Here are 12 basic practices that our founding teacher, Senpai Daishin, suggest its members and friends to undertake if they wish to walk the Shin path. Some of central daily practices include compassion for all sentient beings, deep hearing, the voicing of the nembutsu, chanting, prayer and Going for Refuge and serving others in need.
1. We practice…compassion as a natural manifestation of our faith. Our Buddha taught, “Consider others as yourself.” True compassion is an engaged interconnection with the suffering and joys and all beings.
2. We practice…deep hearing as the central religious practice of the Shin because it is the the prescribed vehicle to engage the dharma (the teachings and reality-as-it-is) that ultimately unfolds the entrusting heart as the nembutsu; it is characterized by continuous engaging, questioning, doubting, reflecting, applying, reapplying, forgetting and remembering the teachings.
3. We practice…daily chanting as a vehicle to touch the sacred heart within and serves as a reminder of the unconditional embrace of Amida (The Great Compassion).
4. We practice…taking regular mindfulness incense offering during our gatherings as a way to remember the the dynamic reality of impermanence, the interconnected relationship of all things, and the One Life in boundless time and space.
5. We practice…sitting meditation as a natural vehicle to calm and balance the mind so we may be receptive to the transformational inner light; the goal is not to attain enlightenment but just to naturally be as we are.
6. We practice…voicing the nembutsu as first the practice of being mindful of Life’s grace (Other Power), and secondly with the unfolding of the entrusting heart, it becomes the direct expression of the liberating presence of the Great Compassion in our lives.
7. We practice…prayer is the best means to internalize our religious ideals, to express our deep gratitude to Amida, and to send and receive the blessings to the world.
8. We practice…simplicity as a means to strip away the inevitable distractions of our modern 21st century life and open ourselves to the life’s essentials and vibrant beauty through the nembutsu.
9. We practice…Going for Refuge, in the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha, on a regular basis as a means to internalize the Buddhist teachings and remind us of our highest ideals.
10. We practice…the Fivefold Precepts not as commandments but as an auxiliary deep hearing practice, and as a natural result of Going for Refuge. Central to these ethical guidelines is the ideal of non-harming and they serve as a means to deeply study ourselves, and help manifest the reality of the Pure Land in this suffering world.
11. We practice…going to fellowship on a regular basis to hear and re-engage ourselves with the teachings and have communion with other disciples. Attending a gathering helps us remember to walk with the dharma during our daily lives, and displays our inner commitment to total spiritual transformation.
12. We practice…community service as the heartfelt response to human and nonhuman suffering (dukkha). Service also includes learning the Pure Land teachings for the sake of all beings, and sharing it equally with everyone as the universal way to alleviate confusion and affliction.