Where to begin? Advice on Pure Land practice in the Uk

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Jen1975
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Where to begin? Advice on Pure Land practice in the Uk

Post by Jen1975 »

I've read a lot about Pure Land practice, but unsure how to begin a practice at home. Many years spent in a Chinese esoteric group which had issues with lineage so I left.

I live in the UK, advice on books, utube channels etc would be most welcome.
Thank you.
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Zhen Li
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Re: Where to begin? Advice on Pure Land practice in the Uk

Post by Zhen Li »

Jen1975 wrote: Thu Jan 13, 2022 2:04 pm I've read a lot about Pure Land practice, but unsure how to begin a practice at home. Many years spent in a Chinese esoteric group which had issues with lineage so I left.

I live in the UK, advice on books, utube channels etc would be most welcome.
Thank you.
For in-person stuff, it might be a bit sparse. As for Jōdo Shinshū, it is not very prominent in the UK, but there's a Shin Buddhist Fellowship based in Southampton which appears to have services run online. If you watch or attend, please let me know how it is as I may be moving to the UK soon. They seem to have three websites:
http://www.purelandnotes.com/
http://www.shinbuddhistfellowship.uk/
http://chomonhouse.org/

As for general English language youtube channels, though not UK based, my primary suggestion would be Oregon Buddhist Temple's channel:
https://www.youtube.com/user/OregonBuddhistTemple

BCA Center for Buddhist Education has some decent talks, but also some less relevant things:
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCnWr3X ... lPWvTMqlPw

From Japan, Tsukiji Hongwanji does a monthly English Buddhist service which is usually posted on this channel:
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCVBY1r ... CR-0lGdYnA

For books besides the Three Pureland Sūtras, easy. Collected Works of Shinran, 2 volumes, and the Letters of Rennyō. I suggest getting familiar with these, reading them multiple times, before going to secondary literature. It will help you to easily spot what is based on tradition and what's a modern deviation. If you find the old texts hard to get into and want to start with one secondary source, I would suggest The Essential Shinran, which is pretty decent and has translations of some rarer texts about Shinran's life.

If you're looking for Jōdo-shū or Mainland resources, I'll let the resident practitioners of those respond.
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Jen1975
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Re: Where to begin? Advice on Pure Land practice in the Uk

Post by Jen1975 »

Thank you, I'll certainly look up the books and utube channels for guidance. There definitely isn't a huge amount in the UK, most centres are Tibetan or Triratna.

I found one place which has links to London, Birmingham and quite a bit of Zoom activity at the moment. So plenty to get me started.

http://www.amidashu.org/introduction-to ... ne-course/
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Zhen Li
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Re: Where to begin? Advice on Pure Land practice in the Uk

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Jen1975 wrote: Fri Jan 14, 2022 9:04 am Thank you, I'll certainly look up the books and utube channels for guidance. There definitely isn't a huge amount in the UK, most centres are Tibetan or Triratna.

I found one place which has links to London, Birmingham and quite a bit of Zoom activity at the moment. So plenty to get me started.

http://www.amidashu.org/introduction-to ... ne-course/
It looks like an off-shoot of Triratna, but I can't find any information on David Brazier's lineage or where he got the Dharma name Dharmavidya. He also wears red coloured clothes exclusively. His teachings are a bit all over the place and not really exclusively focused on Amida. I'd take very cautious steps before getting deeply involved. If you learn more I'd like to know a bit about his background.
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Jen1975
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Re: Where to begin? Advice on Pure Land practice in the Uk

Post by Jen1975 »

Zhen Li wrote: Fri Jan 14, 2022 11:39 am
Jen1975 wrote: Fri Jan 14, 2022 9:04 am Thank you, I'll certainly look up the books and utube channels for guidance. There definitely isn't a huge amount in the UK, most centres are Tibetan or Triratna.

I found one place which has links to London, Birmingham and quite a bit of Zoom activity at the moment. So plenty to get me started.

http://www.amidashu.org/introduction-to ... ne-course/
It looks like an off-shoot of Triratna, but I can't find any information on David Brazier's lineage or where he got the Dharma name Dharmavidya. He also wears red coloured clothes exclusively. His teachings are a bit all over the place and not really exclusively focused on Amida. I'd take very cautious steps before getting deeply involved. If you learn more I'd like to know a bit about his background.
Oh goodness, thanks for the advice. I need to be cautious and find the right sangha. Will follow up more on the links you sent earlier 👍🏻
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Kim O'Hara
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Re: Where to begin? Advice on Pure Land practice in the Uk

Post by Kim O'Hara »

Zhen Li wrote: Fri Jan 14, 2022 11:39 am
Jen1975 wrote: Fri Jan 14, 2022 9:04 am Thank you, I'll certainly look up the books and utube channels for guidance. There definitely isn't a huge amount in the UK, most centres are Tibetan or Triratna.

I found one place which has links to London, Birmingham and quite a bit of Zoom activity at the moment. So plenty to get me started.

http://www.amidashu.org/introduction-to ... ne-course/
It looks like an off-shoot of Triratna, but I can't find any information on David Brazier's lineage or where he got the Dharma name Dharmavidya. He also wears red coloured clothes exclusively. His teachings are a bit all over the place and not really exclusively focused on Amida. I'd take very cautious steps before getting deeply involved. If you learn more I'd like to know a bit about his background.
Brazier's name rang a (dim, distant) bell for me so I looked him up. He has a bio on Wikipedia - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Brazier . It's a bit sketchy but shows that he has been around for a while. He is also important in ITZI - https://zen-therapy.org/about-itzi/ - which I hadn't heard of but which looks like it's some kind of parallel to Jon Kabat-Zinn's MBT, etc. His personal web page is linked from that one and (at last!) mentions Pure Land but it is quite eclectic, as you say. He wrote a very positive Foreword to a book about Triratna - https://issuu.com/thebuddhistcentre/doc ... vajragupta - but I didn't come across any closer connection than that.

After all that, his name may have seemed familiar to me just from seeing his name on books on the psych/self-care shelf in my local bookshop. :shrug:

:namaste:
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Zhen Li
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Re: Where to begin? Advice on Pure Land practice in the Uk

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Kim O'Hara wrote: Fri Jan 14, 2022 12:52 pm
Zhen Li wrote: Fri Jan 14, 2022 11:39 am It looks like an off-shoot of Triratna, but I can't find any information on David Brazier's lineage or where he got the Dharma name Dharmavidya. He also wears red coloured clothes exclusively. His teachings are a bit all over the place and not really exclusively focused on Amida. I'd take very cautious steps before getting deeply involved. If you learn more I'd like to know a bit about his background.
Brazier's name rang a (dim, distant) bell for me so I looked him up. He has a bio on Wikipedia - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Brazier . It's a bit sketchy but shows that he has been around for a while. He is also important in ITZI - https://zen-therapy.org/about-itzi/ - which I hadn't heard of but which looks like it's some kind of parallel to Jon Kabat-Zinn's MBT, etc. His personal web page is linked from that one and (at last!) mentions Pure Land but it is quite eclectic, as you say. He wrote a very positive Foreword to a book about Triratna - https://issuu.com/thebuddhistcentre/doc ... vajragupta - but I didn't come across any closer connection than that.

After all that, his name may have seemed familiar to me just from seeing his name on books on the psych/self-care shelf in my local bookshop. :shrug:

:namaste:
Kim
What he writes sounds like it's borrowing from Jōdo-shū and Jōdo-shinshū, but their service book is called a Nian Fo book, and all their members have Sanskrit names but their member "ranks" have very —so it's really a bit of a mess in the language area. Maybe it's an attempt to create a Pure Land focused Triratna, hopefully without the scandals. Overall it looks perfectly innocent and I don't see any major red flags, but it's all a bit eclectic, as you say, and a bit eccentric.

What makes me a bit suspicious is the ordination system and red robes with no apparent lineage—it seems to have been developed from scratch. They have celibate and non-celibate members (David Brazier appears to be married), and a rather complicated hierarchy. Entry based on invitation reminds me a bit of freemasonry. They have a stage and track system with a variety of ranks and their various programmes are quite costly.

Of course, there are ranks in Jōdo-shū and Jōdo-shinshū, and ordination is quite expensive in both as well. BCA's correspondence course also wasn't cheap. So, I'm not criticising their structure. I think it's just a matter of preference. Some people definitely don't like to be tied to a lineage and tradition. I think if you feel like Shinran has the answer, you should go with Jōdo-shinshū. If you feel like it's Hōnen, go with Jōdo-shū. Maybe David Brazier deserves to be an equal option too, depending on whether your karma aligns or not. Clearly, Amidashu disagrees with some of the precedents regarding ordination and celibacy that were developed in the Japanese context, and they are obviously not single-practice and see some room for combining self-power practices.
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Re: Where to begin? Advice on Pure Land practice in the Uk

Post by Konchog Thogme Jampa »

There’s Three Wheels in London I went there for four years between 2009-13

It is a branch temple of Shogyoji with two resident Japanese Jodo Shinshu Priests.

https://www.threewheels.org.uk/
4. From each and every dear companion we will part.
We will leave possessions for which we've strived so hard.
The body's guest house the guest, consciousness, will lose.
To renounce this life is what bodhisattvas do.



དཀོན་མཆོག་ཐོགས་མེད་འབྱམས་པ

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