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Greetings Friend
Introducing Buddhist Values and Japanese Culture 
70th Anniversary 
1951-2021
Understanding Buddhism

悪縁
Akuen
An evil condition
A thing or person that causes one to do an evil act that contradicts the Buddhist teachings.

Buddha
Wisdom: a Dharma Message

Thank you, Rev. Sol Kalu for giving us permission to use your Dharma talk that appeared in the November 2021 issue of GOJI, Honpa Hongwanji Hawaii Betsuin newsletter.

The Mind in Buddhism

Buddhism is a way of life based on the training of the mind. Its one ultimate aim is to show the way to complete liberation from suffering by the attainment of the Unconditioned, a state beyond the range of the normal untrained mind.  It is impossible to attain this unconditioned state if the mind is not focusing, constantly changing, jumping from one state to another, like a monkey jumping from tree to tree.

Buddhism’s traditional goal is to train the mind to be still, to enable one to see through the delusions created by one’s own blind passions, and to perceive reality as it is.  The main reason why our minds cannot hold onto one state for a long time is because the mind reacts to what our sense organs tell us from the outside world.  For example, when we see beautiful shapes and colors with our eyes, we are pleased, but when we smell something unpleasant or see something repulsive, the opposite happens.  We hear good news and feel elated, but hearing something bad or not to our liking, changes our mood quickly.  It is the cultivation or training of the mind that is important in traditional Buddhist practice, for a well-trained mind will cease to react to things and circumstances surrounding it and thus can maintain peace and serenity in the midst of the chaos created by impermanence.  By having a still and quiet mind, we can receive or hear the Buddha’s voice calling from within and respond to it accordingly.

One of the main teachings of Buddhism is that we have two levels of mind – our everyday rational Mind and our underlying Wisdom Mind.  The Wisdom Mind is the deeper intuitive part of ourselves that can be experienced during meditation.  This mind is not part of ourselves but belongs to Amida Buddha.  If we compare our mind to a deep lake, the ordinary mind is the surface water, subject to waves and storms.  However, our Bodhi Mind (Pure Mind of Buddha) is like the calm water at the bottom of the lake.

Our ordinary mind is compared to monkey chatter, endlessly filled with compulsive thoughts and insatiable cravings.  Living solely within our ordinary common-sense mind is like living like a hamster, endlessly spinning around the exercise wheel, in the cage, never getting anywhere.

The word “nenbutsu” means to remember the Buddha – nen means to remember, and Butsu is the Buddha.  The item that Jodo Shinshu practitioners carry in their hands when attending services is called a ‘nenju,’ not a juuzu, nen for remember, and ju for beads; they are remembering beads because it is a means to focus the mind on the Buddha by holding it in the hands in Gassho and reciting 
Namo Amida Butsu.

It is not about the number of repetitions of the nembutsu that is important.  Ideally, as Jodo Shinshu Buddhists, the day starts by connecting to the Buddha’s Mind through the recitation of the nembutsu, or if time permits, to chant a sutra in front of the Butsudan.  Of course, these practices will not keep the mind focused single-mindedly for the day. Still, the recitation of the nembutsu, done regularly, will eventually permeate our minds to the point that it becomes a rallying point to which we can refocus our minds if we encounter the constant changes in the state of our minds in everyday life.  In reciting the nembutsu out of gratitude, we connect to the Mind of Amida that is timeless, boundless, and non-reacting to any outside influences brought about by the senses.  The Bodhi mind of Amida Buddha is our true, real mind, for it is Buddhahood itself, separate from the conventional mind that is inconsistent, deluded, and a source of suffering.  It is through this mind that we receive from Amida that we awaken from the world of delusion to the realm of enlightenment. 
Namo Amida Butsu!

The American Buddhist Study Center Celebrates its 70th Annivesary
Wednesday, December 15, at 7pm EST
Reservations starts next week.
Events Going on Around the United States
Scottsdale, Arizona
Phoenix-based Ken Koshio, an influential taiko artist in the U.S., invites the public to TAIKO EXTRAVAGANZA 2021
December 17 at 7:30 pm

To learn more about this Taiko event with Ken Koshio, click here
New: Introduction to Buddhism Part 4 - Part 1 Shinran Shonin
Shinran (1173-1263) is regarded as the founder of Jodo Shinshu, the largest school of Buddhism in Japan. Professor Aaron Proffitt introduces some of the basic teachings found in the works of Shinran and explores key philosophical and psychological dimensions of his teachings. Here is Part 1. We are still working on Part 2. 
Arigato Gatha
Popular Jodo Shinshu Gatha, Arigato. Performed by the Kyoto Women’s University Chorus.
Japan in the Heian Period: A Cultural History
Here is a crash course on Japanese history during the Heian Period.
My Favorite Buddhist Quote

Truly meeting with a teacher means only one thing: That one’s personality is entirely smashed to pieces before that person.  Could there be any authentic religious experience apart from the experience of having one’s personality tally blown away?
Religious experiences that are conceived in the heads of scholars have no meaning whatsoever.


Shūichi Maida
 

Please send us your favorite Buddhist quote at info@ambuddhist.org
ABSC Fundraiser


Get ready for the holidays with this beautiful 2022 desktop calendar with a different image of the Buddha each month and the ABSC gold embroidered baseball cap. 

We ordered a limited supply for our end-of-year fundraiser.  So order yours today! 


 The 2022 Buddhist Desktop Calendar is $17 each plus $4 for handling and shipping. Total $21.  

The ABSC Baseball Cap is on $15 plus $4 for handling and shipping. Total $19.


Note: You can pick each up at the Study Center for $17 and $15.
Buy Now
Special 70th Anniversary Membership Offer

The American Buddhist Study Center (ABSC) was founded in 1951 by Reverend Hozen Seki, a Jodo Shinshu minister.  His vision was to create a learning center to teach Buddhist values and Japanese culture to America.  Following in his footsteps, we are carrying on his mission.
 
Our theme for our 70th Anniversary is Introducing Buddhist Values and Japanese Culture to America.  By supporting the ABSC, you are helping sustain one of the oldest Buddhist Libraries in America.  Your support allows us to continue to offer free programing so everyone can learn Buddhism and the beautiful crafts of Japan. Your support helps us continue to publish meaningful Buddhist and cultural publications.
 
Now is the best time to join, during our 70th Anniversary. 
Here are two exciting membership offers: 

 
Limited Lifetime Membership in celebration of our 70th Anniversary*
For the first time in our 70 year history, we are offering lifetime memberships that include all the following benefits.
Your name will be engraved on a beautiful cherrywood plaque prominently displayed at the Study Center.
You will receive a lifetime certificate.
You will receive a surprise gift basket of goodies.
Your lifetime membership is transferrable to anyone you designate. It will never expire.
Your lifetime membership is 100% tax-deductible.
So please consider becoming a lifetime member today, for $1,000.
*Limited membership offer expires 12/31/2021
Please click here
 
Annual membership
Become a member during our 70th Anniversary, and we will send you the ABSC baseball cap as our gift—this great-looking cap with the ABSC gold logo is smartly embroidered on this 100% cotton cap.
Annual membership is $100.
Please click here
ABSC Podcast
This week Rev. Shobo Gary Jaskula continues his reading with Episode 30 with Kōsō Wasan by Shinran Shonin. If you missed any of the Wasan’s, you could hear them all on the ABSC Podcast. We also have interviews up as well.  So, select your favorite Podcast provider to be always up to date with the latest ABSC podcast programs. 

Click here to listen to the podcasts 
Dharma on the Go!
SMS text messages. Sign up to receive each week a Buddhist-inspired text message. Click here to register

Dial 607-350-ABSC (2272) listen to the history of the ABSC and an inspiring Buddhist message. 

To listen to our past recordings from Lady Kujo and other various books, please click here.
Calendar of Events
Wednesday, December 15th, 7pm
ABSC 70th Anniversary (Registration starts next week)
Stay Safe, Stay Calm, Stay Mindful.
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