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Saying The Name


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Central to the nembutsu (saying the name) is the awakening to human finitude and limitations, and the awareness of the darkness of ignorance that give rise to forms of greed and anger.

The NAMU (or as in the case at our Lantern Festival in 04: "NAM AN DA") component of the nembutsu expresses this finitude. This realisation is brought into awareness by boundless and endless compassion that enfolds it. This that embraces and is embraced is the 'other' component: "BU" (Amida ~ Buddha/A-MAN DA ~ BU).

Amida combines the dual connotations of its Sanskrit originals, Amitabha, Immeasurable Light, and Amitayas, Immeasurable Life. Butsu is the Japanese rendition for Buddha. Thus, in the traditional manner: Namu Amida Butsu or, as in the case at our Lantern Festival in 04, abreviated to "NAM AN DA BU".

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Part 1

Human reason cannot fathom the fullness of living nembutsu, for much of it is beyond our conscious awareness of fundamental reality. As such, the Name is more than can be conceived and is vibrant with mythic significance and indicators that transcend ordinary ways of thinking.

Since the nembutsu is regarded as the self-articulation of reality, Shin Buddhists do not consider "namu-amida-butsu (or NAM AN DA BU) to be connected with any particular language - Sanskrit, Chinese, Japanese, or others - although historically, it is derived from Sanskrit.

Ultimately, the nembutsu is the creative life force that becomes manifest in a person, embodied in thought, action, speech and deed.

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Part 2

Much of the above is verbatim from (pg26) "River of Fire, River of Water" by Taitetsu Unno, Doubleday ISBN 0-385-48539-5.
 

 

 
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