Nembutsu Chanting

At the beginning of December, a group from the Buddhist House in Narborough village, just south of the city of Leicester in England gathered for their annual Bodhi Retreat. One of the rituals on this retreat is the wonderful chanting of the "24 Hour Nembutsu". Starting at noon, the group recites the Nembutsu until noon the following day. This was the third year they have held this marathon event.

Here is one person's recollection from the first time the group did it in 2005:

"Its hard to put into words this experience. There is much joy… as one settles into the nembutsu there are periods when everything else falls away; you become a communal act of worship, a coming together of people who share a similar path. The sound of the nembutsu at times almost shimmers around the hall. It is quite beautiful.Then there are times whem bombu nature kicks in. “Why are we doing this… I’m hungry… so-and-so is chanting flat… our team is struggling - why doesn’t someone from the other team swop and help us…. namo amida bu namo amida bu… i’m tired… namo amida bu… namo amida bu….”There’s a whole soap opera going on in one’s head, in each other’s heads and yet it is all held by the communal nembutsu… just as you are, just as it is. There are times when it may feel like the practice is very goal-oriented, about trying to last the whole 24 hours, or as long as one can, and then there are times when you realise that you have completely missed the point, that no one can do this by their own, unaided. That the whole twenty four hours enacts out our dependence; on Amida, on each other. The whole experience is transformed into a collective thank you! "