Pure Land

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Pure Land Buddhism (zh. 净土宗, pinyin jngtǔzōng, Japanese 浄土宗 Jōdoshū), also known as Amidism, is a branch of Mahayana Buddhism and currently one of the most dominant school of Buddhism in Asia.

Contents

Overview

Pure Land Buddhism is based upon the Pure Land sutras first brought to China circa 150 by the Parthian monk An Shih Kao and the Kushan monk Lokaksema, which describe Amitabha, one of the Five Wisdom Buddhas, and his heaven-like Pure Land, called Sukhavati.

The Pure Land school first became prominent with the founding of a monastery upon the top of Mount Lushan by Hui-yuan in 402. It spread throughout China quickly and was systematized by Shan-tao (613-681). The philosophy spread to Japan and slowly grew in prominence. Honen Shonin (1133-1212) established Pure Land Buddhism as an independent sect in Japan, known as Jodo Shu. Today Pure Land is the dominant form of Buddhism in Japan, China, and Taiwan.

Contemporary Pure Land traditions see the Buddha Amitabha preaching the Dharma in his buddha-field (sa. buddhakchetra), called the "Pure Land" (zh. 净土, pinyin jngtǔ, jp. 浄土 jodo) or "Western Pureland" (zh. 西天), a region offering respite from karmic transmigration. In such traditions, entering the Pure Land is popularly perceived as equivalent to the attainment of nirvana.

It is thought that by adherents that without assistance, it would be likely over the course of multiple rebirths for individuals to get lost or possessed by devils. Thus, adherents believe that the Buddha provided an easier route to enlightenment, the Pure Land. The main idea behind Pure Land Buddhism is that nirvana is sometimes hard to obtain by ourselves, so we need help from the Buddha. Instead of solitary meditative work toward enlightenment, Pure Land Buddhism teaches that devotion to Amitabha will lead us to the Pure Land (reminiscent of Heaven) from which Nirvana will be easier to attain. Rebirth in Pureland is from both the work of us and Buddha.

Some Pure Land Buddhists have taught that in order for a devotee to be reborn in Amitabha's Western Paradise or Western Pureland, they should chant or repeat a mantra or prayer to Amitabha as often as possible to reinforce a proper and sincere state of mind (ex: Chinese 南無阿弥陀佛 Nm Āmtu f, Japanese pronunciation Namu Amida butsu). This fairly simple form of veneration has contributed greatly to its popularity, especially in Japan.

Eastern Pure Land

In esoteric Vajrayana Buddhism, Amitabha's Western Pure Land has a counterpart in Akshobhya's Eastern Pure Land: Abhirati. While recognized especially by the Japanese Shingon sect, the Eastern Pure Land is not the object of popular veneration in the same manner as the Western Pure Land.

Template:Buddhism2

See also

External links

References

  • Eitel, Ernest J. Hand-Book of Chinese Buddhism, being a Sanskrit-Chinese Dictionary with Vocabularies of Buddhist Terms in Pali, Singhalese, Siamese, Burmese, Tibetan, Mongolian and Japanese (Second Edition). New Delhi, Madras: Asian Educational Services. 1992.de:Sukhavati

ja:浄土宗 pt:Terra Pura pl:Czysta kraina vi:Tịnh Độ tng

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