Friday, August 18, 2017

Invitation to become a patron (constant supporter) of Amidaji by little monthly donations


Dear friends in the Dharma,

As you well know, all my Dharma activities, my books and articles are available for FREE to all who wish to learn about the orthodox Jodo Shinshu Buddhist teaching. Also, at Amidaji temple there are NO taxes or fees for accomodation, religious services or teaching activities. 
Yes, I do have the printed editions of my books on sale on Amidaji website, but I also provide, (according to my religious vow), free online editions for those who can't afford or simply don't want to buy.  Also, printed editions are sometimes given as gifts at various ocassions and to people who cannot read online or in pdf, and also cannot aford to buy. 
I am glad to say that, for example, at every two printed copies sold per month, I have at least 50 copies downloaded for free. This is good news and a sign that what I teach and write is useful to many.

Monday, August 14, 2017

2) Impermanence and death



"This existence of ours is as transient as autumn clouds.
To watch the birth and death of beings is like looking at the movement of a dance.
A lifetime is like a flash of lightning in the sky,
Rushing by, like a torrent down a steep mountain".[1]

           
Nothing that can be found in samsara lasts forever: the outer universe, the bodies of beings in various states of existence, the social status and wealth, our so called "spiritual achievements", etc.

The great world systems with their various realms and planets that appear due to collective karma of beings inhabiting them will disintegrate one day. Then other worlds will be born and die again.[2] The long-living gods of higher states of existence know death too, just like any samsaric being. Rulers of vast celestial realms as well as rulers of humans will also die and their kingdoms will dissapear. Rich and poor, succesful people or losers, all will leave their present bodies and will not take with them any of their worldly achievements or failure. Death is indeed, the great equalizer:

Thursday, August 10, 2017

1. Preciousness of human birth



Original Photo by nsyll available on Flickr.com
"This free and well-favoured human form is difficult to obtain.
Now that you have the chance to realize the full human potential,
If you don’t make good use of this opportunity,
How could you possibly expect to have such a chance again?"[1]

The first thought that turns the mind toward the Buddha Dharma is the preciousness of human birth and the importance of using it well for escaping samsara.
But what is so special about birth in human form? There are a few elements here. First, the human birth is extremely rare. Second, human birth is a favorable balance between pain and pleasure which makes listening and devoting to the Dharma easier.
To make us realize how rare is birth in human form Shakyamuni Buddha told the following parable from the Chiggala Sutra (Samyuta Nikaya):

The Four Profound Thoughts that Turn the Mind Toward the Dharma


The Four Profound Thoughts are a basic teaching, something like a preliminary to any Buddhist path or practice. They have the effect of turning the mind towards the Buddha Dharma and should be a constant companion no matter one is a beginner or an older follower. Sometimes I may refer to them as the Four Contemplations, the Four Understandings or the Four Reminders. In this post I am going to explain them in the context of the Pure Land Dharma Gate of Jodo Shinshu.

The Four Profound Thoughts are:

3. Karma - the law of cause and effect (coming soon)
4. Samsara is suffering (coming soon)


If one contemplates, understands, remembers and never forgets these four, then one is a serious follower of Buddha Dharma. Such a contemplation, understanding and remembering is not something special, but a simple knowing that our situation is defined by the above four truths. I will talk about each one of them in detail. Please click on them to read the explanations. Some are ready, and some will be posted soon.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Verses of advice on the coming Obon days (festival of the dead)


A friend of mine asked me to send him a few words on the coming Obon festival, so I wrote these verses, which comprise the essentials of our teaching:

Cremate the old corpse of clinging to your so called merits and "spiritual realisations" in the fire of the twofould profound conviction.

Conduct daily funeral ceremonies for your attachement to self power by entrusting to Amida's Power of salvation.

As the smoke offering to provide to the departed, enjoy in the merit transference of coming back to this world to save all beings.

And for the funeral monument, raise the Nembutsu of faith on the grave of different practices, teachings and wrong views.

 ***

Explanation of some terms for those who have little knowledge of Jodo Shinshu:

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Works for strenghtening the Hondo (Dharma Hall) and library of Amidaji (part II the Library)


Added some wooden pillars to the walls to strenghten them. 
Then the pillars were fixed with strong nails on the concrete platform.
This is good news! Everything I did for improving and strenghtening the Hondo (Dharma Hall) I have just done for the library of Amidaji:

- added some wood pillars to the walls to strenghten them. Then the pillars were fixed with strong nails on the concrete platform.
- added a layer of polystyrene (10 cm thick) on the walls
- added a layer of polystyrene (3cm) under the roof
- added a strong construction net and a mixture over the polystyrene to better fix it on the walls
- added a good painting over everything at the end of the work  
- added some rain draining system