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So for 20 years I have been mostly a philosophical Buddhist, not having a school to focus my practice I relegated myself to study. Drifting in and out of even that. I practiced sitting meditation on and off but again was never really focused. I have recently found and settled on the Ch'an influenced school Huayan.
Huayan has a level of "Faith" that for my earlier years I was totally in opposition to, being an atheist, and drawn to buddhism in part for it's not "needing" me to have "faith" to follow it. I am at a point where I feel I want to add a level of faith and reverence into my practice and actually practice, more than just the daily mindfullness espoused by Thich Naht Hanh.
The first ritual I plan to incorporate into my practice is Nembutsu; reciting Amitabha Buddha. Advice on properly performing Nembutsu would be appreciated. What should the meter/cant be? Amitabha on the in breath... Buddha on the out breath... ? What do you focus on while practicing? The words? The Buddha's qualities? I could look for youtube clips or online articles for answers and later I probably will but I take refuge in the Sangha and those who post here are my Sangha, so I will ask you first.
Is it best for me to practice Anapanasati first for a while to gain the right focus?
At some point after practicing Nembutsu I plan to add the Hua tou "Who is repeating the Buddha's name?".
I also plan to add daily prostrations to the triple gem before and after meditation.
Ultimately I will also be incorporating Mozhao (Silent Illumination Meditation) as well but I have much work to gain the right concentration for that.
Any advice for adding ritual, how its aided your own practice, methods to consider, I am open to all at this point.