|BERKELEY BUDDHIST TEMPLE|
Some General Shin Buddhist Practice Etiquette
Whereas most Buddhist sects and teachings have specific practices that are
incorporated into their realization and learning process such as Soto Zen Buddhists
utilizing meditation and Nichiren followers chanting the Daimoku, etc. BUT what do
we Shin Buddhists have as a "practice"?
It is said that Shin Buddhism is the practice of no practice, but where does the idea of
practice or "action" come into play in our religious path? For the life of a Shin
Buddhist, the recitation of Namo Amida Butsu is "practice" - in every moment of
this existence we are called on by Namo Amida Butsu, Infinite Wisdom and
Compassion. Therefore, whenever we say Namo Amida Butsu, we are reminded of
the presence of the Buddha Amida; Infinite Wisdom and Compassion.*
Therefore, etiquette becomes a very important "practice" for us as Nembutsu
followers. But what are some examples of "practice" for a Shin Buddhist?
One should bow and/or place your hands together in Gassho when coming
before a statue or representation of the Buddha. We acknowledge all Buddhas of
this universe (including those Buddhas used by other sects) and should pay proper
respect as well. Sometimes, the question arises if we should bow when we come in
front of statues of Buddha in art galleries and museums? Some people express the
opinion that Buddhas in art work are not Buddha representations for religious
purposes but if you feel that even a work of art is a representation of the Buddha,
you may want to place your hands together in Gassho or even just slightly bow as
you pass in front of the art piece of a Buddha or Bodhisattva.
When walking in front of any Buddhist temple, it is customary to bow as you pass
the front door as an expression of gratitude to the Buddha. Also, if you walk in
front of a likeness (statue or portrait) of Shinran Shonin or Rennyo Shonin, you
should also stop and bow as you walk in front of the likeness as an expression of
your gratitude to our Master.
In Japan, most temples are surrounded by walls and there is always a gate through
which you enter the temple grounds. When entering the temple grounds through
the gate, it is customary to bow as you pass through the gate both when entering
and leaving the temple grounds.
The one exception when you don't have to bow when you cross in front of the
likeness of Amida Buddha is if you are in the hondo or naijin and are
cleaning. In this instance, it's not necessary that you bow each time as you cross
in front of the likeness of the Amida Buddha, Shinran, Rennyo, etc.
||The great practice is to say the Name of the Tathagata of unhindered light This
practice, embodying all good acts and possessing all roots of virtue, is perfect and most
rapid in bringing them to fullness. It is the treasure ocean of virtues that is suchness or
true reality. For this reason, it is called great practice. (A Collection of Passages
Revealing the True Practice of the Pure Land Way - Shinran)