This introduction to Pure Land chanting practice by Dharmavidya David Brazier is so gentle and humane.
Pure Land practice is simple. It doesn’t require that the practitioner be learned in Buddhist thought or exceptional in moral virtue, meditation, or spiritual discipline. It is suitable for those with busy lives, and it is as suitable for those who are struggling with self-destructive habits or feelings of despondency, anger, sadness, or confusion as it is for those who are full of joy in living.
I remember learning about this practice in college and chanting “Namo Amida Butsu” for a few minutes once, but I don’t think I got why it was interesting. Now I do, thanks to this article.
One of my most bedeviling obstacles in practice is intrusive and repetitive thoughts early in the morning. They’re usually about work or other stuff I have to get done that day. This morning, they were there while I brushed my teeth, they came back a few times while I sat zazen, and then they came on strong in the shower. So I started chanting, “Namo Amida Bu, Namo Amida Bu, Namo Amida Bu,” and before long, that chant was all I was.