Sunday, September 15, 2019

Helping animals make a connection with Amida Buddha

Here it looks like Codita is bowing his
head in front of Amida image
No human being arrived today for the service, so I recited Nembutsu with one of the dogs of Amidaji - Codita.
Even if animals may not understand human language is beneficial for them to hear the sacred Name and see holy images of Amida. This plants a seed in their mental stream and will help them make a karmic connection which Amida Buddha and His Dharma, which one day, perhaps in a better rebirth, will result in becoming open to His Primal Vow. This is why I encourage you to say Nembutsu in the presence of animals, make them see Amida images and even put statues with Amida on the crown of their head.

When I caress my dog I say Nembutsu.
In time, if you do that, your pet may
associate your gentle gestures with Nembutsu
which again will leave a deep impression
on their mindstream
Somebody commented on my Facebook page where I also posted these photos:

“There are many animal cases who can join a service and get reborn into Pure Land”.

To this I answered:
He may look cute but in reality, he is
the fiercest dog I have here, so I keep him
away when I have visitors. His role is to
defend the temple, especially
during the night 

Normally, a being must understand the Amida Dharma, entrust to Amida and say His Name in faith in order to be born in the Pure Land. But the truth is that life is mysterious and there are texts who speak of some animals being more evolved than others, some even retaining memories of previous lives, which means they can really entrust to Amida. However, these are not everyday cases, and so, even if animals are just animals, they can still benefit from hearing Amida's Name or seeing His holy images.



At the end of the service, we both had a big laugh
 at the dreamlike nature of samsaric existence.



Thursday, September 12, 2019

Biography of Shinran Shonin (audio version)

This is the official biography of Shinran Shonin as accepted by Nishi Hongwanji branch of Jodo Shinshu, and also by our temple, Amidaji. The reason I say so is that this biography is recited aloud on every Hoonko week (Shinran’s Memorial) at Nishi Hongwanji mother temple between January 9th to January 16th. 

The title of the biography is “An Illustrated Biography of Shinran, Honganji's Shonin (Honganji Shonin Shinran Denne)” and was compiled by Kakunyo, the 3rd Monshu of Hongwanji temple.

The narrator of this biography is Gansen John Welch, a member, and teacher in Amidaji temple sangha. The edition he uses was translated by Rev Zuio Hisao Inagaki and can be accessed at this link, http://web.mit.edu/stclair/www/horai/denne-index.htm Please click there if you wish to read the whole text together with an introduction, images, and notes.

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Commentary on the Sutra on the Buddha of Infinite Life (Larger Sutra)


This is a work in progress and under constant revision. The most recent chapters are added at the end of the list.

LAST UPDATE September 9th, 2019 
I finished commenting on all the sections of the Larger Sutra. The next step is to revise everything, then give the whole text for English proofreading. I will let you know when the final version is ready. Please have patience as the progress will be very slow.


. Thus I have heard - the time and place of the deliverance of the Larger Sutra and the qualities of the audience - commentary on sections 1 and 2

Shakyamuni Buddha's supreme appearance and the reason for His coming to this world - commentary on section 3

The story of Dharmakara becoming Amida Buddha - commentary on sections 4 to 10

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

The karmic situation of beings who have no aspiration for Enlightenment and Shakyamuni’s encouragement to do good in daily life and wish to be born in the Pure Land – commentary on sections 31 - 40 (PART II) of the Larger Sutra

     
                          fragment from my commentary on the Larger Sutra


     2) Shakyamuni’s encouragements to do good in daily life and aspire for birth in the Pure Land for the attainment of Enlightenment

To counter the karmic effects of the evil acts described previously one has two options: to do good or to aspire to be born in the Pure Land. Even without having the aspiration for birth in the Pure Land, people can still do good and change their karmic situation for the better. Also, the aspiration for birth in the Pure Land and the non-discriminative salvation offered by Amida does not mean one should not try to have a good behavior towards others. As long as one is clearly aware that his/her salvation depends entirely on the Power of Amida Buddha and abandons any idea of transferring his pitiful merits towards birth in the Pure Land, his efforts to lead a decent life and do as much good as possible is not in contradiction with the Primal Vow. Thus, to try to lead a moral life and aspire for birth in the Pure Land can be followed in the same time by those who have faith in Amida.

Sunday, September 8, 2019

The karmic situation of beings who have no aspiration for Enlightenment and Shakyamuni’s encouragement to do good in daily life and wish to be born in the Pure Land – commentary on sections 31 - 40 (PART I) of the Larger Sutra


I divide this chapter into the following sections:

1. The karmic situation of beings who have no aspiration towards Enlightenment
2.  Shakyamuni’s encouragements to do good in daily life and to aspire for birth in the Pure Land for the attainment of Enlightenment

 1.     The karmic situation of beings who have no aspiration towards Enlightenment

Shakyamuni Buddha described various kinds of evil deeds and their karmic consequences like for example, the three evil acts and their retribution, and the five kinds of evils and their effects – the five sufferings and the five burnings. I will present each one of them bellow in Shakyamuni’s own words and offer my comments only when necessary, as they are very easy to understand. My advice is to transform the reading into a contemplation of the sad situation of those without the aspiration towards Enlightenment and who, because they have no faith in Amida, have no chance of escaping samsara.

Friday, September 6, 2019

Condiciones para ser aceptado como estudiante en el templo Amidaji

Rev Josho Adrian Cirlea, templo Amidaji
                       Juan Sebastián Hincapié Arana
                                                            
Lo siguiente también aplica para las personas que preguntan ocasionalmente por enseñanzas mías, o para  quienes visitan Amidaji, sin participar en una relación prolongada entre profesor-alumno.

Ya lo he explicado muchas veces, pero creo que es mejor decirlo nuevamente en más detalle, para que las personas que deseen recibir orientación de mí sepan que esperar. Así que, primero, lean esto, y luego decidan si desean continuar o no.

Sunday, September 1, 2019

Various benefits gained by the audience – commentary on section 48 of the Larger Sutra

Shakyamuni Buddha entrusting
 the sutra to Maitreya, the future Buddha

            Although the intention of Shakyamuni when delivering this sutra was to help the audience and us, people of future generations, to entrust completely to Amida, say His Name in faith and aspire to be born in His Pure Land, that is, to come in accord with the Primal Vow, only a part of those present actually did that and entered the stage of non-retrogression. However, because they were in the presence of Shakyamuni Buddha’s field of influence and had various degrees of devotion towards Him, and because they all without exception, rejoiced at the Buddha’s discourse”[1] they did acquire some important benefits for their later spiritual development :

NEW poems by Gansen John Welch