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Some of us came to Buddhism as we were interested in the teachings or in living more meaningful or more spiritual lives. Some of us were seeking calm, clarity or comfort. Some of us had become aware of our limitations. Some of us were in pain and turned to spirituality as a last resort or in desperation. We all came seeking something new.
All of us have found that we can take refuge in something bigger than ourselves – Amida, the Buddha of Infinite Light. We find that it doesn’t matter how we conceptualise of Amida Buddha or whether we believe in the teachings literally or metaphorically. We all find our own personal way of making sense of the teachings. What is important is that we see Amida Buddha as a presence that is infinitely loving, patient and wise, and that Amida Buddha is not something inside ourselves.
We deepen our refuge in Amida by saying Namo Amida Bu, by studying the teachings, and by attending Amida Shu groups where we can practice, study and share together.
In our experience, as our sense of refuge slowly deepens, we feel more settled and content. We are able to live more skillfully and we become more available to help others in a way that feels healthy for us and for them. We receive the love and grace of Amida which helps us in our daily lives.
No matter what your reasons are for coming to the temple, and whatever difficulties exist in your past or your present, we hope that you will also find the consolation we have found in this sangha, and that Amida’s grace will shine on you.
Namo Amida Bu
~ Reverend Kaspalita and Reverend Satyavani, Amida Mandala
Our form of practice can seem complicated at first but at its heart is very simple - we take refuge in something good, and we trust that as we lean in, we will begin to feel safe and accepted. As this feeling soaks through us, we find ourselves more able to handle the ups and downs of everyday life, and more able to be kind to others. We hope that you will discover this for yourself.
For us, that ‘something good’ is epitomised by Amida Buddha, the Buddha of Infinite Light and Life. As Pureland Buddhists we take refuge in Amida Buddha by saying ‘Namo Amida Bu’. We also take refuge in other ways including studying and following Buddhist teachings, sitting in silent meditation, and by making offerings and prostrations.
~ thanks to Reverend Kaspalita and Reverend Satyavani of Amida Mandala
Amida Shu Buddhism is a form of original Buddhism affirming the trikaya nature of Buddha,
the bombu nature of the adherent and the primacy of taking refuge, especially by reciting the nembutsu.
Trikaya nature is a way of describing three different bodies or aspects of the Buddha: the ineffable Buddha, the spiritual Buddha, and the embodied Buddha. A bombu being is a foolish being of wayward passions.
Amida Shu (Shu means ‘School’) is an international Buddhist sangha in the Pureland tradition of Buddhism founded by Dharmavidya David Brazier in 1998. A sangha is a group of Buddhists who practice and learn together. We take refuge through reciting the nembutsu and other Buddhist practices which helps us to lean into the Buddha, the Dharma (the Buddha’s teachings) and the sangha and be held.
~ thanks to Reverend Kaspalita and Reverend Satyavani of Amida Mandala, Malvern
The essence of Pureland Buddhism is the same as is at the heart of all great spirituality: how we can put ourselves in relationship with unconditional love, and live a life that is open, spontaneous, compassionate and full of faith.
In Pureland Buddhism, that great unconditional love is embodied by Amida, the Buddha of Infinite Life and Light. We recognise that as foolish human beings we are full of greed, hate and delusion, and that we tend to act selfishly and make mistakes. Crucially we also recognise that, despite this, we are completely acceptable and lovable in that condition. Just as we are.
In the language of Pureland Buddhism, what we are accepted by is the love of the Buddhas, and Amida Buddha in particular. We practice reciting the Buddha’s name in order to allow some of the spirit of that great love into our lives. This practice is called the ‘nembutsu’. We say the Buddha’s name in different languages but in this school we mostly use the Japanese - ‘Namo Amida Bu’.
In modern psychological terms, our practice is to allow the archetypal figure of Amida (something completely wise and loving) to infect our unconscious mind – and to bring about a deep change at this level. Practising in this way, our lives become more meaningful. As we recognise our nature as ordinary flawed and fallible human beings, we become more sympathetic to the failings of others. We feel loved and more able to love others in return.
~ thanks to Rev Kaspalita and Rev Satyavani of Amida Mandala
Introducing Amida Shu Home Groups
We have a new offering for people who would like to practice and study Amida Shu Buddhism in their local area - Amida Shu Home Groups. These are local groups which can be run by anyone who is interested in our form of Buddhism.
Group leaders will be offered ongoing support from an Amida Shu mentor and a pack of resources, including a suggested script to make setting a group up nice and easy.
If you are interested in starting one of these groups you can have a look at the resources :: here.