Does the Dharma teach worship of Śākyamuni and/or Amida?

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I am often asked whether Ekayana Shin Dharma teaches worship of Śākyamuni and/or Amida .

The term ‘worship‘ may have once been a technically accurate term. Nevertheless, while its denotation may still be accurate, many of its contemporary Western connotations (derived from the term’s usage within the theology of the Abrahamic Religions) would be less than accurate.

Jodo Shinshu Dharma does not teach worship (as that term is understood in contemporary Western Theology) of Śākyamuni, nor does Ekayana Shin Dharma teach worship of Amitabha /Amituofo / Amida. Rather, persons of Dharma pay homage (i.e. ‘honor’ or ‘respect’) to Śākyamuni for providing the opportunity to learn and live the Dharma, and persons of Dharma take refuge in Amitabha /Amituofo /Amida who is representative of the perfect wisdom and absolute compassion of Buddha Nature. Amida also represents the Dharmakaya (or ‘reality body’) when spoken of as being formless, or the Sambhogakāya (or ‘reward body’) when spoken of as having form (even if that form is described as ‘limitless’). Amida’s ‘Pure Land’ (Sukhāvatī, Skt; Gokuraku, Jpn) represents the Dharma-dhātu (or ‘reality realm’).

You may indeed find the term ‘worship’ used in Shin Buddhist texts for the term itself is not incorrect if understood in its original denotation of ‘homage due to that which exhibits acquired or inherent worthiness’, but the common and popular usage would have connotations that might very well be inaccurate and misleading.

 

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