Thursday, May 23, 2019

Again on the idea that faith in Amida comes from Amida - very simple explanations

There are many who get stuck at the idea of shinjin (faith) coming from Amida, or being Amida's gift. However, this is a very simple thing, and you should understand it in a simple way, so that it may not become an obstacle.

First of all, shinjin or simple faith in Amida is like when you do not know how to fix your car and you trust John who is a mechanic to fix it for you. In our case, you cannot attain Buddhahood by yourself and you trust Amida Buddha to help you attain it by taking you to  His Pure Land.Your trust in John arises because you heard he is a very skilled mechanic and you saw him doing other repairs. So, in truth, John is the one who makes you trust him.

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Visit of two friends from Brasil at Amidaji temple

Fernando Campos, Josho and Thais Campos

These days at Amidaji I received the visit of Thais Campos and Fernando Campos (81 years old) from Brasil. We had a meaningful retreat filled with Nembutsu services and Dharma talks. As you know, Amidaji temple is always happy to receive visitors who are in a learning mood for hearing the Amida Dharma. Conditions for visitation are explained here (click here).

Friday, May 17, 2019


Portada de la versión inglesa

Los Cuatro Pensamientos Profundos son enseñanzas básicas, algo como una etapa preliminar a cualquier camino o práctica budista. Tienen el efecto de orientar la mente hacia el Dharma del Buda y deben ser un compañero constante no importa si uno es un principiante o un seguidor veterano. A veces se  denominan como las Cuatro contemplaciones, los cuatro Entendimientos o los cuatro Recordatorios. Dado que en este libro los explico en el contexto de la Puerta del Dharma de la Tierra Pura de la escuela Jodo Shinshu (El Dharma de Amida), decidí llamarlos los Cuatro Pensamientos profundos que orientan la mente hacia el Dharma de Amida. Estos pensamientos profundos son:

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

No alcohol and no worldly amusements in the temple

As you may probably know, in many Buddhist temples around the world, Jodo Shinshu or not, members organize parties with music, alcohol, and dancing. Some say it relaxes people and brings them together. I say it is a smart trick of internal maras (one's own blind passions and ignorance) and/or external maras to make people forget the Dharma in the exact place where they have the chance to deepen its meaning, a subtle way of distracting them from Dharma and keeping them focused on their worldly passions and preoccupations.

Don't get me wrong, I do not forbid members to go to parties, drink, socialize or dance. They have all the time for entertainment, but the temple is not a social club, not a bar, and not a disco. It is also not karate, yoga, taichi or ikebana club, not a bazaar and not a platform for various worldly ideologies, as some use it from time to time. The temple is and must remain a place for Dharma. Here we come for a different purpose - to listen to the Amida Dharma, become aware of the delusional nature of samsara, of death and impermanence, and of the need to aspire for the liberation in the Pure Land of Amida Buddha. 

Friday, May 10, 2019

The miracle of Jodo Shinshu

There is a famous dialogue between Rennyo Shonin and one of his disciples:

“Hokyo-bo said to Rennyo Shonin, ‘The Myogo (six character NA MO A MI DA BUTSU) you have painted has been destroyed by fire but it has become six Buddhas. How extraordinary!’
The Shonin remarked, ‘It is nothing extraordinary. Since the Buddha (that the Name represents) has become a Buddha, it is nothing extraordinary. What is extraordinary is that an evil bombu (ignorant being filled with blind passions) becomes a Buddha through a single thought of entrusting to Amida"

Sunday, April 28, 2019

Favorable conditions for accepting the Larger Sutra in faith - commentary on verses 21 - 30 from section 27 of the Larger Sutra

After the episode with the visit of Bodhisattvas and prediction for their attainment of Buddhahood, Shakyamuni continues with explaining the conditions of meeting with the teaching of the Larger Sutra and how precious and inconceivable this Dharma is.

“Without a store of good from former lives,
One cannot hear this sutra;
But those who have strictly observed the precepts
Can hear the Right Dharma.

One who has met a World-honoured One in the past
Can accept this teaching.
Such a person respectfully worships, hears,
And upholds it, and rejoices so greatly as to dance.

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Visit of Bodhisattvas from other worlds to Sukhavati and prediction for attaining Buddhahood for them and all beings – commentary on section 26 – 27 of the Larger Sutra

 As we have already seen in section 22 (“all Buddha Tathagatas in the ten directions, as numerous as the sands of the Ganges River, together praise the inconceivable, supernal virtue of Amitayus”[1]), Shakyamuni mentions again the praising of Amida and His virtues, in section 26:

“The Buddha said to Ananda, ‘The majestic virtue of Amitayus is boundless. All the innumerable, countless, and inconceivable Buddha Tathagatas in the worlds of the ten directions praise Him.’”[2]

Whenever we read about such praise by all Buddhas we should know it also means praising Amida’s method of salvation which, among the methods invented by all Buddhas, it is the easiest to bring ALL beings, no matter their spiritual evolution, to the attainment of Nirvana. By praising Amida and His merits, they automatically praise His Name as all His merits are manifested into His Name which is easy to pronounce by anybody. All such praising are related with the 17th Vow where Dharmakara promised that when He becomes Amida, all Buddhas will praise His Name.

NEW poems by Gansen John Welch