Our Practice and Liturgy

Dharmavidya writes:

The central practice of Amida Shu is nembutsu, the chanting of the Name of Amida Buddha, usually in the form Namo Amida Bu, using tones, rhythms, melodies and choreographies. The practice expresses religious feeling. There is nothing calculating or spiritually ambitious about it. Whether we enter the Pure Land is a matter of grace, not achievement. The Tathagata pours down the rain of Dharma on great and poor, good and bad, alike. How we are affected depends upon our karmic condition, but grace cuts through karma. The nembutsu is a call from the human condition toward the sacred, from this to That.

As an extended form of nembutsu, we also recite, chant or sing Buddhist sutras, litanies and hymns. The practice is “with body, speech and heart” so includes bowing, sitting, making offerings, dancing (o-dori), walking – especially circumambulating the Buddha shrine (probably one of the earliest Buddhist practices) – and other similar forms of ritual. There is also nei quan, a form of systematic introspection leading to experiences of contrition of a cathartic nature.