The Pureland tradition of Buddhism was founded for ordinary people like you and me. There are no complicated prerequisites to practice – you don’t need lots of time or access to a library or great wisdom or powers of concentration.
The main practice is simply reciting the Buddha’s name – usually in the form Namo Amida Bu. Namo means something like “I call out to” or “I bring to mind” and Amida Bu refers to Amida Buddha, “the awakened one of infinite love.” These simple words can be spoken any time, by anyone.
In Pureland temples more elaborate and ritualised forms of saying the name take place. It’s good to have a special place and a special time to remember the Buddha, his qualities and teachings. We have regular Buddhist services here in Malvern, which last about an hour and which can include chanting, walking and sitting meditating, prostrations, liturgy, making offerings and so on.
In your own house, you might want to make a shrine where you place a picture or statue of the Buddha and some fresh flowers, a candle, incense, cups of water or other offerings. You might also want to do a daily practice in front of the Buddha – doing some chanting, or sitting quietly. You might also want to say a blessing before eating, or remember the Buddha when you wake up in the morning. Read more about starting a practice at home here.
There are no rights or wrongs – we all find our own way into a relationship with the divine. Some people find their spiritual practice is when they connect with nature, some people find it important to practice with other people even if only occasionally. The important thing is to gradually discover what deepens our connection with the Buddhas and to do this whenever we remember.
Namo Amida Bu!
For more information read Dharmavidya’s booklet, How to practice.