Welcome to the Leaflet

The Leaflet blog provides:
. Innen's weekly comments from a Dharma perspecti
ve
• the up-to-date practice calendar for our Red Maple Mindful Living Centre,
• links to our Tendai family of centres

For more on RMS, or Tendai Canada, visit www.tendai.ca
For more on the Red Maple Mindful Living Centre, click the link on the right border


Saturday, February 15, 2014

SANGHA DAY, FAMILY DAY

SANGHA DAY, FAMILY DAY

This week, on the full moon which marked Valentine’s Day, we are simultaneously celebrating Maha Puja or Sangha Day which commemorates the spontaneous gathering of over a thousand of Shakyamuni’s arhats (senior disciples). Sangha literally means the “community” and refers to both Shakyamuni’s most intimate followers but also the larger community which supports it. Shakyamuni added sangha as the third jewel, along with Buddha and Dharma, no doubt to reflect the crucial role of human relationships in the relief of suffering.

In Japanese Buddhism this larger community is referred to as sodai, and might also imply the “extended family” supporting a Buddhist temple. It would include clergy and lay-people who were equally engaged in sustaining the temple which served its locale.

Its worth noting the parallel symbolism of our designation of this same weekend as including Family Day (for we Ontarians, at least), a time when we are reminded to honour the importance and individuals who make up our family. We can also recall that we are members of another family, our Dharma family, that collection of people who share our commitment to teaching and practicing the Buddhaway.

Our Tendai tradition is a priestly tradition, one which has built and preserved temples which serve thousands of communities of Buddhist families. There is a remarkable symbiosis between the clergy and its sodai. Families, be they your own or those you serve as fellow members of the larger Buddhist spiritual family, provide us with the context for practice and service.


Please enjoy your time with your family this week,

Yours in the Dharma,                          
Innen, doshu
om namo amida butsu
                      

Read this week’s Ask the Religion Experts column here
http://www.ottawacitizen.com/life/ask-the-religion-experts/index.html

Monday, February 10, 2014

ATTUNEMENT

ATTUNEMENT

Paying attention and keeping open awareness are familiar advice in our practice. However, these are but half of practice. The other is that of attunement or alignment. By this I mean the way we express our selves in relation to what we are attending to. We might consider a stringed instrument, for example, where the harmony and musicality depends on the attunement between the strings and between the instruments  in a group. In the same way, we do not exist independent of our context; we are part of an ensemble. Harmony, resonance and attunement are how we produce the sweet music of our lives.
The simplest form is our own physical alignment, the balance and clarity of how we hold our bodies when we walk or sit. We are all used to checking our spine, leaning and hand position when we sit or walk. We instantly notice the difference in strength between a posture of alignment and one of imbalance. This is a dynamic activity, we check again and again with each breath to see how we are in our bodies and in relation to the space we inhabit.
On a larger scale, our practice is one of aligning and attuning to the activity of the Buddhas. In each moment of our lives, in each decision we make, our faith recommends we establish ourselves in relation to that single and unending purpose - presenting the Dharma. There is a popular motto making the rounds - “what would (Jesus, Buddha, whoever) do?” that invites us to act like some model. More importantly for us is to the question “how are the Buddhas doing...?” We need to do more than mimic the Buddhas, but rather align ourselves with their ever-presenting activity.

Yours in the Dharma,                          
from Akashaloka,                  
Innen, doshu
om namo amida butsu       


Read the latest Religion Experts column here
             
http://www.ottawacitizen.com/life/ask-the-religion-experts/index.html

Monday, February 03, 2014

THE EASY WAY

The Easy Way

A Sangha member recently asked about  the Heart Sutra , in particular the mysterious concept of emptiness (sunyata). Our discussion reminded me of the vulnerability we have of being attracted to, challenged/confused by or turned away from our faith by difficult philosophical ideas. It is typical of modern Westernizing influences in religious life that things get boiled down to the most impenetrable notions, and people are judged as infirmed if they cannot show a dexterity with notions such as emptiness, impermanence or non-difference.
Our religious lives are not college entrance exams and we don’t need to cram for some mid-term to stand (or sit) in our community. Our practice is not one of figuring things out, some advanced research project. It is the way we align ourselves with the Dharma, and we do this with the body and mind we have at our disposal. In this effort, we have, as we say in our Tendai tradition, “10,000 ways” to practice. To be sure, some of these ways include “Dharma study”, the exploration and interpretation of religious texts. However, this way is appropriate only for some and not required of all.
When we are tempted to throw up our hands at the mysteries, we have what Shinran calls “the easy path” to follow. This is the path of recitation or nembutsu, simply keeping the phrase “om namu amida butsu” in our attention at all times. And it is just one of those many alternates to study.
When we hear a piece of music and are moved by it, we can relate to it by attentive listening. This what it was created for in the first place. That may be enriched by understanding the details of the musical composition, the subtleties of performance and the historical context. This is not better than the first, nor an impediment. We are helped when we notice how we undermine our own practice by expecting intellectual sophistication as the standard for practice.       

Yours in the Dharma,                           
from Akashaloka,                   
Innen, doshu
om namo amida butsu   
  


For more comment, vuisit my Religion Experts column.               

http://www.ottawacitizen.com/life/ask-the-religion-experts/index.html