Here in Belgium our Bodhi Retreat 2012 has just ended. It has been a wonderful event and especially good to know that it was also happening in UK, Canada and Hawaii. In all these places there were admissions, ordinations or other advancements. We, the Amida Order, have gone through a lot together over the years and each time there is another step in our development we see some people leave and more join. This time has been no exception. Over the past year we have seen the emergence of ITZI, changes in the role of Sukhavati in London, and developments in the running of Amida Trust. I myself have moved to Belgium and been finding new upaya for spreading the Dharma to new groups in new ways.
Not everybody has stayed with us in these transitions, but when we look at the overall picture we see that where the Order was a couple of dozen people a year ago it is now about 30 and where it was originally the case that all order members were in the UK and until recently the majority were, now there are more spread around the world in other countries than in the country of origin and, in fact, about a third of the Order now live outside of Europe. Here in Benelux, there are now 7 order members living within 3 hours travel of Zenshin-in. All of this is very heartening.
Not only are we seeing a growth in numbers, we are also seeing a wonderful quality of relationship. Here on our retreat there was much sharing, healing and growing going on. This is not a practice in which we just go through the motions - it is a way in which important transformation occurs in the lives of individuals and in the relationships that they have with one another. Some mistakenly think that other power will lead to people doing nothing, but quite the contrary is the case. If I am accepted as I am then the full responsibility for my life comes home to me.
I am also deeply satisfied that this is a sangha in which I, as the teacher, can also be a human being and meet other members on a footing of shared humanity, giving and receiving feedback and sharing our experience of the life of faith together. The Pureland way is perhaps not for everybody, not everyone has that "karmic affinity with Amitabha Buddha", but for those who do, this is a wonderful community to be part of and to feel loved by. Namo Amida Bu. Much gratitude.
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