Pure Land Christian Ideas?

In Christian tradition, the doctrine of the Trinity–the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit–is sometimes explained as God being one but capable of taking three forms: solid (ice), liquid (water), gaseous (moisture/clouds).

When I read this doctrine and consider the teachings of Christ, I view the Trinity as a metaphor for the interconnectedness of creation in God. God is the substratum of all existence, the ground of being. Christ is the child of God with whom Christians are united. Through the power of the Holy Spirit members of churches form the Body of Christ.

 All people are influenced by others, and the way we treat the earth impacts all of us too. It is so important to fellowship with people who are trying their best to live out the teachings of Christ–forgiveness, compassion, love, truth, awareness…It also brings into consideration that what we take in will influence us–take in a steady dose of violence, how might that impact us and others?  Burn tires and plastics in the back yard–how does that effect your neighbor who has asthma?

In Pure Land Buddhism, Amida Buddha is the one to whom followers reach out for compassion and salvation. Yet Amida Buddha is not the historical Buddha who taught in India in the sixth century BCE.  Rather, there are two Buddhas who share the same essence.

Buddha contains three properties:  

1. The Dharma Body which is non-form in which the Buddha is united with Suchness (Christians might call this God).

2. The Bliss Body which is an ethereal body said to be a reward for helping other beings end their suffering. This is not equivalent to the Holy Spirit, and yet it is akin to the idea of spiritual empowerment.

3. The Manifest Body which is the physical form of the Buddha in the world.  Jesus is a physical manifestation of God in the world.

We try hard in all of our religious traditions to make sense of existence and to define faith, but in both Pure Land and Christian thinking, salvation is not only a matter of accepting and incorporating the teachings of the Masters, but is also something that is given freely out of love from the Suchness, from God.

The Jesus Icon: Image of the Saviour Not Made by Hand: a traditional Orthodox iconography in the interpretation of Simon Ushakov  (Russian)  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Ushakov_Nerukotvorniy.jpg

Amida Buddha: Amitabha Buddha pictured in the Ushiku Daibutsu in Japanhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amida_Buddha

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