Three Shin Meditations in Haiku form

During a recent seminar held at the Japanese Jodo-Shinshu temple in Düsseldorfand given by Reverend Professor Hoyu Ishida of Kyoto,Marcus composed three pages of thoughts inspired by the teaching of this lesser known Buddhist school and made more interesting by the inclusion of themes with which his readers are familiar.
(See also Learning to Say The Nembutsu)


To the eight Shin priests of Düsseldorf

This is a new beginning, a fresh start. I will be brave and cheerful.
Today’s first task – to overcome my guilt feelings for getting up late.
This is the world into which I chose to be born, and I accept it.\
Are we not advised to say the nembutsu with joy and gratitude?
After Namo Amida Butsu I cannot do anything wrong.
Namo Amida Butsu – a feeling of wellness overcomes me.
The pressures of the outside world no longer cause bother or trouble.
Amida is aware of my poor condition and flies to my aid.
Think of enjoyable situations in the past and cherish them.
Amida vows to save everybody and everybody is me.
“Samsara” is nothing more than the normal process of birth-and-death.
‘Non-duality’ consists of rising above ‘me’ and ‘the other’.
Buddhahood is the natural state of every sentient being.
Everything is perfectly all right as it is, and that includes me.
Fear of the undefined future, known as worry, is a time-waster.
Foolish, ignorant person that I am, I possess great qualities.
The important thing is to feel good at this very moment in time.
Feeling good is a deposit in the savings bank of happiness.
Mix with people who make you feel good and benefit from their goodness.
If saying nembutsu makes you feel good, why! go ahead and say it.
After trying everything under the sun Honen chose nembutsu.



(haikuesque sketches)

Lost in emptiness  he aimlessly wanders round  the temple garden.
The most important thing is to awaken the Buddha  in oneself.
Absolutely nothing can resist the power of Amida’s Vow.
Let your nembutsu be humble, sincere, devout, meaningful and true.
Shin Buddhism – a universal message of love and tolerance.
Do I love myself enough to be called Amida’s true follower?
Continuous nembutsu practice eliminates anxiety.
On the Way Home:
Leaving the temple behind he drags his suitcase back to samsara.
Outside Starbucks café  at Düsseldorf station:  “Nothing can go wrong.”
I am a member  of the human family – always re-member!
Everyone’s all right  exactly the way they are – no-one needs changing.
Back in Bruges:
Today I’ll make an effort  to be sweet-tempered  and non-judgmental.
Grouching gets us nowhere – let me make a supreme effort  to feel good.
No need to think  what other people think  or enjoy what they enjoy.
With resolute faith in Amida  everything becomes possible
and ten times more enjoyable.  Action is effortless and easy.
Powerful feelings of gratitude  make the meanest task  a pleasure.
Beware of negativity – it creeps in  when you least expect it.
Warm with Amida’s love  I head forth boldly  into the cold grey town.
My one nembutsu  was strong enough to embrace  the whole of Belgium.
Show your friends  the life of nembutsu  is one of joy and gratitude.
A form of detachment  is the key  to successful relationships.
Unbelievable winter night! I’m alive and saying nembutsu.



to my 3 major buddies, who always understand me

Although I love   the home I live in   I’m still only a visitor.
“Not one evil can obstruct   the working   of Amida’s Primal Vow.”
Saved by the Buddha   I become a Buddha – meaning “I’m awakened”.
Let me remind myself – whatever I do or don’t do   is all right.
Respect yourself – and be sure to respect   everybody around you.
The seeds of Buddhahood   are within us all – let us remember this!
As far as Amida is concerned   I’ve never done anything wrong.
After this   I cannot help saying   twenty or thirty nembutsus.
Nembutsu is my way   to change from negative   into positive.
Is my imperfect body   a reflection   of an imperfect mind?
Thirty five prisoners   in a Colombian jail   commit suicide.
Otherwise, this saha world   continues to tick along   happily.
Before I die   I want to say nembutsu for every living soul.
The best way   to “live in the now”   is by feeling   constant gratitude.
Thanks, Amida, for always   embracing this bombu   without hindrance.
Another grey lifeless   December day   to jazz up with nembutsu.
Namo Amida Butsu – without you, my plans   fall into water.
The “average man” (me!)   has a head full of   preposterous ideas.
Everything is to be enjoyed – most of all   this melancholy mood.
Forget your self,   forget the Other,   just focus on what you’re doing.
Let the day unfold   according to Amida’s   inscrutable plan.
Helped by countless Buddhas   I meditate upon   Maria’s muesli.
Come, Kuan Yin, whenever you want – I’m ready for   a trip to the Pure Land.