I am a devotee of Amitabha Buddha. Amitabha, or Amida, is the Buddha of all acceptance. This is thus an inclusive creed. This web site, La Ville au Roi (Eleusis) has members who follow at least a dozen formally distinct spiritual paths, but we seem to all get on fine together.
My attitude to religion and religious diversity is a middle path. At one extreme are those who hold that one religion alone has access to ultimate truth and that all others are false. At the other extreme are those who say that all religions are the same, all as good as one another, and there is nothing to choose between them. Then there are those who claim to reject all religion altogether. I dissent from all three positions. Religions vary and different ones have different merits; they are human constructions that reach beyond what human's can directly know, by relying upon the visions and examples of saints, prophets and founders who have been variously illuminated. Hence no religion is perfect, but some are better than others. Each offers pathways and means of practice together with stories and modes of thinking that facilitate a spiritual life.
Spirituality has innumerable dimensions. The main practice of Amidism is to recite an invocation of the Buddha. It's main philosophy is to view the person as a fallible mortal in receipt of infinite grace. This is really a pretty generic approach.
We can say, then, that Amidism has three pillars. Firstly reverence for the Buddhas as ultimate, spiritual and/or in-this-world exemplars and benefactors, secondly humility of the person as seeker, pilgrim and practitioner caught up in the conditions of the world, and thirdly the practice of calling. This matter of calling is both on the one hand a "please" and a "thank you" to the greater powers and, on the other hand, a sense of being called, called to do good, to live the spiritual life, to explore the path in as authentic a manner as possible, and to be mindful of age-old wisdom.
This is an approach to spirituality that is orientated to peace in the world and authenticity in the heart. It is not about pretending to be good, nor about suppressing what does not fit. Thus it embraces thought, emotion and action in a balanced way and finds expression through arts and ritual as well as love, work and daily life.
Calling can take many forms and over the centuries many specific practices and styles of ritual, reflection, and contemplation, both individual and in gatherings, have developed as aids to the practitioner and the community. This site often carries discussions of such.
The central scripture of Amidism is the Larger Pureland Sutra which is both a legend and a manifesto for the ordinary person on the bodhisattva path. There is also a Smaller Pureland Sutra (the Amida Kyo), the Contemplation Sutra and the Pratyutpanna Samadhi Sutra. However, Amidists respect all Buddhist texts and those of other faiths insofar as they speak of wisdom, compassion and awakening.
Last updated by David Brazier Mar 10.