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recitations (nenju 念誦)

S. jāpa, "murmuring prayers." Literally "mindful" (nen 念) "recitation" (ju 誦). In East Asian Buddhism in general, this commonly refers to the recitation of buddha names to generate merit that is dedicated in support of prayers or to establish karmic affinities with the buddhas named. In some esoteric (mikkyō 密教) schools, nenju refers more specifically to the recitation of a dharani while fixing the mind on a deity associated with the dharani and contemplating the mystical identity of the deity and one's self. In present day Soto Zen, recitations usually entail chanting the verse known as Ten Buddha Names (Jūbutsumyō 十佛名), but in the past the name of Amida Buddha was recited in connection with funeral rites. Entire ceremonies that center around the chanting of the names of buddhas but involve other practices as well (e.g. incense offerings, circumambulation) have come to be known as "recitations." →"Ten Buddha Names."