Satsang – what is satsang? Sat is truth, sang is sangha. Satsang is the sangha gathered in the spirit of truth; or we could say it is the truth that is manifested in the sangha. In practice satsang is to spend time with the teacher, to sit in the presence of the teacher, perhaps in silence. But to sit in the presence of the teacher is to sit in the presence of Amida.
The teacher and the disciples together sit in the presence of Amida; and we sit in this presence in a reverent silence. We’re not trying to do something; it is not meditation in the sense of some kind of yogic exercise. It is more a kind of waiting, listening, holding oneself ready. We sit together in silence to see what arrives. When we sit in silence in this way in the presence of Amida, something will surface. So, we have a faith in this process. It’s not as if we come to the meeting and we have a lecture prepared; or we come with some intention to direct the course of the discourse. No, it arises naturally out of the inspiration of Amida at the time. So satsang is to be together in silence in the presence of Amida - the teacher and disciples together waiting, listening, opening the heart and seeing what arises.
One should not close oneself at this time. One should not wait in a passive or “I-let-somebody-else-say-something” fashion. Rather, one should be open waiting for the inspiration that comes through this spirit. When a meeting is gathered in this way, something remarkable happens. We become like a receptor for the spirit entering into the life.
And then, somebody shares something. It might sound like something very holy or it might sound like something extremely mundane. Who knows? Whatever arises spontaneously in such a situation is somehow blessed. It is a grace of some kind, and who knows where it will lead?
So, there is here a faith in the process, a faith in openness, a faith in opening the heart; and in this sense, it is also a practice. It is practice at doing that very thing. If we can open our hearts, open ours minds, be ready and willing in all the situations of life, this of course, would be a most miraculous thing.
So, this is a special time of what we might call intense practice. A practice of waiting; waiting on the spirit, waiting for the inspiration; waiting for the words of Amida to come into our heart. And we should not disdain whatever they might be. Perhaps they might be something quite ordinary seeming. Perhaps they might have the spirit of a confession or a sharing. Or perhaps they might just be an observation, something that somehow seems at that moment to have some special energy about it and perhaps even an element of mystery; and from that unfolds a dialogue, unfolds some repartee, some response, some dialectical process that lifts us above the ordinary, lifts us into the heart of Amida in one way or another.
And we celebrate this.
Namo Amida Bu
Thank you very much