Amida Leicester Dharma Talk, June 2019

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  • #3471

    Amida Leicester Dharma Talk, June 2019

    Last Monday, Ian and me visited Buddha Maitreya at his Pureland Garden in Nottinghamshire. We used to attend his monthly meditation days there every month for 10 years but we hadn’t been to the garden for almost 2 years. It felt very special to me to be back there.

    Buddha Maitreya trained as a Soto Zen priest at Eiheiji Temple, Dogen’s place in Japan. Since then, he has developed his own, inspired version of the Buddhadharma and created his garden, which is a place of peace and rejuvenation for many people.

    We sat in a hut there, overlooking the garden and I listened to the bird song.

    The birds, I think, were singing the Nembutsu in their own languages and melodies.

    I am reminded of Ippen’s letter to Bishop Kogan –

    “Among all living things, mountains and rivers, grasses and trees, even the sounds of blowing winds and rising waves, there is nothing that is not the Nembutsu. It is not human beings, alone, who share in the all-surpassing Vow.”

    I remember from Dharmakara’s Vows how all the Buddhas of the Universe are singing out Amida Buddha’s Holy Name.

    His Name is like balm, like bird song, flowing out from His Pure Land garden.

    He is assisted, not only by Buddhas, but also by Bodhisattvas, and I am reminded particularly of Samantabhadra and Jizo: Samantabhadra, because He tailors the Nembutsu to suit the languages of all living beings (and I remember the birds singing in Buddha Maitreya’s garden) and Jizo, because He carries the jewel of the Nembutsu around Hell, rescuing beings caught in hellish realms.

    I hope that all beings, even in our fragile, unreliable states, can aspire to help these and other Bodhisattvas in the project of rescuing all beings sinking in the despair of Samsara, even through our limited and fragile, ever-changing means.

    I remember the Flower Garland Suttra – all the Buddhas of the Universe are radiating love – Love and the Nembutsu are not two; sacred song in many and all beings’ languages and the Nembutsu are not two –

    Namandabu, Namandabu, Namanda Butsu,

    Namo Amida Butsu, Namanda Butsu, Namanda Butsu,

    Namo Amida Butsu, Namanda Butsu, Namo Amida Butsu, Namanda Butsu…

  • #3472

    Lovely to read this Andrew. I think this is the garden Fi is going to visit – I’ll forward it to her!

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