17 Aug. Allah, Zeus and Odin.

I keep thinking/reading about the Pure Land Buddhism. It is stressing me out. I have never thought that Buddhism will become such a burden. I’m trying to convince myself that the Pure Land practice is a legitimate one. But my doubts are growing as I see Pure Land apologetics bending over backwards trying to explain Pure Land as a metaphor for the state of mind. It really reminds me of Christians explaining some of the Biblical inconsistencies as being mere metaphors.

The question I asked myself this morning was: If the Pure Land was the first Buddhist school I encountered in my life, would it appeal to me? And if I took on the practice, would it benefit me? The answer is: No. I would have probably rejected it straight away as being too similar to Christianity. And if I somehow started practicing Nembutsu I would have missed out on so much that I value in Buddhism: the wonderful wisdom of the Theravada teachings, the refreshing absurdity of Zen, and most importantly – the gift of meditation practice.

Or would the end result be the same? Concentration through Nembutsu. Wisdom arising from concentration. Wisdom allowing to understand aniccaanatta and dukha.

But on the other hand, Amida is not mentioned anywhere in Theravada sutras. Buddha taught self-power. What if the story about Amida is just a story? If I believe it – what is preventing me from believing in Allah, Zeus or Odin?

6 thoughts on “17 Aug. Allah, Zeus and Odin.

  1. Adrian,

    Having faced the same dilemma myself I would say put it down or at least on the back burner. Life is too short and our opportunity too precious to spend our time entangling ourselves with doubt. Do you have faith in Lord Gotama Buddha? The Dhamma? The Sangha? In kamma and rebirth? These are the things you need to make your practice worthwhile and to avoid squandering your life (IMO). Whether Lord Amitabha exists or not, I’m sure he would be happy that you were following the Buddhadhamma. Wishing you peace and clarity.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi, this is exactly what I have done. The more I thought about the Pure Land the more doubt I experienced. I just couldn’t carry on like that. I definitely have faith in Buddha and Dharma. Karma and rebirth… well that’s a different story. But I guess it will come naturally. I don’t want to force myself into believing in something. I rather wait until faith arise in me through my practice. Thank you so much for taking the time share your knowledge with a fellow practitioner! All the best to you!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Adrian,

    I know you love and understand the Buddha dharma and you do know that it offers many paths. Some say there are as many paths as there are practitioners. Believe it or not no matter what you do you are on your path. No matter where you go,there you are 🙂 .
    Look at those around you in your sangha who have been practicing the same practice you are but for a long time. Check them, are they genuinely happy, are they well functioning, and are they what you want to be like in 20 years? Is you in your stillness of meditation can answer yes then keep going. If you answer no, take all the good you have learned and find something new. Continue on your path. You will be fine trust in the space you find in your mind. Follow it to joy and bliss. I am confident you will know.


    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you. I’m yet to join my first Sangha… I’m hoping to join one in September. They are practicing in Soto Zen tradition. I’m very excited about it. I have been very interested and impressed by Zen and Chan writings over the last couple of years. And being around and talking to other practitioners will definitely do me good. Thank you so much for sharing your experience and wisdom. I appreciate it very, very much!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Doing great. I have put down the nembutsu practice. I came back to my mindfulness of breathing (as taught in Anapanasati Sutta). It is something I have been practicing since I started my journey. Just sitting, observing my mind, anchored in the present with the mindfulness of the breath. I feel relieved. Thank you.

      Liked by 1 person

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