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RELB 2100 13 Pure Land Buddhism
Transcript of RELB 2100 13 Pure Land Buddhism
Look at it in the context of the new Mahāyāna cosmology (as we saw in the first chapter of the Lotus Sutra).
Many Pure Lands but one becomes the most important one: Sukhāvatī 'There are lotus flowers there, half a yojana in circumference. There are others, one yojana in circumference; and others, two, three, four, or five yojanas in circumference; nay, there are some, as much as ten yojanas in circumference. And from each gem-lotus there proceed thirty-six hundred thousand kotis of rays of light. And from each ray of light there proceed thirty-six hundred thousand kotis of Buddhas, with bodies of golden color, possessed of the thirty-two marks of great men, who go and teach the Dharma to beings in the immeasurable and innumerable worlds in the eastern quarter. Thus also in the southern, western, and northern quarters, above and below, in the cardinal and intermediate points, they go their way to the immeasurable and innumerable worlds and teach the Dharma to beings in the whole world. #15. 'And, O Ananda, the world called Sukhavati belonging to that Bhagavat Amitabha is prosperous, rich, good to live in, fertile, lovely, and filled with many gods and men. Then, O Ananda, in that world there are neither hells, nor the animals nor the realm of departed spirits, nor bodies of fighting spirits, nor untimely births. And there do not appear in this world such gems as are known in the world Sukhavati. #16. 'Now, O Ananda, that world Sukhavati is fragrant with several sweet-smelling scents, rich in manifold flowers and fruits. adorned with gem trees, and frequented by tribes of manifold sweet-voiced birds, which have been made by the Tathagata on purpose. And, O Ananda, those gem trees are of several colors, of many colors, and of many hundred thousand colors. There are gem trees there of golden-color, and made of gold. There are those of silver-color, and made of silver. There are those of beryl-color, and made of beryl. There are those of crystal-color, and made of crystal. There are those of coral-color, and made of coral. There are those of red pearl-color, and made of red pearls. There are those of diamond-color, and made of diamonds. 'There are some trees of two gems, that is, gold and silver. There are some of three gems, that is, gold, silver, and beryl. There are some of four gems, that is, gold, silver, beryl, and crystal. There are some of five gems, that is, gold, silver, beryl, crystal, and coral. There are some of six gems, that is, gold, silver, beryl, crystal, coral, and red pearls. There are some of seven gems, that is, gold, silver, beryl, crystal, coral, red pearls, and diamonds as the seventh. 'And there, O Ananda, of the trees made of gold, the flowers, leaves, small branches, branches, trunks, and roots are made of gold, and the fruits are made of silver. Of trees made of silver, the flowers, leaves, small branches, branches, trunks, and roots are made of silver only, and the fruits are made of beryl. Of trees made of beryl, the flowers, leaves, small branches, branches, trunks, and roots are made of beryl, and the fruits are made of crystal. Of trees made of crystal, the flowers, leaves, small branches, branches, trunks, and roots are made of crystal only, and the fruits are made of coral. Of trees made of coral, the flowers, leaves, small branches, branches, trunks, and roots are made of coral only, and the fruits are made of red pearls. Of trees made of red pearls, the flowers, leaves, small branches, branches, trunks, and roots are made of red pearls only, and the fruits are made of diamonds. Of trees made of diamonds, the flowers, leaves, small branches, branches, trunks, and roots are made of diamonds only, and the fruits are made of gold. 'Of some trees, O Ananda, the roots are made of gold, the trunks of silver, the branches of beryl, the small branches of crystal, the leaves of coral, the flowers of red pearls, and the fruits of diamonds. Of some trees, O Ananda, the roots are made of silver, the trunks of beryl, the branches of crystal, the small branches of coral, the leaves of red pearls, the flowers of diamonds, and the fruits of gold. Of some trees, O Ananda, the roots are made of beryl, the trunks of crystal, the branches of coral, the small branches of red pearls, the leaves of diamonds, the flowers of gold, and the fruits of silver. Of some trees, O Ananda, the roots are made of crystal, the trunks of coral, the branches of red pearls, the small branches of diamonds, the leaves of gold, the flowers of silver, and the fruits of beryl. Of some trees, O Ananda, the roots are made of coral, the trunks of red pearls, the branches of diamonds, the small branches of gold, the leaves of silver, the flowers of beryl, and the fruits of crystal. Of some trees, O Ananda, the roots are made of red pearls, the trunks of diamonds, the branches of gold, the small branches of silver, the leaves of beryl, the flowers of crystal, and the fruits of coral. Of some trees, O Ananda, the roots are made of diamonds, the trunks of gold, the branches of silver, the small branches of beryl, the leaves of crystal, the flowers of coral, and the fruits of red pearls. Of some trees, O Ananda, the roots are made of the seven gems, the trunks of the seven gems, the branches of the seven gems, the small branches of the seven gems, the leaves of the seven gems, the flowers of the seven gems, and the fruits of the seven gems. And, O Ananda, the roots, trunks, branches, small branches, leaves, flowers, and fruits of all those trees are pleasant to touch, and fragrant. And, when those trees are moved by the wind, a sweet and delightful sound proceeds from them, never tiring, and never disagreeable to hear. That Buddha country, O Ananda, is always on every side surrounded by such trees made of the seven gems, by masses of Kadali trees, and rows of palm-trees made of the seven gems, and entirely surrounded with golden nets, and wholly covered with lotus flowers, made of all kinds of gems. Longer Sukhāvatīvyūha Sūtra Story of the Longer Sukhaāvatīvyuūha Suūtra Ananda notices that the Buddha is looking serene and asks him the reason
The Buddha tells him that he is thinking back to the time of the Buddha Lokesvararaja
At that time, Lokesvararaja was teaching in front of an audience and a monk, Dharmakara requested the Buddha to describe all of the qualities of all the pure lands
Lokesvararaja spoke for a million years describind the qualities of a all the pure lands Dharmakara then retires and imagines all of those qualities in one single Pure Land
He then promise to make it real, creating a placce for fortunate sentient beings so they can attain Buddhahood
He makes a series of 48 vows in order to make the Pure Land happen
The most important vows:
18th - when he is a Buddha, Dharmakara promised that he will appear at the moment of death to anyone who creates the aspiration to enlightenment, hears his name, and remembers him with faith
19th - he promises that anyone who hears his name, wishes to be reborn in his Pure Land, and dedicates their merit to that end will be reborn there, even if they make such a resolution as few as ten times during their life.
Only those who have commited one of the five deeds of immediate retribution (killing one's father, mother, arhat, wounding a Buddha, causing schism in the sangha) are excluded
He vowed to follow the bodhisattva path and become a Buddha in that Pure Land The Recollection of the name of the Buddha Importance of Faith
Importance of Grace
Lay / Universal appeal
Use of Dharani or mantra What's differenet from the previous Buddhist traditions? Hoping to be reborn in tha Pure Land of Amitabha through the repetition of his name
Chinese: Námó Āmítuófó
Japanese: Namu Amida Butsu
Use of Dharani or mantra (Heart Sutra)
You just need to pronounced 10 times according to the text in order to qualify
Once there you can reach enlightenement without the sufferings of Samsara Pure Land Ideas and Main thinkers Tanluan 474-542 He was sick, had a vision of of a heavenly gate opening in front of him.
First devoted to Daoism, then to Pure Land
Lived in a period of warfare and political decline in China
He became a believer of the Pure Land Sutra
Developed the practice of Nien-fo or recitation of the Buddha's name
He aligned Pure Land with mainstream Mahayana ideas and the bodhisattva path
Organized societies for the recitation of the Amitabha's name
For him, even those who commited evil crimes can be saved if they sincerely desire it (unless they have been blasphemous to the Dharma!)
Prayer vs. meditation
Other power vs. self power Daochuo 562-645 Pure Land is parallels to the bodhisattva path
But more powerful since the Buddha Amitabha helped the follower CHINA JAPAN Honen 1133 - 1212 Appealed to him because of its universality
He liked the universality and the fact that it involved one single practice.
No need for meditation or merit making
Although that single practice could fulfill various purposes: rebirth in the Pure Land of Amitabha, realization of our own Buddha-nature, protection from evil, salvation for relatives, clean our sins, etc.
He practiced Nembutsu 70,000 times a day
Problem: emphasis on faith and the practice of Nembutsu was seen as a danger for justifying unethical behaviour.
Four of his disciples were executed for "fooling around"
He was stripped of his monastic titled and sent into exile Shinran 1173-1263 He took Honen teachings a step further and proclaim himself not fit for monasticism
He had a vision that influenced to make to changes to the tradition:
Took a wife (beginning of married priests in Japan). Neither monk nor layman.
You only need one nembutsu, one recitation in order to save yourself (not many)
Problem: like with Honen some ethical issues with this radical form of faith practice. His son (Zenran) actually preached that performing evil acts were good since they reduce the pride of the normal people and leads them to the path of Amitabha Never really an independent school Nianfo - Nembutsu PURE LAND BUDDHISM