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My grandma and Amitabha

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  • Moderator
    An Eternal Now's Avatar
    17,190 posts since Sep '04
    • I had an early reunion dinner today.

      My relatives, who are not Buddhists or devout Buddhists to begin with, recounted my grandmother's passing away. At that time, my grandma has passed away and my relatives were all sleeping at the place where my grandmother was being "chao du" by the monks. At the time of 3am my cousin became lucid in his sleep but had trouble breathing and couldn't move, but felt exhilarating bliss and saw an incredible bright light and Amitabha appeared, extremely (mountain-like) tall... and delivered my grandmother from around the coffin area into the western pure land.

      At the same time, my other relatives also recounted seeing Amitabha in the sky in bright light, another relative recounted not seeing Amitabha but a great bright light.

      My sister (six years older than me) dreamed later that week that my grandmother became a young male looking person in pure land.

      As for myself, I was very small only 5 years old... I don't remember much, only remembered incredible peace I felt when I chanted Amitabha besides my grandmother. And also I remembered she had colorful shariras when her body was cremated.

      My grandmother did not understand much of Buddhism, but in the last few years she was very sincere and devouted and liked to chant Diamond Sutra and also Amitabha Buddha.

      p.s. again, these relatives are not devouted Buddhists at all, they do not attend dharma classes, or frequent any monasteries or dharma centers. Two of them are not really Buddhists to begin with (more like ming jian xing yang). Yet they have seen the same thing.

      Just a sharing... None of my relatives that have spoken are exactly Buddhists, much less Pure Land Buddhist (and as for my family - we are Buddhists but not Pure Land Buddhists), but I think this is a story worth sharing. I'm sure the Pure Land Buddhists will have many other similar instances to share.

      Edited by An Eternal Now 04 Feb `13, 12:14AM
    • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pure_Land_Buddhism

      Going to the Pure Land
      Two mural panels depicting The Pure Land of Amitabha held at the Birmingham Museum of Art

      Practitioners claim there is evidence of dying people going to the pure land, such as:

      Knowing the time of death (預知時至): some prepare by bathing and reciting the name of the Buddha Amitabha.
      The "Three Saints of the West" (西方三聖): Amitābha Buddha and the two bodhisattvas, Avalokiteśvara on his right and Mahāsthāmaprāpta on his left, appear and welcome the dying person. Visions of other buddhas or bodhisattvas are disregarded as they may be bad spirits disguising themselves, attempting to stop the person from entering the Pure Land.[28]
      Records of practicing Pure Land Buddhists who have died have been known to leave śarīrā, or relics, after cremation.

      The last part of the body to become cold is the top of the head (posterior fontanelle). In Buddhist teaching, souls who enter the Pure Land leave the body through the fontanelle at the top of the skull. Hence, this part of the body stays warmer longer than the rest of the body. The Verses on the Structure of the Eight Consciousnesses (八識規矩補註),[29] reads: "to birth in saints the last body temperature in top of head, to deva in eyes, to human in heart, to hungry ghosts in belly, to animals in knee cap, to the hells-realm in sole of feet." See also: phowa.

      The dying person may demonstrate some, but not necessarily all, of these evidences. For example, his facial expression may be happy, but he may not demonstrate other signs, such as sharira and dreams.

      Few buddhists also have practiced the harder Pratyutpanna samadhi.

      The practice Fudaraku Tokai (補陀落渡海) in ancient Japan is viewed as religious suicide and is not practiced today.[30][31]

  • Steveyboy's Avatar
    86 posts since Jan '13
    • I had experienced something similar when I was a young kid with Kuan Yin during my grandfather's funeral. When my grandfather passed away, there was a huge funeral for him. Family members came from all over to pay their last respects. It was a solemn occasion with droning Chinese monks chanting and wafting incense smoke amidst soft sniffles of mourning relatives.

      A makeshift altar was installed before the casket and monks would sit at certain hours to chant Buddhist Sutras to aid my grandfather’s rebirth. I was too young to understand what was going on and the only tears I shed were due to the pungent joss sticks burning all day and all night. Perhaps I was just too young or the fact that I never knew my grandfather that left me feeling alienated from all the sorrow around me.

      Chinese funerals are elaborate affairs that can stretch for days on end. On the first night, I dreamt of the funeral. It was dark and the mansion was lit with just the softly flickering flames of red Chinese candles. The scent of incense and the sound of chanting hung heavy in the cool night air. Suddenly, just like a scene from a movie, the Chinese Goddess of Mercy, Kuan Yin descended from her celestial abode in the sky. She landed softly on the lawn and her glowing benevolent figure towered above everybody.

      A crowd gathered around her and offered what seemed like prostrations and prayers to her. She was pleased and took a small willow branch which she dipped in the sacred waters of her porcelain vase and sprinkled on everyone. Then I woke up. Was this dream auspicious? Or was it just a bizarre re-enactment of a favourite Cantonese movie I had recently watched? What was funny, I was a little Christian boy going to church and yet, I still had this dream. 

       

  • Moderator
    An Eternal Now's Avatar
    17,190 posts since Sep '04
  • Dawnfirstlight's Avatar
    3,116 posts since Nov '09
  • Steveyboy's Avatar
    86 posts since Jan '13
    • It was unusual because I am not really into Kuan Yin ever and even now, I am still more into Manjushri than Kuan Yin. I like her but I am still more partial to Manjushri than Kuan Yin. 

  • 2009novice's Avatar
    915 posts since Oct '09
  • Jui's Avatar
    149 posts since Jul '11
    • Curious, do the scriptures tell you how to get to other pure lands? I understand that Amitabha coming to fetch you is a situation unique to Amitabha's pureland.

      Think my father actually aspires to go to the Medicine Buddha's pureland. Not sure how that'll work for him.

       

  • Moderator
    sinweiy's Avatar
    4,015 posts since Jun '05
    • Originally posted by Jui:

      Curious, do the scriptures tell you how to get to other pure lands? I understand that Amitabha coming to fetch you is a situation unique to Amitabha's pureland.

      Think my father actually aspires to go to the Medicine Buddha's pureland. Not sure how that'll work for him.

       


      The other pure land is the Medicine Buddha's Eastern Pure Land of Azure Radiance. While the Pure Land of Amitabha Buddha symbolizes restoration, the Pure Land of Medicine Buddha symbolizes growth. It says in the sutra that when Medicine Buddha was cultivating the path of Buddhahood, he made twelve great vows. He vowed to help us sentient beings so that we grow in wisdom and are successful in our careers and endeavors; he vowed to help us when we are handicapped, poor, and helpless. He vowed that we will not be lacking in food and other neces-sities, that we do not fall prey to false teachings, that we do not break the law and thus are safe from the pain of punishment, that there is equality between the genders, and that we will become Buddhas. With his great vows, Medicine Buddha manifests the Pure Land of Azure Radiance in the east. Most remarkably, the Bhaisajyaguru Sutra points out that those who recite the name of Medicine Buddha can also be reborn in the Pure Land of Amitabha Buddha in the west if they so desire and practice accordingly.

      http://www.blia.org/english/publications/booklet/pages/14.htm

      http://www.truehappiness.ws/Medicine_Buddha.html

      The Twelve Vows of the Medicine Buddha upon attaining Enlightenment, according to the Medicine Buddha Sutra[5] are:

      1. To illuminate countless realms with his radiance, enabling anyone to become a Buddha just like him.
      2. To awaken the minds of sentient beings through his light of lapis lazuli.
      3. To provide the sentient beings with whatever material needs they require.
      4. To correct heretical views and inspire beings toward the path of the Bodhisattva.
      5. To help beings follow the Moral Precepts, even if they failed before.
      6. To heal beings born with deformities, illness or other physical sufferings.
      7. To help relieve the destitute and the sick.
      8. To help women who wish to be reborn as men achieve their desired rebirth.
      9. To help heal mental afflictions and delusions.
      10. To help the oppressed be free from suffering.
      11. To relieve those who suffer from terrible hunger and thirst.
      12. To help clothe those who are destitute and suffering from cold and mosquitoes.

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

      mostly for the living.

      /\

      Edited by sinweiy 05 Feb `13, 10:04AM
  • Jui's Avatar
    149 posts since Jul '11
  • Dawnfirstlight's Avatar
    3,116 posts since Nov '09
    • Originally posted by sinweiy:


      The other pure land is the Medicine Buddha's Eastern Pure Land of Azure Radiance. While the Pure Land of Amitabha Buddha symbolizes restoration, the Pure Land of Medicine Buddha symbolizes growth. It says in the sutra that when Medicine Buddha was cultivating the path of Buddhahood, he made twelve great vows. He vowed to help us sentient beings so that we grow in wisdom and are successful in our careers and endeavors; he vowed to help us when we are handicapped, poor, and helpless. He vowed that we will not be lacking in food and other neces-sities, that we do not fall prey to false teachings, that we do not break the law and thus are safe from the pain of punishment, that there is equality between the genders, and that we will become Buddhas. With his great vows, Medicine Buddha manifests the Pure Land of Azure Radiance in the east. Most remarkably, the Bhaisajyaguru Sutra points out that those who recite the name of Medicine Buddha can also be reborn in the Pure Land of Amitabha Buddha in the west if they so desire and practice accordingly.

      http://www.blia.org/english/publications/booklet/pages/14.htm

      http://www.truehappiness.ws/Medicine_Buddha.html

      The Twelve Vows of the Medicine Buddha upon attaining Enlightenment, according to the Medicine Buddha Sutra[5] are:

      1. To illuminate countless realms with his radiance, enabling anyone to become a Buddha just like him.
      2. To awaken the minds of sentient beings through his light of lapis lazuli.
      3. To provide the sentient beings with whatever material needs they require.
      4. To correct heretical views and inspire beings toward the path of the Bodhisattva.
      5. To help beings follow the Moral Precepts, even if they failed before.
      6. To heal beings born with deformities, illness or other physical sufferings.
      7. To help relieve the destitute and the sick.
      8. To help women who wish to be reborn as men achieve their desired rebirth.
      9. To help heal mental afflictions and delusions.
      10. To help the oppressed be free from suffering.
      11. To relieve those who suffer from terrible hunger and thirst.
      12. To help clothe those who are destitute and suffering from cold and mosquitoes.

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

      mostly for the living.

      /\

      I understand that Pureland practitioners can recite any Buddha's name they like but have to dedicate the merits to be reborn in Amituofo's Pureland if they wish to be reborn in Amituofo's Pureland. Besides reciting Amituofo, I also recite Di Zang Wang Pusa's name and dedicate the merits to 往生西方净土.

  • Steveyboy's Avatar
    86 posts since Jan '13
    • In the Tibetan Buddhist tradition, there are highly developed practices to transfer our minds with highly developed practices to pure lands and they are called phowa. It is basically a meditation to prepare the mind to effect from the moment of death and enter a pure land. Here's what I found on Wikipedia on this subject.:-

      Phowa (Wylie'pho ba; also spelled Powa or Poa phonetically; Sanskrit: saṃkrānti) is a Vajrayāna Buddhist meditation practice. It may be described as "the practice of conscious dying", "transference of consciousness at the time of death", "mindstream transference", or “enlightenment without meditation” (Wyliema-sgom sangs-rgyas).

      Contents

        [hide

      [edit]Application of Phowa

      The method can be applied at the moment of death to transfer one's consciousness through the top of the head directly into aBuddha-field of one’s choice. By so doing, one bypasses some of the typical experiences that are said to occur after death.[1]Example destinations are SukhāvatīAbhirati, Ghanavyūha, Aṭakāvatī, Mount Potala, the Copper-Colored Mountain (Wylie:Zangs-mdog dpal-ri), and Tuṣita;[2] the most popular is Sukhavati.[citation needed] Phowa is also performed by specialists (Wylie:’pho-’debs bla-ma) on the behalf of the deceased, as a post-mortem ritual.[citation needed]

      [edit]Mark of Phowa practice

      The mark of a successful Phowa practice is a small drop of blood directly from the center of the vertex. To demonstrate a successful practice traditionally a Kusha-grass was pushed into the small opening created in the fontanel.[3][4]

      [edit]Lineages

      The main lineage of phowa is one of the Six yogas of Naropa, although other transmissions also exist.[citation needed] The chödsubsumes within its auspices aspects of phowa sadhana.[5]

      The Kagyu phowa lineage is from the Six yogas of NaropaNāropa received it from the Indian mahāsiddha Tilopa and later passed it to his Tibetan disciple MarpaNāropa’s teachings describe a second method of ’pho-ba that entails the transference of one’s consciousness to another body (Wylie’pho-ba grong-’jug).[citation needed] Milarepa’s query regarding these teachings forced Marpa to search for explanatory treatises on the subject among his Indian manuscripts, and, having found none, to return to India to obtain more scriptures.[6]

      The Drikung Kagyu school of Tibetan Buddhism is known for their phowa teachings. A major pilgrimage and cultural celebration is known in the Tibetan world as the Great Drikung Phowa (Wylie’Bri-gung ’pho-ba chen-mo). This festival was traditionally held once in every twelve-year calendrical cycle, and its last observance took place in August 1992 in gTer-sgrom, Central Tibet, after a hiatus of 36 years due to a ban enforced by the Chinese authorities.[7] His Eminence Choeje Ayang Rinpoche from Eastern Tibet belongs to the Drikung school and is an authority on Buddhist afterlife rituals; he gives teachings and initiations to the practice of phowa annually in Bodh Gaya, India.[8]

      Some lineages of phowa include a rite of incision, or opening of the sahasrara at the cranial zenith, to assist with transferral.[9]

      [edit]In Dzogchen

      Shugchang, et al., in an exegesis of the Zhitro, discuss phowa in Dzogchen:

      Phowa has many different meanings; in Tibetan it means "transferring consciousness." The highest form is known as the phowa of the dharmakaya which is meditation on the great perfection. When you do Dzogchen meditation, there's no need to transfer anything, because there's nothing to transfer, no place to transfer it, nor anyone to do it. That's the highest, and greatest phowa practice.[10]

  • Moderator
    sinweiy's Avatar
    4,015 posts since Jun '05
    • Originally posted by sinweiy:


       Most remarkably, the Bhaisajyaguru Sutra points out that those who recite the name of Medicine Buddha can also be reborn in the Pure Land of Amitabha Buddha in the west if they so desire and practice accordingly.

       


       

      normally, we said to be reborn in Amitabha's Pureland is as good as reborn in All Buddha's Pureland. Amitabha is also known as Infinity Buddha, which mean All Buddhas.

      Vow 9 of Amitabha Buddha states:-

      Provided I become a Buddha, if the beings of that country of mine should not all possessed of the Heavenly-step (Riddisakchatkriya) which can in the shortest moment of one thought travelling over a hundred thousand kotis of nayuta of Buddha-countries, then may I not attain the enlightenment.

      /\

      Edited by sinweiy 13 Feb `13, 9:30AM
  • Spnw07's Avatar
    607 posts since Oct '07
    • Originally posted by Dawnfirstlight:

      I understand that Pureland practitioners can recite any Buddha's name they like but have to dedicate the merits to be reborn in Amituofo's Pureland if they wish to be reborn in Amituofo's Pureland. Besides reciting Amituofo, I also recite Di Zang Wang Pusa's name and dedicate the merits to 往生西方净土.

      I have the same understanding too. Feel free to recite any Buddha's name that one likes and remember to dedicate any merits of Dharma practice to a rebirth in Amituofo's Pureland.

  • Steveyboy's Avatar
    86 posts since Jan '13
    • Well, I think it takes a little more than just recitation of the Buddha's name to gain entry into a pureland. In the Tibetan tradition, they stress that it takes quite a bit of effort from our part, in the sense of accumulation of merit via retreats, study, contemplation and transformation and also maintaining a daily practice, which is called Sadhana in Sanskrit and a certain amount of Dharma work. As lay people, we have to do extra more because we don't hold vows that constantly accumulate merit. In the Tibetan tradition, the best way to accumulate merit is in relations to our spiritual guide. The best offering to our spiritual guide is our transformation through our spiritual practice. 

  • Moderator
    An Eternal Now's Avatar
    17,190 posts since Sep '04
    • Even in the Chinese Mahayana tradition based the Amitabha sutra it is stated that one cannot lack good roots, blessings (merits) and causes and conditions to be reborn in the pure land.

      Edited by An Eternal Now 18 Feb `13, 9:35PM
  • 2009novice's Avatar
    915 posts since Oct '09
    • 慈云忏主净土文

      一心皈命极乐世界,阿弥陀佛。愿以净光照我,慈誓摄我。
      我今正念,称如来名,为菩提道,求生净土。
      佛昔本誓,若有众生,欲生我国,至心信乐,乃至十念。若不生者,不取正觉
      以此念佛因缘,得入如来大誓海中。承佛慈力,众罪消灭,善根增长。
      若临命终,自知时至,身无病苦,心不贪恋,意不颠倒,如入禅定。
      佛及圣众,手执金台,来迎接我。
      于一念顷,生极乐国。
      花开见佛,即闻佛乘,顿开佛慧,广渡众生,满菩提愿。

      十方三世一切佛,一切菩萨摩诃萨,摩诃般若波罗蜜

      i think nianfo is already accumulating good roots and blessing. As long as there is faith to be reborn in Pureland, Amituofo will definitely come. Furthermore, with his Vow, reborn wil be guranteed.

      But i hope it doesn't mislead people that evildoers will be reborn if they recite Amituofo... Karma still play a huge part too.

       

      Edited by 2009novice 20 Feb `13, 12:43AM
  • Moderator
    sinweiy's Avatar
    4,015 posts since Jun '05
    • to have the faith, itself is good roots and blessing! :) from my archived:

      Now to be able to believe and have no doubts in PL is also not easy as mentioned in Amitabha Sutra. Did we too have greats merits? One can read the Infinite Life sutra, and you’ll know.  Prince Ajatasatru who met and adored 400 billion Buddhas in the past but he did not say he wanted to take rebirth in PL, nor did 500 great elders. This mean their merits are still not enough! If we had vowed to take rebirth in PL that would mean that our merits exceeded Prince Ajatasatru and the 500 elders. We have actually met and adored countless Buddhas, not 400 billion Buddhas, as 400 billion Buddhas are still countable!

       

      /\

       

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