This Dark Age

A manual for life in the modern world.

By Daniel Schwindt

NOTICE:
This Dark Age is now available in paperback on Amazon. The print version is MUCH cleaner than this online version, which is largely unedited and has fallen by the wayside as the project has grown. If you’ve appreciated my writing, please consider leaving a review on the relevant paperback volumes. The print edition also includes new sections (Military History, War Psychology, Dogmatic Theology).

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Pure Land Buddhism, or Amidism

Pure Land Buddhism, also called Amidismin English, is a school that takes as its center of gravity the cult of the Buddha Amitabha (Amida in Japanese). We have already mentioned the doctrine of parivarta which involves the transfer of merit from one believer to another or to all living things. Amidism likewise holds that those who persevere in their faith (in Amida/Amitabha) will be reborn in the Pure Land. Thus, it can be seen how both common names for this school are apt.

The obvious similarities between Amidism and Christianity, each centering on a ‘saving faith’ in a personal God, need little comment in order to be understood. Although the cyclic vision is altered somewhat between Hinduism and Buddhism, the basic principles remain the same and so the process of involution prevails, hence the reliance on recitation once humanity reaches a point of spiritual weakness that precludes the possibility of accomplishing Dharma. The cult of Amitabha is an expression of trust in Divine Mercy, of which the Buddha Amitabha is the personification. Such is the allowance made for believers in the final age of the Kali Yuga.

Aside from this distinctive emphasis, we can identify several primary texts that this school uses, known as the “Three Pure Land Sutras”.

  1. Longer Sukhavativyuha Sutra (Infinite Life Sutra)
  2. Amitayurdhyana Sutra (Contemplation Sutra)
  3. Shorter Sukhavativyuha Sutra (Amitabha Sutra)

These sutras tell of Amitabha and his Pure Land of Bliss called Sukhavati.

The spiritual method, as mentioned above, centers on devotion to Amitabha and the practice of recitation of the Divine Name, similar to what is called the Jesus Prayer in Christianity. The bodhisattvas are instructed by Amitabha:

“If you wish to come and be born in my realm, you must always call me to mind again and again, you must always keep this thought in mind without letting up, and thus you will succeed in coming to be born in my realm.”

In Chinese, the term for this recitation is nianfo, in Japanese, nenbutsu, during which the practitioner makes use of prayer beads, after the fashion of the Christian Rosary or the Islamic Misbaha.

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