Friday, January 18, 2008

Stuff I found on the web - Karmacino and Jodo Shinshu in Romania

I recently saw a link for something advertised as a networking site for Buddhist materials on the net. The link took to me Karmacino (the last bit is pronounced like the last two syllables of "cappuccino"). It is similar to sites like or Digg, but specifically focusing on material (explicitly) dealing with Buddhism. I wondered if indeed it would have anything of interest to me, and although I still had to sort through a lot of what I did not find useful or worthwhile, I did find a link to a blog by someone trying to help establish Jodo Shinshu in Romania.

Moreover, this blog is written in English. If you forgive a little rough grammar from time to time, the author does provide sincere-sounding and provocative views about Shin Buddhism and his own practice. For example, here are some excerpts from a post titled I Was a Good Buddhist:
Many Buddhist practitioners are like a man staring at the sun, but with his body in a hole full of shit. He is always looking at the sun, but he never realizes that his body is drowned in shit. Here the sun represents the ideal – Buddhahood to be attained through his own powers. This ideal is of course very beautiful and the practitioner always like to stare at it and to take delight in many beautiful words about Enlightenment, emptiness, Buddha-nature, that we are all Buddhas-to-be, etc. The hole of shit is his true reality of the here and now, his deep karmic evil, his limitations, attachments and blind passions that cover all his body and mind...

I often meet with people that talk a lot of the fact that we all posses Buddha-nature and because of this there is nothing that we have to do, but just realize this truth in our mind. They are always full of wise quotes from Buddhist masters and sages of the past from various schools, about Buddha-nature, emptiness, etc. Usually this kind of people try many types of practices, always going here and there, never being totally satisfied with any school or teacher...
I think many Buddhist, and especially Western-raised Buddhists, can strongly identify with what he is saying here. He then adds...
I myself was a “good" Buddhist, staring at the sun until the awareness of my own death and impermanence hit me so powerful and awoke me from my dream of self satisfaction. I suddenly became aware not only of the fragility of my life, but also of the fragility and impermanence of my practice based on personal power. In that moment I abandoned myself and took refuge in Amida. Since then, I cannot deceive myself with my spiritual "realizations".
I know I have a few readers who are Shin Buddhists, and I thought this might be of help or benefit to you. What do these passages say to you? What about the non-Shin Buddhists reading those passages? How do they strike you?

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