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What is Pure Land Buddhism?
Pure Land Buddhism is a branch of Mahayana Buddhism focusing on the Buddha Amitabha and the concept of freeing one’s self from the perpetual cycle of transmigration (birth and rebirth) to arrive in the Pure Land through the practice of meditation, contemplation, and/or recitation.
What is Jodo Shu?
Jodo Shu is an independent school of Pure Land Buddhism that originated in Japan in 1175, based on the teachings of the monk Honen. It is one of the most prevalent Buddhist branch in Japan today.
What can I do to practice Jodo Shu?
Jodo Shu followers carry themselves and practice Pure Land teachings in a variety of ways, but the singular practice of Jodo Shu is the recitation of the name of Buddha Amitabha in the phrase “Namu Amida Butsu” (I take refuge in Amida Buddha).
Who is Honen Shonin?
Honen, often referred in Western circles as “Saint” Honen, was a 12th century Buddhist monk who brought traditionally complex Buddhism practices to the common people. Honen taught that without education, ascetic practice, and amidst war and famine, anyone could attain passage to the Pure Land by the simple recitation of the mantra, “Namu Amida Butsu” – a simple phrase that bonds us to Amida Buddha.
I don’t live in Los Angeles. How can I connect with other followers of Jodo Shu?
Many of our members live outside of California and outside of the United States. There are many ways that you can connect with ministers and other followers, including:
1. Virtually – click here for community links
2. Contacting us directly – our doors, phones, and email addresses are always open
3. Visiting us at the temple for key services
4. Subscribing to our mailing list
5. Establishing a sangha in your location and feel free to communicate with us regularly with questions or requests for virtual participation or sermonizing
How do remote prayer requests work?
Jodo Shu North America Buddhist Missions offer a number of prayer services to our members and friends. We consult with you prior to the prayer service so you can express your needs directly to our ministers, and then we perform the service in Los Angeles with our local congregation. After the prayer service, we send you a tablet to memorialize your departed loved ones. Click here for a listing of prayers we extend to our members, far and wide.
What ceremonies do you perform at Jodo Shu North America?
We perform memorial services, annual memorial anniversary services, home services, mizuko-kuyo (service for children lost in early childhood or in utero from miscarriage or abortion), transfer of merit, and weddings (traditional or same sex).
What is transfer of merit?
Transfer of merit is the practice of transferring the merits of Nembutsu recitation to our ancestors, family, and other loved ones. Transfer of merit is a fundamental practice in Jodo Shu – much like “praying for your loved ones” is in Christianity.
Can I practice Jodo Shu if I belong to another religion?
Yes – one of the defining characteristics of Jodo Shu is its welcoming nature. “Formal” members of Jodo Shu may focus exclusively on Jodo Shu practice, but we welcome anyone who can benefit from Jodo Shu teachings or practice as a means of augmenting your spiritual journey. Judgment is notably missing from Jodo Shu, and we welcome all – Buddhist, Christian, Muslim, Jewish, or any religion – through our doors.
How can I use this Web site?
This Web site is meant to embrace all followers of Jodo Shu, but primarily those who are non-Japanese speaking who are interested in engaging more deeply with Jodo Shu Buddhism. Please visit regularly to:
Above all remember that this Web site is a portal to the Jodo Shu school outside of Japan – we encourage you to also call and write us directly to engage real-time discussions with followers around the world.