisure was a luxury for the aristocratic/warrior
                          castes.

                          I relly dont think many commoners in the West (outside
                          of illegal sweatshop workers) would be the equal to
                          the commoner of the 13th century

                          in gassho,

                          =====
                          Jim Davis
                          Ozark Bioregion, USA

                          "The great are great only because we are on our knees. Let us rise! "(Max Stirner).
                          "The more corrupt the state, the more numerous the laws" - Tacitus

                          "Waking up After a Night on the Town With the Mead of Inspiration & Eros Insurgent"
                          http://www.iuniverse.com/bookstore/book_detail.asp?&isbn=0-595-18213-5

                          __________________________________
                          Do you Yahoo!?
                          New Yahoo! Photos - easier uploading and sharing.
                          http://photos.yahoo.com/
                        • Richard St. Clair
                          That s a good point, Jim. But the common person of our own time is also burdened by a plethora of time-and-energy-consuming obligations and distractions -
                          Message 12 of 23 , Dec 16, 2003
                          • 0 Attachment
                            That's a good point, Jim. But the "common person" of our own time is
                            also burdened by a plethora of time-and-energy-consuming obligations
                            and distractions - think of raising a family while keeping a full
                            time job in a society as complex as ours. Our life may be easier in
                            terms of healthcare and shorter work hours (compared to medieval
                            times), but somehow there just aren't enough hours in the day to do
                            what we really want to do, including practicing the Buddhadharma.
                            This is why I think the Nembutsu path is perfectly suited for our
                            time, whether we call it "mappo" or not :) .
                            gassho,
                            Rick
                            (Shaku Egen)

                            >Jeff,
                            >
                            >On needs to keep in mind that the "comman man" of
                            >Honen/Shinran's time was a peasant who worked long
                            >backbreaking hours in the fields. Lived in a society
                            >where death could come suddenly and unexpected.
                            >Leisure was a luxury for the aristocratic/warrior
                            >castes.
                            >
                            >I relly dont think many commoners in the West (outside
                            >of illegal sweatshop workers) would be the equal to
                            >the commoner of the 13th century
                            >
                            >in gassho,
                            >
                            >=====
                            >Jim Davis
                            >Ozark Bioregion, USA
                          • dacc@soltec.net
                            ... And I don t have to. To constantly have to turn to the Tripitaka in order to justify my actions is yet another form of attachment. Or worse still, the
                            Message 13 of 23 , Dec 16, 2003
                            • 0 Attachment
                              --- In shinlist@yahoogroups.com, macdocaz1@a... wrote:
                              > Hello DAC, it seems you neglected to provide canonical
                              >support for your beliefs. At least I provided canonical support
                              >for mine.

                              And I don't have to. To constantly have to turn to the Tripitaka in
                              order to justify my actions is yet another form of attachment. Or
                              worse still, the insistance that I must do so borders on
                              demagoguery.

                              The only 'canonical support' that I require is Nembutsu: "I place
                              my trust in the Buddha of Infinite Wisdom and Compassion". And
                              in Shin, that is _all_ that is required in belief. Oh, suuuuure...I
                              could drag out all sorts of books and citations of various writings
                              in this faith and engage in what would likely be a wondrous
                              scholarly flourish worthy of my years in graduate and
                              postgraduate study and so on. But I don't need to. It's not called
                              for.

                              The practices you seem so enamoured of are not part of the
                              demands of Shin Buddhism, plain and simple. This is why
                              you're seeing a fairly unilateral disagreement with your stance
                              here. Perhaps you may not think this is Buddhism, if we don't do
                              these things you insist are part of Buddhism. And that's fine...it
                              would not be the first time that someone has tried to assert this.
                              But at the same time, people who asserted their belief in
                              Nembutsu in the first couple of centuries or so of this sect were
                              also subject to a lot of persecution and personal threat because
                              other sects of that day attempted to assert that only their beliefs
                              were 'correct', and the Shin Buddhists of that time held fast to
                              this same faith...so it should not come as a surprise to you if
                              there would be some considerable difficulty in convincing people
                              in this group that they should accept some wholly-different path
                              of practice. That didn't work in Shinran's time and under much
                              direr conditions, and it's not likely to work here and now.

                              Before replying further, I strongly suggest that you read
                              something which clearly explains what Shin Buddhism is about.
                              We are certainly not part of any 'path of Arhats', nor do we believe
                              that self-power practice...especially any such practice that
                              reaches a degree of rigor where it begins to obliterate ones' own
                              day to day, routine life...is anything which will bring merit or
                              enlightenment. If you prefer 'canonical support', then I would
                              suggest the _Tannisho_, although there are certainly books of
                              recent scholarship which explain matters just as succinctly such
                              as Dr. Ken Tanaka's _Ocean_ or Dr. Taitetsu Unno's _River of
                              Fire, River of Water_. You may find these writings to be rather
                              eye-opening with respect to this discussion and also this
                              discussion group.

                              Namuamidabutsu,
                              DAC.
                            • dacc@soltec.net
                              ... Precisely. Right now, I sit here surrounded by all sorts of time-saving devices, in a sturdy house with central heat against the cold of Winter, with a
                              Message 14 of 23 , Dec 16, 2003
                              • 0 Attachment
                                --- In shinlist@yahoogroups.com, "Richard St. Clair"
                                <stclair@m...> wrote:
                                >...the "common person" of our own time is also burdened by a
                                >plethora of time-and-energy-consuming obligations and
                                >distractions - think of raising a family while keeping a full time
                                >job in a society as complex as ours. Our life may be easier in
                                >terms of healthcare and shorter work hours (compared to
                                >medieval times), but somehow there just aren't enough hours
                                >in the day to do what we really want to do, including practicing
                                >the Buddhadharma.

                                Precisely. Right now, I sit here surrounded by all sorts of
                                'time-saving' devices, in a sturdy house with central heat against
                                the cold of Winter, with a car in the driveway which can take me
                                whereever I need to go, and all the food I need safely kept in
                                refrigeration and cans. Is this any easier than, say, 13th century
                                Japan? Perhaps in terms of comfort level, sure. But in terms of
                                the demands placed upon me by the course of living my own
                                life...no, this doesn't seem to change, irrespective of how cushy
                                things get. Work might get easier, but outside of it there are other
                                things which have crept into our lives, and which take their own
                                parts of our time and energy.

                                Jodo Shinshu was conceived as a 'Buddhism for Joe Average',
                                I'm fond of saying. And it's just as valid for the Joe Averages of
                                the 13th C. as it is for those of the 21st C. The demands on our
                                lives as well as the worth of the Tathagata's teachings...neither
                                seem to change, no matter what the appearance of things might
                                be. And for that unchanging nature of those teachings, I am quite
                                grateful!

                                Namuamidabutsu,
                                DAC.
                              • robertg@dnai.com
                                At our temple we often talk about what causes a person to be ready to listen to the Dharma. For many it takes a profound event like the death of a relative or
                                Message 15 of 23 , Dec 16, 2003
                                • 0 Attachment
                                  At our temple we often talk about what causes a person
                                  to be ready to listen to the Dharma. For many it takes a
                                  profound event like the death of a relative or close
                                  friend. A lot of people in modern America lead comfortable
                                  lives and may not see a need to go to the temple.

                                  However, the comforts are within a framework that is
                                  based on gratifying the ego-centered self. For the past
                                  few years in Japan, suicide has claimed more lives than
                                  traffic accidents. These suicides are most often the result
                                  of economic misfortunes such as losing a job.

                                  I have been thinking about the future of Jodo Shinshu in
                                  the United States and will share some of my thoughts in a
                                  future posting.

                                  Robert

                                  --- In shinlist@yahoogroups.com, dacc@s... wrote:
                                  > --- In shinlist@yahoogroups.com, "Richard St. Clair" <stclair@m...> wrote:
                                  > >...the "common person" of our own time is also burdened by a
                                  > >plethora of time-and-energy-consuming obligations and
                                  > >distractions - think of raising a family while keeping a full time
                                  > >job in a society as complex as ours. Our life may be easier in
                                  > >terms of healthcare and shorter work hours (compared to
                                  > >medieval times), but somehow there just aren't enough hours
                                  > >in the day to do what we really want to do, including practicing
                                  > >the Buddhadharma.
                                  >
                                  > Precisely. Right now, I sit here surrounded by all sorts of
                                  > 'time-saving' devices, in a sturdy house with central heat against
                                  > the cold of Winter, with a car in the driveway which can take me
                                  > whereever I need to go, and all the food I need safely kept in
                                  > refrigeration and cans. Is this any easier than, say, 13th century
                                  > Japan? Perhaps in terms of comfort level, sure. But in terms of
                                  > the demands placed upon me by the course of living my own
                                  > life...no, this doesn't seem to change, irrespective of how cushy
                                  > things get. Work might get easier, but outside of it there are other
                                  > things which have crept into our lives, and which take their own
                                  > parts of our time and energy.
                                • Richard St. Clair
                                  ... Food for thought, Robert. I got into Buddhism as an offshoot from psychotherapy for post-traumatic stress disorder. I needn t (and won t) dwell on the
                                  Message 16 of 23 , Dec 17, 2003
                                  • 0 Attachment
                                    >At our temple we often talk about what causes a person
                                    >to be ready to listen to the Dharma. For many it takes a
                                    >profound event like the death of a relative or close
                                    >friend. A lot of people in modern America lead comfortable
                                    >lives and may not see a need to go to the temple.
                                    >
                                    >However, the comforts are within a framework that is
                                    >based on gratifying the ego-centered self. For the past
                                    >few years in Japan, suicide has claimed more lives than
                                    >traffic accidents. These suicides are most often the result
                                    >of economic misfortunes such as losing a job.
                                    >
                                    >I have been thinking about the future of Jodo Shinshu in
                                    >the United States and will share some of my thoughts in a
                                    >future posting.
                                    >
                                    >Robert

                                    Food for thought, Robert. I got into Buddhism as an offshoot
                                    from psychotherapy for post-traumatic stress disorder. I needn't
                                    (and won't) dwell on the details, but Buddhism gave a meaning to
                                    my life that nothing else had, including probably the best
                                    psychotherapy available.

                                    You are probably right that comfort-seeking is "based on
                                    gratifying the ego-centered self." I would add that, for many
                                    new converts to Buddhism, this is also the case, i.e. seeking the
                                    Dharma as a way, however subtle, of gratifying the ego-centered
                                    self. Such gratification-seeking is part of our human nature as
                                    bombu (foolish beings). Fortunately, Amida Buddha does not
                                    discriminate whether we are wise or foolish, or whether we are
                                    selfless or self-grasping. With (and in) Amida, the Dharma
                                    Gates are thrown wide open.

                                    Namu Amida Butsu

                                    gassho,
                                    Rick
                                    (Shaku Egen)
                                  • Richard St. Clair
                                    ... Hi, DAC, There *is* canonical support for the Nembutsu way, of course. It is the 18th vow (Primal Vow) in the Sutra on the Buddha of Infinite Life (Larger
                                    Message 17 of 23 , Dec 17, 2003
                                    • 0 Attachment
                                      >--- In shinlist@yahoogroups.com, macdocaz1@a... wrote:
                                      >> Hello DAC, it seems you neglected to provide canonical
                                      >>support for your beliefs. At least I provided canonical support
                                      >>for mine.
                                      >
                                      >And I don't have to. To constantly have to turn to the Tripitaka in
                                      >order to justify my actions is yet another form of attachment. Or
                                      >worse still, the insistance that I must do so borders on
                                      >demagoguery.
                                      >
                                      >The only 'canonical support' that I require is Nembutsu: "I place
                                      >my trust in the Buddha of Infinite Wisdom and Compassion". And
                                      >in Shin, that is _all_ that is required in belief. Oh, suuuuure...I
                                      >could drag out all sorts of books and citations of various writings
                                      >in this faith and engage in what would likely be a wondrous
                                      >scholarly flourish worthy of my years in graduate and
                                      >postgraduate study and so on. But I don't need to. It's not called
                                      >for.

                                      Hi, DAC,
                                      There *is* canonical support for the Nembutsu way, of course. It is
                                      the 18th vow (Primal Vow) in the Sutra on the Buddha of Infinite
                                      Life (Larger Sukhavativyuha Sutra). Nembutsu literally means
                                      "mindful of buddha" (Nem + Butsu), and it has a counterpart in
                                      the Theravada tradition known as the buddhanusmirti practice of
                                      mindfulness of the Buddha. It is one of many Theravadin practices
                                      designed to instill concentration and mindfulness. Naturally, the
                                      Nembutsu practice of Shin evolved quite differently from the
                                      Theravada practices, but so did the whole Mahayana of which Shin is
                                      a part. It is part of the very nature of Buddhism to adapt to different
                                      cultures and eras. Some people feel almost a fundamentalist loyalty
                                      to the Theravada, insisting that it is the only "true" teaching of the
                                      historical Buddha. But even the Theravada opens the door to the
                                      emergence and development of the Mahayana. All of this can be
                                      supported canonically, but I am not a Buddhist scholar and will not
                                      pretend to be one.

                                      in gassho,
                                      Rick
                                      (Shaku Egen)
                                    • dacc@soltec.net
                                      ... Of course. But I m not going to get into a canonical pissing contest here. Partly because I don t see the point in going to the effort to explain matters
                                      Message 18 of 23 , Dec 17, 2003
                                      • 0 Attachment
                                        --- In shinlist@yahoogroups.com, "Richard St. Clair"
                                        <stclair@m...> wrote:
                                        >There *is* canonical support for the Nembutsu way, of course.
                                        >It is the 18th vow (Primal Vow) in the Sutra on the Buddha of
                                        >Infinite Life (Larger Sukhavativyuha Sutra).

                                        Of course. But I'm not going to get into a canonical 'pissing
                                        contest' here. Partly because I don't see the point in going to the
                                        effort to explain matters canonically in a circumstance where I
                                        feel the effort isn't warranted, and also partly because at the
                                        fundament of this argument is the point that this is a 'Buddhism
                                        for the common man' and having to drag around a lot of scholarly
                                        baggage in order to justify my faith in Nembutsu seems to be
                                        overkill. I know the referential points _are there_...but if I
                                        approach Shin on the basis of an ordinary person, they're not
                                        something that should impact my feelings on the subject.

                                        It's all well and good to throw loads of references around, and to
                                        delve into the deeper meanings and contexts and what-not...but
                                        I've found over the years that if you dive too deep into such levels
                                        of study, you risk losing the meaning that such teachings have
                                        for the everyday person. And Shinjin is, from all I've come to
                                        learn, a faith or entrusting that doesn't imply that you must know
                                        and/or be able to cite _everything_. It wasn't a prerequisite in
                                        Shinran's time, and it's not one now. Of course, scholarship isn't
                                        a bad thing, conversely...but like anything, it's possible to put too
                                        much of something into the mix and unbalance matters; a little
                                        salt makes the soup taste good, but a whole boxful, well...
                                      • Shin02143@aol.com
                                        In a message dated 12/17/03 4:50:44 PM, dacc@soltec.net writes:
                                        Message 19 of 23 , Dec 17, 2003
                                        • 0 Attachment
                                          In a message dated 12/17/03 4:50:44 PM, dacc@... writes:

                                          << --- In shinlist@yahoogroups.com, "Richard St. Clair"

                                          <stclair@m...> wrote:

                                          >There *is* canonical support for the Nembutsu way, of course.

                                          >It is the 18th vow (Primal Vow) in the Sutra on the Buddha of

                                          >Infinite Life (Larger Sukhavativyuha Sutra).


                                          Of course. But I'm not going to get into a canonical 'pissing

                                          contest' here. Partly because I don't see the point in going to the

                                          effort to explain matters canonically in a circumstance where I

                                          feel the effort isn't warranted, and also partly because at the

                                          fundament of this argument is the point that this is a 'Buddhism

                                          for the common man' and having to drag around a lot of scholarly

                                          baggage in order to justify my faith in Nembutsu seems to be

                                          overkill. I know the referential points _are there_...but if I

                                          approach Shin on the basis of an ordinary person, they're not

                                          something that should impact my feelings on the subject.


                                          It's all well and good to throw loads of references around, and to

                                          delve into the deeper meanings and contexts and what-not...but

                                          I've found over the years that if you dive too deep into such levels

                                          of study, you risk losing the meaning that such teachings have

                                          for the everyday person. And Shinjin is, from all I've come to

                                          learn, a faith or entrusting that doesn't imply that you must know

                                          and/or be able to cite _everything_. It wasn't a prerequisite in

                                          Shinran's time, and it's not one now. Of course, scholarship isn't

                                          a bad thing, conversely...but like anything, it's possible to put too

                                          much of something into the mix and unbalance matters; a little

                                          salt makes the soup taste good, but a whole boxful, well... >>

                                          I AGREE COMPLETELY!!

                                          gassho,
                                          Rick
                                          (Shaku Egen)
                                        • Robert Garvey
                                          I concur wholeheartedly with Richard and Rick on this. ... These days, however, people seem to engage in learning to put a stop to criticism by others, making
                                          Message 20 of 23 , Dec 21, 2003
                                          • 0 Attachment
                                            I concur wholeheartedly with Richard and Rick on this.

                                            --- In shinlist@yahoogroups.com, Shin02143@a... wrote:
                                            >
                                            > In a message dated 12/17/03 4:50:44 PM, dacc@s... writes:
                                            >
                                            > . . . I'm not going to get into a canonical 'pissing
                                            > contest' here. Partly because I don't see the point in
                                            > going to the effort to explain matters canonically in
                                            > a circumstance where I feel the effort isn't warranted . . .

                                            "These days, however, people seem to engage in learning to put
                                            a stop to criticism by others, making ready to devote themselves
                                            wholly to debate and argument. If one studies, more and more
                                            one realizes Amida's fundamental intent and grows in awareness
                                            of the immensity of the compassionate Vow, so that one can
                                            explain, to those who anxiously wonder how birth is possible for
                                            wretched people like themsleves, that the Primal Vow does not
                                            discriminate whether one's mind is good or evil, pure or defiled.
                                            Only then is there meaning in being a scholar."

                                            Tannisho, chapter 12
                                            Shin Buddhism Translation Series
                                            Hongwanji International Center
                                          • Doreen Kamada-Fujii
                                            ... other ... I agree, DAC. It s sort of a paradox how life can be so much `easier today as compared to in Shinran s time…one would think that there would
                                            Message 21 of 23 , Jan 12, 2004
                                            • 0 Attachment
                                              --- In shinlist@yahoogroups.com, dacc@s... wrote:
                                              > --- In shinlist@yahoogroups.com, "Richard St. Clair"
                                              > <stclair@m...> wrote:
                                              > >...the "common person" of our own time is also burdened by a
                                              > >plethora of time-and-energy-consuming obligations and
                                              > >distractions - think of raising a family while keeping a full time
                                              > >job in a society as complex as ours. Our life may be easier in
                                              > >terms of healthcare and shorter work hours (compared to
                                              > >medieval times), but somehow there just aren't enough hours
                                              > >in the day to do what we really want to do, including practicing
                                              > >the Buddhadharma.
                                              >
                                              > Precisely. Right now, I sit here surrounded by all sorts of
                                              > 'time-saving' devices, in a sturdy house with central heat against
                                              > the cold of Winter, with a car in the driveway which can take me
                                              > whereever I need to go, and all the food I need safely kept in
                                              > refrigeration and cans. Is this any easier than, say, 13th century
                                              > Japan? Perhaps in terms of comfort level, sure. But in terms of
                                              > the demands placed upon me by the course of living my own
                                              > life...no, this doesn't seem to change, irrespective of how cushy
                                              > things get. Work might get easier, but outside of it there are
                                              other
                                              > things which have crept into our lives, and which take their own
                                              > parts of our time and energy.
                                              >
                                              > Jodo Shinshu was conceived as a 'Buddhism for Joe Average',
                                              > I'm fond of saying. And it's just as valid for the Joe Averages of
                                              > the 13th C. as it is for those of the 21st C. The demands on our
                                              > lives as well as the worth of the Tathagata's teachings...neither
                                              > seem to change, no matter what the appearance of things might
                                              > be. And for that unchanging nature of those teachings, I am quite
                                              > grateful!
                                              >
                                              I agree, DAC. It's sort of a paradox how life can be so
                                              much `easier' today as compared to in Shinran's time…one would think
                                              that there would be even MORE time to study or contemplate the
                                              Dharma. But sadly, it seems to be just the opposite: there are even
                                              MORE things to distract a `householder'. Less silence,
                                              less `mindless' work which must be done, etc…

                                              I was reading a little book, "Thus I Have Heard", by Rinban Kosho
                                              Yukawa recently…it's a collection of dharma talks/stories he'd heard
                                              over the years and enjoyed. The following one especially rang a bell
                                              with me when I read it because of the above discussion about life
                                              supposedly being `easier' these days… when actually, it seems to
                                              be `easier' to forget and NOT to be mindful things like where the
                                              food we eat comes from since we ourselves are not having to actually
                                              take that life in order to eat, as one who had to fish, hunt, farm to
                                              survive did…
                                              ……
                                              Kansha—Gratitude (from "Thus I Have Heard", Rinban Kosho Yukawa)

                                              The word gratitude in Japanese is commonly translated as _kansha_.
                                              It consists of two characters, _kan_ and _sha_. _Kan_ means "sense"
                                              or "feel" and _sha_ means "to be sorry" or "to apologize,". It is
                                              interesting that the meaning of "feeling sorry" is a part of
                                              gratitude in Japanese.

                                              Buddha-dharma teaches us the interdependence of all existence.
                                              Nothing exists by itself. We, especially as human beings, must
                                              depend on countless numbers of things in order to live each day and
                                              each moment.

                                              For example, in one of his lectures, Rev. Tetsuo Unno mentioned the
                                              following statistics in terms of how much meat an average American
                                              eats in his lifetime of about 75 to 80 years: 12 cows, 29 pigs, 27
                                              turkeys, 984 chickens, 2 sheep and 910 pounds of fish. I was stunned
                                              when I heard this and at the same time realized how many lives I had
                                              taken and will be taking during my lifetime. Although I do not
                                              personally take the lives of animals with my hands, I am demanding
                                              the sacrifice of their lives so that I can live this life.

                                              In Buddha-dharma, nothing is created for another to take for one's
                                              benefit. A life is a life, regardless of what form it is and just as
                                              precious as our own life. I am sure a cow is not willingly
                                              sacrificing its life for me. But in order for me to live my life, I,
                                              either directly or indirectly, take the lives of those mentioned
                                              above. And, I am "sorry" that I must continue to take the lives of
                                              others for me to live.

                                              The true spirit of gratitude is to feel the compassionate acts of
                                              others and express our deep "sorryness" to have to sacrifice many
                                              things.

                                              The Nembutsu and Gassho express the true spirit of _kansha_.
                                              ……

                                              gassho,
                                              Doreen/Shaku ni Myo Jun
                                            Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.