August 9, 2017 at 8:19 pm #2029
Andrew Nicholls (Temple Host)Participant
My worship really started at a meditation session in a local Theravadin temple. Before meditation the monks will make prostations to the Buddha and we are expected to join in the ritual. This felt odd but somehow good. I’d been researching Buddhism for some time and it felt real. The next time was at an Amida Shu service in Birmingham. Jnanamati was leading the service and again prostrations were done, it felt far more natural and again I felt a closeness to the Buddha.
The first real praise that I felt significant was an all day Nembutsu session one Saturday in Malvern. I arrived st the temple and was greeted by Kaspa, he explained what we were doing and I entered the shrine room. Was greeted by Anjali from Satya and joined in the walking circle of people. This felt strange st first but by the end of the day I was happy to shout out Namo Amida Bu as we circumvented the Buddha. I continued in my car in the forty minute drive back to Birmingham. Haven’t really stopped since then. Whenever I feel alone or happy or sad when I’m grateful and when I’m lost I will say Namo Amida Bu, it always has an impact one way or another. Both of those acts mean a lot to me it’s what makes me feel safe in my bombu world. It gives me a sence of hope and community.
In terms of my vow I guess this would be the precepts and my retreating to the Amida Shu. This meant a great deal to me as it was my vow that I gave myself to the Buddha and would try to live a wholesome life that followed the correct path. Of course there are also Dharmakaras vows which are a part of my practice and in particular the 18th vow.
contemplation for me is a mixture of all the first three they all concentrate my mind on the Buddha and then my meditation which I use as secondary practice to enhance my mental wellbeing and mindfulness of the Buddha.
Metta or the transference of merit I am aware of due to my links with Theravada Buddhism. The wish that all people will be happy and free from suffering g. Whenever I say Nembutsu meditate or just think about my faith I hope that this causes a transfer of merit. My hope is that all sentient beings past present and future can learn and feel the love that Amida can give them. This is a strong feeling that to a certain extent I have to control.
August 10, 2017 at 10:17 am #2030
Rev. Satya Robyn (temple host)Moderator
I feel very moved as I read this, Andrew. I also love how the growth of faith inevitably leads, sooner or later, to wanting to share this with others and transfer the merit of what you have received. Thank you for writing this piece.
August 12, 2017 at 6:29 pm #2045
Thank you Andrew, very inspiring what you did write.
December 26, 2018 at 9:05 pm #3238
Jeaunice Tribue BurnetteParticipant
Reading about your experience of faith was uplifting. I don’t mean to sound corny, but my heart soared to read about your growing connection with Amida Buddha. My faith started when I was young as a schoolgirl. I felt safe and basked in the light of Amida. His infinite love guided me. Meanwhile, I researched different faiths. It was only as an adult though that I realized with certainty that I take complete refuge in Amida Buddha. It was a process of maturity for me. Honestly, never thought I would be able to celebrate my faith with other Pure Land Buddhists. I felt totally stranded in the American Bible Belt. The thing that is different now is that I understand, whether I am physically surrounded by other believers or a solitary practitioner-I am never isolated because Amida is with me. All of you here at Friends of Amida are inspiring. Your experiences give me a sense of encouragement. Thank you for being here, in such a short period of time I feel that my faith has expanded with all of your guidance.
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