Dharma talk What is Amida Buddha 2015-12-11
I will explain Amida Buddha through the Heart Sutra. I don’t want to just explain what it is, but what is most important in it.
Purpose of practice
What is the purpose of your practice?
What made you feel that you want to practice?
What is your motivation?
What are you searching for in life?
There are secrets to life.
There are many secrets in the universe.
But one question I would like to give you is:
“Does Amida Buddha exist, or not?”
If so, then in what way does the Great Spirit exist?
And how can you recognize it?
What is the difference in the lives of those who recognize the Great Spirit,
and those who won’t recognize the Great Spirit?
When I imagine myself, if I thought,
“I don’t have any actual feeling that Amida Buddha exists,”
then I imagine
how life would be so empty,
how life is hopeless,
how nothing will develop.
All this would come from not feeling the existence of Amida Buddha in my heart.
I think your subconscious is actually the writer of your future life.
The relationship between yourself and the image of the Great Spirit in your subconscious
writes the script of your future life.
I believe that this is one of the most important secret principles of life.
So I’ll repeat it one more time.
The kind of relationship you have with yourself and your image of the Great Spirit will decide what happens in your future.
If you have an image of fear toward the Great Spirit,
then you will have fear about the future,
because the Great Spirit is equal to the whole world and all people in the world.
It is written in the Heart Sutra that Buddha, the world, and all beings are equal.
Therefore, your image of the Great Spirit directly reflects the image you have of the world and other people.
What makes you want to realize the power of Amida Buddha?
Because the world and Buddha are the same thing,
the power of Amida Buddha will help you realize your wishes.
So, if I think Amida Buddha does not exist,
I don’t think I can realize any of my wishes,
which means that I’m not going to have any hope.
I will not have much hope for the future,
and will just be busy trying to survive, myself.
Many people might think that life is something like that,
but the true reality of the universe is not like that!
The reality of the universe is the opposite of common sense.
The truth is, whatever you wish, any wish can be realized,
any wish you have for future, it can be realized.
This is the truth.
The universe is very free to create the future.
We are not tied to the physical world!
Because of this, we can change our lives, we can change our future, and we can change the world.
I am talking about this because I recognize it in my subconscious.
Through my practice I experience that Amida Buddha, the Great Spirit of the universe, exists.
I feel much, much happier and feel free to create a new future.
If I compare the feeling I had before I realized the existence of Amida Buddha,
it was like I really didn’t know how to live, how to think about the future. Existence was just suffering for me.
Before I realized that Amida Buddha really exists, I didn’t know what the principle or structure of the universe was. I didn’t know that my future and the world could be changed, so I didn’t have much hope for my life and the world.
What a surprise! How amazing the universe is!
How can we describe the concept of Amida Buddha?
Amida is another name of the Great Spirit of the universe,
another name of god, another name of holy spiritual existence, another name of the universe.
Amida Buddha = Great Spirit = Holy Existence = Universe.
But there are differences between the concept of Amida Buddha and the other names.
One of the differences is that Amida is the universe itself.
But please don’t misunderstand.
When we hear the word “universe,” it is so easy to think of or imagine it as material.
But actually, the universe is not material, the universe itself is a spirit, and that’s why we call it the Great Spirit.
The universe is spirit. The universe:
– is infinite spirit and has majestic power,
– is not material,
– is not limited,
– is changing every moment,
– is developing each moment,
because the universal spirit responds to our heart.
Please don’t think that the universe is material. Please don’t think it has a physical or limited existence.
Limited means that it is tied up by cause and effect.
We are so brainwashed by science that we think all material phenomenon is very much limited by cause and effect, but it can change, depending on your heart. Amida is beyond cause and effect. That’s why Amida is infinite and has majestic power.
Because Amida responds to our heart, we can go beyond cause and effect and do more; this depends on faith.
Each individual existence…
Buddhist scripture says that each small, tiny dust particle includes all of the universe. This is a symbolic expression of each individual existence.
What do you think about this?
Each individual existence includes the whole universe.
What does this mean?
It means that even a single individual’s movement affects the whole universe.
Each individual’s existence affects the whole universe.
Each individual’s existence includes every other individual at every moment and they affect each other every moment.
The result of moving one of your fingers? The whole universe will respond to it.
That’s why whatever you visualize or imagine, whatever you say, whatever you think, or whatever you will, it affects the whole universe.
That’s why the universe is changing each moment.
Every moment, the universe is spiritually developing.
And this is how you can change your future, you can change the world.
Because the universe is very, very flexible, every moment it is flexibly changing.
This is the basic concept of Buddhism:
Nothing is permanent, every moment involves constant change. Nothing stays same.
Many people misunderstand about Buddhism, they think “just don’t have any desire.”
Also, the concept “every moment is changing, nothing is permanent” some people understand as
“don’t have any hope.” That seems like pretty much an empty idea.
The real meaning of emptiness is that the universe is completely flexible to change in any way as it responds to your heart.
And that’s why Tao Sangha says:
let’s change your heart,
let’s change your words,
let’s change your actions.
Let’s do this to make a better future.
And it is possible.
This is the real meaning of “Gyatei gyatei” in the Heart Sutra and Buddhism for the 21st century,
and it is just starting now!
Amida Buddha is the universe itself, what we call Houjin in Buddhism, but at the same time, and this is the interesting part, the universe is the Holy Spirit, as in Christianity.
One day, Houjin will come to you with an image of Amida Buddha if you are a Nembutsu practitioner.
This might be not so easy to understand, because “universal Buddha” means “the universe itself” and is everywhere, so how does Amida Buddha individually connect to you?
That the universal spirit will come to you seems like it doesn’t make sense, right?
If it is the “universe itself,” this has nothing to do with you personally, right?
But actually, it is not like that, because each single individual includes the whole universe,
The whole universe is concentratedly focusing on you individually. As yourself, as an individual person.
This is what Christianity says, and maybe also Judaism, too: “You are the only child of God.”
Because you are the only child of God, your individual existence is focused on by the whole universe.
Amida Buddha will enter into your heart and let you experience real existence, the whole universe, but at the same time Amida Buddha will come to you and face you individually—you and Amida will face each other—Amida will visit your heart.
And what will happen?
You will feel non-duality, non-separation of yourself and others, you’ll feel complete emptiness;
in other words, you’ll be completely filled up with great love.
What you will feel is
full of warmth,
full of relaxation, and
This will happen to you, and you’ll know that every moment the whole universe/Amida Buddha/great love is focusing on you.
And at the same time, not consciously but subconsciously, without any effort, naturally, great love will appear from your heart, it will spring out from your heart, and it will expand, spreading to the whole universe.
And this is very peaceful and relaxing; you’ll find happiness and you’ll find a new life. This is rebirth of the spirit.
Nembutsu practice is praying for all beings, concentratedly, constantly. And as a result, you’ll be in this state.
Please look forward to it.
Recorded from Endo Ryokyu’s weekly Live Dharma Talk on USTREAM