Can nienfo be a type of (beneficial) meditation as well?

Can nienfo be a type of (beneficial) meditation as well?

Postby Sonrisa » Tue Feb 04, 2014 5:39 pm

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?

Amituofo :anjali:
Last edited by Sonrisa on Tue Feb 04, 2014 5:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Namo Amitabha
Namo Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva
Namo Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva

May I continue to practice loving-kindness and compassion for sentient beings. May my friends and loved ones be free from suffering. May those who have hurt me also be free from suffering.

Hatred is like throwing cow dung at someone else. You get dirty first before throwing it to someone else.
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Re: Can nienfo be a type of (beneficial) meditation as well?

Postby Jikan » Tue Feb 04, 2014 5:41 pm

Sonrisa wrote:However, can it be considered meditation as well?:


Yes. That is how I've been taught.
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Re: Can nienfo be a type of (beneficial) meditation as well?

Postby PorkChop » Tue Feb 04, 2014 10:15 pm

This week, I've been reading this a lot:
http://cttbusa.org/enterlotus/enter_lotusland.asp
They talk about some of the stuff you're talking about and agree with Jikan's comment.

I think some schools try not to present it as meditation so much as reliance because that's the best way to get the most out of the practice. In general, the practice chills me out quite a bit, warms my heart, helps me to just let go of everything, and gives me more patience. I know exactly what you mean when you feel you merge with the sound, also some times I'll get tunnel vision while practicing, and still other times I'll get a tingly feeling at the very core of me (kinda like "shivers down your spine" but deeper, not on the surface, and much more intense).
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Re: Can nienfo be a type of (beneficial) meditation as well?

Postby Huifeng » Tue Feb 04, 2014 11:35 pm

Yes, of course nianfo is a type of meditation.
And a very beneficial one at that. :smile:

~~Huifeng
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Re: Can nienfo be a type of (beneficial) meditation as well?

Postby sinweiy » Wed Feb 05, 2014 9:23 am

Noble Eightfold Path:-
Right Meditation

Meditation means the gradual process of training the mind to focus on a single object and to remain fixed upon the object without wavering. The constant practice of meditation helps one to develop a clam and concentrated mind and help to prepare one for the attainment of Wisdom and Enlightenment ultimately.


hence Nienfo focus the mind on the Buddha's name(Amitabha) by mean of vocal or silent recitation, and to remain fixed upon the Name without wavering.

although if you recite but the mind still waver, than there's of not much use, as the saying, 口念弥陀 心散乱, 喉咙喊破也徒然.
_/\_
Amituofo!

"Enlightenment is to turn around and see MY own mistake, Other's mistake is also my mistake. Others are right even if they are wrong. i'm wrong even if i'm right. " - Master Chin Kung
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Re: Can nienfo be a type of (beneficial) meditation as well?

Postby Sonrisa » Thu Feb 06, 2014 2:33 am

I have learned that people have different ways of reciting. I like to use the wooden fish (木魚) because the strike is associated with the syllables. If not, then I use a mala and concentrate on the syllable: saying A-MI-TA-BHA...

sinweiy wrote:
口念弥陀 心散乱, 喉咙喊破也徒然.


I cant read Chinese, would you please translate :smile:
Namo Amitabha
Namo Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva
Namo Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva

May I continue to practice loving-kindness and compassion for sentient beings. May my friends and loved ones be free from suffering. May those who have hurt me also be free from suffering.

Hatred is like throwing cow dung at someone else. You get dirty first before throwing it to someone else.
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Re: Can nienfo be a type of (beneficial) meditation as well?

Postby sinweiy » Thu Feb 06, 2014 2:52 am

:smile: I am not that good in translation.

"To recite Amitabha with a scattered heard/mind, even if you shout until you broken the throat, it's of no use." ?
:tongue:
_/\_
Amituofo!

"Enlightenment is to turn around and see MY own mistake, Other's mistake is also my mistake. Others are right even if they are wrong. i'm wrong even if i'm right. " - Master Chin Kung
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Re: Can nienfo be a type of (beneficial) meditation as well?

Postby Zhen Li » Thu Feb 06, 2014 4:05 am

Life is lovely with Amitabha.

I memorized the description in the sutras of the Pureland too, and picture that whenever Ifeel afraid or upset, it can really make life so peaceful if you're always seeing the Pureland - visualise your goal, for life as for death.

These are some of my favourites too, Amitabha coming down to greet you on your doorstep:
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Re: Can nienfo be a type of (beneficial) meditation as well?

Postby Heterodox Garden » Thu Feb 06, 2014 5:57 am

Nienfo is used lots of different ways by different sects and teachers...one thing you might want to look into, OP, is the "Obaku Zen" movement in Japan, which involved a combination of quiet meditation and nienfo ("nenbutsu" in Japanese) recitation. The Tendai school in Japan has also used nienfo in a in a wide variety of different ways down through the ages.

There is also the meditation on the Pure Land as taught in the Amitabha-related sutras, although this is not pure nienfo per se. I suppose it is more of a "visualization excercise" than Zen/Chan/"mindfulness" type meditation, but meditation it is.
Recommended reading material of recent interest:
Ch'eng-kuan on the Hua-yen Trinity
By Robert M. Gimello
http://ccbs.ntu.edu.tw/FULLTEXT/JR-BJ001/bj60469.htm
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Re: Can nienfo be a type of (beneficial) meditation as well?

Postby Nosta » Thu Feb 06, 2014 3:20 pm

My concentration power is very low, be it meditation on breath or nienfo.

Nevertheless, nienfo makes me feel very peaceful and quiet, even a few days after doing it.
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Re: Can nienfo be a type of (beneficial) meditation as well?

Postby Son of Buddha » Thu Feb 06, 2014 10:05 pm

sinweiy wrote:hence Nienfo focus the mind on the Buddha's name(Amitabha) by mean of vocal or silent recitation, and to remain fixed upon the Name without wavering.

although if you recite but the mind still waver, than there's of not much use, as the saying, 口念弥陀 心散乱, 喉咙喊破也徒然.


Even if the mind still wavers the practice is still of good use.
(1) one develops right effort,as long as he continues putting forth the effort one day his mind will not waver.

(2)one derives innumerable merits by praising the Buddhas name.

(3) if chant is sincere he is calling Amitabha and at death will be reborn into the Pure Land.

So i wouldnt say it is of no use.

Neinfo mediation can lead to Buddhahood. (numerous writings from pure land masters attest this)

look up 7th and 8th on the nobel 8 fold path....neinfo used in that manner will take you all the way home.
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Re: Can nienfo be a type of (beneficial) meditation as well?

Postby Zhen Li » Thu Feb 06, 2014 10:39 pm

Right, even when your mind wavers it's a good practice.

In fact, it's probably best to chant it when your mind wavers, and it will likely begin to calm down.
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Re: Can nienfo be a type of (beneficial) meditation as well?

Postby sinweiy » Tue Feb 11, 2014 3:04 am

in term of calmness, if you do felt calm, then that mean, the mind is not so wandering already.
think the key is still to have trust in Amitabha himself for that life for the best benefit.

as for benefit in reciting while having wandering thoughts, indeed as Lotus Sutra stated:

Even if a person who is confuse or having wandering thoughts were to recite a word of 'Namo Buddha' within any temple or monastery, they had already attained Buddhahood in the Grand ceremony of Lotus sutra. (Chapter 23 : The Former Deeds of Medicine King Bodhisattva)
若人散乱心, 入于塔庙中, 一称南无佛, 皆已成佛道。 :smile:
_/\_
Amituofo!

"Enlightenment is to turn around and see MY own mistake, Other's mistake is also my mistake. Others are right even if they are wrong. i'm wrong even if i'm right. " - Master Chin Kung
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Re: Can nienfo be a type of (beneficial) meditation as well?

Postby Jainarayan » Fri Feb 21, 2014 4:02 pm

Is it simply personal preference whether one uses "Namo Amitābha", "Namo Amituofo", "Namo Amitābha Buddha", "Namo Amitābhāya" (Sanskrit dative "to Amitābha"), Namu Amida Butsu, and so on?
Worthy, wise and virtuous: Who is energetic and not indolent, in misfortune unshaken,
flawless in manner and intelligent, such one will honor gain. - Digha Nikaya III 273
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Re: Can nienfo be a type of (beneficial) meditation as well?

Postby PorkChop » Fri Feb 21, 2014 4:24 pm

Jainarayan wrote:Is it simply personal preference whether one uses "Namo Amitābha", "Namo Amituofo", "Namo Amitābha Buddha", "Namo Amitābhāya" (Sanskrit dative "to Amitābha"), Namu Amida Butsu, and so on?


AFAIK it's the meaning & qualities of the Buddha that one is mindful of that is the important aspect and not the sounds of the words themselves. A lot of Japanese will use a shorthand version that's a little easier to chant, a lot of Chinese will drop the "Namo", I've seen/heard Vietnamese chanting "Nam mô A di đà Phật" (Nammo Azida Fut) in Chinese Dharma centers without being pressured to change pronunciation, some Tibetans use Amidewachen, and still others recite the full dharani (Pure Land Rebirth Dhāraṇī 往生淨土神咒 Wangsheng Jingtu Shenzhou) instead:
"namo amitābhāya tathāgatāya tadyathā
amṛtabhave amṛtasaṃbhave
amṛtavikrānte amṛtavikrāntagāmini
gagana kīrtīchare svāhā".
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Re: Can nienfo be a type of (beneficial) meditation as well?

Postby Jainarayan » Fri Feb 21, 2014 4:46 pm

PorkChop wrote:
Jainarayan wrote:Is it simply personal preference whether one uses "Namo Amitābha", "Namo Amituofo", "Namo Amitābha Buddha", "Namo Amitābhāya" (Sanskrit dative "to Amitābha"), Namu Amida Butsu, and so on?


AFAIK it's the meaning & qualities of the Buddha that one is mindful of that is the important aspect and not the sounds of the words themselves. A lot of Japanese will use a shorthand version that's a little easier to chant, a lot of Chinese will drop the "Namo", I've seen/heard Vietnamese chanting "Nam mô A di đà Phật" (Nammo Azida Fut) in Chinese Dharma centers without being pressured to change pronunciation, some Tibetans use Amidewachen, and still others recite the full dharani (Pure Land Rebirth Dhāraṇī 往生淨土神咒 Wangsheng Jingtu Shenzhou) instead:
"namo amitābhāya tathāgatāya tadyathā
amṛtabhave amṛtasaṃbhave
amṛtavikrānte amṛtavikrāntagāmini
gagana kīrtīchare svāhā".


Thanks, I thought as much, just wasn't sure.

Btw, I also have the Pure Land Rebirth Dhāraṇī and occasionally recite it (I just did by reading it :smile: ).
Worthy, wise and virtuous: Who is energetic and not indolent, in misfortune unshaken,
flawless in manner and intelligent, such one will honor gain. - Digha Nikaya III 273
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Re: Can nienfo be a type of (beneficial) meditation as well?

Postby gordtheseeker » Sun Mar 16, 2014 5:29 am

I think it can be a very handy mediation to use in times when a more formal mediation isn't possible. I like to do zazen, but there is not always time. There is always time for Namu Amida Butsu though. :smile:
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Re: Can nienfo be a type of (beneficial) meditation as well?

Postby PorkChop » Sun Mar 16, 2014 4:56 pm

gordtheseeker wrote:I think it can be a very handy mediation to use in times when a more formal mediation isn't possible. I like to do zazen, but there is not always time. There is always time for Namu Amida Butsu though. :smile:


*Looks up at subforum title...
Who needs more formal meditation? :stirthepot:

:tongue:
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Re: Can nienfo be a type of (beneficial) meditation as well?

Postby Tenso » Wed Mar 19, 2014 1:34 pm

If Amitabha Buddha and his pure land exist then the Nembutsu is the greatest gift to human kind and nothing at all can possibly exceed it in value.

:meditate:
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