Friday, February 14, 2020

Words before and after meals

in the kitchen of Amidaji temple

I was asked to offer instructions on what to say before and after meals. This is the formula I use daily, and I advise you to do the same alone or with your family:

Before the meals:
Amida Buddha, I (we) receive this food with gratitude. May it help me (us) on your Path for the benefit of all beings.
Namo Amida Bu

After the meal:
Amida Buddha, may all beings who contributed to this meal and those in whose name was offered be healthy in body and mind, always receive what is beneficial to them, have food, drink, clothes, and shelter, make indestructible connections with you, entrust to you, say your Name (Namo Amida Bu) and wish to be born in your Pure Land.
Namo Amida Bu

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Comentario sobre el Sutra del Buda de Vida Infinita (edición gratuita)

Portada de la versión inglesa

En primer lugar, debe entenderse claramente que este no es un estudio académico, secular o histórico, sino un comentario religioso. Su objetivo es explicar en términos fáciles de entender el significado profundo del Sutra más grande[1] para que así las personas puedan recibir fe en el Buda Amida[2] y nacer en Su Tierra Pura después de la muerte. Yo, el autor de este comentario, acepto con fe el contenido del sutra y considero que describe eventos reales, un Buda real y existente llamado Amida y un lugar iluminado real llamado la Tierra Pura. El deseo de mi corazón es que los lectores lleguen a compartir la misma opinión para que surja la verdadera fe y aspiración en ellos. Hay muchas maneras de leer el Sutra más grande y existen varias capas de  interpretación, por eso se benefician diferentes tipos de practicantes: aquellos que optan por enfocarse en el Buda Amida pero aún se aferran a su poder propio como seguidores de los votos 19 y 20, así como los seguidores del Voto Primordial (el Voto 18) quienes son practicantes que confían exclusivamente en el poder del Buda Amida.

Monday, January 27, 2020

The prostitute of Muro, a disciple of Honen Shonin

"When Honen arrived at the port of Muro on his way into exile on Shikoku in the spring of 1207, a small boat drew near carrying a woman of the night. She said to Honen, "I heard that this was your boat, and I have come to meet you. There are many ways of getting on in the world, but what terrible acts could have been committed in a former life of mine to bring me into such a miserable life as this? What can a woman who carries a load of karma like mine do to escape and be saved in the world to come?"

Honen compassionately replied, "Your guilt in living such a life is surely great and the penalties seem incalculable. If you can find another means of livelihood, give this up at once. But if you can’t, or if you are not yet ready to sacrifice your very life for the true way, begin just as you are and call on the sacred Name (Namo Amida Butsu). It is for just such deluded folk as you that Amida Buddha made that wonderfully comprehensive Primal Vow (hongan). So put your full trust in it without the smallest reservation. If you rely upon the Primal Vow and repeat the Nembutsu, your Ojo (birth in the Pure Land) is absolutely certain." Thus kindly taught, the woman began to weep out of joy. Later, Honen said of her, "She is a woman of strong faith. She is sure to attain Ojo."

Sunday, January 26, 2020

Kyo Amidabutsu (Shiro Amano) of Kawachi Province

Public teaching by Honen
According to Amidaji calendar, on January 26th we celebrate Kyo Amidabutsu (Shiro Amano), a disciple of Honen Shonin. Here are some discussions between him and Honen and the story of his conversion:

"In the province of Kawachi near present-day Osaka, there lived a man called Shiro Amano who was the leader of a gang of thieves. He passed most of his life murdering people and stealing their goods. But after he had grown old, he came under Honen's influence and gave himself over to spiritual life, taking the name of Kyo Amidabutsu. Sometime later he found Honen in the main hall of the temple and said to him, "I have no relatives in the city, so it’ll be hard for me to stay here much longer. I have a friend living in the province of Sagami near Kamakura, and I’m intending to go and ask him to let me stay with him. As I’m already an old man, it’ll be hard for me to come and see you again. Of course, I’m only an ignorant person, so even if I were told all the deepest teachings of the Dharma, it wouldn’t be of much use to me since I wouldn’t understand them. I’d like just one word from you about what I should do to make sure of Birth in the Pure Land, and that I’ll try to remember all my life."

Friday, January 17, 2020

Every 17th of each month - The Day of All Buddhas' 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

On every 17 of each month we celebrate at Amidaji (click here for our Dharma calendarThe Day of all Buddhas' Witness.

On this day we are grateful to all Buddhas for guiding us to Amida. Also, 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.” 

Thursday, January 9, 2020

Commentary on the Sutra on the Buddha of Infinite Life (Larger Sutra) - free online edition

temporary cover until I find a professional
to make me a better one
last revised version uploaded on January 9, 2020 

First of all, it must be clearly understood that this is not an academic, secular or historical study, but a religious commentary. Its goal is to explain in easy to understand terms the deep meaning of the Larger Sutra[1] so that people can receive faith in Amida Buddha and be born in His Pure Land after death. I, the author of this commentary, accept in faith the contents of the sutra and consider that it describes real events, a real, existing Buddha called Amida[2] and a real Enlightened place called the Pure Land. My heart’s desire is that readers will come to share the same view so that true faith and aspiration arise in them.
There are many ways to read the Larger Sutra and various layers of interpretation, which is why different types of practitioners benefit from it - those who choose to focus on Amida Buddha but still cling to their self-power like followers of the 19th and 20th Vows, as well as followers of the Primal Vow (18th) who rely exclusively on Amida’s power.

Friday, December 27, 2019

Where is Amida Buddha? (very short answer)

Where is Amida Buddha?

My answer:
Amida Buddha is in three places at the same time:

1) in ultimate Dharmakaya beyond form,
2) in Sambhogakaya form in the Pure Land, and
3) in various, unlimited manifestations or Nirmanakayas which are spread everywhere in the ten directions.

Amida’s Dharmakaya has no beginning and no end, because it is uncreated, and always existing. This is the Buddha-nature which does not depend on causes and conditions. Amida’s Sambhogakaya or transcendental (recompensed) body which He has manifested in the Pure Land has a beginning, when Bodhisattva Dharmakaraattained Enlightenment and became Amida Buddha, and will have no end, as He promised in His 13th Vow.
The various Nirmanakayas (accommodated/transformed) bodies have a beginning when Amida in Sambhogakaya form decides to emanate them and an end if He decides to terminate them.

When we ourselves will attain Buddhahood in the Pure Land, we’ll have access to the ultimate reality beyond forms (Dharmakaya), we’ll dwell forever in transcendent form (Sambhogakaya) in Amida’s Pure Land, and in the same time, we’ll go in all the places of the universe in various bodies of accommodation or transformation (Nirmanakayas) to save all beings.

NEW poems by Gansen John Welch