7 Day Nembutsu Retreats in the Japan Alps, at the Tao Sangha International Retreat Centre in Matsumoto, Nagano.
April 27 ~ May 3
August 10 ~ 16
October (tentatively) 7 ~ 13
December (5 days only, tentatively December 29 ~ January 2)
Quotes from participants of the recent October 2018 Nembutsu High:
“I’m not dependent on Sangha, I’m part of Sangha and Sangha is part of me; I feel unified with Sangha, and I’m sure this feeling will grow more in the future. And what inspired me most was watching the group at the Sangha grow and change in the love of and for Amida Buddha. Chanting Nembutsu together as one family – it is possible- through this practice, to be the example; to transfer the great love of Amida and to let others experience this through us. Namu Amida Butsu . Forever” L.M. from Toronto Centre
Masato from Kyoto Centre
Nembutsu High in Matsumoto! Is it possible that this was the first one to be held there in nine years? It was a big experience for me nine years ago: I received the clear light of Lord Amida and my tears flowed ceaselessly on the last day at the first Nembutsu High in Matsumoto.
Up to now, we have held Nembutsu High twice at Amidaji (Amida Temple) but, to be honest, I did not get the same experience as in Matsumoto.
This time, however, on the first day I got the same experience that I had before in Matsumoto, and received the light of joy on the next day. As for the light of joy, Alex and Yuzan san shared this same experience with me. And on the last day, I felt more determined than ever before.
The current way of practising had not yet been established nine years ago and two new types of Nembutsu melodies had just been introduced. As time went by, Tao Sangha and the Nembutsu method developed considerably and, along with them, I did too. It was amazing that we were doing Nembutsu in Matsumoto again.
We did Nembutsu for hour after hour and, as time passed, the subtlety increased. I always notice the piled up muddiness in myself; we can clear our ego by always devoting ourselves to doing Nembutsu. At the same time, the more delicate the Ki of Nembutsu became, the more clearly I recognized that it was still not enough, no matter where or how deep I went.
Remorse came to my mind even when I was simply breathing or saying Namu Amida Butsu.
Even though I’m always chanting, even when riding on a bicycle or walking, since this Nembutsu High I have recognized that I’m not doing enough. I clearly feel worse about the “dirtiness” of my ego than before. I know the best way to overcome this is to do Nembutsu for long periods of time, and I seriously want to do that. I’m a Nembutsu-aholic.
I am quite sure there is a big meaning to having done Nembutsu High at the Matsumoto centre with international members. I really appreciate that there is such a wonderful place for us to gather together.
Thank you very much, Ryokyu san, Nobi chan, Shunya san, Mayu san, Nene san, and Otomi san for your hard work in preparing everything for many days in advance.
Thank you very much to all the participants.
Namu Amida Butsu
|Aiki from Tokyo centre|
Nothing could have been harder than this Nembutsu practice, which continued from morning till night. This is why it means a lot to me.
First of all, the existence of Amida Buddha spread in my heart. I received strong love from Amida Buddha, who said to me, “Be aware that I’m always with you.”
So I accepted Buddha’s strong love and tried to accept, to connect with all the people and feel the wound of the field. The field was getting larger and larger, and at last I was very surprised to feel that we had an enormous and deep wound in the world, and I wondered what I could do for this wound.
Afterward, at night during the review meeting, some participants said that they felt the dead entered Pure Land and became Bodhisattva. Probably that’s why I saw my mother appear, smiling, on the following day.
I remembered the last practice at Amida Temple. At that time, I heard my mother, who had just passed away 49 days before, whisper to me. “I’m leaving now, so do your best in your life.” However, I haven’t heard anything from her since then. So I always wondered where she was, and what she was doing, and also I was afraid my mother might be angry with me because I hadn’t been able to take care of her very well. Now I’m very happy to know that she reached Pure Land, became a Bodhisattva, and is able to rest.
Recently I have been very lazy about doing Nembutsu, so much so that practising this time was difficult: I had a lot of pain in my legs and lower back. However, whenever I wanted to take a rest, I remembered Ryokyu san saying that people who told us or passed us the truth didn’t accomplish their great works for themselves; they — for example, Jesus or the Buddhist priest Ganjin — did it for others. I also felt that all the participants were lifting up and supporting me. Thanks to Amida Buddha, the great people who have helped others, and all the participants, I was able to continue to practise Nembutsu.
When I tried to hold an image of Amida Buddha in my heart, and accept and connect all the participants there, I felt I began to love and cherish all the people equally. I have never felt like that and realized that I could accept and connect people in my heart, not in my head.
I’d never say this experience could happen just once. I’ll continue my Nembutsu practice to keep loving and cherishing all people equally.
I very much appreciate all the participants in Matsumoto, especially Ryokyu san, Mayu san, and Masato san as great leaders, and Tomiko san, Nene san, and Nobi san as great chefs. Thank you so much, indeed.
Johma from the Kyoto Centre
Three days is not enough! I want to continue doing Nembutsu at least for a week. This is the honest feeling I had when participating in Nembutsu High.
When I look back on my past, I realize that I have been living in the darkness of negativity for a long time. I’m desperately seeking something like bright hope because it’s hard for me to live such a painful life.
Even after I came to the Sangha, I could never get rid of the feeling that darkness dominated more than half of me.
When I returned to the inner world of myself after finishing this Nembutsu High, I recognized that my mind was filled with more light than darkness. Even when I was almost pulled into the darkness, I could keep my belief that Amida Buddha or guardian spirits would help me every single moment in my daily life.I’ve just come to the starting point of life in a world where the assumption is not darkness but light, a bright future, and Pure Land.
I cannot describe this pleasure. I cannot help but be pleased that from now on I will be able to transfer this pleasure to other people. I’m looking forward to the improvement of the Sangha as a whole and I’m proud to be part of the creation of a new Sangha.
Shimon from the Kyoto Centre
During the 12-hour, continuous Nembutsu, even though I felt tired and had pain in my body, I could only move forward and kept chanting. I did not want to lower the field of Ki with my excuses about tiredness and body pains; rather, I wanted to to encourage the field.
I noticed that I kept doing Nembutsu from morning until night without eating or drinking.
I think the reason we accomplished so much during Nembutsu High is because people with the same passion were gathered together and could encourage and support each other.
Accept the field and imagine Amida Buddha: these are two things that we are told to do repeatedly during lectures. However, I could hardly escape from the world of my ego, where I try to do everything by myself. It was not until I reached a place where I could not do anything by myself that I could leave everything to other forces that can help me.
There was a moment when I noticed that I was struggling while I was doing the last Yang Nembutsu walking chant on the second day. And when I realized that, I felt I could release my strains and move naturally.
I will continue to take myself and Lord Amida into the inner twelve lights in order to accept my ego. This is the fundamental assumption of the Nembutsu method. I would like to do this as a daily routine because I am content with it.
After lunch on the third day, all of the participants looked so cheerful and felt strong affinities with each other; the field was full of a sense of oneness. When we gathered around the four people who took care of our meals and prayed for them at the end of last day, everyone felt many kinds of emotions like remorse, gratitude, praise, joy, and pleasure. I am sure that if we continue to do Nembutsu with these sensations — the Ki of Sangha — Nembutsu will become much deeper.
Through having experienced this Nembutsu High, I am quite sure that the dawn of the new Tao Sangha is just around the corner. Starting anew with this feeling, I will continue to devote myself to becoming someone who can encourage the Ki of the field.
Thank you very much indeed to those who prepared the Matsumoto facility, those who prepared meals early in the morning, and for the efforts of those behind-the-scenes, as well as all participants from Japan and abroad who practised together.
Sun from the Tokyo Centre
It was such a wonderful experience that I cannot fully express it in words.
Lord Amida is always in front of me and in my heart as well.
A feeling that was obscure before has become a part of me now.
The first day: about 10 hours
The second day: about 10 hours
The third day: about 4 hours
I can’t believe I kept doing Nembutsu for such a long time.
It is absolutely surprising because I don’t get enough exercise, but I did it.
I’m sure I have never done Nembutsu for such a long time by myself.
I had an exact feeling of receiving power from Lord Amida when I tried to accept myself, prayed for other people, and decided to take responsibility through the image of Lord Amida.
On the second day, from the beginning, I felt something come into me and I didn’t get tired at all. Of course I had physical pains, like muscular pain. And I felt warm around the area of my lower abdomen, the tanden, and as if the boundary of my skin was gone.
By about 2pm, my voice was almost hoarse from chanting, but, surprisingly, it came back.
I felt considerable pain in my legs, but continued to concentrate on chanting. After that, my body was unconsciously moving and my voice came out naturally.
On the second day, after the half the day, I somehow felt my late mother smiling at me and my tears flowed for a moment.
On the third day, in the morning, it was hard for my voice to come out and I felt more pain in my legs than on the second day.
However, I kept trying to see myself, accept the field and others, imagine Lord Amida, and accumulate the inner twelve lights. Because of that I could stop straining and my voice came back. I felt considerable pain in my legs, but the less the concern I paid to myself, the less pain I felt.
And I felt as though the golden Lord Amida was in the bottom of my heart.
The thought came to that those who create statues of Buddha are seeing Lord Amida in themselves when they make them.
During the five-point prostration (touching the ground with hands, knees, and forehead), with pain in my legs, I felt as though I was being questioned by Lord Amida: “Can you take your opponent’s position in any troublesome situation?”
Until now, I didn’t understand well at all what the ego was. However, at this time I thought that the ego meant that I was not obedient to Lord Amida and I thought I could manage everything by myself. How arrogant I am!!!
I really appreciate having the opportunity to have such a wonderful experience because I would never be able to achieve it by myself.
I think that this experience was only the beginning, but I am sure it will be the core of my life and will guide me through my life. From now on I will work diligently on Tao Shiatsu, being thankful for this experience.
Also I hope that I will someday be able to help other people have such a wonderful experience.
Thank you very much, indeed.
Miku from the Tokyo Centre
First, I want to write what I felt through this Nembutsu High.
I mentioned during the final sharing time that my favourite practice is prostrations.
The reason for that is that they show very well to me how we can infinitely improve ourselves, which is the way it is in Pure Land.
The next thing I want to tell you about is that I felt my chanting voice came out after it echoed in my heart, not directly from my throat, when I was doing Walking Nembutsu on the last day of Nembutsu High in Matsumoto. This was my first experience; I haven’t had a chance to do it before.
Thanks to this Nembutsu High, I clearly recognized that I have not achieved a state of emptiness. I will keep doing Nembutsu and make as much effort as possible to enter the gate of the Practice.
Thank you very much, indeed.
I would like to participate the next Nembutsu High.
Shunya from the Kyoto Centre
We did Nembutsu for two and a half days: 12 hours a day for two days and, in total, we did it for more than 24 hours.
It was precious to spend such a long time with the leaders, the people who worked hard for our meals, and the members from Japan and abroad.
I really appreciate having participated in such a wonderful Nembutsu High.
This time, I really realized how important it is to take responsibility for everyone and everything and for the field.
When I imagine Amida’s face, abandon myself, and accept the field, I can be in a state of emptiness.
However, after I came to feel emptiness, I became nervous because I was concerned about the person who was sitting next to me. This is because I am scared of people. Then I tried to keep accepting Amida Buddha and could accept other people without being scared of them.
When I felt the inner twelve lights, vowing for the improvement of others, for their relief, and encouraging the field, I gradually lost my body sensation and became lighter and lighter.
It was the first time I recognized how precious it is to do Nembutsu and how appreciative I am. I will accept everything and the field every day. I think there is no longer any option but to live in Tao.
Rimi from the Tokyo Centre
“Don’t think in your head! Feel in your heart!”
Even if I go to the end of the earth, I cannot stop thinking because of my ego.
I admit this. I am scared and afraid to feel with my heart. I think it is defenseless to feel with my heart and it’s as if I am something fragile like silk tofu, which canbe easily broken down.
I know all these things are my excuses.
During Nembutsu, I didn’t know why I was doing Nembutsu, I was just doing it.
And then I got into a panic. “For others!” Other people are more important than myself.
If I say this, I’ll be exposed as a hypocrite.
I recognized that I was using all my energy to cover up my hypocrisy. This is exact self-concern.
Far from being hidden, my ego seemed to get more powerful and become bigger.
What can I call this except to say that it is the suffering of hell.
I know from the bottom of my heart that I cause everything by myself.
My anxiousness came to a head and I felt it was all over for me.
I had no choice but to ask myself why I do Nembutsu.
Wherever I look, I am everywhere.
I felt sick.
I recognized the reason for this suffering was that I could not abandon myself.
Who is the person with a gloomy face? Is it me?
My heart was too painful and I was almost dying.
My anxiety got my heart into a corner.
I am cunning and I tried to think with my head, but I don’t have any wisdom at all.
There is a “heart” in my mind, which is feeling pain.
After doing Nembutsu, thinking carefully about my painful mind, I recognized that the pain was mine and also others’.
It was truth.
And Amida Buddha, who gave life to all.
It was an obvious fact.
True brightness of mind is what Amida gives.
This was also beyond doubt.
And it can be shared with others.
That is why there is Tao Sangha’s Nembutsu method.
For infinite improvement.
Thank you very much for telling me such wonderful things and supporting this Nembutsu High. I appreciate everything and all the wishes of Amida Buddha.
I will tell as many people as possible about Tao Sangha’s Nembutsu method, without hesitation.
Hitoki from the Tokyo Centre
First, I would like to thank you very much indeed for leading this Nembutsu High and taking care of our meals for us.
This is my second time to participate in Nembutsu High. I took part in Nembutsu High at Amidaji (Amida Temple) the first time. At that time, when I was drumming on the Mokugyo during Nembutsu, I became high during Yang Nembutsu. It was only one time. Maybe endorphins might have come into my head.
I expected to get the same experience as before at this Nembutsu High, but I couldn’t get to the same level this time.
However, I could see karmic and traumatic things in myself during Nembutsu.
When I saw these kinds of things, I tried to do Nembutsu to overcome them through the twelve inner lights and Amida Buddha,
And I tried to do Nembutsu to encourage the field to go to Infinite Pure Land.
At the end, I could not devote all myself to doing Nembutsu. I was concentrating on my mind and body a little bit and felt pain in my feet. I will make efforts to do Nembutsu until I forget my pain.
Even in my daily life I will make as much effort as possible to accept Lord Amida and the field and encourage the field to go to Infinite Pure Land by inner twelve lights subconsciously.
Thank you very much, indeed.
Hiroa from the Tokyo Centre
When I was doing Yang Nembutsu, feeling so tired from desperately trying to raise the field of Ki up, I recognized how much Lord Amida and many Bodhisattvas wish for my progress and happiness and help me to live my true life. I was full of gratitude, and I was released; I felt something warm spreading from my heart.
During Ying Nembutsu, when I accepted my ego and Amida’s face and kept deeply watching my ego and raising the field of Ki, I felt the existence of the Great Spirit and felt as if I were embraced by and unified with Lord Amida. And I went deeper and got the mysterious feeling that my body and the universe were moving slowly together.
Many feelings came to my mind. I didn’t want to take any responsibility; I didn’t want to abandon my ego. My body was tired. I resisted the death of my ego and felt the fear of my death, etc. I don’t want to look away from these things and I truly want to throw myself away.
I won’t do Nembutsu ceremoniously but I want to do Nembutsu for the sake of the vow of transference, within its definition in Tao Sangha.
I think I can live a real life if I can destroy my ego and devote myself to live for others. I remembered that it was easy to abandon myself; it was what I was taught at the Tao Shiatsu lesson. I threw away my ego easily and Amida’s face came into my heart at the same time and I felt warmth at the deep point of my heart. Immediately after I recognized that I would like to remain at this stage, I vowed to try to encourage the field.
As I encouraged the field to change, it was changed. The Holy Spirit came and I felt the field was full of Wisdom, Great Love, Joy, and the realization of the Vows. When I heard someone say that even devils wish to become enlightened, I sincerely hoped it would come true. I felt many spirits that wanted to be saved became saved.
While I was doing Nembutsu, the fear of contact with other people suddenly came to my mind. I didn’t want to overlook it and tried to accept everything as much as possible. Suddenly I recognized that Lord Amida really loved not only me but the worst of myself and I understood that this was true and unconditional love.
I became full of gratitude and then my heart became gentler.
I can only change what I accept, and deepen my acceptance of the Twelve Lights with a humble heart.
It is only a warm and gentle heart that can accept everything.
I was so ashamed and sorry for my ego. I will repent and surely turn this shame and sorrow into light.
When I was listening to the Dharma Talk on the last day, a beam of light became connected with the deep point in my heart. I tried to keep this connection to the bottom of my heart in the moment. It is difficult for me to express how I felt in words, but I felt it was a different world.
Inner Twelve Lights, inner Lord Amida. If I can be connected with them, the root of sorrow will melt and I will feel warmth in my heart and power will fill my heart.
I recognized that I had been separated from inner Lord Amida. It is the same when I am separated from other people as from Lord Amida. “The self and others are one thing” means not only that the self and others are not separate from each other but also that the self, others, and Lord Amida are together and are one thing.
I will continue to face the fact that I don’t accept everything enough, not only at Nembutsu but also at other times, and that I’m leaking my ego.
I will keep accepting and encouraging the field for the sake of spreading Tao Sangha’s Path to the world, to the future, so that all who are living and following Tao Sangha’s Path can create and encourage others to live the Tao Sangha way.
I will never forget that only wishes and actions from a true heart are the only way to make people and the world shine.
I will always keep walking alone like a rhinoceros.
Otomi san, Mayu sensei, Nene san and Nobi san, thank you very much for your support and preparing all our meals during Nembutsu High.
And thank you very much to everyone for working hard for this Nembutsu High. I appreciate it.
I was deeply impressed by the international participants as they attended this Nembutsu High with strong wishes and were facing themselves seriously. Thank you very much, indeed.
Yue from the Tokyo Centre
First, Ryokyu sensei and Mayu sensei, thank you very much for letting me participate in this Nembutsu High. I appreciate it.
Also, I would like to thank the Tao Sangha members who worked very hard on all the preparations and the delicious meals so we were able to focus on Nembutsu.
It was luxury to focus on only Nembutsu for two and a half days. When those days had finished my heart was filled with gratitude and there were tears of joy.
At the same time, remorse came into my mind.
I was worried whether I could cope with the pain of my ankle before Nembutsu High started. I recognised that I suffered from pain whenever I thought about myself and did not concentrate on Nembutsu and could not get any clear image of Lord Amida.
When I made my ego as small as possible and tried to do Nembutsu for all with Setsushin, Lord Amida appeared in front of me and I felt less pain and sometimes did not feel pain at all.
My ego came up immediately after that, but when I tried again to pray for others without disturbance, I could feel Lord Amida was pleased and recognized that I became free. I repeated the same things many times.
Everyone had beautiful smiles when we did the last Nembutsu and we finished Nembutsu High with a warm feeling. I was so happy to share this fulfilling time with the international Tao Sangha members.
I remembered that Alex told us to take this warm feeling back to our daily life and tried to share the warm feeling with my coworkers at the office. All of us were smiling even when we had normal conversation with each other, and I could feel the change of Ki energy in the field.
I really want to consider others and be with Lord Amida all the time.
I am sorry that I could not say “Goodbye” to everyone at the end.
Now we have a place where we can do Nembutsu with all the international Tao Sangha members together, so I hope Sangha will spread to the world freely.
San no from the Kyoto Centre
The Ki field is inside; it is also existence itself and myself.
I faced the worst of myself and could not do anything.
When I consider what I have imposed on other people and the Sangha, I am astonished and almost crushed by how tremendous it is.
“Everyone and everything in the world is my slave.”
I am clearly a person who thinks this is so, at the bottom of my heart.
What a horrible feeling it is! It is tremendously arrogant and something like a picture in which fighting spirits, hungry ghosts, and animals are holding hands together and laughing.
This is my feeling and a fact.
I have been dependent on others and clung to Sangha.
I haven’t tried to stand on my own feet.
I haven’t been ashamed or tried to change myself.
How miserable I am!!!
I thought I was training.
I’m just embarrassed.
If possible, I really want to escape and disappear.
However, I will accept myself in the back of my chest with the image of Lord Amida.
It is totally impossible for me to do it without Lord Amida.
Keep accepting my ego, which cannot be helped, and take a vow for encouragement to be enlightened.
I will be able to change myself only by praying for all with Lord Amida.
However, there will only be salvation or the possibility that I can change if I accept and pray for all and encourage the field.
That is the only way.
I sincerely repent for having polluted the Sangha.
I appreciate that I have met my own ego, Dharma and Sangha.
I admire the unlimited possibilities of myself and everyone else.
I have decided to keep accepting my ego and stand alone.
Ryokyu san, thank you very much for teaching us such wonderful Dharma.
Mayu san, Otomi san, Nene san, Nobi san, all participants, those who could not participatein this Nembutsu High, the people who are related and all other people, thank you very much for all of your support. I am full of gratitude and remorse to all of you.
I appreciate the importance and possibilities of the Matsumoto Centre and
I would like to do Nembutsu High again and for longer.
I am really thankful to all of you.