Amida Breeze Order of Amida Buddha Newsletter May, 2022
"Hello, sun in my face. Hello you who made the morning and spread it over the fields...Watch, now, how I start the day in happiness, in kindness." Mary Oliver
Spring is a liminal time when we leave the cold of winter and turn toward the warming sun. Winter was a trickster, seemingly asleep, but all the while working magic underground in preparation for the glories of renewal. We now wait in eager anticipation for summertime and all that is to become.
This issue of Amida Breeze introduces our 6 Aspirants - Koteswara, Jan, Jimena, Gary, Andrea, and Diane. Aspirancy too is a liminal time, when the stirrings of the heart quietly engage the work of discernment, asking, "Do I wish to make the Order of Amida Buddha my spiritual home?". Aspirancy is a process of the heart and cannot be rushed. With perseverance, study, meditation, faith, and the help of spiritual friends, the heart will find clarity. In the meantime, aspirants stand on the threshold of a future that is unknown yet becoming. We send love to them on their journey.
namo amida bu, Prajnatara
The Amida Order is a journey guided by the Buddhas. Like any journey into uncharted waters, we’ve experienced a number of obstacles that have tripped us up in recent years. As an organisation, we’ve fallen down and got back up again. As individuals that make up the Order, we are a small group with a growing number of aspirants. We are individuals seeking ways to better support each other. We are discovering who we are and what our purpose is, as individuals and as a group.
In the ancient Indian world that Siddartha Gotama grew up in, one of the thoughts around at the time was that people were born into this world due to their failure. The Latin root of failure is fallere which means ‘to fall, to trip, or to stagger’. If life is a journey, then we come into this life having failed. No matter who we are or what our destination is, we will move forward in life, some gracefully without anything getting in the way, and others with lots of things thrown at them, causing a fateful fall. The challenge is what to do when we fail.
One of the shared experiences we have as Order members is our faith and devotion to Amida Buddha. Amida gives us the strength to find an attitude of acceptance and peace as we journey through difficult phases, regardless of our attainment. Amida gives us the hope that we, foolish, fallible human beings of wayward passion can still attain enlightenment if we keep his name in mind, or chant the nembutsu, with a sincerity to be reborn in Sukhavati. From this transpersonal perspective, we can see that all things which cross our paths, that upset our subjective views and change the course of our lives are the Dharma awakening us to shift our perspective.
Meet Our Aspirants
I am koteswara rao kommagiri from India. I have a good and regular connection with Susthama and Vajrapala. I would like to share a few things about my practice of Amida and my connection with our order.
I am from South India the state called Andhrapradesh where Aachaarya Nagarjuna established a university. I have been practicing Amida in our Order for two years but actually, I have been practicing Buddha Amitabha for ten years. I have a strong belief in Amida. I gave the name Amitabha to my daughter. She is now 8 years old.
I am very interested to become an Order member in our Order. I don't have any questions at the moment to know about our sangha because I have such a clear vision and clarity on it.
I am participating in our sessions and sharing many things together with an open heart. Really I am so pleased to have found Amida.
When I was in deep depression Amida only saved my life. Taking that kind and compassionate one in my heart I am applying my practice in day-to-day life.
I am working as a soft skills trainer. I am using all sorts of positive thinking in my teaching.
I would like to go into the deep practice of Amida. Susthama is my mentor and I am very pleased to have such a beautiful Amida family in my life. I really love to become an order member in our Amida Order.
I am a freelance writer who lives on Hawai`i Island and have the intention to tell and share people’s stories. I came to Pureland Buddhism through the Hawai`i sangha at a time in my life when I had really bottomed out. Dharmavidya’s book, The Feeling Buddha really spoke to me and set me on a path of wholehearted living. By attending three of Dharmavidya’s retreats, I have deepened my understanding and met and connected with other practitioners whose friendships I value.
I have a Buddhist practice but realize how vital it is to stay connected with folks and what an integral part the sangha plays in spiritual life. My participation can be a bit limited by time zones, but I would like to be part of the Amida Order in any way possible. I am also connected to the Global Sangha and see the importance of continuing strengthened connections between us all. To me, this is the way to a deeper more meaningful practice based on acceptance.
“My name is Jimena Balli Garza, I’m originally from Mexico where I became a medical veterinarian doctor and where I accomplished a Master of Science. I worked with United Nations in Afghanistan, Kabul as a veterinarian and laboratory expert. After my return from Afghanistan, I started working on my own project, animal infectious diseases (zoonotic diseases) and their impact on human mental health, finishing at the same time a Master of Psychology. After this, I decided to move to Tasmania, Australia where I completed my Ph.D. I have been living here for the past 7 and half years, I’m currently working as an environmental scientist living in the remote town of Strahan, in the west coast of Tasmania.
In Mexico, I was part of Bukkyo Dendo Kyokai, a Japanese Pure Land temple where I first took refuge, I used to work closely with the reverend Todaka and that’s where I first became interested in continuing and deepening my Buddhist studies, as well as, Buddhist Psychology.
After moving to Australia, I became an aspirant to ministry with Susthama as my first mentor. Then I took a step further and joined the Amida Shu order, which is something I have always wanted, becoming a Disciple of Buddha and Vajra becoming my new mentor, giving me the opportunity to learn new teachings. In Amida Shu I have found so much support and love, feeling completely safe to make mistakes, without being ashamed of my bombu nature, this is not only the place where I can learn and question and grow but where I feel I can also help.
I have always had a very clear plan about how I would like to do my ministry, working along with my Paprika, as a support cat with people in need (trust me, he’s absolutely amazing and very loving with a purr of a truck). One of the things I love the most is hiking and feeling close to nature. I also enjoy yoga morning practices and meditation, which I do almost every day and of course, I love spending a quiet evening with my cats, Pistache, Paprika, and Waffle.”
My name is Gary Lee-Scott; I’m 57 and originally from Salford (part of Greater Manchester) in the North West of England. I'm married to Ginny and we have two children; Emerson 23 and Esme 19, who both still live at home as they pursue their music career as 'esme emerson' - their new EP is available on all good streaming platforms from the 29th of April (sorry for the shameless plug)! 🙂 We live in a small village on the Essex / Suffolk border about an hour from London.
I originally qualified as a NHS Chiropodist / Podiatrist before moving into NHS management, where I focused on the planning and delivery of primary care services. After a period of ill-health, I left the NHS in my mid 40's and I now work as a freelance project manager in the charity and education sectors. I've also spent time as a Trustee, Governor, and Non-Executive Director of various organisations.
I first went to my local Triratna Buddhist Centre in 2008, when I joined a meditation course to help manage my stress but very quickly realised that I'd found something I didn't even know I was looking for! I took refuge in September 2009 and became a Mitra with Triratna, but in hindsight, it never quite felt like 'home', and over time my practice and engagement became somewhat fragmented. However, at the start of the pandemic I signed up for the 30 Days of Nembutsu Course and I haven't looked back. I completed the Introduction to Pureland Buddhism course in May 2021 and I'm now halfway through the Vow22 Programme. I'm also participating in the Heart of a Buddha spiritual formation programme.
Although I only took refuge with Amida Shu in August 2021, it feels like I've had a connection for so much longer and that my path since 2008 has been about finding my way to 'here'!
Namo Amida Bu,
My name is Andrea Bergström and I live with my husband in Hoogeveen, a small village in the Netherlands. We have two grown children.
It was a little over a year ago that I’ve been connected to the Amida Order. In August 2021 I took refuge since then my practice was renewed.
My interest in being an aspirant has to do with committing myself to Amida Buddha, the dharma, and the sangha in a practical way. I value very much the meetings and services with other members of the Amida order, reading the sutras, chanting, reflecting, and learning from each other. It helps me to deepen my practice and integrate it into my daily life and in working as a counselor.
In my spare time, I love being in nature on long walks with my dog or running. Besides working as a counselor I work as a Mindfulness teacher and Tai Chi instructor. I love practicing this way of moving with others. Reading and photography are other interests.
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
Upcoming 2022 Ordained member gatherings are on Sundays. All meetings are held at 5 p.m (UK time). The zoom link will be sent by email.
Dates for 2022:
January 23 - stone passing
February 20 - business
March 20 stone passing
April 24 business
May 22 stone passing
June 19 (Conclave) stone passing/business
September 18 stone passing
October 16 business
November 20 stone passing/business
December (Bodhi Retreat - dates to be determined)
Visit our website for a full list of weekly services and special events.
There you will find dates, times and links for joining via zoom. If you have any questions about what we offer please contact: Susthama Kim
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