What is the Amida Order?
The Amida Order is a religious fellowship within the Amida-shu. Membership is by invitation. Broadly speaking, members of the Order are either those who have been members of Amida-shu for a long period of time or who carry some special responsibility within the Shu. The Order has both ordained and non-ordained members. All ordained members of Amida-shu are members of the Order.
For more see: About the Amida Order
What is Amida Trust?
Amida Trust is a charity (non-profit organisation) registered in the UK that provides the legal sponsorship for the activities of the Order in the UK. The charity is a trust and has a board of trustees who oversee its operations.
What is the Amida-kai?
Amida-kai is an association for anybody who supports the aims and activities of the Amida Trust. Membership is by subscription.
Members are entitled to receive a paper copy of the Running Tide journal four times a year, (although you may opt for the electronic version).
The subscription supports the work of Amida Trust, including the socially engaged work (teaching in India, for example).
What is Amida-shu?
Amida-shu is a spiritual community, an international network of people bound together by a consciouness of "Amida", of the spirit of love and truth at work in the world in the midst of ordinary, fallible beings like ourselves. Beyond this it does not require any particular form of belief or doctrine or theory. Amidists have a practice of calling the Name of Amida. In addition to this, you do not have to meditate or pray or adopt any particular practices, though you can if you want to.
Amidism is not a way of achieving anything. It is, rather a celebration and a communion. Amidists are not necessarily virtuous or wise or accomplished. We are simply people who celebrate the spiritual presence, each in his or her own way, yet together. Amidists often practice in groups, but practice can vary from group to group. Amidists are creative. We like rituals, but we do not cling to one particular form - the spirit can be celebrated in many ways.
Amidists appreciate the whole range of mystical heritage, irrespective of which religion it comes from. Although we are most closely associated with the tradition of Pureland Buddhism, we understand this vehicle as a generic spirituality and appreciate the wisdom of all those who have transmitted direct knowledge of the Spirit down the ages.
PATRONS OF AMIDA TRUST
Notable public figures who have given their support and approval to the work being done by the Amida sangha.
Mary Midgeley, philosopher of ethics, author
Prof. Alfred Bloom, leading writer on Pureland Buddhism
Prof. Kenneth Tanaka, president of the International Association for Shin Buddhist Studies
Rev. Koyo Kubose, founder of Bright Dawn and the Kubose Legacy (in honour of his pioneering father who was also a patron of Amida Trust)
Joan Court, social campaigner
Bennett Dorrence Jnr., Founder of New Moon Foundation, philanthropist
Prof Paul Knitter, Catholic liberation theologist
Rev. Jim Pym, founder of the Pure Land Buddhist Fellowship
Ken Jones, leading author on socially engatged Buddhism
Thuy & Michael Fujimoto, philanthopists
World Buddhist University
Buddhist Peace Fellowship
Institute for Spirituality, Religion and Public Life
Leicester Council of Faiths
THE AMIDA ORDER
The Amida Order has ordained and lay members and among the ordained there are amitaryas (& novices) and ministers (& gankonin). In each of these categories there is an option to follow a celibate or a non-celibate life. There is no difference between the ordination of women and men. Those preparing to become novices are called postulants and those preparing to be gankonin, aspirants.
In addition the Order is structured into three convocations.
There are currently three Amida houses: Sukhavati, Finsbury Park, London, UK; 4 Desford Road, Narborough, Leicestershire, UK; Amida Delhi, India and local groups in a number of other locations.
Dharmavidya David Brazier, head of the order, amitarya;
Modgala Duguid, deputy head of the order, acharya, amitarya;
Sujatin Johnson, acharya, senior minister;
Susthama Kim, amitarya;
Bhaktika Mike Fitter, minister;
Sahishnu Joy Marston, minister;
Jayata Joan McCann, lay member;
Maitrisimha Leo Kouwenhoven, lay member;
Kaspalita Thompson, Minister;
Padmaghosa Tony Danford, Minister;
Sumaya Budkovska, Amitarya
Jnañamati Williams, gankonin;
Aramati Zee-Zee Heine, gankonin;
Katrien Sercu, lay member;
Satyavani Fiona Robyn, gankonin
Shantikara Acquaro, Minister
DEPLOYMENT OF ORDAINED ORDER MEMBERS
Dharmavidya: at Sukhavati
Modgala: at Sukhavati
Sujatin: Amida Sanctuary, Newcastle upon Tyne
Kaspalita: Amida Malvern
Satyavani: Amida Malvern
Bhaktika: Amida Sheffield
Head of the Order: Dharmavidya (London)
Deputy Head of the Order:Modgala Duguid (London)
Jisha: Sumaya Budkovska (London)
Secretary to the Order: Kuvalaya Abel (Zurich)
Registrar: Prajnatara Bryant (London Ontario)
Archivist: Jnanamati Williams (London)
Peacemaker: Susthama Kim (Watford)
Religious Vocations, Psychology & Education: Dharmavidya
Social Engagement and Interfaith:Modgala
Vow 22: Sujatin, Susthama & Richard Ollier
Editor of Running Tide: Kaspalita
Community Leader Sumaya
How one becomes a member of Amida-shu. If you need help understanding any of the following, do ask:
Step One: Start practising.
Step Two: Subscribe to Amida-kai
Step Three: Take refuge.
Step Four: Ask for a mentor
Step Five: Practise, preferrably with others, for at least a year. Stay in communication with your mentor and with other members of the Order.
Step Six: An ordained order member will put your name forward at Conclave, a meeting held in September or October each year, to propose you as a member of Amida-shu. When Conclave has agreed a list of proposed new members, it is communicated to the existing members of Amida-shu who have an opportunity to comment.
Step Seven: In November letters of invitation are sent out to prospective new members. They are also each allotted a mentor if they do not already have one.
Step Eight: When you reply positively to your letter, a time and place will be agreed for a ceremony of admittance. This may be at an Amida Centre or in your local sangha.
Step nine: Admission Ceremony.
Step Ten: Membership must be confirmed in a further ceremony within eighteen months of first joining. After this one is known as a confirmed member.
There are two ways in which people become members of the Order.
First Method: Members of Amida-shu who have taken important responsibilities in ministry, organization or service may be invited.
Second Method: Persons who have been trainees (see below) may ordain.
BECOMING A TRAINEE
Step One: Come and stay for a few months at Sukhavati
Step Two: If, after you have been resident for long enough for it to be apparent, it is recognized that you have the commitment to be a trainee, you will be invited to become a postulant or aspirant.
Step Three: At least one year after coming to Sukhavati, usually at the Bodhi Retreat in December, a postulant may ordain as a novice, an aspirant may ordain as a gankonin.
Step Four: Novitiate usually lasts three year after which one is confirmed as an amitarya. Being a gankonin is for an indefinite period. Gankonin who establish a full time ministry role may be invited to ordination as ministers.