Freitag, 25. November 2011
Hoonko im Jikoji Tempel Antwerpen
What is Nembutsu practice?
By Chisho Frank
A question that is always asked, when people come to Jodo Shinshu, is, what do you do as a Shinbuddhist? Do you perform meditation? Do you need any special things in order to practice?
Our answer is always very simple. Oh no, we do not perform meditation and we do not have to have any special things. Not even
our Nenju is used in any special form, apart from holding it in our left hand and that we wrap it around our hands when in Gassho.
Then we say; our way is the easy way of Buddhism, because we just say the Buddhas name (Namo Amida Butsu)
and we listen to the Dharma.
It is said; the way of the sages is as difficult as traveling across the countryside and the way of Nembutsu is as easy as sailing on a ship, crossing the Ocean.
But what does that mean to us? What is our practice? How do we live as Shin Buddhists?
A few weeks back, some of us took part in the Kikyoshiki ceremony and others attended as Dharmafriends, maybe remembering their own Kikyoshiki.
At the ceremony we all took refuge in Buddha, Dharma and Sangha and promised to live a life of nembutsu and gratitude.
But how do we do that?
If you were to ask an old Japanese Jodo Shinshu Grandmother, she would tell you:
”Oh I take care of the Butsudan every day. I see to it that the Buddha always has fresh flowers and I do my practice in the mornings and in the evenings. To hear the Buddhas teaching, I go to the temple and listen to the Words of our Sensei. - That´s all!”
You see, that is all – but are we aware of this? Do we practice like this old Lady?
In fact, she is doing, what is recommended by our Head temple. Our Masters Shinran und Rennyo Shonin spoke of this daily service in many writings and talks. Nembutsu means to think of the Buddha, to be in contact with the Buddha.
We do not have to sit many hours in meditation or Zazen; do not have to perform prostrations many times or work on difficult mind cultivations.
We just think of Amida Buddha.
Everything else comes from the Buddha himself. Our practice is non-practice, so the Shonin said. But he also recommended performing this non-practice as often as we can.
In order to hear the Buddhas calling, the Namo Amida Butsu in our heart, and to experience the gift of Shinjin, we should really make some sort of effort. Just to say the nembutsu occasionally is not really sufficient. Just to read a book or Google some information is not the same as to listen to a Sensei or a Dharma friend. Just to fit in “my being a Buddhist”, when there is time for it, very often leads to isolation and not seldom frustration.
Being on the way of Nembutsu is a very easy path to go. On the other hand - it is one of the most difficult ways of all. So we are in need of friends, who share this way with us, who tell us about the teaching and who support us, when we feel disappointed and not encouraged anymore.
In closing I would like to encourage you, to give your non-practice a chance in everyday life. Amida Buddha´s calling never seizes for a single moment. The “Namo Amida Butsu” is permanently calling us within our own hearts. Within this practice, which demands noting special on our part, you´ll find the root of entrusting and with that, the reason for gratitude and joy in everyday life. Then maybe next time, when somebody will ask you about our practice, you may be able to say, like the old japanese Lady, Oh “I only take care of the Buddhas Home (Butsudan), I greet the Buddha in the mornings and in the evenings (by chanting and saying Nembutsu), I go to the Temple and listen to the Dharma and I rely on Amidas benevolence in gratitude and joy.
Namo Amida Butsu