Friday, December 28, 2018

Is Amida Buddha a real person or a symbol/metaphor?

the altar of Amidaji temple
- fragment from a letter to a friend - 

Question: Is Amida a symbol or metaphor for Wisdom and Compassion? Some scholars nowadays support this idea.

Answer: Those scholars are wrong. Amida Buddha is NOT a symbol or metaphor for Wisdom and Compassion, but a real, existing Enlightened Person possessing Infinite Wisdom and Compassion. 
I always insist on the actual, literal existence of Amida Buddha and His Pure Land because without realizing and accepting this existence, faith of unenlightened people becomes abstract and false. There can be no real faith without a real object of faith – in our case, Amida Buddha.
If you can’t say it to yourself and others that the object of your faith is a real, living Buddha, then you don’t have faith. No matter how great scholar you are, if your knowledge and study has not simplified your faith, and if you can’t talk about faith in simple terms, then you don’t have faith.

Thursday, December 20, 2018

December 20th - The Day of All Buddha's Witness

I bow my head at the feet of all Buddhas in the ten directions
May I never forget their compassionate guidance.
After being born in Sukhavati I will visit their Pure Lands
to bring offerings to them and worship them.
This Amida has promised in His 23rd and 24th Vow

Today, December 20th we celebrate at Amidaji (click here for our Dharma calendarThe Day of all Buddha's Witness, in which we remember that all Buddhas praise Amida Buddha’s Name and encourage us to entrust to Him, say His Name and wish to go to His Pure Land.

First we hear about this from Amida Buddha himself in his 17th Vow, in which He promised:

“If, when I attain Buddhahood, innumerable Buddhas in the lands of the ten directions should not all praise and glorify my Name, may I not attain perfect Enlightenment.” 

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

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

last updated and revised December 19th 2018

Question: How can I be sure that I say Nembutsu in the right way? You often use terms like “the genuine/true Nembutsu”. What is it exactly and how it differs from a Nembutsu said in the wrong way?

Answer: 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.

Sunday, December 2, 2018

New guest room at Amidaji

the myogo on the altar was donated
by Cheusa Wend from USA. She also
donated the myogo from the library
After my father (who donated the land for the temple) died, my mother agreed that I can use for Amidaji half of the house where she and father lived  (almost 50 meters from the Hondo  and library), with a separate entrance, so I started to arrange a new space for guests and a guest room there.

this hallway is also used for
guests during retreats
This new guest room can be used especially if the library is already occupied. Here there is a small altar with a myogo. All guest rooms I build or arrange for guests will have a small altar with a myogo (six character Name - Namo Amida Butsu) and/or statue of Amida. 

A new electrical system is also installed in the new place for guests. One of our members Catalin Suru is working on it. Above you can see the photo with the finished work (a few weeks ago) and bellow you can see photos from since the work started, a few months ago.

Saturday, November 24, 2018

Simple instructions for beings in the intermediate state (bardo) to be born in the Pure Land

(last update November 26th 2018 - scroll down to read)

Can a person who did not entrust to Amida Buddha during his life, change his mind and entrust while in the intermediate state between death and the next rebirth (bardo)?

I do not recall any passage from Shinran, Rennyo, Honen or other Patriarch of our lineage in which liberation through faith while in bardo was specifically mentioned, but I personally think it is possible. In fact, Shinran too, said a few times in his writings that beings who are born in the Pure Land of Amida Buddha „are not solely from this world”[1], so I don’t see why a bardo being cannot go there  if he comes in accord with Amida’s Primal Vow, that is, if he entrusts to Him, says His Name and wishes to go His Pure Land.  The Primal Vow itself is all inclusive as Amida does not say there that only human beings can go to His Pure Land (- see my explanations of The meaning of "sentient beings of the ten quarters" from the Primal Vow).

Friday, November 23, 2018

My Path to True Shin Buddhism by Gansen John Welch

Gansen John Welch is a member of Amidaji temple and a close Dharma friend. He is also the narrator of my books. He already finished recording the audio version of The Four Profound Thoughts Which Turn the Mind Towards Amida Dharma (click here to listen) and The True Teaching on Amida Buddha and His Pure Land (click here to listen)
He is now working on the audio version of my newest book, The Meaning of Faith and Nembutsu in Jodo Shinshu Buddhism - click here to see the playlist. 
His poems can be listened in audio format here.

My Path to True Shin Buddhism
By Gansen John Welch

I am writing this in the hope that others may be encouraged, inspired and motivated to listen to and read Amida Dharma, find a good teacher of True Shin Buddhism and “entrust your karmic destiny entirely, utterly and completely to Amida Buddha.” This too was my motivation for narrating Josho’s excellent books and writing verses inspired by Amida Dharma. 

NEW poems by Gansen John Welch