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Nembutsu/niànfó/calling on Amitābha

OK, another ocpd question from His OCPDness...

For Pure Land of Amitābha followers, is there a specific reason to use any particular mantra, or is it a personal preference? For example:

Namo Amitābha Buddha; Namo Amituofo (I know this is the Chinese version); Namo Amitābha ; Namo Amitabhāya Buddhāya; Namo Amitabhāya; and so on.

I find the 6 syllable mantras Namo Amituofo and Namo Amitābha, and even the 8 syllable Namo Amitābha Buddha easier to establish a rhythm with, especially if I draw out the 'o' in namo. I have a recording of Nam Myoho Renge Kyo, which of course it being Nichiren I don't recite, but the rhythm is... well, rhythmic. :D

So I'm wondering if there's any "rule".


  • That's a great page @cvalue, thanks. So I guess it's personal preference as to how one calls on any particular buddha, nothing special about which mantra to use, as long as one calls with focus on entering the Pure Land.
  • howhow Veteran
    It might not be relevant but...

    I remember a short exchange where a Zen practioner was asking
    an Amitabha Monk how the recitation of some words all the time could gain them access to anything other than a noicy mind. (Us Zen folks are so polite)

    The Monk answered that you don't have to recite them all the time as long as you do it just before you die.

    The Zennist then asked" How you'd know when you were going to die".

    The Monk replied "We don't, which is why we recite them all the time just like you sit in Zazen, they are both simply bluff charges at death's door".

    It seemed that the recitation, like zazen, needed not so much perfection, as intent.

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