For your diary - please note that there will not be a meeting in July
Our August meeting will be announced at a later date
What is Pureland practice all about?
Reverend Kaspalita writes: It is simply about remembering that there are Buddhas, Bodhisattvas, and a Pureland.
What are Buddhas, Bodhisattvas, and the Pureland?
When we went to see Jetunma Tenzin Palmo speak, she said that whenever you say anything about Nirvana you miss the mark. The Buddha spoke about what Nirvana wasn’t. It wasn’t materialism, he said, and it wasn’t idealism. Once the Buddha said Nirvana was like tasting a fruit: you can never really describe the taste of that fruit to someone who hasn’t tasted it.
Jetsuma answered a question about God, and said a similar thing: whenever you say anything at all about God, you miss the mark. But she also said that the words light, intelligence and love, came close to describing her sense of what we might call Other Power.
The Pureland sutras are full of magical descriptions of Amida’s Pure Land; Amida himself (or herself) is described in many different ways, each of them missing the mark.
Some descriptions get closer than others. Amida Buddha’s light is boundless and unimpeded, it is characterised by compassion (selfless love) and wisdom (seeing beneath the surface of things). It absolutely shines upon everything: upon us, and upon the whole universe. When we feel close to Amida, we feel close to the whole universe, sharing the Buddha’s great love.
As we receive that light, it moves us away from lust, and hate, and towards kindness and clear seeing. We are more able to be intimate with the whole world, and sometimes able to see the world the way the Buddha sees it – feeling a great love for all beings.
Sometimes Amida, or the Bodhisattvas, or the Pureland, appear in grand visions or dreams. Sometimes they sneak up on us, quietly loving us and softening our Ego.
Pureland practice is about entrusting ourselves to this great love, and trusting the gates that the Buddhas open for us.