Fwd: [shinlist] Question
- I didn't see this message appear in my mailbox, so I'm sending it
again. Sorry for any duplication.
From: Aaron (Shoren) Boone <shoren108@...>
I do not say the Nembutsu on a daily basis because it still feels
strange. I am not sure when it's appropriate. I say it in Temple
partially out of the group action but also as an expression of
thankfulness. I say it at home more to focus on Amida and what the
Dharma teaches but it's not mindless. I have a deep need for "religion"
but am at odds in daily expressions of it. It feels like play acting. I
guess I don't know how to be "religious" if that made any sense.
I'm sorry, this is really not helping. I'm on an odd place in my life
right now. I want the serenity Amida offers but I have no "faith" in
anything. I only have hope in Amida's Vows and thankfulness for his
including me in his sphere of action. [snip]
Don't say the nembutsu out of any sense of guilt, obligation, or any
other feeling of being pressured. Taitetsu Unno's translation of the
Tannisho has the expression "when the impulse to say the Nembutsu
ERUPTS from within..." - let it erupt by itself. It may not be a
violent eruption. It may be a very gentle, whispering "eruption", but
however it happens let it be natural. If you have hope in Amida's vows
and already agree with much of what Shinran said, you seem to me to be
in a very good place. You are a seeker, and that is good. One of the
"precepts" of Shin Buddhism is "naturalness", expressed by the Japanese
expression "jinen honi", "made to come about by itself." Another
"precept" is what Shinran said, "No-working is true working," and even
with that he advised not to obsess on no-working. Another precept is
"no calculation." Another is "saying the Nembutsu is neither a
religious practice nor a good act." It is only about gratitude. I find
the best treatment of Shin Buddhism is in the Tannisho. There are tons
of books and websites devoted to Shin Buddhism, but I find Tannisho has
distilled it to its essence. Unno's translation of Tannisho is on-line.
It can also be purchased in book form.
As long as saying the nembutsu feels strange, don't say it. Let your
experience of Amida's vow be a natural unfolding. The less thought you
put into it the better. All this is my personal opinion, of course.
Others may express it differently.
- Replies below.
--- "Aaron (Shoren) Boone" <shoren108@...> wrote:
> I do not say the Nembutsu on a daily basis because it stillSounds like a lot of other people. Many survey of religion in
> feels strange. I am not sure when it's appropriate. I say it in
> Temple partially out of the group action but also as an
> expression of thankfulness. I say it at home more to focus on
> Amida and what the Dharma teaches but it's not mindless. I have
> a deep need for "religion" but am at odds in daily expressions
> of it. It feels like play acting. I guess I don't know how to
> be "religious" if that made any sense.
American note there are many people that feel "spiritual" but
don't care for "religion," presumably meaning the organized
fashion or rituals or the like.
It's hard to find a religious practice that works. I've been
working on that for years with fairly good results recently.
> I'm sorry, this is really not helping. I'm on an odd place in[snip]
> my life right now. I want the serenity Amida offers but I have
> no "faith" in anything. I only have hope in Amida's Vows and
> thankfulness for his including me in his sphere of action.
Not having faith is not bad, IMHO. I daresay many religious folk
are challenged in having faith, or faith to the degree they'd
I have faith in what I can do and what makes some sort of sense,
including intuitive. A more or less regular meditation practice
agrees with me pretty well. (Good for the blood pressure, too).
About the best way to develop faith that I've ever found is to
walk in the park or the nearby botannic gardens. It's really
something to be around all that beauty and life.
The best part of Shin is the emphasis on compassion, Amida's and,
by extension, ours. The hardest part of practicing compassion has
been to give myself a break. That's where Amida, as a model of
Serious religious / spiritual journeys are never easy.
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