Excerpt from Chapter 8 – “Acceptance”Published June 14, 2017
If you have ever been exposed to Shin Buddhism in some way, such as through your family members, through your friends, or by actually attending a church (temple), you may have heard people recite the phrase “Namu Amida-butsu,” or some variation, such as “Nam-Amida-bu” or “Na-Mandab.” This phrase is called Nembutsu in Japanese and Niànfó in Chinese. Shin Buddhists are taught that reciting this phrase is the most important religious act to be practiced. Because it is regarded as the most important, it is considered by some to be far superior to some moral acts such as taking care of the elderly and maintaining chastity. People are told that the act of voicing, or the act of pronouncing, is important because it is the act of calling the name of Amida Buddha. Even according to Shinran’s teaching, voicing the Nembutsu once will negate all past unfavorable factors hindering the attainment of Buddhahood and will immediately allow a practitioner to set a course to birth in the Pure Land.