Rev Satyavani: “I find the nembutsu circles a crucial part of my spiritual practice – they help me strengthen my connection with whoever is in the circle (Sangha), I always learn a lot about myself and others (Dharma) and Amida is always present no matter how many people are there or what we talk about (Buddha). They create a deeply sacred space.”
We begin our nembutsu circles with a few minutes of silence, and then we read a Dharma text out loud. There is then a space for people to share how they respond to the text, or how they feel in the moment, what’s been happening for them during the week, or what is in their hearts. As each person takes the stone from the centre of the circle and speaks, everyone else is silent and listens. There’s no need to take the stone if you don’t want to – there is much to learn from listening to others. We finish with five minutes of nembutsu.
These circles run every Saturday at the temple from 6pm to 7pm and are open to all including first timers. You can come every so often or every week – just turn up. Some people feel daunted before attending their first one, wondering what they’ll share or not knowing what to expect. We are a friendly bunch and if you are curious, we encourage you to come along and try it out. For those who attend they become an extremely valuable support and a place of great learning. Read more below from those who regularly come along.
“The circle is a calm, quiet and receptive space for reflection, sharing and listening. I find it a very grounding way to “wrap up” the week and clarify the feelings and experiences I have had. We don’t interject while others are talking, and the experience of being heard without interruption is very freeing. I also learn a lot from listening to what others are saying, and invariably leave the shrine room with new insights and a sense of profound peace.” ~ Roz
“In the Nembutsu Circle we meditate and have a short reading about Buddhism, we have a chance to share if we want to and we end with a little chanting. I find the Nembutsu Circle to be a very special space, what I experience mostly is a sort of perspective and clarity, there is no judgement in that space. The Nembutsu Circle offers me a way of stepping outside of my thoughts and feelings, acknowledging them in a safe environment and it sort of puts me back in the driving seat. When I listen to others share, it feels good to help hold that space for them. In a way it’s a bit like housekeeping or gardening, keeping things healthy, untangling some things, watering others. And sometimes, with nothing much to say, just listening and enjoying the rarefied space. Namo Amida Bu.” ~ Val
“Nembutsu Cirle is a safe and healthy space for listening to and sharing the ups and downs of our lives. Nembutsu is a calling to Amitabha Buddha. Inviting the holy sages into the practice puts our struggles and joys into a spiritual context and can help to make sense of the complexities of living in an increasingly challenging world.” ~ Dayamay
“Nembutsu Circle is a safe place where guided by the Buddha we can listen, learn, share and grow. I feel the Buddha’s compassion and wisdom and always leave feeling better. I’m blessed to have such a space so close to me. Namo Amida Bu.” ~ Kris