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Thread: Amitabha Buddha

  1. #1

    Amitabha Buddha

    What is the relationship between Amitabha Buddha and Zen? I know Pure Land uses Amitabha a lot.

    Gassho,
    Patrick

  2. #2

    Re: Amitabha Buddha

    Quote Originally Posted by dharma84
    What is the relationship between Amitabha Buddha and Zen? I know Pure Land uses Amitabha a lot.

    Gassho,
    Patrick
    As in the usage of mantra/chanting or on the belief of the Pure Land and Amitabha Buddha?

  3. #3

    Re: Amitabha Buddha

    Quote Originally Posted by dharma84
    What is the relationship between Amitabha Buddha and Zen? I know Pure Land uses Amitabha a lot.

    Gassho,
    Patrick
    Hi Patrick,

    Well, in China and Vietnam, "Ch'an/Thien/Zen" has really been a mixture of Zen and Pure Land teachings for several centuries. This is not true so much in Japan (although Obaku, the "3rd Sect" of Japanese Zen, is a Ming Dynasty import from China with Pure Land elements), unless a particular Priest or practitioner has developed a personal interest in Pure Land. That was the case with D.T.Suzuki (not to be confused with "Shunryu Suzuki Roshi") ...

    In his later years, he began to explore the Jodo Shinshu faith of his mother's upbringing, and gave guest lectures on Jodo Shinshu Buddhism at the Buddhist Churches of America. D.T. Suzuki also produced an incomplete English translation of the Kyogyoshinsho, the magnum opus of Shinran, founder of the Jodo Shinshu school. However, Suzuki did not attempt to popularize the Shin doctrine in the West, as he believed Zen was better suited to the Western preference for Eastern mysticism[citation needed], though he is quoted as saying that Jodo Shinshu Buddhism is the "most remarkable development of Mahayana Buddhism ever achieved in East Asia".[3]
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/D.T._Suzuki
    E-Sangha had a thread on the subject of Zen-Pure Land syncretism, with information of various degrees of quality

    http://www.lioncity.net/buddhism/index. ... topic=9417

    As you probably know, Amitabha, at the superficial level before getting into the deeper significance and philosophy, is a figure not unlike "Jesus" who will take the faithful to the "Pure Land", a kind of heaven, merely for calling out his name with faith. In its deeper aspects, the figure of Amitabha can take on all manner of philosophical significance, and the gap between calling upon an "outer" savior (as in Pure Land) and relying on so called "Self Power" (said to be what Zazen is) is said to vanish. However, standard Soto Zen in Japan, and my lineage, do not teach about Amida Buddha at all.

    In the West, many Zen practitioners and Zen centers have statues of Amida (Amitabha) on their altars because they believe a "buddha is just a buddha is just a buddha" (which is true, of course), but do not realize that to some folks, it is a little strange ... like having a crucifix at a Jewish Bar Mitvah. Not quite, but really not associated with the Japanese Soto or Rinzai schools.

    I recently visited the world's tallest Amida Buddha!

    http://treeleafzen.blogspot.com/2008/04 ... zilla.html

    The famous sitting Giant Buddha in Kamakura is also Amida ...



    Did that help?

    Gassho, Jundo

  4. #4

    Re: Amitabha Buddha

    That helped a lot, thanks Jundo.

    Gassho,

    Patrick

  5. #5

    Re: Amitabha Buddha

    I have one of those. So that's Amida huh?

    G,W

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