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How should one say the nembutsu: "as if your life depended on it"? This is an English idiom, though I think it is quite literal.

Would anyone agree, and if so who?

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Doing anything as if your life depended on it is just a matter of how seriously you take it at that moment, and death is about as serious as it gets. The more important something is to you, the more your mind will turn to it, and they say with mindfulness, continuity is key.

A mantra is a type of meditation object or anchor for mindfulness, and the Buddha gave a simile for mindfulness, where someone is carrying a full pot of oil on their head through a crowded marketplace and just then a big commotion is happening, but there's a guy following with a raised sword ready to chop off his head if he spills a single drop (SN 47.20). That kind of attitude gives you a newfound alertness and seriousness for whatever you're doing.

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