Amazing Journey – Finding my True Dharma Family
Pundarikas – rare White Lotus Flowers that rose from the mud of blind passions…
All mundane foolish persons whether good or evil
Having heard and entrust in the Universal Vow of The Tathagata
The Buddha called them persons of vast excellent understanding
Who are also named by people as ‘Pundarikas’.
Camille joined the On-line Sangha, True Shin Buddhism Yahoo Group in April 2014. She was very new to Buddhism, had never heard of Master Shinran or met a Shin Buddhist in real life – she is not even a Buddhist. She has no doubt that she had been compassionately guided on this Amazing Journey to receive Amida Buddha’s Precious Gift of Shinjin. Her one-thought moment of true entrusting in Amida Buddha and His Primal Vow coming in just a short period of four months of deep listening to The Pristine Teachings of Master Shinran, demonstrates to us the inconceivable effect of good karma from the past ripening at the right time, nurtured and brought to fruition in the right environment of True Teachers of Shinjin – Paul and Rick.
She shares with us now her wonderful story, opening with two beautiful poems adapted from Rick’s compositions…..
My thanks to Amida seems so small
Yet I offer it up to this greatest Buddha
Who saves me in spite of myself
Because of myself.
Snow falls and karma ripens –
As time passes
So my journey To the Pure Land
On Amida’s great ship nears its end.
Namu Amida Butsu.
I was brought up in a no faith family – as my parents and larger extended family didn’t believe in such things. I was drawn to pictures of the Buddha at an early age, not knowing why or even who he was; and I can’t for the life of me imagine WHERE I saw these pictures or got hold of them either; but while my friends had pictures of pop stars on their walls as they got older, I had pictures of Shakyamuni Buddha on mine 🙂 I found them comforting, even though I had no concept of who he was for many years after that.
Also from the earliest age I was well aware of karma and that was something I naturally knew from my earliest memories! I belief these knowings came from an earlier life as there is no other reason for them. So as I grew up I left my pictures behind, got married, had a family, and put my longing to find that which was hidden from me on hold. Then in my late 20’s I started again; this time as an adult searching; for what I didnt know! I knew there was something so much more and so much greater than I could fathom, but where to find it was the question!!
Eventually I got involved in the Mormon Church and Christianity, and found that this was not something I could go along with or agree with for so many reasons. So with this sadness at giving up my friends and people I loved dearly in the church; and guilt, uncertainty and fear in my head, I left and started my search once again. I looked at so many things – Taoism, Sikhism, Eckhart Tolle, A Course in Miracles, Islam, Baha’i etc. etc., so many things…. But no matter what I researched something kept drawing me back to Buddhism and frankly I didn’t actually know anything about it so it was strange!
My personal blockage to Buddhism was that I had the belief in God still in my heart, and so I kept LOOKING for a way to have God and Buddhism too 🙂 And even though I kept being pulled towards Buddhism, I gave up time and time again due to my belief – If God didn’t fit, which of course didn’t happen then it wasn’t for me, and so I gave up!! So I learnt nothing intellectually due to my God bias, and yet I STILL felt an incredible pull to Buddhism for reasons that were not clear to me. Eventually I thought, Oh My Gosh! I’m being pulled back over and over to Buddhism and in particular Shin Buddhism, which I knew virtually nothing about so I found the True Shin Buddhism Yahoo Group which I joined.
When I first started reading the posts I didn’t really understand it; I thought about leaving a few times but something told me to stay, and so I did. I was feeling very confused; and burnt out with all my study of different religions and I was at the point of giving it all up. I had a small burst of energy, and thought OK this is it, my FINAL try… I was fed-up with the constant searching and never finding. So one day I thought, I have been drawn to this path for so long – I have issues that I cant overcome, and I’m going to email Paul with my deepest question – and that was about God. This was a huge deal for me at the time, because God was something I kept close and in my heart, and I didn’t want anyone tampering with it!! However I took the chance and I asked Paul my questions; and he gave me the answers.
He didn’t in anyway tell me what I wanted to hear; BUT he told me the TRUTH; and again instinctively I felt I should really listen to this guy 🙂 So glad I did. We had a conversation over some days back and forth, and he was really marvellous, always speaking from the standpoint of the Dharma Teachings, but also he was very gentle and kind and there was no pushiness at all, which was a welcome change from the Christian teachings. He also didn’t tell me I HAD to believe this or that, but spoke saying the Masters said this or that, put it in simple terms for me to understand and left it with me to think about on my own, while willingly answering any questions I had.
I had at that point decided that this was my last try!!! If this wasn’t it, then I was giving up and just getting through this life as best and as happily as I could, knowing that I couldn’t find IT this time round! So I decided to give it all I had, to put God on the back burner so to speak, and to see one way or another if this was the true path for me. I went around the house, and put all the ‘stuff’ I had away in a box and out of the house. Books of which there were box loads, ornaments, reminders, Bibles, assorts of ‘stuff’ I had that would link me back to my past, or draw me back into being torn between different teachings. So this I did. It felt good to be focused on one path rather than dashing from one to the other and back again, just digging a bigger pit of confusion for myself.
So after I spoke with Paul, I started reading his book in the files section ‘Shin Buddhism 101’ and I came to a paragraph on page 126, which read… “You can recognize that there is no comparison between what some modernist scholar might say, when compared to what a true Buddha such as Shakyamuni Buddha says. If you simply put aside any and all of your pre-existing beliefs and ideologies, and ask deep within, you will KNOW who to believe as the teller of TRUTH, and who to reject as a teller of something LESS than the truth. You can actually ask directly: Amida, if your light is infinite, shining EVERYWHERE in the ten directions like Shakyamuni says:
” will you allow me to see it – not with my outer eyes, but with my inner eye. Please show me YOUR light.” WOW!! This, as SO much in Paul’s book, just touched me very very deeply. So I asked Amida to show me, right there on the floor where I was sitting; I felt that one thought moment of complete and total trust within and I received Shinjin immediately.
It was much unexpected for me as I had only just committed myself to this path; and also I knew very little about Buddhism even though I had been lead here without a doubt!! There was also a feeling of a great weight being lifted from my shoulders and a deep feeling of peace, finally 🙂 How grateful I am that I gave Shin Buddhism a go, even when my logic and my God barriers told me ‘how could this possibly be’!! When I received Shinjin I had to work through my initial surprise/shock as it was so sudden and quick for me! I can tell you without a doubt that Shinjin for me was the most wonderful experience, and unlike ANYTHING else – it is a KNOWING rather than a hope.
After Shinjin my learning flourished right away – things I had been reading only a few days earlier, made PERFECT sense, and it was like I was reading the Masters works with new eyes. It was astounding 🙂 So from that time until this day I KNOW I have found what I have been searching for my whole life. There has never even for an instant been any doubts, no matter what has been going on for me physically, and I KNOW without ANY DOUBT AT ALL that when this life ends I will become a Buddha and join Amida and many others to help all sentient beings – and I am so thankful to Amida for giving me this greatest of gifts – and to Paul who was and is my Mentor, teacher and friend & who was an integral part of my journey to Amida.
So we all have our own story and our own journey to this point, and each story is as individual as we who experience them. What worked for me may not work for you and vice versa; we each have our own path to reach the ripeness of our karma which is a part of our individual journey, and never forget we are being guided and helped the whole way through whether we are aware of it or not 🙂
Namu Amida Butsu – THANK YOU AMIDA BUDDHA
By Camille on The Call Of Boundless Compassion
HOME PAGE – The Call Of Boundless Compassion
Page 2 – The Primal Vow
Page 3 – Gatha of True Faith