10 Dec 19. Nembutsu.

I like getting up in the morning. Because of: my family, dog, books, music, gym, food, meditation, running, coffee, guitar and swimming.

I hate getting up in the morning. Because of the anxious thoughts that torment me as soon as I open my eyes.

Here is the drill. First, my mind displays a vision of a stressful situation. Then, there is my immediate reaction: I add a happy (self-righteous, vindictive, egocentric, angry) ending to the story. When I am done, I feel drained. As if the story was real. And then my mind produces another calamity I feel obliged to rectify. It’s ridiculous. And the root cause of all this? Fear and ignorance.

Nambutsu practice keeps coming up in my mind. Why? I go online and read some from Honen. I like it. And then he speaks about heaven and hell, and I turn away with distaste. And then Nembutsu comes up in my mind again. Why is this practice so appealing? I am reading Jordan Peterson’s “12 Rules for Life”. The book is wonderful. I appreciate his analysis of the Bible, not as a religious text, but as a story that (very much like myths) points out to something else – something profound, unchanging and wise. Does Nembutsu also point out to something else I don’t understand?

Anyway, here are my absolute favourite verses inspired by Nembutsu:

Rubbing my eyes in the morning,
I began complaining;
Out jumped namu-amida-butsu,
And I really woke up.
—Haru Matsuda

My mind relies on nothing, so when night falls, I simply stop.
My body lives nowhere, so at the break of day, I leave once again.
Because my robe of patience is thick, I cannot be injured by canes, sticks, tiles, or rocks.
Because the room of my compassion is large, I do not hear mocking or hostility.
Because I recite the samadhi of the Name with faith, the entire marketplace is my place of practice.
Because I see the Buddha by hearing my own voice, my breath is my string of prayer beads.
Each night I await the welcome of the Buddha; each morning I rejoice that the end draws near.
I surrender my three actions to karma and entrust my four postures to awakening.
—Kuya Shonin

2 thoughts on “10 Dec 19. Nembutsu.

  1. Dear Adrian,

    Thank you for reading and following my blog – https://callofboundlesscompassion.wordpress.com/ – which is essentially about the Nembutsu (Saying the Buddha’s Name with faith, remembering the Boundless Compassion of Amida Buddha).

    It is certainly not a coincidence that you are now showing some interest in the Nembutsu – which is the act of true settlement, in our frantic search for a route out of this sphere of perpetual pain and suffering. As you may already know, Amida Buddha is the personification of Immeasurable Light and Life (Infinite Wisdom and Compassion) and thus, by constantly reciting the Nembutsu, we are listening deeply to our existential problems and the omnipresent solution already presented to us.

    Our human birth is extremely rare. Yet, constantly overwhelmed by our strong ego, solidified by zillions of previous experiences, we are now trapped in our own shell of doubt and arrogance. It is natural that, we simply cannot break through this hard ego with our puny spiritual aptitude, by self-powered practices and meditations, in this Age of extreme distractions and delusions.

    Namo Amida Butsu,

    Gassho ( palms together, respectfully),


    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dear Heng, thank you. I find myself reciting Nembutsu more and more often. It feels great, it feels right. I still however can’t reconcile this practice with my rational mind. I tried a few months ago and ended up abandoning my practice. Strange thing – during those few months when I didn’t do it I really missed it, I felt strong longings in spite of my rational mind not allowing me to come back. Since I have resumed Nembutsu recitation a few weeks ago I have given up on trying to to understand it. I simply do it and experience it. It fills me with peace and contentment. And this is exactly what I need to be a better person.
      I engage in Anapanasati everyday and I find both practises working very well together.

      All the best Heng! Namo Amida Butsu.


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