By J. L Benson
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Extra resources for A Problem in Orientalizing Cretan Birds: Mycenaean or Philistine Prototypes?
For the same reason he is able to view Amida Buddha and the Pure Land not as entity or place but as dynamic symbols or ideal spheres, which serve as the motives for authentic religious life. Dr. Shigaraki also feels deeply that in the Western, English-speaking world Shin Buddhism must be examined in a way that differs from the orthodox perspectives to which it has been traditionally bound. ” Thus, he contrasts Shin Buddhist thought from that of theistic religions, which presume the existence of a transcendent god or a heavenly realm of peaceful reward.
Thus, the Pure Land teaching was considered to be an extremely low-level and inferior form of Buddhism. This opinion was long held within the various streams of Japanese Buddhism. However, this kind of thinking was completely turned upside down by Hōnen, a practitioner of Buddhism during the Kamakura period of Japan. Hōnen and the Pure Land Teaching The center of Tendai Buddhism has been located on Mt. Hiei for centuries. When he was a priest on the mountain, Hōnen was deeply engaged in the study of the teachings of the Path of Sages.
The entire teaching of Amida Buddha is the finger, but that teaching is not Amida Buddha itself. All of the many teachings that expound Amida Buddha constitute the finger. The realm of awakening or enlightenment, which Gautama Buddha realized in his life, as well as ultimate truth and value, constitute the moon. The teaching of Buddhism is always expressed by the relationship between the finger and the moon, between the words of the teaching and suchness or truth itself, which is the essence of that teaching.