Last month I participated in the 24 hours Ceaseless Nenbutsu relay which I broadcasted through my youtube channel. My assignment was only one hour but soon after I started chanting, I felt like sleeping.
Since then my practice of Nenbutsu changed to a battle with strong drowsiness. At first, I had a pressure that some friends in the world are watching me via internet. So I tried to stay up to chant "Namu Amida Bu" loudly. Gradually, however, I felt my hitting Mokugyo(wooden drum) became slower. Then finally I couldn't resist my sleepiness during chanting Nenbutsu. I'm not so sure how long I was sleeping but at least I realized I fell asleep!
Immediately I thought "Oh my goodness, I slept!!!" But it was too late. I became so ashamed of myself and I woke up. Interestingly, however, after falling asleep during Nenbutsu, I felt so refreshed and completely woke up. "What a glorious moment!" This was the moment I first realized the significance of "sleep" in order to wake up. At the same time, I regained my energy to continue to do Nenbutsu loudly. This was the most pleasant Nenbutsu I've ever experienced. One hour went so quickly and I continued more Nenbutsu.
Once again, nobody can wake up without having some sleep. Because we sleep, we can wake up. Buddhism is a religion of "awakening." I realized sleeping or some negative factors of life were also important.
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