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Amida Buddha, Is He Too Close To Jesus?


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Some say that Pure Land Buddhism looks too close to Christian faith so ex-christians tend to like the atheistic versions of Buddhism better than the superficially Jesus like story on how a Buddhist Monk promised to save every sentient being to come to his Pure Land and live in Nirvana state of mind.

 

It could looks too close to Heaven and how Jesus promise that everybody who say his name will be with him in Paradise.

 

Amida Buddhism even have the same idea that saying the name of Amida could save you. Very similar is the notion that his name is the only saving name.

 

Jesus: There is not other name than Jesus that can save you.

Amida: There is no other name than Amida that can save you.

 

Not word for word but you know the bible verse that stuck in your head.

 

Amida Buddhism has similar claims on being the only name to say.

 

In same way as some Christians pray to Jesus the Amida Buddhists say the name again and again.

 

And very similar to like when Jesus says that not every body saying my name will be saved cause one has to say it sincerely really believing what one say. This is also what Amida Buddhism say. You should be sincere saying it. It is a gift from Amida if you feel grasped by Amida's compassion and that experiences is ver close to the Born again experience as I get it .

 

Missionaries coming to Japan and talking to Amida Buddhists thought that the Devil had inspired Buddhists to come up with something that similar to Christian faith.

 

 

But if one look deeper into it there are huge differences too.

 

wiki on Amida Buddhism from Japan text in english

 

Shinjin

 

The goal of the Shin path, or at least the practicer's present life, is the attainment of shinjin in the Other Power of Amida. Shinjin is sometimes translated as faith but this does not capture the nuances of the term and it is more often simply left untranslated. The receipt of shinjin comes about through the renunciation of self effort in attaining enlightenment; 'taking refuge' in Other Power (Tariki). It should be noted, however, that Shinjin arises from jinen (naturalness, spontaneous working of the Vow) and cannot be achieved solely through conscious effort. One is letting go of conscious effort in a sense, and simply trusting Amida Buddha, and the nembutsu.

 

For Jodo Shinshu practitioners, shinjin develops over time through "deep hearing" (monpo) of Amida's call of the nembutsu. Jinen also describes the way of naturalness whereby Amida's infinite light illumines and transforms the deeply rooted karmic evil of countless rebirths into good karma. It is of note that such evil karma is not destroyed but rather transformed: Shin stays within the Mahayana tradition's understanding of sunyata, or non-duality / emptiness, and understands that samsara and Nirvana are not separate. Once the practicer's mind is united with Amida and Buddha nature gifted to the practicer through shinjin, the practicer attains the state of non-retrogression, whereupon after his death it is claimed he will achieve instantaneous and effortless enlightenment. He will then return to the world as a Bodhisattva, that he may work towards the salvation of all beings.

 

 

At first when I heard about it it struck me how similar it is to Christian faith. Then when looking more into it then I saw there are differences. It is not a Christian faith in Buddhist terminology, it is not a kind of mimicking or taking after, it seems to be genuinely Buddhist in nature.

 

But still the remind me too much of being very similar. I have very mixed feelings about it. I hesitate to get involved in it and still feel drawn to it.

 

Amida's compassion for every sentient being is attractive to me. He seems to be a very nice and friendly guy. Ok he is not a he really cause he is Buddha nature and that is beyond such things as gender issues. But living in a patriarchical society it is too easy to see Amdia as a he.

 

If one want to see Amida as a she then there is the Chinese old Goddess of Mercy? Guan Yin

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guanyin

 

She is as close to Amida as one can get. Most likely some Catholics will see reminiscing of Mary the mother of jesus in her?

 

So folks I need your help to sort all this out.

 

Is this version of Buddhism too close to Christian faith for an ex-christian and atheist to embrace?

 

Why do I feel so attracted to it?

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Is this version of Buddhism too close to Christian faith for an ex-christian and atheist to embrace?

 

I would say it depends on the individual ex-christian. It may be that the imagery would be too difficult for an atheist to embrace, but that would depend on how that individual interprets the symbols.

 

Amida's compassion for every sentient being is attractive to me. He seems to be a very nice and friendly guy. Ok he is not a he really cause he is Buddha nature and that is beyond such things as gender issues. But living in a patriarchical society it is too easy to see Amdia as a he.

 

I am afraid that only you can say why you are so attracted to it but part of it seems to be the emphasis on compassion which Buddhism has. I can relate to that, and also that is partly why I became interested in it. There are also many female Bodhisattvas.

 

I will say that I don't know much about this particular form of Buddhism. In many other schools of Buddhism there are Pure Lands, Bodhisattvas, etc. This is probably common to all of Mahayana Buddhism. There are differences between these forms. I would just recommend that you study this deeply and try to find a teacher or a local group that practices Pure Land Buddhism that could help you.

 

You are right, Buddhism has many major differences from Christianity. Outwardly and superficially it may at times resemble Christian worship, but the meaning and purpose behind what they are doing is entirely different. Buddhism is concerned with the ending of suffering. The Buddha is not separate from your own mind. The word "save" is used to mean something completely different in Christianity.

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Below is a listing of Pure Land centers in the US:

http://www.dharmanet.org/listings/centres/search?centre[C]=&centre[Co]=United+States+of+America&centre[L]=Pure+Land&centre[N]=&centre=&centre[Z]=&page=1

 

If one rejects Christianity's salvation, I don't see how one could accept Amida's Pure Land.

 

Of course there is more than one way to cut a cat in half.

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Is this version of Buddhism too close to Christian faith for an ex-christian and atheist to embrace?

 

I don't think so.

 

Why do I feel so attracted to it?

 

Maybe because its all the things Christianity claims to be but really isn't.

 

You don't have to take the story of Amida literally. Read River of Fire, River of Water by Teitsu Unno. Also, Alan Watts has a great essay about Jodo-shinshu in his book "Become What You Are".

 

Here's a nice site: http://www.bffct.net/

 

Namu Amida Butsu!

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Thanks, somewhat similar and then very different seen from a buddhist perspective.

I get curious on the answer from RevR

 

"If one rejects Christianity's salvation, I don't see how one could accept Amida's Pure Land."

 

I both agree and disagree with you.

 

I know why I hesitate but like to read what you have against it. Is it not only similar on the surface? It is very different if one read up on it. Not that I have read much but the little I have read tells me it is different.

 

Nightflight http://www.bffct.net/ they show how they act together there at the BFF in CT.

 

How different from the Words of Faith and other Christian groups I am familiar with. Not easy to stomp your feet and dance in the pew if you have to sit cross legged like that? Seems to be a very disciplined practice.

 

If one have to sit then I prefer a chair. To stand for hours is too tiring but it is very alien to me to sit that still.

 

I rather sing Taize christian songs than to recite Namu Amida Busu. I don't mind singing one Taize song for ten to 15 minutes but to recite in the ordered way they seems to do is very alien to me. I like to sing in a more individual way.

 

DevaLight, I think I get what you tell me.

 

"Buddhism has many major differences from Christianity. Outwardly and superficially it may at times resemble Christian worship, but the meaning and purpose behind what they are doing is entirely different. Buddhism is concerned with the ending of suffering. The Buddha is not separate from your own mind. The word "save" is used to mean something completely different in Christianity."

 

Could it not depend on how literally one take both practices? sure they are different. But there are similarities too.

 

Both use the images of infinite life and light and compassion. And both say that you fail on your own, you have to have faith in the promise that Jesus or Amida will help you if you entrust your life to them. The born again experiences seems very similar too. Both have stories of people who felt grasped by the compassion to not be abandoned.

 

Both rely on you to deep listen to the message and to open your heart and to have faith in the story?

 

Maybe I am more interested in what is similar and you are more critical or see the differences easily and that I am blind to the differences? Oh the practice is not so similar to the Christianity I grew up with. Amida Buddhism looks more like Catholic Monks maybe? Being very disciplined and meters apart from each other instead of hugging and praying for each other and laying on hands and doing talking in tongue spontaneously out of joy for all the love one feel.

 

I wonder if the Amida Buddhists ever show their compassion though a spontaneous hug. In that way it is not for me. Reminds me a bit of the Military, everybody march along in step lock discipline rhythm. Very little individual improvisation?

 

Not easy to say why I feel so attracted to it. I guess time will tell. Just now I fail to explain it even to myself.

 

Could not all of you tell me Amida Buddhism is something bad that I should keep away from?

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Could it not depend on how literally one take both practices? sure they are different. But there are similarities too.

 

Of course that is a factor. That is what I meant by how you read the symbols.

 

Both rely on you to deep listen to the message and to open your heart and to have faith in the story?

 

Yes, I think that Buddhism and Christianity have faith and listening in common.

 

Maybe I am more interested in what is similar and you are more critical or see the differences easily and that I am blind to the differences? Oh the practice is not so similar to the Christianity I grew up with. Amida Buddhism looks more like Catholic Monks maybe? Being very disciplined and meters apart from each other instead of hugging and praying for each other and laying on hands and doing talking in tongue spontaneously out of joy for all the love one feel.

 

I never meant to suggest that you are blind to the differences. You seem to be saying you came from a pentecostal, charismatic type of Christianity where they were speaking in tongues. That is different from my background. I can't say what Amida Buddhist practice is actually like, since I have never been to one of their practices.

 

Could not all of you tell me Amida Buddhism is something bad that I should keep away from?

 

Do you want us to? Why? I would say that if Amida Buddhism reminds you of things you don't like about Christianity, and you are trying to get away from Christianity, maybe it would not be the best thing for you, but only you can decide that for yourself.

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What do I have against Pure Land (nothing really)? Does it really matter? In the end you are going to choose the path that you wish to walk.

 

 

To be perfectly honest though I don't see that Pure Land practice will be of benefit to you right now. In the future, who knows?

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Do you know anything about them? Is Ex-Christian in any way related to them? Are you a moderator there?

 

I will not comment on them. It could end with them deleting threads and so on.

 

I asked here cause I thought all of you where ex-christians.

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Do you know anything about them? Is Ex-Christian in any way related to them? Are you a moderator there?

 

I will not comment on them. It could end with them deleting threads and so on.

 

I asked here cause I thought all of you where ex-christians.

 

No, I don't post there. I don't know if there are any ex-christians there, but it seems to be a popular forum, so chances are there may be an ex-c among thems. I doubt they would be upset and delete threads over your questions.

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"Be a lantern unto yourself. Find your own salvation with all due diligence" - Attributed to the last word of Sidharttha (the original buddha).

 

The great part about Buddhism is you only have to take what works for you. Others may say "you're not a true buddhist", but if they do, I think they are missing one of the primary lessons he was trying to convey. His was one path, not the only path.

 

My 2 cents...

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For a few months back in the '80s I attended a Jodo Shinshu temple; and yes, it did feel a lot like Christianity with "Jesus" scratched out and "Amida" written in in crayon.

 

I was considering becoming a member of the group, but after a discussion with the minister I lost interest. He was of the opinion that salvation via one's own efforts was not possible, hence the need for assistance from celestial bodhisattvas. I nodded politely rather than argue; and then I just didn't go back there.

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