Offerings, Great Buddha of Kamakura, Kotokuin Temple, Kamakura, Japan, 1980, by Terry Feuerborn (c) 2013

Buddhism, Belief and Interpretation

Jumping off from our conversation about utopia and Star Trek from our last episode, this time around we’re diving deep into questions of belief and interpretation and how to approach the mythological aspects of Shin Buddhism. What do we do with this tradition whose cosmology appears, at face value, to be so far removed from what we take for granted in a scientific/secular/modern world? Should believe all this Pure Land stuff literally or is all metaphorical? Somehow we manage to get through fundamentalism, Star Wars, the Grateful Dead, and the Big Lebowski in all of this. Enjoy!

Image Credit:
Offerings, Great Buddha of Kamakura, Kotokuin Temple, Kamakura, Japan, 1980
(c) 2013 Terry Feuerborn

1 thought on “Buddhism, Belief and Interpretation”

  1. Hi Guys,

    Very interesting topic. My personal feeling is that Jodo Shinshu Buddhism, Buddhism itself is something much deeper and there is a deeper message in the teaching/readings. Because our minds are so limited in how we think, read, and see things it is very difficult to truly understand the teachings. It was told to me many times and by many different people from lay people to Sensei’s that it so very important to have a teacher help you to understand the teachings because the way our minds works it is usually the exact opposite of what the teaching/readings are telling us. And I believe it is important to get the understanding from several Sensei’s to make sure you understand what is being said. Just like the teachings there are 84,000 paths to the top because there are 84,000 way people understand the same meaning. It’s like take refuse in Amida Buddha. It’s putting your belief in something that can not be seen heard, smelled, touched. So people have a difficult time in entrusting in Amida Buddha. Same as just to have the 6 charter writing of Namo Amida Butus is really all you need but, some people find it more comforting to have a Statue of Amida at the Onijin or Obutsudon at home.So I have a question, I’m reading the CWS and it said that saying the name is like a response/feeling of gratitude for Amida Buddha is Shinjin as appose it just saying the name really holds no merit. And that is usually cause by some doubt in your mind which means you still going versus letting Amida Buddha come to you.So I believe for myself to just entrust in the workings of Amida Buddha. That;s why I believe Jodo Shinshu is one of the hardest teachings because it make us face what is real versus what the mind thinks to protect oneself it makes us feel comfortable. It’s hard to face the truth. As the saying says “The truth always hurts”. But if you can step through that door it opens a greater world and greater understand and joy one never experienced before. I wish everyone can experience what I have experienced, true peace, and understanding, and appreciations and gratitude for all things around me.

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