January 10, 2018 at 9:10 am #2587
Acharya Kaspalita (temple host)Keymaster
Each year here at the temple in Malvern we’ve selected a word of the year. This has been like an extra precept to keep in the corner of our eye, or a prayer, or a deep intention.
We ask the Buddha for support in this particular area; we ask the various parts of ourselves, conscious and subconscious, for support; and we are our community for support.
A focus like this can show us where we are still clinging, where our faith is limited and where we are self-protective. We are inviting the Buddha’s light into this area.
The first year, 2015, our word was kalyanamitra: spiritual (or beautiful) friendship. It was a year of opening our doors to the local community, of developing good, honest, friendship between volunteers and leaders and community members.
In 2016 our word was dana: generosity. It was a year of experimenting with the idea that there is enough to go around, of remembering that pure love springs from a source inexhaustible and we can keep giving it away endlessly.
Last year the word was faith. It was a year of letting go of control and trusting the process, trusting that the Buddha’s will do their part, of trusting the light.
This year, 2018, our word of the year is nembutsu.
We are being less shy about being a temple of nembutsu: our literature now includes the word nembutsu more prominently; we have nembutsu services and a nembutsu circle; we have added monthly immersive chanting to the temple schedule; and we launched 30 days of nembutsu at the end of last year.
When we practice nembutsu we are offering ourselves and our practice to the Buddha. We trust the Buddhas to light up the world, and offer what little we have in their service. We are received completely, and loved, just as we are.
Some of us here in Malvern also choose a personal word. It can be a way of focussing practice, and in my experience, it has some power in how the year unfolds (or how we watch the year, perhaps).
I’ll share my own personal word in the comments below – do share yours, if you have one, or let me know your thoughts.
January 10, 2018 at 2:11 pm #2590
Acharya Kaspalita (temple host)Keymaster
My personal word for the year is ‘inspiration’.
I was thinking about the energy I that often have around new year, and the cycle of hope and disappointment that I sometimes get caught up in. I have set resolutions in past years, and only kept them for a little while… not an uncommon experience.
When I’m thinking about things like resolutions sometimes I wonder off into fantasy and visualise what I would like to do, and then there is a coming back down to earth when the results aren’t what I expect, and a frozeness – rather then moving forward a realistic position.
My first thought of a word that might offer a way through or out of this experience was ‘offering’. I know that the Buddha accepts whatever I offer, regardless of my own feelings about it. I know that the Buddha can make use of what I offer, regardless of how meagre I think it is.
After a little while though I noticed that ‘offering’ had become another ideal, a self-power ‘ought’, and that felt deadening or that it might lead me straight back into the place I wanted to get away from.
So inspiration it is. Allowing myself to be inspired. Being joyful for good things. Working from gratitude and celebration.
Of course I won’t manage this all of the time, but inspiration feels like an appropriately Pure Land way of moving forward.
January 11, 2018 at 10:30 am #2592
Andrew Cheffings (temple host)Participant
What a great idea! I’ve put the word, Nembutsu, up on my wall shrine. My personal word was easy as I was talking with Satya about it yesterday and it became apparent yesterday, also, that I wasn’t heading it very effectively- so it’s a great word for the year, I think.
The word is, Stop!
When I was sitting opposite the Birmingham Art Gallery standing Buddha a couple of weekends ago, His right hand was saying, Stop! to me. A good kind of, Stop! like Shakyamuni saying, stop, to Angulimala- a compassionate, stop!
That same hand was also saying, Namo Amida Bu! so I connect the two words- Namo Amida Bu reminds me to stop. I too often get carried away in negative things and I really need to, stop!
So, I’ll give these two words a go this year and see what happens.
Namo Amida Bu!
January 16, 2018 at 3:18 pm #2606
Acharya Sujatin (temple host)Moderator
Stop is an excellent word, Andrew. It appeals to me in a couple of senses – ‘stop’ ie the things I need to stop doing and taking time to stop, breathe and notice. So ‘notice’ will be mine, particularly following the second meaning of stopping. Quietness, reflection, really seeing what is there that I often overlook.
Namo Amida Bu
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