September 27, 2009

Is mindfulness the same thing as meditation?

Yesterday, Shambhala SunSpace featured Rev. Gibbs of the Oregon Buddhist Temple talking about the nembutsu or “saying the name of the Buddha of Limitless Wisdom-light.”
I am a Jodo Shinshu minister. Mine is the Pure Land school of Mahayana Buddhism, founded in Japan in 1224. (I trained both here and in Japan.) In my school of Buddhist spirituality we often say we don’t meditate.

However, our practice of saying the name of the Buddha of Limitless Wisdom-light and Endless Life may strike some of you as meditative. We, as do hundreds of millions of Buddhists in various streams of tradition, say aloud or hold silently to Amida Buddha’s name. The most common form worldwide is “Namo Amida Butsu” — literally, “I rely on Amida Buddha” or “I rely upon the Awoken source of limitless wisdom light and endless life.”

It’s always good to see Shin Buddhists with the opportunity to write in the high profile Buddhist publications. I always learn something new about a tradition that I am (geographically) very, very close to. Hopefully others will also pick up something new about one of America’s oldest Buddhist traditions.

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