[Buddha-l] Re: Karma and ethics

Steven Lane steven505 at earthlink.net
Fri May 27 21:30:18 MDT 2005


Actually this is a little more formal explanation of what exactly is my
point. Pure Land essentially rejects Samayas as non-Buddhist. The Pure Land
view is that one never should take vows that state bad things will happen if
the vow is broken "as the Buddhas never required anybody to act that way".
If one has taken such a vow and broken it the Pure Land "vow" will supersede
it and nothing whatsoever will prevent a being from being reborn in the Pure
Land. Fundamentally Pure Land does not have a very high opinion of Tantra
because of 1) Secret teachings  2) the aforementioned vows 3) Tantra is
fundamentally a gradual not sudden path. Any connection with Amitabha (our
fundamental nature) can only lead to good karma not bad.

Stephen Hodge:
So much confusion arises through sloppy translation, thus giving rise to
prolonged discussions about a phantom issue.  The so-called vow in Tantra is
samaya and the so-called vow in Pure land is pra.nidhaana, and the so-called
vow in the Vinaya is something else which I can't remember right now.  Thus,
to discuss all of these as though they were the same thing leads to
confusion accompanied by lots of hot air.  Samaya means many things but in
this context "commitment" is clearer or perhaps better still "sacramentum" 
in the original non-Christian sense.  Pra.nidhaana is a solemn aspiration or
wish.  Failing to maintain a samaya is supposed to lead to all manner of
very unpleasant things while failing to fulfil a pra.nidhana is just

Pendantically yours (as usual),
Stephen Hodge 

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