Here at La Ville au Roi recently we have been a group of three or four all of whom are amitaryas in the Amida sangha or people interested in pursuing this possibility. This raises the question whether we can, in fact, develop a training programme here as one of the dimensions of what we do, so that the sense of this being a place where one can pursue and develop a vocation in the bodhisattva spirit could become a recognised element of the life here. In practice, this is already the case, but it is, as it were, in the shadow. I would not envisage this place becoming exclusive in any way, but we have the potential here to develop in a number of directions and this can be one.
The basic idea of the amitarya is a person who is dedicated to the bodhisattva ideal and who is free to live the life, being willing to travel and take on whatever role is required and, when not travelling to live in community with other amitaryas whenever possible. This is our "modern" version of the kind of life that Shakyamuni Budda recommended to his closest disciples.
Of course, this is not something that one can plan and then implement in a positivist kind of way. It depends upon who shows up and with what motivation. We can, however, be willing and make it apparent that a possibility exists. I've no doubt that we shall have a good deal more discussion of all this over coming months.
In recent years there have been a number of changes in the Amida community and at one stage we were not in a position to offer amitarya training even if people had wanted it. Now that situation is changing again and new possibilities are taking shape.
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