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Order of Amida Buddha Newsletter
July, 2021 

Everyone has their own specific vocation or mission in life; everyone must carry out a concrete assignment that demands fulfillment. Therein they cannot be replaced, nor can their life be repeated, thus, everyone's task is unique as their specific opportunity to implement it. Viktor E. Frankl


 
 
Greetings
 
A “sense of purpose” gives meaning to our days and is a foundational principle in spiritual traditions. Pure Land Buddhist, Kentetsu Takamori, in the book, You were Born for a Reason writes: ”Shinran laid out the purpose and urged its attainment with comparable clarity: The universal purpose of life is to destroy the root of suffering and gain joy in being alive, so that you rejoice at having been born human and live on in eternal happiness.”  

This year's conclave offered participants an opportunity to examine “purpose” in relation to being members of the Amida Buddha Order. Together we reflected on the questions: What lights me up? (what aspects of belonging to the Order give me energy, excite, and inspire me?) What is my duty? (what do I recognize as mine to do?)  And finally, What obstacles or difficulties am I currently experiencing in the Order?  After personal time to write, we had an opportunity for discussion. 

While varying views were expressed, the intersecting points were around faith, devotion, and the benefits and barriers to fully participating in our sangha. It appears that faith within a community continues to light us up, calls forth a sense of responsibility, and challenges us! 

Afterward, I thought about the value there is in having Kalyanamitra's to turn to when feeling burdened, experiencing discouragement, or losing faith - what is often referred to as Shadow work. Shadow work is a common experience that can be frightening and go on for quite a long time if we do not have a community loving us, believing in us, holding on to us, and reminding us of unconditional love and the encounter of radical grace. Together we are called to affirm Amida as an unearned favour, unearned gratuity, or else those who are struggling may regress and lose confidence in the path. The sangha is essential to the development of faith - a most precious gift asking for our attention. When we feel weak in this regard, we instinctively look to others for help. It turns out belonging to a spiritual community not only lights us up, but also lights the way.

Amida Breeze will be taking a break for the month of August, returning in early September.

Wishing you all a warm and wonderful summer.  Be well.

 
Namo Amida Bu,           
Prajnatara
 


From Susthama

In August, those wishing to renew or take Refuge or become a member of Amida Shu may wish to do so in an on-line ceremony hosted by myself and Vajrapala. If you are interested or know of someone who might be,  please be in touch with either of us.  Everyone is invited to attend. Email for the link. Susthama or Vajrapala 

A reminder of the Order meeting, for Ordained and Mitra members, on Sunday July 11th at 5 p.m (UK time). Please let me know if you are unable to make it. Otherwise I look forward to seeing you there! The link will be emailed to you. 

 

Order Member News

From Juline
“If you realise that all things change,
there is nothing you will try to hold on to.
If you aren’t afraid of dying,
There is nothing you can’t achieve.”
Tao Te Ching v 74

 
It is winter in Namibia.  There is a chill in the air and muted panic behind masks.  This is our third wave of the COVID pandemic and it is deadly. Compared to last year, even the young, are falling ill and dying.  Fake news and ignorance fuels misinformation and reluctance to vaccinate.  Almost everyone I speak to, knows someone close who has died.

Patients and families are presenting at my small practice looking for medicine and hope. But the virus is unpredictable and mutating, presenting us with an uncomfortable truth: life is unfolding (whether we like it or not) separate from our wants and needs.  We might be privileged with access to medical knowledge, medication, oxygen and ventilators.  These tools are helpful and lessen suffering but ultimately death keeps knocking at the door.  We have to face reality, we are human, mortal and limited.

Challenging times can be fertile ground for a koan to appear.  Which made me wonder, might there be a collective koan arising for humanity at this time?  Is the virus and its impact holding up a mirror with truths we would rather turn away from?  Modern man has a multitude of distractions in work and entertainment but lockdown and public protocols have disrupted habitual patterns.
 
Why is it so difficult to be with what is?  Because to be with what is, is to know, we are human, fallible and at some point, life will end.  I have been privileged. Over the last 20 years my work as a physician has provided ample opportunity to befriend death.  Death, like many other human experiences, is universal but also unique and deeply personal. There is something mysterious and sacred about the end of life that is true in equal measure about the beginning of life.  Both are transitions.  Both are inevitable.  It is difficult to stand with patients and their loved ones in the sea of not knowing with waves of uncertainty rolling in, death in the distance.  No escape.

But, I have learnt, if we can be with what is, change will come.  Vulnerability can be a door to authenticity and connection.  The outcomes unfold, is held and managed to the best of our abilities with the resources and skills at hand.  The unknown is respected and accepted.  We surrender and allow life to be.  We let go and step out of the way. Peace.  This is the journey to trust.  Love and faith will be our guide to the other shore.




Dayavati's garden
Sangha Highlights

 

Every other Tuesday at 6:30 pm (Toronto, EST) from the beginning of September to the end of June the Amida Mosaic Sangha, gathers online. We are a sangha stretchng across Canada and the US. Our format begins with centering meditation followed by a short reading that has been chosen by Prajna or Daya. The reading is sent out prior to the gathering so participants have adequate time to consider it. In a stone passing process each participant reflects on the personal spiritual meaning of the reading and the challenges and supports it may offer to living in faith. Rich and thoughtful insights are shared and received.  It is a unique gathering promoting spiritual friendship and sacred listening.  The sangha concludes with chants, prayers and dedication of merit. While we currently meet online, the intention is to someday resume offering gatherings in person as well.  Contact Daya or Prajna for further information.

 
Schedule

Please refer to the website calendar for a complete list of gatherings, detailed information and zoom links. 

If you have any questions about what we offer please contact: Susthama 


Important Dates

Upcoming 2021 Order meetings alternating between Saturday and Sunday on:
July 11, August 14, September 12, October 9, and November 14. 
All meetings are held at 5p.m (UK time). Zoom link will be sent by email.

Bodhi Retreat: December 8 - 12, 2021. Stay tuned for more details.

 
Order of Amida Buddha Website
A huge thank you to everyone for their contributions to support Suvidya's family in Delhi. We reached our aspiration of raising £500 and sent it to Siddharth and Suando in June. 
 
Recommendations

Do you have a book, movie, podcast, etc., you think we might enjoy?  Please let us know about them!

Movies

Nomadland - 2020 Academy award winner ~ Best Picture.  A portrait of intinerant lives. Slow paced and beautifully crafted. 
 Prajnatara

Books

Braiding Sweetgrass - Robin Wall Kimmerer.  An exquisite exploration of nature and wholesome relationships, authored by a botonist and indigenous story teller.  

Dayavati  and Prajnatara

Shapers of Japanese Buddhism  - Yusen Kashiwahara, Koyu Sonoda. Excerpt from Amazon: More than thirteen centuries of clergy, laity, and social conditions interacted to mold Japan's Buddhism. Today's resulting characteristics, which distinguish it from its mainland sources, include a proliferation of independent sects, emphasis on religion for lay members, and de-emphasis of clerical codes. The twenty main biographies and seventy-five sketches presented in this book reveal both the individual and social aspects of Buddhist evolution...." Prajnatara



Useful Links

Meetings and services that are provided by the Order: Meetings and Services 

Pastoral letters by Reverend Susthama:  Pastoral Letters 

The hymns and texts used in the services: Nien Fo Service Book

Support for Amida India: Please Donate Here

Friends of Amida On-line sangha: Vajra or Susthama

Amida Mosaic Sangha, Canada and USA: Daya or Prajna

North Birmingham, Home Group, UK: Karmadeva

Birmingham Sangha, UK: Sanghamitra


Amida Spain: Ganendra

Amida Belgium: Vajra

Amida Israel: Pundarika or Vimlishri 

Amida Hawaii, US: Ananda

Amida India: Suanda

 

About Us
 
The Order of Amida Buddha, is an international Devotional Pureland Buddhist Community dedicated to nurturing faith, offering fellowship, and inspiring compassionate care for our world.  We are ordained and lay, seeking individually and collectively to bring the Light of Amida into our world.

"Friends", are Amida-shu or Amida-Kai members and are affiliated through heart and practice with the Order of Amida Buddha. 


We welcome you to to learn more about us and to join in our weekly devotional services as well as other events as outlined on our website. www.amidashu.org

 

Copyright © 2021 Order of Amida Buddha, All rights reserved.
Our mailing address is:
Flat 6, Turin House, Venice Ave
Watford, WD18 7BW
Contact email:
susthamakim@gmail.com

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Amida Mosaic · 16 Ravenglass Cres. · London, ON N6G 4K1 · Canada

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