Rokushu wrote:So true, PorkChop, this is why I like Obaku, they are not so "sectarian" like other Japanese sects can sometimes be. They had no problem combining Zazen with Nembutsu(or just continuing the same practice from China, where both are practiced toghether and pretty much always were), this is what makes them unique in Japanese Buddhism, though totally common in other east Asian Mahayana countries, for example I've been to Taiwan, China and Vietnam, nobody sees a conflict between doing sitting meditation AND chanting Namo Amituofo/Namo Adida Phat or whatever, and would be a bit confused if you told them it was one or the other, not both.
I hear you. I started out in Vietnamese Tiantai - which is a lot like Japanese Tendai without the esoteric teachings. Even there, though, people specialized in specific sutras or teachings; with the general priority placed on the Lotus Sutra. So it's been a little hard to reconcile the outlook of the single practice schools. At the same time, I've never seen anybody chastised for reading other sutras; for example both Honen and Shinran quoted a large number of non-Pure Land sutras in their respective magnum opi, respectively the "Senchakushu" and the "Kyogyoshinsho". The idea of "single practice" may be misleading too, for example many Shin temples (especially in the US) are also offering meditation classes and Jodo Shu services typically feature any number of practices. In the case of the Pure Land schools, it's more a matter of "if you want X result, do Y" not "under NO circumstances must you do Z". So sutra recitation, seated meditation (or "deep listening"), various forms of introspection ("naikan"), precepts, vows, offerings, repentance, merit transference, etc are all part and parcel of those schools. I imagine the situation is similar for the other "single practice" schools as well. I know for a fact that there are Soto Zen people who do, in fact, chant nembutsu and one only need to look at a Soto Zen service book to see that they do a lot more than "just sit".