Shutoku wrote:Lotus415 wrote:Ryoto wrote:Try finding a Jodo Shinshu temple. You might have some luck there.
Yes, I've thought of that, but from what I've read of their teachings their thoughts on Amitabha being a myth do not really correspond to what I have studied.
I am caucasian and attend a Jodo Shinshu Temple, and have for over 15 years.
Regarding ethnicity, the Temple membership is 90% Japanese Canadian. Services are mostly in English, though Sutras are not Chanted in English, and some Gatha's (Hymns) are Japanese with romaji, however Dharma talks are either in both Japanese and English, or only English. Really only a handfull of members do not speak English at this point.
I think it is generally true that the vast majority of Shinshu Temples in North America are like this.
Regarding the nature of Amida. I have never met a Jodo Shinshu follower who did not feel Amida was real, although not all feel the description in the Sutras is necessarily to be taken 100% literally. Some do some don't, but all Shinshu followers I have met feel Amida is real and is a manifestation of Dharma-Kaya, and all feel we are helpless to attain Enlightenment by our own power and thus rely upon Amida and recite Nembutsu in gratitude.
I think the beauty of a Sangha is not just in the form the liturgy takes, or how you interpret something. The beauty of a Temple is the people who practice together. In the west I think there is a common idea that while Buddha and Dharma are important, Sangha is less so. I cannot even tell you how much my Buddhist life has been enriched by being around Temple members....even if we are not talking about Buddhism. Even if we are working together at a chow mein sale to raise funds for the Temple, or a cleaning crew keeping the Temple tidy, or just having tea after a service.
So my advice is to not get too wrapped up in pre-conceived notions of ethnicity or interpretation. Just go to a Temple and see how it feels. If one doesn't seem to fit try another. I suspect you will find that Pure Land practice will be more prevalent in more ethnically based Temples, but that's ok. Don't discount it because of that. Language and culture barriers might not be as big as you imagine, and actually even if they are pretty big, if you stick with it you will gain experience and understanding you might not have otherwise.
thank you for such a great and use full reply, What are some pureland buddhist beliefs?