A1 News

Amida Pureland Buddhism in Perth, Meeting on June 5th

AMIDA PURELAND BUDDHISM IN PERTH


 Inviting you to a gathering on

Tuesday June 5th

Time: 7 - 9 pm
Venue: 'Taigh an t-Solais'
19 Fairmount Terrace
Barnhill
Perth
PH2 7AS

Details of where to find us are :: here

Come along and join us - and bring your friends! 

Our meetings are held in the shrine room of our 'home temple', overlooking the Kinnoull-side garden. 
 
All meetings include Pureland Buddhist practice, tea and biscuits, time to check in with each other. 

We have begun looking at the

Introduction to Pureland Buddhism course (see below*). 
 
You can join at any time - we can let you have notes of any previous lessons.

Our Pureland practice includes chanting, sitting, a Pureland service
 
- no experience is necessary and an explanation will be given for each element of the evening.
 
There will be plenty of time for questions.

Note: Meetings are open to all.

:: link

* The Introduction to Pureland Buddhism course is suitable for both beginners and more experienced practitioners. It will take you step-by-step from broad concepts and simple practices toward more subtle points and more advanced methods. If you are new to Buddhism, you will find everything you need here in order to get a quite thorough understanding of the basic teachings.  The course draws upon all the main writings and traditions of Buddhism, considering them from a Pureland perspective.
 
NAMO AMIDA BU

Sujatin 

Amida Scotland Newsletter 36: Meetings in April and May 2018

The next dates for your diary -
inviting you to come along to sangha meetings in Perth. 
These will be held on the evenings of
Wednesday 18 April
and
Tuesday 1 May
 2018

Time: 7 - 9 pm
Venue: 'Taigh an t-Solais'
19 Fairmount Terrace
Barnhill
Perth
PH2 7AS

Details of where to find us are :: here

Come along and join us - and bring your friends!

Our meetings are held in the shrine room of our 'home temple', overlooking the Kinnoull-side garden. All meetings include Pureland Buddhist practice, tea and biscuits, time to check in with each other. 

Our Pureland practice includes chanting, sitting, a Pureland service - no experience is necessary and an explanation will be given for each element of the evening. There will be plenty of time for questions.

Note: Meetings are open to all.



*****

A reminder - if you can't get to our meetings in Perth or would like to set up additional meetings at other times of the month, and you would like advice, mentoring and resources in order to do so:

Amida Shu Home Groups

We have an 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. ***** 





Amida Shu Pureland Buddhism:
Faith and World Peace 4

The Fruit of Faith

The Buddha said to Ananda: “The bodhisattvas born in that Buddhaland expound the right Dharma whenever appropriate and, because they are in accord with the wisdom of enlightenment, their expositions are infallible and free of error. In regard to the myriads of things in that land, they have no thought of possession or attachment. Whether going or coming, proceeding or remaining, their hearts are unattached, their acts are in accordance with their will and are unrestricted, and they have no thought of discrimination... In them there is no idea of self or others, no idea of competition or dispute. With the heart of great compassion to benefit all living beings and with tenderness and self-control they bear no enmity of grudge against anyone. Free of mental hindrances, they are pure in mind and without indolence. Unbiased, noble-minded, sincere and tranquil, their hearts can revere, appreciate and enjoy the Dharma.

Commentary:

In this approach to Buddhism we do not say that you must first behave in this wonderful way and then you will get your reward as a place in nirvana. We say, rather, that the ability to act in this way is the reward. Those who enter the Pure Land act this way naturally. They enter the Pure Land through having faith. In this case we may say, having faith in world peace. Our ability to work for world peace depends upon having faith that peace is already in our midst even while having knowledge of our own inadequacy. It is precisely because we know our own inadequacy that we will abandon the tendency to work by our own self-will and turn instead to reliance upon the Buddhas, the bodhisattva-arahats and their great vows. If we rely in faith upon their inspiration , then some of their great ability to bring peace to others will flow through us. The more sincere, deep and longingful our faith the more completely we will naturally partake in the description given by the Buddha of those who dwell in the Pure Land. In this way, the Pure Land of world peace will appear in this existential world.

Dharmavidya David Brazier, Head of the Order of Amida Buddha

NAMO AMIDA BU

 

:: link


Revised date for February + date for March 2018

New date for the February Amida meeting in Perth:
Tuesday 13th

March date:
Tuesday 6th

from 7 - 9pm


Huge apologies - I have travelled back from East Anglia, bringing with me my sister's granddaughter's nasty fluey bug which I really don't want to share with you! So - third time lucky (I hope) - I've moved the date to next week.

If you are planning to come to either of the meetings, please email me :: here. Then, should fire, tempest or illness strike and plans need to change, we can contact each other one-to-one, rather than sending to the entire list.

:: we are here

Warmest of wishes. Stay healthy!

NAMO AMIDA BU

Sujatin


Amida Newsletter 33: Meeting on Wednesday 7th February 2018

Amida Scotland - next meeting in Perth:

Wednesday 7th February

Note - not a Tuesday this time!

Time: 7 - 9 pm


Come along and join us for an evening in the shrine room of our Home Temple. This is an opportunity for you to get to know us, to learn some of our Pureland chants, to sit in meditation, to hear a Dharma talk and to ask any questions - no matter how basic or complicated - about Buddhism, our practice and the Amida Shu Pureland Buddhist School.  


:: You'll find details of the venue here



You'll be most welcome!

NAMO AMIDA BU

Sujatin

Acharya Sujatin Johnson, Senior Minister with the Amida Order

Amida Scotland meeting in January 2018, now 16th instead of 9th

 

New date for next meeting: Tuesday January 16th

We were due to meet tomorrow evening, 9th January.

However I have a virus which is leaving me with headaches, back ache and feeling dizzy.

I really don't want to pass this on to you!

  • I'm postponing our meeting until next week
  • Venue: 'Taigh an t-Solais', 19 Fairmount Terrace,
    Barnhill, Perth PH2 7AS :: here
  • Starting and ending:  7 - 9 pm

 

 

:: link


Amida Scotland Newsletter 31: our first meeting of 2018

The next date for your diary - we will meet in Perth on the evening of Tuesday 16th January 2018

Update - change of date from 9th due to illness



At the still point of the turning world. Neither flesh nor fleshless;
Neither from nor towards; at the still point, there the dance is,
But neither arrest nor movement. And do not call it fixity,
Where past and future are gathered. Neither movement from nor towards,
Neither ascent nor decline. Except for the point, the still point,
There would be no dance, and there is only the dance,
I can only say, there we have been: but I cannot say where.


~ T.S.Elliot 

At the turning of the year come along and join us for Pureland chanting, tea and conversation and also to reflect on the year that has been and that which is ahead of us.

Time: 7 - 9 pm
Venue: 'Taigh an t-Solais', 19 Fairmount Terrace,
Barnhill, Perth PH2 7AS
Details of where to find us are :: here

Note: Meetings are open to allNo experience necessary.
There's no cost for these meetings - we welcome donations for Amida Shu projects in Delhi and the UK. Suggested amount £2 - £5.
This is :: our website

*****
This is the latest Amida Newsletter
'Whispers from the Bamboo Grove #50,
with news of December's Buddha Retreat at Amida Mandala in Malvern - videos of Dharma Talks, news of ceremonies etc :: link

If you don't already receive this you can subscribe :: here




NAMO AMIDA BU

 

:: link


Amida Scotland Newsletter 30 - next meeting: 9 January, 2018

Amida Shu
Pureland Buddhist Sangha in Scotland

Newsletter 30

Meetings at the beginning of 2018

The next date for your diary -
the sangha will meet in Perth
on the evening of

Tuesday 9 January 2018

(Note - we will not be meeting in December 2017. The first Tuesday in January is a Bank Holiday so we are meeting the following week)

Time: 7 - 9 pm
Venue: 'Taigh an t-Solais', 19 Fairmount Terrace,
Barnhill, Perth PH2 7AS

Details of where to find us are :: here

Note: Meetings are open to allNo experience necessary.
There's no cost for these meetings - we welcome donations for Amida Shu projects in Delhi and the UK. Suggested amount £2 - £5.
This is :: our website 


*****


 

Amida Shu Pureland Buddhism:
Faith and World Peace 3

Measureless Light

Clouds and mist of greed and enmity

Perpetually obscure the heaven of truth and faith

Clouds and mist obscure the sun

But the light is still there behind them

And even below the cloud

We still have the benefit of the light. 

- Shoshinge

Commentary:

World peace already exists. Just it is hindered by war and oppression. This odd way of putting it has advantages. The Pure Land already exists. Its appearance in our midst is obscured by our greed, hate and delusion. Nonetheless, even though we are not bathing in bright sunshine, it is not pitch dark. We are living in the light even when we cannot see the sun directly. Indeed, looking directly at the sun may be too much for us. It is only at dawn or sunset that we can bear to do so. It is not so much that world peace needs to be invented from scratch as that it needs us to have the confidence to live in it, not just at our moments of enlightenment (dawn) and our moments of tragic extremity (sunset) but day in day out even when there are many clouds in the sky. Let us be citizens of the Pure Land now, no matter what may be going on all around. We are only beginners at world peace. What do we know about it? Not much. Nonetheless, we still benefit from the light of those who have known better than we. The Buddha organised his community in a way that was conducive to the greater appearance of the Pure Land in our midst.

Speaking of the Vajjian tribe, the Buddha said: “As long as the Vajjians meet in harmony, break up in harmony, and carry on their business in harmony, they may be expected to prosper and not decline. As long as they do not depart from their ancient traditions... As long as they honour, revere, respect and salute the elders among them and listen to their counsel... As long as they do not abuse wives and daughters... As long as they honour, revere, respect and salute their shrines at home and abroad... As long as they make proper provision for the safety of arahats so that such arahats may come in future and live among them and those already there may dwell in comfort... As long as they do these things, the Vajjians may be expected to prosper and not decline.” [Digha Nikaya 16, Mahaparinibbana-sutta] He then went on to draw similar conclusions about the life of the sangha community, offering a wealth of advice for the proper conduct of social life. in particular the Buddha recommended that we show acts of loving kindness to one another; that we share with others whatever we receive; that we avoid all actions that will lead to sow strife in or or others’ hearts and that we continue in a noble view of life. Such is Buddhist faith. World peace depends upon healthy community life.  

~ Reverend Dr Dharmavidya David Brazier, Head of the Order of Amida Buddha

Namo Amida Bu


Amida Scotland Newsletter 26

We will hold a special evening here in Perth on
Tuesday August 22nd
from 7 - 9pm


All welcome, whether you have visited previously or not

:: we are here

So what's special about this evening?
  1.  We're holding a ceremony during which a member of our sangha, Ian, is becoming a member of Amida Shu

What's Amida Shu? Look :: here to find out.

How does one join? :: information here

       2.  We are delighted to tell you that we will have special visitors for this auspicious event:
Reverend Kaspalita and Reverend Satyavani
from :: Amida Mandala  in the centre of Malvern, Worcestershire. The temple is owned by the Amida Trust and run by Reverend Kaspalita and Reverend Satyavani, on behalf of the :: Amida Order.

The evening will include :: Pureland Buddhist practice (no experience necessary) and will give an opportunity for you to ask Kaspa and Satya about what happens at Amida Mandala and about how they first encountered Pureland Buddhism.

So do come along!

NAMO AMIDA BU

Sujatin

:: link


Amida Scotland Newsletter 25: Guided 'Meditation For Relaxation' via Skype, August 1st

The next date for your diary -
this is an invitation for you
to join me for a guided
Meditation For Relaxation
session on Skype
on the evening of
Tuesday 1 August
 2017

Time: 7:30 - 9 pm
Venue: via Skype

As this is on-line, it's not just for folk in Scotland!
You can be anywhere, as long as you can connect to the internet and have Skype set up - see below.


During the evening I will lead you through a gentle guided meditation, which will include mindfulness of the breath and of the body, our kindest wishes for ourselves and for others. This will be an evening when you can chill out and replenish yourself, in the midst of your busy life.

In this way both we and all those with whom we come into contact will benefit.

This will be similar to the sessions that I ran for the staff and students at Newcastle and Northumbria Universities, during the 11 years that I was Buddhist Chaplain to the Universities. 

I'm inviting you to join me via the medium of Skype. Once we have connected you can sit comfortably, close your eyes, relax and allow the stresses of the day to melt away. Many people have found the experience quite blissful.
(And, if you drop off to sleep, well, that's fine too! That's what your body most needs at the time.) 

Sujatin
NAMO AMIDA BU

*****

If you’d like to find out more or to let me know that you're joining the meeting, contact me by email here :: Sujatin.

In order to join in you’ll need to have Skype installed and a Skype account – you can download it easily from :: this link

Or instal a Skype app, if you have a smartphone.

Before the 1st August, search Skype for 'Sujatin Johnson' and send a request through. You’ll then need to add me as a contact and request to join the meeting by sending me a message via Skype chat.

NB: Shortly before 7.30pm on the day of the call you’ll see me calling you, which you should answer using the phone symbol, not the video one. You’ll then need to mute yourself, and only unmute yourself if you’re invited to speak individually at the beginning or end of the session – otherwise the sound becomes distorted. 

(Thanks to Satya and Kaspa for these clear and comprehensive directions!)

Note: 
All Welcome
No experience necessary.

 

:: View or share this newsletter here


Newsletter #24 Amida Pureland Buddhism In Scotland - for July 2017

The next date for your diary -
an Amida Shu Service on Skype
on the evening of
Tuesday 4 July
 2017

Time: 7:30 - 9 pm
Venue: via Skype

Using Skype, you can experience our Amida Shu practice from a distance.

The evening will include a chance to join in walking nembutsu (see below*), chanting, sitting meditation, recitation of the

:: Summary of Faith and Practice,
part of a Pureland Service and to hear a short Dharma talk.
Do you have a question you'd like me to answer? Send it to me :: here. It doesn't matter how basic! I'll either answer during the evening or later.

If you’d like to find out more or to let me know that you're joining the meeting, contact me by email :: Sujatin.

In order to join in you’ll need to have Skype installed and a Skype account – you can download it easily from :: this link

Or instal an app if you have a smartphone.

Before the 4th, search Skype for 'Sujatin Johnson' and send a request through. You’ll then need to add me as a contact and request to join the meeting by sending me a message via Skype chat.

NB: Shortly before 7.30pm on the day of the call you’ll see me calling you, which you should answer using the phone symbol, not the video one. You’ll then need to muteyourself, and only unmute yourself when you’re speaking individually (not when you are chanting along with me) – otherwise the sound starts to get a bit fuzzy. 

(Thanks to Satya and Kaspa for these clear and comprehensive directions!)

Note: 
All Welcome
No experience necessary.

*****
Find out more about Pureland Buddhism, Amida Buddha and the nembutsu in this :: brief introduction

*****
:: Here is our Service Book
*****





* On Verbal and Meditative Nembutsu


The primary practice of Pureland Buddhism is called nembutsu which literally means “mindfulness of Buddha”. Sometimes such mindfulness is interpreted as meaning “keeping in mind” and sometimes as “saying the Name of Buddha”.
 

In our :: Summary of Faith and Practice we say that our nembutsu is not done as a form of meditation. In our approach, rather, meditation is done as a form of nembutsu. When the selection of nembutsu as primary practice has been made, other forms of practice naturally become forms of nembutsu. Nembutsu thus becomes a form of “unremitting mindfulness” as taught by Shakyamuni Buddha, not because one remains consciously attentive to nembutsu every wakeful hour but because it is so integrated into one that it has become second nature. This means that Amitabha is in our life whether we are thinking about him or not. This is what is called “anshin” – peaceful mind or settled faith. It is a state of complete assurance.

This is a state of “joy and ease” rather than one of intense effort. It colours all the sentiments of one’s life and, in particular, takes away the fear of death. By doing so it affects our emotional life in a variety of beneficial ways. We then naturally express what arises and such expression is practice. In this condition, practice is not a means of arriving at any particular state, it is a natural and easy expression of faith and gratitude already established. Whether that expression takes a verbal, kinetic or contemplative form makes no difference. There are a myriad ways to express devotion.
:: link

Dharmavidya David Brazier, Head of the Order of Amida Buddha

NAMO AMIDA BU

:: link


Amida Pureland Buddhism In Scotland Newsletter 23

This is to remind you that we will hold an Amida Shu Pureland sangha meeting in Perth on the evening of Tuesday 30th May

Time and venue details are :: here
Are you hoping to come along?
Do let Sujatin know :: here

 
Find out more about Amida Pureland Buddhism here
 

Come and join us in our warm and welcoming
shrine room

All welcome - no experience necessary

 
 

Make a note of these dates.

A reminder - no meeting in June.

Our meeting in July will be on Tuesday 4th

In August we will not meet on Tuesday 1st but on Tuesday 22nd.
This will be a special meeting as Reverends Kaspa and Satya of Amida Mandala in Malvern will be visiting us. And there will be a ceremony - more about that later. Save the date!

 

We are happy to guide you in the right direction.

You'll find lots of information on the :: Amida Shu website

And on the :: Amida Scotland site

You can join conversations and read teachings on the
:: Amida Shu Virtual Temple site

And you can contact Acharya Sujatin :: here

:: link


Newsletter 22 Two meetings in May 2017

The next dates for your diary -
inviting you to Pureland Buddhist evenings in Perth
on
Tuesdays 2 and 30 May
 2017

The evening of 2 May will include a gentle guided
Buddhist Mindfulness Meditation for Relaxation.

 

Note: No meetings in June

Time: 7 - 9 pm
Venue: 'Taigh an t-Solais'
19 Fairmount Terrace
Barnhill
Perth
PH2 7AS

Details of where to find us are :: here

Note: Meetings are open to all.
No experience necessary.

Come along and join us - and bring your friends!
All meetings include Pureland Buddhist practice, tea and biscuits, and time to check in with each other. Our evenings may include guided meditation, art and music. From time to time other members of the Amida Order will visit us.

While there's no cost for these meetings, we welcome donations for Amida Shu projects in Delhi and the UK. Suggested amount between £2 and £5.

This is :: our website 

*****





Amida Shu Pureland Buddhism:
Faith and World Peace 2

The Gate of Contrition

Contemplating the sun of wisdom we see dark clouds trailing across its pure drum-like disc.

Commentary:

A common form of Pure Land meditation is to visualise the white disc of the setting sun. As we do so we are aware of trailing clouds obscuring part of its radiance. These represent the obscurations in our own nature (kleshas).

The main obstacle to our ability to bring peace to others is the lack of peace within ourselves. We would like to bring peace to all sentient beings, but often enough, we cannot even bring peace to our own family or even to ourselves. Some other schools of Buddhism, therefore, assert that one must become enlightened before one can be any use to others. This, however, is a doctrine of despair. The Amida Buddhist is well aware of his or her own imperfect nature and sees no immediate likelihood of entering into supreme enlightenment by his or her own efforts. 

Yet, in the meantime, all around, beings are “drowning in samsara’s ocean”. To put off compassionate action even for a moment cannot be in accord with the Buddha way. We have to accept, therefore, that we are going to work for world peace even before we have achieved peace within ourselves.

In order to do so, however, we must be acutely aware of the clouds across the sun: we must realise that our wisdom is far from perfect and even our best efforts are going to be flawed in many ways. To the best of our ability we will try to assist the work of the Buddhas as though we were bottom grade apprentices just beginning to learn the bodhisattva trade from the example and instructions of those who have gone before us on the path.

Shan Tao therefore advocated the supreme importance of contrition. Since we have been wandering in samsara we have accumulated untold karmic obstacles. We ourselves are part of the problem. Accepting the reality of the state we have been bequeathed by our past, we can voluntarily take responsibility for it, and yet, in accordance with the teaching of Shakyamuni, realise that “I am not that”.

The way to make an act of contrition is as follows:

All the harm committed by me

Is due to beginningless greed, hate and delusion,

The work of my body, speech and mind:

I now confess everything wholeheartedly

And resolve to begin anew.

The way to realise “I am not that” is to give up reliance upon self and resolve, instead, to live in faith.

Just as greed, hate and delusion flow through the world like the wind and the tide, so wisdom and compassion are also ever present like the sun and the moon. Just as our little nature is always at work in its hurt and meanness, so the vows of the Buddhas and bodhisattvas are measureless, inexhaustible and reliable. We can turn to them even while knowing that we ourselves are still far from the state of purity.
 

Dharmavidya David Brazier, Head of the Order of Amida Buddha

NAMO AMIDA BU


Amida Pureland Buddhism in Scotland Newsletter 21

Amida Pureland Buddhism
in Perth

Next Meeting: Tuesday 4 April 2017
 
We extend a warm invitation to you to join us for our next
Pureland Buddhist meeting in Perth 
Date: Tuesday 4 April 
Time: 7 - 9 pm
Venue: 'Taigh an t-Solais'
19 Fairmount Terrace,
Barnhill, Perth, PH2 7AS
:: link for directions

This month we hope that the evening is especially
welcoming for beginners.
The meeting will include a mixture of some walking meditation, sitting meditation, chanting, a Dharma talk and time for any of your questions. 

We will give an explanation as to what we are about do before each section of the evening. There's no need to worry about whether you're getting it right or not - just follow what everyone else is doing. Perfection is never expected - to be realistic, perfection is never possible! What we hope is that you feel comfortable and welcomed, soak up some of the atmosphere, gain some understanding and get a taste of what we do here. 

Here's a :: link to some facts about Amida Shu (the Amida Pureland Buddhist School).

Also, here are a few short posts by Reverends Kaspalita and Satyavani, of the Amida Mandala temple in Malvern - the main Amida Shu temple in the UK:

:: How does Buddhism help?

:: What is Amida Shu Buddhism?

:: A further explanation about Amida Shu Buddhism 

:: The Essence of Pureland Buddhism


If you have any more questions before you come along, you can get in touch with Reverend Sujatin :: by email

We'll also discuss simple practices you can do at home.

Do invite any friends who you think might be interested or who might appreciate developing some peace in their lives.

All are welcome - those of other faiths, seekers, Buddhists with other traditions or anyone who is curious. You are welcome to come along to every meeting, every once in a while or just the once to see what we are up to here in our 'Home Temple' in Perth.

During the evening there will be time for tea together and you can ask any questions you have.

There is no cost for the evening - however, we suggest a donation of £5 or whatever you can afford, whether more or less - we want everyone to be able to attend regardless of their financial circumstances. Donations support the work of Amida Shu in the UK and Delhi.

:: link


Setting up a Home Group

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.


Newsletter 20: Meeting on 7 March 2017 plus Setting up a Home Group

The next date for your diary -
inviting you to a sangha meeting in Perth
on the evening of
Tuesday 7 March
 2017

Time: 7 - 9 pm
Venue: 'Taigh an t-Solais'
19 Fairmount Terrace
Barnhill
Perth
PH2 7AS

Details of where to find us are :: here

Note: Meetings are open to all.
No experience necessary.

Come along and join us - and bring your friends! 
All meetings include Pureland Buddhist practice, tea and biscuits, time to check in with each other. We'll plan meetings in the future to include guided meditation, art and music. From time to time other members of the Amida Order will visit us.

There's no cost for these meetings - we welcome donations for Amida Shu projects in Delhi and the UK. Suggested amount between £2 and £5.

This is :: our website 

*****

If you can't get to our meetings in Perth or would like to set up additional meetings at other times of the month, and you would like advice, mentoring and resources in order to do so:

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. ***** 





Amida Shu Pureland Buddhism:
Faith and World Peace 1

That realm cannot be attained while living an easy and indifferent life - Ippen

River of Fire, River of Water

Between the river of fire and the river of water a narrow path leads to the West

Commentary:

This image derives from Shan Tao (613 - 681), one of the great teachers of Pure Land Buddhism. The river of fire represents hatred and the river of water greed. The West, for a Chinese Buddhist, represented the source of Buddhism (India) and, through the teachings of the Pure Land Sutras, the Pure Land created by Amida Buddha. For our purpose here the Pure Land may represent world peace. We can envisage ourselves as on a journey toward it. Behind us is Shakyamuni Buddha whose voice urges us onward. Ahead we see the Light of Amida in the distance. We are travelling toward that Light. Even though the two rivers sometimes come perilously close or even wash over the path, wetting or burning us, we still must go onward toward that Light. 

This image gives a fine picture of the spiritual path. It is not so much that we proceed in the knowledge that “We shall overcome some day” as that even if we are doomed to failure there would be no other course open to us. Even if world peace were impossible, we would still have to conceive it and nourish it and work toward it. World peace is, therefore, an object of faith and a fitting description of the goal of the Dharma.

Dharmavidya David Brazier, Head of the Order of Amida Buddha

NAMO AMIDA BU


Newsletter 19: 31 January 2017

Note the change of date
-
Our next sangha meeting in Perth
will be on the evening of
Wednesday 8 February
 2017

'Finding Light in Times of Darkness'


Come and join us in our Pureland practice, enjoy the company of other Buddhists, ask questions, share the warmth and welcome.

Time:
 7 - 9 pm

Venue: 'Taigh an t-Solais'
19 Fairmount Terrace
Barnhill
Perth
PH2 7AS

Details of where to find us are :: here
We're near the bottom right of :: this map

Note: Meetings are open to all.
No experience necessary.
*****

Here is the latest 'Whispers from the Bamboo Grove - Amida Newsletter',
with news of a retreat in Worcestershire with Amida priests, Reverends Kaspalita, Jnanamati and Satyavani

*****

You can find out more about

Amida Scotland on our website  ::here
The Amida-shu (School) of Pureland Buddhism by visiting this :: website
The on-line Amida community around the world :: here
Dharmavidya's hermitage in France :: here
and his  news updates :: here

Amida Scotland has a :: FaceBook page


Newsletter 18: 28 December 2016 ~ A message at the turning of the year

Amida in Scotland: Next meeting
Tuesday 17 January
- see below
*****
Seasonal Message from Dharmavidya, the Head of the Amida Order

The years 2016 and 2017 may well be seen from the future as a turning point in world politics. There is certainly a sense that the current order is fragmenting in Europe and North America, and that the balance of power in the Far East is shifting. In the Middle East there is still no sight of the end of war, but we can pray that some new arrangement can be found that will bring the killing to an end and start what will be a long process of reconciliation. We can sense what may be passing, but it is not yet clear what is emerging.

How does all this bear upon our faith and practice as Amidists? Buddhism arose at a time when the world was changing. New political powers were rising and society was becoming more money oriented. Into this context Buddha brought the Dharma that gave people a higher vantage point, a perspective that was not dominated by personal needs nor by the quest for power and status. In an increasingly materialistic world he taught sharing, generosity, co-operation and minimalism. Our need for this message has not lessened. The tendencies that he led us away from have grown stronger in the time since he walked the earth and our need of faith in a simpler, purer way of life remains just as important.

The challenge for us is how to put this vision into effect. One might think that the way forward is always by actualising some ideal - an ideal way of life, an ideal society, ideal families. However, as Pureland Buddhists we recognise the difficulty and self-deception that can lie in that direction. We realise that this samsaric world is populated with ordinary human beings and that the effort to coerce or pressurise them into going against their nature in the pursuit of a utopian dream tends to make matters worse rather than better.

Rather it is by tolerance and friendship, acceptance and hospitality, accepting diversity, that a truly compassionate atmosphere is created and a space opened where people can let down some of their barriers and abandon antagonisms. There are many different kinds of people in this world and there is room for all. Working modestly and patiently we can demonstrate an alternative without needing a blueprint or a fixed goal. All shall evolve as it should. By having faith in the intention of the Buddhas we can trust that our actions play their part in a greater design. We depend upon the Dharma and the Dharma depends upon us. To live the Dharma life, proceeding in faith not knowing the end thus requires courage

At the same time it is important to celebrate the good things, both locally and personally as well as collectively and internationally. There are problems in Europe, but we should not forget that there has been peace here for a longer period now than ever before in history. Let us pray that it continue. The ecological threat becomes daily more pressing, but awareness of it is rising where previously there was complete blindness. Our sangha is not numerous, but its quality is very special and much to be grateful for. What can be better than to have such companions?

As we celebrate the festive season and usher in a new year we become aware of the inexorable flow of time and of the greater time envisaged in the Dharma. May this help to awaken us. The Dharma puts everything into a saner perspective. 

My prayers are that each member of the sangha may flourish, each in her or his proper manner so that the light of Amida be reflected as if from a jewel with many facets.

Namo Amida Bu

Dharmavidya


Our next sangha meeting in Perth
will be on the evening of
Tuesday 17 January
 2017

Time: 7 - 9 pm
Venue: 'Taigh an t-Solais', 19 Fairmount Terrace, Barnhill, Perth PH2 7AS

Details of where to find us are :: here
We're near the bottom right of :: this map
The shrineroom is on the ground floor, overlooking the terraced garden at the back of the house.

Note: Meetings are open to all.
No experience necessary.

Come along and join us - and bring your friends!
All meetings include Pureland Buddhist practice, tea and biscuits, time to check in with each other. We'll plan meetings in the future to include guided meditation, art and music. From time to time other members of the Amida Order will visit us.

There's no cost for these meetings - we welcome donations for Amida projects in Delhi and the UK. Suggested amount between £2 and £5.

*****
More to explore:

* The Amida Scotland website  ::here
* Our Amida Virtual Temple, with members around the world :: here
(Find out more about the site :: here)
Dharmavidya's hermitage in France :: here
and his news updates :: here

Amida Scotland has a :: FaceBook page

:: link


Amida in Scotland Newsletter 17: December and beyond

Some dates for your diary:
our next sangha meeting in Perth
will be on the evening of
6 December 2016,

which will be our Bodhi Celebration

(
Note: Meetings in early 2017 will be on
17 January, 7 February, 7 March)


Around the globe Amida sanghas will be gathering in early December to celebrate Bodhi Day (8 December). :: Here's the event at Amida Mandala in Malvern.

Join us in Perth on 6th! 

Time: 7 - 9 pm
Venue: 'Taigh an t-Solais'
19 Fairmount Terrace
Barnhill
Perth
PH2 7AS

Will you be able to come along? Do, please, :: let me know
And, if you can't, then join us in spirit, chant the nembutsu and feel connected to all around the world as we celebrate Light at this dark time of the year
*****

The Land of Love and Bliss

Dharmavidya has written :: this commentary, as part of his teachings on The Summary of Faith and Practice, which we chant during each of our sangha meetings. There's a link to the whole series below.

TEXT: without which we would already perceive the land of love and bliss

Perception of the land is a foundational religious experience. Religious form is substantially grounded in it and much of it can be considered to be a kind of theatrical re-enactment of it as I will now try to explain.

Here, the land of love and bliss is the Pure Land, Sukhavati, of Amitabha. However, in Buddhism all Buddhas have their pure lands, so we can speak of the pure land of Akshobya or the pure lands of the innumerable Buddhas referred to in the Smaller Pure Land Sutra who occupy the ten directions and whose eloquence declares the truth of the teaching of Shakyamuni. However, such vision is found in all the great religions in one form or another.

To actually be in the Pure Land means to be in the presence of the Buddha, in this case of Amitabha Buddha, which is as much as to say of the Holy Spirit. When the Holy Spirit enters one’s life one is transformed, motivated, electrified. One then has sacred energy, one is inspired, one can endure, one’s life is meaningful. This is all through the power of presence.

As Pure Land Buddhists we pray to be reborn in such a pure land in a future life so that we can be in the presence all the time. However, who among us can or could really stand being in such presence all the time? We are creatures of karma. Karmic obstacle bars our way. Here in this life, generally speaking, the best we can hope for are glimpses and these are rare because they depend upon a release from our own karmic stream, from our own being, from our deadness. A tiny drop of eternal life, like phosphorus dropped on metal can cut us to the quick.

So, on the one hand, we are exiles, roaming far from our true pure land home, like the prodigal son in the Lotus Sutra, and the Buddha is like the father who, by a variety of skilful means tries to lure us back. We are exiles and refugees. We live with some distant memory or intuition of home, a longing toward it, an impulse to recreate some replica of it or memento. Hence yugen - the experience of bitter-sweetness that is the essential tone or flavour of the spiritual life. Karmic obstacle is a kind of shipwreck. We are like Robinson Crusoe on his island. We try to make something of it, but far from home.

On the other hand, it is our own nature that keeps us so far away. It is avidya - our unconscious wilful blindness, our attachment to greed, hate and delusion that we persist so strongly in not wanting even to see. We thus build false identities based upon some ego ideal or other, casting much of our nature into darkness in the interests of making ourselves shine is a certain light or our own contrivance. Much of this is motivated by fear - fear of ourselves and fear of others.

So perception of the Pure Land only occurs when there is a stop, an epoche, a brief setting aside of our own karmic continuum. Then we perceive the land of love and bliss. This is transfiguration. It is just as the description in Matthew’s gospel 17: 1-9: “and his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light”.

In the scriptures, such visions come to Ananda in some renderings of the Larger Pure Land Sutra and, in the Contemplation Sutra, to Queen Vaidehi who sees the pure lands of many Buddhas and chooses that of Amitabha. However, it is clear that one cannot effect such an epoche by one’s own effort, will or desire since one’s own effort is itself karmic. Karma cannot set aside karma. Ananda and Vaidehi were brought to such a stop by their encounter with Shakyamuni, Peter, James and John by the intervention of Jesus.

This transfiguration is satori, kensho, shinjin, ‘the falling away of body and mind’. It is ’stream entry’. It is something that cannot be contrived but cannot be forgotten. This non-forgetting is the true meaning of mindfulness. The mind is thereafter full of it. This does not, however, mean that one has the vision continuously. It fades. What one is mind-full of is the recollection. Sati/smriti means recollection.

We can understand, therefore, that the transfiguration occurs when a person is stopped in their tracks and has perforce to look and see. These two aspects - stopping and looking - are samatha and vipassana, or nei quan and chih quan. When we perform the ritual of ‘meditation’ we are reenacting the transfiguration, the mystery, the foundational experience.

Of course, in practice, the majority of people performing such rituals have not had the foundational experience themselves. They may be inspired by having met somebody who has done or by somebody who met somebody who met somebody… and number of removes, and that meeting was sufficient to inspire faith. We have faith when we believe in a possibility, but we believe in it because of the evidence derived from some encounter.

Nowadays many people perform such rituals considering them to be a kind of ‘self-development’ or a kind of mental fitness programme. This is not wicked, but it misses the mystery and is wholly enmeshed in karma.

It is, therefore, immensely valuable to become aware of the presence of karmic obstacles even when, in a sense, we can do little about them directly. It is evn more valuable to be aware of the sun or moon behind the clouds, whether one has glimpsed them oneself or only heard of them at whatever remove. These things bring the Holy Spirit into one’s life and make one’s exile meaningful. Then one is able to truly take refuge.

~ Dharmavidya David Brazier, Head of the Amida Order

:: link to the series of teachings
*****
Note: Meetings in early 2017 will be on
17 January, 7 February, 7 March


Details of where to find us are :: here

Note: Meetings are open to all.
No experience necessary.


Directions: From the Queens Bridge, travel south along the A85 Dundee Road, in the Dundee direction. Turn up Fairmount Road beside the Sunbank House Hotel. Continue to the right along Fairmount Terrace, going beyond the small crossroads beside Balnagraig School. Shortly after this you will come to a small cul-de-sac on the left hand side, where you will find Number 19 at the top of the cul-de-sac.
Here's a photo of the house so you'll recognise it!

We're near the bottom right of :: this map


The shrineroom is on the ground floor, overlooking the terraced garden at the back of the house.

Note: Meetings are open to all.
No experience necessary.

Come along and join us - and bring your friends!
All meetings include Pureland Buddhist practice, tea and biscuits, time to check in with each other. We'll plan meetings in the future to include guided meditation, art and music. From time to time other members of the Amida Order will visit us.

There's no cost for these meetings - we welcome donations for Amida projects in Delhi and the UK. Suggested amount between £2 and £5.
 

 

:: Amida in Scotland Newsletter 17: December and beyond