“Thank God I’m a Buddhist “
Adi Da Samraj
(this is an excerpt from a longer talk – link at the bottom of this page)
November 10, 1996
Land Bridge Pavilion, The Mountain Of Attention
DEVOTEE: Lord Adi-Buddha, many years ago, in this room, I asked You a series of contrived “talking” school questions about Buddhism for the sake of creating some copy for The Laughing Man magazine, to which You ended Your beautiful Discourse by asking me to bring You a Buddhist. And in the same period of time, I remember sitting with You one evening in Western Face Cathedral, and Your Manifestation to me was the Buddha, Shining “Brightly”. And I felt then, as I do now, that even if we failed to bring You a Buddhist, You Brought us Your Self as the Buddha.
This leads to two questions I had. This past summer You were discussing how we were to be named in relationship to You and to the Institution. And You Suggested that instead of “isms” and “ists” that we would be best known as “Adidam” as a worldwide congregation. In light of the present Revelation of You as the Shining Buddha, will there be a congregation, perhaps the first congregation, who would also be known in a specific sense, since we don’t have a historical relationship to Buddhism, as Buddhists?
ADI DA SAMRAJ: Yes, well, I’ve already indicated the Sannyasin Order is to be named “The Advaitayana Buddhist Order”. The Way itself has many names. I’ve Given it many descriptive names. “Adidam” is one of them. “The Way of the Heart”, “The Way of Radical Understanding”, “Advaitayana Buddhism” are others . [Editors Note: Beloved Adi Da has also added to this list “Ruchira Buddhism” since the time of this Talk.]
I reminded you all last week of the book I wrote a long time ago, Nirvanasara , subtitled something like, “The Introduction to Advaitayana Buddhism”.
So the Way practiced in this gathering is Advaitayana Buddhism, but it is also known by many other names, all of which are useful and apt. Adidam is not an organizational name, merely. It is a name for the Way itself. Therefore, it also applies to the naming of the organization, the general gathering.
The first congregation as a whole is not called “The Advaitayana Buddhist Order”, but only the Sannyasin Order. The Lay Renunciate Order is named by Me, “The Avabhasin Lay Renunciate Order of Adidam”. And the Foundation in which the Sannyasin Order appears is “The Ruchira Buddha Foundation”.
These different namings are intended to be descriptive, always for the same purpose-describing this Way more and more fully. Advaitayana Buddhism is not a species of historical Buddhism, has no allegiance to it or obligations relative to it, and so on. It is not based on the teachings of Gautama or anyone else called “Buddha” or “Buddhist”. It is based entirely on My Teaching, My Revelation. Advaitayana Buddhism has been one of the names of this Way for about twenty years. Something like that, isn’t it?
ADI DA SAMRAJ: I don’t think I’ve ever heard anybody refer to it as such. And no one has ever asked, “If this is the Way of Advaitayana Buddhism, then who is the Buddha?” [devotees laugh]
So, I finally had to tell you My Self. [more laughter] So that you wouldn’t imagine Gautama, or some other teacher in historical Buddhism, is the origin of this Way of Advaitayana Buddhism.
When you speak of this Way, when you serve the mission of this Way or are communicating about it, it is appropriate to speak of it, or to describe it as Advaitayana Buddhism, and then go on to say exactly what that’s all about. Its also appropriate to use all the other descriptive names I’ve Given, and be explanatory on that basis.
In terms of the naming of some formal structure within the gathering, I’ve applied it only to the Sannyasin Order and the foundation within which it appears. Also, it is especially appropriately used as such, or in that manner, because the members of the Sannyasin Order, the Advaitayana Buddhist Order, are engaged in the “Perfect Practice” of this Way. It is in them that all aspects of this Way are demonstrated and focused in the Ultimate course of this Way, in the context of the sixth and seventh stages of life. So it is especially appropriate that this name be used for such people, and for the order of such people, because it points to the Ultimate profundity of what I describe as Advaitayana Buddhism.
If you are a devotee of Mine, whatever you can be said to be altogether, one of the things you are also is an Advaitayana Buddhist. I remember composing an amusement for you all some years ago to put on a button that said, “Thank God I’m a Buddhist “. [devotees laugh loudly] Only a devotee of Mine could say that. [loud laughter and clapping]