I don't remember where I was reading this but it described nienfo as being an esoteric practice because it was once something practiced by the esoteric schools of Buddhism.
However, can it be considered meditation as well? I mean, you are focusing on something afterall (The Buddha name). When I recite, there are instances where I feel that I somehow merge
with the sound of Amitabha. After I open my eyes, I realize that Im back
again. It's as if I've forgotten about my surroundings completely. It's also a type of visualization because when you think about it, Amitabha is not different than you since you also possess Buddha-nature, then you and Amitabha are not apart
(thus making karmic connections with Amitabha). I visualize the qualities of the Buddha as qualities that are also available within me. If it wasnt for this path, I honestly dont know how I would learn the things I havent known about the dharma years ago from friends, forums, and from reciting. I feel like I am more mindful of my actions, I have a sense of gratitude for those that made my life possible (parents, teachers, the earth, etc), I am able to apply the Buddha's teachings with sincerity and realize that it's okay if I make mistakes...as long as I am diligent and put in my best effort to try. Even though I don't practice Jodo Shinshu, I also take some of the teachings of Shinran into practice (thus the gratitude part ^_^). I find that I am no longer doing things for myself,
but rather, for the benefit of others and relating myself to others.
How has reciting Amitabha benefited you? What do you think?