The Buddhadharma [Buddha’s teachings]
is like a great ocean [profoundly deep and vast]:
only by faith can it be entered,
only by wisdom can it be crossed.
– Treatise on the Perfection of Great Wisdom
HHDL (His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama) mentioned the following in a Q&A session (as translated)： – ‘If the [only Buddhist] tradition we preserve suits only the least capable students, and is purely based on faith – allow me to say this – just chanting “Amituofo [Amitabha Buddha], Amituofo”, we really have no guarantee that the Buddhist teachings will continue to remain relevant in the next century.’ Is this saying just having faith and chanting practice is not sufficient?
Well, in the context of the whole Q&A session, he was referring to how Buddhism in practice should be based upon the nurturing of analytical wisdom too. That said, as in the opening quote, it is first by faith, which powers learning and practice, that wisdom is later realised. This is why there are many detailed Pure Land classes: https://thedailyenlightenment.com/category/06, with Q&A sessions in every lesson for active enquiry – to ensure that the true faith nurtured is never blind faith, but based on wisdom – with no advocating of anyone to ‘just chant Amituofo’ without any understanding. However, it is important to note that the Buddha clearly taught that the Pure Land teachings will be the most enduring in this Dharma-Ending Age and beyond –
In the world of the future, when the paths of the sutras [to enlightenment] are destroyed and ended, I, with loving-kindness, compassion and empathy, will specially retain this sutra [on Amitabha Buddha’s Pure Land teachings], to dwell for one hundred years [longer]. If there are such beings, who encounter this sutra, they can, as they wish, according to their aspirations, all attain deliverance.
– Sakyamuni Buddha (Immeasurable Life Sutra)
This means the Pure Land teachings will not only by default continue to remain relevant, they will become increasingly relevant, until they become the MOST and ONLY relevant teachings left! Of course, all Buddhist teachings suitable for various spiritual capacities should be preserved for as long as possible. However, the Pure Land teachings have the special feature of being relevant for practitioners of all capacities – low, medium and high, for the longest time possible, beginning from the Buddha’s era and the Right Dharma Age.
Even Manjusri Bodhisattva, who represents perfect wisdom (of the highest capacity) aspired to reach Pure Land, as can be seen at http://purelanders.com/2017/05/31/manjusri-bodhisattvas-verses-of-aspiration-for-birth-in-pure-land He also reminded us that the Pure Land teachings are the most relevant for our era, as can be seen at http://purelanders.com/2017/04/29/how-manjusri-bodhisattva-urged-practice-of-nianfo
HHDL is also from the Gelugpa tradition, whose founder Lama Tsongkhapa encouraged its practitioners to reach Amituofo’s Pure Land, as can be seen at https://thedailyenlightenment.com/2015/10/guru-rinpoche-lama-tsongkhapass-exhortation-to-reach-pure-land He himself wrote aspiration prayers expressing wish to personally reach Amituofo’s Pure Land. Lama Tsongkhapa is also regarded as a manifestation of Manjusri Bodhisattva, who also, as above, personally aspired to reach Amituofo’s Pure Land and taught that we should do the same.
Note too, that all Three Provisions (of Faith, Aspiration and Practice); not just the first and the last, are needed to reach Amituofo’s Pure Land. They are as defined at http://purelanders.com/2015/12/30/%e5%be%80%e7%94%9f%e5%87%80%e5%9c
%9f%e4%b8%89%e8%b5%84%e7%b2%ae-the-three-provisions-for-rebirth-in-pure-land The essence of the Pure Land teachings, when practised well, interconnects to all other teachings too, including the Six Perfections essential for Buddhahood: http://purelanders.com/2016/01/05/how-is-mindfulness-of-buddha-practice-of-the-six-perfections This is how the Pure Land path, which includes reaching and swiftly perfecting all Perfections in Pure Land and beyond, is a complete path to Buddhahood!
Thought to thought with Renunciation is practice of Generosity.
Thought to thought with Purity is practice of Morality (Precepts).
Thought to thought with Stillness is practice of Patience.
Thought to thought with Continuity is practice of Diligence.
Thought to thought with Oneness is practice of Concentration.
Thought to thought with Buddha is practice of Wisdom.
– Record Of Pure Land’s Noble Sages
(Section On Yuan Hongdao, Layman Stone)
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