Honen said “Out of the eleation experienced in the knowledge that birth in the Pure Land is possible through the recitation of one or ten nembutsu grows the joy of the merit of recitation of a million nembutsu.”

There are several points to note here. Firstly, the equation of merit with joy. Merit is happy mind which arises from the sense of liberation or salvation. When we are safe, we feel happy. When others are safe we feel mudita - great joy.

Secondly, when we feel such joy we want to express it. When the joy has arisen through trusting in the nembutsu, then we will want to say many nembutsu.

Thirdly, one utterance of nembutsu is enough when it is said in the right spirit. There is nothing wrong with the nembutsu. When we say it in faith, there is nothing to worry about.

This is Honen’s reconciliation of the controversy over “one saying or many sayings”. The Tathagata Amida has vowed to abandon nobody who sincerely calls to him. Calling once is enough, but if one sincerely calls once one will want to call many times, just as one may experience love at first sight, but if it is real one then wants to go on seeing that person again and again.

Nembutsu is refuge. I taker refuge in that Buddha. If I take refuge, then I go to that land, as a refugee, giving up my former life. Even though, physically, I may still be in the same circumstance, everything is changed because I have my visa to enter that land. And while I am still here, I shall do my best to make this benighted world as like that other world as I can, by combatting cruelty and establishing conditions where all beings can grow and flourish.

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Posted by David Brazier on August 20, 2019 at 21:38 0 Comments

At the moment I am feeling very sad for the state of the planet. As I write the great forests are being consumed by fire, both the tropical forest in Brazil and the tundra forest in Russia. The great forests are the lungs of the earth. I myself have lung problems. When there are parts of the lungs that don’t work anymore one can run out of energy. It can strike suddenly. We will probably not do anything serious about climate change or wildlife extinction…



Posted by David Brazier on June 26, 2019 at 18:04 8 Comments

My medical condition continues to be a mystery. It is clear that I do not have any of the big nasty things - brain tumour, cracked skull, stroke, etc - as these have been ruled out by MRI investigation. Nonetheless I continue to have persistent, continuous head pain that varies in intensity and I become exhausted by the least effort so that I am functioning like an invalid incapable of doing very much. There is always a possibility that the whole syndrome is a…



Posted by Dayamay Dunsby on June 2, 2019 at 1:02 4 Comments

“Do we know what it means to be struck by grace? It does not mean that we suddenly believe that God exists, or that Jesus is the saviour, or that the Bible contains the truth. Grace strikes us when we are in great pain and restlessness. It strikes us when we walk through the dark Valley of a meaningless and empty life. It strikes us when we feel that our separation is deeper than usual, because we have violated another life, a life which we loved, or from which we were estranged. It strikes us… Continue


Posted by Geeta Chari on April 26, 2019 at 22:13 3 Comments

This is a short video of a Buddhist monk and his family. 

It raised questions on parenting and Buddhism - does detachment (or perhaps quietism), as practiced here, lead to demotivation and disengagement with the world around one?

His children find the detachment practised by the monk disquieting. They appreciate the irony of detachment, which is supposed to…


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