Dharmavidya's Seasonal Message
December 18th, 2013
Peace to each and all.
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)
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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.
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NEW AMIDA NEWS
11 December 2011
Following re-organisation the Amida Trust and Amida Order will now be based at
Sukhavati, 21 Sussex Way, Finsbury Park, London N7 6RT, tel: 0207 2632183.
You might like to know about progress in the transition resulting from the agreement reached on 27 November to split the work of Caroline Brazier and that of the Amida Order into two separate organisations. The Order will continue organisationally to be known as Amida Trust. It will be based at Sukhavati House in Finsbury Park in London. We shall administer the Friends of Amida "ning" site and the Amida Trust home page and will be developing a new site for our course programmes. Caroline is forming a new organisation to be called the Tariki Trust. TT will be based in Narborough, AT in London. This is a new start so you may value having a newsletter that reports on progress of the new Amida Trust.
AT now has a new board of trustees. They held their first meeting at Sukhavati House on 10th December. Various legalities need to be deal with to bring the new group fuilly into play and these will happen over coming weeks. Three members of the old trustee group have agreed to stay on to oversee the transition.
There has been concern in the sangha in UK particularly whether the move to London will result in amitaryas being less accessible. We are planning the opposite. We have in mind the possibility of reviving an old fashioned idea of “circuits”. In the days before modern transport spiritual activists had to ride from place to place to see the faithful. Nowadays we have cars, but the idea of arranging the sangha into circuits that amitaryas can visit is gaining strength. This may both make visits to different parts of the country a more regular occurrence and also create connections between isolated members of the sangha over areas larger than are practical for regular meetings.
We are now moving towards the most important retreat in the Amida
calendar, the Bodhi Retreat. This is a time of reflection and
celebration as well as a time in the year when people receive
ordination, become Amida shu members and take refuge. It is also an
opportunity for the Sangha to come together to engage in an extended
period of devotion and nembutsu practice.
The newly enlightened Buddha was travelling to go to see the five ascetics with whom he had formerly practised. On the way he met two merchants. They were converted to his message and became the first Buddhists and lay followers. He taught them to take refuge in the Buddha and the Dharma (there being no sangha at that time). Then he arrived at the place where the five ascetics were and they, remembering that he had abandoned them resolved not to honour him, but when he appeared his bearing was such as to tell them that he had indeed accomplished some great spiritual awakening and he instructed them in the proper way to treat a teacher. They became his disciples and he taught them the four truths for noble ones. Konndinya was enlightened. A short time after he taught them the teaching of non-self and all became arhants. So he continued and when he had sixty arhants he sent them forth for the spiritual welfare of the world. They went singly or in small groups and spread the Dharma, lovely in its beginning, lovely in its progress and lovely in its consummation.
This simple progression tells us the essence of the Dharma. First take refuge and thus become a follower of the Dharma. Then treat the teacher appropriately and become a disciple. Then understand the four truths and eliminate the major obstacles to living your life. Then understand non-self and become one who is free to liberate others.
Thus they went forth and did so in many different ways. The Buddha did not produce clones. He empowered each to fulfil their spiritual destiny. Some lived in groups and some were hermits, some travelled and some established communities, some built hospitals and animal sanctuaries and some write poems, some danced and some renounced dancing, some were ascetic and some married, some were arhants and some bodhisattvas. All were bombu. All followed one Dharma. All realised their potential and helped others to do so. It was just as the ocean might flow into any number of coves, bays, basins or the open main, yet everywhere it has the taste of salt. Such is the life of faith. Namo Amida Bu.
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