Friday, January 27, 2017

Repentance and the Nembutsu of Faith


Along the path of personal power, repentance is a very important method of destroying the negative karma. However, true repentance is not just a simple confession of mistakes, but a deep awareness which penetrates one's body and mind. Thus, Master Shan-tao explained that there are three types of genuine repentance:

"The high grade of repentance is to shed blood from the pores of one’s body and also to shed blood from one’s eyes.
The middle grade of repentance is to shed hot sweat from the pores of one’s whole body and also to shed blood from one’s eyes.
The low grade of repentance is to feel feverish all over the body and also to shed tears from one’s eyes".[1]

Answering the question whether repentance is necessary in Pure Land Buddhism, Master Shan-tao says in the same book (Liturgy for Birth), which was quoted by Shinran in his Kyogyoshinsho, that if the follower has faith in the salvation offered by Amida Buddha he reaches the same result as in the case of repentance:

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

The Nembutsu of faith - the genuine saying of the Name of Amida Buddha


- fragment from a letter to a friend -

The Name of Amida Buddha is not your property, and it does not work because of you. It works because of Amida. Your saying of the Name is effective because Amida put all His Power and infinite merits in His Name.

If you entrust yourself to Amida Buddha's salvific Power, then you are saying the Name in accordance with its true nature, but if you are saying the Name and think that its efficacy depends on something within yourself, like how often you say it, or how focused you are when you say it, or on the presence of so and so virtue and merit in you, then you cannot benefit from all the blessings of the Name. This is why those who say the Name in self power (followers of the 20thVow)[1] can go only to the border land of the Pure Land. They may usually say - "but we rely on Amida's Name, not on ourselves"; however, the reality is that deep in their minds what they actually do is - "we rely on our capacity to recite as many times as possible". So they actually think, "the more we recite, the better chances we have to be born in the Pure Land". Well, this is exactly what hinders them to entrust completely to the Power of Amida Buddha and be born in the true fulfilled land of the Pure Land (the "center" of the Pure Land) and immediately attain Buddhahood there.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

ANNOUNCEMENT - help needed for winter season

Dear Dharma friends of Amidaji temple,

The winter is very hard here, especially that the wood for heating are almost finished at Amidaji and the expanses for living and heating are very high in this period. Any little donation would be welcomed and very much appreciated, especially now. It will help me go through the winter, continue my writing, translations and general Dharma work.

If you can afford to, please consider a donation to this link:

or check the DONATION box in the left column (PayPal and Bank account are offered).

Gratefully yours in Namo Amida Butsu,

Josho

PS: Attention - donations (or sponsorship) do not solve the "matter of the greatest importance" of death and rebirth. Only through simple faith in Amida we can be born in the Pure Land and attain Buddhahood. Thus, donation is NOT a religious obligation, but a free-will gesture of help.

Friday, December 30, 2016

Verses of aspiration when making offerings

altar of Amidaji temple


I offer this flower to Amida Buddha on behalf of all beings. By seeing its decaying beauty may we realize that our lives and so called "spiritual achievements" are transitory, and turn our minds and hearts to the Salvific Power of Amida Buddha.

I offer this burning candle to Amida Buddha on behalf of all beings. May we accept Amida's Light which permeates every corner of the Universe, and entrust to Him with unshakable faith.

I offer this incense to Amida Buddha on behalf of all beings. May we become imbued with the perfume of His Dharma, receive faith in Him and be born in His Pure Land after death.

I offer this cup of water to Amida Buddha on behalf of all beings. May our thirst be forever saturated in His Pure Land where we attain perfect Enlightenment.

I offer this cup of rice to Amida Buddha on behalf of all beings. May we receive faith in Him and guide others to faith. May the seeds of Amida Dharma multiply endlessly until the ocean of Samsaric existence becomes empty.
Namo Amida Butsu

*

These words came to my mind spontaneously when sitting in front of the altar of Amida Buddha and making offerings. They are NOT some kind of merit transference, but a simple wish and act of awareness. Every object in the temple is a reminder of Amida's Compassion for us, and the need to rely on Him single heartedly. As far as I know, the flowers, incense and candles signify impermanence, perfume of Dharma and Light of Amida,  respectively, in all Shinshu temples affiliated with Hongwanji. Of course, one can simply say the Nembutsu, without the need for any other verse,  hymns or ritual implements. Its up to everyone to enjoy his (her) personal relation with Amida Buddha as he (she) likes it.

PS: instead of water you can offer tea or any other non-alcoholic drinks


Tuesday, December 13, 2016

A short Dharma dialogue on meditation in relation with Jodo Shinshu


Question by Zakaj:
You say meditation is useless. But what if someone were to tell you: "Yes, I know meditation is useless for attainment of Enlightenment in Mappo era. But I don't do it for that reason. I do it for the neurological benefits that are proven by science" - what would you reply then? Thanks.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Some elements of Buddhist cosmology


the wheel of samsara with various realms
of existence
Recent discussions with various readers convinced me that it would be very useful to have a single paper in which to gather my most important articles on Buddhist cosmology. So, I made this pdf format for free distribution -  Some Elements of Buddhist Cosmology.

Most of the articles in this presentation are from the first part of my book, The True Teaching on Amida Buddha and His Pure Land, but some, like number 5 and 6 were published only on this website. 

The presentation contains the following chapters:

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Library of Amidaji affected by a powerful storm

The roof of the library is on the fence

- scroll down in the article to read the last update! -

Dear friends,

I was preparing to post some new photos with what I have done in the last days at Amidaji, like planting some new trees, improvements to the stoves,  when disaster stroke.

A very powerful storm blew for 24 hours in the South of Romania (many houses were affected in my village and electricity was interrupted all day) and destroyed the library. Normally, the house should have resisted, but there was a mistake made by the company who produced the wooden frames for the southern wall, and the instalation team who helped me built the house promised that they will come and repair it.  Unfortunatelly, they did not come although I called them repeatedly, and this powerful wind enlarged the crack in the wall until it blew the roof entirely.