Showing posts with label NEMBUTSU. Show all posts
Showing posts with label NEMBUTSU. Show all posts

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Enjoy the taste of nembutsu

I met people who were somehow afraid of reciting nembutsu for many times, or using a nenju of 108 beads as a help in their recitation, thinking that this might become a jiriki (1) effort. So, I thought of presenting to you a short and relaxed questions and answers dialogue in order to express my opinion about this, and to disperse their tensions and worries.

Question: It is said that in Jodo Shinshu the number of recitation is not important. So we do not need to say nembutsu many times in order to be born in the Pure Land.
Answer: Yes, it is true.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Faith and nembutsu are not our creations

The reason why in a nembutsu follower’s heart coexist both the faith in the Primal Vow and his blind passions and illusions is that this faith doesn’t belong to him

This is another important aspect of the Jodo Shinshu teaching. It is said that in an Eranda[1] forest grow only Eranda trees and not the famous Chandana[2] trees with their fine fragrance. It is a miracle if a Chandana tree grows in an Eranda forest. Similarly, it is a miracle if faith in Buddha flourishes in the people’s hearts. How can it be possible that from human passions the faith in Buddha be born? The answer is that this phenomenon is practically impossible and the faith in Buddha is not due to our power, but what Buddha plants in us. That is why shinjin or the entrusting heart is called “rootless faith” for it has no roots in the man’s mind but in Buddha’s Compassion. The same thing happens when saying the Name which expresses faith and gratefulness. Everything comes from Amida and manifests like an echo in our souls and on our lips, just like a child who faithfully answers his mother’s calling.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Many recitations of nembutsu - a question

Here is a question and my answer to it, posted on a Buddhist yahoo group:

I am wondering if anyone can provide any helpful tips on how to count Nembutsu repetitons each day. I read where Honen once said that "even 10,000 a day is good in the beginning"(I' m not sure in today's world if its possible even getting to 10,000!). I use an old mala of 108 beads (
I don't have proper nenju). Before I go out and buy counters or a more expensive juzu, nenju, I thought I should ask others about their own practice.
Peace to all,

Hy Bob,

I think that Amida created the nembutsu for simple people, who cannot follow difficult practices in order to attain Enlightenment. If Amida wants us to recite at least 10,000 nembutsu every day in order to be born in the Pure Land, then I think, the practice of nembutsu is a difficult practice (maybe for monks who have all the time in the world), not an easy one and Amida lied to us. Nembutsu means to rely on Amida for your Enlightenment in the Pure Land. I typed on Amida in bold so as to show that reliance is on Amida Buddha's power, not on that of the practitioner. I think the most important thing in reciting the nembutsu is the attitude which lies at the base of your recitation and this is faith, entrusting, relying on Amida Buddha. If we recite nembutsu while having true faith in Amida Buddha's saving power, we will be born in the Pure Land and attain Enlightenment there, no matter if we recite it once a day or 100 times. But if we recite the nembutsu relying on our power to recite the Name for 10,000 times, this might become like a heroic test for us and we tend to concentrate on our effort and forget the power of Amida who is the real power in saving us. In our effort to recite nembutsu 10,000 time a day we might strengthen our ego and not abandon it in Amida's saving power. Amida is the one who saves, not our power to recite nembutsu 10,000 times. Amida knows our power is limited and Honen knew this too. He was a monk all his life, but not all of his followers were monks, some of them were living lay life and were very busy with gaining their daily bread. When he talks about nembutsu recitation for many times, he is in fact makes reference to the entrusting in Amida that has to be a permanent awareness in our lives. Because what is nembutsu all about if not the expression of entrusting and faith. I like how Saichi (a Pure Land devotee in Japan) said about the nembutsu: “When someone is catching a cold he cannot abstain not to cough. I caught the cold of Buddha’s Dharma and I cannot stop coughing the nembutsu.” Saichi "caught" a lot the nembutsu but he was never worried if he recited it for 100 times or 10,000 times. He never count the nembutsu recitation. He just recited it when he could in his busy and hard life, relying on Amida and not on his power to reach a high number.
I hope this is helpful to you.
Namo Amida Butsu,
Josho Adrian Cirlea

ps: I also like to recite nembutsu many times and I use a nenju with 108 beads. I like to use the nenju , but not in order to know the number of recitation , but because this relaxes me and makes me not think about when I will finish the recitation. I simply finish my recitation session when all the 108 beads of the nenju are used. This also helps me to concentrate better on the recitation. But there are also times when I recite nembutsu without using a nenju. It simply comes on my lips naturally.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Four misconceptions concerning the nembutsu

-commentary on a fragment from “The Essentials of Faith Alone” by Master Seikaku-

The four misconceptions concerning the nembutsu, presented by Master Seikaku in the fragment I chose from the Essentials of Faith Alone, refers to the wrong understanding of impermanence, bad karma, good karma and the matter of once calling and many callings of the Name of Amida Buddha.

If we wish to understand a certain object, we look to its qualities, to the elements that creates it. Which are the elements and fundamental qualities of life? A body and mind which are subject to an inexorable cycle of birth, growing, maturity, decay and death. Decay and death …. Especially these two must attract our attention in the same way we analyze a certain object, some qualities distinguish themselves from the others and lead to the definition of the object.