Showing posts with label personal experiences. Show all posts
Showing posts with label personal experiences. Show all posts

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Enjoy the taste of nembutsu

I met people who were somehow afraid of reciting nembutsu for many times, or using a nenju of 108 beads as a help in their recitation, thinking that this might become a jiriki (1) effort. So, I thought of presenting to you a short and relaxed questions and answers dialogue in order to express my opinion about this, and to disperse their tensions and worries.

Question: It is said that in Jodo Shinshu the number of recitation is not important. So we do not need to say nembutsu many times in order to be born in the Pure Land.
Answer: Yes, it is true.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Disgusted with samsara

Sometimes the thought of death becomes unbearable. And the more unbearable it becomes, the more I understand the urgency to follow the Dharma and take refuge in Amida.
It has nothing to do with merit or being wise. When one sees that fire burns his room and his entire house, he has no other option than run through the door, or through the window. What else can he do? In the same way, what other option do I have, than trying to escape this miserable house of pain?
Sometimes the events of my life become unbearable and impermanence shows his ugly teeth to me. It's all the same shit, repeated again and again in every life. I am born, I grow, become attached to this or that, I waste my life, become sick, old and finally die just to start it all over again. And between these events, I lose everybody I love.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Why do I shave my head

For me, the shaving of the head is not just a simple cutting of the hair, but a profound act.
Before I received priest ordination from Go-Monshu-sama (our Patriarch) I had long hair and a beard. From 16 to 26 I never cut my hair for any reason, but I was very happy to abandon it for the Dharma and even now I shave regularly.

When we arrange our hair in a certain fashion it is like we say to the world: "Look at me, I am somebody, I am this or that." Our hair style represents our personality. But, in Buddhism, when we shave our head, we say :"I am nobody". No definition. Also, for me, as a Jodo Shinshu priest. shaving means "I don't play smart in regard to the Dharma". Its like refusing to put myself and my own opinions higher than Amida Dharma. Its an act of humbleness toward the Three Treasures and other beings.

Sunday, November 18, 2007


Many Buddhist practitioners are like a man staring at the sun, but with his body in a hole full of shit.

Here the sun represents the ideal – Buddhahood to be attained through his own power. This ideal is of course very beautiful and the practitioner always like to stare at it and to take delight in many beautiful words about Enlightenment, emptiness, Buddha-nature, that we are all Buddhas-to-be, etc. The hole of shit is his true reality of the here and now, his deep karmic evil, his limitations, attachments and blind passions that cover all his body and mind.

Saturday, November 10, 2007


"If, when I attain Buddhahood, sentient beings of the ten quarters who sincerely entrust themselves to me, desire to be born in my land, and say my Name perhaps even ten times, should not be born there, may I not attain the supreme Enlightenment."
The Primal Vow (18th Vow) of Amida Buddha

The words of the Primal Vow are the most precious words for me in the whole Buddhism. I like to repeat them in my mind or loudly. I like to contemplate them. I like to savor them.
While reading them again and again I cannot stop my joy that these words really exists – they are true and real words said by a true and real Buddha called Amida. And they were said especially for people like myself.

I put all my trust in these words because they are the promise of Amida Buddha. Shakyamuni, the historical Buddha, told in the Larger Sutra the story of Amida . I accept this story and promise with simple faith. As a simple, stupid and full of blind passion Buddhist peasant that I am, I need nothing else – for me its enough to accept the words of the Primal Vow in faith.

Other Buddhists may be wiser than me, more virtuous, very much advanced in meditation, maybe they can understand the ultimate nature of all things, and to them I may look like a stupid person that have a very low level of Buddhist understanding. I do not mind, because this is exactly what I am. For me the words of the Primal Vow are enough. They represent Buddhism to me and through them I become a disciple of Shakyamuni and all Buddhas. These words are not a koan (1) or a subtle metaphor, but a simple and direct promise so that all stupid and low level Buddhists can understand. These words are the only one that make me to accept my life as it is, with ups and downs, and to accept my death that can come at any time. These words are the only one who can make me say: “It’s all right if I live and all right if I die”.

(1) Koan is a word or a phrase of nonsensical language which cannot be “solved” by the intellect. It is used as an exercise to break through the limitations of conventional thought and to develop intuition, giving the practitioner the chance to reach an awareness beyond duality. They are used as meditation objects in Rinzai Zen. However, very often these koans are treated by many as mere intellectual interesting games, loosing in this way their original function.

NEW poems by Gansen John Welch