BUDDHIST FAITH FELLOWSHIP OF CONNECTICUT

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Mahayana Pure Land Practice
Transform burdens into a source of love and wisdom.

 

 

At Last!

 

There is a spiritual community

designed for the 21st century.

 

 

 

 

 

What Can You Expect?

 

 

Anchored in the ancient Mahayana tradition, our Sunday gatherings focus on Shin spirituality, offering opportunities to cultivate an open heart, trust and presence. 

 

Being a circle of equals is a unique feature of our path. We don't have hierarchies such as gurus and priest, though we do have certified and highly experienced dharma teachers to facilitate the gathering. As practitioners of the original Shin path, we stress an egalitarian and democratic community and attitude. We call each other friends (kalyana-mitra), dress casually, and are very welcoming.

 

Our two hour gathering is akin to the early Shin Buddhist dojo or training center where we train for 2 hours so that we may better practice throughout the week in our often hectic lives. In our gatherings, we practice a variety of practical spiritual "tools" to help us awaken to our endowed inner potential of compassion and wisdom. These tools include deep hearing, Zen and voice meditation, prayer and the voicing of the Nembutsu-Namu-Amida-Butsu as an expression of our trust in and gratitude for the ultimate Oneness of life, symbolized as Amida Buddha. 

 

Instead of sermons, our spiritual community is known for its insightful and lively dharma discussions. As our founder, the 13th century Japanese reformer, Shinran Shonin, taught, "We are all fellow travelers on the path," and, as such, anyone may share his/her opinion and experience. Learning from one another in this fashion creates a strong, nourishing environment. We care for and love one another and live in service to the world.

 

Though our gatherings skillfully reflect 21st century American culture, every week, we make available the time-honored Buddhist teachings and practices, which help us to discover life’s purpose and to unfold joy, gratitude, and peace in a community setting. Come and visit us and find out for yourself. 

To view video on YouTube

   
 

Buddhist Faith Fellowship is  American Buddhism
Come and Practice with us. Open to all.

 OUR SUNDAY MORNING PROGRAM

 

Our weekly Sunday program is designed to help you cultivate peace and compassion, and touch the Oneness of Reality through a variety of skillful techniques, such as ritual, remembrance, voice, sitting and walking meditation, discussion and fellowship with like minded people. Each week, our gathering format offers participants a variety of practical spiritual "tools" that cultivate such positive qualities like an open heart and presence. With diligent daily practice, these useful teachings and spiritual tools will transform confusion and suffering into peace and liberation.

 

Many people ask us if we worship Amida Buddha during the gathering. For us, Amida is not a God but a living symbol of our true nature, the boundless life and light, which is beyond any notion of any notion, concept or god. We do not worship any supernatural being or practice any form of idolatry for that would be considered an erroneous understanding of the Mahayana Buddhist teachings.

 

Instead, the gathering focuses on the practice or inner cultivation of inner listening, awareness, compassion and wisdom through the power of the Buddhist teachings and the nembutsu. The two hour gathering is akin to the early Shin Buddhist dojo or training center. We train for 2 hours so that we may be inspired to better practice throughout the week.  Below is an example of our weekly Sunday morning program:

 

I. OPENING THE DHARMA (Ritual and remembrance of the Sacred Oneness within us and the teachings) (12 minutes)

 

  • Candle lighting (represents the light of wisdom entering the world of delusion)

 

  • Incense Offering (represents purification, interdependence & impermanence)

 

  • The Five Remembrances (responsive reading)

 

  • Going For Refuge  (Taking refuge in the Buddha, the Dharma, and the Sangha which represents our commitment to practice & our highest spiritual values)

 

  • Shin Buddhist Affirmation ( a reminder of our daily practice)

 

II. MEDITATION TRAINING (emphasizing meditative awareness & wisdom)

(30 minutes)

 

  • Voice Meditation by chanting one syllable at a time Om Mani Padme Hum (the prayer of compassion) or Om Amideva Hrih (the prayer of eternal life). The chants help us settle the mind before sitting and walking  meditation:

 

Zazen (quieting sitting meditation)

 

III. SHIN TRAINING (emphasizing wisdom, faith, ethics & compassion)

(70 minutes +)

 

  • Prayer Practice: Metta-Karuna, Amida's Chain, The Four Immeasurable, etc.

 

  • Voice Meditation with the Juseige, Junirai or Shoshinge  in Sino-Japanese and together with Incense Offering.  These simple Shin chants help us experience as the sacred call of Amida that seeks to awaken us from delusion and forgetfulness. During this chanting practice, many participants are moved to practicing Touching the Earth (mindfulness bowing at the altar) and Incense Offering to the Nembutsu Scroll, as a heartfelt affirmation of one’s thankfulness to the Buddha and existential affirmation of the nature of interdependence and impermanence.

 

  • The Nembutsu Chant (this spiritual mantra-like Shin chant is viewed as the personal calling the inward Light within). 

 

  • Occasional Special Ceremony or Practice: Mindfulness Tea Ceremony, Fivefold Precepts, Bodhisattva Vow,  Affirmation Ceremony (These ceremonies last no more than ten minutes and give a deeper experience of interdependence, impermanence, ethics, gratitude, purposeful living and purification. 

 

IV. DISCUSSION: (includes themes relating to Shin or Mahayana/Theravada practice & teachings) (45 minutes approx.)

 

V. CLOSING OF THE DHARMA (emphasizing gratitude, generosity & remembrance)

 

        Dana practice (offertory with community chanting or song)

 

        Dedication of the Merit Chant (A vow to study, practice and  

          share the dharma with all)

 

 

You are invited

 

Open to the curious, and beginners and advanced practitioners. Please join us in cultivating ethical living, inner wisdom, and meditative awareness through a systematic and integrated approach to Buddhism within a friendly community setting.

 

 
 
"Even if the whole world is on fire,
Be sure to pass  through it to hear the Dharma;
Then you will surely enter the Path of the Buddha
and everywhere deliver beings from the river of suffering."
 
                                        ---Larger Sutra, Chapter 27, verse 30