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On becoming an official member

Site-Wide Activity Forums Shrine Room Buddhist Q&A On becoming an official member

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    • #2159
      Mikael Hirsz


      Is there a set pattern to becoming an official member of the Sangha? If so, how does one go about it?

    • #2160

      Hi Mikael,

      Welcome to the Friends of Amida website. You can find a roadmap for joining here:

      In terms of practicing, Satya is running a Facebook Live event which you could join, on 10th October:

      And take a look at this page ‘Nembutsu: a simple home practice‘ to get started at home.

      Namo Amida Bu


    • #2161

      Oh, and the more connections you make with other Sangha members (through hanging out on this website, and the like) the better 🙂

    • #2163
      Mikael Hirsz

      That’s excellent, thank you!

    • #2169
      Mikael Hirsz

      How does one go about taking refuge? Sorry for all the questions!

    • #2170

      This consists of a short ceremony, performed by an Amida priest.  It takes place face-to-face. This is something we can discuss, should it be something you’d like to do.

    • #2172
      Mikael Hirsz

      It definitely is although Going somewhere for it may be an issue for me.

    • #2292
      Ian Summers-Noble

      Hi Mikael

      I sought refuge with Buddha, Dharma, Sangha, Amida and Pureland in a ceremony with Sujatin in Perth and renewed my vows this year.

      It’d be great to meet you if you’d like to do this with us. It might be useful to check us out a bit more? Do the e-mail course that Satya is running about Nembutsu. If you can, come along to Sujatin’s place and have a chat, chant, meditate with us – see what it’s about?

      You can see from my profile and comments on the site a bit about me – happy to chat, but Sujatin is my font of wisdom 🙂

      peace, love and light

    • #2297

      Have you signed up for the 30-day on-line course? It’d be a great way for you to get to know more of the Amida sangha, also newcomers, and to start and fertilise some nembutsu practice.

      Satya wrote:

      Kaspa & I are excited to make a new offering – 30 days of nembutsu

      The course is intended to help newcomers set up a regular five-minutes-a-day nembutsu practice, and consists of an introductory essay and 30 daily emails. We’ll be launching on the 1st of November – if you’d like to join us please send an email to with ’30 days’ as the title. The course is free with a suggested/optional donation of £5 to the Amida Trust.

      I’m hoping this course might also fit well with the weekly nembutsu practice I’m offering on Facebook …. Our ultimate hope is that we will bring the magic of the nembutsu to new people, and that some of them will be interested in joining the Amida Shu family and helping us spread the love.
      Any questions do let us know,
      Namo Amida Bu,
      Satya @satyarobyn

    • #2598

      I have a similar question with an added twist. I currently live in California so have no access to a local Amida Shu group. How would one from overseas become a member/take refuge with Amida Shu? Is such a thing possible?

      my practice here is zen/pure land(zazen and nembutsu) . I just completed the 30 days of nembutsu and ordered the Buddhism for ordinary beings book. But I am always looking to make further commitments and have taken precepts and refuge at all the temples here I have practiced with ( mainly Chan/zen and pure land).



    • #2599

      Buddhism for foolish beings that should be.

    • #2600

      Hi Avihinsa thank you for your question. We have performed refuge ceremonies via Skype in the past – before that point it’s important to start to get to know the sangha a bit, by engaging here, by attending my short practice sessions on Facebook on Thursdays at 8pm UK time, we have a monthly online study group etc… Great that you’re getting the book, I’d also recommend Dharmavidya’s Questions in the Sand. And the online  Intro to Pureland course. Any more questions do ask!

    • #2601

      I looked into the introduction to pureland course but the message I received said the course is currently closed.

    • #2603

      Aloha Avihinsa,

      There are lots of great resources on this site to delve into. Satya does a great job at make this an accessible virtual temple. Since you are on the West coast, you might want to check out the the Amida Hawaii site as well. We are a pretty “luddite” sangha by today’s standards. But we are only a few time zones away.

      I used to live outside of LA in Claremont and then later in Westwood. There is a lot of Buddhism in that area. In addition to studying with my Zen teacher, I was able to practice with quite a few other good Buddhist teachers in the area. I spent a lot of time at the now closed Bodhi Tree bookstore. Vegetarian lunch at Hsi Lai temple was also another wonderful and regular activity.

      Glad to have you here. Namo Amida Bu!


    • #2611

      Gassho Ananda


      I know Hsi lai well,it’s not too far from where i Live and i took refuge vows for the second time there in 2014 as a commitment in some ways to a developing pure land practice that was at that time just a small seed,since then it has sprouted!

      There is talk of Bodhi tree opening up,it closed just after i moved here from manchester(UK).

      I have attended Shin sunday service at one of the little tokyo temples,Shin buddhism presented in the manner of protestant christian Church complete with piano,choir and sutras sung to the tune of hymns!

      There is a Jodo shu temple I keep meaning to attend once a day free from work allows,Jodo shu being closer my own thinking than Shin shu

      There are of course quite a few chinese temples around LA teaching the Chan/Pureland practice.

      I currently visit a Japanese Soto Zen temple for Zazen once a week but I am increasingly feeling like this is a little in conflict with my current developing pureland practice although my home practice always involves some zazen as a way to settle the mind prior to Nembutsu.

    • #2612

      All the pureland temples here in Hawaii are just as you describe. Some even have pipe organs! The Soto Zen temple service is a little less protestant, but not much. I am friends with several of the younger Buddhist priests here. They are all aware that their temples need to make some significant changes if they are going to survive much longer.

      It is not really our practice, but there is a Pureland tradition associated with a sub-sect of Rinzai Zen. In this tradition you say the Nembutsu while continuously enquiring, “who/what is chanting.”

      As you are probably know, Suzuki Roshi was raised in the Pureland tradition and actually practiced the Nembutsu quite intensively in a Zen monastic environment. As I recall, his initial Kensho was associated with the Nembutsu.

      Having said that, the training and approach to practice are quite different — at least initially — in Zen and Pureland. The former is more introverted and the latter is more extroverted. Personally, I think that Pureland is a more appropriate practice for us who lead lay lives and have families, jobs, and worldly responsibilities.

      It is great connecting with you here. Namo Amida Bu!




    • #2614

      It seems there is a developing interest from western Buddhists in pureland practice but often there is a difficulty in actually finding a community in which to practice. The Jodo Shu temple here in LA I would have to suggest operates much like a lot of the Japanese temples in that they offer what is called “funeral Buddhism “, special services a few times a year to a small aging Japanese community and no ability to break through some of the cultural roadblocks . The Shin /Buddhist churches of America model I would argue is not going to be very appealing to most so that leaves the Chinese temples and there one runs into language barriers . Therefore something such as Amida Shu has the potential to fulfill a need for clear instructions on the how too of pureland Buddhism

      That said,I have been reading the excellent living in Amida’s universal vow and one thing I have taken from it that really struck home is the notion that the nembutsu is actually answering Amida’s call rather than a merit making practice.  It could be said that the practice I have done up until this point has maybe cleared away just enough of the rubbish and static that I am now able to hear a little more clearly this call from  Amida and the nembutsu is the response. This has brought a shift in perspective and is helping me to see the thinking behind nembutsu as the primary practice .

    • #2617

      Thank you for sharing this wonder insight. Yes! Nembutsu as call and response. Sometimes we are so self-obsessed we need to call out. At other times we awaken to reality of Amida’s continuous presence and influence (call) and the Nembutsu arises spontaneously.

      I, of course, agree that Amida Shu offers a good vehicle for Westerners to enter into pureland practice. Unfortunately, we are a small organization and there are no organized Amida Shu groups in the LA area at the moment. You can check out Satya’s virtual service online if the times work for you. In the meantime, keep saying the Nembutsu and take advantage of the many resources that are available through this site.

      Namo Amida Bu!

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