Nenbutsu and the Mystery of Speech

24th Annual Nembutsu Seminar

Saturday, February 13, 2021

2:00 p.m.

Dr. Aaron

Proffitt

Assistant Professor of

Japanese Studies

University at Albany,

State University

of New York

In medieval Japan, the nenbutsu was certainly one of the most popular forms of Buddhist practice. The nenbutsu was understood in various ways, and the term “nenbutsu” referred not only to the recitation of the name of Amitabha Buddha in the formula, “Namo Amida Butsu,” but also, the “nenbutsu” was employed as a mantra, a spell, a doctrinal exegetical device, and so on. In this presentation, I will talk about the diversity of nenbutsu practice in medieval Japan, especially the more “esoteric” side of the nenbutsu.

We welcome you to join us via Zoom Meeting from the comfort and safety of your own home on Saturday, February 13 for this Dharma session.

To join us for this online Dharma Session, CLICK HERE and sign up for “Study Classes and Seminars”.

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Shōshinge: Hymn of True Shinjin and the Nembutsu (Session 2)

We continue to explore the meaning of the Shōshinge and how it applies to our daily lives, focused on the verses:

Bodhisattva Dharmakara, in his causal stage,
Under the guidance of Lokesvararaja Buddha,

Searched into the origins of the Buddhas’ pure lands,
And the qualities of those lands and their men and devas;

Continue reading “Shōshinge: Hymn of True Shinjin and the Nembutsu (Session 2)”

Shōshinge: Hymn of True Shinjin and the Nembutsu ( Session 1)

In this first session in the Shōshinge Study Class Series, we explore the meaning of the Shōshinge and how it applies to our daily lives, beginning with the opening verse: I take refuge in the Tathagata of Immeasurable Life!
I entrust myself to the Buddha of Inconceivable Light!

Continue reading “Shōshinge: Hymn of True Shinjin and the Nembutsu ( Session 1)”

Shōshinge: Hymn of True Shinjin and the Nembutsu

Wednesday, September 9, 2020

We welcome you to join us via Zoom Meeting from the comfort and safety of your own home on Wednesday, September 9 for this free Dharma Study Class.

6:00 p.m. Shōshinge Sōfu Chanting

The chanting of Shōshinge embodies the heart of daily Nembutsu practice in Jodo Shinshu Buddhism.  Join us to experience the settling of the mind through focused breathing and meditative listening.

7:00 p.m. Reading and Discussion

We will be explore the meaning of the Shōshinge and how it applies to our daily lives, beginning with the opening verse: I take refuge in the Tathagata of Immeasurable Life!
I entrust myself to the Buddha of Inconceivable Light!

To join us for this online Dharma Session, CLICK HERE and sign up for “Study Classes and Seminars”.

Living as a Buddhist in a Christian Society

Voices of the Nembutsu Echoing in America, No. 5

From Hongwanji Journal, No. 3366, Thursday, February 20, 2020

(Translation by H. Adams)

Michael Ishikawa (age 57) is a third generation Japanese American.  Apart from the two days a week when he receives dialysis treatments, he begins each morning by chanting Shoshinge at the obutsudan Buddha shrine in his home in San Mateo, California.  On Sundays, he also attends services at the San Mateo Buddhist Temple.

              He says, “Shoshinge is the most important chanting practice for me.  I find the opening lines ‘I take refuge in the Tathagata of Immeasurable Life! / I entrust myself to the Buddha of Inconceivable Light!’ to be deeply meaningful.  To me, these words contain Shinran Shonin’s feeling of gratitude toward Amida Tathagata.  I deeply appreciate the heart of Shinran Shonin who expresses his gratitude to Amida Tathagata at the start of the Shoshinge.”

              Born to Christian parents, Mr. Ishikawa was baptized as a young child.  He attended church until the age of sixteen but did not feel at home with the Christian teachings. 

Continue reading “Living as a Buddhist in a Christian Society”

The Sangha Treasure

I hope this message finds you well, and that you are receiving comfort and clarity from the boundless wisdom and compassion of Amida Buddha in these stressful times.  As my good friend Rev. Harry Gyokyo Bridge of the Buddhist Church of Oakland reminded me in a recent e-mail, “Don’t forget to say the Nembutsu.”  Even if our minds drift from Amida Buddha, Amida Buddha never forgets us.

Continue reading “The Sangha Treasure”

Olympic Victory

Growing up in Minnesota, my favorite sport was alpine skiing. As a teenager, I competed in slalom racing on my high school ski team and the great sports hero of my youth was Olympic slalom champion Alberto Tomba. Our team practiced at a local ski hill that somehow managed to rise out of the flat surrounding farmland, gradually increasing in elevation over the years thanks to innumerable dump truck loads of dirt. I never came close to winning a race, but I enjoyed practices because the course of gates was set differently each time, transforming the otherwise unremarkable little hill into a challenging and exciting place to ski.

Continue reading “Olympic Victory”