Today is the fourteenth anniversary of the death of Gisho Saiko. Sensei Saiko was the founder of Shinshu Counselling. He wrote a number of books and presented his ideas at international conferences as well as through his university and Buddhist organisations in Japan. He referred to my work in his books and when I visited Japan a few months before his death, he took on to invite me to a number of gatherings and hosted my wife and I in royal fashion. He was enthusiastic that I should play a significant role in bringing Pureland Buddhism and Buddhist Psychology to the West and I have done my best to fulfil his wish over the years since that time.
Sensei conveyed his Pureland faith as a matter of the heart and particularly stressed that this was Buddhism for the ordinary person with an ordinary human nature. He talked of how this was the special treasure of Pureland, that it addressed the condition of the common man, rather then placing the main emphasis upon ideals that are difficult to reach. In his model of therapeutic work, he saw how the therapist can be supported by Amida and this sense of support can then extend to the client through an intuitive connection. What the client takes from counselling or therapy is, fundamentally, enhanced faith, however this may be expressed. Amida Buddha can take innumerable forms according to the situation and need, but is infallibly there to rely upon.
I canno really do justice here in a few words to the great importance that my meeting with him has had in my life. He was a very special teacher and the love that he poured into his work continues to inspire.
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