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What’s happening at the Virtual Temple?

Happy New Year from all of us at the virtual temple – the place where Pureland Buddhists can connect with each other.

On the virtual temple at the moment you can:

Read Dharmavidya’s teaching – How the West likes to misread Buddhism

Join the conversation on ‘Three books for 2019?‘ See what others recommend and recommed your favourites. 

Add your word of the year to this conversation, and see what other’s intentions and prayers for 2019 are: Word of the Year

Or just drop by the front page and see what catches your eye.

Kaspa & all at the temple 

Talks and events in January

Hi everyone,

Happy New Year!

We’re a few days into 2019 now, and while I’m still officially off work – or not seeing clients, at least – I wanted to let you know about January events in the temple. These include the first of our new monthly talks next weekend. This time Satya is talking about Connecting with Joy.

If you want to hear about events through your email. Sign up to our newsletter, and make sure you tick to receive the ‘local’ newsletter as well as the general one. You can sign up here.

January events

Sat 12th 10.30am til 11.30am Connecting with Joy: Dharma talk by Satya. Suitable for beginners or experienced practitioners, with time for discussion, questions and nembutsu. A good place to start if you are new to the temple. Facebook event here.

Sat 12th 5pm til 6pm Online Nembutsu Circle – a Pureland Buddhist reading followed by an opportunity to share, and some nembutsu chanting at the end. Use Skype to join – search on Skype for Amida Shu or hello@amidamandala.com, or message Satya with any questions.

Sat 19th 9am til 10am Buddhist service for First Timers. Our usual Saturday morning service, tweaked to make it easier to follow for those who’ve never been before and those who haven’t been for a while. Facebook event here.

Sat 19th 10.30am til 11.30am Taking Care of the Temple. A chance to offer something back to the temple and the community with some cleaning, gardening, or whatever the temple needs. We’ll find you a job you feel comfortable with. A good way to connect with the community.

Tues 22nd 7.30pm til 8pm Online Nembutsu Practice – a chance to hear a Dharma talk and practise alongside your host. Held via Facebook Live at the Amida Mandala group page.

Sat 26th 10.30am – 12 midday Malvern Temple Community Choir. Our lovely drop-in Buddhist choir, singing rounds and Indian-influenced music, open to all abilities. Led by choirmaster Andrew Cheffings. Email acheffings@cheffings.org.uk for more information or visit the site.And of course, our weekly schedule continues as normal, and although we do hold special first-timers or beginners events sometimes. You are welcome to come along to anything, first time or not.

Warmest,

Kaspa

Namo Amida Bu

Thank you

There’s a lot for the temple to be grateful for this year.

People have joined us here at the temple for practice, soaking our shrine room in nembutsu. Our Temple Task Force have volunteered for crucial jobs around the house and garden. Sangha members have offered talks to schools and residential homes, run study groups, led mindful walks on the hills, run a choir, run a Sunday school and helped out in a myriad of ways. We’ve sponsored a toilet in Africa and paid for various expensive building repairs. 

This makes the Buddha very happy.

Thank you to everyone who has contributed – whether you send us good thoughts or tackle the compost or contribute financially or wash the mugs up after service. It all goes into the pot.

We’re looking forward to a year of gentle growth next year – maybe you’ll be one of the newcomers or old friends soaking up light from our shrine room. We hope so. 

I’ll leave you with our talks from Bodhi Day – Kaspa’s is Sun and Clouds and mine is Sparkles.

Happy holidays, everyone. Go gently out there.
Love & blessings, 
Satya & Kaspa 

Sanzen times

Sanzen are twenty minute one-to-one meetings with Satya and/or Kaspa for a ‘spiritual check-in’ – you can ask a question, talk about your practice at home, ask for spiritual direction with a specific situation, or just see what emerges.

Email hello@amidamandala.com to book one of the free slots below, or if you can’t make these times we can find another time.

On the day either ring the bell or if you’re already inside go directly to Satya or Kaspa’s office. Satya’s office is at the bottom of the whole building (go down two flights of steps and into our hallway and the office is straight ahead). Kaspa’s is on the lower ground floor (one flight of steps down) at the far end of the building on the left hand side.

Namo Amida Bu

 

Wednesday 25th April

Kaspa Satya
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Friday 27th April

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Saturday 28th April

Kaspa  Satya
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Wednesday 2nd May

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Friday 4th May

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Saturday 5th May

Kaspa  Satya
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Bodhi retreat 2017

Our Bodhi retreat is the annual gathering of Amida Shu and a rare and precious opportunity to spend time with other sangha members, practising together, listening to Dharma talks and eating and talking together. This year it will take place in our temple in Malvern.

This year the retreat will be run by the Head of our Order, Dharmavidya David Brazier. You can attend any stand-alone days or the whole retreat. The rough schedule will be:

Thursday & Friday – services at 8am and 8pm. Morning and afternoon sessions – a mixture of Dharma talks, discussion and practice.

Saturday – all day continuous nembutsu with a ceremony in the evening.

Sunday – a ceremony in the morning and possibly a session in the afternoon.

Cost – £10 a day for food plus dana for Dharmavidya and the temple (a suggested £15 a day or whatever you can afford, whether that’s more or less).

Booking is essential so we can prepare to cater etc – email satya@satyarobyn.com with any questions and bookings. We have no accommodation at the temple – I have a list of local B&Bs etc.

Namo Amida Bu!

Free book for everyone…

Box of booksFREE BOOK FOR EVERYONE 

Yesterday I gave away a paperback copy of ‘Just As You Are: Buddhism for Foolish Beings’. Today I am giving away twenty boxes – or however many you want – through the magic of electricity & the World Wide Web.

You can download your free copy until the end of Thursday: 
Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/2ut1V6B
Amazon US: http://amzn.to/2usMj2V or your own Amazon.

If you don’t have a kindle, search for ‘Amazon Kindle app’ for a nifty free app so you can read it on your phone or PC.

This book is intended as an introduction to our form of Pureland Buddhism, Amida Shu Buddhism. It’s for anyone who wants to live a good life but is tired of endlessly trying to perfect themselves.

Pureland Buddhism takes a realistic view of our foolish natures as human beings, and offers us an alternative to the ‘do it yourself’ self-help movement. With anecdotes of temple life and instructions for simple Pureland practices, the authors introduce us to this ancient and unique tradition of Buddhism and show us how it can make a powerful difference to our everyday lives.

Covering topics such as trust, overcoming suffering, grace, being kind and self-care, the book also contains the voices of different Pureland Buddhists speaking of their own diverse experiences. This book shows us how we are all loveable just as we are, and that understanding this is the key to deep and lasting change.

“This book will not give you a do-it-by-numbers self-help, pull-yourself-up-by-your-own-effort ladder to climb. Here two good people have written a lovely book about faith and practice, which explains their own journey and many aspects of Pureland Buddhism in terms that are easy to understand. It will remind you of the love that is already there and the refuge that is already at hand. It will invite you to celebrate it and to do so in company with others similarly inspired. In doing so, it will welcome you home to a place of peace where all is completely assured. A wonderful contribution to the growth of the Buddhist community.”

– David Brazier

If you’re not a foolish being (or if you know any) please feel free to share it. If you find it helpful, that will make me & co-author Kaspalita happy. Also, we always appreciate short reviews as they do make a difference. Enjoy!

“I’ve found this beautiful book highly readable, it’s full of humanity. I wanted to learn some fundamentals of Buddhism and how to incorporate them into my life. Reading the accounts in this book have helped my own life to become more simple, more informed, more graceful…. And more forgiving and understanding of myself and others, which is quite a big deal for me, and yet the pages flowed through my fingers, the words never troubled my mind, I felt warm, inspired and encouraged by this book and my experience of living is richer for it. I’ll be visiting this book again.” Valerie

Listen now: Compassion and the Five Spiritual Laws

Amitabha ThangkaLast Saturday I gave a talk called The Transformative Power of Compassion. I’d been reading about the five spiritual laws, a presentation of the five niyamas, and ended up using that model of the universe as context for talking about compassion and other Buddhist virtues. It might sound complicated, but I really like the model and find it helpful in my spiritual practice. I made a little handout for the talk, which I’ve copied below. Do listen to the talk though, the handout might not make much sense otherwise 🙂

After the talk we had a wonderful discussion on topics such as the fetters, and if it’s really possible to help someone. You can listen to both below.

 

Compassion and the Five Spiritual Laws

The five spiritual laws are an interpretation of the five niyamas, passed down to Dharmavidya by Kennett Roshi.

UTU NIYAMA: (non-living matter) The universe is not answerable to my personal will

BIJA NIYAMA: (living matter) Dependent origination

KAMMA NIYAMA: Karma is inexorable

DHAMMA NIYAMA:  Good ultimately prevails

CITTA NIYAMA: (Heart/Mind) Longing springs eternal

 

In Buddhism compassion is most closely associated with Karuna which is the wish for the well-being of others. Karuna is one of the four  divine abidings or four immeasurables, therefore it is outside of normal human calculation and unlimited (divine and immeasurable) .

Acting on Karuna, for the sake of others, has lots of benefits.

The giver and the recipient both receive something spiritual, as well as whatever material support is offered.

There is a reduction of selfishness, or when we find that we are unable to act on karuna, we are shown our selfishness, which is an opportunity for fellow-feeling and tenderness to arise, particularly when we realise that despite our failure we are still in receipt of the Buddha’s wish for our happiness, and nyorai’s blessing.

 

Listen to other teachings from Amida Mandala here: Audio Teachings

Living on The Edge

Kaspalita 1From our Saturday Night Dharma series.

Kaspalita talks about how we stop going around in circles and move to the edge of possibility, using as examples the Buddha’s life, and the stories of Kisagotami and Patacara two disciples of the Buddha who both suffered great losses.

P.S. You can find the paper by Dharmavidya that I mention in the talk here: The Distinctive Character of Buddhist Psychology

Listen/download mp3

 

Or stream the audio from YouTube:

Join me in starting a short daily practice?

desk shrineA confession: I haven’t been connecting with the Buddha lately. I’m lucky to live in a space full of rupas and I attend three services a week, but on the days in between I sometimes forget the Buddha for most of the day.

I’m re-reading a beautiful book about contemplative ministry which says that the first priority of anyone who ministers (that includes you!) is staying in relationship with the Buddha. If we keep this connection strong, everything else will fall into place.

And so today I have committed to re-starting a simple daily practice, morning and evening, which will put something other than my own concerns at the heart of my day. The practice I’ve decided on takes a minimum of five minutes. I’d rather check in for five minutes daily than no minutes. This morning I did it in my office facing my golden Buddha, but it’s simple enough that I will be able to do it anywhere.

I know that Amida will love me whether or not I check in with him. But I also know that as a foolish being my life runs more smoothly when I get into good habits, and this is the most important habit of all.

If you’d like to join me in committing to a short daily practice of your own, or tell us what you already do every day, click here to do so at our virtual temple (let me know if you get stuck registering or logging on). I’ve said there what I’m going to do in my own daily practice. Do put some time aside to add your comment – it will help others to feel supported if they know they’re not alone.

Here’s where you can find information and links to texts and audio to inspire you to create your own daily practice. If you’d like some extra accountability, reply to this email and tell me what you’re committing to – I’ll check back with you in a couple of weeks to see how you’re getting on : )

Whatever inspires you, whatever consoles you and keeps you safe, whatever helps you to go out into the world and do good things – here’s wishing you more of it. Namo Amida Bu.