Amida Buddhism: Three Fundamental Teachings

There are three fundamental teachings in Amida Buddhism:

We start with a heartfelt wish or longing. This longing springs from an understanding and experience that we cannot escape suffering but we wish to be free. We come to a realisation that we can’t do very much by ourselves. We are bombu.

We recognise that we are foolish beings of wayward passion and we call out to the Buddha for help. Amida Buddha has made 48 vows especially for fallible and vulnerable people. After practicing the nembutsu, listening to other practitioners, or hearing Dharma talks, and studying Buddhism we start to develop faith in the threefold nature of Buddha.

The Buddha, the Dharma, and the Sangha are the objects of refuge and source of grace in three ways: as absolute truth, as spiritual presence and as physical manifestation.

Taking refuge in Buddha we choose the nembutsu as our single practice and, when we have done so, all practice becomes nembutsu. We take refuge because we realise that we are fallible and vulnerable and incapable of saving ourselves from spiritual danger by our own power unaided.

This summary encompasses the whole doctrinal and practice basis of Pure Land.