October 23, 2017 at 9:44 am #2217
Here’s where you can tell us a little bit about yourself – where do you live? How did you hear about this course? Have you had any experience of Buddhist practices in the past? Why did you sign up? What are you hoping for? What else would you like to tell us about yourself – do you have any children or pets, what work do you do, what stage of your life are you at, do you have any big decision to make? I look forward to hearing about you!
I’ll kick us off as I’ll also be taking part in the practice this month. I’m Rev. Satyavani (known as Satya), a priest here at Amida Mandala which I run with my husband Kaspa. We’ve been here for three years now and we’ve been working to grow a local congregation and also worked alongside other Order members to put things in place to help Amida Shu Buddhism grow internationally (i.e. the materials to help people start their own Amida Shu Home Groups).
It’s a great privilege to live in this lovely temple – we have quite a big garden, and Malvern is a nice little town with hills that we don’t get onto enough! We have three cats & two bunnies, and when I’m not running the temple or being a psychotherapist (my ‘day job’) I’m writing, reading, baking, watching Ru Paul’s Drag Race (!) or eating vegan cake with friends.
I’m really looking forward to November Nembutsu – I’m intrigued as to how you will all find this practice, which is as familiar to me as my own hands, and very precious… Over to you!
October 23, 2017 at 4:07 pm #2284Acharya Sujatin (temple host)Moderator
Hello – I’m so grateful for this initiative!
I heard about the course because Kaspa and Satya told me about their inspiration to offer it. I’m also an Amida priest – I’m Sujatin, an Acharya (senior teacher) with the Order.
I live in Perth – the one in Scotland. (There are many other Perths, named after the original, to remind people of their country of birth – most of them will be much larger than my own ‘Fair City’). I have a ‘home temple’, with a shrine room and Amida Scotland meet here. I’ve been here for three years – previously I was in Newcastle upon Tyne, where I also had a home temple and was Buddhist chaplain to the two Universities in the city..
I signed up because, although nembutsu has been my primary practice for 19 years, there’s always more to learn. Kaspa and Satya have such a fresh and engaging approach to everything they do and are so welcoming to all. And it’ll be such a warm experience to be part of a wide group, some of whom I know in person and many more that I don’t – yet. Nembutsu can be practiced alone or in community – lovely to think of a group of us connecting in this way.
What else? I’m married to Peter, who is a translator, I’m the mother of two adult children and the grandmother of four teenaged granddaughters. They all live in the south of England (apart from Peter, who is here). London and Reading and Worthing often feels a very long way away!
I have a 16 year old silver tabby Maine Coon cat, called Tashi and an 18 month old black and white Lhasa Apso pup called Ojo. He and I have just been walking in the woodland above my house, on Kinnoull Hill. He loves chasing the leaves!
I read copiously – ‘worthy’ books but also crime fiction. I knit and have recently started spinning – very badly – and weaving. That’s a bit more successful. I’ve discovered a creative, free style way of weaving, called Saori, in which there are no mistakes. Phew, that’s something I can manage. I’m using yarns from small producers in Scotland and the north of England – love the idea of supporting individuals that I know and also feeling part of a tradition that’s been tied to the land for many thousands of years. Weaving, knitting and spinning are good activities to chant to. Mind you, so are driving, chopping carrots, walking in the city or the woods.
Looking forward to hearing about others! Namo Amida Bu
October 23, 2017 at 4:53 pm #2285
Hello Sujatin – so pleased you’ll be joining us!
October 25, 2017 at 8:51 am #2288KerryParticipant
Hello everyone, my name is Kerry and I follow the Amida Mandala Buddhist Group on Facebook. I have also attended a Dharma talk at the temple.
I live in Malvern and work in mental health as a Secretary. I have 1 cat called Trixibelle who I welcomed into my home 4 years ago, after she was found abandoned. I am also a walker/cuddler/play friend to my mum’s dog, Libby (who was also a stray, from Romania!).
I enjoy reading (history, Scandinavian crime fiction, psychological thrillers and romance), cooking (and eating!), walking (especially with Libby) and craft making (have taken up sewing and recently made a picture frame birthday gift out of scrabble letters, old bits of jewellery and buttons!).
I haven’t experienced any Buddhist practices in the past, but it’s something I was intrigued by whilst visiting the USA 4 years ago. Whilst browsing stalls at an outdoor market one day, a tiny book caught my eye, titled ‘Heart of a Buddha’. The stall owner said I could have it for free. I tried to pay her, but she insisted I take it. The quotes are beautiful and leave me feeling warm, happy, but wanting to feel more ‘engaged’ somehow.
My beloved dog Ruby, passed away last year. It was the most painful experience and still is at times. I am hoping Nembutsu will help.
I find with a busy working life, I don’t always get quality time to focus on relaxing. After reading your wonderful introductory essay Satya, I am looking forward to the benefits from applying the Mindfulness of Buddha to my life.
I am very grateful for this opportunity and it’s lovely to meet everyone here (in a virtual sense!).
November 4, 2017 at 10:16 pm #2348
Nice to meet you Kerry.
October 26, 2017 at 1:43 am #2289Johnathan RobertsonParticipant
Hello! I’m John from Baltimore, Maryland. I’m an undergrad student and an Amida Shu ministerial aspirant. I’m also a member of First Unitarian Church of Baltimore where I hold Pureland-based services and volunteer as member of the administrative staff.
I have two cats, one wife, and too many books. I like reading Connie Willis, literary classics, and old dry epics. I also enjoy comedy movies like “Oscar” and am a huge fan of Super Mario games.
I found out about this course through Facebook and would like to bring a little extra vitality back to my Nembutsu practice. I hope everyone enjoys the course!
November 4, 2017 at 10:18 pm #2349
Nice to meet you Johnathan.
Your line about ‘two cats, one wife, and too many books, made me laugh.
October 27, 2017 at 6:26 pm #2290NatiParticipant
My name is Nati. I am from a little village in the northern coast of Spain called Avilés. I live there with my husband , my son and my beloved dog, Oto, a beagle who is 11 years now. My daughter lives and works in Madrid. I love dancing, learning…I am a student of Buddhist psychology, and I do occasionally work as a psychotherapist.
I am very excited and grateful about the fact of starting this course. In fact I have become a Buddhist one month and a half ago, so in that sense I am an absolute beginner. However I started to practice by my own many years ago in a personal way, maybe similar to contemplation, which arose from catholicism. I feel very grateful to that root, but little by little it was developing in a cetain way.
When I discovered Pureland Buddhism and its main practice, the Nembutsu, I was surprised because of the great resemblance to my usual practice. In a word, it was as if I had had an inner recognition. The names were new but the heart and the object of faith was the same. That is why I am here today, in the first place I think it is a great blessing to be able to share the practice with the sangha (there is no one close to me being a practitioner and that brings some sense of loneliness sometimes), and on the other hand I want to learn the traditional way of practising the nembutsu, even I think that it will help me with my inconstancy and fragility about being regular in my practice….Anyway I think that the fact of sharing together is the best . Some support from the Sangha is always needed
I want to thank you especially to Kaspa and Satya for your great generosity and kindness.
Namo Amida Bu
November 4, 2017 at 10:26 pm #2350
Nice to meet you Nati;
I enjoyed reading about your introduction.
October 27, 2017 at 9:28 pm #2291Ian Summers-NobleParticipant
Namo Amida Bu 🙂
Love the e-mail sangha initiative for this course because I’m techno-scared about skype etc (well just rubbish at it and…I’d prefer to just sit and chant/meditate/read a book). E-mail is fine by me 🙂 Sorry I’m such an introvert!
Thanks to meeting Dharmavidya and on-going learning from Sujatin, I’ve sought refuge in Pureland/Amida Shu.
My ego saw itself for many years as “Buddhist” or especially “zen” – I meditated and struggled, cursed myself for not fulfilling the 8-fold path, how could I be so weak and wayward! BOMBU!
Now…any wayward thought, doubt, fear, nasty/embarrassing memory, future fantasy etc – just say Namo Amida Bu.
My kids are now 18 and 16…loving it, they’re brilliant, awesome…seems like last year I was dealing with toddlers (at least they do still let me hug them!). My beautiful wife has the common-sense in our relationship and keeps me right (you should see the list of DIY tasks she has for me!).
Love my work (fulfills, is kinda Right Livelihood, and pays the bills!) as a Career Adviser/Coach – was feeling knackered today (“knackered” = north east England vernacular term for “tired” but with a bit of emotion) after going counter-introvert and delivering 3 back-to-back workshops with 13 year olds – loved their enthusiasm.
Looking forward to the course 🙂
peace, love and light
November 4, 2017 at 10:29 pm #2351
Nice to meet you Ian;
I am an introvert as well though I love technology so I can enjoy this kind of interaction.
October 31, 2017 at 11:17 am #2300Acharya Kaspalita (temple host)Keymaster
Lovely to read a little about each of you.
I’ve been practising nembutsu for eleven years (and Buddhism for a few more). I first visited The Buddhist House in the summer of 2006, and I was ordained in 2007. For the last three years I’ve been running Amida Mandala Buddhist temple in Malvern, along with Satya, my wife.
I’ve just taken on responsibility for training aspirants (those aspiring to be ordained with us), and taken on the role of membership secretary for the Network of Buddhist Organisations UK.
I also have a small psychotherapy practice here at the temple.
It’s been really lovely putting together this course, both anticipating people all over the world practising with us, and reading the quotes from existing practitioners. We’ve had some really special words about nembutsu, which you’ll read as the course progresses.
October 31, 2017 at 1:00 pm #2301Acharya Kaspalita (temple host)Keymaster
Introduction from @janwiz – Jan Wizinowich
Aloha e Kakou. As you might guess, I live in Hawaii on the Big Island of Hawaii. While our small community here is very connected, by virtue of geography, we are distant from just about everyone. I started a Buddhist practice about 8 years ago and am an active member of our wonderful little sangha here, led by Shantikara and Ananda. I have 2 cats, one that was abandoned, Aria and one that just showed up and never left named Orangy. We also have 3 chickens in our large permacultur-esk garden, that yields papaya, banana and all kinds of citrus fruits along with perpetual squash and anything else I managed conjure up. My main purpose is writing and being a conduit for people’s stories. I work with students to prepare them to do oral history interviews and write for 2 island publications.
Outside of meditation practice, the nembutsu is part of my minute to minute practice of loving kindness. An awareness that supports “practice in action”.
- This reply was modified 2 years, 7 months ago by Acharya Kaspalita (temple host).
October 31, 2017 at 1:45 pm #2303Michael SabaniParticipant
My name is Michael. I’m 38, married with 2 kids, and live in Atlanta GA. I’ve been practicing some form of Buddhism for a number of years, most recently Nichiren Buddhism. I’ve spent time really trying to get into Pureland and understand it, I’m hoping this will help. I intellectually understand, but I’m struggling with how to really make a connection with Amida, I’m chanting and learning but not feeling, if that makes sense. Hoping this will help me learn more!
October 31, 2017 at 7:53 pm #2308Robert WaldronParticipant
Hi I’m Rob, I live in Malvern Hills area near to the temple that Satya and Kaspa manage and luckily can take advantage of all the great things that they organise. However I thought that this course we would inject a little structure into my usually irregular practice.
So thank all for this opportunity.
namo amida bu
November 1, 2017 at 8:41 am #2310Ellen SerfatyParticipant
Shalom to all from Jerusalem, Israel. My name is Ellen, and I currently live with my husband, and baby beagle (saw there is another beagle lover here–Hi!) in the northern section of the city, Pisgat Zeev Ma’arav (Summit of the Wolf), where we are on the edge of the Judean Desert, surrounded by Arab villages and towns, very close to Hebrew University on Mt. Scopus.
I am a practicing Buddhist, and have been so for about two decades–started out with MBSR as a result of a critical health event, and went on to explore many paths–Zen, Vipassana, Tibetan, Skilled Awareness. Currently I am immersed in Somatic Meditation, one of my primary teachers being Reggie Ray, Dharma Ocean, Crestone, Colorado; and my current main practice is Mahamudra, using Ken McLeod, Unfettered Mind and Ocean for support. I have taken refuge several times, as well as my Bodhisattva vow. In addition to my current immersions, I am strongly drawn to chanting and kirtan, and have begun an online course with Krishna Das. I heard about this course through Satya and Kaspa’s regular emails, and I am on one of the writing stone courses, where I am rediscovering my love of writing.
I am 65, on the cusp of 66, have been retired for a few years. My main loves are the contemplative arts–wabi sabi style pottery and Miksang photography. I also love gardening and work at the rare and exotic nursery at the national botanical gardens in Givat Ram, Hebrew U, and experiment at home.
I am an animal whisperer of sorts, love animals, and lost my two lovies this past year, my old pup Tinka, a mixed Brindle Canani, and my young African Gray parrot through a tragedy. So we finally got a beagle pup–have had dogs my whole life but never encountered such a beautiful, bundle of love and energy! His name is Chewy, but my husband (Moroccan Israeli) call him Showi (Arabic for al ha esh or barbecue) or Sabi, which means my grandfather.
We are both aging, have some serious and just annoying health issues, and I am contemplating the balance between increasing frailty and my adolescent attitude and mind energy:-)
I was born in NYC, lived there and upstate NY, and eventually went to law school and practiced in Florida, then made aliyah or immigrated to Israel 30 years ago; met my husband here. He is the head engineer of a fastly growing city close to Jerusalem, Beit Shemesh (House of the Sun). Our grown-up, married daughter is a sabra (born in Israel) is studying for her law license exam, and will work with a women’s firm (yeah!!!!) do complex litigation, and we are SOOO proud of her and our son-in-law, the grandson of survivors.
I am so grateful to Satya and Kaspa for your loving spirits and generosity, and got such warm vibes from reading through your introductions. I am still getting oriented, saw that the live nembutsu might be too late for me here (we are 2 hours ahead of the UK).
[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="105"] Our newest pup[/caption]
Lovely to meet you all!
November 4, 2017 at 10:36 pm #2352
Nice to meet you Ellen;
I love the picture of your new pup.
November 1, 2017 at 10:55 am #2313JulesParticipant
I am Jules from Pennsylvania, USA. I am a poet/writer (as of yet not a professional though I have been writing for over 45 years), sister, wife, mother, grandmother, semi retired.
I travel with my husband, while he works… I visited several states this year.
I enjoy various crafts and enjoy my family.
November 1, 2017 at 11:34 am #2314Susie Nott-BowerParticipant
Hello. I’m Susie and I live in Bristol, UK. My favourite things are drawing, writing and walking in nature. I am not a Buddhist, but I’d like to give this a go.
November 1, 2017 at 2:58 pm #2317Sangeetashraddha Cheffings (temple host)Participant
Hello, I’m Andrew. I run a home group for Amida Shu in Leicester on the first Thursday of each month at 7.30 p.m. I’m currently in an interesting time having left my previous work and with the resulting emotional fall-out. My mother’s final illness at the same time as the work crisis brought me to the Nembutsu. I had a sudden conviction that chanting the Nembutsu was what I needed to do at that time, having a vague awareness of it from general reading on Buddhism and having met a Shin Buddhist one time. I researched the Nembutsu on the web and found lots of different versions. To start with I made my own version, combining bits of what I had found, then, following a retreat at Amida Mandala Temple, I started using the versions practiced there, but I am often instinctive and creative in my approach.
November 9, 2017 at 9:42 am #2377Fi CurnowParticipant
Hi all, coming in a bit late to this, but that’s typical of me and my good intentions but life gets in the way! I’m Fi and I live in Malvern where I’ve been a regular sangha member at the temple for about 2 and a half years and I really appreciate what a gift that opportunity has been. Currently in the process of packing up to move house, I live with my partner Jeff, my daughters Tanith and Rhiannon, cats Lily and Suki and chinchillas Merry and Pippin. I am a school administrator and I also love to run (I belong to Vegan Runners) and grow my own veg.
I had been interested in Buddhism from quite an early age (bizarrely enough, courtesy of a martial arts teacher my brother and myself once had who introduced us to meditation as part of the classes and had Buddhist writings pinned around the walls. Clearly running a dojo above a scruffy second hand record shop in South London was not quite enough for him and sadly for us he returned to his native Vietnam to become a priest instead!) However, for many years I felt I was simply not a good enough person to a be Buddhist. I am kicking myself now for this. It took a lot of trauma and pain in my life and putting myself back together with the help of CBT to challenge a lot of the stories I had told myself about myself and the world and opened the way for me to admit the Dharma into my life. Namo Amida Bu _/|\_
November 9, 2017 at 3:50 pm #2382
Lovely to have you here Fi! x
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