The Nembutsu of Jōdo Shinshū Buddhism
The central practice of Shin Buddhism is recitation of the name of Amida Buddha, the nembutsu (or nianfo). The nembutsu is a tangible experience of the Buddha himself, and guarantees birth in Amida’s Pure Land. After introducing Shin Buddhism and Shinran, this chapter describes the nembutsu, and then moves into a discussion of the specific “enviable” aspects of this practice from a Christian perspective, which are as follows: the clarity of focus on one single practice; the recognition of the fallibility of human nature; Shinran’s own humility and his identification with the weak; and the emphasis on a transformed life in the present. These make clear why the nembutsu is both compelling and rewarding, not only for “insiders,” but for “outsiders” as well.
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