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Happy Bodhi Day

sb10065458e-001Today we remember the Buddha’s enlightenment underneath the Bodhi tree: as the morning star rose, he realised perfect dharma. With one hand he reached down and touched the Earth, a gesture I take to be of gratitude, of recognition of support, of dependence.

He set out to look deeply into suffering, and to find an end to suffering. He was inspired both by the suffering he found in the world, and also by the grace he had seen and experienced, that grace that was embodied by the sadhu who was ‘the fourth sight’, and by his own experiences in meditation.

On the night of his enlightenment, the arrows which Mara sent to the Buddha, transformed into flowers: hate became love. The Buddha awoke and embodied loving kindness, compassion, insight, energy and steadiness in the face of life’s troubles. He saw what usually provokes anger, or hate, or greed, and felt love instead.

He fell into the noble life, and suffering fell away.

Most Buddhists aspire to walk the noble path in the way the Buddha walked it: to learn to embody what he embodied, and for their own suffering to fall away.

As Pureland Buddhists our emphasis is in seeing that we are received by this vision. That if we had come into the company of Shakyamuni Buddha, he would have loved us in the way he loved the world. And that the spirit of all the Buddhas, manifesting as Amida Buddha, sees us and loves us in that way today.

We are of samsara, and we are received by the vision of the Buddha, and carried into nirvana.

Namo Amida Bu

Inspired by faith

the chanting team

the chanting team

We’ve just had a wonderful Bodhi gathering here at Amida Mandala. Many traditions have a practice period leading up to the 8th Decemeber, when we celebrate the Buddha’s enlightenment. Here, we had a three day retreat at the weekend, including a six hour nembutu chant, teachings, poetry and art workshops and sharing good food and company.

We’ll upload a longer post with some more detail soon, but I wanted to share with you the talk from Friday morning, in which Kaspa set out the theme of inspired by faith.

Listen/download mp3

Namo Amida Bu

Two brand new short talks

mandalaIn the first talk, Satya talks about how our relationship with the material world is transformed  through faith, and in the second, Kaspa picks up on some of the themes from his longer talk Buddhism Inside Out and talks about the relationship between our faith, and what we do, moment to moment. You can download the mp3 files below, or stream them from our YouTube channel

  • 28/9/16 – Satya – The Secular becomes Sacred
  • 16/10/16 – Kaspa- Faith and Action

Bow to everything

Image by Tatters via Flickr

Image by Tatters via Flickr

Another beautiful, wet, day in Malvern.
Holy rain, holy mud, holy birdsong, holy floods, as Alan Ginsburg might say.
Here we are in the midst of samsara, and the Buddha’s light is shining on everything.
Everything is lit up with universal love. Everything is reflecting sacred light. This is why we should bow to everything.
As foolish beings we need shrine rooms, and Buddha statues, and thangkas to remind us that the light is here, and to bow to it.
“Namo Amida Bu” means I bow to the Buddha of infinite light. If could see with enlightened eyes, we would see everything glowing.
I recently heard a Japanese expression, ‘plank person’ (I can’t remember the Japanese word, right now). A plank person is someone carrying a plank of wood over one shoulder. There is always a blind spot. We are like this – there is always a blind spot – always somewhere we forget the light is shining.
If we can remember to bow to everything, we should. When we forget, when we fall into rushing or stupor, we should do our best to remember the Buddha’s light and start bowing again.
Sometimes we will remember, and sometimes we will forget. Either way – everything is illuminated.
Namo Amida Bu

The Great Way Avoids Picking and Choosing

In this short talk from our Sunday Service, Kaspa explains what The Great Way avoids picking and choosing means.

Download the mp3 or stream on YouTube

“I am talking about the first few lines of the Zen poem, Faith in Mind. They go something like this:

至道無難 The best way is not difficult

唯嫌揀擇 it only excludes picking and choosing

但莫憎愛 Once you stop loving and hating

洞然明白 it will enlighten itself.

I hope to make a translation myself soon, that translation is from