This is a free-style exploration of Amida’s Bliss Realm. I also touch some early Christian mythology. All for the sake of the infinite [non]beings that live in this delusion bubble with me.
There are various presentations of the teachings on the Buddha of Infinite Light and her Ultimate Bliss realm– Suzuki offers a version that is well suited to the inclinations of modern people. Let’s explore.
Quotes are from: here
Suzuki says that Amida is a version of the name that combines the two infinities of light and life into one. There is Amitabha, infinite light. And there is Amitayus, infinite life. In the Longer Sukavativyuha we read that Amida also displays many other kinds of infinitude.
So, with diligent effort we bring this being to mind– this ultimately compassionate and wise being reaches down into our psyche sphere as we reach up toward the formlessness of it’s psyche sphere.
Amida’s name is pronounced in sincerity and with devotion. The formula is Namu-amida-butsu. Butsu is Buddha, namu means “I take refuge”: I take refuge in Amida Buddha. Or we may take namu as meaning adoration to Amida Buddha. It is a simple formula. There is nothing especially mysterious about it, and you may wonder how this name or phrase could have such wonderful power.
Some might say the sound itself, the frequencies intoned, are responsible for the mysterious power. Some will say it is the ‘other power’ of Amida. Some will say that it is the Samadhi of Recitation, one’s own exertion in meditative absorption upon the Name. I will say it is not any one of these alone.
Now I have to say something about hongan. Hongan, according to my interpretation, is the primal will. This primal will is at the foundation of all reality.
Hongan as expressed in the Sūtra of Eternal Life consists of 48 different vows, but all 48 may be summarized in one basic vow, or hongan, which is:
Amida wants to save all beings. Amida desires to have all beings brought over to his land, which is the land of purity and bliss. And those who earnestly, sincerely, and devotedly believe in Amida, will all be born in the Pure Land.
This birth does not take place after what is called death. To sincere followers of the Pure Land, instead of being born in the Pure Land, the Pure Land itself is created or comes into existence when we sincerely pronounce Namu-amida-butsu.
Therefore, instead of going over to the Pure Land, the Pure Land comes to us. In a way, we are carrying the Pure Land within us all along, and when we pronounce that magic formula Namu-amida-butsu, we become conscious of the presence of the Pure Land around us, or rather, in us.
The hon of hongan means original or primal, and gan is generally translated “vow.” But I have misgivings about using vow as an equivalent for gan. Sometimes it is translated “prayer.” Gan means literally “wish” or “desire.” Philosophically speaking, it may be better to say “will,” so that hongan would be rendered “primal will.”
Suzuki is saying that hongan is the primal will of ultimate reality.
And, when we look deeply, we see that the process of differentiation which has led us to believe we are other than and separate from ultimate reality is not more than a nice story. Hongan is actually our own primal will. Discrimination suggests isolation, while deep observation reveals indra’s net– complete interdependence everywhere.
You are a non-entity existing only in relation to others. You are ’empty’ and so is ‘Buddha’. Nirvana is as illusory as samsara. Any activation of the mind system continues the proliferation of mental activity. The idea of Nirvana destroys Nirvana itself. Feedback loops within feedback loops, information flows, the multiverses on fire like neurons in a gigantic brain.
Buuuuut. We’ve been warned that it is better to cling to the false notion of self than to cling to the false notion of no-self. Both are notions. Notions are always incomplete.
You are made of Amida. Amida is made of you. Reciting the name helps you to remember that aspect of your being. That aspect is totally awesome– she sat for an incalculable time and reviewed all possible Buddha realms to select the most excellent qualities from each. After that review, Dharmakara (Amida’s Bodhisattva name) left Lokesvararaja (the Tathagata that taught Dharmakara) and, over immeasurable lifetimes, achieved immeasurable merit, became Infinitely Alive, and created a Buddha realm of immeasurable brilliance. Perfection.
You may think you were born on such and such a date. You were not. You have not been created and will not be destroyed. Amida was enlightened a million years ago, and will be enlightened a million more times in the span of ten million more years. It is a story. The funny thing is, that story is as ‘real’ as this story.
You are that base-level foundational reality. Star dust and beneath star dust. Nuclear spirit. You are a lightning bolt, a streak of consciousness selecting potentials and collapsing Schroedinger’s wave function into endless variations of actuality.
The Kingdom is Here.
The kingdom is here, now. People just choose to look away. They choose to run from their present moments and direct perceptions. And that is fine!!! This is a wild, wild, wild, story. Engaging stories involve adversity, struggle and the overcoming of difficulties.
But, then: why are even we telling this painful and pleasurable story?
After infinite Pleroma, after infinite motionless perfection, Holy Mother Sophia expressed her compassionate and creative nature. She filled fullness by creating a void in order to allow evolution, life, love, hate, death.
Within this void rages Saklas, the original ego. Saklas builds inaccurate representations of what he perceives in Pleroma. Saklas is that part of the mind that models reality and convinces the observer that the models are more real than the reality.
Alas. The map is not the territory. And, none of this is meant for words. Out of compassion, for the sake of the confused and the confusers, I repeat these ancient stories without any attachment. No Dogma. No answer. No religion. Just observation– internal and external, equanimous awareness.
Early Christian Wisdom
Yes, I just fell into early Christian mythology. Why? Because it will bridge gaps. Because the early Christian mythLords understood hongan— the primal will. Yet, such a thing cannot be brought down into the word-realm. Therefore, all attempts to firmly grasp hongan, to describe and explain the reason for its existence, will fail. Hence, the value of myth. Myth reaches underneath the filters and allows the yogi to experience and transmit truths that are deeper than words can reach.
Our western collective psyche has been butchered by millennia of bureaucratic religion. Let’s step back to where we were led astray. Myth is important, myths are the interface we will use to hack the collective psyche and turn it toward Buddho once again. So, I encourage you Bodhisattvas to understand. Look at the stories our people are telling.
Read the Nag Hammadi Collection. Do not be afraid of intellect, but do not become addicted or assured.