D3 Retreats

Newsletter - October, November and Bodhi Retreat

NB: UPDATED Thursday October 10th

AMIDA PURELAND BUDDHISM IN PERTH

Sangha evenings in Perth and Bodhi Retreat in Malvern

Our next sangha evening will be on

 Wednesday November 6th

Not Tuesday November 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

Note: Meetings are open to all.



*****

The Bodhi Retreat in Malvern 
4 - 8 December.
This year I''ll be attending the Bodhi Retreat (for Buddha's Enlightenment Day) in Malvern, rather than hosting a retreat day here in Perth, as we held last year.
This is an ideal opportunity to meet Dharmavidya and other senior members of the Amida Order, to practice with the sangha at our main UK centre at Amida Mandala Buddhist Temple and to experience 24 hours of continuous Nembutsu practice.


Satya has written: Hi all - Kaspa & I have just designed the 2019 Bodhi schedule which has been approved by Dharmavidya. We'll hold the retreat space, with guest talks by Dharmavidya, Susthama and Kaspa, with a 24 hour continuous period of nembutsu, with ceremonies and lots of space for practice, small and large groups and informal connecting with the sangha (note 2 hour lunch breaks & a free Saturday afternoon).

We hope that you'll join us for some or all of it - each day is also stand alone. The theme is a surprise which we'll reveal nearer the time : )

We already have rooms booked. We do have space for a fold-up bed in the library (Sujatin - I have booked this), and there are 2 basic bunk beds - if you'd like these let us know. We can also ask our local congregation if they can put people up - let us know if you'd like us to ask.

(Contact Satya for the local accommodation list).

We're suggesting £10 a day donation for food plus £30 for dana for Dharmavidya and to go into temple funds. Khema has agreed to organise the food - we'll be looking for main & helper chefs nearer the time.

So, if you haven't already do let us know you're coming (or if you're a maybe) so we can begin to plan.

Looking forward to it,

Namo Amida Bu, Satya

*****



NAMO AMIDA BU

Sujatin

:: link


Bodhi Day - 8 December 2018

We will be celebrating
Bodhi Day 
(The Buddha's Enlightenment Day)
on

Saturday July December 8th

(Note There won't be a sangha evening on the first Tuesday of December)

You are most welcome to join us, ideally for the whole day. 

NB. Booking is essential
 
- via the link in the newsletter ::here

BODHI DAY SCHEDULE

This is the probable timetable although there may be some slight tweaks between now and then.

 If there's anything here you're unsure about, confused by, have forgotten how to do, have never done, fear not - all will be explained at the time! 

Acharya Sujatin will be acting as both celebrant and bell master and you'll have an Amida service book to consult so there is nothing to memorise - just join in, sit back and immerse yourself. There are cushions and kneeling stools in the shrine room - if you need a chair let us know.

Do bring along biscuits or cake to share during the breaks.


10: Arrival, coffee

10:30: Morning Service, including Summary of Faith and Practice

11: 15: Brief group check in, reading about Refuge

11:45: Pureland Practice (walking, sitting) followed by Sange Mon and Renewal/Taking of Refuge)

1: Light lunch - vegan soup, rolls, cheese, vegan pate

2: Afternoon Service and chanting to mokujo :: link

3: Dharma talk followed by tea and discussion

4: Nembutsu chanting - walking and sitting

5: Nembutsu sharing circle

5:30: Evening Service

6: Close 

This will be followed by optional supper at a restaurant in the city. 


Time: 10 am - 6 pm
Venue: 'Taigh an t-Solais', 19 Fairmount Terrace
Barnhill, Perth PH2 7AS

 Details of where to find us are :: here



There is no cost for this retreat.
However donations towards our projects in the UK and India are most welcome 
- see more :: here

NAMO AMIDA BU

Sujatin

*****
Dharmavidya: Meditation with Nembutsu 

:: Dharmavidya writes

Meditation is a natural expression of spiritual liberation. When we are swimming in grace, the heart lifts and sings. In following the Dharma one is filled with joy and gratitude that Buddha’s appear in the world. The traditional way to express this is through one or other of the formulas of Refuge, and especially nembutsu.

Meditation in Buddhism reaches its full form in keeping Buddha ever in mind and the nembutsu is a simple way to express this. The actual form of words varies a little from culture to culture - “Namo Amida Bu”, “Amitabhaya”, “Namo Omito Fo”, and so forth.

A most natural form of meditation, therefore, is to, as they say, mount the words upon the breath. Thus one can sit for a time and be aware of the breathing and with each in-breath and each out-breath, say the words… Namo Amida Bu;  Namo Amida Bu.

To sustain this for a period one needs to maintain a certain balance. The mind is such that other thoughts, images and feelings will arise. Thus it is possible for the mind to wander or even for sleep to supervene. If you are happy to fall asleep, no problem. In fact, this can be a fine way to end the day, entering slumber with the sacred words in mind.

However, if you want to maintain your practice, it is important to learn to let the intruding mental impulses enter but not dominate. To do this one should not let them get a grip upon the mind, but allow them to fragment even as they are forming. Then the nembutsu remains centre stage and other thoughts become like a background of white noise, gently pulsing in and out of awareness, but never so strong as to carry one away.

Of course, for this to be successful, one must not deem anything more important than the nembutsu itself. This can mean that a very slight effort is required as each thought or image enters, to let it drop down in importance. This is because one has already established many habits of prioritising certain ideas. If something that seems particularly important comes into one’s mind, one might need to inwardly smile and say, “Later,” and set it aside just for now. Meditation is substantially a matter of giving the object of meditation absolute priority for the time of the exercise.

I was recently a subject in a piece of research in which measurements were made of the wave patterns in my brain while meditating, and I was using this method. I am told that the results showed an unusual degree of stability in my concentration and in the presence of a steady rhythm of alpha waves. I was very interested in this. It seems that the repetitions of nembutsu do not show up in the way that thought does, but serve rather to stabilise the contemplative exercise.

I find this much more satisfactory than such methods as counting the breaths. Counting has no devotional element and is merely mechanical, whereas the nembutsu is essentially a love song and its repetition is like the beating of the heart.

Many people like to meditate and find it beneficial. We should not, however, regard it purely as a psychological self-help technique. If you meditate, do it in a way that deepens your spirit and connects you with the universal grace. I, therefore, recommend this practice. A period of sitting quietly centring all upon the nembutsu is a beautiful way to deepen one’s life.


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: Bodhi Day Greetings

Amida Sangha in Scotland

Bodhi Day Greetings

December
2015

Amida Pureland Buddhism

BODHI DAY GREETINGS - 8TH DECEMBER
 

During December many spiritual communities hold their Celebrations of Light. Here, in the Northern Hemisphere, the days are shortening and, as our ancient ancestors have done for thousands of years, we all long for the return of light. For Pureland Buddhists, Amida is the Buddha of Infinite Light and, however gloomy and dark it may seem, Amida's Light is always shining. It's good to join in person or in spirit with our fellows as we bring this to mind.

Bodhi Day, which marks the Enlightenment of the Buddha, is celebrated on December 8th each year. It is traditional to hold a retreat at this time. Always the most important event in the Amida calendar, the Bodhi Retreat has grown in significance as the Amida-shu and the Amida Order have developed. Ceremonies and retreat are being held in Amida centres around the globe, including Amida Mandala in Malvern and Amida NE in County Durham.
~ Sujatin

*****
Dharmavidya's opening Dharma talk of the Amida Mandala Bodhi retreat

Satyavani writes from Amida Mandala in Malvern:

"Jnanamati arranged for Dharmavidya's opening Dharma talk to be recorded - with a few insights that hit me between the eyes.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IRw4O4-OBvY

We also had two periods of practice, including some lovely Tai Shih Chi chanting. There are 14 of us present for the whole week from Belgium, Spain, Holland, the US & around the UK, and we'll have several day visitors this week, culminating in a busy Saturday with 12 hours chanting  - which will be live-streamed here:

http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCbJm9gPEAkf8P6y8cFDzAzQ/live

- and hopefully lots of visitors."

*****
Dharmavidya: The Amidist Nembutsu - is it different?

QUESTION: What is specific to the Amidist approach to the nembutsu that might distinguish it from the approach of other similar schools?

SHORT ANSWER: Nothing

LONG ANSWER: Nembutsu is refuge. Taking refuge is the core mystical act that defines Buddhism. It is the only practice that all Buddhist schools have in common. To take refuge in one Buddha is to take refuge in all Buddhas. However, different Buddhas show different facets of Buddha Nature. Amida shows primarily the facet of all acceptance. Therefore Amida Buddha is a favourite Buddha for ordinary people. Pureland Buddhism derives from the Buddha's teachings directed to ordinary folk. We understand Pureland, therefore, to be an original form of Buddhism deriving from the earliest times. We, therefore, take refuge in Amida Buddha and we commonly do so using the formula "Namo Amida Bu." We do not see this as essentially different from any other form of taking refuge such as may be practised in any school of Buddhism.

However, while there is no difference in essence, there are differences in style and focus. The emphasis, when one takes refuge in Amida, is upon acknowledgement that the being who seeks refuge needs to do so because of being a "foolish being of wayward passion", a vulnerable, limited, deluded, error-prone mortal. Here, therefore, there is a recognition that we each manifest greed, hate, pride, worry, sloth, and a wide variety of forms of self-centredness and that, although we might improve in some areas, the fundamental propensity to give rise to such characteristics is indelible and we are, therefore, incapable of achieving our own salvation by our own self-directed efforts. This recognition adds extra power and urgency to the urge to take refuge. Taking refuge comes to have the sense of turning to a salvific power that we ourselves lack.

In this act of taking refuge, therefore, there is a profound sense of letting go and of relief. We see the self-perfection project to lie in ruin, but we also feel a great gratitude for the presence and support of the Buddha who sees us in our actual state and loves us just so, even as we are. This is deeply moving. Our Amida form of nembutsu, therefore, is a devotional and emotional practice, something that touches the heart and that links together all those who are similarly moved. This linking generates a sense of community and fellowship. Amidist practice, therefore, is often more communal, singing together rather than sitting in isolated silence. There is a place for solitude and silent contemplation, but I am pointing out here a difference of emphasis in style. Reciting the nembutsu together we not only take refuge in the Buddha but find refuge in the sangha in a palpable sense too.

Fundamentally, therefore, nembutsu is refuge and refuge is Buddhism, and Amida Buddhism merely asserts this basic faith. In style our practice is less perfectionist, more devotional, more communal, and more emotional and it has its own distinctive ways of understanding core Buddhist teachings in accord with this orientation.

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