Why do I say Nembutsu? What is my motivation? What do I hope to gain? How can I not? Gratitude. Absolutely nothing that Amida has not already granted. These are the answers to those questions. I say Namu Amida Butsu because this sacred Name bubbles within, just beneath the surface, like a spring that does not simply exist where it breaks through the earth. The spring breaks through where the earth can no longer contain it. Similarly I say Nembutsu because I feel it before it is spoken, and at all times. So it seems. It feels as close to my lips as my next breath. I recite it each morning when I wake, but it is not simply a practice reserved for when I am in front of my Amida shrine. I say it when I drive to work, as I work, and on the drive home from work. I say it washing dishes, taking a walk, doing the shopping. The Nembutsu turns every moment into a sacred space, every heart into a shrine. Lips become the altar from which the Nembutsu incense rises. Those who say Nembutsu say it because they are filled with Nembutsu life, which is the life of Amida, and the fruit of the Primal Vow. It is the voice of gratitude not a practice in order to win favour. In that sense, it is no practice at all. Amida has caused us to realise what he has already obtained for us, and so each Nembutsu cry is a response to this unrivalled benevolence and unparalleled compassion.
May all sentient beings realise the Nembutsu life, which is the life of Amida himself. May they be filled with joy at knowing his all-embracing compassion that they cry out, ‘Namu Amida Butsu!’