Beginner Buddhism Part Eight: Example Home Service

Speaking of home services, I coincidentally uploaded another small video I made:

This wasn’t what I originally planned for lesson eight, but decided to do this instead. Lesson nine will cover Buddhist deities. This was just a short, somewhat generic home Buddhist service in the Japanese Mahayana tradition. It has some elements of Pure Land Buddhism in there (since that is my background), but also elements found in Zen or Tendai home services as well. It’s intended to help people who have no Buddhist community draw some ideas about doing their own home service.



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 “Beginner Buddhism Part Eight: Example Home Service”

  1. Nice and concise! That is a nice sutra book with such large, easy-to-read letters! I like to delve into the suggested order of service in such books, compare and contrast. Most of them have ‘kai kyo ge’ or ‘prayer on opening the sutra.’ This is usually praise of the sutra and the like. The point of reading the sutra is not the literal understanding, I think of it as a kind of soaking or immersion, hoping that something ineffable with stay with me. I think the kai kyo ge is helpful because it is planting subconscious suggestions that might make you more open to absorbing the sutra. So I would suggest adding that–you can either do it in Japanese or translate it. I have also noticed some interesting differences. For example, a sutra book I got at Yakushiji (dedicated to Yakushi Nyorai, the Medicine Buddha) features repetition of the Medicine Buddha mantra at the end. I like some variation in which service I do–but I find practical considerations also figure in, like when I travel, I tend to use one that is physically smaller. Flexibility is good!


    1. Hi John!

      Great point about the kaikyoge. We used to do it in English in the old Jodo Shinshu temple I used to go to, but somehow I’ve stopped doing it over time. I was thinking about it as I made this little “service”, but forgot to include it. Just a habit I guess. Oh well.

      But I think you make a convincing argument for adding it back into my routine. I’ve heard other long-time Buddhists say similar sentiments: it somehow helps open your mind to the sutra’s content or meaning. Or at least it gets you in the right frame of mind.

      As for the sutra book, I might have purchased that one either in Nara or with you when we visited Sojiji. I can’t rightly remember now. :p


  2. I do something similar at home, although based more on Theravada tradition. I have Pali chants (thanks to the Metta Forest Monastery in California) that I’m learning and a growing collection of sutta texts that I’m reading through.

    Thank you very much for sharing. I always find it nice to read or watch a bit of someone else’s practice, regardless of the specific tradition.


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