Selected Works of D.T. Suzuki, Volume II: Pure Land

Daisetsu Teitaro Suzuki

Language: English

Pages: 336

ISBN: 0520268938

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

Daisetsu Teitaro Suzuki was a key figure in the introduction of Buddhism to the non-Asian world. Many outside Japan encountered Buddhism for the first time through his writings and teaching, and for nearly a century his work and legacy have contributed to the ongoing religious and cultural interchange between Japan and the rest of the world, particularly the United States and Europe. This second volume of Selected Works of D. T. Suzuki brings together Suzuki’s writings on Pure Land Buddhism. At the center of the Pure Land tradition is the Buddha Amida and his miraculous realm known as paradise or “the land of bliss,” where sentient beings should aspire to be born in their next life and where liberation and enlightenment are assured. Suzuki, by highlighting certain themes in Pure Land Buddhism and deemphasizing others, shifted its focus from a future, otherworldly goal to religious experience in the present, wherein one realizes the nonduality between the Buddha and oneself and between paradise and this world. An introduction by James C. Dobbins analyzes Suzuki’s cogent, distinctive, and thought-provoking interpretations, which helped stimulate new understandings of Pure Land Buddhism quite different from traditional doctrine.

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the idea of jinen hōni, which roughly means the natural way for things to be. Shinran used this expression to refer to the state of complete reliance on the power of Amida by the person of faith, devoid of any individual contrivance or calculation (hakarai).60 Suzuki was drawn to the idea of jinen hōni as an example of mysticism or spirituality, replete with its nondualistic dimensions and overtones. He identified jinen hōni as the spirituality of myōkōnin saints in their day-to-day and

upon God can never be made good until we are brought out of ourselves by a power from Christ living in us; for otherwise our lost goodness could never come back to us. That is to say, while the Christians uphold tariki and leave no room for jiriki, the Buddhists recognize the possibility of a purely jiriki school under the name of the Holy Path or Difficult Practice. Therefore, when Buddhism is taken as a whole, we note that there are two systems apparently contradicting each other but really

Some of the masters express a desire for the Pure Land where they pray to be born after this life. But the peculiar feature we have to recognize about them is that they do not say the nembutsu conditionally for the attainment of their wish. The nembutsu is quite a separate thing with them, perhaps it is a recollective type making them think of the attainment of perfect Buddhahood. Read the following prayer by Daie (C. Dahui, 1089–1163): This is my prayer: May I be firm in my desire for the truth,

This alone is my earnest desire that the Triple Treasure have mercy on me and taking note of my sincerity fulfill all my wishes. With the devotional type of the Jōdo the being born in the Pure Land is manifestly the object of the nembutsu, though in my view there is some confusion in the minds of its adherents as to the real signification of what they call salvation, that is, rebirth in the Pure Land. For instance, when they say they are assured of the rebirth, what guarantee do they have of a

thinking or meditating is reciting—the two being the same—that to think of Amida is to recite his name and vice versa. Nembutsu, “thinking of the Buddha,” has thus come to be completely identified with shōmyō, “reciting or pronouncing the name”; meditation has turned into recitation. What may be termed the Buddhist philosophy of nominalism has come to occupy the minds of the Pure Land devotees, for they now realize the presence in the name of something that goes altogether beyond conception. My

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