Nembutsu Practice and Mindfulness in Daily Life

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      QUESTION: Dear Dharmavidya, how can I do frequent Nembutsu repetitions and be mindful in my daily life?

      SHORT ANSWER: Just do it.

      LONG ANSWER: Mindful in Pureland means mindful of Buddha, mindful of Amitabha, mindful of nembutsu. The word nembutsu means mindful (nem) of Buddha (butsu) so anything that brings Buddha to mind is nembutsu. Of course, what we more fundamentally mean is having Buddha in one’s heart. Perhaps, as several people have suggested, heartfulness is a better term. Anyway, according to Honen, it all hinges on senchaku, which means making a decisive choice or selection in favour of nembutsu as one’s chosen practice, after which many things come to be seen as nembutsu.

      In practical terms, in the Amida Shu community, for instance, the ordination precepts prescribe saying the nembutsu in every waking hour and at least 108 times per day. In a community of practitioners this is not too difficult since we use “Namo Amida Bu” in place of or in association with “Hello” “Goodbye” “Please” “Thank you” “Never mind” “That’s great” and all ordinary daily expletives – something good happens, “Namo Amida Bu”, something bad happens “Namo Amida Bu” and so on.

      The point, however, is to be in love with Amitabha Buddha – having faith, reflecting, thinking about, having the imagage, feeling and notion of Buddha close at hand in all that one does and drawing strength and comfort therefrom.

      ~ Dharmavidya, December 22, 2015

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