Single-Practice Masters

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THE LOTUS SUTRA directly influenced the development of Japan’s “single-practice” Buddhist traditions, which placed one practice above all others as the most correct and effective means to enlightenment for all people. Emerging during the Kamakura period (1185�1333), the primary proponents of the Japanese Pure Land, Soto Zen, and Nichiren schools of Buddhism all embraced the single-practice approach.

Honen (1133�1212) was the founding figure of Jodo-shu, the Jodo School of Pure Land Buddhism. He was the first to break away from the then-prevalent Tendai school and establish a single-practice approach. Honen advocated chanting the nembutsu, Amida Buddha’s name in the form of Namu Amida Butsu, “Veneration to Buddha Amitabha,” as the unequaled means to develop faith and thus secure rebirth in Amida’s Pure Land. The Jodo School is one of the largest in Japan today.

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