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Two Extremes of Non-Buddhist Thought

Nihilism and eternalism are the two extremes, which are bedeviling thinkers of today.

When you throw Buddhism at them, they suddenly get excited and either call it BS or call it "cheating" when you throw Pure Land practices into the mix.

Furthermore, they tend claim it is attachment to get deeply into Pure Land practice on the premise that it's done for the reward of rebirth in the Pure Land. This show that they have misunderstood what Pure Land Buddhism is about, by using their Buddhist practice of the long way to Nirvana as the ideal.

Against this ideal, the easy practice of Buddha Remembrance by chanting the Nembutsu looks like cheating because it is the short way to Nirvana.

However, rebirth in the Pure Land is empty of reward due to sincere belief in the Pure Land and faith in the Primal Vow.

For reward implies the working of ego (desire to be reborn in the Pure Land). This is why it is important that Pure Land practitioners develop the Bodhi Mind before engaging in Pure Land practice. For the Bodhi Mind is empty of ego i.e. devoid of self power. Instead, it is full of the other power of Amida.

Thus the desire of rebirth in the Pure Land, being empty of ego, is empty of reward,

Hence, there is no cheating in following the easy way to the Pure Land. For it will still take time in the Pure Land to achieve Nirvana.

Likewise, the two extremes are empty of non-self, and arise due to ego's influence on the mind.

For both nihilism and eternalism is based on the assumption of a permanent soul or self. Nihilism assumes that if the soul does not really exist, then nothing exists. This is a fallacy. Eternalism assumes that everyone lasts forever,. This too is a fallacy.

Therefore the two extremes are based on permanence.

In contrast, Buddhism is based on impermanence and the non-self principle. It destroys ego delusion, and allows the thinker to clearly see the truth of impermanence and non-self principle whic arises from dependent arising and the Four Noble Truths.

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