Here is a link to a Dharma Talk, given by Reverend Kaspalita, Amida Minster from Malvern:
In the first part of the talk I made some preliminary remarks about how as Pureland Buddhists we can relate to these lists of virtues, and then went on to share the Buddha's advice for successful communities.
You can listen to the talk below, and I have also copied and pasted some of my notes here as well.
Primary practice: Nembutsu
Auxiliary practices: Other spiritual practices which support the nembutsu & our spiritual life.
Secondary facilities: “Your knowledge and skills and accumulated experience, as tools for helping all sentient beings.”
As we continually bring ourselves closer to the Buddha the process of our faith increasing will happen naturally and somewhat unconsciously; our lived life will become closer to the preceptual life. At the same time secondary practices can help deepen our experience of nembutsu (showing our bonbu nature, for example).
Whilst the Buddha is the best dance partner in town, and can make us better dance partners just through spending time on the dance-floor with him, I believe we can also make some effort to be a better dance partner.
Precepts are a specific manifestation of love. Different objects of love require loving differently therefore we have many different sets of precepts.
The lists below can be considered precepts in this way, they are given in a specific context, but all in the spirit of love. The spirit of love is always worth cultivating, and the specific way in which these lists below suggest we manifest that love has relevance to how we build community today.
Conditions of a nation’s welfare
From the Maha-paranibanna Sutta 4.
"So long, Ananda, as these are the case, the growth of the Vajjis is to be expected, not their decline."
Welfare of the Bikkhus (MPNS. 6)
The growth of the bhikkhus is to be expected, not their decline, bhikkhus, so long as they:
Being a Sangha member
From ‘Being a Sangha member’ in Not Everything Is Impermanent, page 269:
The goal is to be able to live a fully human life in a noble manner.
From ‘Getting Real as A Sanga’ Ibid pg 304:
Christmas has passed. Christ, as baby Jesus is among us. The New Year approaches. It is a special moment in time when we reflect upon the past and the future. We remember friends and family who have departed. We consider what we have done and what has been left undone? Looking forward, we contemplate our hopes and aspirations for the new year.
For people of faith, the new year marks an opportunity to renew vows or refocus on the interior life of prayer and contemplation. Life is both precious and uncertain. We do not know when we will depart this world. More importantly, we do not know the good that might arise if we cultivate an interior life and turn our minds to that which is beyond self.
The new year is a time to take stock of our lives and make a small commitment to deepening our spiritual practice. Nothing grand or heroic is required. The life of spiritual transformation is lived one day at a time. It is lived in the day to day interactions with the people in our lives. It is lived in how we handle the many small challenges and sufferings of daily life.
Here are three simple things you can do to enrich and and deepen your interior life.
1. Prayer / Meditation: Make a commitment to daily prayer, meditation, or contemplation. Again, nothing heroic, like committing to four hours or two hours or even one hour of prayer every day. While laudable, this level of commitment is totally unrealistic for most and bound to failure.
More realistic is a commitment of 10 to 15 minutes of prayer or meditation a day. The best time for prayer is first thing in the morning. Ten minutes does not seem long, but I assure you that on some days it will feel interminable. The first few days or weeks will go smoothly but before long temptations and hurdles will arise. You will be tired or bored or both. Other things will try to crowd into even those few minutes you have set aside. Resist and remain steadfast. If you persevere, you will be amazed that these precious ten minutes were not always a part of your life.
2. Scripture: Make a commitment to the daily reading of scripture from you religious tradition. Again, nothing grand and heroic is required. Don’t make it complicated. Just take a few minutes everyday and read a short passage. There are many wonderful books and Apps available that can provide you with daily readings throughout the year. There are also books on how to read and contemplate scripture, while valuable, do not let these become barriers to actually reading the texts. The texts themselves, if encountered on a daily basis, will be enough.
3. Community: Consider regular attendance and membership in a church from your religious tradition. I know that this is a big barrier for a lot of spiritual people. I am definitely sympathetic to people who have been turned off by their local Christian Church or Buddhist temple. Dealing with people, church structures, uninspired sermons, mumbled hymns, and bad or offensive theology can be a real challenge. I get that. However, none of us can live a religious life in isolation. We need both the support and challenges that are found in a religious community.
Whatever your path, make a commitment to enrich your interior life in the New Year. If you know what that will look like, try it out in the few days leading up to the New Year. Is it realistic? Is it doable? If yes, then start today. If not, make some adjustments and try again.
Finally, have some compassion and forgiveness for yourself. Even ten minutes of prayer or meditation a day is a big commitment. You are bound to fail occasionally. That is fine. It is not the end of the world. Just start again the next day.
Posted on Wednesday, 18 December 2013 at 04:31 PM in Amida Pureland Retreat, Amida Sangha, amidashu, Buddhism, Buddhist, Ceremony, Dharma, Dharma Talks, Dharmavidya, Friends of Amida, Inspiration, Modgala, News, Pastoral Letter , Pureland Buddhism, Retreats, Susthama, Whispers from the Bamboo Grove, Writing | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
| | |