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The Primal Vow

It is said that Dharmakara made 48 Vows, and through the action of good karma, reincarnated as Amida Buddha.

Especially dear to Pure Land Buddhists is the 18th Vow, which is known as the Primal Vow:

"If, when I attain Buddhahood, sentient beings in the lands of the ten quarters who sincerely and joyfully entrust themselves to me, desire to be born in my land, and call my Name, even ten times, should not be born there, may I not attain perfect Enlightenment. Excluded, however, are those who commit the five gravest offences and abuse the right Dharma."

It is this vow that sets the minimum times to recited Amida Buddha's name using the Nembutsu (Namu Amida Butsu). When one utters the Nembutsu out of sincerity with thanksgiving and gratitude, one's mind becomes settled.

As well, in excluding "those who commit the five gravest offences and abuse the Right Dharma", the Vow also suggests that Amida Buddha offers a hand to those sentient beings who are incapable of reaching Enlightenment through their negative karma.

Ultimately, devotion to Amida Buddha help prepare the Shin Buddhist practitioner for rebirth in the Pure Land at the end of her life.

For mindful practice of the Nembutsu does reduce mental suffering when practiced over one's lifetime.

Namu Amida Butsu

Primal Vow: The Power of Love:
Primal Vow:
Shin Buddhism (another name for Jodo Shinshu):

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