The Amitarya Community

acharya susthama

Three amitaryas: Dharmavidya and Susthama, during Susthama’s acharya ceremony, with Jnanamati in the role of Bell Master, to the left.

Within the Amida Order there exists the amitarya community consisting of those ordained members who have made a commitment to being available to travel and a willingness to create Dharma communities as and where appropriate. The term amitarya is a contraction of Amida’s aryas.

The Buddha Shakyamuni established a sangha that included members who travel from place to place to spread the dharma and link the communities of persons of Buddhist faith together. Amitaryas are a modern version of this original vision. It is a prescription of a “noble path” in the midst of samsara.

The term for noble in Sanskrit is “arya” and it indicates a person inspired by the Dharma. In our case, this is the Dharma centred upon the vows of Amida Buddha, hence Amida’s aryas. However, the Sanskrit term can also be read as “measurelessly noble”, since amita means “measureless”. In Buddhism, even the smallest act of love can bring measureless results. We are a group of ordinary people doing what we can to further the noble vision of the Great Sage by cultivating loving community wherever the opportunity arises. The amitaryas thus have a distinctive role within the Amida Order. Where ministers create local communities and congregations, the amitaryas link them together and spread inspiration, rather as bees going from flower to flower.

Rev Master Dharmavidya, the head of the Order, is also the most senior amitarya. His senior jisha (assistant) is Acharya Susthama, and his close jisha is Rev Jnanamati.

Skip to toolbar