Nembutsu Postcards

Nembutsu by Hoben

Not too long ago, I found these postcards hidden in my pilgrimage book. I think I received them when read “Johnl” and I visited a small Jodo Shu temple in the Meguro ward of Tokyo.

Last year, Japan celebrated the 800th memorial for Honen, founder of Jodo Shu Buddhism, and Pure Land Buddhism in general. These postcards are printed with his calligraphy of the phrase Namu Amida Butsu (南無阿弥陀仏) which is means “Praise to Amitabha Buddha“. This is the central practice of Pure Land Buddhism.

It’s kind of cool to have this visual connection to a Buddhist master who lived so long ago.

However, I have a few things Jodo Shu related already, and so I’d like to share these with readers, especially folks who may not have access to Buddhist resources. You could use them either as a souvenir, or as an image for a home Buddhist altar, or whatever you like. If you would like to have one of these cards, leave a comment and a valid email address and tell me about your encounters with Honen and/or Pure Land Buddhism. There’s no wrong answer here.

I’ll pick two winners at random (to be fair), and announce the winners Friday, May 25th Seattle time. Then I’ll contact the winners and send them out the following day.

Good luck!


Author: Doug

A fellow who dwells upon the Pale Blue Dot who spends his days obsessing over things like Buddhism, KPop music, foreign languages, BSD UNIX and science fiction.

3 thoughts on “Nembutsu Postcards”

  1. Hey there! I’ve read your blog for a little while (always interesting :)) but never commented on anything, since I usually don’t have anything to add. I think this is a good post to comment on, and not just because I’d like to win a cool postcard!

    I’d say I’ve been a practicing Buddhist for a few years, but I didn’t really discover Pure Land Buddhism (Jodo Shinshu in particular) until just a few months ago. I had read about it before, but really never read too far into it, and never gave it much thought. I really became interested in it in February of 2012, the month my mother passed away, although I’m not sure if that had anything to do with my sudden interest. When I began reading into it, I discovered a face of Buddhism that I’d never seen before. My experience up until that point had really been with whittled down forms of Zen (you know the types, “meditate for 30 minutes a day, now you’re done”). In Pure Land Buddhism I found a rich tradition and practice that felt more engaging to me than what I was used to. In particular, I loved the idea of being transformed by Amida Buddha, rather than through our own efforts, especially when I thought of my own struggles to keep even a basic, regular meditation practice (it wasn’t that I didn’t have the time, it’s that I just couldn’t compel myself to sit). I continue to learn new things about Pure Land Buddhism, and I’ve found that I’ve had a better attitude to my life in general (I initially found Buddhism while struggling with depression, and I’m still a somewhat pessimistic person). My practice remains more of a personal one for now, as there are no Shin temples in my state, and even if there were, family obligations keep me bound to the local Catholic church for a little while longer (it’s a long story, so I’ll keep it short- I was already in various obligations to the church when I decided the pursue the Buddhist path, so until I transfer from community college to regular college (1 more year!), I continue to keep my obligations to keep my family happy). In any case, Pure Land Buddhism has helped me to see that this life is unrepeatable, and to appreciate every moment, good and bad.

    Namu Amida Butsu

    -Danny C


  2. Hi everyone!
    I also want to take the opportunity to win one of these great postcards and introduce myself to all the readers of this blog.
    My interest in Pure Land Buddhism started after several years of practising Zen. My first real encounter with Jodoshu was through my study of Japanese Buddhism. What I liked most was the emphasis of compassion (shown by Amida and also by those, who were born in the Pure Land, but vow to come back to guide sentient beings) – and the idea that everybody, regardless of their capabilities, will be able to achieve Buddhahood in the Pure Land. As a Zen practitioner that was totally new to me, because we tended to think, that everyone stands alone on the path to Buddhahood (which was kind of a western interpretation, because there are guiding Bodhisattvas in Zen Buddhism).
    Where Jodoshu really stands out is that it doesn’t confuse you with highly theoretical or abstract ideas about the nature of existence. Buddhist thought can be fun for those like me, who like highly sophisticated philosophy, but I found it hard to use it in everyday life. Pure Land Buddhism on the other hand addresses emotion rather than intellect. That’s why it helped me to strengthen my emotional foundation in Buddhism.

    Namu Amida Butsu


  3. Hi guys,

    Just wanted to say hi to you both. Although I haven’t replied earlier, I enjoyed reading your posts very much, and there are definitely things that resonate with me as well.


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