Our Pureland Buddhist practice is calling the Buddha of Infinite Light and Life, Amida. The nembutsu is a means of keeping the Buddha in mind.
The chant can vary: some of the forms we use are Namo Amida Bu, Amitabha, Namo Omito Fo
As our sangha is spread around the world, we have started the practice of chanting at some time on Mondays, wherever we are, and keeping our sangha in mind. (Of course we chant at other times during the day, during the week, too). It's very heartwarming to feel linked to friends as we start the week.
You can join our group on the Friends of Amida Order ning site
And on FaceBook here
11th Jan 2012: News from Jnanamati in Delhi
'It’s been just over a week since I have posted anything on this blog. This is not by way of saying that I have been too busy to write; in fact there has been ample time. Rather it seems as though my world for the moment has become somewhat routine and I have lacked inspiration to put anything into words. In actual fact what tends to visit me during such times is a spirit of critical self questioning. This seems to constellate around the bigger questions: ‘what is it that I am doing here’ as much as it does the smaller everyday ones that face me: ‘shall I visit this person, and how will that help what Amida is doing here’. Of course both ends are connected and influenced by my thinking about what constitutes living a Buddhist life. Encountering a culture that for the large part doesn’t understand me linguistically, culturally or spiritually – by which I mean where I fit into the religious jigsaw puzzle – is a daily challenge. If I can get a handle on at least one of these three dimensions then it immediately provides the satisfaction that comes from the sense of being engaged. Yet I find that such moments are just that, fragments that nourish me for sure but not in a way that stops me from, first feeling hungry and then, sometimes empty....' ::continue reading
Amida-shu is a spiritual community, an international network of people bound together by a consciouness of "Amida", of the spirit of love and truth at work in the world in the midst of ordinary, fallible beings like ourselves. Beyond this it does not require any particular form of belief or doctrine or theory. Amidists have a practice of calling the Name of Amida. In addition to this, you do not have to meditate or pray or adopt any particular practices, though you can if you want to.
Amidism is not a way of achieving anything. It is, rather a celebration and a communion. Amidists are not necessarily virtuous or wise or accomplished. We are simply people who celebrate the spiritual presence, each in his or her own way, yet together. Amidists often practice in groups, but practice can vary from group to group. Amidists are creative. We like rituals, but we do not cling to one particular form - the spirit can be celebrated in many ways.
Amidists appreciate the whole range of mystical heritage, irrespective of which religion it comes from. Although we are most closely associated with the tradition of Pureland Buddhism, we understand this vehicle as a generic spirituality and appreciate the wisdom of all those who have transmitted direct knowledge of the Spirit down the ages.
::link - join Friends of Amida: find out about the many facets of the Amida Trust, make spiritual friends close to home and around the world, arrange to meet them in person at one of the courses or events, read articles, listen to or watch Dharma talks and Pureland Buddhist ceremonies, suppoert the work of the Trust as a volunteer or by donation, join in discussions around specific themes...and much, much more!
This year we have advanced our Buddhist training programme by instituting the idea of a set of Five Sesshin (intensive retreats), by reasserting some of the original ideals of the amitarya programme and moving to a less-tied-down style of life, and by holding a ten day non-stop-chanting intensive in November-December, perhaps the first of its kind in the West. New people have joined the sangha and there is certainly electricity in the air as well as the deepening peace of shared confidence.
This has, for me, been a year of much travelling. I've rarely been in one country more than four weeks at a stretch. Twelve months ago I was in India with Jnanamati. He is now back there and I'm in Spain in Gran Canaria. In the meanwhile I've visited California, Israel, New York, Italy, France, Belgium, Korea and Japan. I was in Japan immediately after the tsunami and in Korea during the worst monsoon for 100 years. I've been to Spain several times and established a "second life" here with many good friends and involvement in the local Maestro Eckhart sangha. I've lectured, run retreats, met spiritual masters, learnt about Shinto, and drafted an autobiography. We've started an Institute for Zen Therapy. I've also published a book of Poetry called Her Mother's Eyes, thanks to the good offices of the Quaker Universalists.
Much of the early part of the year was impeded by differences of opinion between Caroline, my ex, and myself, about how the organisation that we jointly were involved in starting should proceed. In November we achieved a break through in negotiations and she is now setting up her own organisation. This has released a lot of energy within the Amida sangha and a number of new initiatives are germinating, so the coming year promises to be rather full and exciting. It has also entailed me moving my base of operations to London - another promising development.
Friday 16th December
I am up earlier this morning. The sounds of the household are becoming familiar to me: the scrubbing noises as floors are cleaned, the swish of the grass brush, the clank of pots and metal buckets, of water pouring and the various tones of the different voices that inhabit the place. I’ve had a somewhat restless night disturbed by mosquitos and the subsequent itching that the bites give rise to. I meet Prakash soon after I rise. He turns the water on upstairs and we make an attempt to use the toilet, to check that it is working, to discover that water is leaking from the connection between the pipe from the cistern and the toilet pan itself. There are a number of minor ‘snaggings’ as we would call them in the UK, various bits and pieces not quite right or useable yet.
By 10.00 a.m. I have been visited by Shiv lal and with the help of Prakash and his brother managed to get all of the rest of our things, including the fridge and the contents of the kitchen up into the new space. I also manage to have my first bath in the new washroom. Prakash and I then venture out for supplies, dry foods, cleaning materials and light bulbs. My intention on returning is to begin to clean the kitchen equipment and then to get this essential room operational. However I am thwarted by the fact of the water being off as the plumber attends to the various leaks in the new system. At 2.00 Shiv will pick me up to take me over to Suvidya’s house. Shiv tells me that he hasn’t visited Suvidya since the last period that Sahishnu was here. I find myself disappointed that the group doesn’t stay in contact between the times that the project is in operation. This isn’t new and also might account for Shiv’s anxious queries – a similar energy that I detected in Saraswati’s voice on the phone yesterday – about when Sahishnu will be coming. He relaxes a little when I explain that we hope she will be here in the next month.
Jnanamati, novice amitarya (monk) with the Amida Order, has arrived in Delhi. He paints a vivid picture (as befits an artist):
I have slept for a long time overnight and although waking at around 5.30 a.m. roused by Prakashs’ departure for work, and from then on conscious of the noises of the house and surrounding area as things come to life, I drift in and out of sleep until around 9.30. I am plagued by a sense of guilt struggling with my need to remain hidden in the warm cocoon of my bed. Eventually I am pulled from this state by Prakashs’ brother who needs to get something from the room I am sleeping in. He offers to get tea which I accept and then the motivation to rise comes. In ten minutes I have some hot tea, a couple of oily parathas and a plate of digestive biscuits. The mix fails to revive me as one might expect and I mark how I am somewhat low in spirit today.