7 Nov 20. Sadness. Devotion. Nembutsu.

I have always been plagued by a feeling of sadness. Not so much now in my thirties as I was in my teens and twenties.

Now, having a family and a job, I simply don’t have time for it. And that’s the point – when I look at my sadness, I realise how selfish it really is. It only happens when I think about myself too much. And when I think about myself too much I don’t think about other people I should be thinking about.


That’s it. Sadness is selfish. Being inside your own head is selfish. Being overly concern with your own well-being is selfish. It is really asking for trouble as it cements the illusion of self.


And I thought of ways to get out of my head, redirecting my attention towards something else. And the devotional practice of Nembutsu came to my mind. (This is probably why people of various faiths find relief in prayer – not so much because their prayers are being heard or answered but because they redirect their attention towards something wholesome.)

But I feel a disheartening tension between the Theravada teachings and Nembutsu practice which on the surface seems to be contradicting the words of the Buddha preserved in Pali Canon.


And yet Nembutsu benefited me greatly in the past. And yet I feel a bit silly doing it. And yet I miss it. And yet I am afraid of it. And yet I need it.

One thought on “7 Nov 20. Sadness. Devotion. Nembutsu.

  1. We hear your desire to put down the self. Is there a path to acknowledge, or even honor the sadness (which wants to be felt, even if feelings are not facts), without so much judgment?

    “Selfish,” “should”: these resonate with us as judgments.

    Are you part of a common humanity? The tendency of humans is toward the self. Is there a way to honor that humanity without shoulding and labeling yourself? Or maybe this is not important to you. We don’t mean to intrude. Just want to see you.

    We see your quest. We see you.

    Liked by 1 person

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