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Re: New member, Jeff Brooks

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  • 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 1 of 23 , Dec 9, 2003
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      --- 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 2 of 23 , Dec 10, 2003
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        >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 3 of 23 , Dec 16, 2003
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          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 4 of 23 , Dec 16, 2003
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            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 5 of 23 , Dec 16, 2003
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              >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 6 of 23 , Dec 16, 2003
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                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

                __________________________________
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                New Yahoo! Photos - easier uploading and sharing.
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              • 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 7 of 23 , Dec 16, 2003
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                  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 8 of 23 , Dec 16, 2003
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                    --- 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 9 of 23 , Dec 16, 2003
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                      --- 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 10 of 23 , Dec 16, 2003
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                        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 11 of 23 , Dec 17, 2003
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                          >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 12 of 23 , Dec 17, 2003
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                            >--- 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 13 of 23 , Dec 17, 2003
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                              --- 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 14 of 23 , Dec 17, 2003
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                                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 15 of 23 , Dec 21, 2003
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                                  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 16 of 23 , Jan 12, 2004
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                                    --- 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
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