Tag Archives: Amidism

The Land of the Setting Sun: Bardo 3, Amitabha

Of the Five Dhyani Buddhas, the one that stands out prominently in terms of popular-following and devotion is Amitabha Buddha. Tradition asserts that Bodhisattva Dharmakara proclaimed that when he attained Buddhahood (Amida Buddha), that anyone who should call upon his name would achieve entrance into his Western Pure Land Province. His mantra (one popular variable being Namu Amida Butsu that is mantra-like [constant repetition]] in scope) chanted by untold numbers throughout the millennia, intoned frequently assures salvific union with Amida’s Buddha-land. The mantra is a wonderful medium to enter into this union; the corresponding Chakra is the Dharmasota (see Bardo 1 part 5, for breakdown of the Chakras as seen in Light of the Unborn), or throat Chakra. This makes perfect sense since it is the location through which actual intonation occurs. One difference, though, it terms of the Dharmasota realization is that this is activated through the sound (Parato ghosa) of deathlessness; so the actual “intonation is symbolic” of a greater-realization—meaning not heard in the conventional sense of hearing, but rather ineffably experienced in the very Heart of Suchness—and is not, “in itself”, the Source of the salvific-grace. There is a real source of consternation here since it is automatically assumed that even just lazily uttering Amida’s name is all one need do to achieve liberation from samsara. Dietrich Bonhoeffer would refer to this as “Cheap Grace”—without that cost of disciplined discipleship. A Lankavatarian understanding would concur with Bonhoeffer. Liberation from the cursed and diurnal Wheel of Samsara is not assured through some cheap-trick of the vocal-chords, but rather a disciplined assent through a ten-fold stage of Mind development. read more

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