Pure Land Buddhism

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Amitabha in Sukhavati Paradise

--->Topic:Theology and philosophy and Topic:Buddhist studies‏‎

Wikipedia: Pure Land Buddhism, also referred to as Amidism, is a broad branch of Mahāyāna Buddhism and one of the most widely practiced traditions of Buddhism in East Asia. Pure Land is a tradition of Buddhist teachings that are focused on Amitābha Buddha. Pure Land oriented practices and concepts are found within basic Mahāyāna Buddhist cosmology, and form an important component of the Mahāyāna Buddhist traditions of China, Japan, Korea,Vietnam, and Tibet. In Japanese Buddhism, Pure Land teachings developed into independent institutional sects, as can be seen in the Jōdo-shū and Jōdo Shinshū schools.

Introduction to Shin-Buddhism[edit | edit source]

(Buddhist community Jodo Shinshu Germany (quote))

“Shin Buddhism belongs to the large direction of Mahayana Buddhism which was developed about 200 years after the death of Buddha. Shin is the abbreviation of Jodo Shinshu, which means “the essence of the Pure Land." Jodo Shinshu was founded by Shinran Shonin (1173-1262). Shinran lived and taught in Japan in the 13th century. Mahayana was not only admired by Buddha Shakyamuni, who lived 2500 years ago, rather also by other Buddhas who lived long before this time and are no longer historically verified. One of these Buddhas is the Buddha Amida, also known as Amitabha (the Buddha of light) and Amitayus (the Buddha of limitless life). Shin Buddhists base themselves around this Buddha.

In the teachings of Shinran, trust in Buddha Amida is the main focus. The Nembutsu means “to bring Buddha to mind, or to think of Buddha.” The history of Bodhisattva Dharmakara (Amitabha) is told in the great Pure Land Sutra. This Bodhisattva later became known as Buddha Amida. Dharmakara wrote 48 oaths which described how beings can be helped to salvation. The most comprehensive of these is the 18th oath. It is considered the ancient, original oath or known as Hogan in Japanese. The 18th oath basically means: “If I become a Buddha, I will only become completely enlightened if all feeling beings in the ten directions trust me with a true heart and wish to be born in my Land and speak my name ten times…”

Shinran taught that we only need to trust in Buddha or Nembutsu to be freed. The rebirth in the Pure Land of Buddha Amida means to reach complete enlightenment or to come to the realm where one can reach enlightenment without obstacles. One could also say that the Pure Land of a Buddha is the energy field of a Buddha. Some people imagine it is a real place that geographically exists. In fact, the Pure Land is more a state of consciousness that can also be experienced in this life.

The action Buddha Amida takes to free others is considered “other power” in Shin-Buddhism. The goal is to become more and more aware of the power of Buddha and to trust more in him and to let one’s own personality be more influenced by him. Shinjin means faith, trust. Shinjin can also be expressed as a sudden, deep, spiritual experience that is connected with the speaking of the Nembutsu. The reaching of the Shinshin is the goal of the Nembutsu way. Certain Shinjin isn’t enlightenment, rather a guarantee for a future enlightenment. It is also called the level of no return. Also, after the reaching of Shinjin are we freed from suffering. Despite this, we are still residents of two worlds. We experience daily life with its joys and problems and at the same time know about the highest reality that permeates everything. We know that we will become a Buddha at some point. That gives certainty and confidence to face one’s daily life.

Shin Buddhism is a tradition of Mahayana. That means that Shin Buddhists assume that reaching the level of Bodhisattva or Buddha they will also go back to the realm of suffering to help others be freed from suffering. Shinran also said that people who have heard of Shin Buddhism and are longing for freedom will develop the need to do good for others and to avoid doing harm. Those who take the Nembutsu way and have experienced Shinjin do good for the sake of it. Buddha Amitabha works through them to fulfill the oath to help others.”

Takamaro Shigaraki[edit | edit source]

Takamaro_Shigaraki (1926 - 2014) was a Japanese Buddhist philosopher. Shigaraki is widely regarded as one of the most influential Buddhologists of the Jōdo Shinshū in the 20th century. The former president of Ryukoku University spent his career studying Pure Land Buddhism. He was been on the faculty of Ryukoku University, Kyoto, Japan, since 1958. He tried to clarify a contemporary meaning of Buddhism through looking into Shinran’s thought from a perspective of existentialism. Shigaraki has been influenced by the Protestant theologian Paul Tillich. Shigaraki tried the one hand, in the interpretation of Buddhism to go back to Shinran, on the other hand to question the solidified forms of organization of the Jodo Shinshu.

Shigaraki centers the Shin Buddhism to the question of enlightenment. We should develop faith in the Buddha Amitabha and so let us develop through his power to enlightenment. The aim of the Shin Buddhists is to develop Shinjin, confidence in the Buddha Amitabha. Shigaraki understood here Shinjin as the experience of clarity of mind. I would call this awakening (satori), an important step on the path to full enlightenment. In contrast, the question of life after death is meaningless to Shigaraki. Similarly, the question of paradise after death. Shigaraki tends to be an atheistic Buddhist, who is oriented on the state of knowledge of modern science.

Shinjiɲ[edit | edit source]

Shinjin is the essence of Amitabha Buddhism. There is a close connection to Christianity. But the concept is difficult to grasp. What is Shinjin for you?

In "Rennyo - The Second Founder of Shin Buddhism" by Minor L. Rogers and Ann T. Rogers "says Honnyo Shonin's" letter of decision ": "The meaning of" faith "[Shinjin] is that we simply let go of the spirit of self-force and turn to Amida Tathagata steadfast and with one-directional hearts to save us with the birth in the Pure Land. "

I'm trying to translate these idea into my system of thought. Shinjin then is the practice of non-practicing. It is similar to the way of the evangelical Christians who just pray and leave the rest to God. Practicing the non-practicing one could call the practice of egolessness. In the Enlightenment the ego is dissolved. We live in the unit and it all happens by itself. This setting can also practiced specifically. That seems for me to be the way of the Jodo Shinshu.

This approach is apparently opposite to the way of the Buddha. Buddha taught a conscious effort and to practice single-minded. This is my way of priority. But sometimes it is also right for me to release my own will and simply faith in the salvation of my enlightened masters (God, Buddha Amitabha). My way is to feel what is just right for me in every moment.

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