This morning I was sweeping my carpet – Namo Amida Bu – Namo Amida Bu – Namo Amida Bu. I swept the dust; all the dust that has been brought in when I’ve been bringing in firewood for the fire – Namo Amida Bu – Namo Amida Bu – Namo Amida Bu.
There’s a certain satisfaction in it: as you sweep away the dust, the colours of the carpet become sharper; the pattern stands out. Beautiful! Namo Amida Bu – Namo Amida Bu.
These are mundane tasks and the nembutsu is very suited to mundane tasks. As one does such a mundane task, the practice goes on rhythmically with one. In a certain sense one becomes the nembutsu. It pervades each activity.
In our practice we say the verse:
“The purpose of our practice is to be a pure container.
Wherein the common passions, mature as higher wisdom.”
The pure container is the nembutsu. The nembutsu contains everything: and acts as a container, like a basket. When one is doing a mundane task, many thoughts may flash through one’s mind. Whatever it is one is worried about or preoccupied with at this time – it will come up in the mind. The mind is like that. The mind is a great store house of worries and thoughts, some of them creative, some of them destructive, some of them resentful, some of them proud, some of them greedy. These are all the common passions. These are the things that make up the minutiae of the business of the mind, buzzing along through the day, and when you’re doing something that doesn’t require intellectual activity, like sweeping the carpet, they pop up: “Bing! Bing!” Each one is absorbed with Namo Amida Bu, so that one becomes that pure container within which all the common passions buzz about like a swarm of flies.
We cultivate this way. This is the practice of the nembutsu practitioner. Each stroke of the brush: Namo Amida Bu. Each rising passion: Namo Amida Bu. They may not be big. They perhaps are small like the flies, but they’re there, buzzing around. It’s not a matter of getting rid of them. That’s just how life is. The mind goes on like that: “Buzz! Buzz! Buzz! Buzz! Buzz!” And with each “Buzz! Buzz! Buzz! Buzz!”: Namo Amida Bu. Namo Amida Bu.
And in this way, we trust that the common passions mature, like wine or cheese or… some products get better with maturation. What vintage are your passions? Well, mine have all sorts of vintages. Some go back a long way, some are more immediate, it doesn’t really matter. Namo Amida Bu. Namo Amida Bu.
So, this is the mode of the practice by which one oneself becomes the nembutsu. One becomes a pure container and within that pure container all sorts of other things are all the time going on, but because one has the nembutsu, one has the grace of the Buddha and so, one doesn’t need to worry about it too much. One can have one’s worries, but one doesn’t have to worry about having worries, because they are all held by the nembutsu, which is the pure container that one is becoming.
Namo Amida Bu
Thank you very much