Namo Amitabha Buddha

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Rakz
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Namo Amitabha Buddha

Post by Rakz » Tue Sep 27, 2016 11:01 pm

Is it not better to recite in the original sanskrit as written in the sutras rather than Namu Amida Butsu or Namo Amituofo?

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Queequeg
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Re: Namo Amitabha Buddha

Post by Queequeg » Tue Sep 27, 2016 11:06 pm

What difference would it make?
Those who, even with distracted minds,
Entered a stupa compound
And chanted but once, “Namo Buddhaya!”
Have certainly attained the path of the buddhas.

-Lotus Sutra, Expedient Means Chapter

I think each human being has things to find out in his own life that are inescapable. They’ll find them out the easy way or the hard way, or whatever.
-Jerry Garcia

Rakz
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Re: Namo Amitabha Buddha

Post by Rakz » Tue Sep 27, 2016 11:25 pm

Queequeg wrote:What difference would it make?
For better chances at rebirth in Sukhavati.

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Re: Namo Amitabha Buddha

Post by Rakz » Tue Sep 27, 2016 11:28 pm

Ayu wrote:
Rakz wrote:Is it not better to recite in the original sanskrit as written in the sutras rather than Namu Amida Butsu or Namo Amituofo?
Well, if you're interested, you could try reciting Namu Amida Butsu for one month and then the original sanskrit for another month. You could tell us your result.
I've done both. Namu Amida Butsu rolls nicer off the tongue.

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Monlam Tharchin
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Re: Namo Amitabha Buddha

Post by Monlam Tharchin » Tue Sep 27, 2016 11:39 pm

Good question, since such emphasis is placed on buddha-remembrance through recitation of the name.
I found these two responses, and would be glad to dig deeper into other resources if your question still feels unanswered.
Question: Does it matter how the name of Amituofo is verbalised? For example, the Cantonese say ‘Aw mee tor fatt’, the Teochews say ‘Ah mee tor hoot’, etc.

Answer: In different countries, in different languages and even dialects of each language, the name of Amituofo might be pronounced differently. However, as long as the understanding of the significance of the name is correct, and the intention behind chanting is with right faith and aspiration, it is alright. This is so as the motivation (why) of the chanting matters more than how it is physically chanted. It is this pure intention that creates the pure karma and connection to Amituofo too.

Even in the Chinese language, when free from any dialect, the name is sometimes chanted with popular variations of ‘Ah-mituofo’, ‘Oh-mituofo’, ‘Er-mituofo’… If we want to be truly technically correct linguistically, it should be the first – ‘Ah-mituofo’ (阿弥陀佛), which follows the first syllable of the name in Sanskrit – ‘Amita(bha/yus) Buddha (fo)’. In the Japanese tradition, Amituofo’s name is also pronounced first with ‘Ah’, followed by ‘mida’ (A-mida, which means ‘Amita’). The Heart Mantra of Amituofo also uses ‘Ah’ in ‘Om Ami Deva Hrih’.

It is worth noting that even ‘Ah-mituo-fo’, as transliterated, differs from the original Sanskrit version of ‘Amita Buddha’. Yet, this is no cause for concern due to the reasons in the first paragraph. Thus, it is okay to be slightly flexible with the pronunciation. It is the wholeheartedness (single-mindnedness) that matters. However, it is also important to learn and share about the pronunciation as close to the original (‘Amita Buddha’) and time-tested traditional (e.g. ‘Amituofo’) versions as possible, so as to lessen more changes over time, which might cause further confusion for future generations.
http://purelanders.com/2012/10/06/does- ... ronounced/
When Amituofo’s name in any language is chanted with the right faith, aspiration and practice, it will work – because it is with the Three Provisions (of faith, aspiration and practice) via his name, that Amituofo is connected to; more so than via any specifically enunciated words.
http://purelanders.com/2011/12/17/is-th ... arbitrary/

Chanting is, ultimately, an activity of the mind and not the mouth or conceptualization of the mouth.
:group:

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Re: Namo Amitabha Buddha

Post by Admin_PC » Wed Sep 28, 2016 1:16 am

Rakz wrote:Is it not better to recite in the original sanskrit as written in the sutras rather than Namu Amida Butsu or Namo Amituofo?
I've always disagreed with the mentality that sanskrit is better than any of the east asian (or Tibetan) pronunciations. My reasoning is because "nembutsu" or "nianfo" is literally "recollection of the Buddha" rather than "perfect recitation of holy syllables". The former has a different intent and is perfectly in line with the "recollection of the Buddha" teachings in all 3 major canons. The later sounds more like Hinduism (and the idea that certain sounds can be holy). My views have gotten me in trouble with certain people in the past, but I think if you read the sutras, you'll see that it's more about the intent than the form.
月影の いたらぬ里は なけれども 眺むる人の 心にぞすむ
法然上人

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Queequeg
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Re: Namo Amitabha Buddha

Post by Queequeg » Wed Sep 28, 2016 9:28 am

Does Amitabha Buddha only understand Sanskrit?
'A rose by any other name...'
:shrug:
Those who, even with distracted minds,
Entered a stupa compound
And chanted but once, “Namo Buddhaya!”
Have certainly attained the path of the buddhas.

-Lotus Sutra, Expedient Means Chapter

I think each human being has things to find out in his own life that are inescapable. They’ll find them out the easy way or the hard way, or whatever.
-Jerry Garcia

shaunc
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Re: Namo Amitabha Buddha

Post by shaunc » Wed Sep 28, 2016 10:01 am

I fully agree with the other posts. I personally use namu Amida Butsu but if there was a school that recited the nembutsu in English I'd give serious consideration to joining them.
The real beauty of pureland to me is that we don't have to be weighed down with the right pronunciation, posture, ritual, time of day, etc.
Let's be good to ourselves and keep pureland simple.
.namu Amida Butsu.

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Re: Namo Amitabha Buddha

Post by Sentient Light » Wed Sep 28, 2016 3:15 pm

I grew up hearing "A di đà Phật" in kung fu movies and tv shows all the time. A di đà Phật, A di đà Phật, A di đà Phật, A di đà Phật. Any time any characters were meeting each other, particularly if one is master and one is student. I'll be honest--I had no clue what this meant at the time, only that the last word was 'Buddha.' But since it's been with me since childhood, I can't imagine his name pronounced any other way. I understand the rhythm and pronunciation, but it'll always be "A di đà Phật" to me. We're southern dialect, so it's pronounced ah YEE dah fuk (it's not exactly like the English "frak", but it's really close.. the "k" stop is just done like.. closer to the teeth, if that makes sense) or ah YEE dah fung (the two are interchangeable, but the latter is only used in chanting and doing it multiple times, with the "fuk" pronunciation being the last).

There's also the thing with the number of syllables... Six syllables with "Nam mô A di đà Phật" is smooth and rolling to me.. adding two more syllables messes with my understanding of the rhythm.

All this to say: there's a way to chant the niệm phật that resonates with you specifically, that becomes a wellspring of continuous practice. I doubt Amitabha speaks Sanskrit anyway (plus, I think the first attested Chinese translation of the Larger Sutra was from Prakrit, right?)--he knows his name and when a mind has focused on him, his form, his name, his qualities, etc. as its object, and that is the important bit.
:buddha1: Nam mô A di đà Phật :buddha1:
:bow: Nam mô Quan Thế Âm Bồ tát :bow:
:bow: Nam mô Đại Thế Chi Bồ Tát :bow:

:buddha1: Nam mô Bổn sư Thích ca mâu ni Phật :buddha1:
:bow: Nam mô Di lặc Bồ tát :bow:
:bow: Nam mô Địa tạng vương Bồ tát :bow:

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Re: Namo Amitabha Buddha

Post by Monlam Tharchin » Wed Sep 28, 2016 5:15 pm

For what it's worth too, I started with just Amitabha.
Then as I read Honen, I switched to Namu Amida Butsu for several years to honor him in a way, I really owe Honen a debt of gratitude for informing and encouraging my practice.
This year, I've drifted back to just Amitabha Buddha.
I find that since all the reading I do refers to the Sanskrit "Amitabha" it's easier to connect by using the same term.
Don't forget that Amitayus is still another option.
My translation of the Three Pure Land Sutras uses Amitayus instead.
I've read the important thing is to be confident in whichever pronunciation you use in general, so you can call out e.g. in a nightmare or time of difficulty and not dither on what syllables to say.

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Re: Namo Amitabha Buddha

Post by Rakz » Thu Sep 29, 2016 12:47 am

Thanks for the excellent replies everyone. :cheers:

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rory
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Re: Namo Amitabha Buddha

Post by rory » Thu Sep 29, 2016 4:29 am

Yes the oldest Pure Land writings are in a Gandhari prakrit and the thinking is that Pure Land emerged from Central Asia, so Sanskrit is just one among many languages to chant in, but not the 'original' by any means.

My first teacher, a very kind Pure Land monk taught me to chant "Namu Amida Butsu", I've attended Chinese temples and chanted "Amituofo" which was totally fine, and Korean ones and "Amitabul" fine too, but for my own practice, it's always Japanese nembutsu chanting as this has a deep link for me. It is a bad idea to jump around from Amitabha to Amita to...as you won't form a strong deep connection that way, it has to be almost instinctual that nembutsu leaps to your lips without thinking.

Similarly it helps to have a nice altar with statues or scrolls to your taste. It will attract you and encourage you to practice.Due to a kind priest I have a lovely elegant Japanese lacquer altar with a gold standing Amida with a scroll behind him, it's beautiful and it makes me happy to practice. We're fallible beings in Mappo so little things do count.
gassho
Rory
Namu Kanzeon Bosatsu
Chih-I:
The Tai-ching states "the women in the realms of Mara, Sakra and Brahma all neither abandoned ( their old) bodies nor received (new) bodies. They all received buddhahood with their current bodies (genshin)" Thus these verses state that the dharma nature is like a great ocean. No right or wrong is preached (within it) Ordinary people and sages are equal, without superiority or inferiority
Paul, Groner "The Lotus Sutra in Japanese Culture"eds. Tanabe p. 58
https://www.tendai-usa.org/

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Re: Namo Amitabha Buddha

Post by Rakz » Fri Sep 30, 2016 10:10 pm

rory wrote:Yes the oldest Pure Land writings are in a Gandhari prakrit and the thinking is that Pure Land emerged from Central Asia, so Sanskrit is just one among many languages to chant in, but not the 'original' by any means.

My first teacher, a very kind Pure Land monk taught me to chant "Namu Amida Butsu", I've attended Chinese temples and chanted "Amituofo" which was totally fine, and Korean ones and "Amitabul" fine too, but for my own practice, it's always Japanese nembutsu chanting as this has a deep link for me. It is a bad idea to jump around from Amitabha to Amita to...as you won't form a strong deep connection that way, it has to be almost instinctual that nembutsu leaps to your lips without thinking.

Similarly it helps to have a nice altar with statues or scrolls to your taste. It will attract you and encourage you to practice.Due to a kind priest I have a lovely elegant Japanese lacquer altar with a gold standing Amida with a scroll behind him, it's beautiful and it makes me happy to practice. We're fallible beings in Mappo so little things do count.
gassho
Rory
Awesome advice and tips. Thanks.

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Re: Namo Amitabha Buddha

Post by gingercatni » Sun Nov 20, 2016 12:54 pm

Rakz wrote:Is it not better to recite in the original sanskrit as written in the sutras rather than Namu Amida Butsu or Namo Amituofo?
I personally prefer to recite Namo Amitabha however it really doesn't matter Amitufo is just a language translation that means the same. Remember its mindfulness of Amitabha along with recitation that we should be doing, sometimes it's hard though! :namaste:

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