Showing posts with label buddhist holidays. Show all posts
Showing posts with label buddhist holidays. Show all posts

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, December 19, 2019

New Amidaji holiday - Winter Ohigan (December 20 - 26)

Usually there are two Ohigan festivals ( literally meaning "to reach the other shore),  on spring and autumn ecquinox, but I decided to add another two for followers of Amidaji, in winter and summer solstice, so that people have more  opportunities for reflections and celebration.

This time of year is too much filled with worldly matters and celebrations dedicated to Christmas, so Nembutsu followers will benefit from having a Buddhist holiday of their own and give a Buddhist air to these days.

Winter Ohigan will last seven days, just like the other three, between December 20 to December 26. In this week you will have plenty of time to attend temple services and celebrate at home. During these days reflect on the changing nature of samsaric existence and wish even more to be born in the Pure Land of Amida Buddha. Decorate your house with images of the Pure Land, of Amida welcoming devotees, bring offerings of cakes, fruits and nonalchoholic drinks in the name of your family and your ancestors, encouraging them to entrust to Amida. Also be happy that because you have faith in Amida you will be able to guide them to faith even better once you reach the Pure Land yourself. Sooner or later, because one or two family members have faith, all one's friends and relatives (dead or alive) will reach the Pure Land and celebrate Ohigan together. The Ohigan in this world is just a shadow of the Ohigan that will follow in the Pure Land. This is why I establish "TOGETHER IN THE PURE LAND" as the slogan for all the four Ohigans celebrated by Amidaji friends and followers.

What if my friends or relatives invite me for Christmas party which falls during one of the days of Winter Ohigan?

My answer: If you have friends or relatives who celebrate Christmas and you wish to join them at meals do this with the thought that you are celebrating Winter Ohigan and be happy that one day, maybe  in this life or another life, due to yours and Amida guidance they too will embrace the same faith and will be born in the same Pure Land. 

Ohigan is also a period of joy which comes from the trust that Amida Buddha will never stop until He will bring all beings to His Pure Land. How extraordinary this is!

Question: Can I use a pine tree or branches of pine trees and other various winter specific decorations of this period?
My answer: If you use a pine tree decorate it with  images of Amida Buddha, of Shinran, Honen, the Pure Land, Avalokitesvara, Mahasthamaprapta, etc. Use any decoration you want but add Pure Land related images on it.

May you all have a Happy and Meaningful Winter Ohigan!
Together in the Pure Land!
Namo Amida Bu

Saturday, August 14, 2010

The meaning of Obon (festival of the dead 14th-15th August)

When someone died very young a few years ago everybody was astonished. How could this happen? Why her? She was so young!
This is how every family reacts when a younger member dies suddenly.

Death looks like a thief entering unexpectedly with dirty boots in your room.
People are always taken by surprise. Even you, the reader of these lines, might be shocked if the doctor would tell you that you have cancer and only 3 months to live. Even me, the writer, might react in the same manner.
Why is that? Because for us death does not exist, it is something that always happens to somebody else or which is scheduled to take place some other time in the far future.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Eshinni and Kakushinni, the Mothers of Jodo Shinshu

the memorial stone of Kakushinni
Have you ever thought to Eshinni, the wife of Shinran Shonin or to his daughter, Kakushinni? I often think to them and my feelings are those of a son to his mother.
To us, the members of Amidaji sangha, Eshinni and her daughter are the mothers of Jodo Shinshu.
They didn’t preach like Shinran, never appeared in front of the disciples,  but this doesn’t mean their contribution was small.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Final words of Shinran Shonin

Master Shinran Shonin said these words on his deathbed, before he was born in the Pure Land:

"If you alone rejoice in Nembutsu-Faith, remember that you are with someone else. If you two rejoice in Nembutsu-Faith, remember that there is still another accompanying you. I, Shinran, am that other person."

I take these words literally and I really believe that Master Shinran is always with me although my eyes have not the capacity to see him. His presence is not a symbol, but true reality.
He is now a Buddha, because everyone who is born in the Pure Land by having absolute faith in the Primal Vow, attains perfect Buddhahood. But I also believe, like so many other people believed during his life, that he was the manifestation of Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva who came to this world in order to make the Dharma of Amida (Amitabha) easy to understand and accepted by all people, especially by those dull, ignorant and full of blind passions.

At the end of this year Hoonko, I pray that all beings, receive the same shinjin (faith) like Master Shinran, the precious guide of this Dharma ending age(1), so that all become Buddhas in the Pure Land.
Namo Amida Bu

(1)The last of the Three Dharma ages – a scheme that describes the gradual decline of Buddhist teaching in the world (its is based on the prediction of Shakyamuni). During the Perfect Dharma age, which lasted five hundred years since the passing of Shakyamuni, the teaching could be rightly understood and practiced and the Enlightenment often attained. During the Dharma Semblance age, one thousand years since the passing of Shakyamuni, the practices are still performed according to the teachings but Enlightenment is rarely attained. During the Last Dharma age, which will last ten thousand years, the teaching survives but the practices are beyond the capacities of human beings because of the spreading of various defilements which mark this time. Shinran states that we are now in the Last Dharma age and that now only the Pure Land teaching remains the most accessible way to Liberation.

NEW poems by Gansen John Welch