November 10, 2011

Dharma talk: How to dodge your ego

Download mp3 here

Fiona writes: Kaspa & I are Buddhists, of the Pureland variety. We have a separate blog here, but today I thought I’d bring two usually-separate-parts-of-my-life together and post my Dharma talk here as well as over there.

We have a weekly meeting with our lovely local sangha, and usually Kaspa is celebrant (he leads the service). This involves making water offerings, leading walking and sitting meditation and chanting, and lots of bowing. There are lots of things to ‘get right’ (although it’s not as complicated as being bell-master, which Caroline did beautifully last night). I’m still very much a learner.

Last night I decided I’d be celebrant a few minutes before the service started. My talk was about how it feels to go out of your comfort zone, and how often our egos get in the way.

A ‘wagesa’ (the thing I forgot to bring to the service) is a strip of coloured material we wear around our necks, as a ‘membership badge’ like a dog collar – the translation of the Japanese is ‘small robe’. Namo Amida Bu is what Pureland Buddhists call the ‘nembutsu’ – a simple calling out to/remembrance of/praise of Amida Buddha. You can learn more if you’re interested here.

After the service, Kaspa told me I’d got everything right, apart from the terrible faux pas of walking down the centre of the material in front of the shrine. This is reserved for EMPERORS ONLY. Talk about giving myself a promotion…

Namo Amida Bu.

Download mp3 here

Image by Dmitri Valberg, used with thanks. 

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