Amida Buddha


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This site is dedicated to Jodo Shu, Pure Land Buddhism, as taught by Honen Shonin. Amida Buddha is a great savior and source of all life in this world as the ultimate nature of Shakyamuni Buddha.

Honen Shonin wrote a short explanation of his teachings, which is known as the Ichimai Kishomon. The text below was translated by Inagaki Hisao.

[The Nembutsu that I teach] is not the contemplative Nembutsu expounded by many learned masters of China and Japan, nor is it the recitative Nembutsu practiced with full understanding of the meaning of "nen" that becomes clear from study. It is nothing but saying "Namu Amida Butsu" with a conviction that by saying it one will certainly attain birth in the Pure Land. The Three Minds and the Four Practices, which are spoken of [in relation to the Nembutsu], are contained in the conviction that all attain birth without fail through Namu Amida Butsu. If your faith is based on other ground than this, you may not be received by the Compassion of the two Buddhas and may be left outside the Primal Vow.

Those who accept the Nembutsu in faith, however well versed in the lifetime teachings of the Buddha, should consider themselves as illiterate, stupid persons, and without pretensions to wisdom, should single-heartedly recite the Nembutsu with ordinary devotees of Buddhism of little learning, whether men or women

Sealed with the imprint of my palms as testimony.

The faith and practice of the Jodo school are exhaustively presented in this single sheet of paper. I know no doctrine apart from this. I have written down my thoughts in order to prevent wrong views from arising after my death.

The Pure Land is described in the Buddhist Sutras Muryoju-kyo, Kanmuryoju-kyo, and Amida-kyo. The Muryoju-kyo, the Large Sutra, lists the 48 vows of Amida Buddha. The Kanmuryoju-kyo describes Amida Buddha and the Pure Land. It also discusses thirteen recommended types of meditation, and states one of the key tenets of Jodo Shu, that anyone can be reborn into the Pure Land through recitation of Nembutsu. The Amida-kyo, or small sutra, describes the beautiful scenery of the Pure Land.

Nembutsu means concentration on the Buddha and his virtues, or recitation of the Buddha's name. In Jodo Shu, it usually means the recitation of Namu Amida Butsu, which means Total Reliance upon the Compassionate Power of Amida Buddha.

The Pure Land is not the final destination - the goal of all Buddhists is to attain enlightenment and freedom from the cycle of birth and death. To be reborn in the Pure Land is to be given the opportunity to learn the Buddha's teachings directly, without distraction or distortion. To walk upon the Holy Path and attain complete enlightenment is achieved in the Pure Land. The practice of Nembutsu assures rebirth within the Pure Land, and rebirth within the Pure Land allows one to attain enlightenment with ease.

Thus, Pure Land can be considered the Easy Path to Enlightenment. By practicing Nembutsu and following the Right Practices, one is assured of rebirth in the Pure Land as the result of Amida Buddha's Vow. Once reborn in the Pure Land, Enlightenment can be achieved through proper study and practice of the Holy Path of Buddhism.

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